Are costly classes keeping you from trying a new workout? Pilates is a popular, low-impact exercise program that improves core strength, stability, flexibility, and endurance. And although there is no denying the benefits of practicing Pilates, most people can't afford the pricey classes or expensive machinery needed for this workout.
The following Pilates-inspired workout is free and can be completed from the convenience of your home. All you need are a yoga mat and a set of light free weights.
Side plank twist
Begin on your left side with your legs stacked and extended. Prop your body weight up on your left forearm, aligning your shoulder above your elbow.
Using your core muscles, push through your forearm to elevate your hips until your body forms a straight line.
Twist at your torso, bringing your right hand through the hollow space between your body and the floor. Now swing your right arm up toward the ceiling. Continue this trunk rotation for 10 repetitions then switch sides.
Begin in a plank position with your shoulders aligned above your wrists.
Lift your right leg several inches off the floor and point your toes. Squeeze your glutes for two counts.
Lower your leg back to the starting stance. Repeat 10 times then practice on the left leg.
Start in a prone position. Grasp your free weights and extend your arms to form a "T" shape with your body.
Keep your arms in position as you use your back and core muscles to elevate your chest off the floor. Your neck should be relaxed with your eyes gazing down. Hold for two counts, then slowly lower your chest back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
For an added challenge, try simultaneously lifting your legs with your upper body.
Lie on your back with your legs elevated, knees bent at a 90-degree angle and arms resting at your sides. Take a deep breath.
On your exhale, curl your head, neck and shoulders up off the floor. Lift your arms so they are level with your abdomen. Keep your core muscles engaged and lower back pressed into the ground as you extend your legs straight to form a 45-degree angle. Point your toes. (Beginners can start by keeping their knees bent at 90 degrees.)
Quickly pump your arms up and down, breathing with the pattern of five inhales and five exhales. That is one set. Repeat 10 times.
When it comes to creating a workout, break a sweat, not the bank.
Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach with a focus on movement and mindfulness. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.