pilates

20 Minute Workout: Pilates

An Equinox instructor's guide to making a quick mat session count.

While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you likely already know: To reap the rewards — increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high — truncated workouts must be insanely intense. But it may be worth the effort, since, according to a recent review of research published in the Journal of Physiology, shorter, more vigorous sessions are not only more effective than endurance training in terms of strength building and calorie burning, but they also may be the most efficient way to train elite athletes. Sold. So, we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the next in the series. Check back each Wednesday for a new routine:

The Pro: Hanneke Antonelli, STOTT Certified Pilates Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor (Pilates Bootcamp, Pilates Body and Pilates Fusion)
The Club: Boston
The Workout: 13 essential Pilates moves. Do a single set of each of the following, in order, taking a few seconds rest between each:

100s
Start lying on back with knees in tabletop position. Pull belly button into spine and exhale while lifting upper back off floor. Reach arms toward feet, palms facing down, about 2 inches off floor. Pump arms up and down with a small range of motion, keeping elbows straight. Inhale for five arm pumps and exhale for five pumps. Repeat cycle nine more times for a total of 100 pumps.

Single Leg Stretch
Start lying on back with knees in tabletop position. Pull right knee into chest with right hand at ankle and left hand at knee, extending left leg at a 45-degree angle. Lift head, keeping chin slightly down. Engage abs and bring upper back off of the floor. Hold here for two counts. Keeping head off mat, switch sides by pulling left knee into chest and extend right leg out. That's one rep. Do 8-10 reps.

Single Leg Stretch with hands at base of neck
Do same as above, this time keeping hands behind head with elbows out to the side. Do 8-10 reps.

Forearm Plank
Kneel with knees together and in line with hips. Bending forward, place forearms on ground, elbows under shoulders, hands clasped, pulling abs in. Extend each leg behind you, so you're balancing on balls of feet, legs and ankles together. Lower hips into plank position, maintaining a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 30 seconds.

Double Leg Stretch
Start by lying on back, hugging knees into chest. Draw abs up and in and lift head and shoulders off mat, then touch lower shins. Inhale, reaching arms back and overhead as you extend legs at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Exhale, sweeping arms out to sides, then bend knees, returning hands to starting position. Do 8-10 reps.

Scissors
Start lying on back, belly button pressing into spine. Place hands flat on floor, palms down. Bring knees into chest and extend legs straight up into air, toes pointed. Move left leg towards head while moving right leg towards ground, scissoring legs. Exhale and move right leg towards head and left leg towards ground. Do 8-10 reps.

Scissors with hands at base of neck
Do same as above, this time keeping hands behind head with elbows out to the side. Do 8-10 reps.

Right Side Forearm Plank
Begin lying on right side with ankles, hips and shoulders in a straight line. Push up onto right forearm and stack ankles on top of each other. Hold position, keeping body in a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Hold 30 seconds.

Lower Lift
Start by lying on back with both legs extended toward ceiling, feet pointed and hands behind head, elbows to the side. Pull navel toward spine and inhale. As you exhale, lift head, neck and shoulder blades off floor. Inhale again and as you exhale, raise legs and butt off floor. Do 8-10 reps.

Left Side Forearm Plank
Begin lying on left side with ankles, hips and shoulders in a straight line. Push up onto left forearm and stack ankles on top of each other. Hold position, keeping body in a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Hold 30 seconds.

Static Swimming
Lie on stomach with arms and legs extended. Inhale and lift arms and legs off floor about 45 degrees. Raise right arm two inches while simultaneously lifting left leg two inches, then switch to the left arm and right leg. Alternate sides as quickly as possible for 5 counts inhaling, 5 count exhaling. Repeat ten times.

Push-ups
Perform a regular push-up with hands shoulder-width apart. Do 10 reps.

Wide Push-ups
Perform a regular push-up with hands wider than shoulder-width. Do 10 reps.

Want more? Try our ballet barre-inspired 20 minute workout.

Filed Under: Workouts | Tone Up