It happens every summer: you started the new year out with a new workout program and by the end of Spring, you’re finally seeing some results. You’re thrilled! However, around the corner is your annual family summer vacation complete with excessive food, sweets, and lounging.
While it sounds like paradise, don’t neglect your regular routine and throw the beginning of the year’s hard work out the window. You can have it all by relaxing and enjoying your vacation, but also by taking a small amount of time each day in your hotel for the following four Pilates exercises. Better yet, when you get back home from vacation, you can use these exercises at home you’re just not feeling motivated to get to the gym.
1. One Leg Circle
As is much of the focus of Pilates, let’s start with your abdominal muscles. To begin this one leg circle exercise, lay on your back with your arms at your sides and eyes looking up toward the ceiling (or the sky if you’re open to doing these exercises outside). Lift your right leg straight up over your hip, keeping your leg as straight as possible with your toes pointed. Focus on keeping your back flat and your abs engaged. Slowly move your right leg in large circular rotations crossing over your left leg and back out to your right in a counter-clockwise motion. Do this 10 times, then reverse to a clockwise rotation for 10 reps. Switch to your left leg and repeat the process, all while keeping your abs tight. This is great exercise to help warm up your core and lower body.
2. Swan Exercise
This is a good exercise to help strengthen your back, abdominal muscles, and inner thighs. Start by lying facedown on the floor with your legs together and your hands up by your shoulders. Instead of lifting your entire body into a proper pushup (or plank position), leave your legs flat on the ground and bend slightly at the waist while you slowly lift your torso. Squeeze your inner thighs during this exercise and make sure not to push your legs into the ground to lift yourself. You want to focus on using your torso – abs and back muscles – as you slowly lift up and back down taking 2-3 breaths for each repetition. These are good to do in one minute intervals.
3. Seated Spine Twist
This exercise is great for your obliques. Start seated on the floor (ideally on a yoga mat or blanket for some padding) with your legs extended, feet pointed up, and arms out a perpendicular angle from your chest. While keeping your back straight sit up and twist to the right as you exhale. Now do the same, keeping your arms extended, to the left and finally inhale and return to your original position. Repeat this cycle for in two minute intervals.
4. Shoulder Bridge
This is great for working your hamstrings and glutes while improving flexibility. For the starting position lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet lined up with your hips. Lift your hips off the ground while keeping your shoulders pressed flat on the floor. Create a straight line from your shoulders to knees and hold the pose briefly before lowering back to the floor. For a more advanced exercise, at the top of the exercise extend your right leg to the ceiling with your foot pointed; then slowly bring your foot back to the ground all while keeping your hips lifted. Repeat this movement with the other leg. Remember to keep a stable and still spine while doing this exercise.
Looking for more fitness motivation? Stay tuned to our blog or come straight into our Pilates studio in Denver!