Do These 4 Pilates Moves Before Your Next Workout
Your body (and output) will thank you.
Words By Kristin McGee & Team Peloton
If we told you that all it takes to feel like a superhero during your next workout is a mat, your body and a Peloton Pilates class, wouldn’t you want to try it for yourself? We’ll answer that: Of course you would. There are six core principles of the Pilates practice—centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow—all of which can help your body get locked in to make that output soar on the Bike, Tread or strength mat.
Pilates was initially designed for athletes as a low-impact form of exercise. “Pilates helps with flexibility, postural alignment and core strength,” says Kristin McGee, Peloton Pilates and Yoga instructor. “Pilates mat work is mainly done lying down on your back, connecting to your deep core muscles and focusing on strengthening your powerhouse, including the transverse abdominal muscles, diaphragm, rotators and pelvic floor.” A traditional Pilates mat routine follows a sequence of moves preceded by an activation and warm-up to make sure everything is firing. “At Peloton, we use the traditional outline but also mix it up a bit!” Kristin says. “You will also find yourself lying on your side doing leg work, on your belly strengthening your back as well as doing some Pilates-style push-ups.”
In a Pilates class as short as 10 or 20 minutes, you’ll open up your body’s range of motion while stabilizing through the muscles that keep you upright on the Bike, striding on the Tread and steady on the mat. Tap into a Peloton Pilates class (filter by “Pilates” under “Strength”) before your next big workout, or tack on these four moves that Kristin recommends to enhance your cycling, running, strength training or yoga practice.
1. Criss Cross
You’ll work your deep core and obliques, which helps with flexion and rotational movement. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows wide and knees bent in tabletop. Lift your head and neck up and bring your right elbow towards your left knee as you extend your right leg out to forty five degrees. Switch to the other side. Alternate crossing right and left, keeping your elbows wide and spine neutral. Try inhaling to each side, then exhaling to each side. Aim for 10 to 12 reps.
2. Side Kneeling Leg Lift
Kristin loves this move for targeting the outer hips and glutes, which need to be strong to stabilize the pelvis and power through runs, rides and squats. Start on your knees and lean to the side, placing one hand on the mat. Lift the opposite leg up to hip height, keeping your toes pointing forward. Keep your abs and lats engaged and use your outer hip and glute to lower and lift the extended leg. Try 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Teaser is an incredible way to strengthen the deep abs and pelvic floor muscles. Strong transverse abs can help cyclists, runners and yogis maintain strong form and prevent injuries.
To do it, lie on your back with your arms overhead. Inhale and lift your body up to a v-shape (keep the knees bent if you need to modify), and exhale as you lower back down to the mat. Try three to five reps.
4. Leg Pull Front
Planks are awesome for strengthening the entire core as well as the arms. Adding a leg lift really fires up the glutes, and you learn to keep the core active and truly isolate the backside in this move. It’s a great move for all athletes! To start, get in a plank pose and lift one leg up to hip height without displacing the pelvis and dropping the opposite hip. Rock forward and back on your toes, keeping perfect form. Lower the leg and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat three to five times.
Ready for more Pilates moves? Join Kristin in a class on the Peloton App!
Kristin McGee & Team Peloton