Monday, July 23, 2012

A Well-Rounded Pilates Weekend Workout

Pilates on Fifth is a wonderful Pilates studio located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.  I used to take barre classes there, back when I worked only a few blocks away, and want to recommend that you check out Pilates on Fifth's website, especially the online workout library found here.

Sign-up is free, and signing up gives you free use of the basic package, which consists of 8 Pilates videos that you can watch for free online (or download for a small fee).  The videos rotate on a monthly basis so you don't have to worry about getting bored of the same workouts month after month.  An hour-long class at many NYC Pilates studios costs $25 and up, so I never turn down a free workout!

I used three videos this past weekend to create a full body Pilates workout for myself.  I don't even own a floor mat yet -- if you don't either, just use a beach towel to protect your back and elbows from the floor!  One of the workouts also required use of an exercise band, which you can find in just about any sporting goods store.

Note: The below links probably will not work unless you do the free sign up as mentioned above.  If you open the links and you no longer see the workout I reference, it is because the workouts rotate every month and the one I used is no longer up on the site.  Don't worry, I am sure the new workout is just as great!

I started out with the "Strong, Svelte and Savvy: Strong, Shapely Arms!" workout
 in the Specialty Workouts category.  This was a very challenging routine!  I have a decent, but not insanely impressive, amount of upper body strength, and some of the moves were very challenging.  Using your own body weight as resistance can be very effective!

I paired it with the "Strong, Svelte and Savvy: Legs & Butt!" workout in the Exercise Band category.  This workout focused on the legs and still the core by using an exercise band to provide additional resistance.  I realized that I need a longer exercise band to perform everything correctly, so if you buy a band make sure it is suitably long.  You might not be able to modify certain exercises in this video  if you don't have an exercise band yet -- you can certainly give the video a try, but I bet you will discover that you wish you had the band on hand.

I ended with the "Perfect Pilates Warm Up" workout in the Mat category.  Yes, I fully realize it would have made sense to start with the warm up video!  Regardless, I think this video makes a great cool down as well.  Lots of stretching is involved and I felt very accomplished yet rested by the end.

There you have it - a well rounded and FREE Pilates workout.  You don't need to leave home to do it.  Your instructor teaches at a well-regarded Pilates studio on Fifth Avenue.  The exercises are clearly demonstrated.  The instructor is personable.   Your kids can be 10 feet away watching Spongebob, and all you need is a bit of floor space and a computer, and a floor mat/towel and perhaps an exercise band.

Now, that being said, when it comes to Pilates, form matters.  If you have a studio near you, I highly suggest taking an introductory class or two to learn the basics, proper form, etc.  Every so often I take a live Pilates class as well, just as a refresher.


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