Nicole and I have been doing this cardio routine lately. It is fun, fast, and efficient. It only takes about 30 minutes. We live in Florida, so it is easy for us to do outside almost anytime. If the weather is not cooperating, you can always do this in a gym or a rec center. And if you leave out the walk or jog that we do in the beginning, add more jumping jacks alternating with jogging in place for the additional cardio, you barely need any room at all—so no excuses! You don’t have to go farther than your living room!
1. Warm-up: Begin with 5 minutes of power walking, then change to 5 minutes of an easy jog.
2. Do 50 Half Jacks with and without arms.
3. Do 50 Full Jacks with arms overhead.
Modification – only raise arms halfway.
4. Do 50 Squat Jacks – plié’ position alternating with ski position.
On the jump out you look like Melanie on the right, and on the jump in you look like Nicole on the left.
Do a few standing stretches to let heart rate come down just a bit before hitting the floor for these Pilates inspired moves.
Tips for the Pilates portion:
• Place your hands behind your head, layer one hand on top of the other
• All Pilates moves focus on the core or your powerhouse, which means your lower back is secure on the floor because your lower abdominals are engaged or scooped
• When in doubt, keep your elbows pointing out to your sides
• Don’t fret about your breath, it is very specific in Pilates, so in the beginning if you don’t get it just right, as long as you are breathing, it is ok.
5. Single Leg Stretch
Start seated with one knee pulled to your chest, and other leg extended straight (use your inside arm to hold inside leg at knee, outside arm to hold outside leg at ankle, elbows out). Roll down onto your back in this position. Keep the chin lifted toward the chest using your core. Stay down on the ground and exhale as your switch legs (try to maintain classic Pilates arm position explained above). Switching on each exhale; imagine pushing a child on a swing with the extended leg while keeping everything tight–abs, thighs and glutes. Modification – leave head, shoulders, and extended leg on the ground.
6. Frog Legs
On your back, start with knees to chest. Place hands behind head and look to your core, keep you upper body still, connect your heels and press your legs out on an angle that you can keep the core engaged. Then pull in with “frog” legs imagining a heavy spring that you are pulling with your feet from a wall in font of you. Push (inhale) and pull (exhale) with this imagined resistance. Repeat 5-10 times. Modification – leave head and shoulders on the ground and just work the leg movement. For extra lower back support place hands under your bottom in a V shape.
7. Pelvic Lift
On your back, place both feet on the floor hip and shoulder width apart, ankles under knees. Arms are pressed palms down by your sides. Engage your core or powerhouse, and lift the hips to the sky. Hold and squeeze for 5 counts and slowly articulate spine back down to floor. Repeat 5-10 times. Advanced modification – version keeps one leg extended up, just remember to do both sides an equal amount of times.
8. Pulling Straps
Face down, place your arms straight out to your sides off the shoulders palms face down, legs tight and feet pointed, glutes and core engaged. Inhale as you lift the chest and pull the arms behind you. Holding the pose through the entire inhale keeping the shoulders down away from the ears, and creating length all the way through the finger tips. Exhale leading down with the chest, allow the arms to flow back down into place. Repeat 5-10 times. Modification – just do the arm movement.