Pilates

Feeling Too Blah To Work Out? Try These 6 ‘Lazy Girl’ Pilates Moves Without Getting Off the Floor

Photo: Getty Images/miniseries
Even when you’re sapped of energy, it can sometimes still feel good to move your body...although a full-blown workout might sound like the last thing you want to do. Pilates trainer Chloe de Winter knows this feeling all too well. She’s a fan of what she calls ‘lazy girl’ Pilates (as she demonstrates in this clip).

“For a lazy girl, laying down is essential,” de Winter says. This was the impetus behind her floor-based, six-move Pilates routine. These exercises build strength and endurance through the glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles, she says. Practice them regularly, and you’ll feel stronger in your back, you’ll improve your posture, you’ll walk and run better, and you’ll be less susceptible to injuries.

And you don’t even have to stand up to get those benefits! Talk about a low barrier to entry: The bar is—quite literally—on the floor. “These moves help me feel strong, aligned, and balanced,” says de Winter. “Plus, they are designed for those days when you don't feel like working out, so you’re still getting those post-workout-endorphins. Always a win!”

Here are her six go-to lazy girl moves, with tips on how to maximize their efficacy. Try each exercise for 30 seconds (unless otherwise noted), and do three rounds to complete the routine and get those endorphins kicking.

1. Glute bridges

“For gluteal and hamstring strength, keep the tailbone tucked under to support the lower back, ground through the heels, and squeeze the glutes!” de Winter says.

A glute bridge is straightforward:

  • Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, with your arms by your sides.
  • Engage your core, with your knees tracking right above your ankles.
  • Press your hips up toward the sky, engaging your core and squeezing your glutes.
  • Return to the starting position, and repeat.

2. Tabletop curl

This move is “great for core and abdominal strength,” says de Winter. She suggests you “maintain a neutral spine ([keep a] small space between your lower back and the mat), keep your head and neck relaxed into the hands, and think about the middle of the chest reaching towards the thighs.”

  • Lay on your back.
  • Bring legs into tabletop position: thighs perpendicular to the ground, knees bent 90 degrees.
  • With your hands behind your head supporting your neck, curl upward using your abdominal muscles.
  • Return to your starting position, and repeat.

3. Juicy circles

“So good for knee joints!” she says. “Try and stay all the way on your side and feel the movement coming from the hip joint—you should feel the burn!”

  • Lay on your side, cradling your head with your bottom arm; rest the top arm on your hip.
  • Bend your legs—think: sitting in a chair position, knees bent 90 degrees, thighs perpendicular to your torso.
  • Keeping your feet flexed, and using your glute and outer hip muscles, rotate your top leg in circles (first clockwise, then counterclockwise) for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the entire exercise on the opposite side.

4. Bridge marches

This exercise will certainly challenge your glutes, de Winter tells us. “Bridge marches are great for pelvic stability, and for your low back, too.” A tip on modification: “If this exercise is too hard, simply lift the heel instead of the whole foot.” Noted!

  • Start in the glute bridge position outlined above, and press hips upward.
  • Maintaining core control and hip stability, lift your right foot off the ground.
  • Lower your right foot back to the ground.
  • Repeat on the left side.

5. Single-leg bridges

“Another challenge for glutes and hamstrings!” she says. “You should really try and keep the hips and pelvis level as you do this—that's where the challenge lies. If a single-leg bridge is too hard, stick with the glute bridges.” A classic always works.

  • Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, with your arms by your sides.
  • Engage your core, with your knees tracking right above your ankles.
  • Press your hips up toward the sky and float one leg into the air, engaging your core and squeezing glutes.
  • Return to your starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.

6. Figure four stretch

Ending your routine with a figure-four stretch “is fabulous for opening up tight hips,” says de Winter. “Stay there for a whole minute on each side if you can, and make sure you take slow deep breaths, too.”

  • Lay flat on your back, with your core engaged.
  • Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, just above the knee, creating a "figure four."
  • Hug your legs toward your chest by clasping your hands around your left hamstring, or around your shin.
  • Hold for a minute, and repeat on the opposite side.

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