Prepare Yourself for Heather Anderson’s Pilates Ring Exercises That Only Looks Easy

Photo: New York Pilates
Unlike Ariana Grande, I can't quite afford to give my six best friends rings of the bling-bling variety. I can, however, afford a Pilates ring or two. (Am I stretching right now... pun intended?) They're cheap! And, they supercharge my new favorite thing: quick-yet-effective at-home workouts that can be squeezed into even the smallest windows of time.

To find out how best to utilize them unsupervised, I asked New York Pilates founder Heather Anderson for her favorite ring-based moves. Below, she runs through a list of her MVPs step-by-step.

Keeping reading for 5 Pilates ring exercises that'll burn your bum (and beyond).

1. Shoulder bridges with the ring on outer thighs

"First, thread both legs through the Pilates ring so that the pads rest on the outer thighs, just above the knees," Anderson instructs. "Then, lift the pelvis up to a shoulder bridge position and press out on the ring until you feel your 'saddlebags' activate. Finally, lower the pelvis back down as if you’re sitting in a chair and release pressure on the ring. That’s one rep—repeat 20 times or until your bum needs a break!"

2. Crisscross

"Lying on your back, draw bent knees into tabletop and interlace your fingers behind your head," says Anderson. "Then, exhale to nod and curl head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. Next, place the Pilates ring so that the pads are resting between the right elbow and left bent knee. Rotate at the ribcage to increase pressure from right elbow into left knee on the ring as you extend the right leg long to a 45-degree angle. Return right leg to tabletop as you slightly release pressure on the ring (you don’t want to drop it!) and repeat 10 times. To level up, hold rotation towards the left knee with the right leg long and pulse into the ring for 20 counts. Don’t forget the other side, *wink*."

3. Supported push-ups

"Beginning on all fours, place one pad of the ring on your sternum and rest the opposite pad on the floor between your hands," Anderson says. "Then, lower your hips so that your shoulders, hips, and knees are all in one long line, keeping your eyes gazing down at your hands. Next, inhale to bend both elbows in toward your waist, exhale to extend both arms back to straight. Repeat 15 times.

4. Nod + curl

"Lying on your back with knees bent in tabletop, slide your head through the Pilates ring so that one pad rests at the nape of your neck and bring both palms to rest on the opposite pad," instructs Anderson. "Press both palms into the ring as you nod and curl your chin to your chest. Exhale to extend your right leg straight out and slowly lower it toward the floor, then engage your lower abs to bring it back to tabletop. Repeat nine times, then switch legs. Finish by moving both legs together for 10 reps."

5. Hamstring stretch

"Lying on your back, lift one straight leg up towards the ceiling in parallel and lengthen the opposite leg straight out on the floor," says Anderson. "Place one pad of the Pilates ring around the ball of your lifted foot and grip the opposite pad with both hands. Point and flex your foot while pulling the ring towards your face as you maintain your neutral spine—don’t let your low back press down on the floor! Indulge in the stretch for a few deep breaths before switching to the other side and finding your inner peace."

Looking to up the ante with your 'lates game? Try it the Selena Gomez way (AKA en fuego). Or, take it on the road with this portable reformer, the GOAT, and these at-home pilates moves A-listers swear by

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