As the Love Child of Pilates and Yoga, Piyo Offers the Best of Both Toning Workouts’ Worlds

The Pilates versus yoga battle has been hard-fought and long (like, almost 100 years long). But one workout style called PiYo—invented by the sweat lover's behind Beachbody—claims to fuse the two together for one ideal, butt-kicking exercise.

According to its description, "PiYo isn't like standard Pilates and yoga classes that make you hold long, intense poses, or lead you through dozens of repetitive, microscopic core movements. Rather, PiYo speeds up everything—including your results—by introducing you to dynamic, flowing sequences that can burn serious calories at the same time as they lengthen and tone your muscles and increase your flexibility." Doesn't sound too shabby, right?

Erin Scott, a PiYo Instructor and Master Trainer with Beachbody LIVE, adds that the exercise also fulfills your cross-training needs by upping your performance and keeping injuries far away. "Consistent practice in PiYo increases core strength, overall strength, stability, and flexibility," she tells me. But, like any method that gets your heart racing, the love child of yoga and Pilates does have limitations. The biggest, says Caleb Backe—a personal trainer for Maple Holistics in New Jersey—is that PiYo alone isn't the most effective way to burn fat. "While PiYo workouts are fast moving, they don’t incorporate enough cardio to be the only source of your fat-shedding," he explains. "So to amp up your PiYo class, he recommends tacking on 5 to 10 extra minutes to standard 20- to 45-minute PiYo routines or sprinkling in runs and strength-training sessions to your routine.

If you're feeling vintage-chic, try the classic PiYo DVDs (after you dust off the proper tech hardware). But to skip the shipping charges, the on-demand option might be right for you instead. Below, Scott runs you through exactly what to expect from a PiYo sesh.

Scroll down for a sample of PiYo—the Pilates-yoga fusion you've been waiting for.

PiYo Pilates Yoga
Photo: Getty Images- ZenShui/Matthieu-Spohn

Scott explains that a typical PiYo class includes a mix of five themes: heat building, lower body, full body fusion, power flow core, and more stretch and strength. If you follow the natural progression of the program, you'll have some days dedicated to lower body, some entirely to the core, and so on. As a small taste, try out her mini sequence:

1. Warm-up—repeat three to four times

Sun salutations: Begin standing tall with feet positioned directly below the hips. Inhale and sweep arms up overhead. Forward fold, then hinge forward at the hips and alternate right-knee bends and left-knee bends from the hinged position.

Side lunge, lower lift, reach and pull: Step the right foot out to the side, bending the right knee lower, and lift two times into the right leg. Repeat the motion two more times, with the left arm reaching overhead and pulling down to the side with the right. Repeat on the left leg.

2. Heat building—repeat twice

Sun salutations: Begin standing tall with your feet positioned directly below the hips. Inhale and sweep your arms up overhead. Forward fold by hinging forward at the hips, then flattening your back for a half-lift with your hands on the thighs or shins. Release and transition to a plank with wrists and elbows aligned directly under the shoulders, creating a body line from the top of the head to the heels of the feet. Keep the navel tucked in, and the glutes activated.

Do chaturanga by bending your elbows at your side in a high-to-low plank. From here, come into an upward-facing dog by turning the toes so the tops of the feet make contact with the floor. Keep your hips lowered as you extend your bent elbows to lift the upper body away from the floor. Move into down dog by curling your toes under, drawing in your hips to the ceiling and your heels toward the floor.

While inverted, draw your upper body up and back until your ears align with your shoulders and biceps. Lower the hips, step one foot in under the chest to low-lunge, then step the other foot in to meet. Lower heels and rise to standing. Repeat the sequence.

Repeater lunges: From a standing position, step one foot back into a split lunge. Then tap the foot back in to standing position. Repeat four times on each side.

3. Power—repeat three times

Traveling bowlers: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width distance apart, toes pointing forward. Lower the hips down into a wide squat and step the right foot behind the standing left leg into a bowler lunge. Chest should be lifted, with both knees bent directly over the ankle of the front leg. Rise out of the bowler lunge and step wide into the wide squat. Repeat wide squat. While in the lowered phase of the squat, step the left foot behind the standing right leg into a bowler lunge. Return to the wide squat, and repeat four times.

Power squats: Hop the feet out wide and lower into a wide squat. Hop feet together twice. Repeat this motion four times times.

Whatever your toning workout of choice is, you'll need a mat. These options are super pretty, and this one won't let you slip

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