I know that “nice” and “hardcore” don’t really fit together – and for good reason! But please believe me when I say that, uh, Pilates is sort of perfect? mixed? both?
You might be a cardio addict (read: sweat) or a weightlifter who won’t leave the gym until his muscles are shaking. Still, I think it’s time to introduce you to these calm, intense, grounded, muscle-burning Pilates workouts. It doesn’t hurt to change it, right?
Before I say “Hey, not really my thing!” just let me point out that the workouts below are all free, free, free. Thanks, youtube gods. And assuming you already have your Bachelorette lay down, tried dyeing your hair once, maybe twice, and scheduled a happy hour with your luscious pet, watching those YouTube videos probably isn’t such a bad idea on an otherwise boring Tuesday night.
Whether you’re new to exercising and just want something to do, or you’re a total pro who lives and breathes reformers, these Pilates workout videos will kick your ass. Do not worry, cute leggings will help with the pain. 🙂
If you are not sure what Pilates is
We start with an oldie but a goodie (2011, baby!). During the 30-minute beginner’s workout from YouTube Pilates queen, Cassey Ho from Blogilates, you’ll focus on Pilates fundamentals like breathing, posture, and fitness. Consider it Pilates 101.
If you don’t want to fully engage in the sit-up day
This Isa Welly video adds an abs focused workout to this full body video. (Side note: This is what Hannah Montana wrote “Best of both worlds” about, right?) It’s for all skill levels and there is absolutely no weights or other props required . Oh, and that’s the length of Friends rerun, then do whatever you want with that information.
If you feel me
I woke up the other morning completely demotivated to exercise, but knew I wanted to move my body before I signed up for work. Come in: This amazingly cool session but still you feel accomplished and torn apart. Want to use ankle weights? Go ahead! But the instructor, Callie, puts absolutely no pressure on you to add them.
If you sit on your butt all day
Okay, I know it’s * technically * a yoga video, but Jessamyn Stanley’s flow is the perfect way to open your hips after a long day at work. It’s a little over 20 minutes, you can even combine it with a shorter Pilates class if you’re feeling dashing. Maaaaaybe # 7 on this list? Just put it there!
If you wake up an hour before you wake up
I know a one hour class is a commitment, but Hannah, a certified Pilates instructor, will make you activate every muscle in your body. Once you’ve tried this guy, I highly recommend that you take a look at his library. It involves listening to your body, taking days of rest (blessings), and developing your Pilates practice in the way that works best for you.
If you have less than 10 minutes before your next meeting
It’s fast, it’s efficient, and unless your air conditioner is broken in 90-degree weather, you won’t sweat a lot. Isa Welly (remember her from # 2?) Also pulls the dog down from the first minute, which is a win in my book. Perfect for lunch breaks without your boss knowing, shhh, I won’t say it.
If you want to feel Zen in the ~ mountains ~
Imagine getting some fresh air while doing the Boho Beautiful Basic Pilates workout. As it turns out, her video is set in the most dreamy mountainous landscape. (How do I make this my Zoom background?)
The workout only lasts 15 minutes in total, but you won’t be able to laugh at the TikTok videos without feeling a tummy tinge for at least a few days.
If you want a full body workout
Uh, 25 minutes toning my abs, butt, and arms seem like time well spent. And with this video, that’s exactly what you’ll do. You’ll also be strangely motivated to invite your closest friends to do so with you.
If your back needs help, like, now
Did the frenzy of all things make your lower back feel in some way? This EFIT 30 video will help you. You are in 15 minutes of basic work and Katie’s incredibly calming voice.
If you really wanna sweat
This 35-minute workout requires no equipment and includes both a warm-up and a post-workout stretch. Don’t be fooled by the basic white backdrop. Kelli’s sequence of lower body movements (which includes movable shells and hip bridges) doesn’t have much rest time, so you’re sure to get dripping wet.
If you want core AND cardio
Even the warm-up in this PopSugar Fitness video is spicy. Lisa Corsello, Pilates guru and founder of San Francisco’s To burn The Pilates studio incorporates three to five pound dumbbells and cardio movements like mountain climbers to increase the burn.
If the music motivates you
Head Coach Deanna Dorman’s 20 Minute Pilates Flow (AKA A Super Graceful Fluid Movement Sequence) builds strength with exercises like one-legged hip bridges, which aren’t a joke, and lots of it. stretching. I don’t know what I like most, the background EDM elevator music or this cute yoga mat. Add. TO. Cart.
If you have dumbbells lying around
With the help of a few small weights (Sydney uses three pounds), this 40-minute workout promises to leave your arms, core, and legs burning. The X-weighted pulses and the weighted bird-dog pulses are particularly brutal. Do you believe, those three pound dumbbells will be silly and heavy by the end of it.
If you wanna pretend you’re on vacation
Once you get past the cheesy drone photos of trainers casually doing yoga moves on the beach and thinking deeply about some rocky cliffs, you will have a really awesome workout. Sandwiched between a 5-minute cardio warm-up (jump jacks included) and a 10-minute yoga cool-down, this 30-minute Pilates workout hits your core hard and seriously tests my balance.
If you just wanna move a little
When you’re feeling beaten up but still want to do something with your body today (ideally without getting up off the floor), this 10-minute Pilates flow requires just enough effort to wake you up.
If you wanna have that ass
Who knew a spongy mini ball (a Pilates staple used to add an extra challenge to the movements) could be a game-changer! My thighs hurt just watching the first few minutes of mini hip balls and butt bounces. Prepare for a lot of butt and the longest 15 minutes of your life. Don’t @ me if you can’t walk tomorrow.
If you are panicked but also intrigued by Pilates reformers
This 15-minute workout uses resistance bands to recreate Pilates movements you could do on a reformer, a Pilates machine similar to a bed frame that adds resistance to core movements. FYI: Resisted kickbacks are particularly deadly. Another major advantage of group work? More options for arm exercises, such as reverse pulses.
If your gym has a stability ball and you don’t know what to do with it
You’ll have to work really hard not to fall during this 30-minute workout, which means everything from your abs to your legs will be even more painful. (YAY!) Side note: Kristi, I want these leggings!
If you had a baby like two months ago
This gentle postpartum flow is designed for people who have recently given birth and want to resume exercise, release tension in their back and shoulders (hello, breastfeed) and start working on that core strength. With cool but difficult movements like twists and elongated bridges, you will feel great after this 14 minute session.
If you like puppies
Peeping Jessica Smith’s pasty little Frenchie almost (almost!) Made me forget how hard those standing abdominal movements, like standing oblique crunches, are. From now on, I will only do home workouts if a puppy is involved. Seriously.
If you don’t need to use your legs tomorrow
Cassey, I can’t stay away. All you need for this one is your mat, a Pilates ring, and, well, a lot of mental toughness. This is because you will be using the muscles in the inner thigh that you didn’t know you had to squeeze with this torture device. This burner may only last 14 minutes, but it’s virtually impossible to get out of a chair the next day.
If you need a day off to run
Take off your sneakers! This 20-minute Pilates workout is fabulous for strengthening your legs, butt, and core, or, you know, muscles important for running. Just be mentally prepared for SO MUCH slow squats. You got that, man.
Lauren is a freelance writer and writer, an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer, and the Fitness & Wellness Editor of Women’s Health.
Associate Lifestyle Editor
Sarah is Associate Lifestyle Editor at Cosmopolitan where she covers food, home, health, career … basically all the things you love to love – ffollow her on Instagram.
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