Pilates is a movement practice that utilizes slow, fluid movements that engage your muscles (primarily your core muscles) to build strength and increase flexibility and mobility. Because it’s low impact and the burn sneaks up on you, it can be easy to think that you can just hop right into a workout without first priming your muscles for movement. But if you’re not properly warmed up, that slow burn can sizzle a little too much. A good pre-Pilates stretch is one way to make sure your workout goes as smoothly as possible.
This warm-up routine from Pilates instructors Brian Spencer and Chloe De Winter is the perfect example of a pre-workout flow to get your blood pumping and muscles nice and limber. It’s 11 minutes of guided movement that offers viewers a chance to center themselves and their bodies so that they can mentally and physically prepare for any Pilates class, no matter the intensity level.
Spencer begins the deep stretch routine with a deep, full-body stretch, reaching his arms overhead before forward folding, pressing his hands into the floor. (Holding onto your ankles or calves works too–so does slightly bending your knees to bring the floor closer.)
Other stretches in the video include downward dog, for which you’ll leave your hands pressed into the floor while you walk you feet back until your body forms a triangle. This deep stretch targets your calves, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and shoulders. From there, you’ll move into a low lunge pose with rotation by bringing one leg forward, bending deeply through that knee and revolving your chest to twist toward your front leg, using your opposite hand on the floor for support. This position targets your obliques while giving a nice, deep hamstring and lower body stretch.
Lastly, a deep hamstring stretch, as the name implies, targets your the back sides of your thighs. From this twisting-lunge position, you’ll straighten your front leg while sitting your glutes back toward your heels, hinging at the hips to pull your chest forward over your extended leg.
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