If you’ve ever seen a reformer Pilates machine, then you would probably think that practicing at home would be out of the question. With all those straps, springs, and moving parts, the machine looks far too complicated to even attempt to replicate using random objects found lying around in the house. However, what if we told you that a lot of the exercises you can do on a reformer Pilates machine can also be practiced using a skateboard? Sounds crazy, we know – but hear us out!
As we’ve transitioned our lives to be mindful of social distancing, many of us are now searching for creative ways to exercise at home, a glorious place where pants are optional and we can let our underarm hair grow wild without freaking out the person on the reformer machine next to us.
While many people have been sticking to jogging and doing sit-ups in front of their bedside table, don’t say goodbye to reformer Pilates too quickly. Open up your shed, find an old skateboard, roll out your mat, and let’s get started! If you can’t find a skateboard, then a sock, tea towel, hand towel, or anything that goes underneath the foot and can slide, will be fine.
1) Sliding Lunges
Place your front foot on the ground firmly, and your back foot on the middle of the skateboard. Keep your hands tied behind you on your lower back. You want your front leg to be bent in a lunge position. Slide the skateboard out behind you, lunging forward at the same time, then bring it back in, standing up straight. You want to breathe in as you slide the skateboard back, and breathe out as you bring it back in. Move with control and precision, and remember to breathe. You can do these as side lunges as well.
We knew they were called skaters for a reason! Anyone who practices Reformer Pilates with us at the Kaya Pilates Prahran studio will know this one! Place one foot firmly on the ground, and your other foot in the middle of the skateboard. Bend slightly downwards, holding the squat position firmly. Keep your hands on your lower back, imagining that there is a walnut in between your shoulder blades. Slide the skateboard in and out, in and out, breathing as you go. Remember to swap sides.
Place your front foot on the ground firmly, and your back foot on the middle of the skateboard (like you would on the reformer sliding bed). Keep your front leg bent, pushing your torso forwards in a lunge position, and keep your hands behind you on your lower back. Then scooter your back leg back and forth, back and forth, eventually swapping sides.
4) Hip Plank with Push-ups
Hold yourself in plank position, by placing your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, and your feet on the skateboard behind you. Hold plank for 10 seconds. Then pull your knees to your chest, allowing the skateboard to slide under you, then kick it back out. Follow this with a push-up. Then pull your knees to your chest again, bringing the skateboard underneath your chest, then kick it back out, and do a push-up. Repeat this cycle and feel the burn!
5) Bridging with toe taps
Lie on your back with your arms down by your side. Point your knees up to the roof, with feet pressed firmly on the floor in front of your gluts, as though you are preparing for a bridge pose. Now place one foot on the skateboard (which should be lying perpendicular to your torso), and leave the other foot on the floor. Lift your hips up into bridge pose and hold. The hamstring has to work hard to stop the skateboard from sliding, so aim to keep the skateboard as still as possible. Next, put most of your weight on the foot that’s on the skateboard, and do toe taps with the other foot. Then swap sides.
6) Plank Pikes
Get yourself into a plank position by placing your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, and your feet on the skateboard behind you. To do a plank pike, you want to raise your hips as high as they can go, pulling the skateboard underneath you towards your hands. Keep your arm stretched out in front of you, like you’re in a downward-facing dog. Hold here, then push the skateboard back out behind you into a plank position. Repeat this sequence.
Pilates Mat practice at home:
If you don’t have a skateboard, or can’t find anything that will slide along the floor, you can always practice mat Pilates, anytime and anywhere. Of course, it’s a bonus if you have the exercise equipment, but it’s also not always necessary, as there are plenty of Pilates exercises we do that solely rely on the bodyweight for resistance. Home practice is safe for anyone free of injury or chronic back pain. Beginners may benefit from taking introductory Mat or Reformer Pilates classes with a trained Pilates teacher. At Kaya, we are currently offering online Pilates Prahran classes to support social distancing. For more information click here.
Benefits of Pilates:
It’s very easy to fall in love with Pilates Prahan, even if you are practicing from home, as there are so many benefits. These include improving muscle tone, sculpting the body, building core strength, posture, and balance, as well as boosting cardiovascular fitness and completely transforming your mental health. Once clients become aware of their body and how they are moving and begin to strengthen and stretch muscles they never knew they had, a feeling of increased wellbeing elevates the spirit and boosts their self-confidence. Needless to say, they always finish the class with a smile on their face.