This fusion-style Pilates HIIT workout includes a series of cardio moves and Pilates-inspired exercises, which will hit every muscle in your body in just 25 minutes.
Pilates is a form of exercise that concentrates on strengthening the body, with an emphasis on core strength, posture, balance and flexibility. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), on the other hand, is a form of exercise that raises the heart rate and improves cardio fitness. So,
what happens when you combine the two together?
Related: What is a HIIT workout?
‘You get “Pilates HIIT”, a workout that mixes short bursts of intense activity with more controlled, low-intensity movements. These allow your heart rate to come down whilst you’re still moving mindfully and dynamically, and working the body to its maximum potential,’ explains Korin Nolan, founder of Power Pilates UK and co-founder of Dynamic Pilates TV. ‘It’s a great way to burn fat and increase fitness whilst improving flexibility, balance and core strength.’
This workout is designed for those who love the idea of Pilates but want a quick and effective session that achieves a genuine result. ‘If you’re short on time, this 25-minute Pilates HIIT workout will leave you sweaty and shaky, and feeling like you’ve had a creative workout,’ adds Nolan. ‘Fitness is about finding that balance, where you’re working hard enough to feel physically challenged but still feel connected and mindful about what you’re doing.’
How to do this Pilates HIIT workout:
These three circuits alternate between standing, high-intensity exercises and low-intensity Pilates mat moves. Complete one circuit, have a drink of water then do the next one. Repeat the whole workout three times through.
25-minute Pilates HIIT workout
Circuit 1 – HIIT Move: Side step to Floor Tap
Reps: 30-45 seconds
- Stand on your mat and take a big side-step to curtsy the left leg behind the right.
- Touch the floor with your left hand (A), then stand back up into a star shape (B) and repeat on the opposite side (C).
- Keep stepping from side to side, or pick up the pace by adding a light skip across the mat to make it quicker. Make sure you bend your knees to get low in the curtsy, and engage your core as you move.
Circuit 1 – Pilates Move: Criss-Cross Obliques
Reps: 30-45 seconds
- Lie down on your mat and bend your knees into a tabletop position. Curl your head up, taking your hands behind your head.
- Inhale to prepare and, as you exhale, pull the left knee in while rotating the right elbow towards it (A).
- Switch sides (B) and continue alternating, taking short exhales as you switch. Try not to pull on the back of the neck – think about bringing the armpit to the knee rather than the elbow – and aim to keep your pelvis stable.
Circuit 2 – Pilates Move: Single-Leg Bridge with Leg Pull
Reps: 45 seconds (each leg)
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides.
- Inhale to prepare and, as you exhale, draw your abdominals in and lift your hips up into a bridge position.
- Lift one leg to the ceiling (A). Inhale to draw that leg down, so that it’s level with the bent knee, foot flexed (B).
- Exhale to point the toes and kick the leg straight back up to the ceiling.
- Repeat 5-10 reps on one leg, then switch legs to repeat and continue alternating. Keep your hips lifted, tuck your tailbone under, and engage your bottom and tummy to reduce any pressure in the lower back.
Circuit 3 – HIIT Move: Backwards lunge to knee-lift
Reps: 30 seconds (each leg)
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Lunge backwards by taking a big step back with one foot and lowering the back knee towards, but not touching, the floor (A).
- Return to the starting position, taking the weights out in front of you and the back knee to hip-height (B).
- Lunge back as you lower the weights, repeating the move on the same leg. Continue for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Circuit 3 – Pilates Move: Knee-to-Chest to Downward Dog
Reps: 30-45 seconds
- Start in high plank your feet hip-width apart. Engage your core, bottom and legs, and draw your shoulders down.
- Lift the right foot up and draw the right knee underneath you towards your chest, toes pointing (A).
- Return the foot back down and then send your tailbone to the ceiling, into a downward dog position (B). Stay high on your toes and focus on the stretch through your hamstrings and upper back/shoulders.
- Return to plank and repeat on the other side, then continue alternating.
Words: Lucy Miller | Model/Images: Korin Nolan