This no-equipment Pilates workout is perfect for when you get home from the office after a long day of sitting.
We all spend way too much time on our butts—from the eight-hour office day to binging on Netflix to traveling across the world stuck in an airplane seat for 12+ hours. As great as it can feel to take a load off, sitting for that long makes your body seriously grumpy.
The remedy? This quickie five-move Pilates workout from Pilates ProWorks director of fitness Ellie Houston. These stretches and exercises will get the blood flowing into your back, neck, and legs, re-engaging your core after hours of being lazy. The best part? You don't need any equipment—just some space and a solid wall—so you can do it anywhere, anytime.
How it works: Perform each exercise for the number of reps listed. Once you've completed an entire set, rest for 1 minute, then repeat. Do a total of 3 sets.
Total Time: up to 15 minutes
1. Twister Walk-Out
Stand with left leg crossed in front of right leg. Inhale and lift arms overhead.
Exhale and fold forward. Place hands on floor in front of feet and slowly walk out to twisted plank position. Hold for 2 breaths.
Walk hands back toward feet, keeping legs straight. Roll up to standing. Do 10 reps on both sides. (To make it more challenging, add push-up in twisted plank position.)
Stretches your IT band and erector spinae muscles, which get compressed with long periods of sitting
2. Backward Lunge with Glute Stretch
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step backward with right leg into a lunge, bending both knees to 90 degrees.
Shift weight into left leg and bring right knee (still bent at 90 degrees) to chest as you return to standing, balancing on left leg. Lift right ankle toward chest, bringing right shin as close to horizontal as possible, stretching the glute and piriformis in right leg. Do 10 reps on each side.
Increases circulation and stretches glutes and piriformis muscles that are chronically shortened during long periods of sitting
3. Supine Abs Carousel
Lie faceup on floor, chest and shoulders lifted, hands clasped behind head. Lift legs to 90 degrees, toes externally rotated.
Exhale to lower legs to 45 degrees (as long as you can maintain a neutral spine). Inhale, pulling heels in toward hips and spreading knees in a reverse frog kick. Send legs back up to 90 degrees, squeezing inner thighs together as you extend upward. Do 10 reps.
C. Reverse the motion: Pull heels down and spread knees, extend legs out to 45 degrees, then lift back to 90 degrees. Do 10 reps.
Elevating legs increases circulation to the heart and prevents blood from pooling in the legs during long bouts of sitting. Plus, core engagement prevents low and mid-back compression and soreness from long periods of sitting
4. Roll-Up with Forward Fold
Lie faceup on floor, arms stretched overhead. Inhale slowly while rolling up, one vertebra at a time.
Once fully upright with shoulders over hips, fold forward, reaching for toes. Exhale completely, drawing in from the core.
Inhale to rise back to upright seated position. Exhale and scoop belly and round back to roll down, one vertebra at a time.
Stretches the erector spinae and hamstring muscles that compress during long periods of sitting, plus increases circulation and spinal mobility
5. Wall Squat with Isometric Leg Compression
Stand with back to a wall. Press back flat against wall and walk feet out about 18 inches, then bend knees and slide torso down wall into supported sitting position.
B. Draw belly button in toward spine to engage core and relax legs. Inhale.
C. Exhale, squeezing all leg muscles tight until lungs are completely empty. Inhale and relax legs. Continue for 1 minute.
Squeezing muscles without shortening or lengthening them (isometric compression) promotes circulation to and from the extremities