Mash-up alert: This do-anywhere routine combines Pilates, yoga, strength training, and cardio.
When you want all the zen benefits of yoga but all the burn of bootcamp, which workout do you pick? Answer: This PiYo workout, which is a combination of Pilates and yoga but includes elements of strength training, stretching, and cardio all in one.
This genius workout was created by trainer Chalene Johnson and combines all of those elements to get the job done fast. "You can sculpt your whole body without beating yourself up," says Johnson. The PiYo workout moves are inspired by both yoga and Pilates and you use your own body for resistance, so you’ll build lean muscle while getting a deep stretch. (Related: Is It Bad to Only Do Bodyweight Workouts?) Plus, the short rest periods and quick pace of this PiYo workout routine means there’s also a cardio component—so while you lengthen and tone your entire body and calm your mind, you’ll rev your heart rate. If you’re looking to maximize what little time you have to get sweaty, this workout is for you. (Also try this Megaformer-inspired Pilates Workout You Can Do At Home, too.)
How it works: Starting with the first exercise, complete the PiYo workout reps listed, then immediately move on to the second exercise without resting in between. Continue this pattern until you've finished all 6 exercises. Rest for one minute. Then, repeat the entire circuit one more time for a total of two rounds of the PiYo workout.
Total Time: up to 15 minutes
1. PiYo Flip
Start on mat in plank position, balancing on palms and toes, body forming a straight line.
Bend right knee 90 degrees (so that shin is perpendicular to floor), then lift right hand off mat as you rotate body into a side plank (with right hip stacked over left), right arm reaching up.
Continue rotating, pivoting on left foot, keeping right knee bent and left leg straight as right hand reaches behind you. Land faceup in a modified back bend with right foot on opposite side of mat from starting point.
Reverse motion back to start. (If you like this PiYo workout, you might consider trying this Megaformer-inspired circuit next.)
Do 5 to 10 reps; switch sides and repeat.
2. PiYo Cross
Stand with feet wide, toes slightly turned out and elbows bent by ribs with forearms out to sides (arms form a "W").
Lower into a sumo squat as you squeeze shoulder blades together, pressing bent arms back slightly.
Stand up partway, rounding arms overhead as if preparing to dive into a pool. (Speaking of diving in...If you like the pool, try this no-laps-required routine!)
Fluidly fold forward from waist as you return to squat, crossing wrists as you reach arms between legs. Reverse motion back to start.
3. PiYo Connector
Start on mat in an inverted "V" position, balancing on hands and balls of feet with hips high, and bend knees slightly into a semicrouch. (BTW, these yoga mats are great options for this PiYo workout.)
Cross left ankle over right and bend elbows out to sides to lower chest toward floor, folding at hips to get into a tuck position.
Press back up into an inverted "V," straightening arms and extending left leg up behind you.
Return to tuck, bending elbows out to sides as you bend knees and resting left ankle over right.
Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.
4. PiYo Kick-Through
Start on mat on all fours, back flat with wrists aligned under shoulders and knees aligned under hips; turn toes under and balance on balls of feet, knees off mat in a crouch.
Lift right arm up, bending elbow by side, as you rotate body to face right, kicking left leg diagonally forward toward right.
Return to crouch and repeat.
Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.
5. PiYo Runner
Stand on left leg with right knee bent in front of you at hip level, arms bent with left arm forward and right arm behind you.
Keeping right knee bent throughout, hinge forward from hips until body is near parallel to floor (from head to right knee); simultaneously switch arm positions. Return to start. (Related: How to Make Yoga a More Challenging Workout)
Do 10 to 12 reps; switch sides and repeat.
6. Moving Warrior
Stand with legs staggered wide, left leg forward (toes pointing forward) and right leg back with foot perpendicular to left foot. Lift arms overhead, palms together, and face forward.
Bend left knee 90 degrees, bringing arms down to shoulder level, left arm forward, right arm behind you (warrior II position for all you PiYo workout followers who do yoga, too).
Straighten left leg and raise arms to return to start.
Bend left knee again, this time lowering arms directly out to sides at shoulder level. Return to start to complete 1 rep.