Your Outdoor Pilates Workout

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4 Moves for an Outdoor Pilates Workout

A woman performs a jumping jack.
A woman performs a jumping jack. Eric Hood/Getty Images

When you think of outdoor workouts, Pilates might not be at the top of your list, but maybe it should. Transferring your indoor mat or apparatus driven workout to the local park is easier than you think.

Take your mind off the mat and try these four moves in a quick and easy 10-15 minute burst you can do anywhere there’s a park bench. Grab some clothes that are easy to move in, and you can actually keep your shoes on for these moves.

Pilates Jump & Jack in the Park

Believe it or not, jumping jacks were a favorite of Mr. Pilates and you can make friends with them too. Here's one of my go-to variations the Jump & Jack.

Perform the Jump section in two counts. One is up, and two is down.

Now perform the Jack part in another two counts. This part is a jump forward and back with a hip thrust. As you jack forward toss the arms to shoulder height. Then lower them to jump back.

  • Count 1: Jump arms overhead - feet wide.
  • Count 2: Jump arms down - legs together
  • Count 3: Jack forward - legs together - arms to shoulder height in front
  • Count 4: Jack back - legs together - arms back down.

Repeat 15 - 25 times.

Park Option

Find a low curb to perform the "Jack" part or forward/back part of the move.

The open close part or first two counts happen on the flat ground. Count 3 or the "jack" part hops up on the curb and comes back down on Count 4.

Do You Need to Modify Jumping Jacks?

No problem. Perform this move using only the arms and let the lower body remain still. You will still warm up and get your circulation pumping.

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Pilates People do Push Ups Too

Push ups on a park bench.
Push ups on a park bench. Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Pilates Push Up Series

Push ups? Check that. Pilates has those too.

  • Step 1: Stand tall arms reaching overhead.
  • Step 2: Round down and walk hands out to plank.
  • Step 3: Take 5 triceps push ups.
  • Step 4: Pike your hips up and walk hands back to feet before rolling up to standing.
  • Repeat twice more for a total of 15 Push Ups.

Park Option

Use a bench as your floor. Round down and place hands on Bench. Walk feet back and then take your Push Ups. Press back and walk feet in to stand tall before repeating 3-4 more sets.

Do You Need to Modify the Pilates Push Up?

No problem. Simply hold the Plank position for 3-5 breaths. Take a rest and then repeat 2-3 more times.

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Pilates Side Planks in the Park

The side plank.
The side plank. Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Pilates Side Plank Series

  • Step 1: From standing roll down and walk hands out to a straight arm plank.
  • Step 2: Pivot to one side with feet stacked OR astride.
  • Step 3: Reach free arm up and over arcing your hips and waist high.
  • Step 4: Then lower the arm over the legs and lower your hips toward the ground.
  • Repeat 5-8 times. Come through a full straight two arm plank before switching sides.

Park Option

Use the bench as your ground. Take your plank at the bench by placing hands down first and walking feet back. Pivot to one hand and repeat as above.

Do You Need to Modify the Pilates Side Plank?

No problem. Simply step one foot in front of the other for a wider support. Hold Step 1 for 3 - 5 breaths. Take a break and repeat 2 - 3 more times.

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Pilates Standing Splits in the Park

A standing split on a bench.
A standing split on a bench. Neustockimages/Getty Images

Pilates Standing Splits

  • Step 1: From an upright position step one foot back into a deep runner's lunge.
  • Step 2: Straighten the back leg and keep the front leg bent low.
  • Step 3: Bring your torso upright and place hands behind your head.
  • Step 4: Hold your balance as you stretch the front leg straight and then bend it low.
  • Move in a slow controlled way and repeat 8-10 reps. Then switch legs.

Park Options

  • Option 1 - Stand behind a bench to support your hands if you need a little extra help to balance.
  • Option 2 - Stand in front of the Bench and place the front foot atop the bench for a deeper stretch but less strength-building.

Do You Need to Modify the Standing Splits?

Wherever you do your workout, remember that the purpose of Pilates is to improve all the elements of your wellness in one system. Use your body as a team with all the moving parts working together. Remember to focus not just on strength and stretch which come easily with Pilates but on control, concentration and the breath which are all benefits of Pilates.

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