This month is all about the power of two. Whether you’re looking for ways to pair up with your boyfriend or your best friend, February is the perfect time of year to celebrate the people who add all the love into your life!
We’re always talking about the benefits of using the buddy system, especially when it comes to embarking on new healthy habits like a juice cleanse. Exercise is no different: studies show that you’re more likely to stick with a fitness routine when a partner is involved. Bonding over laughter and lunges? Sign us up!
It’s in that ‘buddy system’ spirit that we’ve planned out this pilates sequence for two to get you sweating without sacrificing your social hour. This workout, created by Equinox Santa Monica’s pilates pro Jeni Del Pozo takes the term power couple to a whole new level. Use the power of two to keep each other accountable and provide the actual resistance that makes this routine worth breaking a sweat over!
What makes this workout even more fun? The threads. Gorgeous gym gear has a way of motivating us like none other, turning us from lazy tortoise to gym bunny in the blink of an eye (or rather, wardrobe change). One of our favorite brands, Beyond Yoga, has teamed up with one of our healthiest shopping obsessions, goop, to create an irresistible capsule collection that makes us sweat…literally. The capsule collection of sexy leggings and basic-with-a-twist tops is featured exclusively on goop.com for a limited time. Grab your bestie, snag a pair of new leggings, and hop on the mat with us. Whether you’re a Pilates novice or a rockstar on the reformer, these moves are suitable for all levels, but guaranteed to leave even pros feeling it the next day!
12 Power Pilates Moves for Two
What You'll Need:
• Two yoga mats
• One yoga block or 2-3 pound weight
• A good friend!
Lay flat with your back on the mat. Lengthen your legs out to a 45 degree angle (if you feel your back starting to arch or pull, lengthen to an angle in which your back stays neutral and flat). Lift your head and chest off of the mat without hunching the shoulders. Keep your arms by your sides, lengthened out straight and parallel to your torso. Start to pump the arms vigorously (yet controlled!) up and down. Inhale for five counts, exhale for five counts. Repeat 10 times. Count it out together to keep yourselves accountable.
Pro tip: Legs can be modified to table top position if needed.
Start by sitting upright on your mat, with straight legs and the soles of your feet touching your partner’s feet. Have your partner hold onto your ankles to help support you as you start to slowly roll down onto the mat, vertebrae by vertebrae. Once you are laying on the mat, reach you hands up towards the sky. Slowly round the head and shoulders off of the mat, peel the spine up and round all the way back to a seated position, grabbing onto your partner’s ankles so they can start the exercise. Keep your feet pressing together throughout the exercise to feel a deep inner thigh/low ab connection. Repeat 5-10 times each.
Bonus: the person holding onto the ankles gets a nice stretch while they rest!
Double Leg Stretch:
While laying down on the ground, pull your knees into your chest while lift your head and chest up. Have your partner stand in front of you, holding onto your ankles. Keep your shoulder blades off of the mat as you lengthen your legs straight out to a challenging angle and reach your arms back toward your ears. Circle your arms around as you pull your legs back into your chest while your partner provides resistance by pulling your legs towards them. Repeat 5-10 times, then switch positions.
Pro tip: Keep your head and shoulders off of the mat during the entire exercise. The resistance from your partner will fire up your low abs even more.
Lay down on your mat while your partner stands behind you with their arms straight out overhead. Lift your head and chest and lengthen your legs up towards the sky at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands palm-over-palm at the nape of your neck for support. Lower one leg down to hover off of the mat as your other leg kicks towards the chest in a “scissor” motion. Then switch the legs. Try to kick the hand of your partner. If it’s too easy to kick their hands (be honest!), have your partner pull their hands further back. Repeat 10 times with each leg, then switch positions.
Pro tip: Keep the hips still throughout the work and make sure your legs remain straight. Having to kick your partner’s hand will trigger your low abs even more.
Partner Side Plank:
Face back to back with your partner as you press up into a side plank. Hold the yoga block or weight in your top hand. Twist your top arm down toward the ground, and pass the block/weight under your body and through to your partner as they twist towards the ground as well. Your partner then takes the block/weight and straightens out to beginning position. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.
Pro tip: Can be done on your forearms if your wrists are bothersome. Make sure your wrist is directly underneath your shoulder. Feet can be spread apart for more stability, or bottom knee can rest down on the mat.
Spine Stretch Forward:
Start seated with soles of your feet touching your partner’s feet, both of you with your legs as wide as the mat. Grab onto each others’ forearms. Round your upper back and reach forward as your partner slightly pulls your forearms towards them to increase your stretch. Repeat 5-10 times each.
Pro tip: Keep your low back flat – the rounding come from the upper and middle spine.
Start lying down on your stomach facing each other, head to head. Bend your arms and press your palms into each others’. Keep pressing your hands together as you both lift your head and chest off of the mat, curling up through the upper back. Lower and repeat 5-10 times.
Pro tip: Press your heels together unless that causes too much pressure in your lower back – in which case, keep your legs about hip width apart. Make sure to pull your abs in to support your lower back as your upper back curls up.
Lie down on your mat and hold onto your partner’s ankles as they stand behind you. Lengthen your legs toward the sky. Have your partner grab onto your ankles, then throw your legs over to the left. Working against the momentum, slowly circle your legs to the left, down through center, and back over to the right to complete the circle. Do the same sequence in reverse, starting on the right. Repeat 5-10 times, then switch.
Pro tip: Make sure that when you circle your legs, your ribs stay relaxed down towards the mat and your low back doesn’t strain. The exercise’s difficulty depends upon how much strength the standing puts into their push – so while we recommend starting out gently, don’t be afraid to put some oomph into it!
Lay down with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat as your partner does the same, your knees facing your partner’s. Tuck your tailbone and curl your hips up into a “bridge” pose. Both of you bring your right knee into your chest, then lengthen it straight up to the sky. Lower your right leg down to tap your partner’s left knee as they do the same, then lift your leg back up. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.
Pro tip: Feel all parts of your foot pressing evenly into the mat, and press your palms down into the mat to feel your back engage. Make sure not to arch into the pose – focus on the strength of your hamstrings and glutes rather than arching through the back.
Lay down on your mats, soles of your feet touching your partner’s. Both of you lengthen your legs out to a 45 degree angle simultaneously, pressing into one another’s feet. Reach your arms out at the same angle as your legs. At the same time, curl your heads and chests off of the mat, slowly curling up vertebrae by vertebrae until you are sitting up, weight right behind the sits bones (your pelvis will be slightly tucked under). Curl back down to the tips of your shoulders blades. Repeat 5-10 times.
Pro tip: Keeping your feet pressed together will keep your tailbone tucked under. You can modify this exercise by bringing your hands onto your legs to help curl up.
Standing Push Ups:
Stand back to back with a few inches between each other. Reach your arms up overhead then round forward, trying not to touch your backsides! Place your hands onto the ground and walk them out to a plank position. Hug the elbows in, bend the elbows, then straighten to complete one “Pilates push-up.” Do 5 push-ups, then lift your hips, walk your hands back to your feet and round back up, trying not to touch as you return to starting position. Repeat this sequence 3-5 times.
Pro tip: Keeping the majority of your weight in the balls of your feet, not rocking the hips back as you roll down, keeps the work in your abs. When you lower down into the push-up, keep your elbows hugging in and only go as low as you can without arching your back. Whew!