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Fitness | Top Picks | Your Dream Body

Pilates Bridge Workout

pilates_bridge_workout-first-position

If you’re looking for a quick way to tone your glutes, quads, abs, inner- and outer-thighs, then the Pilates Bridge Workout is for you! Bridge exercises are an especially nice complement to any running or biking routine–when combined with intermittent stretching, this routine will build long, lean muscles. Running and biking can bulk up our leg muscles–not that this is necessarily bad–but alternating between running, yoga, and other aerobics like ballet barre will help us tone those muscles we didn’t know we had while giving our thighs and butt a good, healthy stretch.

Pilates Bridge Workout: first position

Pilates Bridge Workout: first position

Pilates Bridge Workout: first position

Pilates Bridge Workout: second position

Pilates Bridge Workout

First Position Bridge

Lie on your back. Arch your back and legs to come into a bridge.  Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed.  Squeeze your knees together. You want to focus your energy on your core, glues, and quads. Slowly lower your butt until it almost touches the mat, pause, then rise back up to your bridge. For a more advanced version, you may raise your heels and come onto demi-pointe. This will increase your range of motion and make the exercise more difficult (and more effective). Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps.  Gently stretch your legs afterwards.

Pilates Bridge Workout: first position
First position bridge

Tones: abs, glutes, hamstrings, quads.

Butterfly Bridge

Begin in First Position Bridge–heels may be raised or flat on the mat.  From here, splay your legs like butterfly wings, pause, then return to starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps.  Gently stretch your legs afterwards.

Pilates Bridge Workout
Butterfly bridge

Tones: abs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, inner- and outer-thighs. 

Second Position Bridge

This exercise will repeat the movement from First Position Bridge only this time, your feet will be in “second position,” or at the edges of your mat. Heels may be raised or flat on the mat. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps.  Gently stretch your legs afterwards.

Pilates Bridge Workout: second position
second position bridge

Tones: abs, glutes, hamstrings, quads.

Reverse Bridge

Turnover onto your belly.  Raise arms and legs at the same time.  While your arms are raised, imagine pinching an pencil between your shoulder blades. The range of motion will be small here.  The point is to focus on the subtle movements in your glutes and back. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps. Gently stretch your legs and back afterwards.

Pilates Bridge Workout
Reverse bridge

Tones: glutes, hamstrings, lower- and upper-back. 

Also see: Yoga Sequence for a Strong Core

Yoga for Balance and Flexibility

Yoga for Runners: Deep Stretches for Long Legs

Floor Exercises for a Sexy Lower Body

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Photos: Mary Hood

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