Partner Pilates: Friend-ilates for fitness
Working out with a fitness buddy is one of the best ways to stick to your exercise plan and reach your weight loss and fitness goals. Andrea Metcalf, nationally renowned fitness expert and author of Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Day Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain-Free Body, has turned Pilates into a partner workout to help you build muscle, burn calories and strengthen your relationships. Here are four Pilates exercises to do with a friend.
Friend-ilates: Partner Pilates exercises
Metcalf, who is a regular health and fitness blogger on Oprah.com, makes getting and staying fit an easy endeavor by offering workouts that can be done in the gym or at home, utilizing the most convenient fitness tools – including your own body. Though these exercises don't look like traditional Pilates exercises, your focus is your core muscles. Throughout these exercises and other workouts, remember: Bellybutton to spine (tighten your abdominals, sucking them in towards your spine to stabilize your core).
Pass to your partner
Works your core, shoulders, and biceps.
Start position: Stand back to back, keeping your knees slightly bent, one of you holding a medicine ball, barbell or large phone book (anything that weighs about 6 to 8 pounds).
Movement: Pass the object to your partner in a clockwise direction for 8 to 10 reps, then switch directions. Make sure you keep your core muscles engaged.
Sit, reach and pass
This move borrows from Pilates core moves with weight-training waist rotations, which results in a tight midsection and great shoulders.
Start position: Sit side-by-side, holding a medicine ball, barbell or large phone book (anything that weighs about 6 to 8 pounds), with your arms extended in front of you. Lean back slightly at the hips onto the soft part of your buttocks.
Movement: Lift your arms overhead as you lift your right leg (or keep both feet on the ground, if necessary), lower to start, then lift your arms overhead as you lift your left leg. (Your partner will be mirroring you without holding any object.) Pass to your partner. Your partner will perform the movement with the right, then left leg, then pass back to you. Aim for 8 to 10 repetitions with your partner on your left, then switch sides and perform 8 to 10 repetitions.
Works core, glutes, and shoulder muscles while improving balance and stability.
Start position: Sit side-by-side with both knees bent to the outside. Hook your elbows to help balance each other and keep your chests lifted and your posture tall.
Movement: Each of you lift and lower your back leg. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions on each side, then turn around and repeat, lifting the other leg for 12 to 15 repetitions.
This one may look easy, but it's really intense. It works arms and core while improving your balance and stability.
Start position: Stand and face one another, and extend your arms out in front of you so your arms are against your partner's arms.
Movement: Keeping your arms extended, one partner pushes against the other partner's hands. Both of you are providing resistance and pressing against the other. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides, still facing each other. Alternate the direction of push for 10 repetitions.
These partner exercises are featured in Metcalf's book Naked Fitness. To learn more about Naked Fitness, visit www.andreametcalf.com.