A Do-Anywhere Pilates Workout for the Busy Bride

Carrie Bradshaw says that the “most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.” If you feel the challenge of prioritizing yourself throughout wedding planning, you are not alone. A smokin’ bridal bod can feel daunting amongst cake tastings, late-night seating charts, and future in-laws. That’s where Dallas-local Katherine Bahlburg of Bells and Barbells comes in. Each month, Bells and Barbells will guide us through a new workout tailored to wedding day worries.

We know every bride is a busy bride, which is why Bells and Barbells designed a high-intensity interval workout you can complete from practically anywhere. This pilates-inspired routine is the modern Jane Fonda—do this circuit in your living room, hotel room, or even office to keep the glutes firm and the abs defined. The added bonus? Katherine designed it with “sweating for the wedding” in mind so the high-intensity intervals encourage an extra burn.

Labor of Love Workout by Bells and Barbells

You will just need a hand-towel for this workout. Complete 2-5 rounds of all six exercises below, depending on your skill level.

Hollow Body Sit-up

While keeping your shoulder blades off of the ground, engage glutes and extend bent legs as far out as you can while maintaining contact between your low back and the floor. Hold this pose throughout the exercise.

  1. Place your hips on the floor, elevate your legs and extend them out as much as possible without letting your upper body waiver.  
  2. Using your core for balance, raise your arms shoulder-width apart directly overhead holding a towel.
  3. Draw your knees in while letting your arms fall forward.
  4. Scoop the towel under your bent knees and past your feet
  5. Extend your legs over the towel with your chest lifted and straighten your arms.
  6. Draw your knees into your chest once again so that you may extend the towel above your head with your arms straight.

Reps: 10-20 reps depending on ability to maintain proper form (progess over perfection.)

Tip: Do your best to keep your shoulder blades from touching the floor. If you struggle to maintain control of your core and body during the movement, modify by tucking your knees in closer and lean back less when extending. 

Russian Twist with Punch-Out

Side oblique twist with a chest press

  1. Start in the hollow-body position and hold towel in front of your body. 
  2. Keep your feet elevated and knees bent as you twist your torso to the left while bending your elbows and bringing the towel to your chest. 
  3. Return to start position and repeat on right side for one rep.

Tip: If you are struggling to stay balanced with feet elevated, rest your heels on the ground  to stabilize. Feel free to stabilize throughout the movement if needed.

Reps: Complete 10-15 reps, depending on skill and comfort level.

Inverted Table Top with Kick

Inverted plank for a challenging hold with an alternating crunch.

  1. Start on all fours (hands and feet) with back to the ground. 
  2. With your back flat and belly facing the ceiling, drop your hips to the floor while bringing your left knee to your chest. Squeeze your midline as hard as you can as you crunch.
  3. Push your hips back up to your starting position and then repeat step 2 on right side for one rep.

Tip: As your chest rises, your head goes back. As your hips drop to floor and your chest comes down, your head goes down. Be sure to take a moment to shake out your wrists if they feel weak or tired and or to warm them up.

Reps: Please complete 10-15 reps.

Sumo Squats + Shoulder Press

Wide Squat focused on glutes using towel to assist with shoulder extensions.

  1. Start with a wide stance, arms extended overhead with towel held shoulder width apart. 
  2. Lower into a squat position as you bring your arms down until the towel rests against the back of your neck. Finish squat with knees at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Stand up as you push the towel back to overhead position. 
  4. Lower again into a squat position as you extend arms in front of your shoulders. 
  5. Stand up out of the wide squat and return to start position for one rep.

Tip: Make sure your eyes stay looking straight ahead and never up or down to keep your chest up and core tight. Ensure your weight is in the back of your heels. 

Reps: Complete 10-15 reps.

Windmill Side Oblique Crunch

Full body movement involving a wide squat and a single leg raise to target the side obliques.

  1. Start in a standing position with hands holding towel shoulder width apart overhead. 
  2. Lower into a low wide squat while swinging arms downward until landing in front of your shins. 
  3. Stand up out of the squat as you raise your left leg up into the air and swing arms upwards overhead. Crunch your torso as you raise your left leg to your left hand. 
  4. Come back to starting position and repeat on right side for one rep. 

Tip: Take a pause if needed to find your rhythm. Practice makes perfect, by the second or third round you will have the movement down. 

Reps: 10 reps.

High Jump Knee Touch

Finishing off the circuit with an explosive squat jump variation

  1. Start in a standing position with hands holding towel shoulder-width apart out in front of you. 
  2.  Jump knees up towards the towel with abs tight, attempting to touch your knees to the towel. Jump as high you comfortably can. 
  3. Return to standing position and raise arms overhead.
  4.  Jump knees up as high as you comfortably can. 
  5. Return to starting position for one rep.

Tip: Try to land softly  as you come back down to protect your knees and ankles. 

Modification: March your knees up in an alternating style instead of jumping, especially if you have suffered knee pain or injury. 

Reps: Complete 10-13 reps.

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