Why Skateboard Pilates Will Be Your New Favorite Workout
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2017
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Not many of us have the money or space for a Pilates reformer at home (unless you’re Kate Hudson or Cameron Diaz). And even reformer classes can put a dent in your budget — not to mention that they're relegated to larger cities where the classes are more in demand. So what are you supposed to do for that ultimate ab-sculpting, booty-lifting workout? Try a skateboard (like the awesome one pictured above from Penny Skateboards)! Sure, it’s not a perfect replacement, but you can still get a challenging workout. Here are 12 moves to try for yourself. Fair warning: These moves require a ton of core strength, stability and balance, so you should have a solid strength foundation.
Talk about an ab and upper-body challenge! This exercise activates all the muscles in the upper body and the core, says Raphael Doub, creator of Collette Skate Gym, which incorporates Penny Skateboards into traditional Pilates-like moves (like this one). HOW TO DO IT: Start on your mat on all fours. Grab the board in front of you with both hands. Push the board as far in front of you as possible without arching your lower back. Tighten your biceps, triceps, pecs, abs and back muscles and use your arm strength to pull back to the initial position. Aim for 20 reps.
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SHOULDER BRIDGE WITH LEG EXTENSION
Pilates is known for it’s low-impact, full-body strengthening. Take this exercise as a prime example. You’ll use your core to steady your body while your hamstrings work to pull the board back and forth. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your arms by your side. Place the board under your feet so that it rolls forward. Root into your heels and lift your butt and back off the floor. Slowly roll the board out until your legs are straight (or as far as you can with control). Engage your glutes and hamstrings to roll the board back to the start. Do 10 reps. Looking for a challenge? Try it balancing on just one leg.
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LUNGE ON WHEELS
Traditional lunges just not cutting it anymore? Add some wheels. “It’s excellent to tone up the legs!” Doub says. HOW TO DO IT: Stand with one foot on the skateboard and the other on the floor. With arms stretched overhead, push the skateboard forward with your foot until the knee of the back leg is close to (but not in contact with) the floor. To get back to the start, push firmly through both feet and draw your legs together. Do 20 reps, and then switch legs.
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Watch yourself with this one! You’ll need to recruit all the adductor muscles in your legs (the ones that pull your legs together) to do it effectively. If you’re a little weak in that area, you may want to do this exercise next to a wall to prevent yourself from going too far. HOW TO DO IT: Start standing with your right foot on the board and the left on the floor. Roll the skateboard out to the right, keeping your left leg straight. Stop before your right knee goes over your right foot. Pull the board back to center. Do 20 reps on each leg.
Pilates is known for it’s ab-sculpting moves, and this one will certainly crush your core (in the best way possible). HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank position with your feet on the board and your hands under your shoulders, Doub says. Use your core to draw the board in toward you as you lift your hips into a pike position. Then, slowly and with control, lower your hips and slide your feet back to the starting position. Repeat 20 to 30 times and feel the burn!
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Need a slightly easier version of the previous exercise? Start with this one. Or for even more ab-sculpting action, do both! HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank position with the board under your feet (the board is pointing forward). Your body should be completely straight from head to toe. Tighten your core and bend your knees as you use your feet to pull the board forward. Push back into a plank, performing a total of 20 reps.
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Here’s another extra-challenging ab move from Doub’s routine. HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank position with your body in a straight line from head to toe. Place both hands on your skateboard so that the board can roll side to side. Engage your abdominals (especially the obliques) and root through the heels of your hand as you roll the skateboard from right to left, going only as far as you can with control. Do 20 reps total (each side counts as one rep).
REVERSE PLANK LEG LIFTS
Here’s an exercise you can do with or without the board. Adding the board simply ups the need for core stability. HOW TO DO IT: Sit with your legs extended, hands by your butt and the board under your feet. Press through your hands to raise your body off the floor (it’s like a plank flipped over). Keeping your form, raise one leg off the board at a time. As you raise each leg, point your toe and count to two. As you lower, flex your foot and count to two. Do 15 reps on the first leg before switching legs and doing another 15 reps.
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Again, you can do this move without a board, but the instability is a great way to advance your ab workout. HOW TO DO IT: Start on your side with the board under your feet. Place your bottom hand directly under your shoulder. Press into that hand and lift up into a side plank. Now lift your top foot and extend your top arm (you’ll be in a star shape). Hold for 15 seconds before lowering back down. Repeat five times on each side.
You’ll definitely need all your core strength for this one! Focus and practice are keys to mastering this move. HOW TO DO IT: Start in an inverted V position with your right leg crossed over your left leg. Extend your right arm and hold one edge of the board. Hold the other end with your left hand. Roll the board out as you straighten into a side plank. Contract your obliques to pull yourself back to an inverted V. Repeat 10 times on each side.
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Put a twist on this classic Pilates exercise that targets your entire backside. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your stomach on the board. Tighten your core muscles and raise your arms and legs off the floor. Alternate raising your right arm and left leg and then you left arm and right leg, as if you’re swimming. Keep this up for 50 reps.
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SINGLE-LEG MOUNTAIN CLIMBER
Single-leg work is great for pinpointing your weaker side (yes, we all have one) and learning how to strengthen it. HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank with the skateboard under your right foot and your left foot on the ground. Bend your right knee and slide the board forward, and then back to the start. Do 25 reps on each leg. Need a greater challenge? Lift the grounded foot off the floor several inches as you go through this exercise.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Are you a Pilates fan? Have you ever done a reformer workout? Would you ever try a skateboard-Pilates hybrid workout? What do you think of these moves? Will you try any of them? Which ones seem the hardest? Are there any other moves you would add? Share your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments below!
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