Kristen Shaffer Pilates Instructor
Kristen Shaffer, Pilates Instructor

You’ve worked hard all year, and it shows. So, don’t fall behind on your workouts this summer vacation! Take Pilates on the road with you.
Pilates instructor Kristen Shaffer has the perfect vacation ab workout for you—the Pilates series of five, a sequence of Pilates mat exercises you can do just about anywhere!
Not familiar with the fab five? No problem!
Pick up a copy of The Pilates Bible: The Definitive Guide to Pilates Exercises by Jo Ferris. It not only includes comprehensive instructions and photos, but also modifications to suit every need and level. Just tuck it in your suitcase, along with your bikini, and you’re ready to roll.
Here’s a summary of how to do the Pilates series of five, adapted from The Pilates Bible.
Single Leg Stretch

  1. Lie on your back, and curl your upper body off the mat. Draw your right knee in, in line with your right shoulder. Place your right hand on your ankle, and your left hand on your right knee. Lengthen the left leg on the floor, and imprint your spine on the floor, scooping your lower abdominals.
  1. Inhale and change legs. Pull your left leg in and lengthen your right leg parallel with the floor. Exhale and change legs. Reach out long and pull in strong. Do 6-10 repetitions.

Double Leg Stretch

  1. Lie on the floor and do an upper body curl. Use your powerhouse to draw your knees to your chest. Keep your tailbone on the floor and spine imprinted. Keep your head up with your eyes on your navel.
  1. Now, inhale and extend your limbs in opposite directions. Keep your powerhouse pulled in and your spine and ribs imprinted on the floor.
  1. Exhale and take your arms out and around as you draw your knees back into your chest. Squeeze the air from your lungs. Repeat 6-10 times.

Single Straight Leg Stretch “Scissors”

  1. Lie on the floor with both legs flat on the floor. Do an upper body curl. Take the right leg up to a 90-degree angle with your toes toward the ceiling, and stretch the leg on the floor away. Hold your right ankle with both hands and pull it toward you for a double pulse.
  1. Switch legs in a scissor motion and pulse-pulse. Keep the rhythm strong. Inhale for one repetition and exhale for the next. Do 6-10 repetitions.

Double Straight Leg Stretch “Lower Lifts”

  1. Lie on the floor with both legs flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and do an upper body roll. Raise both legs to the ceiling, feet in the Pilates stance. Engage your powerhouse, keeping it scooped.
  1. Inhale and lower your legs away from you for a count of 1.
  1. Keep scooped and lower your legs further for a count of 2.
  1. On the count of 3, imprint your spine and lower your legs as far as you can. Exhale and return your legs to starting position. Repeat 6-10 times.

Criss Cross

  1. Lie on the floor with both legs on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and do an upper body curl. Inhale and bring the right knee in, so it’s in line with the right shoulder. Lift the upper body and, using your abdominals, draw your left shoulder and elbow toward your right knee, using your obliques.
  1. Exhale. Keep your upper body lifted and repeat to the other side. Draw your left knee in and bring your right shoulder and elbow toward the left knee, engaging the obliques. Do a total of 6-10 repetitions.

Now you’re all set to make the most of your vacation! And we’ll see you in the studio when you get back.