I swear by weight training to keep me fit and strong. But while lifting weights is great for building muscle and getting my heart rate up, the type of training I do doesn't always offer ample opportunities to work on my mobility, balance and stability.
This is where bodyweight workouts like Pilates come in. Pilates routines involve small, intentional bodyweight movements, engaging the deep core muscles and incorporating breathing techniques to tone the muscles and help you relax.
I often deal with aches and pains in my body, not to mention a longstanding knee injury, and I find my lack of mobility can get in the way of my usual strength training too. To tackle this, I'm trying to do more bodyweight exercises to increase my flexibility and develop strength in specific areas.
I found a routine created by Pilates instructor Georgia Weibel, which promises to build upper-body strength and stability. There are only four exercises, so this was the perfect session for some slow but challenging movement during my lunch break.
All you need to is a yoga mat and Weibel demonstrates all of the moves, so you can practice your technique before starting. This is essential if you want to get the most from your training and engage the correct muscles for each pose.
Watch Georgia Weibel's four-move Pilates routine
I might not have been lifting heavy weights during this session, but I was surprised by just how difficult some of these bodyweight exercises are. Requiring both balance and strength, I felt that my core was engaged during the entire workout, and my abs were burning during the final reps of each exercise.
The main area of my body this workout targeted, however, was my arms, with the tricep dips and Pilates presses engaging smaller muscle groups, as well as big ones, for a complete upper-body burn.
This routine also helped stretch out my upper-body, which was much-needed after sitting at my desk all morning. Rather than feeling tight like I usually do after strength sessions, my muscles, though slightly sore, felt relaxed, especially around my shoulders where I tend to hold tension.
I completed three rounds of this routine, which took about 10 minutes. It's definitely a routine I'll come back to, either on my lunch breaks or before upper-body strength sessions, to get my muscles warm and active, as well as strong and stable before lifting weights.
You don't have to follow the same path as me though, but learning how to warm-up properly can make a big difference to your training performance, flexibility and your recovery, too. Plus, you're less likely to injure yourself with warmed up muscles.