HIIT Pilates Workout: Exercises, Routine & Benefits

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and Pilates are two different forms of workout program. And the combination of both will help you burn fat, tone muscles, lose weight, and improve posture, flexibility and body balance.

If you’re one of the fitness enthusiasts who love doing HIIT and pilates at home, then this post will help you with each query related to Pilates and HIIT workout. For example, In this article, I’ve included two samples of Pilates and HIIT workout plan for beginners and intermediate; the benefits of combining high-intensity interval training and pilates for weight loss, muscles gain, stamina etc. So keep reading this to find out all.


What is High-intensity interval training (HIIT)?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an efficient workout program that is designed to work on the entire body. In this program, every exercise is done in two intervals for the fixed period of time. The first interval is performed at the high-intensity while the second one is the recovery period or least intense.

For example, If you’re doing a circuit of three pilates exercises; Criss Cross, Split Jack Jumps, and High Knees. You can do them into two intervals, like 30 seconds of High Knees then 30 seconds rest, 30-second Split Jack Jumps/30-second rest, and then 30-second Criss Cross Jumps then 30 seconds rest. Then repeat this circuit for the desired number of times.

HIIT workout program is basically designed for weight loss and endurance purpose. So if you’re goal is to achieve better fitness, then just go for it.


What is Pilates Workout?

Pilates is a form of low-impact workout training. Different exercises of Pilates training work on the entire body especially the core. The major purposes of doing pilates are to strengthing muscles improving posture, mobility and flexibility as well as developing good breathing technique.  

From stretches to cardio, pilates is a mix-up of different exercises. For example, it includes squats, jumping jack, high knees, bridges, cat-cow stretches, windshield wipers etc.

Most of Pilates exercises are bodyweight, but you can also add weights or bands for the additional resistance. But if you’re a beginner, you can do Pilates moves without weights.


Pilates Exercises That Can Be Included in the HIIT Workout Program

1. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks give you good warm-up and increases your heart plus allow your lunges to take oxygen more efficiently.

To perform the jumping jacks,

  1. Stand in the normal stance with your arms are extended straight at your sides. Your palms should be facing your body.
  2. Jumps quickly jump your feet out to the sides (laterally) and as you jump, raise your arms overhead until they come close to each other.
  3. And then jump back to the same position and repeat as many times as you like.

2. Pulse Squat

Squat pulse is kind a half squat, and it is for all fitness level.

To do this exercise,

  1. Stand tall in the shoulder-width stance, raise your arms out in front of you and hold them straight.
  2. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower down in the squat position.
  3. Without returning to the standing position, pulse a few inches up and down as long as you can and then return to the standing position.
  4. Keep your back straight, chest up and core engaged during the exercise.

3. Split Jumping Jacks

The split jack is an intermediate level pilates workout works on several muscles at once such as glutes, hamstrings, core, and the hips.

Follow the simple steps to perform the split jacks

  1. Stand upright with your feet together and arms straight at your sides.
  2. Jump in the air, and as you jump, bring your feet in the lunges position or split your foot in the air and then land on the ground. Plus, raise your one arm (opposite one to the forward leg) overhead when you jump in the air.
  3. Then reverse and repeat these steps for the maximum number of repetitions.

4. High Knees Jumping

High-knee jumping exercises is one of the best exercises for warming up the body. It is good for improving hip mobility as well as strength. This move works on the entire body.

How to perform High-knee

  1. Stand in the normal stance and bend your elbow and hold your hands in front of you at stomach level.
  2. Lift your one feet off the floor and pull your knee up until it touches your hand. Then lower it down.
  3. As you lower your feet toward the ground, quickly lift your other feet and bring your knee up until it also touches your hand.
  4. Repeat this move for the desired number of repetitions.

5. Criss Cross

If you’re a beginner and want to develop core strength then criss-cross can be a good pilates workout. It is a bodyweight exercise that primarily targets abs and oblique as well as helps you tone your muscles.

Stepwise instructions to perform Criss Cross exercise

  1. Lie on your back on the mat with your feet properly on the ground.
  2. Hold your fingertips beside your ears and lift your legs off the ground, forming a right angle.
  3. Now bring your right knee and left elbow toward each other until they touch each other.
  4. And as you draw your right leg out, bring your left knee toward the right elbow as repeat the same steps to complete one repetition.
  5. You can do as many as you can.

6. Jump Squats

Squat jump or jumping squat is an intermediate level pilate workout which works on entire muscle groups especially the lower body.

To perform the jump squat,

  1. Stand in the shoulder-width stance, hold your arms at your sides and bend your elbows to hold your hands in front of your for support.
  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees to squat down and then push through your heels to jump as high as you can and as you jump, bring your arms at your sides. And then again go down in the squat position and repeat for the maximum number of repetitions.

7. Man maker

If you’re looking an exercise which is the combination of more than two exercises, then the “Man maker” should be your pick. As it includes, push-ups, row, squat and jumps. This an advanced level move which requires a great deal of strength and stamina.

Steps to perform Man maker exercise:

  1. Get into a push-up position, and perform one normal push-up then take your right hand off the ground and bring your elbow out like the dumbbell rowing. Lower it back then repeat with the other hand.
  2. Then take your hands off the ground, and pushing through your heels stand straight, and perform one squat. And then pushing through your heels jump high in the air. Then land your feet on the ground. This is your one repetition.
  3. To do more repetitions, start from the push-up after the jump, and repeat for as many as repetitions as you can.

8. Leg Raise

Leg raises strengthen the muscles of the core. It helps you burn lower body fat as well as thicken your lower abs which is the most difficult muscles to expose.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and Pilates

It’s quite simple to execute, here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or the mat. Keep your legs straight and arms at your sides.
  2. Brace your abdominal muscles, and lift your legs off the floor and raise as high as you can while keeping your upper body on the floor.
  3. Pause for a second then lower them down on the floor. That is your one repetition.
  4. If you want to do more reps, don’t completely lower your legs on the ground, just keep them 2 or more inches off the floor and raise high and then lower down.

9. Crunches

Sit-ups or crunches is an important core workout that helps you build abs and decrease belly fats.

It’s easy to perform, just lay down on the mat on your back with your knees are bent and keep your feet flat on the ground. Hold your fingertips behind your head and perform as many crunches as you can.


Pilates Cool Down and Stretch Workout

Stretching exercises is a part of a Pilates exercise program. You can also include them in your HIIT-Pilates exercise routine. These exercises are less intense and you can do them in your recovery period. We’ll see later how to include them in your Pilates HIIT workout plan.

Here are some cool down Pilates exercises you may do while HIIT

10. Cat cow stretch

The cat-cow pose is primarily done for flexibility and balance. It also strengthens your lower back plus it also engages the muscles of the core.

How to perform Cat Cow Stretches

  • Get on your all fours, your knees are directly underneath your hips, and hands under your shoulders.
  • Keeping your core tight, curl your spine, and bring your head and tailbone close to each other. This is the cat pose.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds, then inhale, and press your chest, so that your face facing vertically toward the ceiling. This the Cow pose.
  • Hold for two to five seconds then again go in cat pose.

11. Lower Back Twist

The lower back twisting is a mobility exercise, and it is good for the hips and the lower back. This exercise also works on the oblique as you twist from one side to the another.

Here are the simple steps you can follow to do this move.

  • Lie on your back on the mat with your knees are bent and feet firmly on the ground.
  • Hold your hands behind your head, tight your core and lift your lower back of the ground.
  • After that, twist both sides as many times as you like.

12. Pilate Bridges

Bridges primarily works on the gluteus, hips and the lower back. It improve hip mobility, balance, flexibility as well as postures.

Below are the instructions to perform bridges exercises

  • Lie on the mat on your back with your knees are bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Now, lift your pelvis off the floor until your body becomes in line from knees to the face.
  • Pause for a second and then lower it down on the mat. Repeat as many times as you like.

13. Locust Pose

Whenever you feel lower back pain, the locust pose will help you ease your pain and strengthen your lower back. Apart from this, it also improve your flexibility and body balance.

It’s easy to do, below are the steps:

  • Lay down on your stomach on the mat with your legs are straight behind you on the floor and arms at your sides.
  • Now lift your chest, arms and leg five to ten inches off the floor.
  • Hold in this position for couple of seconds then return to the lying position. Repeat for the required number of times.

14. Downward Facing dog

It is an intermediate level exercise which primarily focus on developing strength and mobility. It engages several muscles during the execution such as shoulders, legs, arms and the back.

Below are the steps to perform the downward facing dog exercise:

  • Get on your all fours, your knees are directly underneath your hips, and hands under your shoulders.
  • Keeping your arms still, tuck your toes in and raise your hips towards the ceiling. Make sure only your toes are touching the ground, not the entire foot.
  • Next, drop your head so that your neck is extended vertically toward the floor. And keep your hands flat on the floor.
  • Hold in position for 5 to 10 seconds and then move to the next exercise.

15. Windshield Wiper

The windshield wipers exercise works on several muscles at once such as core, lower back, obliques, legs and hips. Doing properly increases range of motion, stabilizes the lower back and improve hip mobility.

https://youtu.be/Ow5o_w75d_M

Simple steps to perform Windshield Wipers on the floor:

  • Lie on the mat on your back with your legs are straight on the floor. Keep your arms out to the sides for support.
  • Brace your abdominal muscles, and raise your leg straight up until your heels pointing toward the ceiling. That is your starting position.
  • Now, twist your legs together from left to right and right to left side for the required number of times.

What are the benefits of combining HIIT and Pilates workout?

You can enjoy several advantages when you perform pilates workout with high-intensity interval training. Below I’m going to share four important benefits of Pilates-HIIT Workouts.

1. HIIT-Pilates Help you Fat Burn And Lose Weight

Pilates is not primarily about losing weight and burning more calories. But combining pilates exercises with HIIT will surely burn more calories and allow your body to lose fats. Weight loss is a complex process and works differently on different people. If you maintain your calories consumption and follow this workout consistently, you’ll surely see the positive result in the least amount of time.

2. Pilates Workout Improve Flexibility, Posture and Balance

Improving flexibility, posture and balance are the important benefits of Pilates exercises. According to an article published in the British Heart Foundation, Pilates moves are designed to stabilise, mobilise, strengthen and balance the body. It strengthens the entire body including deep internal muscles that we aren’t aware of.

Pilates also includes stretching movements like cat-cow pose, locust pose, downward-facing dog pose, bridges etc help you improve your posture.

3. Improve Strength and Tone Muscles

Mixing up Pilates exercises with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) increase muscles strength of the whole body especially the abdominal muscles, lower back, hips, legs, and the buttocks. Pilates also tone your body and gives you a more streamlined physique.

4. Pilates workout suitable for All fitness levels

From beginner to advanced, male to female, younger to older, Pilates exercises is suitable for everyone. Pilates is affordable, efficient, and effective because you can do without equipment. It requires less space and can be done anywhere you like, such as at home, hotels, fitness studios, or playground.


20-Minute HIIT Pilates Workout Plan For Beginners

I have designed a 20-minute Pilate-HIIT routine for beginners, I hope you may like and find it useful.

Exercises

  • 20 seconds Jumping Jacks, 40 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds Pulse Squat, 40 seconds rest
  • 20-seconds High Knees Jumping, 40 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds Leg Raise, 40 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds Man maker, 40 seconds rest
  • 20-seconds Criss Cross, 20 seconds bridges and 20 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds Split Jumping Jacks, 20 seconds lower back twist, and 20 seconds rest.
  • 20 seconds Jump Squats, 20 seconds downward-facing dog pose, and 20 seconds rest.
  • 20-seconds Crunches, 20 seconds locust pose, and 20 seconds rest.
  • 20 seconds Jumping Jacks, 20 seconds windshield wipers, and 20 seconds rest.
  • Repeat this pattern one more time to complete your 20-minute HIIT pilates workouts routine.

You can do these exercises anywhere you want. For example at home, gym, playground, or even on your holidays because these exercises require no equipment.

Recommended frequency: 3 times a week (Preferred time: Morning)


30-Minute Pilates HIIT Workout Routine

One pilates workout session is usually 45 to 90 minutes long but when you perform at high-intensity then the duration of exercises decreases to 10-30 minutes. And the 30-minute routine would be an ideal one when you combine Pilates with HIIT workouts.

Here is a sample of 30 minutes workout plan:

  • 30 seconds Jumping Jacks, 20 seconds bridges, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 30 seconds Jump Squats, 20 seconds lower back twist, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 30-seconds Crunches, 20 seconds windshield wipers, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 30 seconds Criss Cross, 20 seconds cat-cow stretch, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 30 seconds High Knees Jumping, 20 seconds locust pose, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 30-seconds Leg Raise, 20 seconds lower back twist, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 30 seconds Split Jumping Jacks, 20 seconds bridges, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 30 seconds Pulse Squat, 20 seconds cat-cow stretch, and 10 seconds rest.
  • 60-seconds Man maker, 40 seconds windshield wipers, and 20 seconds rest.
  • Repeat this pattern two times more to complete your 30-minute HIIT pilates workouts routine.

This is just a sample, you can change, include or exclude other exercises, or create your own routine according to your fitness level and fitness goal.

Suggested frequency: 4 times a week (Preferred time: Morning)

You can follow this routine along with your other sports activities (if you do any) like swimming, running, playing soccer etc.


Final Words

Pilates HIIT workout can be efficient for you if your goal is to increase strength and stamina while improving your posture, mobility and flexibility. You can follow the workout routine that keeps you fit and flexible while staying at home. All it’s require your mood and some space in your home. If you have any medical conditions, I would suggest you take your doctor/trainer consultation before starting out any training.

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