Outdoor Pilates Workout Routine

When you think of outdoor workouts, Pilates might not be at the top of your list, but maybe it should. Transferring your indoor mat or apparatus driven workout to the local park is easier than you think—and adds a breath of fresh air to your Pilates regimen while still delivering a killer workout.

Take your mind off the mat with these four quick and easy moves. All you need is a park bench and a 10- to 15-minute burst of effort. Grab some clothes that are easy to move in—you can keep your shoes on. These activities each have a park-specific option to amplify the results and make optimal use of your environment.

1

Pilates Jump & Jack

A woman performs a jumping jack.

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Believe it or not, jumping jacks were a favorite of Joseph Pilates, and you can make friends with them too. Here's a favorite variation, the Jump & Jack.

Perform the jumping section in two counts. Count one is up, and count two is down. Then, perform the jack part in another two counts—a jump forward and back with a hip thrust. As you jack forward, toss the arms to shoulder height. Then lower them to jump back. Practice this sequence until you master the motion. Then, start your set.

Here's the instruction overview:

  • Count 1: Jump arms overhead with feet wide.
  • Count 2: Jump arms down with legs together.
  • Count 3: Jack forward with legs together and arms to shoulder height in front.
  • Count 4: Jack back with legs together and arms back down.
  • Repeat 15 - 25 times.

Park Option

Find a low curb to perform the "jack" or forward/back part of the move. The open-close part or first two counts happen on the flat ground. Count 3 or the jack position hops up on the curb and comes back down on count 4.

Modification

Jumping jacks giving you trouble? No problem. Perform this move using only the arms and let the lower body remain still. You will still warm up and get your circulation pumping without the struggle of coordination and timing to slow you down.

2

Pilates Pushups Series

Push ups on a park bench.

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Pushups? Check that. Pilates has those, too. We do them with some specific parameters.

  • Step 1: Stand tall with arms reaching overhead.
  • Step 2: Round down and walk hands out to a plank position.
  • Step 3: Do 5 triceps pushups, taking care to keep a straight back.
  • Step 4: Pike your hips up and walk your hands back to your feet before rolling up to standing.
  • Repeat twice more for a total of 15 pushups.

Park Option

Use a bench as your support surface. Round down and place both hands on the bench. Walk both feet back and then perform your 5 pushups. Press back up from your last pushup and walk both feet in to stand tall before repeating 3–4 more sets.

Modification

Simply skip the pushups and hold the plank position for 3–5 breaths. Take a rest and then repeat 2–3 more times.

3

Pilates Side Planks

The side plank.

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This move works the side abdominal muscles to tone the waistline.

  • Step 1: From standing, roll down and walk both hands out to a straight arm plank.
  • Step 2: Pivot to one side with feet stacked OR slightly apart with top leg lifted.
  • Step 3: Reach the free arm up to the sky and raise your hips and waist high, turning head to look up the extended arm.
  • Step 4: Then, lower your hand back to the floor and lower your hips toward the ground.
  • Repeat 5–8 times. Come through a full straight two-arm plank before switching sides.

Park Option

Use the bench as your support structure. Take your plank at the bench by placing hands down first and walking both feet back. Pivot to one hand and repeat as described above.

Modification

Simply step one foot in front of the other for wider support. Hold step 1 for 3–5 breaths. Take a break and repeat 2–3 more times.

4

Pilates Standing Splits

A standing split on a bench.

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Tone, stretch, and strengthen the legs and groin with these Pilates standing splits. Aim to move through the pose in a slow, controlled motion.

  • Step 1: From an upright position, step one foot back into a deep runner's lunge.
  • Step 2: Straighten the back leg and keep the front leg bent deep and low.
  • Step 3: Bring your torso upright and place your hands behind your head.
  • Step 4: Hold your balance as you stretch the front leg straight and then bend it low.
  • Repeat 8–10 reps. Then, switch legs.

Park Options

Use a bench to focus on flexibility with this exercise. Stand in front of the bench and place the front foot atop the bench for a deeper stretch but less strength-building.

Modification

Balance can be a challenge with this move. Stand behind a bench to support your hands if you need a little extra help staying upright.

A Word From Verywell

Wherever you do your workout, remember that the purpose of Pilates is to improve all the elements of your wellness in one system. Use your body as a team with all the moving parts working together. Remember to focus not just on strength and stretching, which come easily with Pilates, but on control, concentration, and the breath—all additional benefits of Pilates.

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