Happy Monday! Let’s kick off the week with a guest post from my friend Michelle, who is a PIYO instructor and future Registered Dietitian. Last September Michelle wrote a great post about How to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth and Stay Thin, so when I learned she was a PIYO instructor I begged her to share a workout with all of us. Luckily she said yes!! So without further ado – some PIYO background and then the workout with Michelle! (Warning, this is a long post – but felt it was important to include all of the instructions and pictures so you can all try it out.)
Some avid gym-goers or hard core work out manias may not think that yoga is for them. This is probably not true because everyone can use a little mind, body, and spiritual connection; and of course stretching is an important part of working out. However, I probably fall into that category of individuals who do not think yoga is for them since when I go for a work out I want to sweat and feel like I have been working my muscles which is why the calm and breathing-focused yoga is hard for me to do. So while many people may not fit into that specific type of yoga, including myself, I have found a type of Pilates/strength yoga that works my muscles but also allows me to work on my yoga poses. That specific type of workout is called PIYO and it is amazing! I am a certified PIYO instructor at the University of Wyoming and I love teaching it!
One might be thinking what exactly is PIYO? Well PIYO is a dynamic strength workout combining not only certain yoga moves like down dog, chaturanga, and warrior poses, but also includes squats, lunges, and arm strengthening that we all love. If someone is worried about not sweating during a 60 minute class, well have no fear because this workout requires sweating! This is a type of workout designed to get the heart rate up but also allow people to be mobile throughout the movements. The main focus of this workout is movement. While practicing yoga it is common to stay in one pose and focus on the breath and the body, but in PIYO it is about breathing and moving between poses to really work the muscles.
So here’s how this exercise works. There are actually 20 different PIYO lessons out at this time which is amazing because there are so many different variations that can be incorporated into a class. Powder Blue Productions is actually the company that produced this work out, along with turbo kick, which is also an amazing workout! To begin the workout there is a warm up like most classes always have. Warming up the muscles before any exercise is important to prevent injury. The next section is called heat building which really does what it says, builds heat! After the heat building section, the sections become a little tougher and there are usually three strength sections that build off of each other. In PIYO 20 there is also a dynamic strength section which really works on the legs and arm incorporating dynamic lunges and squats along with a series of pushups. Then of course there is an abs section and a cool down section, all of these also include great music!
Today I am going to show you guys a couple of moves from each section that you can do in your own living room. I wish I could do a whole work out for everyone to do, but a couple moves will help you get started!
Warm up: This move is a simple move that you can start with at the beginning of any work out: Begin with both feet on the outside of the mat, strong core and strong arms lifted above your head.
From there move into a semi-squat to warm up the legs. Sit back into your heels, have a strong core, and strong arms.
Move back into the standing position and repeat.
Another warm up I like to use in my class is a movement between a side bend and a squat. Begin in the semi-squat position and count to 8 and then stand up and do a side bend with the right arm and hold for 8 counts. Return back to the semi-squat (squatting lower each time) and then do a side bend to the left, holding for 8 counts.
Heat Building: These next exercises are from the heat building section of PIYO that I use in my class and this is one of my favorite sections of this whole work out.
Begin in standing pose with both feet on opposite sides of the mat. Strong core and strong arms.
From that first position move into a squat, sit back into your heels and hold in your core and then come back into standing.
From standing do what is called a chair opener, your chest is open as you go down into a squat.
Come back into standing from the squat. The standing pose to a regular squat, back to standing and then to a chest opener squat is one. Repeat that whole series 8 times.
The next set of moves are lunges! Begin with lunges alternating between left and right legs. Make sure the knee does not come over the toe and your abs are nice and tight.
Complete 20 lunges on each leg.
From there do single leg reverse lunges. Lift the right leg, holding in your core, and step back into the reverse lunge. Repeat on the left leg.
Do 20 reverse lunges on each leg.
The next section is the Sun Salutation Series: Begin in standing pose with a strong core and move into half moon
This is half moon (above). Place the hands on the ankles or the thighs then move into plank (below).
With a strong core and strong arms hold in plank for a few counts and then move into chaturanga.
Chaturanga is like a push up except more of tricep push up. Your stomach is almost touching the floor and your elbows are right next to your sides, hold for a few beats and then move into updog.
This is updog (above). Most of your weight is in your hands, hold for a few beats and then move into down dog (below).
This is down dog. Your head is between your shoulders and your back is nice and flat with the knees slightly bent. From here step your feet forward and roll up slowly. This is one sun salutation series. Repeat this series four times.
Next up is the Modified Down Dog Series: Begin in down dog and move into what is called knee-to-nose.
From the knee-to-nose position lift the leg straight behind you.
From the straight leg position bring your leg out to the side for the knee-to-elbow move.
Then perform the knee-to-nose move. Begin by bringing your knee out to the same elbow and kicking the leg straight out to the side.
Then bring the leg back in and move back into downward dog. Repeat the knee-to-nose and knee-to-elbow series on the opposite leg and repeat on each side four times.
These next exercises are from the dynamic section strength section that I teach and it is challenging! Begin in standing position…
Move into the chest opener squat or sumo squat. Strong arms and strong core.
From the chest opener squat move forward by putting both hands on the floor to move into the sumo pushup.
Do three pushups in that sumo position.
Then move into the quick feet squat. From the pushup jump your feet back and forth while leaving both hands on the floor. Make sure you have a strong core for this move. This really works your thighs. Repeat these jumps ten times.
Roll back up into standing position and repeat this whole series eight times.
Finish off your PIYO with some ab exercises of choice and a cool down (not pictured).
These are just a few exercises I enjoy from teaching PIYO. This class works on strength and stretching all at the same time, while still getting a good sweat in! I love PIYO because it is a workout I can do that has so much variety so I do not get bored. I hope that you guys can now incorporate some of these moves into your own routine! If you have any questions about PIYO feel free to contact me at email@example.com! (Oh and thanks to my mom for taking these pictures. Ya’ll can probably see her in the mirror!)
Do you incorporate Pilates or Yoga in to your workout regimen? Have you ever tried PIYO? What do you think of it?