15-Minute Workouts with Shape Method
Certified Pilates instructor Carissa Fisher teaches a full-body Pilates fusion workout designed for strength and balance
By Sam Lauron
Photos by Brittany Dawn Short
Carissa Fisher is a professional dancer and a Stott Pilates certified instructor that has been with Shape Method Pilates since 2012. She is known for her disciplined athleticism mixed with fluidity to produce sequences that are challenging yet approachable and never the same.
Workout: Sculpting Pilates Fusion
This is a full-body Pilates fusion workout is designed to mobilize the spine and strengthen the small stabilizer muscle groups while sculpting the entire body and challenging balance, coordination and flexibility. Suitable for anyone — from total beginners to Pilates pros — who wants a short yet effective exercise. “This workout will leave you feeling lengthened, energized and centered,” says Carissa. “And sore in all the right places!”
Downward Dog Push-Ups
Next, hold the downward dog and lift the heels. Do 10-15 slow push-ups in that position. Think about spiraling the elbows back toward the rib cage and pressing the shoulder blades away from the ears. You can keep both feet on the ground, or, for a more advanced position, hold one leg up in the air while doing the push-up. If lifting a leg, do 8-10 on each side.
Press back into a child’s pose. Next, come on to the elbows and the knees for glute presses. Raise your heel up to the ceiling with the leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Lift and lower in parallel with the knee down to the floor, externally rotated with the knee flared outward to the back corner, internally rotated knee spiraled in toward opposite thigh, and straight out to the side of the hip in a “dog hike” position. Do 10 slow and controlled in each position. Optional: put a light weight behind the knee for additional strengthening.
Next, transfer to your side. Lean onto your elbow and hip with your legs out to the side for leg lifts. Lift and lower your leg slowly 15 times, then make 5 small circles (the size of an orange) in each direction. Optional: hold a weight in the top arm, parallel to the floor. Support the weight with the waistline and the upper back rather than the top of the shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
From this position, lift yourself up onto your forearm for forearm planks. You can balance on both legs or modify with 1 knee down. Lift and lower your pelvis 10 times to work your side obliques. Next, slowly thread the needle 5 times, spiraling the rib cage down to the floor with the obliques. Option to finish with a single leg balance holding for at least 3 slow breaths.
Lie down on your front for upper back extension. Arch your back up and stick your arms out in the fly position. Do 10 flies, then 5 sets of twists in extension, bringing the elbow to the side of the rib cage and spiral towards it. Optional: add weights for additional strengthening. Finish with swimming, lifting legs and upper back and paddling the arms and legs in opposition for at least 5 full breath cycles.