I know what you’re thinking — another lame program headed by a pretty face. But you couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to PiYo.
That’s because it combines the basic stretching power of yoga and combines it with strength-building Pilates. Basically, it’s a fast yoga flow paired with bodyweight exercises. The result is a powerhouse of a program that will kick your butt.
If you’re taking the official program from Beachbody, it’s a 60-day routine that utilizes only high-intensity, low-impact exercises. Each workout is typically 20 to 45 minutes in length, and you’ll be active six days a week.
All you’ll need to get started is your own body — no weights required. Each workout focuses on a specific part of the body so you can work on your trouble areas.
Who Is PiYo Good For?
Because it’s a low-impact workout, PiYo is an excellent option for anyone with joint pain or arthritis. You won’t be jumping or jolting your joints, helping you get a workout in without injuring yourself.
It’s also a good workout for people who might be a little more out-of-shape. Since you’ll just be using your own body, you won’t have to worry about pulling a muscle because you tried lifting your old one-rep max. It’s the perfect way to guide yourself back into a more intense lifestyle (if that’s what you want, anyway!).
The really cool part about PiYo is that you can modify it depending on your fitness level. Each official workout video show Chalene doing the main moves. But it also includes modifications for both lower-intensity and higher-intensity moves.
So if you’re a fitness guru and find the moves too easy, you can just try the harder version. Likewise, if you haven’t been able to touch your toes for 20 years, you’ll love starting with the lighter version to ease yourself into it.
What Are the Benefits of PiYo?
While PiYo itself might not be the best way to burn fat — experts suggest adding in a little more cardio for those really interested in fat shedding — it can definitely help you burn calories in a short amount of time. Other benefits may include:
- Improving your range of motion.
- Fixing any muscular imbalances.
- Increasing blood flow throughout your body.
- Improving your endurance.
- Relieving stress.
- Boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
What Exercises Can You Expect in PiYo?
If you’ve ever taken a yoga or Pilates class before, you’ll be pretty familiar with some of the moves used in PiYo. Generally, you might see any of the following in your workout.
Downward-facing Dog to Plank
You’ll start in a plank and then press up to lift your hips while dropping your heels. You’ll pause briefly (not as long as in a yoga class) and then return back to plank.
Take your typical wide-legged warrior stance, but start facing the side of the mat with your legs straight and your arms overhead. Then, you’ll bend your front knee to go into Warrior 2, moving your arms down to shoulder level and turning your head forward. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Stand on your right leg and lift your left leg up in front of you. Then kick it back, pumping your arms as you do so like you’re jogging in place. Bring your left leg forward again and repeat.
Keep in mind, this is just a sample of the exercises you’ll see. Most PiYo classes utilize these and many more so you’ll get a complete workout.
An Example PiYo Routine
In any PiYo class, you’ll enjoy a mix of heating building paired with strength and stretching. Expect to start slow to get your body warm and then quickly ramp up so the sweat starts dripping. Here’s an example of what a lower body workout might look like.
The exercises you’ll do here are relatively simple, as they’re just meant to get you moving. You might start with the first half sun salutation (just the standing and forward fold part) and then head into a side lunge to get your legs ready for some pain.
You’ll probably repeat each exercise here three to four times just to make sure your body is ready for more strenuous work.
Heat Building Exercises
Now it’s time to get that sweat dripping. Your instructor might now take you through the full sun salutation sequence, including chaturanga, upward-facing dog, and upward-facing dog. If you’re used to the slow, breath-guided movements of yoga, you’ll find the pacing here is much faster.
After you’ve done a full sequence a couple of times, you may head into another lower body workout, like repeater lunges. This involves stepping one foot back and tapping it on the floor.
Now it’s the part of the routine where you wish you slept in instead of waking up to head to class. Don’t worry though, all the pain will be worth it in the end!
This part of class might start with traveling bowlers. Basically, this involves mimicking a bowler’s posture right after they throw the ball. You’ll dip down into a wide squat and then step one foot behind the other leg.
Next, you might move into power squats. You’ll hop your feet out wide and bend down into a deep squat. Then, you’ll hop your feet together and start all over.
You’ll do each of these exercises four times in a row, then you’ll repeat the entire set three times. By the end, your legs will be quaking.
The Final Word on What Is PiYo Yoga
I hope I’ve answered “what is PiYo yoga?” for you. As the ideal blend of Pilates and yoga, it’s an excellent way to build strength and improve flexibility. Now that you understand a little more about how this workout can help you achieve your goals, get out there and try it!