6 Pilates Exercises That'll Work Your Core From Every Angle - Women's Health

6 Pilates Exercises That’ll Work Your Core From Every Angle

No equipment necessary. - by Nikolina Ilic

by | Aug 26, 2021

Having a strong core is key to being fit from head to toe. So, if you’re looking to strengthen yours, adding a Pilates exercise routine (or two!) into your weekly workout plan is a great way to go about it.

I love to say everything starts with the core, because it’s true! Having a strong core helps to stabilise the hips, pelvis, and spine, which helps to improve posture, circulation, form, and overall wellness and longevity of the body,” explains Andrea Speirfounder of Speir Pilates based out of Los Angeles.”Pilates movements are all core-based, so everything is from a strong and stable midsection, aiding the body to work with proper form. The exercises are elongating, so the muscles get a boost of circulation and stimulation of new blood, without putting compression on the joints. One of the benefits of this is it never leaves you feeling overworked or exhausted, but instead invigorated and energized. Pilates can be done at all ages and all fitness levels, as well as pre and post pregnancy, to rehabilitate injuries, or just to look and feel incredible.

Taking her background as a classically trained Pilates instructor, and fusing it with het love of high intensity interval training and cardio, prop-based toning and ballet barre, Speir’s athletic and musically driven reformer Pilates workouts are no joke. 

Here, Andre has shared 6 of her favourite moves, which you can do from the comfort of your own home!

“These 6 exercises are some of the most effective exercises based out of the classical system (with a bit of playful contemporary fusion), and they are for everyone! I give these movements to both my beginner clients, as well as advanced clients. If you are just beginning your movement practice, and you want to modify these exercises, know you can always do all of these movements with your head down, just aim your legs higher so the back doesn’t take over, and work with a smaller range of motion.”

  1. Single Leg Stretch Bicycles

Reps: 10  reps (1 rep-both legs bicycle), 1 set

*Repeat in the reverse direction after 10 reps!

Set Up: Tabletop the legs and curl head and chest up, hands behind the head

How To:

  1. Extend one leg out, lower if down, bend it back in.
  2. Repeat on the other leg.
  3. Repeat 10x
  1. Double Leg Stretch

Reps: 10  reps, 1 set

Set Up: Tabletop the legs and curl head and chest up, hold onto shins.

How To:

  1. Extend arms toward ears and legs out to 45 degree angle.
  2. Circle the arms around and back down to hold onto shins. 
  3. Note: Keep head and chest lifted throughout.
  4. Repeat 10x
  1. Scissors

Reps: 10  reps (1 rep-both legs), 1 set

Set Up: Tabletop the legs and curl head and chest up, extend legs straight up to ceiling and hold on behind one thigh (beginner/intermediate),  or ankle (advanced).

How To:

  1. Pull the leg your holding in 2x.
  2. Scissor switch legs and pulse the other leg in 2x.
  3. Repeat 10x
  1. Lower Lift Tuck

Reps: 10  reps, 1 set

Set Up: Lie flat on back with hands in diamond shape underneath the tailbone, legs up in a diamond tabletop position.

How To:

  1. Lift the hips and bring diamond leg shape up and over head.
  2. Roll hips back down and extend them out to 45 degrees.
  3. Bend back in.
  4. Repeat 10x
  1. Alternating Straight Leg Taps

Reps: 10  reps (1 rep-both legs taps), 1 set

Set Up: Sit propped up with forearms behind and legs in a tabletop position

How To:

  1. Extend one leg out, lower it down and tap the floor.
  2. Bend that leg in.
  3. Repeat on the other leg.
  4. Repeat 10x
  1. Single Leg Kicks Plank

Reps: 10  reps (1 rep-both legs), 1 set

Set Up: Place forearms on the floor in a parallel position and step back into a plank position with legs and feet together.

How To:

  1. Bend one knee in and kick the seat two times (pro tip: keep the knees in line with each other and down let hips move!).
  2. Repeat on the other leg.
  3. Repeat 10x

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