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

Recommended to you

Women Fleeing Domestic Violence Can Now Receive A One-Off Support Payment

It’s been labelled the shadow pandemic and the fact remains that for many women across Australia, domestic violence is a lived reality that doesn’t discriminate by age, occupation, or socio-economic status. Researchers have found that during Covid-19 lockdowns, there was a surge in family and domestic violence, with agencies experiencing a surge in demand as nearly half their clients reported an increase in controlling behaviours. 

As many who have lived through such turmoil and trauma can attest, the roadmap to fleeing such situations at home can be fraught with challenges and extremely difficult to navigate, particularly when such bureaucracy makes it even harder. Now, it’s been announced that women fleeing a violent relationship will be given a one-off $5,000 payment as part of a federal government trial scheme. 

Known as the “escaping violence payment scheme,” the government has set aside $144.5 million over the next two years to give women $1,500 cash, with the remainder to pay for goods and services, bond, school fees and other necessaries to establish a new safe home. UnitingCare Network will be tasked with delivering the payments while helping link women and their children with relevant community services. 

As the Daily Telegraph reports, “An analysis of domestic violence data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that while it is more common for women from poorer areas, women from high socio-economic areas are not immune from experiencing partner violence.”

As Women’s Safety Minister Anne Ruston explained, the trial has been introduced with the aim to help women overcome the financial barriers that might deter them from leaving a violent relationship. “We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse - which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money - reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships,” she said. 

“The payments will assist people who need financial support to leave. We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter. Often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”

To be eligible for a payment, women must be facing financial stress and have some evidence of domestic violence such as a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, or an AVO, court order or police report. As UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said, “We believe that all people, especially women and their children, have the right to live freely and without fear, and this payment is an important step forward to ending violence against women and children.”

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800 

Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online. 

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.