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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Robbins

15 Pilates Exercises For a Full Body Workout

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

(En Español abajo) #Pilates#Strength#Endurance#Flexibility#MentalClarity

Are you ready to get in shape and feel good? Here are some reasons why practicing Pilates can help you!

Strength, muscle tone and shape, flexibility, endurance, stamina, coordination, balance, mental clarity, body/breath control, stability, mind/body connection; in short it is really good for you!

Some exercises may seem difficult just starting out but if you keep practicing you will be surprised how quickly your body adapts. If you have wrist, knee or back issues or any other past or current injury use caution in attempting these exercises. Read through them first and choose which exercises are right for you. Enjoy! Leg Circles

Start by lying on the mat with a neutral spine. Engage the core and firmly plant the spine and torso into the mat. Inhale and bring the right leg up and turned in towards the torso at 45 degree angle with the toes pointed. Exhale and bring the leg down and around making as large as icicle as possible while maintaining the torso firmly planted on the mat without arching the low back or lifting the hips. Inhale and bring the leg up and in to complete the circle. Do 3 more and switch directions.Repeat on the other side. The primary muscles used are the core for stability, the adductor muscles of the upper leg and the gastrocnemius in the pointing of the toes and IT band is stretched during the rotation. Focus on maintaining body control by having the core engaged and the torso firmly planted on the mat the entire time. Also focus on the breathing pattern of inhaling while bringing the leg up and in and exhaling while lowering the leg out and down.

Roll up

Start by lying on the mat with a neutral spine. Engage the core and firmly plant the spine and torso into the mat. Legs and glutes are engaged in pilates stance. (V shape with heels touching) Inhale and stretch the hands out above the head as you continue inhaling lift the shoulders up as you begin to roll the spine upwards exhale about halfway up.

Focus on on rolling up one vertebrae at a time.

At the top with the arms out parallel to the legs inhale as you reach over the legs. Then exhale as you return back down slowly one vertebrae at a time with the “pilates power house” engaged throughout the exercise. At the bottom inhale as you reach your arms above the head and stretch the spine and begin the roll up again. Repeat for 5 sets. The primary muscles used are the core abdominals inner leg muscles and gluteal muscles. Focus on stability, articulating and lowering the spine one vertebrae at a time while synchronizing the motion with the breathing sequence.

Spine Stretch

Sit up on the mat with legs apart ankles on each side of the mat. Press down with palms of hands into the mat. Feel your spine straighten. Now walk your hands along your legs down towards your ankles. Once your hands are on your ankles pull back placing your attention on your spine as you accentuate a “C” curve. Do 4-6 reps.


Lay prone (face down) with your feet hip width apart and your arms stretched straight out in front of you. Using percussive breath (small inhalations and exhalations similar to small puffs of air) inhale and raise your right arm and left leg a few inches off the ground. Exhale and lower them as you raise your left arm and right leg a few inches off the ground. Repeat this sequence as rapid as you can while maintaining your coordination for 20 reps. Focus on coordination.

Leg Pull Down

Start in plank position. Hands flat on the ground directly under the shoulders and feet hip with apart balanced on your toes. Your core is engaged and your abdominals are lifted. Start by rolling backwards and forwards to stretch your calf and lower leg muscles. Do this 5 times. Inhale and raise the right leg straight out behind you. Balancing on the left foot roll back and then forward. Exhale and lower the right leg. Now inhale raise the left leg straight out behind you and repeat the motion. Repeat this sequence for 5 reps with each leg. Focus on precision of the movement and breathing coordination.

100 prep

Start by lying on the mat with neutral spine and pelvis and legs lifted and bent in 90 degree angle (tablet top position) . Engage the core by scooping the abdominals to support the neck as you raise it and then drop the shoulders and extend the arms out and toward your sides. The arms are firm and 2-4 inches off the ground and the palms are facing dow.

Using percussive breaths inhale for a count of 5 while exhaling for count of 5 while pulsing the arms straight up and down in quick small movements. Repeat 10 times creating the 100. The primary muscles used are the core and abdominals. The leg muscles are engaged in keeping the legs out and stable the arms are engaged in the controlled pumping motion and the neck muscles are engaged as the chin is slightly tucked. Focus on percussive breathing in rhythm with the pumping of the arms and maintaining stability and control in the body.

Single Leg Stretch

Sit with your knees bent balancing your tailbone. Your arms are wrapped around your legs holding the knees. The knee and toes should point at a 90° angle. The abdominals are scooped and now inhale and lower the spine while you pull one knee towards your chest and straighten the other leg at a 45° angle down towards the mat. . The leg and gluteal muscles are tightened as you extend the leg and the toes are pointed. The neck is lifted and slightly tucked. Exhale and then switch legs. Repeat for 8-10 sets. The primary muscles used are the core, abdominals, leg and gluteal muscles. Focus on body control and stability.

Spine Twist

Sit tall on the mat with your legs straight out in front of you legs hip width apart and your feet flexed with your toes pointed straight in the air. Push down with your sit bones feel the energy flow upwards inhale and lift your arms spread out to the sides inline with your shoulders. Exhale and twist to the right as far as comfortable without moving your lower body; inhale and return to the center. Exhale and repeat twisting to the left side. Repeat the sequence for 3 reps on each side.

Double Leg Stretch

Lying on the mat with both knees pulled into your chest with your arms wrapped around your legs holding your knees, and your neck slightly lifted and chin tucked and abdominals scooped throughout the exercise; Inhale and flex straight up simultaneously extending the arms out next to your ears and your legs out at a 45 degree angle creating a V. Tighten the abdominals and buttocks and squeeze the inner thighs to maintain control. Hold for one second and exhale returning to the starting position.Repeat 5-10 times. The primary muscles used are the core, abdominals, legs and gluteal muscles. Focus on body control, stability and coordinating the movement with your breathing.

Single Leg Kicks

Start in prone position (face down). Bend your arms and bring your elbows in and close to your side. Make your palms into small fists keep your neck neutral and gaze on the floor. Engage and tighten your core, leg and gluteal muscles and lift your abdominals upward towards your spine (imagine trying to zip a pair of tight pants. It is an inward upward motion.)

Now kick one leg up behind you with your toes pointed bringing it towards your glutes and back.

Then flex your foot and kick your leg towards your glutes and back. Lower the leg back down and repeat with the other leg.

Do 5 reps with each leg.

Double Leg Kicks

Lying prone with your feet together place your arms behind your back and clasp your hands together bringing them as high up towards your shoulder blades as posible. Inhale and lower your hands down your back as you simultaneously kick your legs up behind your bringing them towards your glutes and back.

Exhale and release back to the starting position. Repeat 5 times. Focus on coordination of movement and breath.

Criss Cross

Laying face up on the mat, bring the bent knees to towards the chest as if in preparation to do crunches. Bring neck up and support it with clasped hands behind your head. Inhale and relax your shoulders letting gravity bring them down as you lift and twist the upper body so that your left elbow meets your right knee as you extend your left leg with leg and gluteal muscles tightened straight out at a 45° angle and exhale completely. Inhale and then exhale as you switch sides. Do as many reps as is comfortable for you. The primary muscles used are the core and abdominals and obliques and upper back muscles. The leg and gluteal muscles are also engaged in the extension and stability of the legs. Focus on maintaining the abdominals in position and engaged throughout the exercise and lifting from the muscles in the back and the leg muscles and gluteal muscles engaged for stability. See - Saw

Sit tall on mat with legs straight and apart with one foot on each corner of the mat. Inhale and extend the arms out straight at 90°. Exhale and turn down and rotate to the right so that left pinky finger is touching the side of the right small pinky toe. Keep the back tall as you twist from the waist.The right arm is extended straight backwards with the thumb parallel with the ground. Inhale and then exhale as you switch sides. Repeat for 4-6 reps. The primary muscles used are the abdominals, he muscles of the arms, back and legs. Focus on keeping the legs firm and stationed, the back tall abdominals engaged and twisting from the waist. Side kick series Lay on side with back and torso parallel to the edge of the mat. Extend your legs straight out at a 45° angle. Place one hand behind your head and one flat on the mat to support you. To make it easier when starting out do exercises 1-3 on one leg and then switch and do the other leg and then continue with exercises 4-6. Focus on precision of the movements.

Exercise 1 Raise your top leg and flex the ankle bring it in front of the lower leg and tap the heel twice raise it again and point the toes and tap it behind the lower leg twice. Repeat 8-10 times.

Exercise 2

Raise top leg straight up with toes pointed then flex the foot and lower it down again.

Repeat 8-10 times.

Exercise 3

Raise the top leg a few inches above

the lower leg in line with the hip.

Make 5 small distinct circles going

clockwise and then 5 small circles going counter clockwise.

Exercise 4

Raise the top leg and bend the knee.

With the knee bent trail the toes along

the bottom leg as you straighten it out.

Repeat 8-10 times.

Exercise 5

Cross the top leg over the bottom leg

and bring it towards your core so that the foot of the top leg is parallel with the foot of the bottom leg (toes are pointing in the same direction)

Now lift the lower leg about 6 -12 inches and lower it back down to the mat without letting it touch.

Repeat 8-10 times.


Lying face up on the mat with your legs together straight up in the air in pilates stance (V position with heels touching). Your core and abdominals are engaged and your neck is tucked slightly and your hands are behind your head supporting your neck as if you are going to do crunches. Inhale and slowly lower your legs clockwise making a SMALL circle like a corkscrew (keep your low back firmly planted on the mat throughout the entire exercise). Exhale as you bring the legs upward back towards your starting point repeat for 5 reps and then repeat the motion for 5 circles going counter clockwise each time inhaling as you lower the legs into the circle and exhaling as you bring them back up towards you starting point. Focus on precision.

¿Por qué practicar Pilates? Fuerza, tono y forma muscular, flexibilidad, resistencia, resistencia, coordinación, equilibrio, claridad mental, control cuerpo / respiración, estabilidad, conexión mente / cuerpo; en resumen, es realmente bueno para ti! Algunos ejercicios pueden parecer difíciles al comenzar, pero si sigue practicando se sorprenderá de lo rápido que se adapta su cuerpo. Si tiene problemas de muñeca, rodilla o espalda o cualquier otra lesión pasada o actual, tenga cuidado al intentar estos ejercicios. Léalos primero y elija qué ejercicios son adecuados para usted. ¡Disfrutar! Círculos de la pierna

Comience acostado sobre la colchoneta con una columna neutral. Engancha el núcleo y planta firmemente la columna vertebral y el torso en el tapete. Inhale y levante la pierna derecha y gire hacia el torso en un ángulo de 45 grados con los dedos apuntados. Exhale y baje la pierna hacia abajo y alrededor haciendo el carámbano tan grande como sea posible mientras mantiene el torso firmemente plantado en la colchoneta sin arquear la espalda baja o levantar las caderas. Inhale y suba la pierna para completar el círculo. Haga 3 más y cambie de dirección. Repita en el otro lado. Los músculos primarios utilizados son el núcleo para la estabilidad, los músculos aductores de la parte superior de la pierna y el gastrocnemio en la punta de los dedos y la banda IT se estira durante la rotación. Concéntrese en mantener el control del cuerpo haciendo que el núcleo se enganche y que el torso esté firmemente plantado en el tapete todo el tiempo. También enfóquese en el patrón de respiración de inhalar mientras sube y baja la pierna y exhala mientras baja y baja la pierna. Enrollar

Comience acostado sobre la colchoneta con una columna neutral. Engancha el núcleo y planta firmemente la columna vertebral y el torso en el tapete. Las piernas y los glúteos están en posición de pilates. Inhale y estire las manos por encima de la cabeza mientras continúa inhalando, levante los hombros mientras comienza a rodar la columna hacia arriba y exhale hasta la mitad.

En la parte superior, con los brazos paralelos a las piernas, inhala mientras alcanzas las piernas. Luego exhale mientras vuelve a bajar lentamente una vértebra a la vez con la "casa de energía de pilates" activada durante todo el ejercicio. En la parte inferior, inhale mientras alcanza los brazos por encima de la cabeza y estira la columna vertebral y comienza a enrollar nuevamente. Repita para 5 juegos. Los músculos primarios utilizados son los abdominales centrales, los músculos internos de las piernas y los músculos glúteos. Concéntrese en la estabilidad, articulando y bajando la columna vertebral una vértebra a la vez y sincronizando el movimiento con la secuencia de la respiración. Enfoca en subir una vertebrae a la vez. Estiramiento de la columna

Siéntese en el tapete con las piernas separadas en los tobillos a cada lado del tapete. Presiona hacia abajo con las palmas de las manos sobre el tapete. Siente que tu columna se endereza. Ahora pase las manos por las piernas hacia los tobillos. Una vez que tenga las manos sobre los tobillos, retroceda y ponga su atención en la columna mientras acentúa la curva "C". Haz 4-6 repeticiones.


Acuéstese (boca abajo) con los pies separados a la altura de las caderas y los brazos estirados hacia adelante. Usando la respiración percusiva (pequeñas inhalaciones y exhalaciones similares a pequeñas bocanadas de aire) inhale y levante el brazo derecho y la pierna izquierda a unos centímetros del suelo. Exhala y bájalas mientras levantas el brazo izquierdo y la pierna derecha a unos centímetros del suelo. Repita esta secuencia tan rápido como pueda mantener su coordinación durante 20 repeticiones.

Tire de la pierna hacia abajo

Comience en posición de tabla. Las manos planas en el suelo directamente debajo de los hombros y la cadera de los pies se separan equilibradamente sobre los dedos de los pies. Comience rodando hacia atrás y hacia adelante para estirar los músculos de la pantorrilla y la parte inferior de la pierna. Haz esto 5 veces. Inhale y levante la pierna derecha directamente detrás de usted. Balanceando el pie izquierdo, retroceda y luego avance. Exhale y baje la pierna derecha. Ahora inhala, levanta la pierna izquierda hacia atrás y repite el movimiento. Repita esta secuencia durante 5 repeticiones con cada pierna. 100 preparación

Comience acostado sobre la colchoneta con la columna vertebral y la pelvis neutras y las piernas levantadas y dobladas en un ángulo de 90 grados (posición superior de la tableta). Enganche el núcleo sacando los abdominales para sostener el cuello a medida que lo levanta y luego deje caer los hombros y extienda los brazos hacia afuera y hacia los costados. Los brazos son firmes y están a 2-4 pulgadas del suelo y las palmas están orientadas hacia abajo. Usando respiraciones de percusión, inhale mientras cuenta hasta 5 mientras exhala mientras cuenta hasta 5 mientras pulsa los brazos hacia arriba y hacia abajo en pequeños movimientos rápidos. Repite 10 veces creando los 100. Los músculos primarios utilizados son el núcleo y los abdominales. Los músculos de las piernas están ocupados para mantener las piernas fuera y estables, los brazos están enganchados en el movimiento de bombeo controlado y los músculos del cuello están enganchados mientras la barbilla está ligeramente doblada. Concéntrese en la respiración percusiva al ritmo del bombeo de los brazos y el mantenimiento de la estabilidad y el control en el cuerpo. Estiramiento de una pierna

Siéntese con las rodillas dobladas y equilibre el coxis. Sus brazos están envueltos alrededor de sus piernas sosteniendo las rodillas. La rodilla y los dedos de los pies deben apuntar en un ángulo de 90 °. Los abdominales se recogen y ahora inhalan y bajan la columna mientras empujas una rodilla hacia el pecho y enderezas la otra pierna en un ángulo de 45 ° hacia la colchoneta. . Los músculos de las piernas y los glúteos se tensan a medida que extiende la pierna y los dedos de los pies están apuntados. El cuello está levantado y ligeramente doblado. Exhale y luego cambie de pierna. Repita para 8-10 series. Los músculos primarios utilizados son los músculos centrales, abdominales, piernas y glúteos. Centrarse en el control del cuerpo y la estabilidad.

Giro de la columna vertebral