15 Minute Home Pilates Routine

This set of Pilates exercises is designed to provide you with an at-home routine and help you build familiarity with Pilates mat exercises, whether you are new or experienced. These exercises develop the core strength, stability, and flexibility for which Pilates is famous.

The muscular focus for each exercise is noted so you can target your routine. Please keep in mind that all Pilates exercises engage the core abdominal muscles. Feel free to choose any from the list for an ab workout. There are modification notes in the full instructions for each exercise.

Pilates Warm-Up Moves

The warm-up set of exercises are very important in teaching the foundations of Pilates movement. They also prepare the body for safely executing more challenging exercises later. Even if you skip the later moves, choose at least two or three warm-up moves to begin each Pilates routine you do. Grab a mat and begin.

1

Ab Scoop

1:02

Watch Now: Ab Scoop Your Way to a Six-Pack

Exercise: Chest Lift/Ab Scoop.

Target Area: Abdominals—especially the six-pack or Rectus Abdominis.

This is not a crunch. The abdominals must be pulled way down into a deep scoop as you use them to control a slow, smooth curl up and roll down. Precision in this type of scoop is one of the secrets of Pilates.

2

The Hundred

1:40

Watch Now: How to Do the Classic Hundred Like a Pro

Exercise: The Hundred

Target Area: Abdominals, Breathing

Your abdominals will be deeply pulled in, so you will have to use your full lung capacity by breathing into your back and lower ribs. Use your abs to hold yourself up—don't let your neck and shoulders do all the work.

3

The Roll Up

1:56

Watch Now: How to Do a Roll Up

Exercise: The Roll Up

Target Area: Abdominals

Use your abdominals to roll up and down with control. Do not rely on momentum or letting your legs lift off the mat. Pilates is about control, and this is where you build that control.

4

One Leg Circle

1:24

Watch Now: How to Do a One Leg Circle

Exercise: One Leg Circle.

Target Area: Abdominals, Thighs, Hip Flexors

The abdominals keep the pelvis stable as the leg moves. No rocking and rolling! Be sure to use your full range of motion without losing control.

5

Rolling Like a Ball

1:00

Watch Now: How to Nail Rolling Like a Ball

Target Area: Abdominals, Spinal Mobility

Stay in your curve for the whole exercise. Initiate the roll back with the abs and not by falling back or using momentum.

6

Open Leg Balance

0:54

Watch Now: Challenge Your Abs with the Open Leg Balance

Exercise: Open Leg Balance

Target Area: Abdominals, Hamstring Mobility

Use your abdominals and back muscles to control the pose. Try to work with the straightest arms and legs possible. If it doesn't work at first, keep practicing. You'll get there!

7

The Side Kick Series

3:55

Watch Now: 4 Side Kicks to Tone Your Thighs & Core

Exercise: Side Kick Series

Target Area: Abdominals, all thigh muscles—especially inner thigh

Work the torso as well as the legs. The ribs should stay supported throughout each repetition. Do not let them sink to the mat.

8

Front Support/Plank

1:30

Watch Now: The Right Way to Plank in Pilates

Target Area: Back Extensors, Abdominals, Shoulders, Arms

Stay in one line from your heels to your ears. Though the focus is somewhat on the upper body, if you engage the legs and imagine squeezing the gluteals together, the exercise will be easier.

9

Saw

1:20

Watch Now: The Pilates Saw is the Ultimate Stretch

Exercise: Saw

Target Area: Hamstrings, Inner thigh, Obliques, Back Mobility

Keep your hips anchored and level as you twist to the side. Use opposition when reaching forward so that you also reach back at the same time.

10

Mermaid

1:10

Watch Now: Reward Your Body with the Mermaid Side Stretch

Exercise: Mermaid

Target Area: Side stretch

Bend your body directly sideways as you stretch, as though you were between two sheets of glass. Keep the hip on your stretching side down.

11

Swan Prep

1:25

Watch Now: How to Do the Swan Stretch for Your Front Body

Exercise: Swan Prep

Target Area: Back extensors, Abdominal stretch

Swan provides a wonderful counter stretch to the many forward flexion exercises that we do in Pilates. This is an everyday move.

12

Wall Roll Down

Wall roll down
Ben Goldstein

Exercise: Wall Roll Down

Target Area: Abdominals, Back and Hamstring stretch

Use this exercise as a transition from doing your Pilates routine to carrying good posture into your daily life. Squeeze this move into your daily routine.

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