One Leg Teaser Pilates Mat Exercise

Teaser is one of those abdominal exercises that really shows us whether we are working our abs in a symmetrical way. It requires coordination and balance and will quickly help you develop core strength. 


One Leg Teaser - Pilates Mat Exercise

Pilates one leg teaser.
Angela Coppola/Getty Images

Teaser is hard but so worth it. It is a quick trip to flat abs and more importantly, a great core strength builder. Look for teaser to challenge your balance and symmetry. The muscles worked include the abs, the back muscles and the gluteus maximus of the buttocks.

Keep in mind that Teaser is meant to be performed smoothly, with control. Review your Pilates principles so you understand the importance of smooth movement.

Full Pilates teaser is even harder, with both legs extended. However, I recommend that you give this version a try first. Even if you know Teaser, it is sometimes good to go back and check your basics.

What You Need for One Leg Teaser

You will need an exercise mat or Pilates mat. You don't need any other equipment. You can perform this exercise at home, in a Pilates studio or at the gym.

Prepare for the One Leg Teaser

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Arms by your sides, palms up. You are in neutral spine. Take a moment to breathe, open your chest, let your back ribs drop, and relax your shoulders.
  • Legs are parallel -- make sure hips, knees, ankles, and feet line up.
  • Extend One Leg -- the knees are at the same height
  • Leave your ribcage down as you bring your arms in an arc overhead, as you would in arms over.

Reach Up and Roll Down

Pilates one leg teaser.
Pilates one leg teaser. Westend61/Getty Images

Now that you have prepared and are in position, you are ready for the movement for One Leg Teaser:


  • Bring your arms overhead as you nod your chin toward your chest and begin to roll your upper back off the mat.
    Keep your shoulders down and your scapula engaged in your back. This part is a similar move to Roll Up.
  • Continue the move as you come up and reach for your toes.
    This is a powerful moment where you have to just go for it. Use your abs and breath, not momentum. Think of energy shooting out the extended leg away from the deepening inward pull of the abdominals.
  • Tip: Don't try to pull yourself forward with your shoulders or throw your arms. When you come up, your lower back is in a slight C curve and your chest is lifted and open.



  • Roll down beginning the roll down with the lower abs, using abdominal control as you sequentially allow the spine to drop each vertebra down to the mat.
  • As you roll the upper spine down the arms will travel back overhead. Keep your shoulders down and don't allow the ribs to pop up.
  • Rest, Breathe and Repeat 4-6 times, changing extended legs
  • As your strength increases you can go for a fluid, non-stop rhythm of curl up, roll down.

Pilates Teaser Variations

Next, try the full version of Pilates teaser. It is part of the classical Pilates mat sequence and is known for being a difficult challenge for many people. In Return to Life Through Contrology, Joseph Pilates teaches this exercise. Variations have been developed, and while he taught starting from a sitting position, I demonstrate beginning from a lying down position.

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