Be Motivated With These 9 Pilates Exercises & 8 Greatest Ways

Pilates Exercises

Have you heard about Pilates and what it can do for your core?

Pilates is a mind-body exercise system that focuses on controlled movements them stemming from the core and abdominal muscles. It combines aspects of yoga, gymnastics, breath work, strength training and functional movements.

Pilates was developed 100 years ago by a German-born citizen named Joseph H Pilates. He immigrated to New York City around 1925 and established a loyal following with such notable dancers as George Balanchine and Martha Graham.

Hollywood actors, famous opera singers, and acrobats also favored his method then known as “Contrology,” since you had to control the spring-loaded machines he invented to tone the masses.

Today celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Lady Gaga, and Kerry Washington swear by it and even tough guys Sylvester Stallone, and Rinaldo Christiano fits this tried and true strength builder into their workout to do lists.

You may have heard of the Pilates reformer or Cadillac but did you know that you can do many of this tummy focused low-impact exercises at home?

Mr. Pilates also invented Pilates Mat Work and all you need is enough space to fit yoga or thicker Pilates mat!

We’ve put together 8 modern day Pilates moves to create a workout for you that can be done anywhere anytime… No fancy equipment needed. Make sure to check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program.

Be sure to watch the videos embedded so you can see the exact moves and learn the proper form and flow for each of these amazing ab-focused exercises.

Mat Pilates Workout Info

1. Roll Down With A Twist

TARGETS: Abs and obliques

WORKING ON: Ab and core strength, spinal flexion and rotation, pelvis stabilization. To know more about roll down with a twist-click here.

2. Double Leg Stretch


WORKING ON: Strengthening abs and trunk and hips, torso stabilization while moving the arms and legs, stretching the lower back hips and legs, mobilizing the hips. To know more about double leg stretch click here.

3. Single Leg Bridge

TARGETS: Lower back, hips, glutes inner thighs, abs

WORKING ON: Articulating the spine, stabilizing the torso, strengthening back of the hips and thighs. To know more about Single Leg Bridge click here.

4. Side Plank Bends

TARGETS: abs, shoulder girdle, obliques, core

WORKING ON: Shoulder and upper back strength, shoulder and spine stabilization, deep abdominal and core strengthener, lengthening through the spine. To know more about Side Plank Bends click here.

5. Rolling Like A Ball

TARGETS: Abs and spine

WORKING ON: Balance and hip stabilization, shoulder stabilization, spinal mobility, c curve, control from your abs and center. To know more about rolling like a ball click here.

6. Pile Or Pilates Style Squat

TARGETS: Quads, Calves, Core

WORKING ON: Total body, Coordination, Leg Strengthening, Spine Hip and Ankle Mobility, Core control. To know more about pilates style squat click here.

7. Lunge With Hammer Bicep Curl

TARGETS: Quads, Calves, Core, Hamstrings, Glutes, Biceps

WORKING ON: Total bod compound movement, Coordination, Leg Strengthening, Spine Hip and Ankle Mobility, Core stability and Arm Strength. To know more about Lunge With Hammer Bicep Curl click here.

8. Front Back Leg Sweep

TARGET: Abs, Hip flexors, and extensors

WORKING ON: Hip flexion and extension, torso shoulder and pelvic stabilization, hip mobilization and strength, hip and leg differentiation. To know more about front back leg sweep click here.

9. Childs Pose with Rotation

TARGETS: Torso, back, neck, shoulder, and chest

WORKING ON: stretches the spine, torso, and neck. Stretches the hips and waist muscles.

Increases* coordination. To know more about child’s pose with rotation click here.

Childs Pose with Rotation

Try to complete all 9 exercises in a row, as a great core focused routine you can do with no fancy extras needed. But let’s get to the most important part. Sticking to your routine…

Here are some motivational tips and techniques proven to help you stay the course on your Pilates and fitness journey. As a fitness trainer, I have seen which clients do well and hit their goals, and which ones do not.

Exercisers that understand the temporary discomfort of adjusting their schedule, workout intensity or meal prep times, know that this feels uncomfortable now.

But they know the goal they are trying to reach will give them the real satisfaction of attaining that desired health milestone.

Mindset is the best way to help overcome the obstacles that will derail you from getting to your Pilates workouts! Pilates is best when done 3- 5 times a week. We hope you use these tactics to fit Pilates and fitness into your life.

1. Schedule It! Get It On Your Calendar- Digital Or Handwritten Both Work Here

If you fail to plan you plan to fail. If you place workout times in your calendar and make them a priority (as you would a work-related task), it is much more likely that you WILL workout. I challenge you to schedule your workout times for the next 30 days!

2. State Your Intentions

This is where you can think big for a moment. Maybe you have thought about running a marathon, or getting back into an exercise and feel good routine.

Then write it down. Or say it aloud. You don’t have to go announcing this to everyone, especially if you are on the shy side. You don’t have to post it on social media, but there is something empowering about owning your wants. We will break it down next…

3. Set Goals

This is where we need to get realistic. Have you heard of the SMART system? It is an acronym used in business and fitness and goal setting. It means that goals should be Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time Bound

Set Goals

If I wanted to run a marathon, but I had not been running in a year, you could set a goal using the system above. Examples below:

  • In the next month, I will run 3 times per week for 2 miles.
  • In month 2 I will run 4 times per week for 2.5 miles
  • In the next 3 month, I will build back to my 5 x per week for 3 miles practice. From there I can re-asses my goals and adjust higher to once I have established running as a habit in my life again.

If you were brand new to an exercise program like Pilates you could set a SMART goal as such:

  • I will commit to unrolling my Pilates mat 3 times per week on MWF for the next 2 weeks. I will start with just 15 minutes per mat session; I will complete more time or days if I desire so.
  • I will commit to Pilates 3 times per week for 20 minutes 3 times per week and add more days or time if I desire.

Both of these goals are specific to a sport, are realistic and attainable and have a set date. This is much more effective than saying “I want to be healthier” or “I want to run.”

4. Start With Small Actionable Steps

For an experienced runner with a layoff notice, I did not put very high times. She may not be able to run her normal higher times, and some competitive people may get discouraged by having a lower time.

So if we aim more to get back in the habit of running and focus on achieving a small goal, it sets us in a more positive mind frame.

A big tip for beginners is to start with just 15 minutes of exercises.

It does not need to be intense, but it can be if you wanted it to! This is about getting used to making your new program a part of your priorities. This takes some adjusting perhaps to getting up earlier in the morning to workout.

Maybe you need to sacrifice your television shows or internet time at night to squeeze in your steps.

This will fall into the next tip very heavily…

5. It Takes 30 Days To Make A Habit

If you can get through the first 30 days, which is the hardest, you will have helped to reprogram your brain into thinking fitness is your habit. Have you ever noticed that you always brush your teeth? And if you don’t you feel off?

That is a long-term habit that is engrained into your brain. That’s what we look to achieve with a daily workout or any training or nutrition plan. We look to have it become something we do on autopilot, without thinking about it much. Start today by adding it to the calendar!

6. Try Exercising Outdoors!

Maybe a walk for a few miles after dinner or a morning power walk or jog? Added into your schedule? In the fall and spring this may be easier but check out all the benefits.

Fresh air has more oxygen, natural landscapes can help reduce* stress, plus you get increased levels of vitamin D from the sun. Also exercising outside can help to increase* energy levels and fewer feelings of tension, anger, and depression. It’s cheaper than a gym……

7. Practice Gratitude

Practice Gratitude

In today’s world of social media, it is very common to get trapped in the feeling of inadequacy. You may see friends who are thinner, have more money or seem to be having a better life than you. This sets up a negative feedback pattern in your brain.

Here’s the best way to shift from this obstacle.

  • Focus on the many things you DO have. And actively keep a gratitude list at hand.
  • Write down a list of the people, places, memories or money that you do have.
  • Try keeping a daily gratitude journal as well. It helps to start your moaning by writing down 3 things that you are grateful for.
  • Gratitude is known to be the precursor of creativity.

8. Find Your “Cheerleaders”

We mean the people that cheer you on! She may not have pom poms, but your cheerleader is someone who always seems to believe in you. She supports you in any endeavors.

But she also will let you know if you are not being realistic since she only wants the best for you! She may be a friend, co-worker, neighbor or old school mate. You can also find so many support groups online too.

To summarize, we have given you an introduction to the world of Pilates. We hope you enjoy this fabulous total body toning bodyweight workout plan! And to help you really stay motivated to do Pilates we have eight ways to combat obstacles.

Don’t forget to share this article with your friend who’d benefit from this especially if you think they are one of your cheerleaders!

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Contributor : Jessi Albin (Consumer Health Digest)

Jessi FIT Pilates is an Online & San Francisco based Pilates, Wellness, Company that specializes in woman warriors wanting to look, feel and perform with vibrancy. Founder Jessi Albin is a Master Fitness & Pilates Trainer, Nutritionist, Blogger, and an ABSolute pilates Goddess! She is best known for her ability to motivate everyone. Using her knowledge of movement combined with her playful demeanor, colorful cues and an absolute zest for helping students reach their full potential. She has 20,000 hours of experience, and she’s here to help YOU Strengthen, Stretch and Smile! She just launched her online studio, and she resides in Oakland California. Be sure to check out her free Pilates and Nutrition e-book at

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