The Best Pilates Exercises For Your Body

Most of us are aware that Pilates can be beneficial to your body. It lengthens, develops flexibility, and raises your heart rate without the need of burpees, in addition to toning you from head to toe.

Andrea Marcellus, pilates instructor, trainer, and founder of the app AND/life, states that “when done at a moderate tempo, Pilates delivers a cardiovascular benefit.” “It also emphasizes the eccentric (lengthening) phase of muscular contraction rather than the concentric (shortening) phase, which leads to faster strength gains.”

While there are various Pilates exercises to pick from, Marcellus offered his favorites in three categories: abs, legs, and buttocks. You’ll definitely feel the burn by the time you’ve finished this list.

Criss cross with straight legs

“Any routines that take the legs away from the body are the greatest because they create a strong contraction in the transverse abdominals that not only tones but also creates incredible core stability,” Andrea explains. This technique also engages the obliques and rectus abdominis, giving you the best of both worlds.”

How to go about it:

Lie down flat on your back. Curl your head and shoulders off the floor and draw your legs to the ceiling with a scooped belly. As you lower your right leg to the floor, bring your right elbow toward your left leg, then switch to the opposite side. Consider riding a bicycle but keeping your legs straight the entire time.
Rep for a total of ten sets.

Leg stretch with two legs

Why Andrea likes it: “The movement of your arms and legs generates energy and blood flow, and it strengthens both your transverse and rectus abdominis muscles.”

How to go about it:

Begin by lying on your back on a mat with your legs in a table-top posture. Raise your shoulders off the ground and draw your navel inwards into your spine.
Reach your arms and legs as far away from your body’s center as you can on an inhalation, maintaining your belly scooped. As the knees come in, circle your arms out to the sides to return to your home position.
Rep 10 times without allowing your head or shoulders to touch the ground.

Do a ‘diamond’ stretch with both legs straight.

“This exercise focuses the rectus and transverse abdominals while disengaging the hip flexors,” Andrea says. As a result, your abs will have to work harder.”

How to go about it:

Curl your head and shoulders off the floor and draw your legs to the ceiling in a diamond form with a scooped belly.
On an inhale, lower the diamond form to the floor, and on an exhale, raise it to the ceiling.
Rep 10 times more.

Footwork big pliés

Why Andrea likes it: “In my opinion, the best standing leg exercise in all of Pilates is footwork big pliés, since it strengthens and tones every muscle in your legs evenly from your toes to your hips.”

How to go about it:

Stand on your toes in first position with your legs tightly together, heels together, and toes apart, using a counter for balance. Drop your hips to the floor while maintaining a neutral spine. You can use the counter to help you lower yourself without tipping your torso forward.
Return to a standing position on an exhale, encircling your legs and deepening your abdominals.
Do three sets of ten reps, or numerous sets of 30 to 60 seconds at a time.

Shoulder bridges on one leg

“This exercise strengthens and lengthens your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, as well as your transverse abdominals and back postural muscles,” says Andrea.

How to go about it:

Keep your spine in neutral as you raise your hips off the floor while lying on your back with your knees bent and abs scooped. Return your foot to the floor and slowly drop your hips by extending one leg out in front of you until it is in line with your body. On each leg, do 12 reps.

Leg circles on the side

“The leg action tones the quadriceps, hip, and glutes, while the hard side-balanced position works your abdominals and back postural muscles,” Andrea says.

How to go about it:

Stack your shoulders and hips while lying on your side. Your legs should be pulled long, together, and slightly turned out.
Slowly circle your top leg 10 times in each direction while maintaining a steady torso. Rep with the other leg.

Hip raises into leg extensions are named 1 of the greatest Pilates exercises for your buttocks.

“This exercise super-tones the glutes while stretching and strengthening the quads,” Andrea says.

How to go about it:

Lie down on your back with your feet propped up on a huge ball.
On you exhale, raise your hips into a bridge position without allowing the ball to move.
On an inhale, push the ball away, then return it on an exhale.
Roll down through the spine to neutral with an inhale.

Swimming is number two.

Why Andrea likes it: “This exercise is commonly associated with back strengthening, but it’s also excellent for training your quads and glutes while also stretching your hip flexors and hamstrings.”

How to go about it:

Lie face down on your stomach, arms extended in front of you.
Lift your torso and legs off the floor by contracting your abdominals and inhaling.
Lift your right arm and left leg higher while keeping your arms and legs straight and extended, then switch, continuing at a moderate speed.
Complete 10 reps before relaxing in child’s pose.