Want Abs? 7 Pilates Poses You Need to Master

pilates poses you need to master

Ever wonder how celebrities sculpt such svelte physiques? Pilates is part of their workout routines. If you’re looking to tighten your tummy, try out these Pilates poses for a stronger core.

Pilates Tips and Tricks

Before you get started, here are some things to keep in mind:

Stay in control

Each movement should be done with intention. This means focusing on form and not letting momentum take over.

Don’t forget to breathe

Focusing on your breathing is an essential Pilates principle. Have you ever noticed that you stop breathing when you’re doing a challenging move? Proper breathing fuels your muscles. Try exhaling when you’re exerting the most effort, like lowering yourself into a push-up.

Don’t stop moving

After your first Pilates class, you’ll notice that you do dozens of movements with little to no break in between. This constant movement challenges your muscles without using heavy weights. Skip a rep or two if your abs are on fire, but don’t skip the entire exercise.

Variety is the spice of life

You’ll notice that many exercises below are familiar to other strength group fitness classes you’ve taken in the past. Don’t worry about getting bored. Instructors often have you repeat the move with slight variations until it’s time to move on to the other side.

7 Popular Pilates Poses: Step by Step

The Hundred

Get your blood pumping and your breathing on point with this classic Pilates warm-up.

  • Lay on your back, and bring your knees to table-top position.
  • Keeping your abs engaged, lift your shoulders off the floor, and reach your arms a few inches off the floor.
  • Inhale as you pump your arms up and down for five counts; then exhale for 5 counts.
  • Repeat this until you reach 100.


pilates plank

Planks are one of the best core exercises out there; you see it creep up in everything from boot camp to Group Power. Proper form is the only thing standing in the way between you and a stronger core.

  • Start on all fours, making sure that your hands are planted firmly right below your shoulders.
  • Stretch out one leg at a time until you are on your toes.
  • Once you’re in position, keep your core tight, and keep your body in a straight line.


pilates roll up

According to Pilates instructors, each Pilates roll-up is equivalent to 6 sit ups!

  • Begin by laying down on your mat, stretching your arms towards the wall behind you.
  • Keeping your lower back anchored to the floor, inhale as you sit up, and reach your arms over your head.
  • Exhale, and lower yourself back down to the mat, vertebrae by vertebrae.


bicycle crunch

Work your obliques with this classic bicycle move.

  • Start by laying on your back, legs in table-top position.
  • Place your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows wide and your shoulders slightly lifted.
  • Exhale as you bring your right shoulder to your left knee, simultaneously straightening your right leg.
  • Inhale as you lower yourself back to starting position, this time bringing your left shoulder to right knee, straightening your left leg.

Slow and steady wins the race for this one. We know you often see this move be done in rapid fire, but we promise your abdominal muscles will be on fire if you do each rep with control.


This move is more like a stretch than it is an ab exercise; it challenges your core to keep your lower body still while your upper body does all the work.

  • Sit up straight with your legs stretched out on the mat in front of you, slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Raise your arms to be parallel to the floor, like you’re making a capital T.
  • When you’re ready, twist your right arm to your left foot. Make sure to sit tall and only move your torso.
  • Exhale as you move back to start.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Double Leg Stretch

pilates double leg stretch

Are you ready for a challenge?

  • Begin by laying on the floor and curling your knees into your chest.
  • Make sure to keep your spine flat on the mat.
  • On an inhale, extend your knees and arms in opposite directions, like you are the rope in the game of tog o- war.
  • Exhale and hug your knees into your chest.

Single Leg Lower

Go to any Group Centergy class, and we promise you’ll see this move pop up during the abs track.

  • Lay down on your mat, and place your hands behind your neck to support your head.
  • Pretend that your legs are glued together, and lift them to the ceiling, keeping your toes pointed.
  • Lower one leg until it’s about 6 inches off the ground.
  • Raise it back to start, and repeat the movement with the opposite leg.

Ready to try take your new Pilates moves for a spin? Download your free class pass to get started.


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