8 Simple & Effective Pilates Exercises for Beginners

Updated on April 8, 2019

Getting into health and fitness workout routines are almost always exciting and pleasantly challenging especially if you’re really serious about it. You may look around on various fitness programs prior to finally deciding on having one - Running, Zumba Yoga, Pilates or otherwise.

If you decide on Pilates, make sure to effectively comprehend what it’d take for you to accomplish its routines especially if you absolutely know nothing about it. Though most fitness programs’ primary aim is to improve your general physique, be mindful that Pilates focuses on strengthening your core working through the rest of your body from the center going outwards.

Proper breathing, rhythm and pacing are embedded norms of Pilates exercises. For Pilates to work best for you, keeping your mind at one with your body is crucial.

Pilates Exercises That Are Safe, Easy And Effective.

Here are a few popular Pilates exercises that are safe, easy but definitely effective. Like any other fitness programs though, warming your body up before starting a workout is equally important to avoid injuries. Some simple cardio and light stretching will do, as you will be doing more movements and stretching within the session. Again, breathing is an important aspect of Pilates, so pay particular attention on how to breathe when.

Heel Slides

1. One basic mat exercise is called the Heel Slides. Lie down on your mat and slowly slide up one of your heels while inhaling. Slide your heel down and bring up the other one as you exhale. You can also do the same routine for both of your feet maintaining the breathing. Count to 15 to complete this routine.

The Roll-Up

2. The Roll-Up. At first, it may look like a crunch or a sit-up. Slowly roll up from a lying position poking each portion of your belly. Roll back down laying one spine at a time. Do the same routine as much as you can regardless if your feet are extended or bent. It is a classic abdominal exercise to flatten one’s abs and is said to be 6 times more effective than an ordinary sit-up.

The Chest Lift

3. The Chest Lift is similar to the Roll Up as it also focuses on the abs but has more emphasis on the upper portion of your abdomen. Clench your hands at the back of your head while lying down on bended knee. Lift your chest up while inhaling and exhale as you lie back down. Do the same routine 12 to 15 times.

The Hundred

4. The Hundred is another exercise which works on your core and stomach, with extra concentration on breathing and endurance. It requires your legs to straighten up high while lying flat but constantly keeping your head down.

The Bridge

5. The Bridge works on your core, back, legs and glutes by lifting your hips while maintaining stability on your hips and pelvis. Just make sure you can still see the tip of your knees as you raise your hips. Bring your hips back down and take some breather. Continue 12 times.

The One Leg Circle

6. The One Leg Circle concentrates on hips and pelvis. You need to raise your leg up to the ceiling while the other leg stays flat. Create some circles with your extended foot with 8 to 10 counts on each direction. Do the same circles on the other direction. Repeat the process on the other leg.

Muffin Top Leg Lifts

7. Muffin Top Leg Lifts can burn your muffin top or beer belly if you do it right consistently. Just lift your leg diagonally while maintaining balance on your other foot. Just raise your legs diagonally and slowly and let it work on your love handles perfectly. To create more burning pressure, hold your leg up and create tiny little pulses. Do the same on the other foot.

Heel Tap

8. Heel Tap is achieved by lying face down on the mat with your hands under your shoulders and your elbows on the side. Roll your legs out so that the knees and the top of your thighs are pointing away from each other. Bring your feet back in ensuring your heels are tapped twice. Repeat it for 12 to 15 times.

Pilates Equipment and Apparatuses

While Pilates equipment and apparatuses are not usually used by beginners, there are many ways a Pilates starter can use them, although preferably with a Pilates instructor in a gym or studio. While these machines and devices look intimidating, the exercises done using them are in essence the same principles of Pilates - just enhanced and more challenging. You can do ‘The Hundred’ on a Pilates reformer or use a Pilates band during the stretch exercises, adding extra resistance and efficiency.

The more consistent you are with your Pilates exercises and sessions, the more likely you will advance to the intermediate level at a short period of time. While basic Pilates exercises are modified for different levels and programs, the principle of improving core and alignment is the same.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 

      5 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your article about the different exercises. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I tried some of the exercises that you are showing. They worked for my body. Thank you for remaining a good thing for people's body miss Iranav.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think i was made for pis exercise! I love the way i feel when i work out using that technique and i definitely see results. It kills my abs and I love it!


    • IrinaV profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks, Nicole. I'm glad you liked it!

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      I do pilates at my gym once a week and these are some of the moves we warm up with. Great recap here and great overview!


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