8 Pilates Moves to Help You Get a Leaner Body!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
My first exposure to Pilates was in summer of the 2009, but since I was in the midst of training for my first marathon, I found I did not have the time or the energy to devote to attending a weekly class. But the few months that I did participate in Pilates, I grew to have a deep appreciation for this amazing workout. I knew it would be just a matter of time before I found myself back in the Pilates studio.

This year in my quest to bringing more balance in my life I took up Pilates once again. My class is a combination of workouts where half the class is done on the mat and the other half is done on the Pilates Reformer.

What I love about Pilates is the focus and concentration one must have when doing the exercises. Because Pilates focuses on the abdominal and back muscles, also known as the core, it makes a great addition to my current workout routine which includes running, spinning and kettlebells. Pilates also helps with pelvic stabilization, flexibility, strength, as well as postural alignment, with an added bonus in helping one obtain better mind/body awareness. And because you do very few repetitions and do not take the muscles to full fatigue, Pilates can be done on a daily basis.

While many people equate Pilates to the reformer, I have received some really great benefits doing my mat exercises, especially at home. Below are links to some of my favorite mat Pilates movements.

Abs, Obliques


Core, Inner and Outer Thigh

Side Leg Circles

Abs, Back, Quads

Leg Pull Front

Toe Dips

Leg Circles

Triceps, Biceps, Core, Butt, Hamstrings, Back

Donkey Kickbacks

Lower Abs

Single Leg Stretch


Back Extension

Check out the links below for some of Coach Nicole's favorite Pilates workout routines.

Intro to Pilates

12-Minutes Pilates Abs Workout

10-Minutes Pilates Hips and Thighs Workout

Have you ever participated in a Pilates class? Do you prefer the mat or the reformer, or both? If you have never practiced Pilates, would these exercises encourage you to do so?