3 Pilates Moves to Strengthen Your Core

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 15, 2021

80% of Americans experience lower back pain at least once in their lives. A simple way to prevent this is to strengthen your core, including the pelvis, abdominal, and back muscles. Together, this muscle group constitutes the core muscles. 

By incorporating core workouts into your daily exercise routine, you can improve your posture, prevent back pain, and strengthen your core. Make sure you lay on an exercise or yoga mat when doing these exercises. 

Take deep breaths and exhale deeply, as this helps in activating your core muscles. 

Pilates not only strengthens your core but also improves your overall quality of life. These exercises have also been found to have a positive impact on anxiety and depression. These pilates moves engage all your body muscles and promote a good breathing pattern. 


The bridge is a useful core exercise that also engages your buttocks and hips. Make sure you are on a yoga mat. As a beginner, it is best if you use a stability ball to do a bridge. 

  • Lie on your back and rest your legs on the ball. 
  • Inhale deeply and make sure your abdominal muscles are tight. 
  • While tightening your core, exhale. 
  • Lift your buttocks and hips from the floor, forming a bridge. 
  • Hold the position steadily for three breaths. This position works your backside and core muscles. 
  • Return to the original position and begin again. 
  • If you want to make the exercise more challenging, raise one leg off the ball. Then, do the same with your other leg. 

Single-Leg Stretch

This pilates move works your hip extensors and abdominal muscles. 

  • Lie straight on your back and keep your legs in a tabletop position. 
  • Curl your head and exhale, lifting your shoulders, neck, and head off the floor. You should be looking at your knee. 
  • Put your hands at the side of your knees and inhale. 
  • Exhale and stretch out your right leg at a 45-degree angle. If you cannot do that, make a lower angle. Make sure your pelvis and back are in the same position. Do not arch your back. 
  • Extend the hand on the side of your right leg and reach the left ankle. 
  • Inhale and bend your knee to a 90-degree position again. 
  • Now, do the same with the left leg. Do eight reps on each leg. 

Leg Lift

Leg lifts engage your back and abdominal muscles. 

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees. Your feet should be hip-width apart. 
  • Inhale deeply into the back of the ribs. 
  • Exhale and draw your abdominals and pelvic floor upwards and then inward. 
  • Move your right leg into a tabletop position. Don't move your back, pelvis, or hips. 
  • Inhale and hold your position. 
  • Exhale and lift your second leg into the tabletop position. Don't arch your back. 
  • Hold the position for five seconds. 
  • Exhale and bring your feet back to the original position. 

Show Sources

Mayo Clinic: "Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles."
Mayo Clinic Health System: "How to strengthen your core."
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: "Do Pilates-based exercises following total knee arthroplasty improve postural control and quality of life?"
Power Pilates: "How to do a Single Leg Stretch in Pilates?"

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