10 Best Beginner Pilates Exercises

The most important moves to master core strength at home.

September brings the feeling of new beginnings as summer closes and school begins.  Are you dreaming of a new way to get fit toned and flexible?

If you're brand new to Pilates, learn these foundational moves so you can start getting a stronger and more toned core and increase your flexibility. 

This routine will target the entire abdominal area, obliques, and many muscles in your back, butt and thighs.  

Since there are over 500 mat moves possible in Pilates- these beginner exercises will help you ease into more challenging Pilates workouts.

Learn proper movement and techniques as we combine with our breath., no equipment needed.  

Watch the videos and follow along with me to try these slow and controlled core focused moves.  Do them in succession for a great beginner Pilates workout.


1. Standing Shoulder Lifts

Increasing awareness to your neck and shoulders can help to alleviate stiffness.

Targets: Upper back and Shoulders

Working On: Shoulder connection, neck and shoulder strengthening and mobility


2.  Neutral vs imprinted Spine

Proper placement of your torso, hips and shoulders and spine will help you find perfect alignment for many Pilates workouts!

Targets: Abs 

Working On: Ab and core strength, spinal flexion and, pelvis stabilization

Try For - 30 seconds

3.  Ab Curl

Learn the proper technique is the ab burner!

Targets: Abs, neck and hips

Working On: Ab Strengthening, Pelvis stabilization, Spine mobility, Shoulder Girdle connection.

Try for 10- 15 reps


4.  Beginner Hip Bridge

Let’s learn to work the back body and feel the gates and thighs awaken.

Targets: Lower back, hips, glutes inner thighs, abs

Working On: Articulating the spine, stabilizing the torso, Strengthening back of the hips and thighs and glute/ butt muscles

Try for 10-20 reps

5. Beginner Roll Up

The absolute definitive exercise for learning to focus on slow and controlled movements that originate in your core.  

Targets: Abs, Core, and low back

Working On:  Strengthening Abs Core and Hips, Spinal Flexion and Extension, Stabilizing the Shoulder Girdle,  Stabilizing the pelvis

Try for 8- 15 reps


7.  Beginner Ab Scissors

This move is not only great for your abs but it helps to lengthen the legs. 

Targets: Abs and hamstrings (back of thighs)

Working On: Strengthening the abs and lower back, Stabilizing the torso while moving the limbs. Stretching / muscle lengthening of the legs, differentiating the leg bones from the hip bones/ pelvis

Try for 8- 12 each leg

8.  Side Lying Lifts

Pilates works the body in many different angles, learn how to lengthen and work the side body with proper alignment

Targets: Abs, obliques inner thighs and hips

Working On: Hip flexion , torso shoulder and pelvic stabilization, hip mobilization and strength, hip and leg differentiation

Try fo 10- 15 each side



9.  Kneeling Push Up

This is a mainstay in any Pilates or home workout routines. 

Targets: Abs, Shoulders, triceps and Chest

Working On: Shoulder and upper back strength, shoulder and spine stablization, deep abdominal and core strengthener, lengthening through the spine, 



10.  Fencing Lunge Crunch

Lunges are great to tone and strengthen the legs with no equipment.  here’s a pilates take on them.

Targets: Legs Butt Hips and core

Working On: Strengthening all muscles of legs and hips, learning proper leg and hip placement, mobilizing legs and hips, engaging the core

Pilates is best when practiced 3- 4 times per week.  Repeating the movements is important to establish the new motions in your muscles.  Then you to can safely do the more advanced core and pilates work ahead. You can repeat the moves two times though for an extra challenge.

If you are ready to dive deeper into a Beginner pilates plan, click the below button for FREE access to my e-Book.   Make it a September to remember.... Learn the safest and most effective way to get toned and flexible

If you found this useful, feel free to share this with your bestie!

5 Ways To Stay Motivated to Work Out

5 Ways To Stay Motivated to Work Out


What's holding you back on your fitness path? 

Do you struggle to with actually waking up for your morning workouts? 

Does something just always seem to come up last minute and prevent you from hitting that Pilates class you love places ?  Are your summer travels bringing you to Here are my five favorite tips to stay motivated on your path

Partner Pilates Workout- 29 Moves to Do with a Friend

Partner Pilates Workout- 29 Moves to Do with a Friend

Bored with exercising alone? Grab a friend and let’s sculpt outdoors.  In this workout two is definitely better than one.  Research shows that partnering with a friend can help you stick to your fitness program.  You'll have a bit in accountability partner to fast track you to your goals, as well as someone to cheer you on as you approach that last rep in your ab workout!.  It can also turn a dull and boring workout into a Pilates session full of challenges & smiles!

The Ultimate Pilates Slide Workout

Happy June!  Come slide into a fun Pilates & Core workout with me...

We'll be using Gliding Discs, an effective way to transform your abs & core from home, without ANY fancy or expensive equipment!

This series will spice up your Pilates home workouts so you can strengthen & tone.  It mimicks some intense Pilates Reformer work  (if you don't know what a reformer is no worries) like Bridges and Wheelbarrow. Then we flow into dynamic yogic flexibility moves, to boost with posture and stretch out tightness.  

I'm using Slidez from SKLZ in the videos but if you do not have a pair, you can use a towel under your feet and hands (on hard floors) or paper plates (on carpeting).  Use this like to purchase on Amazon http://amzn.to/2s4skZ5 

The Workout:  

Each clip is a mini sequence or circuit of exercises. You may do them all in a row, a great Pilates total body workout or add a sequence into your current routine for added core challenges....

I offer rep ranges in the clips, but you can also try HIIT style, by performing each move 45 seconds then resting for 15 seconds.

For best results, try performing the whole workout 3 times a week.

Super Slide Sequence 1- Begin to Burn...

Cat Cow- Spine Mobility

  • Start with knees right under hips and hands stacked under shoulders.
  •  Inhale, round the spine. & initiate movement from the belly by drawing rips up to ceiling then tucking chin to tail.  
  • Exhale to arch by sending hips back dropping belly and looking up. Keep shoulders back off ears and stabilize the slidez with hands.

WheelBarrow - Core Power 

I broke down in the video the difference between hinging at shoulders vs hips, during wheelbarrow you will do both!

  • Come into a kneeling plank body in a long line from head to knees ,hands over slidez.  Drop shoulder down to waist & open chest, & wrap those ab muscles tight to spine!  
  • Slide arms forward opening the armpits and sending the hips toward the floor, exhaling.  
  • Bring hands back under shoulder as you bend hips back to start, inhaling


Super Slide Sequence 2 Booty & Core

Alternating Leg Stretch- Core & Hips

  • Place slidez under heels with knees bent & parallel.  Find neutral (natural spine curve) position in the lower back, with a small space between the low back & the mat.  
  • BRACE abs tight around the spine, like a corset, to stabilize the torso.  Slide right foot out. Return to center. Slide left foot out..

Reach & Crunch - Abs!

  • Place hands behind nape of neck & gently curl chin to chest exhaling.  Using leg pattern above, lower chest & head and slide to stretch one leg out, inhaling.  
  • Slide and bend  leg in as you lift chest exhaling.  Then lower head as you switch leg, continue alternating the legs.  As head lowers one leg extends, crunch up as you bend the knee:)
  • Try to pelvis still, low spine neutral, side waist long & elbows wide.   

Pulse Reach- Ab Burn!

  • Pulses in Pilates and Barre workouts are small micro movements in the center of the contraction, repeated quickly to intensify the burn.
  • Extend one leg out in crunch position, extend same arm long and reach it past the bent knee.....Crunch up an inch higher then lower back an inch for the pulses.

Bridge ---Bridges are great to balance out hip tightness & open the front body as we work the booty, & the lower back. 

  • Lay face up on mat, bend knees & place sliders under heels with feet parallel.  Press shoulders & arms into the mat, to keep a neutral neck position and not send your bodyweight into the neck bones.  
  • From neutral, tilt hips back to mat, imprinting the spine & slowly lift hips up, Roll spine up one verterbra at a time. Exhale.
  • Hold sliders still, inhale and roll spine down to mat, and come back to nuetral spine,, repeat.
  • Keep knees parallel to each other & press evenly into those gliders with both feet!

Bridge & Extend - More Booty Lifting...

  • From a high bridge exhale & slide both legs out long.  Keep hips up by engaging glutes and thighs, as well as tightening abs.
  • Slide legs in, bending knees with high hips as you inhale. 

Split Bridge Lift- Booty Burn!

  • Keeping hips up exhale & slide 1 foot forward.
  • Then keeping hips up inhale & slide foot in. Then slide other foot forward and bring it in
  • .Keep alternating (& breathing) and repeat 

Pilates Roll Up- Classic Pilates goodness!

  • Lay back long with feel stabilizing slidez.  Arms are long to sides, collarbones are wide and belly muscles are pulled in.  Lift chest & head, pull abs tighter, exhale.  Then lift upper back, then middle back & lower back - they should peel off the mat one inch at a time.  
  • Reach spine forward to a bend. Think of lengthening the torso over the legs as you stretch. Inhale.
  • Rock pelvis to mat to initiate the roll back, exhale as abs & glutes engage, & feet press to gliders...Roll back down one inch at a time inhaling.  
  • Try not to excessively round and lift shoulders to ears, you can bend knees or use hands to modify

Super Slide Plank Sequence

Plank - Ultimate for Core Strength

  • Start with sliders under hands & hands right under the shoulders.  Squeeze your butt and abs to stabilize the body.  Keep the lower back neutral, don't arch or round it
  • Neck stays in line with spine, look forward not back to your feet.  Think open chest & collarbones open and shoulders back.  
  • Open feet wider to make it easier, narrower stance is more challenging.

Plank Arm Reach - Ab and Upper body burners!

  • From your plank: Slide one long arm forward.  Maintain perfect long plank form by bracing abs in.
  • Slide hand back under shoulder. Alternate arms.

Plank Knee Taps - Lower Ab Targeting

  • From plank, keep torso still, bend knees and tap them to mat.  Extend knees coming right back to plank.  Keep shouders stable over wrists.  
  • Exhale as you lower the knees inhale as you lift the knees.

Cat Twists- Stretch it out!

  • As you bend knees and hips send hips towards feet hands on top of slides. 
  • Slide one hand under opposite shoulder, looking under that armpit.  Slide back to the stretch postion with hands in front of you.  Then twist to other side.  
  • Exhale as you twist and inhale as you slide back to the center position.

Cobras- Open the heart.

  • Place slidez under hands & start on belly.  Press feet and pelvis down but tighen abs.
  • Press into hands to straiten arms and start to lift the chest for baby cobra. Draw shoulders down and open the front chest  Maintain tight abs and heavy hips.  Exhale.
  • Bend elbows to release and return to mat.  Inhale
  • For HIGH COBRA extend the arms fully, as you come up.  Be careful not to overarch the low back. 

Cobra Reach- variation on a classic

  • Hold a high cobra, exhale and extend one arm forward.  
  • Inhale to bring it back in maintaining the back extension.  
  • Alternate sides- Maintain long spine as you stretch 

Final Super Slide Sequence- Leg Focus

Squat - Functional and oh so fun!

  • With on foot under slide, bend at knees and hips, as if you were going to sit in a chair.
  • Try not to arch the low spine.  Keep knees bent directly over the mid foot as you squat.
  • The lower you go the harder the alignment is to maintain...

Skaters- Slider leg shaping

  • Come to a squat position, bending at knees & hinging at hips. Tighten abs exhale & slide foot to the side by straightening the knee. Keep stabilizing knee bent directly over midfoot,
  • Inhale bend knee to returnkeeping hips hinged and abs wrapped around waist to support that long spine. 
  • Keep shoulders down towards waist & spine neutral with hips & shoulders squared.

Split- Stretch and Tone

  • With feet in a V, and legs long, slide out, keeping weight balanced between both legs.  
  • Squeeze abs in tight as you engage inner and outer thighs to slide back in.  
  • Keep the crown of the head on the celing, you may reach arms out as you open legs.  

Slider Plie- Dancer legs

  • Stand with feet wide, toes turned out.   Spine stays long as you bend knees coming into a plie
  • Keeping the hips low & still .......slide foot by extending 1 leg out. 
  • Slide it back in returning to your plie.
  • Keep the spine long with the tips of your ears reaching for the sky.  Tail drops between heels, reach hip points forward and wrap the back of the thigh muscles. 

Triangle Stretch- Get flexible.

Slide leg foward and straighten both knees into a split position.  Square hips to shoulders tighten abs and reach torso towards from knee.  Hold for 20- 60 seconds

Kneeling Stretches

  • With slider under knee, in a kneeling lunge, press into front foot and extend front leg as you send hips to back foot.  Pause to stretch the back of the thigh and then repeat.
  •  To stretch & open the front of the hips, slide knee back and forth a few times to deepen into hip flexors.


I hope you enjoy this Pilates workout and all the new moves.
Keep me posted on your progress, tag me on instagram with my hashtag #JessiFitPilates so I can see you!
And if you haven't already, grab my FREE ebook




Photo Credit: Stephanie Hirasawa

Music Credit: Ben Sound "Sci Fi"

Flat Abs NOW Pilates Workout and Tips

One of the biggest requests I get as a Pilates instructor, is to work on the lower abdominal area.  I have a multi angled plan for you.  Firstly, diet plays a huge factor, if you want your abdominal tone to show, you'll want to keep your body fat on the lower side.  You can accomplish this with both Pilates AND nutrition. Additionally, for many people, bloating can be an issue which causes your tummy to look bigger than it actually is!  

Here are some SUPER fast nutrition tips to beat bloating in the lower abs (recently I heard this area being called FUPA!)


  1. -Overconsumption of sugar 
  2. -Processed grains 
  3. -Processed Meats
  4. -Dairy
  5. - Heavy Full BIG Meals
  6. -Sugar Alcohols (found in sugar free items, like desserts gums, protein powders and bars. and I never use protein powder because of it)

Most of the above are common sense for being healthy and fit, now replace the above habits with some of the below....


  1. Eating slowly, and chewing it well so your body can digest it easier
  2. Consider supplementing with digestive enzymes, as we age we produce less of these.
  3. Check iron levels, espeicially if you are vegetarian and or vegan
  4. Eat your Omega 3s.  You need this for digestion and they can reduce inflammation. Add in flax, walnuts, hemp, chia seeds, fish, algae, olives, avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds to your diet
  5. Do Pilates, moves below!

FIVE Pilates Moves to Blast Your Belly!

The videos are below, try doing 10- 15 reps of the Roll Down, 100 of the Double Leg Hundreds, 10- 15 reps of the Double Leg Lowers, and for the Elbow Planks and Joes Jacks, try 60 seconds of each.


Try doing all five of these circuit style, and if you have the time do two or three sets total.

Make sure that you sign up for more Free Ebook, the Path to Success to get you started on your Pilates journey right and follow me on Instagram to stay the course for now!


Audio Workouts via MoveWith

Its official! I am one of the founding instructors for MoveWith!  MoveWith gives you instant access to guided audio workouts with the BEST instructors on the plant- whenever you want, where ever you want!!!  Whether you're on the road, in your living room or at the gym - this is fitness on your terms.  Yes, you'll get me but there are a large variety of workouts on the platform- from yoga flows to challenging treadmill workouts and grounding meditations, youll have everything you need to stay fit!

And now until April 10 you can try it for free, for 30 days, using the trial code PRESSPLAYNOW-JFP

Heres the link to my channel on MoveWith



See the video below for the positions in my Thigh Master workout on MoveWith!!!