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

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