Pilates Workouts

Burn Out Your Abs, Arms, and Glutes With This 20-Minute, Core-Quaking Pilates Sesh

Rachel Lapidos

One of the coolest things about fitness is that it’s actually not time consuming. If you’re following the Blue Zones fitness philosophy (fitting in mini bouts of exercise whenever it feels natural to you) or you’re just really into quickie workout sessions, you know that even five minutes can make you sweat. In this week’s Good Moves episode, East River Pilates instructor Floss Brolsma is bringing us a 20-minute Pilates workout you can do at home.

Throughout the 20-minute sesh, you’ll flow through classic Pilates exercises that fire up your entire body, with special attention placed on your abs (of course—it’s Pilates), arms, and glutes. Everything is low impact, relies on just you and your bodyweight, and can be done anywhere where you can place your mat (though a carpet or rug works too!). Ready to burn out those muscles? Keep scrolling to get your workout in.

Try this 20 minute Pilates workout at home

1. Standing leg extension—right: While standing, place your feet underneath your hips and keep your posture nice and tall. Sit your bottom back into a squat. Think about opening the front of your body, drawing your shoulder blades together. Shift your weight onto your left leg as you stretch your right leg right behind you. Stay long through your body, bring your weight forward to the front leg, and find your balance. Then tap your back toe down to the mat, and lift it back up. Keep the toe pointed to the back as you stretch your heart long and forward.

2. Curtsy lunge—right: Bring your right leg over to the left behind that front foot and stabilize into both feet. Come down into a curtsy lunge. Open up through the hips and knees, and squeeze your glutes to come back to the top. You should feel this in your left quad and glute. Keep your hips as open as you can, and close your ribcage at the top. The deeper you go into the lunge, the harder it will be.

Repeat these exercises on your left side.

3. Plank shoulder taps: Bring your chin to your chest and roll down to the floor into a plank position. Bring your shoulders away from your ears, draw your heels back, and reach the crown of your head forward. Take your feet a little wider onto your mat and stay stable as you tap your opposite hand to the opposite shoulder, creating a strong diagonal throughout your body. Keep your core strong, and alternate hands. Keep the shifting as minimal as possible.

4. Side plank hip dips—right: Turn your heels down to the mat as you move into a side plank on your right. Dip your bottom hip up and down, squeezing your glute as you come up.

5. Thread the needle—right: Fold your top hand underneath your body and pull it to the other side of the mat, then pull it back up overhead. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your hips away from the floor.

6. Clams—right: Lie down onto your mat on the side of your body. Bring your top hand to the top of your hip and your feet together off of the floor, squeezing your knees together. Keep your waist tight and lift that top knee off of the knee below, then slowly float it back down. As you breathe out, squeeze through the glutes and the back of the pelvis. If you can’t feel this in the top glute, roll the top hip a little bit more forward. Keep lifting through the bottom side of the waist.

7. Leg lift—right: Squeeze your heels together at the top and bring your knees wide. With the top leg lifted, bring your bottom leg down, and lift your top leg up and down, never touching the floor. Squeeze your glutes and the back of your body.

8. Leg circle—right: Hold that top leg up, press your heel away to find more length at the top waist. Hold that length and circle the top leg out. The smaller the circle, the easier it is, and the bigger the circle, the more challenging it will be. Do five circles in one direction, then five in reverse.

9. Modified side plank—right: Tuck your bottom leg in below and come into a modified side plank, shoulders away from ears. Lift that top leg up and squeeze through the bottom of your body as you hold.

Repeat these exercises on your left side.

10. Bridge pulse: Come onto your back, feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Reach your hands up towards the sky, shoulders away from ears, and push your hips up towards the sky. Make sure your ribs and belly are in and you’re tucking under with your pelvis. Do bridge pulses at the top as you squeeze your glutes and fire up your hamstrings.

11. Bridge pulse with heel lift: Keep your hips raised, press your big toes onto the floor, and lift your heels up as you continue to do bridge pulses.

12. Bridge pulse with extension: Hold at the top on your toes, hips raised, and bring your arms overhead behind you. Keep your knees squeezing in and pulse your hips up and down.

13. Toe tap curl: Bring your arms behind your head and raise your knees up into tabletop position. Breathe out as you curl up, hold it there, and tap one toe down. Bring that leg back into tabletop, and tap the opposite toe down. Alternate sides.

14. Single leg stretch: Curl up, reach your hands behind one thigh, and stretch the opposite leg away from you. Separate your shoulder blades and keep your elbows wide, and swap your legs as you scissor from side to side. Exhale for two breaths with one leg, then switch. Keep your chest lifted and your ribcage tucked in.

15. Arm + leg extension: Reach your arms towards the sky, shoulders down, and bring your legs into tabletop. Stay still with your legs as you reach your fingertips to the sky. Your opposite arm and opposite leg will lengthen away from the midline. Bring them back, then alternate to the other side and switch.

16. Spine stretch: feet come down, hands toward sky. breathe out, curl up reach towards wall in front of u. twist towards the back on both sides for a quick back stretch.

17. Push-up: You can do full push-ups, push-ups from the knees, or from quadruped position. Keep your belly pulled in as you inhale, lowering to the floor, and then exhale to press back up. Press the tops of your feet onto the mat as you push down and up.

18. Plank: Get into a high plank position, hands underneath shoulders, spine neutral, feet together. Hold and breathe. When you’re done, rest in child’s pose.

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