The 5 Best Pilates Core Strengthening Exercises

What Is Pilates And Where Did It Come From?

Joseph Pilates was born in 1883 in Germany. He studied medicine and began his career as a physical therapist. In 1912, he opened up his own studio, where he developed a method of exercising based on the principles of contrology.

This technique was later renamed “Pilates.” Today, the term “Pilates” refers to the entire family of exercises invented by Joseph Pilates, including mat work, reformer, Cadillac, and chair work.

Pilates focuses on the core, improving coordination, strengthening, stretching, and toning.

It improves self-awareness and teaches people how to breathe properly. In addition, it helps people lose weight, tone muscle groups, increase endurance, improve posture, and reduce stress.

What Is The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga?

While both forms of exercise involve balancing muscle groups and core work — Pilates does it much heavier — the focus is different. With yoga, the work starts with balance, whereas with Pilates, the emphasis is on heavy weights and stability.

Pilates tends to emphasize heavy resistance training, yoga emphasizes balance and flexibility.

With Pilates, the emphasis is on getting those muscles working properly, strengthening the core, building strength, and yoga is about finding balance in life and being mindful throughout the day.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Pilates?

There are plenty of reasons why Pilates exercises are such a popular fitness activity. They’re easy to learn and perfect for beginners.

Plus, unlike many other exercise routines, Pilates doesn’t require any special equipment. You can even do them while sitting down.

While Pilates isn’t necessarily easier to incorporate into your everyday schedule than other types of workouts, it does make it simple to fit in a quick session whenever you want.

If you’re short on time, you can always squeeze in a 10-minute Pilates workout in the morning or afternoon. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, you can even do a 20-minute workout once or twice per week without having to commit to a full hour every day.

But what makes Pilates exercises so unique is that they target every muscle group in your body. That includes your core muscles, which are often neglected by most people.

So, whether you want to build up your abs, strengthen your glutes, or tone your thighs, Pilates offers a variety of options. 


This workout focuses on the lower abs, which is one of the most important parts of the abdominal muscles and is often neglected for how important it is.

Your pelvic floor and core stabilizers help keep your pelvis stable and protect your lower back from injury. If you’re doing Pilates exercises for strengthening your cores, then you won’t want to miss these exercises. 

Lie down on your mat. Stretch your hands and arms straight out at shoulder level. Put them down on the ground next to you. Bend your knees at an approximate 90-degrees over your hips.

Finally, allow your knees to slowly bend to your right side, repeating at a slow pace.

Hip Dips

The abdominal muscles include not only the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis but also the internal oblique, external oblique, diaphragm (the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen), pelvic floors, quadriceps, and glutes.

Your obliques help you rotate your torso. They help prevent injuries to the lower back and promote better postural alignment.

You will need a little space to undertake this exercise, so get your space ready and follow the below instructions to do Hip Dips.

Get into a low side plank position. One arm should be positioned so that it rests on the floor directly beneath your shoulder on the same arm.

The 5 Best Pilates Core Strengthening Exercises (1)

Now move into a push up position by coming up onto your tiptoes, bringing your hips up, and then lifting yourself off the floor. You should stack your legs on each other, or if that’s too hard, bend your knees slightly, so they don’t touch.

Finally, Bring your hips slowly down toward the ground, and repeat slowly as to let your muscles hold the position and have full control over the movement.

Plank Leg Lift

This abdominal workout focuses on your abs and your glute muscles. It also requires using stabilizers throughout the entire body, but most importantly your back and shoulders.

It’s a basic plank but with a twist. If you are reading this, you probably know how to plank by now, but here are some basic instructions to undertake this adapted plank and for completing the plank leg lift.

Start by lying face down on the floor in a raised plank. Your arms should be at your sides, hands at your shoulders, your body should form an imaginary straight vertical plane from your head to your feet. Don’t let your hips sag, and keep your abs engaged.

Squeeze your glute muscles tight, and raise one foot off the ground.

Lower one leg at a time and alternate between legs, do this by taking it slow, and taking your time.

Remember, the best way to improve your core strength is to do these exercises in a controlled manner and really test those muscles.


This is a Pilates staple and can be difficult to do. To perform it well, you need strength, flexibility, coordination, and good posture.

It’s not an exercise you should skip out on if you’re interested in strengthening your core muscles. Follow the instructions below if you would like to improve your core strength with the teaser.

Lie down on your back. Do a basic abdominal crunch. Lift your head up and away from the floor at the same time. In the same moment, bring your legs slightly behind your body so that they’re bent over your hips.

When your upper torso raises, slowly straighten your knees bent at 45-degree angles. Remember to do this in a controlled manner to really work those muscles and continue to gain muscle strength and control.


If you want to use just one Pilates move to target almost all your core muscles at once, then this is the exercise for you.

Criss-cross beats out most exercise and Pilates routines when it comes to strengthening your core muscles. It’s really hard and takes time to perfect, so If you’re new to Pilates or exercise in general, you might want to wait before starting this workout.

Or at least until you’ve gained some core strength. 

Here is a basic version of the Criss-Cross, please remember to take it slow and engage all of your muscles!

Lie down on a mat or a comfy surface. With your arms outstretched, place both of your palms behind your head with your fingers facing forward.

Curl your head just enough so that you’re looking straight and bend your right knee and bring your left arm close to your right knee, and continue repeating slowly and in control.

Final Thoughts

Pilates is a great way to strengthen your core muscles and get them ready for whatever activities you may be doing.

But remember, Pilates isn’t about losing weight. It’s about gaining more strength and better balance. So if you’re trying to lose weight, then you’ll probably find that Pilates won’t help you as much as you may like.