The key to becoming a stronger athlete is a strong core, but it’s easy to forget—or simply not have enough time—to add in some abs exercises at the end of a training ride.
The good news is, you don’t need a whole lot of time: You can challenge your core and build strength in just eight minutes, thanks to this abs circuit that can improve your performance on the bike.
This core circuit targets every part of your core, from your hips, to your trunk, to your obliques, and it incorporates rotation, flexion, and extension on all sides, explains Dane Miklaus, C.S.C.S., WORK Training Studio founder.
“Each of the moves in this routine challenge two or more of those movement patterns, providing a well-rounded and complete workout,” he says. “It finishes off with a little combo core challenge and metabolic boost, because who doesn’t like getting a little breathy?”
How to do it: Each exercise is demonstrated by Charlee Atkins, a certified personal trainer in New York City, so you can learn the perfect form. Watch the video above to get her expert tips, then read the descriptions below for more information.
Perform each move for 40 seconds, going from one move to the next (trying not to rest in between). One round is six moves, which takes about four minutes. Repeat twice for an eight-minute workout.
- High Plank Opposite Limb Reach
- Flutter-Kick Leg Lift
- Alternating Side Plank
- Seated Core Twist
- Plank Mogul
- Why are Pilates workouts so important?
- Best Pilates YouTube workouts: Things to know before starting
- 8 Pilates essentials
- 35 best Pilates YouTube workouts to try
- Target your lower belly in three minutes | Blogilates
- Inner thigh burn in three minutes | Lottie Murphy
- Blast your core in five minutes | Isa Welly
- Tone your calves in nine minutes | Blogilates
- Fully body in ten minutes | The Live Fit Girl
- Standing Pilates in ten minutes | The Girl With The Pilates Mat
- Pilates ring routine in ten minutes | The Balanced Life Pilates With Robin Long
- Challenge your core in ten minutes | BodyFit By Amy
- Pilates stretch in ten minutes | adidas Women
- Advanced Pilates in ten minutes | The Live Fit Girl
- Pilates for a busy day in 12 minutes | Trifecta Pilates
- Feel good Pilates in 15 minutes | Freshly Centered
- Pilates for back pain in 15 minutes | Kalm Pilates
- Core strength for your pelvic area in 15 minutes | Boho Beautiful
- Pilates for strong inner thighs in 20 minutes | Blogilates
- Pilates for toned abs in 20 minutes | Kristin McGee
- Prenatal Pilates in 20 minutes | BodyFit By Amy
- Pilates for runners in 20 minutes | Sophia Pym
- Pilates for sculpted arms in 20 minutes | Blogilates
- Pilates flow in 20 minutes | The Live Fit Girl
- Beginners Pilates in 22 minutes | Lottie Murphy
- Pilates for your bum in 25 minutes | BodyFit By Amy
- Standing Pilates in 25 minutes | Pilates With Hannah
- Pilates for abs in 25 minutes | FIT By Larie
- Beginners Pilates in 25 minutes | Meirav B Fitness
- Pilates for relaxation in 25 minutes | Trifecta Pilates
- Pilates for flexibility in 25 minutes | Pilates With Hannah
- Pilates for solid glutes in 25 minutes | Fiit
- Cardio Pilates in 26 minutes | Jessica Smith
- Cardio Pilates in 29 minutes | GymRa
- Full body Pilates in 30 minutes | BodyFit By Amy
- Pilates for core in 30 minutes | eFit30
- All-over Pilates in 30 minutes | The Gym Box
- Mat-only Pilates in 45 minutes | Janni Olsson Deler
- Fat-burning Pilates in 60 minutes | Pilates With Hannah
- 20 minute Pilates workout to strengthen your core
High Plank Opposite Limb Reach
Begin in a high plank position with wrists directly below shoulders, and feet shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, then lift your left arm and right leg up in the air until even with your torso. To help with stability, think about pushing into the floor with the opposite hand and foot on the ground. Lower your limbs slowly back to starting position and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating, in control, while focusing on minimizing the side to side or rotational action at your hips.
Lying facedown, extend all four limbs out. Squeeze you back and glutes to elevate your trunk and legs off the floor. You’ll be using the erector muscles (those that run the length of your spine), glutes, hamstrings, the back of your shoulders, and traps to bring your limbs as high as possible. Try to remain extended from the tips of your fingers to your toes. keep gaze down so you don’t strain your neck. Lower back towards the floor. Repeat.
Flutter-Kick Leg Lift
Lie faceup with hands at your sides, or underneath the small of your back for support. Engage core to lift both shoulder blades and legs up off the mat. Begin to flutter the feet as you raise them up so hips form a 90-degree angle before slowly lowering legs back down toward the mat. Continue to lift and lower the legs as you flutter kick and engage your lower abdominals.
Alternating Side Plank
Begin in a side plank position: lie on right side then lay right forearm down on the mat with elbow bent so elbow is directly underneath your shoulder and your feet are stacked on top of one another. Engage core to lift your hips off the floor, and extend left arm up toward the ceiling. Slowly curl left hand toward the right on the ground as you roll your hips and toes forward as if dropping into a low forearm plank.
Plant the left forearm on the floor, and shift the weight into the left shoulder as you unfold the circle in the opposite direction. Stop the rotation once you have achieved a successful plank on the opposite side. Continue to alternate and repeat.
Seated Core Twist
From a seated position, place fingertips behind ears, elbows out wide, and lean back until you feel like you must pull your feet off the floor to counterbalance. Contract through your abdominals while keeping your chest elevated to achieve balance on your tailbone. Pull your right knee in to your chest while extending your left leg long to create a counterbalance and stay in the position; simultaneously rotate your torso toward the right, sending left elbow to right knee. Pause for a moment, and then return to center. Rotate to send right elbow to left knee. Continue to alternate.
Start in a high plank position and brace your abs to create a solid foundation. Pulling down with your scapula (shoulder blades), and slightly upward with your hips, elevate your torso slightly as you jump both feet toward right hand, bringing bent knees close to touching your right elbow.
Focus on landing softly. Then spring back to the starting position in high plank. The moment your feet land, jump both feet to left hand, with knees coming to rest just inside your left elbow. Continue hopping back and forth—right side, middle, left side, middle—as fast as possible while still maintaining proper core position.
Jordan Smith Digital Editor Her love of all things outdoors came from growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and her passion for running was sparked by local elementary school cross-country meets.
Who needs a #sweatsession when the surprise summer heatwave has you achieving one without even a raised heartbeat?
If you still really want to maintain that hard-earned tone, but the idea of hill sprints in the park feels like a death sentence, we’ve got a solution. Yep, really.
Pilates is not only a strong foundation to any workout plan, but one you can do from the comfort of your fan-blasted living room – sans gym kit if it’s still too hot (no judgement).
Not sure where to start? Well, reader, you’re in the right place. Read on for the top WH-approved Pilates YouTube workouts and our best tips for ensuring you feel the burn.
Cool stuff, indeed.
Why are Pilates workouts so important?
Pilates workouts help improve flexibility, balance and core strength, and are particularly effective if you suffer from back pain.
In New York in the 1920s, Joseph Pilates devised more than 500 moves – of which 34 were mat exercises.
Now, his revolutionary regime is recognised globally as a way to strengthen the body. Research published in the journal PLOS One in 2014 showed that it can both effectively ease back pain and boost functional movement, when compared to traditional methods like massage therapy and other forms of exercise.
After that glowing report, we know you’re dying to get on the mat. Whether you’ve got ten minutes before work or fancy a full-body conditioning on a Sunday afternoon, scroll for the online Pilates sessions you should press ‘play’ on…
Best Pilates YouTube workouts: Things to know before starting
1. Clear a space big enough
We get it – your flat-share may not even have a living room, but as long as you can stretch your arms out without touching the wall, you’re fine.
2. Invest in the right equipment
Before you slip into a ‘pelvic curl’, you’ll need to get your hands on a few pieces to make your session as comfy and safe as possible.
First up, sort yourself out with a mat. FYI, thicker styles support and cushion your spine better than their cheaper cousins, particularly on a hard floor rather than carpet.
Tight muscles? A resistance band will become your saviour. The thicker the resistance band (and the tighter you pull it), the harder your muscles work. Beware the next-day DOMS.
If you’re a beginner or prone to back pain, a cushion under your bum or back can alleviate pressure and provide extra support.
For an extra challenge, invest in a Pilates ball and place it under your bum. Not for those of weak core, mind you.
To save you precious time, we’ve rounded up the best eight pieces to help get you seamless results in no time. You’re welcome…
8 Pilates essentials
Lululemon Reversible Mat Lululemon lululemon.co.uk £48.00 Pilates Medium Resistance Band domyos decathlon.co.uk £3.99 Mini Fitness Balance Ball SMARTrich amazon.co.uk £2.55 Sweaty Betty Pilates Socks Sweaty Betty sweatybetty.com US$12.00 Reversible Mesh 7/8 Leggings Sweaty Betty sweatybetty.com US$80.00 DOMYOS Pilates Soft Ball domyos decathlon.co.uk £3.99 DOMYOS Pilates Ring domyos decathlon.co.uk £7.99 3″ Large Pilates Head Pad Physical Company physicalcompany.co.uk £4.74
3. Breathe, rather than brace
We all think we know how to do it, but breathing is one of the most common Pilates mistakes. Don’t hold your breath as you’ll end up bracing your core and working the wrong muscles.
Instead, breathe deeply through the exercises and focus on scooping your belly button in and up.
3. Put your phone on silent
Pilates requires concentration, focus and precision, so the last thing you want is a bajillion Instagram notifications going off in the background. Put your phone on silent and leave it next door.
4. Shut all pets out of the room
There’s nothing worse than finally nailing your ‘Teaser’, only to be thrown off balance by a well-meaning furry friend.
And now for the fun bit – choosing your Pilates YouTube workout. We’ve ensured you’re spoilt for choice…
35 best Pilates YouTube workouts to try
10 Workouts Under 10 Minutes
Target your lower belly in three minutes | Blogilates
Cassey Ho is one of the leading global Pilates authorities, so we trust that this super-quick workout from her YouTube channel Blogilates will yield long-lasting results.
Inner thigh burn in three minutes | Lottie Murphy
The Pilates instructor and blogger shows how to tackle this hard-to-tone area of your legs.
Blast your core in five minutes | Isa Welly
Less really is more, as the pro-dancer turned Pilates instructor shows.
Tone your calves in nine minutes | Blogilates
In the market for lean calves? You need these five moves from Cassey Ho.
Fully body in ten minutes | The Live Fit Girl
LA-based Pilates instructor Deanna works every limb in this efficient session.
Standing Pilates in ten minutes | The Girl With The Pilates Mat
No mat to hand? This workout by Chiswick-based Pilates instructor Rachel Lawerence is for you.
Pilates ring routine in ten minutes | The Balanced Life Pilates With Robin Long
Upgrade your session by incorporating a Pilates ring.
Challenge your core in ten minutes | BodyFit By Amy
Warning: DOMS await you in this speedy workout by LA-based Pilates instructor Amy Kiser Schemper.
Pilates stretch in ten minutes | adidas Women
Enjoy (if that’s the right word) this Pilates flow by the sports brand in collaboration with Lottie Murphy.
Advanced Pilates in ten minutes | The Live Fit Girl
Deanna ensures you don’t rest on your Pilates laurels.
10 Workouts Under 20 Minutes
Pilates for a busy day in 12 minutes | Trifecta Pilates
An all-over workout in less than a quarter of an hour? Yes please.
Feel good Pilates in 15 minutes | Freshly Centered
Pilates instructor Tracey works every muscle in this relaxing workout designed for intermediate level upwards.
Pilates for back pain in 15 minutes | Kalm Pilates
Boosting your core strength and stretching out leg muscles helps support your back, says Pilates instructor Sarah.
Core strength for your pelvic area in 15 minutes | Boho Beautiful
Juliana braves some chilly conditions to prove you can do Pilates quite literally anywhere.
Pilates for strong inner thighs in 20 minutes | Blogilates
This speedy session requires no equipment – just your willpower.
Pilates for toned abs in 20 minutes | Kristin McGee
Sculpt your tummy in no time at all.
Prenatal Pilates in 20 minutes | BodyFit By Amy
Pregnant ladies this workout is for you.
Pilates for runners in 20 minutes | Sophia Pym
Boost your PB off the track and on the mat with the London-based Pilates instructor.
Pilates for sculpted arms in 20 minutes | Blogilates
Trust Cassey Ho to target your biceps and triceps – and all without a weight in sight.
Pilates flow in 20 minutes | The Live Fit Girl
Start or finish your day the right way with a full-body blitz by Deanna (that involves plenty of stretching too…).
10 Workouts Under 30 Minutes
Beginners Pilates in 22 minutes | Lottie Murphy
Lottie Murphy takes you through the basics.
Pilates for your bum in 25 minutes | BodyFit By Amy
Grow your bottom in this intense session.
Standing Pilates in 25 minutes | Pilates With Hannah
Vietnam-based Pilates instructor Hannah – who started practicing to ease stress while running her successful bedding company in Hanoi – shows how to train if you’re bored of lying down.
Pilates for abs in 25 minutes | FIT By Larie
The former basketball player turned Pilates instructor helps you hone a core of steel.
Beginners Pilates in 25 minutes | Meirav B Fitness
If you’re a complete Pilates novice, Meirav eases you in nice and slowly.
Pilates for relaxation in 25 minutes | Trifecta Pilates
Using circular movements, Pilates instructor Beth will have you chilled out in less than half an hour.
Pilates for flexibility in 25 minutes | Pilates With Hannah
Hannah recommends doing this gentle workout after waking up or before bed.
Pilates for solid glutes in 25 minutes | Fiit
Lottie Murphy demonstrates how to hit your glutes from multiple angles.
Cardio Pilates in 26 minutes | Jessica Smith
Build up a sweat in this fast-paced session by the Boston-based instructor.
Cardio Pilates in 29 minutes | GymRa
This fusion workout will raise your heartbeat in no time at all.
5 Workouts Over 30 Minutes
Full body Pilates in 30 minutes | BodyFit By Amy
This workout focuses on traditional (read: highly effective) mat exercises.
Pilates for core in 30 minutes | eFit30
Pilates instructor Renee targets the core – and more – in this thorough sweat session.
All-over Pilates in 30 minutes | The Gym Box
You don’t need any equipment for this lengthening, toning and strengthening workout by Pilates instructor Ashley.
Mat-only Pilates in 45 minutes | Janni Olsson Deler
Janni’s trainer Madeleine uses the Swedish blogger to demonstrate a super-tough sequence.
Fat-burning Pilates in 60 minutes | Pilates With Hannah
Want a challenge? Try Hannah’s one-hour routine.
Now you’ve seen the benefits to your body of a steady – but tough – workout like Pilates, why not give LISS a go?
Alice Head Nutrition & Health Contributor Ally is a contributing food journalist with over four years digital experience, plus a freelance food stylist, having worked backstage at many a BBC Good Food Show.
20 minute Pilates workout to strengthen your core
Healthista have teamed up with David Kingsbury, founder of boutique gym OPUS to create a 3-part series of 20-minute Pilates workouts for strength, posture and tone. Today’s finale is core training
If you are trying to develop strength in your training and looking to improve balance, posture and flexibility all at the same time, Pilates is a low impact workout that could be missing in your fitness programme. Founder of London gym, OPUS, David Kingsbury has put together three selective workouts that don’t require equipment and can be done at home.
Plates by nature is a great form of exercise to strengthen your core muscles, this is because many of the exercises focus on the deeper, stability muscles in addition to the more superficial layers which we actually see on the outside. In this 20-minute workout, we will go through a balanced group of exercises that place emphasis on pelvic stability, deep muscle activation and also endurance, which is often the best recipe for success.
More Pilates video workouts from David:
20 minute Pilates workout to strengthen and tone glutes
20 minute Pilates workout for better posture
As the founder of OPUS, David Kingsbury‘s passion for inspiring health and wellbeing is at the forefront of his training approach. This desire is fuelled by his love of sports from a young age. An accomplished sportsman, David was selected to play rugby for the Bedford Blues Youth Academy at the age of 17 and represented his University in Cardiff. However, struck by injury, David‘s rugby career was cut short and surgery on his hips ended his rugby playing days. After completing his studies, David worked at one of London’s top Reformer Pilates studios clocking up more than 3,500 teaching hours before opening the doors to his own boutique studio in Notting Hill. Clients training with David can expect high energy, focused and challenging training sessions designed to push you every step of the way.
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