Core Pilates Exercises

Core Pilates Exercises


Into the Exercise (positive lift)

Step 1: Take a dumbbell in each hand, and stand upright with your feet directly under your hips with arms hanging straight down at your sides. Lift your chest and take a deep breath, then curl up your toes and tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles.

Steps 2, 3, & 4: While holding your breath, lift your hands 90 degrees in front of you so that your arms are parallel to the ground, without moving your elbows backward. Rotate your wrists so that your palms face up. Then, keeping your elbows pressed against your ribs, move your hands outward 90 degrees to the 3:00 o’clock position.

Step 5: Pause and shift your weight totally back onto your heels, simultaneously moving your hands slightly backward.

Hold your balance for one second.

Core Pilates Exercises Photo Gallery

Out of the Exercise (negative lift):

Steps 6, 7, & 8: In one continuous movement, release the stretch and return your feet to their normal position with your toes still curled; bring your hands inward 90 degrees without moving your elbows backward, then rotate your wrists so that your palms face each other. Lower the dumbbells to your sides and exhale as you uncurl your toes and release the tension in your abdominal and buttocks muscles.

Timing & Repetition

The total movement should take at least

11 seconds: 2 seconds for the inhale; 2 seconds for lifting the dumbbells; 1 second for the pause; 1 second for the stretch; 1 second for the hold; 2 seconds for lowering the dumbbells; and 2 seconds for the exhale and release. Repeat the exercise 6 times, which should take at least 66 seconds.


This exercise has three purposes. First, it will strengthen your rear deltoid muscles by your lifting heavier weights over time. Second, it will improve the flexibility of your rotary cuffs. Third, it will improve your balance by shifting your weight totally onto your heels.

Levels of Difficulty

Level 1: Perform steps 1-3 and 4c (moving your hands outward only slightly). Then perform steps 6-8.

Level 2: Perform steps 1-3 and 4b (moving your hands outward only to the 1:00 o’clock position). Then perform steps 6-8. Level 3: Perform steps 1-3 and 4a (moving your hands outward only to the 2:00 o’clock position). Then perform steps 6-8. Level 4: Perform steps 1-4, 6-8.

Level 5: Perform steps 1-8.

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