Beginner Pilates Exercises

by PhysioAdvisor Staff

Exercises > Pilates > Beginner Pilates Exercises

The following beginner Pilates exercises are designed to improve your posture, core stability, flexibility and strength. You should discuss the suitability of these beginner pilates exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Ensure you know how to achieve neutral spine and can correctly activate your stabilising muscles prior to commencing these beginner Pilates exercises (see Pilates – Before You Start). Start with the beginner Pilates exercises. Once these are too easy, progress to the intermediate Pilates exercises and then eventually the advanced exercises.


Beginner Pilates Exercises

The following beginner Pilates exercises should be performed approximately 1 – 3 times per week. As your control improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, or frequency of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Heel Slides

Begin this Pilates exercise lying on your back with your hands by your side in neutral spine as demonstrated (figure 1). Maintain activation of your transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles throughout the exercise. Slowly straighten one knee and then return to the starting position. Keep your spine and pelvis completely still and breathe normally. Perform 10 times alternating between legs.

Beginner Pilates Exercises - Heel Slides

Figure 1 – Heel Slides

Leg Openings

Begin this Pilates exercise lying on your back with your hands by your side in neutral spine as demonstrated (figure 2). Maintain activation of your transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles throughout the exercise. Slowly take one knee to the side and then return to the starting position. Keep your spine and pelvis completely still and breathe normally. Perform 10 times alternating between legs.

Beginner Pilates Exercises - Leg Openings

Figure 2 – Leg Openings

Leg Lifts

Begin this Pilates exercise lying on your back with your hands by your side in neutral spine as demonstrated (figure 3). Maintain activation of your transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles throughout the exercise. Slowly lift one leg and then return to the starting position. Keep your spine and pelvis completely still and breathe normally. Perform 10 times alternating between legs.

Pilates Leg Lifts (supine)

Figure 3 – Leg Lifts


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