Pilates ab workout for beginners

Updated on November 27, 2019

If you are scared of hitting the treadmill, don’t count yourself short. You’re not the only one. We all fret cardio for the same reason. The heart hurts. If you are struggling to find the right program for you, then you can always try out Pilates. 

Pilates exercises

  1. Plank Leg Lift

Try to find a connection between your abs contracting and your exhaling. This is a rhetorical rule of thumb for all the pilates ab workout in this list and any pilates exercise in general. It mildly tones your arms and shoulders since they are supporting the weight of your entire body. The plank on its own is an excellent ab workout, and when paired with carrying the weight of your legs in motion, it dramatically emphasizes the whole conditioning around your abs.


  1. Fall in a plank position.
  2. Lift your left leg
  3. Pull in the left leg toward your right elbow
  4. Fall back into the plank position
  5. Repeat with the opposite side
  6. Do 12 reps. 5 sets.

2. Standing Jumps

This exercise is relatively simple and easy to do. The primary targeted area of this move is your calf muscles and your lower abs. Despite its easy mechanism, you will notice that with each repetition, the exercise gets harder as it excludes all the major muscle groups and focuses entirely on the two muscle groups, as mentioned above. 


  1. Stand straight
  2. Shift your weight from your feet’s sole onto your toes(to push yourself off the ground)
  3. While transitioning from the bottom of your feet, push against the ground and jump
  4. Don’t fall into a squat, or your abdominals will get less emphasis.
  5. Channel the energy from your feet to your head.
  6. Follow the flow of energy traveling from your toe to the head.
  7. Do 15 reps, five sets.

3. Kneeling Rear Leg Raise

This one is a torcher and an excellent Pilate ab workout. The motion may visually seem to work your legs, but the position you have to stay to do the move is an abs exercise on its own. When you work your legs, there’s a little emphasized tension added to the plank hold.


  1. Get down to a plank position.
  2. Bend your knees and place them like your elbows on the gym mat/floor.
  3. Exhale and slowly raise your leg back up towards the ceiling
  4. Keep the lifted leg as straight and as high as you can(you should be able to feel your abs burn).
  5. Collapse down to a kneeling plank position.
  6. Do the same thing with the opposite leg.
  7. Do these 13 reps, five sets(both legs).

4. Side Plank with Leg Raise

This variation of the plank won’t feel hard at first, but I suggest you try it. Only after the first day of the workout, you should be able to handle the DOMS- Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Mostly because your side abs/obliques are one of the most ignored muscle groups that we rarely use in our day-to-day activities. 


  1. Get into a side plank.
  2. Keep one leg over the other
  3. Keep the conjoint legs as straight as you can.
  4. Slowly pull up the leg, not in contact with the floor towards the ceiling
  5. Make sure you’re using your obliques to pull up your leg.
  6. Slowly let the levitating leg fall back.
  7. Repeat on the other side
  8. Do 18 reps, 5 sets(each side) 

5. Double Leg Reach

This one is a complete ab breaker. This one works your upper abs, lower abs, and the rectus abdominis. The secret behind the mechanism lies entirely in your midsection, holding up the weight of your legs. The second part of the pilates ab workout involves further reinforcing of your abs by contracting while it’s lifting your legs. Hence, an all-round ab exercise.


  1. Lie down on your mat
  2. Keep your back and your legs as straight as you can
  3. Spread out your hands outwards(your physique should resemble the letter ‘Y’)
  4. Slowly lift both your legs up together as high without losing pressure on your belly.
  5. While lifting your legs, slowly bring your upper body up, using your midsection.
  6. Now that your lying solely on your lower back with the rest of your body elevated lift your limbs back down again and repeat.
  7. Do 12 reps, 5 sets.

6. Single-Leg Lower

This one is somewhat less intense and rather low impact. But equally great, nonetheless. This one helps you develop the entirety of your side abs till the midsection, from your obliques to the middle part of your center abs (upper to bottom abs). You use a wall or a barre to support the resting leg while you work with the other.


  1. Get down on the floor/mat.
  2. Make sure to keep you back straight.
  3. Pull up one leg using your midsection.
  4. Don’t shake or move during the lifting.
  5. Slowly get the leg back down.
  6. Repeat with the other leg.
  7. Do 10 reps, 5 sets.

7. Twist and Reach

Also known as The Roman Twist, this motion-based dynamic move works your upper, lower, and your side abs. The twisting motion will torch the fat around greatly. This demolisher move focuses on all the ab muscles to contract and push the energy to the unengaged ab muscles and vice versa, so you are working for more than one muscle group throughout the entire time. 


  1. Lie down on your hips.
  2. Raise your legs and bend them
  3. Raise and spread out your arms as wide as you can
  4. Twist your midsection and rotate to reach out to your left elevated leg with your right arm.
  5. Without falling back to your starting position, twist on the other side.
  6. Repeat the twisting for 20 reps and 5 sets.


These are excellent all-rounder ab workouts you can do on the go, anywhere, anytime. Pilates directly help for weight loss. These are the best way to get them abs to pop out, and if you want them to show, be sure to incorporate a little cardio or even a HIIT session twice to thrice a week. Have whole food and fiber is a must. Drink plenty of water, and last, of all SLEEP and let your muscles develop. Ask any questions about pilates here.

Another reason why you will love this list is the fact that abs toning is not the only application for the register of moves mentioned above. You can reap the benefits of a better posture and add flexibility to your body’s daily motion involved, from walking to climbing up the stairs. Plus, the improved flow of energy is another perk you can hope to enjoy, amongst many others.

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