Strengthen, trim and tone your entire body with this intense 10 minute full body Pilates workout…

This full body Pilates workout is designed to work as many muscles and joints as possible in a 10 minute time period! Classic exercises, such as the ‘Roll down to push up’ and ‘100’ are both unchanged from Pilates’ original exercises and are challenging and effective.

Always work within your limits using any progressions offered. Build up gradually and with control – remember your Pilates principles!

If time allows, you could repeat the circuit twice and add in extra push-ups to the ‘Roll down to push up’ exercise, building up to three to four sets of 10 push-ups. Or you could tag on an extra workout from one of the other chapters of this book to really zone in on one part.

10 minute full body Pilates workout

Remember to warm up before starting this 10 minute full body Pilates workout (click here for a full body warm up routine) and cool down afterwards (click here for some simple stretches).

1. Roll down to push up

3 sets

Benefits: mobilises your spine, stretches the entire back of your body, and strengthens your shoulders, arms and core.

  • Stand with your feet and knees hip-width apart (A).
  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale to roll down one vertebra at a time until your hands are by your toes or shins according to your flexibility (B).
  • Inhale to walk your hands out to plank position in three hand ‘steps’ (C).
  • In full press-up position, inhale and lower your chest between your hands (D).
  • Exhale navel to spine, push up and repeat three times.
  • Now reverse the steps to roll back up one vertebra at a time to standing using your abdominal muscles to rebuild your spine.
  • Repeat the entire process three times.

Top tips:

  • Keep your weight in the centre of your feet as you roll down and your abs drawn in.
  • Keep your knees ‘soft’ and bend them a little more if you have any tightness in your back.
  • For the push-up, make sure you keep your abs drawn in, your shoulders away from your ears and your spine in neutral. Exhale as you push up and imagine you’re blowing yourself off the floor.

2. Side bend

5 to 8 reps

Benefits: strengthens and tightens your core, particularly the oblique muscles of your waist. It also strengthens the muscles of your shoulders, inner thighs and hips.

  • Sit on your right hip with your right knee bent and your top leg opened, foot flat on the floor slightly in front of your sitting bones. Your bottom leg rests on the floor with that foot just behind your top foot. Your body is supported on your right arm – hand in line with your hip and a little away from your body. Then, your top hand rests on your top knee (A).
  • Inhale to prepare and lengthen your supporting arm, drawing your torso away from the floor and your shoulder away from your ear.
  • Exhale to lift your pelvis upwards squeezing your inner thighs together and reaching your top arm overhead (B).
  • Inhale to bend your knees and return your hip back to the floor and your hand back to your knee.
  • Repeat five to eight times on each side.
  • To increase the intensity you could hold a dumbbell in your top hand.

Top tips:

Imagine your hips are in a sling, being lifted up from above.

3. 100

100 reps

Benefits: it’s perhaps the best known Pilates exercise which strengthens your entire core and flattens your abs.

10 minute full body pilates workout
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet and knees hip-width apart.
  • Exhale to contract your abs and bring both knees up to a table top (A).
  • Now exhale to lift your head, shoulders and arms off the floor.
  • Begin to beat your arms as if pressing up and down on heavy springs (B).
  • Inhale for five arm beats and exhale for five arm beats building up to 100 beats.
  • Beginners should start with 50 beats building up to 100.

Top tips:

  • Keep navel to spine throughout and your shoulders away from your ears, shoulder blades drawn down
  • Breathe into the sides of your ribs, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your lips.

To progress:

  • Straighten your legs out while keeping your abs flat and your back imprinted on the floor.
  • Keep your abs contracted throughout and your legs strong – knees locked and legs lengthened away from your body.
  • To progress further lower your straightened legs towards the floor as far as you can
    without tensing

4. Lunge & biceps

10 to 12 reps on each leg

Benefits: strengthens and tightens your bottom, thighs, front of arms and shoulders.

  • Stand with a flex band under your right foot, holding an end in each hand with your palms facing each other (A).
  • As you exhale and engage your core, step back with your left foot, bending both knees to an approximate right angle. At the same time bend your elbows, bringing your fists to your shoulders (B).
  • Inhale as you step back to the start position.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times on each leg.

Top tips:

  • Keep your shoulders back and down and your chest lifted.
  • Try to keep your front knee stable and in-line with your ankle while avoiding it rolling in or out.
  • Keep your spine upright and in a neutral alignment.

5. Double leg lift

8 reps then 8 reps

Benefits: strengthens your core, particularly the obliques (waist), and tones your legs and inner thighs.

10 minute full body pilates workout 10 minute full body pilates workout 10 minute full body pilates workout
  • Lie on your side with your head on an outstretched arm, with your legs together and your toes just in front of your hips. Your top hand is on the floor in front of your chest and your underneath hand has its palm facing upwards (A).
  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale, engage navel to spine and squeeze your legs together as you lift them both from the floor (B).
  • Inhale and gently lower your legs back to the floor.
  • Continue in time with your breath eight times.
  • Now hold your legs in the ‘up’ position and lift and lower the top leg eight times (C).

Top tips:

  • Squeeze your inner thighs together tightly for a greater effect.
  • Keep your hips stacked one on top of the other and your tummy and waist drawn in.
  • Keep your eye line directly in front of you.
  • Think of lengthening out as you lift your legs.

Related content:

  1. What is Pilates? Basics and benefits for beginners
  2. Pilates for posture: 7 posture correction exercises
  3. Pilates ab workout: best exercises for a strong core