10 Pilates Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

Looking for a new workout that’s great for flexibility, strength, muscle toning, and even some relief for minor discomfort? Pilates could be the ideal solution you're looking for.

By URLife Team
15 Jul 2023

Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on improving flexibility, strength, posture, and overall body awareness. It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century and has gained popularity worldwide since.


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Pilates exercises are designed to target the core muscles, including the abdominal muscles, lower back, hips, and buttocks. The exercises emphasise controlled and precise movements with a strong focus on breath control, alignment, and proper form.  While it might sound complex, Pilates is actually quite accessible and can be more affordable than you might expect, depending on your chosen approach.

The best thing about Pilates is that it can be performed using a mat or with specialised equipment such as the Pilates reformer, which utilises springs and pulleys to provide resistance. The exercises can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and abilities, making it suitable for beginners as well as more advanced practitioners. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that participants who practised Pilates for 1 hour, 3-times a week for eight weeks found improvement in their balance, stability, and mobility, way better than people who did yoga instead (or who didn’t exercise at all).


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Benefits of Pilates

Pilates aims to improve core strength, stability, and flexibility while promoting body awareness and mindfulness. Benefits of practising Pilates may include improved posture, increased strength and flexibility, enhanced muscular control, reduced risk of injury, and overall body toning. It is also known to be a low-impact form of exercise, making it accessible to people of various ages and fitness levels.


Pilates offers a wide range of benefits for both the body and mind. 

  • Improves core strength: Pilates focuses on strengthening the deep abdominal muscles, along with the muscles of the back, hips, and pelvis. This helps improve core strength, stability, and postural alignment.
  • Increases flexibility: Pilates exercises promote lengthening and stretching of the muscles, improving overall flexibility and joint mobility. This can help prevent injuries and enhance overall movement range.
  • Fixes poor postures: Pilates emphasises proper alignment and postural awareness, which can lead to improved posture. Regular practice can help alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by poor posture.
  • Low-impact exercise: Pilates is generally considered a low-impact exercise method, making it suitable for people of different fitness levels and those recovering from injuries. It places minimal stress on the joints while still providing an effective workout.
  • Rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation: Pilates is often recommended by healthcare professionals as a part of rehabilitation programs for various injuries or conditions. It can aid in the recovery process, improve mobility, and restore strength.
  • Stress relief and mental well-being: The focused, mindful nature of Pilates can help reduce stress, increase relaxation, and improve mental well-being. A 2018 meta-analysis issued in the Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, found that those who practised Pilates reported a reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as an increase in energy.


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While Pilates can offer many benefits, it's always a good idea to consult with a qualified instructor or healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries. We approached Hyderabad-based UR.Life’s Pilates instructor Zaineb Ali, who has more than 10 years of experience in Pilates. Zaineb Ali has been making an impact on the lives of her clients through the transformative power of Pilates. Every session is infused with her genuine care and commitment to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals. 

Here are ten Pilates exercises from the expert that you can do anywhere:

1. The Hundred

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees into your chest. Raise your legs, and lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. 
  • Extend your legs out to a high diagonal and reach your arms long by your side with palms facing down. Arms moving vigorously, lifting up and down till the hips. 
  • While  moving arms, inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts to complete one exercise. The exercise is performed 10 times with 5 inhales and 5 exhales equaling 100. 


2. Single Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back and bring both knees to your chest. 
  • Extend one leg straight out while simultaneously lifting your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. 
  • Alternate legs and repeat ten times on each side.


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3. Roll-Up

  • Lie on your back with your arms stretched above your head. 
  • Slowly roll up, reaching forward to touch your toes, and then roll back down, articulating your spine. 
  • Repeat ten times.


4. Plank

  • Come into a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your legs extended straight behind you. 
  • Engage your core and hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute.


5. Pilates Push-Up

  • Start in a plank position and lower yourself down into a push-up, keeping your elbows close to your body. 
  • Push back up to the starting position. 
  • Repeat ten times.


6. Side Plank 

  • Lie on your side with your legs extended and stacked on top of each other. 
  • Lift your body off the ground, resting on your forearm and side of your foot. 
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute on each side.


Related story: Better Posture, Better Back: Yoga For A Healthy Spine


7. Bridge 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down. Repeat ten times.


8. Single Leg Circles

  • Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and one leg extended straight up to the ceiling. 
  • Circle the extended leg in one direction for five repetitions and then switch directions for another five repetitions. 
  • Repeat on the other leg.


9. Swimming 

  • Lie on your stomach with your arms extended straight in front of you and your legs extended straight behind you. 
  • Lift your right arm and left leg off the ground simultaneously and switch sides in a swimming motion. 
  • Continue alternating for one minute.


10. Standing Roll-Down

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and slowly roll your spine down, articulating each vertebra as you reach towards the ground. 
  • Roll back up to a standing position, stacking each vertebra one by one. 
  • Repeat five times.


Related story: Should You be Perfecting Your Yoga Asanas or Getting Into The Pilates Groove


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At UR.Life Studios, we offer a complete multi-disciplined approach to fitness and well-being. The URLife Studio is a luxe wellness oasis, combining sleek modern design, lavish amenities, state-of-the-art equipment and personalised wellness programs. 

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