A 4-Move Pilates-Inspired Workout To Strengthen Your Arms & Abs
If you're looking for a simple and effective workout that will strengthen your upper body at home while also showing your abs some love—you've come to the right place.
The following moves from B The Method—the Pilates-based method I founded—are great for targeting both your arms and abs. The best part: All you need is a Pilates ball (or a small pillow folded in half).
All of these are moves I highly recommend to my clients (including mindbodygreen's co-founder and co-CEO Colleen Wachob) as a strategic way to strengthen their bodies.
You can sprinkle these moves into your home workouts, or pick any one to do when you need a quick energy boost.
Equipment: Pilates ball, yoga mat
Directions: Move from one exercise to the next, resting as needed. Complete the indicated number of sets and reps, until you've completed all moves.
Plank flow with open hips
This move should look like a moving child's pose with your knees off the ground. It activates your inner thighs and pelvic floor, in addition to the abs and arms.
How to: Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, and a Pilates ball in between your heels. Press through your arms, pulling your body backward until your seat is over your heels, with knees bent and open wide. Then press back into a plank. That's one rep. Do 5 reps.
Plank flow in parallel
This one is similar to the plank flow with open hips, except your legs are parallel and stay parallel the entire time.
How to: Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and a Pilates ball in between your knees. Press through your arms, pulling your body backward until your seat is over your heels, with knees bent. Keep your legs parallel the entire time, squeezing the ball in between your knees. Then press back into a plank. That's one rep. Do 5 reps.
Mermaid twist with extension
This exercise stretches the entire side of your body in one swift move.
How to: Begin with your hands pressed into the ground, with your knees rotated to the side and a Pilates ball placed between your knees. Press through your arms, pull your body backward, and lift up through your core, until your top hip is pressed into the air. Return to start, stretching through the shoulders and arms as you press your chest forward. That's one rep. Do 5 on each side.
Child's pose flow with extension
Similar to the moving plank flow with open hips, this move focuses more on rolling through the spine. Articulate through every vertebra to lift into an extension. This stretches the shoulders and abdominals and strengthens your spine.
How to: Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, knees on the ground and spread wide, and a Pilates ball in between your ankles. Press through your arms, pulling your body backward until your shins are on the ground and your seat is over your heels. Return to start, stretching through the shoulders and arms as you press your chest forward. That's one rep. Do 5 reps.
For more Pilates-inspo from Lia, try out her go-to ab moves, too!
Reset Your Gut
Sign up for our FREE doctor-approved gut health guide featuring shopping lists, recipes, and tips
Lia Bartha is a certified classically trained Pilates Instructor of over 10 years, based in New York City. Born in Hawaii with scoliosis, she was introduced to Pilates while working a corporate that took a major toll on her back. It didn't take long for her entire perspective on fitness to change forever, thanks to private Pilates instruction. And two kids later, she also started to understand the need for functional strength and a strong pelvic floor.
Bartha realized exercising needed to be more than just how it made you look on the outside. It needed to be meditative and releasing, while also lengthening and toning the body. She created and developed B The Method to help people look a little deeper inside themselves, mentally and physically, and tap into a deeper layer of the body to strengthen and lengthen, starting from the inside.