Pilates instructor shares a 40-minute workout to 'wake up your deep core' and improve your posture

Woman doing a Pilates workout on a yoga mat at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're looking for a way to strengthen your core without endless sit-ups and crunches, Pilates is a good place to start. The practice builds your mind-body muscle, challenges your balance, and builds core muscle, all without a weight in sight.

And we’ve found a Pilates workout that will help you activate those deep core muscles, boost your stability, and give your whole body a stretch. So roll out one of the best yoga mats and get ready to work your midsection.

This 40-minute workout is led by Rachel Lawrence, a certified Pilates instructor and founder of The Girl With the Pilates Mat. Featuring a mix of standing exercises and seated moves, Lawrence takes you through a range of core stability and core strength workouts. 

This workout is designed as a flow, so you’ll move effortlessly from one move to the next, taking Lawrence’s lead as she guides you through some of the best Pilates exercises for strengthening your core, like leg circles, core twists, and the Pilates hundred exercise. 

“It’s a great way to wake up your deep core muscles, energize your body, and prepare yourself for the day,” Lawrence explains. “This intermediate class will get you moving with a thorough workout and stretch to finish [with] a mix of  intense core work, deep stretches, and [full-body moves].”

Watch Rachel Lawrence’s 40-minute Pilates routine

40 Minute Pilates Core Workout | Intermediate Mat Pilates - YouTube 40 Minute Pilates Core Workout | Intermediate Mat Pilates - YouTube
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Learning how to activate your core properly is one of the best things you can do during any exercise session as it will help stabilize and strengthen your body while supporting your pelvis and spine. And this workout is no different.

To do so, Lawrence kick-starts this routine by encouraging you to start by standing on your mat with your feet hip-width apart, placing your hands on your hip bones and gently drawing the abdominals in.

It's vital to do each pose and movement with proper form to ensure you activate the correct muscles and avoid arching your lower back, which can lead to pain, discomfort or even an injury.

What is Pilates training good for?

Just about everything. So much so, it’s probably easier (and quicker) to list the things that Pilates can’t do  — although we’re yet to find any! 

We say this because a 2023 report, published in the World Congress On Multi-Disciplinary Cohesion for Positive Health and Wellbeing, came to the pretty inspiring conclusion that among adults and the elderly, Pilates can improve mental health, pain, flexibility, fitness, balance, and physical function. 

Plus a review published in the Bulletin of Faculty of Physical Therapy the same year found that this mind-body exercise can boost strength, core stability, muscle control, posture, and breathing.

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Becks Shepherd

Becks is a lifestyle journalist who specializes in writing about wellness and home products, from mattresses to weighted blankets and cooling comforters. She has tested a number of mattresses for Tom's Guide, putting them through their paces to see if they stand up to the brand's claims, and offering recommendations as to the type of sleeper they will (and won't) suit.