Forget sit-ups — this 5-move Pilates routine sculpts your core in just 7 minutes

Woman performing Pilates exercises on a mat
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When you think of Pilates you perhaps think of having to commit 45 minutes to an hour of your time to one routine and wonder how to fit this into a busy day. The good news is that you can spend as little as seven minutes practicing Pilates on one of the best yoga mats and still strengthen your core. Here's how.

Getting stuck into some of the best Pilates exercises for strengthening your core will require you to focus on controlling your movement as you target the deep abdominal muscles, obliques and lower back. If you're practicing with good form and tuning into that mind-body connection, even just seven minutes of Pilates can activate and strengthen the core muscles.

The seven minute routine we're about to share with you comes from Pilates instructor Georgia Weibel and simply uses five exercises and the weight of the body as a force of resistance to tone and strengthen the core.

What is the workout?

To complete this Pilates workout, you will perform five mat based exercises, dedicating eight reps to each move. The aim is to complete three sets in total but listen to your body and do what feels the right level of challenge for you personally. If you complete three sets of the full routine, it should take seven minutes in total.

Weibel has provided demonstrations of each exercise which you can view in the post below. Take note of her form in each move as this will help you to get the most out of your workout.

Pilates is a highly effective exercise method favored by many for its ability to strengthen the core and improve overall fitness and flexibility. At the heart of Pilates lies the focus on developing a strong and stable core, factoring in the muscles of the abs, lower back, hips, and glutes. When we engage these muscles in controlled movements, Pilates helps to build a solid foundation of core strength, which is essential for supporting the spine, maintaining proper posture, and preventing injury.

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With a 1.5mm thickness the Manduka PROlite is a great option for traveling to and fro the studio with. The biodegradable, 100% natural tree rubber that the mat is made from will support you in a variety of workouts including but not limited to yoga, hot yoga, Pilates and mobility work.

Another key benefit of Pilates is its emphasis on functional movement. Many Pilates exercises mimic everyday activities, such as bending, twisting, and reaching - making it not only a great workout but also highly applicable to everyday tasks. Through consistent practice, you can also develop greater body awareness and make your movement more efficient, leading to enhanced coordination and balance.

Pilates is a highly effective exercise method favored by many for its ability to strengthen the core and improve overall fitness and flexibility.

Moreover, Pilates is known for its ability to promote toned and lean muscle without adding bulk. Unlike traditional strength training exercises that often rely on heavy weights, traditional Pilates relies on resistance from body weight to sculpt muscles while emphasizing length and alignment. 

Many people find that Pilates is not only a great physical workout but it's also a healthy exercise also for the mind, helping them to unwind and recharge amongst the demands of daily life. 

From building a stronger core and improving flexibility to enhancing mental focus and reducing stress, Pilates is an excellent way to look after your overall health and fitness and it can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and fitness levels.                            

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.