5 of the best pilates moves you can do at home

These simple pilates moves can be done every day - whether you are time poor or not.

The juggle to find work/life balance is constant. Getting to an exercise class or fitting in a run can sometimes seem impossible. The wonderful thing about Pilates is you can do it from the comfort of your own home - mobilising, toning and strengthening the body in a few simple moves.

Founder of Bodylove Pilates, Ali Handley, has spent the past nine years living and breathing Pilates in New York and has revealed some of the best moves you can do easily at home. 


  • On your back, pelvis and spine in neutral. Knees are bent, feet are parallel and in line with the sitting bones.
  • Inhale through your nose  and prepare for the movement.
  • Exhale out your mouth and first feel your pelvic floor lift, your belly button pull into your spine to gently tilt the pelvis back to connect ribs and hips. Maintain this connection and slowly articulate the spine as you peel the pelvis up.
  • Inhale again through your nose and maintain the hip lift and deep core wrapping.
  • Exhale again out your mouth and slowly articulate the spine back down vertebrae by vertebrae.
  • Complete 15 reps.

Tip: Don’t allow the ribs to flare as you come up in the bridge. Imagine the front ribs staying knitted together throughout the exercises.

Knee Hovers

  • Arrange yourself on your hands and knees in an all fours position. 
  • Inhale through your nose and allow your lungs to fill up with air and your stomach muscles to completely relax.
  • Exhale a long, slow, even breath out your mouth as you imagine your TVA wrapping around your midsection, pulling your bellybutton in all the way to the spine, knitting the two sides of the abs together, then without changing the shape of your spine, hover your knees off the mat.
  • Inhale again through your nose and lower the knees.
  • Complete 8 reps and hold the final knee hover for 4 complete breath cycles.

Tip: For a challenge, add a 3 push-ups with knees lifted.


  • Arrange yourself on your hands and knees in an all fours position.
  • Inhale through your nose and allow your lungs to fill up as you step one foot back behind you.
  • Exhale a long, slow, even breath out your mouth as you imagine your abdominals wrapping around your midsection and then step the other foot back.
  • You are now in plank position - continue to breath as you maintan this position.
  • Complete 2 reps holding each for 30 seconds.

Tips: Think about keeping your shoulders directly above wrists, ribs are closed and knitting together, your abdominal muscles are zipped up and closed (if you feel them pulling apart and your stomach doming down, place the knees down), lengthen through the whole body and imagine energy reaching out in opposite directions - out the heels of the feet and the crown of the head. Lift and extend one leg at a time for a challenge.


  • Standing with legs wide apart and your feet externally rotated (think 2nd position in ballet) – knees tracking over the second toes.
  • Inhale through your nose as you lower down into your plie.
  • Exhale a long slow even breath out your mouth as you slowly push through your feet to stand back up.
  • Complete 3 sets of 8.

Tip: Maintain the plie as you lower and lift the heels for a challenge.


  • On your tummy, feet slightly turned out and a little wider than your hips, two hip bones and pubic bone resting on the mat, nose and forehead down, your arms are reaching out in front of you, your palms are down. Imagine you are making a small X with your body.
  • Inahle through your nose, roll your shoulders back and feeling them melt down away from your ears.
  • Exhale out your mouth as you first pull your belly button to your spine, then imagine you roll a marble with the tip of your nose and watch it off the end of the mat as your head, shoulders, arms and legs float up.
  • Continue to breathe normally as you swim your arms and legs.
  • Complete swimming for 10 breaths. 

Tip: For an extra challenge hold the float position for 4 breaths - Imagine reaching energy through the fingers and toes and focus on length not how high everything is lifted.

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