Your core is all the muscles that make up your midsection, including the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and transverse abdominals. It is the stabilizer of the body and the center from which every move of your arms, legs and neck depend.

Building your core makes it possible to use all your muscles effectively, but it shouldn’t occur in isolation. The whole body must be engaged in core training so that the core and its “extensions” work together with strength and flexibility. A core workout that engages the whole body will also help prevent injuries and improve posture.

Pilates provides great training for your core to increase your stability and strength and eliminate abdominal fat. Pilates exercises also enhance endurance, flexibility, and motor control, all of which are key components of core stability.

Here are four of the top Pilates moves to tone and strengthen your core.

The Hundred

Lie down with your arms at your sides and your legs straight. Lift your legs a few inches off the floor and engage your core. Raise your head up, facing forward. Lift your arms at your sides and begin to pump them up and down. Breathe out five pumps and in five pumps, matching your breath with each pump. Your goal is to work up to 100 pumps (10 sets of ten pumps).


Lie on your side and stretch your top leg over your lower leg. Bend your top knee in towards your chest and extend the leg in front of you. Sweep your leg back, behind you, bend your knee and pull into your chest once again. Do 8-10 reps and 3 sets on each leg. 


Begin on your back with your arms reaching straight overhead. Keep your limbs and core engaged. Inhale as you reach your arms up in front of you and begin to lift up towards your toes. Reach for your toes, keeping your arms parallel with your legs while lifting your feet up simultaneously. You will end up resting on your buttocks in a "V" position, with your arms parallel to your legs. Exhale as you slowly release back down to the starting position. Repeat three times.

Side Plank

Start out sitting on one hip with legs out to the side and using arm at your side for support. Stretch your legs out, ankle on top of ankle, non-supporting arm at your side. Inhale, lifting your hip off the ground, straightening and lengthening your body as you bear your weight on your straightened lower arm. Reach your free straight up to the ceiling, stretching that side of your body. Exhale back to starting position. Repeat each side three times.

PBX® pilates barre extreme offers a variety of pilates classes in Raleigh, NC. Find a class to suit your experience and fitness level or call us for assistance: 919-435-4229.