Pilates Sample Exercises


We are often asked for some pilates sample exercises, and we are also asked about pilates ball exercises.  Pilates is a great form of exercise, combining gentle movements with rhythmic breathing.  It is similar to yoga, but involves more movement.  Weve put together a few pilates sample exercises, including pilates ball exercises, for you to get a feel for it.

The pilates pelvic tilt is a good exercise to start with.  Pay attention to the breathing as you do the movements.

Pilates Pelvic Tilt

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.  Align your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

  2. This exercise begins in the neutral spine position.  In the neutral spine position, the natural curves of the spine are present, so the lower back is not pressed against the floor.

  3. Breathe in.

  4. Breathe out.  As you breathe out, use your abdominal muscles and pull your belly button down toward your spine.  The abs should press the lower spine against the floor. 

  5. Breathe in.  As you breathe in, press down with your feet, allowing the tailbone to begin to curve up toward the ceiling.  The hips lift, then the lower spine, then the middle spine.  You will come to rest on your shoulders at the level of your shoulder blades, with a straight line from your shoulders to your hips.  Do not arch beyond this point.  Be sure to support this movement with the abdominal muscles and thigh muscles.

  6. Breathe out.  As you exhale, begin with the upper back and unroll the spine back down to the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae, until the lower spine settles to the floor.

  7. Breathe in.  Relax into the neutral spine position.

Another good pilates exercise to try is the spine stretch.  Again, remember to pay attention to your breathing.

Spine Stretch

  1. Sit up tall with your legs out in front of you about shoulder width apart.

  2. Breathe in.  As you breathe in, stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder height.

  3. Breathe out.  As you breathe out, stretch your spine to curve forward into a C curve.   Reach your fingers toward your toes.

  4. Breathe in.  As you breathe in, reach a little further.

  5. Breathe out.  As you breathe out, slowly straighten the spine to a sitting position.

As you practice these pilates sample exercises, pay attention to the breathing that goes along with the movements.  The breathing is as important to the pilates sample exercises as the movements are.

Pilates ball exercises are a great way to add variety to your pilates exercise routine.  Exercise balls can be purchased online or at stores that sell exercise equipment.

Here is a sample pilates exercise using a ball.

Long Stretch

  1. Lie face down on the ball with the ball under your hips.  Your hands should be flat on the floor.

  2. Walk your hands forward until your mid-thighs are resting on the ball.  To make the exercise more challenging, walk your hands forward until your knees are resting on the ball.  You should be in a straight line from head to toe.

  3. From there, shift your weight back and forth, moving only at the shoulders.

  4. Breathe deeply and rhythmically as you perform the pilates ball exercises.

We hope you enjoy these pilates exercises. You can find more pilates sample exercises and pilates ball exercises online, but the best way to learn is to take a class with a qualified instructor.  The instructor can show you the proper form and demonstrate the exercises for you.


Before beginning a new exercise routine, be sure to speak with your doctor to make sure the exercise program is right for you.


More than pilates sample exercises on our benefits of exercise page

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