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12-Minute Pilates Abs Workout

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About This Workout

This workout will help you strengthen (and stretch) your abdominals, obliques and lower back--without any equipment. Coach Nicole will take you through one short set of 11 Pilates exercises (plus stretches) for a complete core challenge. If you're new to Pilates, we recommend that you watch our short Intro to Pilates video first.
  • Length: 12 minutes
  • Equipment: Body weight, mat (optional, for cushioning)
  • Type of Workout: Strength training (toning) & flexibility
  • Muscles Worked: Core (abs, obliques, lower back)
  • Fitness Level: Beginning to advanced; since this workout has few transitions, it may also be suitable for individuals with limited mobility.
  • Impact: Low-impact
  • Safety Precautions: A mat will help cushion your body while lying on the floor. Shoes are optional during this Pilates workout. Always work at your own pace and level, using modifications whenever necessary.
  • Extra Tip: Only complete as many exercises as you can using good form, taking a break as needed. As you progress, try to finish the entire video. If you're new to Pilates, some of these exercises will cause fatigue in your neck muscles, but the more you practice the stronger your neck will become. If necessary, use one hand for light support behind your head and neck during exercises, or relax back down to the mat until you're ready to go again.

Member Comments

  • Really great work out. I liked it. I will add it to my faves. Thanks Spark! :) - 3/31/2014 4:57:12 PM
  • Wow! I'm a beginner, and I only made it a few minutes in but I can definitely feel my abs and the muscles in my back working! I'm going to have work up slowly to making it through the whole workout. :) Thank you Nicole! - 3/31/2014 9:35:14 AM
  • Neat one .. feels gr8 - 3/10/2014 12:22:09 PM
  • Sorry, in my last comment, I meant to say BIG time. - 3/2/2014 2:37:50 PM
  • Trust me. This is an excellent workout. I go to the gym at least four days a week for two hours each time. These exercises challenged me, bit time. Thanks. - 3/2/2014 2:36:50 PM
  • Wow, she makes it look so easy, but quite the workout for me! I had to modify some moves. I'll definitely feel this tomorrow - guess that's a good thing though. - 2/25/2014 1:45:51 PM
  • the day after i did this video, the area on the sides of my ribs were a little sore! is that normal?? are there even muscles to work out there?? i think it was from the side planking and those twists - 2/23/2014 7:18:39 PM
  • Looks terrific and will become part of my morning routine....but s l o w l y. At 71, being overweight, and not having done ab exercises for decades, I think I'll master one exercise at a time, moving on only when I can perform the exercise I'm working on with perfect form and some degree of ease. Thanks for this, I'm certain I'll benefit from it. - 2/9/2014 9:33:58 AM
  • This reminds me of when I just to do pilate classes. I think I need to get back to it! I am better in a group than on my own. I also learned in the class very important to make sure your form and breathing is good so having an instructor that checks for that was useful for me. - 1/24/2014 8:36:44 AM
  • Really needed this, but had to work at my own level - 1/2/2014 5:39:15 PM
  • good ab workout especially when your short on time. - 11/23/2013 10:37:47 AM
  • Really good workout. Thank you - 11/14/2013 11:32:02 AM
  • Five days later: I had to take a break about 7 minutes in and still half the exercises in an easier variation, but I made it through. Also: by now the exercises seem to effect different muscles. Very effective exercises and as always, very helpful instructions! - 11/10/2013 8:36:13 PM
  • Oh my. I made it to about 4:30, then my stomach muscles gave out. I'll try again after a rest day and hope I'll do a little bit better! - 11/6/2013 7:55:21 PM
  • OMG, it will be a month until I can do the whole thing correctly without modifications! Nicole, can you do some more workouts WITHOUT being on hands and knees for those of us with knee problems, please? I am doing GREAT moving from chair exercises to kickboxing with your videos, but I like Pilates too. - 11/5/2013 6:36:52 PM