5 Best Pilates Exercises for Effective Weight Loss

Pilates exercises offer great weight loss results. (Photo via Unsplash/Ash Hayes)
Pilates exercises offer great weight loss results. (Photo via Unsplash/Ash Hayes)

Pilates is a very popular and effective low-impact form of workout that helps tone the body, develop lean muscle mass, and improves overall posture. Practicing it regularly can offer some great health benefits, including weight loss. Pilates exercises primarily target the core muscles, however, they work great for other parts of the body too. These exercises can be done with or without equipment on a mat or reformer machine, with a complete focus on breathing and slow movements.

If your ultimate fitness goal is weight loss, certain Pilates exercises can help you achieve the same. In this article, we’ve compiled some of the best Pilates exercises that you can do to burn calories and lose weight. You can combine these exercises with strength training or cardio workouts such as swimming, walking, or cycling to enhance the overall effectiveness.

5 Pilates exercises for weight loss

Here’s a look at some of the top Pilates moves that are sure to offer great weight loss results.

1. Plank jacks

To do this exercise:

  • Stand straight on a mat and bring both your arms up. Squeeze your inner thighs together and lengthen your waist.
  • Exhale and bring your arms and head forward. Now slowly lower your hands to the mat and make sure your abs remain scooped.
  • Position your palms on the mat and walk your hands forward until you get into a plank position from your heels to your head. Balance yourself on the tips of your toes.
  • Jump your legs in and out a few times while maintaining your balance.
  • Walk your hands back with straight arms and return to standing.
  • Repeat the entire sequence at least 5 times.

2. Swimming

To do this exercise:

  • Lie down on your stomach on a mat with your forehead down, inner thighs pressed together and pubis on the mat. Your arms should be properly stretched forward with your palms facing down, and your feet should be pointed.
  • Now lift your chest, head, arms and legs on one count and hold for a second.
  • Alternate lifting the left arm/right leg and right arm/left leg without touching the mat.
  • Continue to lift higher and reach longer with each count.
  • Slowly sit back on your heels for a stretch in your lower back and repeat the entire sequence a few more times.

3. Crisscross

To do this exercise:

  • Lie on your back on the mat with both your hands behind your head.
  • Bend your knees and move your legs up. As you inhale, engage your torso and touch your left elbow with your right knee while straightening your left leg forward and holding it a few inches above the floor.
  • Return to the start and repeat the sequence on the other side.

4. Leg pulls

To do this exercise:

  • Sit straight with both your legs extended and your feet pointed. Position your hands with your palms down behind you. Make sure to keep your fingers pointed inward.
  • Now press into both your hands and lift your hips until your body gets into a diagonal line from your heels to your head.
  • Lift your left leg as high as you can and shift your body from side to side.
  • Return your left foot to the mat and do the same with your right leg.
  • Continue for a few reps on both legs.

5. Seal

To do this exercise:

  • Sit on a mat with both your knees bent and apart and your toes together. Move your hands between your legs and slowly wind them to the outsides of your ankles.
  • Now lift your feet off the mat and try to balance on your tailbone with your abs scooped and inner thighs engaged.
  • Inhale and engage your abs to roll back onto your upper back. Exhale and roll back up to again balance on your tailbone.
  • Stay centered on the mat and continue to roll in and out while deepening your abs with every roll.


So, now that you know these Pilates exercises, incorporate them into your regular fitness regimen to see great weight loss results. The key, however, is to perform each exercise correctly to avoid injury and target the right muscles. If you are new to Pilates, it is best to work under the supervision of a trainer to seek the right guidance.

Quick Links