What Is the Scissors Exercise in Pilates? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

What is the scissors exercise in Pilates? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)
What is the scissors exercise in Pilates? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

Scissors exercise in Pilates is an advanced movement which focuses on the core muscles. It requires support from the hip and the pelvic for stability and flexibility. Ideally, you should try to do this exercise after you’ve mastered the neck pull since that lays the foundation for the movement.

Nevertheless, it’s important to know the correct form and the common mistakes before you begin adding the exercise to your workout routine.

The correct form for doing the scissors exercise in Pilates

Lie down on your back on the mat and keep your hands on your sides. Next, extend your legs to approximately 45-degrees.


After this, use your hip flexibility to bring your legs over your head and extend them towards the ceiling. Use your hands to support yourself by placing them behind your hips and keeping your elbows grounded.

To exercise, begin lowering your right leg to 45-degrees. Ideally, your toes, ankles, and shoulders should be at a long angle. Once you’ve reached this position, switch legs to bring the left leg to 45-degrees.

As you do this, continue to stretch your legs, which will challenge your balance and help you improve it as well. To get back to the neutral position, bring both legs together, lower your arms to the mat, and slowly roll your hips on the mat.

Tips to do the scissors exercise in Pilates

While the entire movement is based on how much core strength you have, the way you breathe also plays a huge role in the entire movement.


Once you’ve created the 45-degrees with both legs, inhale before you roll your legs overhead and exhale while doing it. Next, inhale before creating the angle with one leg and exhale while doing it. Each movement should be done with controlled breathing, which will help you in challenging your core strength as well as stability.

Additionally, try to pulse twice when you’re in the open position before switching legs. At this point, only your legs should be moving and not your hips. The basic idea behind this entire movement/exercise is to keep your hips as stable as possible.

Benefits of doing the scissors exercise in Pilates

This exercise will focus on your abdominal muscles, lower and upper abs. Moreover, the exercise will focus on your obliques as well.


Finally, the scissors in Pilates focus on the hamstrings and hip muscles as well. It primarily helps in stretching them, which enables the muscles to help with other exercises.

Common mistakes

When you’re doing the scissors exercise in Pilates, it’s crucial to understand the importance of protecting your neck throughout. When you’ve rolled backwards, it’s imperative you do not move your neck either way, and must be absolutely stable.


Ideally, you should try to balance your legs on your shoulders while using your pelvic for stability.

Bottom line

The scissors exercise in Pilates is quite advanced and should not be done without proper guidance. It’s better to have someone who will help you when you begin the movement and once you have grasped the concept, you can make it a part of your regular workout routine.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann