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

Guide to doing the crab in Pilates (image via Pexels/Photo by Karolina Grabowska)
Guide to doing the crab in Pilates (image via Pexels/Photo by Karolina Grabowska)
Shuvangi Sen Chaudhury

The Crab in Pilates is a core workout that helps with strengthening the core muscles. The foundation of this exercise is rolling workouts, something you should be aware of.

This exercise will help you control your abdominal muscles and work them in a way that your lower back, obliques and core muscles get worked on.

Correct form of doing Crab in Pilates

To do this exercise, sit straight on a mat; cross your legs from the ankles. and keep your knees bent. Next, you’ll need to bring your knees closer to your shoulders while holding your feet.


Ensure that your chest and back are wide while your shoulders are down. Your knees mustn’t cross the width of your body during this movement.

Curl into a ball, keeping your head down and core muscles scooped in. Your tailbone should be moving upwards, and your spine should have a long curve. This is your position to begin the exercise.

Now, roll back with your core muscles but only till your shoulders. Release your feet; switch crosses, and hold them again. Finally, roll back forward while remaining in a curl.

Tips to perform Crab in Pilates

While you may have understood how to do the exercise, here are some tips that will help you master the movement quicker:


When you’re rolling back, always inhale. When you roll forward, always exhale. The more you control your breathing, the better it will be for you to have a controlled movement.

Next, when you roll backwards, keep the roll till your shoulder blades. If you go too fast, you will end up putting pressure on your neck, which you want to absolutely avoid.

Make sure you keep your breathing flowing, and your workout routine should involve at least six reps of the exercise.

Benefits of Crab in Pilates

  1. Strengthens the core muscles
  2. Focusses on working on the obliques
  3. Helps improve posture
  4. Enables the body to improve its physical fitness

Common mistakes when doing Crab in Pilates

There are some mistakes you should be aware of while doing this movement. Knowing the same will help you master the exercise quicker:

Losing control of abdominal muscles

The idea of this exercise is to work on your abdominal muscles. If you lose control of your upper abs and roll over your ankles, you’re putting them at risk of injury.


Focusing on momentum

The idea of the crab in Pilates is to use rhythm and not momentum. If you roll back and forth using your feet instead of your core muscles, it’s not going to be fruitful, and you’ll end up injuring yourself.

Ideally, you should be slow with the exercise, and find a rhythm that suits your fitness level. As and when your core muscles strengthen, you can increase the intensity with which you do the exercise.

Not warming up

This exercise can be quite exhausting for the abdominal muscles. To make sure the muscles do not cramp or pull up, it’s best to do some warm-ups before attempting the exercise.

Edited by Bhargav


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