5 Pilates Exercises to Start your Day

No time for a full workout? No problem! Start your day with these 5 energizing Pilates exercises. You’ll move, breathe, strengthen, and tone through gentle movements that will leave you feeling ready to take on the day!

And make sure to download your FREE PDF of these exercises to keep on hand anytime you need a quick Pilates workout.


Roll Backs

Start in a seated position with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms out in front of you. Take an inhale to prepare, as you exhale, tuck your tailbone underneath you and roll back into a “c curve” position with your spine.

Keep your shoulders relaxed. Inhale to pause, exhale to draw your abs in as you return to seated position.

Repeat 8-10 x.

Pelvic Curl

Lie on your mat with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart. 

Inhale – prepare, exhale – articulate your spine up into a bridge position one vertebra at a time. Inhale – pause at the top and reach your knees over your toes to open up your hip flexors, exhale – soften your chest and articulate your spine down to the ground one vertebra at a time.

Repeat 8-10x.

The Hundred

Lie on your mat with your knees in table top position. Gently hold behind your thighs, nod your chin to your chest, and lift your head, neck, and chest up off of the mat using your abdominals. Flatten your back into the mat, reach your arms forward, and extend your legs on a 45 degree angle.

Inhale for the count of 5 – pumping your arms as you go. Exhale for the count of 5 – continuing to pump your arms.

Repeat the breath cycle 10x.

Bird Dogs

Start on all 4’s, with a long, neutral spine. As you inhale, extend your right leg behind you and reach your opposite arm up toward your ear. Hold the position to find balance and engage your core.

Exhale as you return to starting position.

Alternate sides and perform 10 reps on each side.

Side Plank

Lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Stack your feet, one on top of the other, or place your top foot in front of your bottom foot. Inhale to prepare.

As you exhale, lift your hips up off the mat, engage your upper back, lengthen through your spine, and reach your top arm up to the sky.

Hold for 10 slow breaths. Repeat on the other side.

These exercises are great to do alone or in addition to another workout, a walk, or a run! CLICK HERE to download your FREE printable to keep these exercises close by anytime you need a quick morning (or any time of day) workout!


PS – Check out my 5-minute Pilates warm-up for another great set of exercises to help wake you up 🙂

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6 thoughts on “5 Pilates Exercises to Start your Day”

  1. Great workouts! I’m also trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle and started to mine for healthy recipes like yours. Also, I started a marathon training with SportMe, and I managed to get rid of some pounds. Your blog posts are super inspiring for me in this phase, thanks!

    1. Elisabeth Callahan

      Hi Sheila! Please check with your medical provider first. Once you are cleared to do Pilates, it can be a great way to rebuild strength and flexibility after surgery. 🙂

  2. These are great. Thank you! AND, can you link where Robin got the tights she is wearing in this post? I love them!

  3. Hi Robin. I did my first Pilates workout on Saturday. My sacrum area is killing me now…very sore. I have done Pilates in the past, but not recently. I did the October Grace workout that was about 30 minutes long. Maybe improper form on roll-ups? They definitely were tough. I don’t want to give up. I really like the program you’ve put together. But I’m limping around in pain :-/ Any suggestions?

    1. Jackie at The Balanced Life

      Hi Jenny! Thank you for your message. It’s difficult to say without seeing you. While soreness is often normal, pain is another thing, and you may want to give your body some rest until pain subsides. One thing you may want to try is putting folded towels/blankets on top of your mat to give yourself some extra support/cushion when you are ready to be back on your mat. You might also want to browse the Workout Library for shorter, more gentle/stretching routines as you ease back into it. ❤️

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