Develop muscle all over without weights using this 30-minute workout

This short, Pilates-inspired routine works your core and strengthens your whole body in less than 30 minutes

A woman stretching on a yoga mat in her home as part of a Pilates session
(Image credit: Getty)

Bodyweight workouts are brilliant for developing balance and coordination, but they're also fantastic for building foundation strength. Pilates is a great place to start, as this 30-minute, no-equipment routine shows. 

The session targets your whole body without weights, challenging you to repeat precise movements designed to strengthen your joints and muscles, which in turn can help boost your mobility and protect against future injuries. 

This specific Pilates-inspired workout from Anna Engelschall (GrowingAnnanas) only takes 30 minutes, but still manages to work your legs, glutes, arms, back, and core — all you need is a yoga mat.

The aim is to complete each exercise for 30 seconds with no rest in between. This will feel challenging, but you should aim to keep moving for the full 30 seconds without taking too many additional breaks.

Whether you're considering Pilates for beginners or looking for a short routine you can do when you're tight on time, you can follow along with Engelschall's demonstrations to perfect your form and get the most from your training. 

Watch GrowingAnnanas' 30-minute Pilatesworkout

The workout is split into sections focusing on different muscle groups, starting with the legs, then to the glutes and abs, followed by the upper-body. This sequence repeats with different movements, so you won’t get bored going over old ground. 

Another top tip to know before you get started is, during core strengthening exercises, focus on squeezing your abdominal muscles. This will create a mind-muscle connection, which has been shown to increase activity in the targeted muscles. 

Alternatively, you may prefer a weights-based workout, so give this 15-minute dumbbell session a go. Or, if you really enjoyed this workout and want to try something similar, this standing Pilates session can help improve your posture and mobility. 

People often compare yoga and Pilates, but the two practices have a few differences. In a yoga class, you're more likely to adopt a position and hold it for a period, while in Pilates sessions, you find a position then take small movements to work your core.

What they have in common is that both techniques help you focus on your breathing, the way your body moves, and how it feels. In this way, it's a lot like learning how to meditate, but more active. 

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.