I tried doing these seven Pilates exercises to improve my core strength and they helped me build my lower body too

Want to build strength while improving your posture and balance? Pilates workouts could be for you

Woman doing plank pose as part of a Pilates routine at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pilates is one of the most popular exercise styles out there, and for good reason. Not only can it help you build core strength, but it can also improve your posture, balance, and stability.

I go to the gym a few times a week and focus on lifting weights. But I've started to incorporate some Pilates workouts into my routine to experience its benefits.

Certified Pilates instructor Katy Bath shared a Pilates workout on Instagram that is designed to target the core, as well as the lower body. It only takes 15 minutes, so I did it on top of my usual strength workout as an added core booster. 

Bath recommends doing 12 repetitions (reps) of each exercise, completing two or three rounds of the routine in total. You don't need any equipment—just a yoga mat if you have one.

Watch Katy Bath's 15-minute Pilates workout

Exercises such as the tabletop taps and the single-leg stretch challenged my core strength more than I expected them to. I felt my mid-body muscles burning and completing 12 reps was difficult.

Some other moves, like the cross and reach, weren't as challenging, but they still engaged my abdominal muscles, so they'd be good options for beginners.

I was surprised by how much this workout engaged my lower body. My glutes were challenged by moves like the bridge march and tabletop lift, more so than when I do exercises such as squats and deadlifts.

I'm keen to return to this workout to target my core and glutes using just my body weight. Bodyweight-only moves often work smaller muscles and ligaments, which can be helpful for injury prevention, while big lifts activate your larger muscles, and are better for stimulating muscle growth. 

Need some new equipment for your home workouts? Our guide to the best yoga mats can help

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.