I'm adding this one Pilates exercise into my routine to build muscle all over

This bodyweight move will help you develop core strength and stability

Woman preparing for a home workout by stretching her arms
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I'm always looking for new ways to develop muscle, strength, and tone up and I generally rely on lifting weights to do this. But I've recently become interested in equipment-free workouts for building core strength as I’ve noticed this is an area of weakness for me. My desk job leaves me with frequent achiness in my back and I’m hoping doing more core workouts can help.

Georgia Weibel, a Pilates instructor, recently shared an Instagram Reel demonstrating one exercise designed to target the core, inner thighs, and shoulders.

I decided to try this seemingly simple equipment-free exercise on my lunch break to see if it would activate muscles in my upper and lower body. Weibel recommends doing 12 repetitions, so I decided to try this four times round with a short rest in between.

Watch Weibel's Instagram Reel

I tend to assume that bodyweight exercises will be easier than lifting weights, but I'm often proven wrong—they just work the body in different ways, as I discovered doing this Pilates movement. 

My core muscles were shaking within the first few reps and I immediately felt my abdominal muscles switch on. This exercise also engaged my hip flexors, and it required good control as well as strength.

Weibel says in her Reel this is a spicey shoulders workout but I didn’t find it so challenging on the arms or shoulders. But if you don't regularly train your upper body, this might be a good beginner's option to start engaging those muscles.

Despite my regular strength training, I found getting to 12 reps was difficult and my core muscles were burning by the time I did. After completing four rounds, I felt as though I'd activated a range of muscles, mostly in my core and lower body.

I think this is a movement I'll enjoy adding to other workouts to help me improve my core stability and balance, but it won't replace my full-body dumbbell workouts anytime soon. 

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.