Strengthen your whole body and boost your flexibility with this 20-minute mobility routine

This short Pilates practice builds a stronger core, improves your mood, and strengthens the mind-muscle connection

Certified Pilates instructor Callie Jardine performing a leg lift on a beach
(Image credit: Callie Jardine / Sweaty Studio)

Starting Pilates for the first time can seem daunting. You may even have heard that it's a bit like yoga, but with a focus on the muscles around your stomach, including your core and abdominals. 

While that is the case, Pilates isn't as complicated as it initially seems. All you need is a yoga mat and a beginner-friendly session to give it a try, like this introduction routine from Callie Jardine, a certified Pilates and barre instructor and founder of Sweaty Studio

“This session strengthens the whole body, and is perfect for those who might be exploring Pilates for the first time,” Jardine explains. “I truly believe Pilates is a great form of exercise for all ages and fitness levels."

"It can be low-impact enough to allow those who may have physical limitations to participate, but versatile enough to offer a challenge to even the most advanced athlete.”

You can watch Jardine’s routine below and perform the moves along with her. She also provides helpful form, technique and breathing pointers throughout to help you learn each exercise.

Watch Callie Jardine's full-body beginner Pilates session

If you're used to high-intensity sessions like a HIIT workout for fat loss, Pilates is also a refreshing way to take your foot off the gas and mix up your fitness routine. Plus, Pilates can help you focus on the present moment and the way your body moves.

This strengthens the mind-muscle connection, which makes it easier to notice your posture and form during holds, yoga classes, and strength training workouts. And because it also keeps your attention on your breath, it's a bit like learning how to meditate

“There are many ways to do Pilates so there is often an option that works for a variety of fitness goals, whether you want to tone, build strength or improve flexibility.

“I also enjoy how many different ways you can elevate your workout with Pilates, whether that be adding weights or including more gentle stretches," like these yoga stretches for beginners

And if you're worried that the routine won't be intense enough to build muscle, one of our writers switched their usual ab workout for a four-move Pilates class and found that it worked their whole core in just six minutes. 

While Jardine's session is a great way to ease into the practice, if you're short on time, you can still get the benefits with this five-minute Pilates workout. If you'd like a bit more structure, you could even follow this four-week Pilates ab workout plan that uses nine moves to strengthen your core.

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.