You don't need the gym to build a strong core, just this 10-minute Pilates routine

Pilates is one of the best ways to develop core strength, so why not give this workout a go?

Woman exercises at home. She is on a black exercise mat, an open laptop is next to her, and she is wearing black athletic leggins and a white tank top
(Image credit: whitebalance.oatt / Getty Images)

Pilates is the workout that everyone is still talking about and with good reason. It's a style of exercise that incorporates small, controlled bodyweight movements which build strength, stability and muscle tone.

Pilates is a great option if you work out from home, too. Instructor Saskia Longley recently shared a routine that is ideal for beginners looking to get started, because it avoids those Pilates moves people love to hate.

"This workout targets the shoulder, obliques and the core," Longley tells Fit&Well.

The routine only takes 10 minutes so you can do it on its own or as a finisher at the end of a longer routine, such as this full-body dumbbell workout.

How to do Saskia Longley's Pilates routine

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Once you've completed each of the five exercises, run through the routine again.

Maintaining proper form is very important during any exercise, but that's especially true with Pilates, so that you engage the correct muscles and get the most out of the movements.

"Keep your bum down in the plank," says Longley. "The higher the hips are, the less you are working your stomach muscles."

She adds that it's fine to modify exercises if they're too difficult: "If you struggle to hold your plank you can always drop the knees."

The benefits of Pilates for building core strength

Pilates workouts like this one engage a range of core muscles which will help you to gradually build strength.

And why is that beneficial? "Core strength improves your posture, balance and helps support your back muscles," says Longley.

As well as developing strength, this workout will help to improve your coordination: "Other benefits of this routine include coordination, especially in the bicycle crunch and double leg stretch," says Longley. "You need to coordinate the arms and legs to move cohesively."

Improving your coordination will help you move well in everyday life, as well as during exercise, and it's particularly important to work on this as you age.

Shop Pilates mats

While Longley performs this routine on a hard floor, you (and your spine) may appreciate using a Pilates mat, which tend to be thicker than yoga mats to make lying exercises more comfortable. Here are three recommendations to get you started.

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.