Weights machines and medicine balls aren’t the only way to strengthen your muscles. Pilates will improve your full body strength, since you spend much of the time performing abdominal and lower-back exercises.

From flexibility to function, the benefits of pilates are countless. It gets right to your core, sculpting and shaping to help you stand taller, boost your balance, tone your muscles and prevent pain in both the short term and the long run.

This kind of strength training increases your bone density, muscle tone and metabolic rate. The more you do it, the more you progress over time. With that in mind, we’ve created a pilate routine for busy people. Practice these moves every day to amp up your muscles and make day-to-day tasks a lot easier.

WORKOUT SET UP

No equipment is necessary for this workout. Simply grab a stopwatch and go.

7 PILATES EXERCISES

Practice each of the following moves for 60 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds.

1. HEAD STAND

If you need to prep for this move, come into the ‘dolphin’. On all fours, place your forearms on the mat and interlock your palms. Tuck your toes under to lift your lower body and come into a forearm downward dog. Repeat x 8.

2. EXTENDED SIDEWAYS ANGLE POSE

A yoga and pilates classic, this move opens up the side of the body and strengthens the legs. Hold for 30 seconds to the left, then another 30 seconds to the right.

3. PLANK

Perfect your plank by breathing deeply. Whatever you do, don’t watch that stopwatch. Turn it over so you know when you’re done and focus on something else.

4. CHAIR POSE

This move strengthens the your lower body and gives your upper back a glorious stretch. Place your hands on your need to make this pose more challenging.

5. DOWNWARD FACING DOG

Stretch out your shoulders, hamstrings, calves, spine and hands with this energizing move. Make sure you’re fully engaging your core and drawing up through your quads, slightly bending the knees.

6. BOAT POSE

Create a more challenging move by crossing one foot over the other. Squeeze your shoulders together to lift your chest higher for a rejuvenating release.

7. INVERTED PLANK

Want to up the ante? Add in some leg kicks to fire up an inverted plank.

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