7 Pilates Moves for Weight Loss & A Toned Body7 Pilates Moves for Weight Loss & A Toned Body7 Pilates Moves for Weight Loss & A Toned Body

7 Pilates Moves for Weight Loss & A Toned Body

7 Pilates Moves for Weight Loss & A Toned Body

Lose weight and get toned with these 7 Pilates moves

Pilates is a powerhouse when it comes to burning fat and building muscle. There are hundreds of Pilates moves that will target specific muscle groups to get you into shape. Different classes available offer sequences that will help you to reach your fitness goals, whether you want to lose weight, tone your abs, or build your buns!

If practiced consistently, Pilates has been proven to assist you on your weight loss journey. After just a few moves, you will notice that your heart rate increases and you start to break a sweat, two indicators that your calories are starting to melt.

Over time, you will also see an increase in lean muscle mass and a change in your body composition as stored fat is replaced by new muscle fibers.

A 2021 study found that Pilates dramatically reduced body weight, improved Body Mass Index (BMI), and reduced body fat percentage in adults with obesity (1). Below you will find the top seven poses that will help to get you into shape and support your weight loss goals.

Which Pilates Moves are the Best Fat Burners?

1. Plank

The Pilates plank position is the best move for toning your abdominals, while also using practically every muscle in your body. It’s like a full-body workout in one exercise.

How to do a Plank:

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Shift your weight forward over your wrists and press through your fingers to protect your hands.
  2. For a supported plank, keep your knees grounded. Align your knees, hips, and shoulders in one straight line. To do this you’ll have to hold your core in strong and activate your gluteal muscles.
  3. If you want to progress to a full plank, tuck your toes and straighten out your legs. Make sure your ankles are now in alignment with your knees, hips, and shoulders too.
  4. Hold it here and breathe deeply.


Once you’ve mastered the full body plank, try some of the fun variations that target other muscles. The one-arm side plank will work your obliques. While holding the side plank, you can try the one-legged plank to tone your lower abdominals. If you think they are all easy, add a Pilates pushup to your plank and that will get your arms working too.

2. Swimming

If you are ready for another full-body burner, it’s time to go swimming on land. This move will tone your gluteal muscles, while also giving your arms, legs, and core the workout they deserve.

How to do Swimming:

  1. Lay on your stomach with your forehead down, arms stretched forward, and legs stretched long.
  2. Lift your chest, head, arms, and legs in one go and start to pulse the arms and legs up and down. While pulsing, make sure you are alternating the right and left arms and legs without touching your hands or feet to the mat.
  3. Keep swimming as you count down from 10 to 1. Try to swim a little longer each time you practice this move.


Once you know how to swim forward by pumping the arms up and down, try a sideways swim with a criss-cross move for the arms and legs. Criss-cross the arms over one another and criss-cross the legs at the same time.

3. Leg Pull Up

This one is positioned as a reverse plank. A super move for your arms, core, gluteal muscles, legs, and all! Challenge yourself to a few rounds of these pull-ups.

How to do Leg Pull Ups:

  1. Sit on the floor and place your hands behind you, fingers facing toward your body and legs extended long.
  2. Press into your heels and lift your hips off the floor. This will open the front side of your body.
  3. Hold it here and breathe deeply, embracing your reverse plank and feeling your active muscles.
  4. To add on the leg pull-ups, practice lifting one leg up toward the sky, then set it back down. Swap sides. Repeat this movement, alternating the legs each time to find the ultimate tummy toning and glute loving move.

4. The Hundred

The Hundred is a classic Pilates move that engages your core and increases your heart rate, making it an excellent exercise for weight loss.

Woman Doing the Hundred Pilates Move

How to do The Hundred:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs in a tabletop position and arms by your sides.
  2. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat, extend your legs, and start pumping your arms up and down.
  3. Inhale for 5 pumps and exhale for 5 pumps, repeating this cycle 10 times.

5. Roll-Up

The Roll-Up is a great move for strengthening your core and improving flexibility. It’s effective for burning calories and toning your abdominal muscles.

Women Doing Roll Up Move from Pilates to Get Fit

How to do a Roll-Up:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended overhead and legs straight.
  2. Slowly roll up to a sitting position, reaching for your toes, and then roll back down.
  3. This move strengthens your core and increases flexibility.

6. Crisscross

The Crisscross targets your obliques and helps in toning your waistline. It’s an excellent move for enhancing core strength and burning calories.

Woman Doing Criss Cross Move from Pilates

How to do a Crisscross:

  1. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and legs in a tabletop position.
  2. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat and extend one leg while twisting your torso to bring the opposite elbow towards the bent knee.
  3. Switch sides and continue alternating for a set number of repetitions.

7. Single Leg Stretch

The Single Leg Stretch is effective for working your core, improving flexibility, and burning calories. It’s a great addition to any Pilates routine aimed at weight loss.

How to do a Single Leg Stretch:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs in a tabletop position.
  2. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat and extend one leg out while bringing the other knee towards your chest.
  3. Switch legs and continue alternating for a set number of repetitions.

How Long Do I Need to Work Out?

For the best weight loss results, you’ll need to rely on consistency. Practicing a few moves every day is the best way to shape up your body. To burn some fat and lose weight, try these seven moves daily, ideally repeating each move three times, for a total of one minute each repetition.

Incorporate a Variety of Moves:

To maximize the benefits, include other Pilates exercises like the Hundred, Roll-Up, and Single Leg Stretch in your routine. This variety helps engage different muscle groups and keeps your workouts interesting.

Not only does Pilates help you to lose weight, but you’ll find that your flexibility, balance, coordination, and posture improve over time too.


Pilates offers an effective way to lose weight and tone your body through targeted exercises. By consistently practicing these moves and incorporating variations, you can achieve your fitness goals and enjoy the numerous benefits Pilates has to offer.


Can you lose weight by doing Pilates? Yes, Pilates can help you lose weight by increasing your muscle mass, which in turn boosts your metabolism and helps burn more calories.

Which type of Pilates is best for weight loss? Mat Pilates and reformer Pilates are both effective for weight loss. Combining Pilates with cardiovascular exercises can enhance weight loss results.

Is 30 minutes of Pilates a day enough to lose weight? Yes, 30 minutes of Pilates a day can be enough to lose weight, especially when combined with a healthy diet and other forms of exercise.

Is 20 minutes of Pilates a day enough?W hile 20 minutes of Pilates a day can contribute to overall fitness and toning, it may need to be supplemented with other exercises and a healthy diet for significant weight loss.

What is the 80 20 rule in Pilates? The 80 20 rule in Pilates suggests that 80% of your fitness results come from 20% of your efforts, emphasizing the importance of consistency and focusing on key exercises.

Can Pilates change your body in 2 weeks?Y ou may start noticing some changes in your body, such as increased muscle tone and flexibility, within 2 weeks of consistent Pilates practice, but significant weight loss will take longer.

How quickly will I see results from Pilates? Results from Pilates can be seen in a few weeks, with noticeable improvements in muscle tone, flexibility, and posture. Weight loss results may take longer depending on individual factors.

Is Pilates and walking enough exercise? Pilates and walking can be a good combination for overall fitness, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Adding variety to your workouts can enhance results.

What happens if you do Pilates every day for a month? Doing Pilates every day for a month can lead to improved muscle tone, flexibility, balance, and posture. You may also notice some weight loss and overall body conditioning.



1.    Wang, Y., Chen, Z., Wu, Z., Ye,X., & Xu, X. (2021). Pilates for overweight or obesity: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in Physiology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.643455

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