Traditional Pilates routines are made up of a series of non-impact moves that are normally done on a mat or special Pilates machines. The movements are small, precise, and concentrate on very specific muscles. The burn increases when you do the moves on your feet. This simple twist increases your heart rate and amps up your metabolism to burn fat at the rate of 420 calories per hour, which is perfect for reaching weight loss goals. The following is a list of some of the best fat-burning Pilates exercises.

Fat-Burning Pilates Moves

Note: You can do these exercises holding onto a barre; however, your core will be more challenged (think Pilates abs workout) and you will torch more calories doing these moves free-standing. Any move that challenges your balance utilizes your core more than if you use a barre to steady yourself.

Standing 100

  1. Stand with your arms at your sides, palms facing back behind you, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. With straight arms, pump them energetically 10 times in small movements, back and forth about three to five inches each.
  3. After three sets of 10, raise one leg out in front of you and keep pumping your arms for an additional set of 10.
  4. Change legs and repeat.
  5. This move targets your core, triceps and shoulders.

Side Lift Plies

  1. To do a plie (yes, a dancer’s move) stand with feet a little wider than your shoulders.
  2. Turn your feet outward 45 degrees, then lower your body until your knees are bent at 90-degree angles.
  3. As you straighten your legs to raise back up, lift your right leg straight out to the side.
  4. Pause briefly with your glutes, core and quads engaged.
  5. Lower back down in a pile and repeat on the left side.
  6. Alternate sides 8 times. Inhale as you lower into the plie position and exhale as you lift each leg to the side.
  7. This move targets your glutes, core, and quads.

Reaching Criss-cross

  1. Step your left foot out to the side about 12 inches.
  2. Bend your left knee into a side lunge.
  3. With your right arm reach up diagonally, fingertips to the ceiling, and your left arm down, also diagonally, fingertips to the floor.
  4. Put your right hand behind your head, elbow bent.
  5. On an exhale, lift the left knee across the body and your right elbow to your knee.
  6. This is the criss-cross. Return to a side lunge and repeat on each leg 8 times before switching sides.
  7. This move targets your glutes, core, and quads.

Front Back Lunge Kicks

  1. Step your right leg forward 12 inches and lower into a front lunge.
  2. Your arms should be in front of you, chest level, bent at 90-degree angles with palms facing each other.
  3. Raise your left leg back behind you, your leg bent at the knee.
  4. Kick your left heel in toward your glutes with the foot flexed for a count of 10 than with your toes pointed for another count of 10.
  5. Switch sides and repeat 4 to 8 times.
  6. This move targets your back, core, and hamstrings.

One Legged Front and Back Kicks

  1. With your arms out to your sides, balance on your right foot.
  2. With straight legs, kick your left leg forward, raising its level with your hips.
  3. In a controlled sweeping motion, kick your left leg back.
  4. Note: to further engage your muscles, do this move with pointed toes.
  5. Repeat four to eight times and change to the other side.
  6. This move targets your back, core, and hamstrings.

Sweeping Crossover

  1. Start by standing with your arms at your sides.
  2. Engage your abs and tuck your pelvis under.
  3. Lift one leg 6 inches out to the side as the opposite arm sweeps across your body.
  4. Repeat this move 8 to 10 times and switch sides.
  5. This move targets your abs, core, quads, and back.

Benefits of Pilates Exercise Routines

  • Improved balance
  • Increased core strength
  • Increased flexibility
  • Lean and toned muscles
  • Greater ease of movement

There are six main principles in Pilates: control, centering, breath, flow, concentration, and precision. Practicing Pilates on a daily basis will make your body stronger, leaner and increases your ease of movement. You will feel stronger, more balanced, and more graceful. Now you can see why so many dancers and athletes add Pilates workouts to their training regimens. Pilates is also great for new moms, as it helps regain abdominal strength lost during pregnancy and childbirth. It is also perfect for seniors who may have lost a sense of balance as they age. Pilates can be very restorative, strengthening and is a great way to burn fat for flat abs and a strong, lean body.


About the Author: KELLY HARAUGHTY

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