Six minutes and this gentle Pilates workout to strengthen your entire body

This four-move workout is effective and easy to squeeze into your busy schedule

Woman doing bird dog exercise
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking to build full-body strength that doesn’t involve lifting heavy weights, but is also gentle on the joints, Pilates could be perfect. Not only is it a low-impact way to exercise, but it’s accessible to everyone, requiring very little to no home gym equipment. This particular routine will only take you six minutes, so perfect for those busier days and you only need an exercise mat.

Pilates isn’t just good for the body though, as research also shows it’s good for your mind. A big part of Pilates is being conscious of your breathing while performing each exercise, which studies have shown reduces cortisol levels (the body’s main stress hormones), as well as promoting a better night's sleep. 

For this workout you’ve got four exercises to work through. You’re going to do each exercise for 10 reps, with no rest between each exercise. Once you’ve completed one round, rest for 20 seconds, before repeating the workout two more times. Remember, Pilates is about slow and controlled movements so you really engage all your muscles, don't rush your reps. Here’s your workout: 

  • Lifted Leg Kicks 
  • Leg Pull 
  • Dolphin Press 
  • Bridge Single Leg Kicks

Pilates also works as great rehab if you've suffered from injuries in the past. If you need to strengthen your lower back and hips particularly, try this eight minute Pilates workout. For those who don't do well with floor-based workouts, we've also got this standing Pilates routine, particularly targeting the core and lower body. If, however, you're in need of another full-body routine, here's another gentle eight minute workout.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.