Strengthen your entire body in just 8 minutes with this four-move Pilates routine

It'll improve your posture, mobility and flexibility too

Woman doing a lifted leg plank
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re looking for a more gentle approach to strengthening your body then what about trying Pilates? This four-move routine develops the strength in your core, lower and upper body, while being gentle on your joints and all you’re going to need is an exercise mat.

As well as strengthening our muscles through controlled movements (especially the core), there’s lots of great reasons why you should be incorporating Pilates into your workout regime. According to Pure Gym, it helps to increase the range of motion in your joints (which can reduce the likelihood of injuries), improves flexibility and mobility, including spinal mobility. It can also ease the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness, so even if you do other types of training, like weightlifting, you’d still benefit from incorporating Pilates into your routine once a week.  

This Pilates routine is ideal if you've had a busy day and just need to move your body, as it only takes eight minutes and has four exercises. Each exercise will be done from a high plank position, so make sure you have something soft beneath you. Either go barefoot or pop on a pair of workout shoes, avoid socks so you aren't slipping about. You're going to do each exercises for three reps (on each side) and repeat the workout three times. Watch the video above so you know exactly how to perform each move. Otherwise, here's the workout:

In a high plank position...

  • Donkey kicks (bend your knee at a right angle and push your foot towards the sky, keep it pointed)
  • Donkey kicks with extension (repeat above; when you push your foot up, extend it out, bring it back in, then lower)
  • Leg taps (lift your foot up in the air keeping your leg straight, hold, then bring back down to the floor)
  • Side taps (lift your foot out to the side, tap it on the floor, then bring to the centre)

We've got plenty more Pilates-style workouts if you enjoyed this one, like this other eight minute workout that targets your hips, glutes and back or this 15 minute Pilates workout for your inner thighs and core. If you're looking for something that's a slightly longer and a little higher intensity, here's a 30 minute cardio Pilates-style workout that you can try, which targets your entire body.

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.