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10 Pilates Exercises for Strong, Lean Legs

If you've always wondered what Pilates is but have never tried a class, it might be time to change that. Pilates is a great way to build up your core naturally and make your legs look more dynamic,

The surprising thing, though, is that not everyone knows what pilates is. Today, we'll introduce to this new exercise and also look at some pilates exercises for your legs.

Let's get started! 

What is Pilates? 

Pilates is an outstanding low-impact exercise that can assist with core stability and flexibility. Working on your core is important for more than just getting abs -- it's also excellent for preventing an array of injuries, reducing back pain and improving posture.

Created in the 1920s by German trainer Joseph Pilates, the emphasis is on lengthening the body versus bulking and shortening the body. By focusing on correct alignment and control with precise movements, you can build strength while still maintaining your flexibility.

Let’s look at what exactly this form of exercise consists of. This information is important in deciding if pilates is right for you! 

The Best Pilates Exercises for Your Legs

10. Side Legs Lifts

Laying on your side with your forearm underneath your head to support it. Keep your legs extended. Your hips and feet are stacked. Do not rotate forward or back.  Slowly lift your top leg into the air, using the outer glutes to engage and lift. Hold at the top for a 2 count and then slowly lower. Repeat 10-15 reps. 

9. Bridge Squeezes With Lifts

Lay on your back and bend your knees to plant your feet. Feet placed shoulders distance apart. Keep your head and shoulders onto the mat. Draw your belly button into your spine and keep core engaged. Press your feet and heels into the ground to lift your glutes and hips up into the air. Hold at the top for a 2 count and then slowly lower. Repeat 10-15 reps. 

8. Pilates Leg Kick

Lie in a prone position on a mat. Lift your torso up and rest your forearms on the mat, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your fists pressed together. Draw the belly button into the spine and press the pelvis into the mat. Point your toes and bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Kick your right heel toward your glutes two times, forcefully exhaling with both pulse. Lower your right leg to the mat and bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle. Kick your left heel toward your glutes two times, forcefully exhaling with both pulses. Repeat, alternating the legs. Do 20-30 reps. 

7. Glute Bridge Pulses

Lay on you back and bend your knees to plant your feet. Feet placed shoulders distance apart. Keep your head and shoulders onto the mat. Press your feet and heels into the ground to lift your glutes and hips up into the air. Hold at the top and gently lower the hips 2 inches and then extend higher up to pulse the glutes. Repeat 20-30 times then lower all the way down.

6. Single Leg Bridge With Leg Dips

Lay on you back and bend your right knee to plant your right foot onto the mat. Keep your head and shoulders onto the mat. Press your right foot into the ground to lift your hips up while your left leg lifts off the ground but stays straight. Hold at the top for a 2 count then lower. Repeat 10-15 reps and then repeat on the other side.

5. Leg Circles

Lay on your back with your arms down by your side and your legs straight. Lift your legs to a 45 degree angle off the mat as your push your low back into the mat and pull the belly button to the spine. Take circles with your legs going clockwise while keeping them lifted and then repeat going counter clockwise. Do 12-15 reps. 

4. Scissors

Lay on your back with your arms down by your side and your legs straight. Lift your legs to a 45 degree angle off the mat as your push your low back into the mat and pull the belly button to the spine. Separate your legs slightly and then lift your left leg over your right and switch to bring your right leg over your left like you are criss crossing. Keep spine long. Repeat 15-20 reps. 

3. Side Leg Lift With Bent Knee

Laying on your side with your forearm underneath your head to support it. Bend your knees to a 45 degree angle . Your hips, knees, and feet are stacked. Slowly lift your top leg up. Do not rotate hips forward or back . Hold at the top for a 2 count and then slowly lower. Repeat both sides, 10-15 reps. 

2. Wall Squat Rolls

Start by placing your roller on a wall, horizontally. Place low back on the roller, on the wall,

knees should be bent, with feet and knees hip width apart, and feet further out from the wall than knees. Bend your knees and hips and lower your butt towards the floor, rolling the roller on the wall. Lower in the range that is comfortable, but not going past knee height. Push into heels, straighten knees and hips and roll back up to starting position. Repeat 12-15 reps.


1. Double Leg Lifts

Lay on your back with your arms down by your side and your legs straight. Push your low back into the mat and pull the belly button to the spine. Slowly lift your legs up and off the mat lifting your feet towards the sky and then slowly lower the legs to hover off of the mat. Keep neck long and shoulders relaxed. Repeat and do 12-15 reps.