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3 Unique Core Exercises That Go Beyond Classic Planks

Posted by Christina J Kelly on
Woman in red on a reformer with her hands on the jumpboard and heels against the shoulder blocks. Her hips are in a 90 degree angle. This movement set up is for Upstretch.

Welcome to Flexia Moves! Since 2020, we've been working out at home more than ever—and we know our community is too. To help keep your Pilates routine feeling fresh, we're releasing quick at-home workout sets, to get you movin’ and feeling stronger.

To kick up the heat, we're starting with a Pilates routine that truly feels full body, in less than 10 minutes. This workout is designed to challenge your core and shoulders, and even helps open up tight hamstrings.

Set up your reformer with your footbar (or even jump board), and let's get started!

Set your springs to one heavy spring- This will be 1 Blue on Flexia. For spring conversions on another reformer, check out our conversion list and we’ll let you know what to use!

  1. Step your feet back to your shoulder blocks, and start with your hands about shoulder distance apart; feel as if you're in a downward facing dog position. You may feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
  2. Lengthen through your spine, stabilize through your shoulder girdle.
  3. Inhale, kick your carriage open, just six to eight inches, exhale, draw the carriage back under you.
  4. Exhale, as you draw the carriage back under you. You want to feel the sensation of your low core activating, turning on — lighting up. It's a super subtle connection, but we want to hone in on that.
  5. As you breathe, drop it in and connect.
    Repeat 8 times

Pike to Plank, aka Upstretch

  1. Same set up as elephant, but lift your heels halfway up your shoulder blocks. You may be feeling the core a bit more when you come up onto your toes, and it sort of takes the stretch out of the hamstrings and gets us to activate more core than when we were in that initial elephant position. 
  2. Let’s test it out: Inhale, open the carriage a few inches; Exhale to close the springs. Remember to keep your shoulder super stable, try to not let them shift forward and back as you move your legs. 
  3. Let’s go for full plank now: Inhale find your plank position, exhale draw in and close the carriage. As you kick back into plank, hinge around your hip joint.
    Repeat 8 times

Floating Plank, aka Longstretch

  1. Hold your plank and stabilize through your core, shoulders, and legs.
  2. Staying in that long plank position, float the carriage forward toward the stopper. 
  3. Inhale, press the carriage away; Exhale pull forward.
    Note: You may feel this a lot in your shoulders. If if feels unstable, you can add a light spring. If it feels heavy, swap for your 1 heavy spring, and move to a medium spring. We want to be feeling that core connection and shoulder stabilization throughout.
    Repeat 8 times

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