This 20-Minute At-Home Pilates Workout Boosts Your Weight-Loss Efforts | (2024)

This 20-Minute At-Home Pilates Workout Boosts Your Weight-Loss Efforts | (1)

This 20-minute Pilates workout will help you lose weight.

Image Credit: AleksandarGeorgiev/E+/GettyImages

When you're trying to lose weight, the number on the scale is only a small part of the equation. You also want to exude confidence, stand taller and look and feel your best. That's where Pilates shines. These low-impact movements encourage a slow burn that will help torch fat and develop strong, lean muscles.


Along with a nutrient-dense diet, Pilates can help boost your weight-loss efforts. Though the exact amount of calories burned will depend on your weight, intensity and fitness level, you can expect to burn between 4 and 7.5 calories per minute, according to research from IDEA Health and Fitness Association.

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It offers a host of other non-scale benefits as well. "Pilates establishes a concrete mind-body connection that awakens muscles in ways you've never felt before, by incorporating control, precision and breath into your movements," says Lacy Looney, a Pilates instructor at Hot Pilates in Los Angeles. "Creating these deep connections will help you move efficiently during exercise to get more out of your workout."


Read more:Does Pilates Help You Lose Weight?

If you're ready to develop core strength, postural alignment and a toned physique, Looney's 20-minute, at-home Pilates workout will take your weight-loss workouts to the next level. Although fat burn isn't the focus of Pilates, this workout will help with building muscle definition. All you need is a mat! (A pair of light dumbbells is optional.)


Warm Up

Move 1: Hundred

  1. Lie flat on your back with arms by your sides, legs lifted and knees bent to a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your heels together.
  2. Curl your chin toward your chest, lifting your head neck until you reach the shoulders, and push your legs out as high as you can keep your lower back on the mat.
  3. Pump your arms up and down about two inches as you stretch your arms from your shoulders.
  4. Inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts until you reach 100.
  5. As you breathe and work your arms, squeeze your glutes, pull your belly button to your spine and draw the tips of your shoulder blades down and back.


Reps:‌ 1 round of 100

Move 2: Single-Leg Stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back with arms by your sides, legs lifted and knees bent to a 90-degree angle.
  2. Peel head, neck and shoulders off the ground just enough to look between your legs.
  3. Grab your right ankle with your right hand and your right knee with your left hand, pulling the knee toward your chest while the left leg straightens out about 45 degrees from the hip.
  4. Alternate legs back and forth with control — you have to produce the movement and create the feeling of "push" and "pull" from the core as you inhale and exhale with every rep.
  5. While legs are working, concentrate on pushing from the glutes and pulling your ribs into the mat.



Reps:‌ 10

Move 3: Roll Up

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, feet flexed and arms straight above your shoulders (perpendicular to the floor).
  2. Squeeze your butt, pull your ribs into the mat, and draw the tips of your shoulder blades into the spine.
  3. Exhale as you peel the spine off the ground while keeping your chin tucked into your chest. Start peeling at the crown of the head and round forward until you're reaching the tips of your fingers to your toes.
  4. Inhale as the spine curls into a C shape, drawing the ribs up and away from the hips.
  5. Exhale while rolling down the exact same way you lifted into the position.


Reps:‌ 5 to 8


Focus on lifting the ribs up and away from your hips as you round forward and keep your fingertips right at the toes — don't reach past the toes and collapse toward your thighs.

Read more:A 10-Minute Pilates Ab Workout You Can Do Every Single Day

The Workout: Part 1

Do:‌ each of the following moves for 30 seconds, resting for 15 seconds afterward.



This workout involves jumping, which may not be suitable for those with a knee injury/pain, weak pelvic floor or back pain, etc.

Move 1: Straight Jump Into Double Prisoner Squat

  1. Start standing with a soft bend in your knees and hands lightly behind your head to keep length in the spine.
  2. Jump your feet out and land with a wide base, toes slightly turned out.
  3. Squat twice, knees tracking with hips. Gaze forward to keep lift and length of spine.
  4. Jump back to standing, landing lightly on the balls of your feet with knees slightly bent.


Move 2: Standing Oblique Crunch

  1. Stand with knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart and hands behind your head.
  2. Shift your weight to the left leg and crunch to the right side and bring your right knee up toward your elbow. Hold here for a second to feel your obliques at work.
  3. Lower your right leg with control and return to standing.
  4. Alternate side to side.


Move 3: Weighted Jumping Jack

  1. Stand with knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart and weights in hands by your shoulders, elbows bent.
  2. Jump your feet wide as your arms push the weights to the ceiling. Focus on keeping core engaged and breathing to control the movement.
  3. Return to starting position: elbows drawn toward ribs, weights stop at shoulder level and feet return to hip-width apart.

Move 4: Seal Jack

  1. Stand with knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart and arms straight out from your shoulders.
  2. Jump your feet wide as your arms open to the side.
  3. While jumping, focus on looking forward as core stays engaged. Keep a strong back by drawing your shoulders down from ears and reaching your chest forward to keep length in spine.
  4. Jump back to the start.

Move 5: Squat Jack

  1. Stand with feet close together and hands behind your head. Push hips back into a half-squat position.
  2. Jump your feet to the sides, while maintaining squat position.
  3. Quickly jump your feet back to the starting position.

Read more:10 Beginner Pilates Exercises You Can Do at Home

The Workout: Part 2

Do:‌ each of the following moves for the given number of reps and repeat the circuit three times through.

Move 1: Double-Leg Stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back with arms by your sides, legs lifted and knees bent to a 90-degree angle. Pull your heels together and keep them together, but keep knees open to hip width.
  2. Grab your knees without lifting your shoulder blades off the ground.
  3. Tilt your chin toward your chest and keep your gaze forward (not looking toward the ceiling).
  4. Inhale and reach your arms and legs out from torso — aim for a 45-degree angle with the legs and reach arms to the ears (never let your arms reach further than your ears or you could injure your neck).
  5. Exhale and pull your knees back to your hips as you wrap your arms around the sides and grab your legs.


Reps:‌ 10

Move 2: Double Straight-Leg Stretch

  1. Lie down and bring both legs straight together over the hips, heels pressing together and legs externally rotated.
  2. With hands lightly placed at nape of the neck to support head, curl the chin to your chest to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the ground. Make sure your lower back stays pressed on the mat.
  3. Inhale and count to four as your legs lower toward the floor as far as they can go while staying straight, pressing your back ribs into the floor. Bring your legs up immediately if you feel your spine lift or knees bend during the exercise.
  4. Exhale and reach legs longer as they lift above the hips back to the starting position.

Reps:‌ 5

Move 3: Criss Cross

  1. From Double Straight-Leg Stretch, keep your hands behind your head to support the neck in lifted position and bend your knees back to a table top with shins parallel to the floor and feet pointed.
  2. Twisting through the ribs, reach your right armpit (sounds strange, but try it!) across the body toward the left knee as the right leg reaches from the hip at 45-degree angle.
  3. Rotate spine back to center as your right leg reaches back to the hip, back into the starting position.
  4. Twisting through the ribs and keeping elbows wide, reach your left armpit across the body toward the right knee as the left leg reaches from the hip at 45-degree angle.
  5. Alternate side to side, slowly and with control, without dropping shoulders, neck, head or legs toward the ground.

Reps:‌ 10

Finisher: Reverse Lunge Series

  1. Stand at the front of your mat with feet hip-distance apart, weight in your heels and arms (can use light weights) by your sides.
  2. Keep your right foot planted, knee tracking with the ankle, and step back at a slight angle with your left foot and plant the ball of the left foot into floor.
  3. Stand tall, stacking shoulders, ribs and hips, and engage your core to find balance.
  4. Bend both knees, keeping left knee tracking with left hip and right knee stacked over ankle.
  5. After 10 reps, push off of your right heel to return to the starting position without locking your knees. Lengthen the left leg and hinge from the hip — leaning the torso over the right leg, maintaining the length of the spine and neck. Draw your elbows toward the ceiling and reach your arms from the shoulders while holding the lunge.
  6. Do another 10 reps here before switching legs.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.



This 20-Minute At-Home Pilates Workout Boosts Your Weight-Loss Efforts | (2024)


Is 20 minutes of Pilates a day enough to lose weight? ›

Is 20 minutes of Pilates a day enough to get results? The short answer is… absolutely! Keep reading to learn how to incorporate 20-minute Pilates challenges into your routine for a consistent and beneficial Pilates practice.

How many calories will 20 minutes of Pilates burn? ›

Additionally, the results showed that you would burn 4 calories per minute with a beginner Pilates workout, 6 calories per minute, and 7.5 calories per minute with intermediate and advanced Pilates workouts, respectively. That's 240 to 450 calories burned every 60 minutes.

Does Pilates actually help you lose weight? ›

Pilates can help you burn a good number of calories, but it may not be a good option for you if you are looking to lose weight fast. It is not as efficient as conventional cardiovascular exercises such as rope jumping, cycling, and jogging. Nonetheless, it can form an integral component of any weight loss plan.

What are the benefits of 20 minutes of Pilates? ›

“It improves your posture, strengthens weak muscles, and in turn reduces back pain and weakness.” Regular 20 minute Pilates workouts, she says, will give you all these benefits.

What happens if I do Pilates every day for 20 minutes? ›

“Even 20 minutes a day can help because pilates activates muscles and wakes things up,” says Helen O'Leary, physiotherapist and director of Complete Pilates. “It also helps you build body awareness, and the best way to do this is little and often.

What is better, Pilates or walking? ›

Pilates offers a low-impact alternative that can help to keep your body and mind engaged and challenged. By incorporating Pilates into your exercise routine, you will be working different muscle groups and practicing movements you won't be doing as you walk.

Is Pilates alone enough exercise? ›

It's possible to strengthen, improve flexibility, and sculpt with Pilates—but as we'll soon see, it's typically not enough on its own to achieve significant muscle gains. At any rate, Pilates helps to maintain muscle since it's a form of resistance training, Aditi notes.

How many minutes of Pilates a day to lose weight? ›

How Many Minutes of Pilates a Day to Lose Weight? To lose weight, you must practice Pilates for at least 50 minutes daily (3 times a week).

Does Pilates burn more calories than walking? ›

Pilates can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of the workout. For comparison, running burns about 600 calories per hour and walking burns about 300 calories per hour. So, if you're looking for a way to lose weight, Pilates may be a good option for you.

Does Pilates reduce belly fat? ›

While Pilates can be an effective method for toning and strengthening the muscles in your core, it should not be relied upon as the sole solution for losing weight on your tummy. In fact, it is important to understand that spot reducing (i.e. targeting a specific area for weight loss) is not possible.

Does Pilates tone belly fat? ›

Does Pilates help you lose belly fat? Pilates Prahran can definitely help you lose belly fat, but it's important to note that targeted weight loss is not possible, meaning that if you want to lose belly fat, you'll need to aim for overall weight loss.

What type of Pilates is best for weight loss? ›

For best results, it is recommended to practice reformer Pilates at least three times a week. Some individuals saw visible changes in their bodies after four to 6 weeks of consistent training with the machine. A beginner can burn up to 250 calories by working out on a reformer for at least 60 minutes.

How long does it take to see results from Pilates? ›

Once you get into a steady workout habit, how long does it take to see results from Pilates? While individual results may vary, most people can see noticeable body changes within just three weeks. However, those who do Pilates less often may take up to eight weeks to see noticeable results in their bodies.

What happens if you do Pilates everyday? ›

One of the best things about doing Pilates every day is that you'll quickly start to see improvements in your form. This is due to the fact that you'll become more familiar with the correct way to do each exercise, and your body will start to automatically follow these movements. You'll avoid injuries.

What is better, Pilates or weight training? ›

Simply put, if your goal is to maintain a lean, toned, yet strong, and active body shape, Pilates is ideal for you. But if you want to get bigger and bulkier, then weight training is the right choice. But to support both, you have to adjust your diet accordingly.

How many minutes should I do Pilates to lose weight? ›

An older systematic review of studies on the effects of Pilates on body composition, published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, found that doing 60 minutes of Pilates practice 5 times per week for 4 weeks was best for promoting changes in body composition.

How long should you do Pilates a day to lose weight? ›

How Many Minutes of Pilates a Day to Lose Weight? To lose weight, you must practice Pilates for at least 50 minutes daily (3 times a week).

How long does it take to see weight loss results from Pilates? ›

In summary, you can expect to see results from your Pilates practice within a few weeks to a few months, depending on various factors. Remember that consistency, quality instruction, and patience are essential components of your Pilates journey.

How long does it take to lose weight on Pilates? ›

To lose one pound of fat, you have to burn off 3,500 calories more than you consume. That means if you didn't alter your diet, and assuming you practice pilates every day, you can expect to lose one pound about every 16 days. Pilates are not as vigorous an exercise as other intense forms of cardio, such as cycling.


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