A 10-Minute Total Body
Pilates Workout

lower body crunch 3

So I’m guessing you were a total angel yesterday — you followed my healthy Thanksgiving recommendations, squeezed in a sweat sesh, drank your water, didn’t overdo it on the meal, and are feeling like a million bucks today.

You’re a rockstar.

Wait, what? Things didn’t go according to plan?! I’m shocked.

Just kidding, it’s totally normal and today is the perfect time to get back on track — no need to let your holiday indulgences spread from one day to a whole weekend.

Since I know many people are traveling and likely don’t have any equipment on hand, I’ve recruited the help of my friend Heather Dorak of the popular Pilates Platinum studios in L.A. to provide us with a quick and easy total body pilates workout that you can do anywhere, using just your bodyweight.

Getting right back to your healthy lifestyle is the best way to feel better after holiday mishaps. Take it away Heather!

10-Minute Total Body Pilates Circuit

by Heather Dorak

Complete these exercises, one after another, continuously for 10 minutes.

Donkey High Kicks

Donkey High Kicks

Begin in a tabletop position with your palms and knees on the ground. Make sure your back is flat and your abdominals are pulling up, into your spine. Pressing evenly through the palms and fingertips, bring your right knee up and behind you, forming a 90-degree angle. Your foot should be flexed and parallel to the sky. Squeeze your butt and drive your foot up.

Repeat for 15-20 repetitions on each leg.

Straight Legged Fire Hydrant

Straight Leg Fire Hydrant 4

From the same starting position as Donkey High Kicks, extend your leg directly out to the side. Your working leg is going to want to naturally lift and open your pelvis to the side, do the best you can to not allow this to happen. Keep your hips level while you lift your foot off of the ground and as high as possible then lower back down.

Repeat for 15-20 reps on each leg.

Table Top Leg Circles

Straight Leg Fire Hydrant 5

Starting from the last exercise, begin to draw large circles in the air with your foot. Remember to keep your abdominals pressed up into your spine, press evenly through your palms, and keep the hips level. Make 10 complete circles in one direction followed by 10 circles in the reverse direction.

Repeat on the other leg.

Plow -> Squat -> Stand


Lie on your back with your arms on the ground by your side, palms down. Keep your legs together, and bend your knees with your feet on the floor. Lift your feet and pelvis from the ground using your lower abs (you can help with your hands). Bring your knees in to gain momentum and then rock forward along your spine, using enough momentum to rock yourself into a squat position.

Keep your weight in your feet and straighten your legs to standing with your arms straight out in front of you. Slowly start to squat back down, touching your bottom to the ground and roll back into plow.

Repeat 10 times.

Figure 4 Pulses

figure 4 pulse

Begin in a standing position. Place one foot on top of the opposite knee as if you were sitting with your legs crossed. Hands can come comfortably together in front of your chest. With the standing leg, shift your weight into your heel and start lowering your bottom to the ground. Once you get as low as you can go, just move in inch increments up and down, creating tiny pulses.

Pulse for roughly 50 times before switching to the other leg.

Lower Body Crunch

lower body crunch 3

Begin lying on the ground on your back. Place your hands behind your head. Using your abdominals, lift your head, neck and shoulders off of the ground. Hold your upper body in this position for the remainder of the repetitions. With your lower body, bend your knees and tuck them into your chest bringing your feet off of the ground. Hold for a count and then straighten your legs back
out in front of you, but this time keep them hovering off of the ground.

Repeat for 15 repetitions.



Lay flat on your stomach with your legs and arms extended straight out. Arms should be snug, close to the ears. Take a deep breathe in then as you blow out as you simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor. Keep breathing and hold for 30 seconds.

Repeat once more.

High Armed Side Plank

high arm side plank

Starting in a plank, shift your weight onto one arm as you raise the other arm up into the ceiling, opening your body to the side. Stack one foot on top of the other. Remember to keep the hand under the shoulder and hips up as high as you can. If stacking one foot on top of the other is too hard, then place them next to each other or bring the bottom knee to the ground. If you want more of a challenge, lift the top foot off the bottom foot.

Hold for 30 seconds before transitioning to the other side.

High Armed Plank

Finish with a classic high-armed plank. Facing the ground, elevate your body with your hands and toes pressed firmly into the ground. Keeps your hands directly under your shoulders with strong arms, a slight bend in the elbow is encouraged. Hips should be in align with the rest of your body in a level, strong plane. Pressing evenly through your fingertips, as well as the palms of your hands, think about dragging your hands back towards your feet. Your hands aren’t going to actually move, but the engagement of the muscles will make this plank more challenging.

Hold as long as you can.

This whole circuit should take you about 10 minutes. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, do it twice!

10 Minute Total Body Pilates Workout

A big thanks to Heather for this awesome total body pilates workout. Follow her on Instagram for tons of #fitspo and be sure to visit Pilates Platinum if you’re in the L.A. area.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend, friends!

Weigh In: What’s your favorite bodyweight exercise? Did you behave yourself yesterday or did you overindulge? Are you working out today?!


  1. Those are great! Every little bit counts this time of year right
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…5 Reasons I’m Grateful For My Fellow Runners & A Huge GiveawayMy Profile

  2. Thanks for this mini workout session. Will do it……tomorrow!

  3. All poses for exercise it’s great, i use maybe 6 from 9 style to do my routine body pilates workout, it’s good this article i could use few more style 🙂

  4. Hi Whitney,

    Super great post!
    I will definitely try this one out and the visuals are so great and so are your instructions, I really think I can properly execute this one.
    Keep up the great job!


    • Whitney English says:

      Thanks Justine!! Let me know if you try it! xo

      • Whitney,

        The Lower Body Crunch is superb! It’s definitely one of my favorite exercises now, it really gives an amazing core workout 😉 and the Figure 4 Pulses is surprisingly hard to do, it took me few tries to reach 50 times, though it really felt great after.
        Could you do a video of these exercises? I think it’s really great for those who are still trying to really get into the full sense of Pilates method 🙂
        Cheers to you!


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