The 6 Best Beginner-Friendly Pilates Moves, According To A Pilates Instructor

The buzz around Pilates has reached new heights with the rise of at-home workouts and celebrity endorsements thrusting it into the spotlight. During last year’s Met Gala, socialite Lori Harvey was spotted on the red carpet with visible abs, to which she credited Pilates as the source of her chiseled physic.

The fitness world has seen a significant pivot in its offerings of alternatives that go beyond hours spent on the treadmill and lifting tons of weights in order to achieve our body goals. And with one part being due to pop culture figures popularizing classic forms of movements like Pilates, many women are seeing this practice as a means to connect with their bodies and look good while doing it.

But Pilates is no new thing. It was first created by founder Joseph Pilates in Germany and was brought to the United States by his understudy, Kathleen Stanford Grant — a Black woman from Boston, Massachusetts. Understanding the history makes the resurgence of Pilates within the Black community feel even more serendipitous and an opportunity to explore the practice from all levels of expertise.

Atlanta-based instructor and founder of GRND Pilates, Jhardè Johnson, says that getting into the practice provides a number of benefits that go beyond a six-pack. “It instantly connects you to your core,” she says, “There’s a mind-body connection, an increase in balance and coordination, your posture becomes better, and it helps prevent injuries.”

“There’s a mind-body connection, an increase in balance and coordination, your posture becomes better, and it helps prevent injuries.”

The Powerhouse, or the group of muscles that include your upper and lower abdominals, lower back, hips, and buttocks, all work together as the core of Pilates. “A lot of people don't have that core connection,” she explains. “And it doesn't mean that they're not strong or that they're weak or any of these things, it's just that with Pilates, you are constantly working those miniature muscles that you don't normally work.”

Jhardè says that by incorporating Pilates into your fitness journey two to four times a week, with consistency, “you will start seeing physical changes in your body and in your mind.” And to get you started on your journey, she’s provided 6 of the best beginner-friendly moves to add to your routine.

Classical Pilates Move Series:

The Hundred

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and arms by your sides.
  • Engage your core by pulling your navel towards your spine and pressing your lower back into the mat.
  • Lift your head, neck, and shoulders slightly while looking toward your abs.
  • Rhythmically pump your arms up and down. Inhale for five arm pumps and exhale for five pumps.
  • Maintain stability in your torso, breathe deeply, and keep your legs still and extended.
  • Repeat for ten breath cycles or 100 arm pumps.

Leveling up with a 100 variation ❤️ Oh it’s still Black History Month ✊🏾 @karenmoorefitness ・・・ It’s so fun to spice up The Hundred. Here I added leg changes to challenge lumbopelvic stability, Psoas strength as well as hip extension and flexion. #blackgirlpilates #thehundred #matpilates #blackpilatesinstructors #blackpilatesteacher #blackpeopleteachpilates #blackpeopledoingpilates #blackpilatesinstagram #blackpilatestiktok #fyp

Single Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back, lift your head and shoulders, and alternate extending one leg while pulling the other knee towards your chest.
  • Repeat 8-10 times on each leg, coordinating arm movements.
  • Breathe in as you switch your legs and exhale as you bring your knees in.

Mat Pilates ‘Single leg stretch’ #pilates #pilatesinstructor #pilatesworkout #pilateslover #pilatesbody #pilatestiktok #matpilates #blackgirlpilates #blackgirlfitness #fitover40 #fitover50 #curlyhair #longcurlyhair #vegan #veganbody #summerbody #fyp #foryourpage #homeworkout #lowimpactworkout #workoutsforwomen #deepcoreexercises

The Double Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back, bringing your knees to your chest while holding onto your shins.
  • Extend your legs and arms upward, hold briefly, and return to the starting position.


  • Lie on your back, lifting one leg towards the ceiling while lowering the other leg towards the mat.
  • Switch your legs in a scissoring motion while keeping your head, neck, and shoulders lifted off the mat.

Learn Pilates with me. Link in bio for mat #Blackgirlpilates#pilates #pilatesscissor #fitness #blacktiktok #core #strongnotskiinny

​Lower Lift

  • Start by lying on your back with your legs extended up.
  • Slowly lower your legs towards the floor while engaging your abs.
  • Lift your legs back up using your abdominal muscles and repeat.

Lower lift is always a tough one. Enjoy these tips. #pilates #pilatesinstructor #pulatesbody #abs


  • Lie on your back and lift your knees.
  • Rotate your torso while extending opposite legs and repeat.

Do you struggle with Pilates criss cross? Join the Summer Pilates Sessions. Early bird pricing ends July 1st. #pilates #tipsandtricks #virtualpilates #fittok #homeworkout #learnontiktok #homeworkout #pilatestiktok #coreworkout #pilatesbody #pilatesmat #workout #classicalpilates #blackgirlpilates

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by FreshSplash/Getty Images




This article is in partnership with SheaMoisture

Skylar Marshai is known for her extravagant style, and her hair is no exception. But now, she’s giving her hair a break and focusing on hair care with SheaMoisture’s Bond Repair Collection. “I feel like my hair has always been an extension of my storytelling because I know it's so innately linked to my self-expression that I've been thinking a lot about how my love for crafting my hair into these different forms and shapes has honestly never given it a chance to just be,” Skylar explains.

Rihanna's Fenty Hair launch

Rihanna's Fenty Hair announcement sparked a frenzy online, with a mix of excitement and skepticism. In the commercial, the "Needed Me" singer rocked a pixie cut, which had people debating whether she was wearing a wig. However, Riri said aht aht and showed everyone that it was her real hair and began rocking her natural curls with her most recent appearance at her Fenty Hair launch.

During her event, she spoke to Extra about embracing her natural hair. "It feels light," she described. "No braids, no extensions, no weaves, it's so easy. And so easy to do."

This may be the first time that many people have seen the mom of two wear her natural hair, but we all know that she is the queen of hairstyles. She also opened up about the role hair has played in her life and career.