> INSIGHTS > EXERCISES

The 8 Most Impressive Pilates Exercises

By Insights Team

Putting yourself in the most difficult positions you can and posting it on Instagram is a really popular yogi thing to do. But if we're being honest, we all love seeing folks achieve really super advanced feats. Here is a list of some of the most awesome Classical Pilates exercises you'll see any Pilates practitioner or teacher achieve. These exercises are not for everyone - even for those who pride themselves in being among the strongest and most bendy in their classes. So be warned, these are advanced Pilates exercises and should only be practiced under the guidance of a qualified and experienced Pilates instructor. How many of these do you think you can do?

Advanced Thigh Stretch on the Reformer


The most ubiquitous piece of Pilates equipment in studios all over the world is the Reformer. The Thigh Stretch can be done on several pieces of Pilates equipment. As the name indicates it's purpose is to stretch the inner thigh muscles and improve hip stability. In the advanced form shown here, our pratictioner, model and actress, @elyssajobrown, adds a back bend to the Reformer's foot bar, for added difficulty, beauty and cool factor.


Back Bend on the Ladder Barrel


The Pilates Ladder Barrel was invented to allow practitioners to bend forward and backwards, and to isolate the deep abdominal muscles. This exercise is one of the most intense backbends in the method. Balance, focus, control, strength and some sereious spine flexibility are needed to accomplish this one.


Control Balance Off The Reformer


Do you want to strengthen your hip extensors, improve your hip flexibility and strengthen your core all at the same time? This exercise demonstrates the most beautiful, and one of the most challenging, ways to dismount a Reformer into one of the most recognizable ballet positions, the Arabesque.


Candlestick on the Cadillac


The Candlestick is one of the most incredible exercises in the Pilates repertoire. It strengthens your sides and arm muscles, but requires extreme control, balance and concentration to hold the final upside-down spectacle for more than 15 seconds. Check out the extremely athletic, @lmcw, pull of the inverted split variation while defying gravity.


Thigh Stretch on the Cadillac


This version of the Thigh Stretch utilizes the breathing bar of the Pilates Cadillac. The Cadillac is the magnum opus of Joe Pilates' inventions, hence the old-school 1940s reference. Our Pilates choreographer for these videos, @jordana_herman, loves this exersise on the Cadillac because of it's gracefulness and really cool lines.


Advanced Mat Teaser w/ Boomerang


If you are familiar with Pilates, the you definitely know the Teaser. The teaser is long known as being synonymous with lean and toned bodies. Broadway Actress, @iamsharronlynn levels up on an already difficult Teaser by adding one of the most diffcult Pilates exercises, The Boomerang.


Star on the Wunda Chair


This interesting fitness contraption call the Wunda Chair was invented by Joe as the first functional home-gym apparatus. It is actually able to convert into a regular chair! The chair, like the other apparatus', boasts a variety of exercises that work the Four S's of Pilates: Strength, Stability, Stretch and Stamina! The Star requires superhero strength, coordination, focus and balance. Watch our Wunda Woman, @jenavanel achieve the impossible.


Handstand on the Wunda Chair


The Handstand, also known as the Downward-facing Tree Pose in yoga, is an standard gymnastic stunt. But this isn't yoga or gymanstics - advanced students of Pilates raise the bar of the exercise by transitioning to and from the pedal of the unstable Wunda Chair. This exercise is not for the faint of heart and if you do dare to try this please have a friend spot you. We will not be held responsible for any injuries. Good Luck :)




920 3RD AVE, 6TH FL. NYC 10022
1.212.627.5695