What are Advanced Pilates?

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  • Written By: Jessica Hobby
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 January 2020
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Advanced Pilates are more complex Pilates exercises geared toward people who are experienced with classic Pilates. The advanced exercises are non-impact exercises that concentrate on building strength and flexibility in the same way that classic Pilates exercises do. Pilates also improves posture, develops core strength and increases energy. In some cases, advanced Pilates exercises require special pieces of equipment, such as a Pilates Cadillac, reformer, Wunda Chair or ladder barrel.

Advanced Pilates exercises that are performed on a yoga mat without equipment include a variety of moves that concentrate on the abdomen, legs, buttocks and back. There are also advanced full body moves that focus on strengthening the inner core. For example, the double leg straight lower is an advanced exercise that concentrates on the abdomen. The exercise is performed by lying on the back and raising and lowering legs with controlled movements.

An advanced Pilates exercise that targets strengthening the back, legs and buttocks is the jack knife. The jack knife is performed by lying on the back and moving into the pike position with toes pointed to the ceiling. Once balance is attained, legs are lifted further and toes are pointed behind the head until all body weight rests on the shoulders.


The straight leg pull-up is an advanced Pilates exercise that engages the whole body. Beginning in reverse-plank position, one leg is raised with toes pointing toward the ceiling. Next, the same leg is lowered in a controlled movement without touching the floor. After approximately five repetitions, the exercise should be performed with the other leg.

Many advanced Pilates students enjoy doing exercises on special equipment that helps them gain the most benefits from Pilates exercises. The equipment helps add stability challenges, which make the exercises more difficult. Some examples of advanced Pilates moves performed with equipment are inverted splits, side sit-ups and grasshoppers.

Inverted splits are performed on a Pilates Cadillac. This position is achieved by hanging upside down from the Pilates Cadillac with legs spread across the length of the bars, while holding on to the bar with hands. Side sit-ups are performed by moving the torso up and down while leaning one side of the body on the reformer while it is folded into a box. The grasshopper is performed on a ladder barrel. The body makes an arc with the abdomen resting on the barrel, while both hands hold the ladder and both legs are straight in the air.


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