By Naima Karp

Since most of us are totally helpless when it comes to exercise, we’ve hired a Pilates expert to give you a few tips on how to fit key fitness moves into your daily routines. Here are five of the most effective moves you need to add to your daily exercises.

Roll Up

The Roll Up

The Roll Up is one of the most effective Pilates moves (one roll up can be equal to multiple sit-ups). The key here is slow movement – people often equate strength with fast movements that burn your body out quickly, but the slowness here helps you gain stability and strength in your core. Rather than propelling your chest up into a sitting position, slowly and gradually curl up starting from the shoulder blades, then curling into the upper abs, until you eventually fold over both legs as far as you can reach. Reverse the process as you roll back down. Remember to keep your back neutral: this means minimal arch in the lower back, which will result in more core work and will also protect your spine from injury. (2 reps. Of 25.) 


Leg Circles

For this exercise, lie on your back and lift your legs up straight. Make circles or semi-circles with your legs – the smaller and more controlled the movement is, the tighter the results in your glutes and thighs will be. Reverse the circles midway through, and play around with simultaneous circles with both legs, eventually evolving into a move called the corkscrew. The corkscrew is where you keep both legs glued together and make large circles with them, reversing the direction of the circle halfway through a rep. This will provide some good burn on the lower abs as well as your legs, cutting even more time off your workout. (3 reps. Of 30.)

Forearm Plank


Balancing on your forearms, stretch your body out to a push up position. Keep your back as straight as possible and draw your belly button into your spine. For more oblique work, tap your right hip bone to the ground, return to center, tap your left hip bone to the ground. For more arm work, alternate between lying on your forearms and pushing yourself up to a full push-up position (if you can, sneak in one pushup per rep). To tone up your butt, alternate lifting legs as you hold your plank position. (3 reps. Hold each plank for 30 seconds, or challenge yourself to a full minute.) 


Tricep Dips

You don’t have to miss a minute of that Real Housewives episode for this one. Pull a chair up next to the TV and press your palms into the seat. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. With your butt in the air, positioned like a Roman chair, push yourself up and down. Make sure to straighten your arms as your propel yourself up. Try lifting one hand off and propelling yourself upwards with the other. Keep your core tight, sucking your belly button in. (3 reps. Of 20.)

Pilates Hundreds 

All around body toner: The Hundred

For The Hundred, you need to make a v-shape with your body. Lift your shoulders up as well as your legs, with only your bottom glued to the ground (if bringing your shoulder blades off the ground is too difficult, keep your head and neck up). With your legs up in the air, stick your arms out straight and pulse them up and down. If you want more leg work, play around with crossing your legs or scissoring them at various paces. For more core work, you can pulse your upper body up and down on an angle. (3 reps. Of 15 second holds.)