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Pilates Ring Exercises: This workout trains the whole body in just 8 minutes

Similar to exercise balls and yoga wheels, Pilates rings fall into the category of exercise equipment that looks pretty innocent. It’s just a hollow, simple ring – how challenging can it make your workout? The answer is: very. Fitness instructor Rahel Ghebremichael demonstrates an effective full-body workout with the Pilates ring that works all muscle groups with just 5 exercises. You’ll have abdominal soreness for several days after this 8-minute Pilates Ring workout!

pilates ring exercises for the whole body

This eight-minute workout (which you can do in the comfort of your living room at home, by the way) is part strength training, part Pilates, and works your arms, core, legs, and balance. You could even say it’s a well-rounded sweat program that you can do anytime, anywhere – even without a Pilates ring.

Pilates ring exercises standing for arms abdomen legs and buttocks

The workout consists of 5 exercises, with each side being a single set. Each exercise is completed with 10 repetitions. To make the workout more intense and strenuous, do 1 – 2 more sets or additional repetitions per exercise.

First set of 10 repetitions

1. back lunges – left side

pilates ring exercise - back lunges

Take a step backward with your left leg and come into a lunge. The right knee should be at about a 90 degree angle, knee over the right ankle and thigh parallel to the floor. Extend your arms out in front of you. Keep your back straight, abdomen actively pulled in, and your core tense.

Then pull the ring to the chest and squeeze it briefly. Keep your shoulders away from your ears. Extend your arms again and return to the starting position. As you stand up, tap the toes of your left foot on the floor and reposition your leg to the other.

2. wood chopping with Pilates ring in lunge – right side.

standing exercises with pilates ring - abdomen legs buttocks


Take a step backward with your left leg, extending your arms diagonally upward on the left side. As you step into the lunge, rotate your torso and lower the ring down to the opposite hip past your thigh. Your gaze should be forward, keeping your back straight. Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise.

3. single leg deadlift – left side

standing exercises with pilates ring

With arms extended, slowly bend torso forward while extending left leg long backward. As you go down, bend your right leg slightly at the knee. Keep your core tense. It is important to keep your hips and back straight. Raise your upper body again slowly and in a controlled manner, tap the floor with the toes of your left foot and squeeze the ring.

4. standing shoulder press – left side

Pilates ring exercise for shoulder


Extend the arms upward and the left leg forward. Shift the weight to the right leg and bend it slightly. As you do this, push the hips back a little while tensing the torso.

Inhale as you extend your arms up and over your head. Now pull the left knee up at an angle while bringing the arms down to a 90-degree angle. As you exhale, bring the leg back down and touch the floor with the tips of your toes.

5. elbow to knee – left side

pilates ring exercise for upper arms and knees

Extend the left leg back and bring the left arm overhead while holding the ring in the right hand. Tense the center of the body and bring the left knee to the left elbow. Breathe evenly and stay at a pace you are comfortable with. You can also do the exercise faster if you have good balance.

Second set of 10 repetitions per exercise

1. back lunges – right side

pilates ring exercises abdomen legs buttocks lunges backwards

Before starting the exercises on the other side, make your back straight and push your shoulders away from your ears. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Then bring your right leg back and extend your arms forward with the ring. Take your time to find your balance. Keep your eyes focused forward. While standing in a lunge, squeeze the ring with your hands and then stand back upright.

2. wood chop with pilates ring – left side

pilates exercises with ring - wood chopping

Take a step backward extend your arms up with the ring so that your body forms a diagonal line. While keeping your gaze forward, rotate your torso and lower the ring past your left thigh. Press up and back to starting position with arms extended upward.

3. single leg deadlift – right side

pilates ring exercises for beginners

Bring the ring toward the floor with arms extended while extending the right leg long back. The standing leg, i.e. the left leg, is slightly bent. When performing, the back should be straight, the head forms an extension of the spine. Thus, lower your gaze slightly as you bend forward. Slowly stand back upright, tap the floor with the toes of your right foot and squeeze the ring.

4. standing shoulder press with Pilates ring – right side

standing pilates ring exercises for upper body

Push your hips back and extend your right leg forward while tensing your core. Inhale as you extend your arms upward. Raise the right leg to a 90-degree angle while bringing the arms down at a bend. Inhale and exhale, working your core and pulling your shoulders away from your ears. As you exhale, lower your leg and tap your toes on the floor.

5. bring the elbow to the right knee

pilates ring exercises back arms and abdomen

Bring the right leg back and extend the right arm above the head. Pull the elbow toward the right knee. Then extend the arm and leg again. Always touch the floor very briefly with the tips of your toes. Increase the pace once you find your balance.

And you’re done! If you still have more energy, you can repeat the workout. 2 – 3 more sets of this workout and you will feel the burn! For more ideas on exercises with the Pilates ring, check out this article.

You can also watch the video of Rahel Ghebremichael on Youtube: