5 Core Power Pilates Moves Using the Total Gym Cables

Pilates has become synonymous with lean, sculpted bodies. But did you know that it’s also an excellent way to produce core power to excel in performance during other activities?


Pilates may look simple from afar, but I can assure you, it’s a serious core workout. The method challenges your mind to activate your body through movement in all ranges of the motion. The core is the powerhouse that initiates each exercise. This is what is referred to as Inner Core Power!



True core strength and power originates deep inside the body rather than on the surface of those ‘washboard abs’. The word ‘core’ literally means the center point of a three dimensional object. When relating this to the human body, we have to look inwards to the center point of the body, which is the pelvic floor. This is where our core strength lies and where we find our true energetic power.


The core muscles are not just the muscles on the front of your tummy. Rather, they are comprised of the pelvic floor, abdominals, lower back, shoulders, and hips. They all work together to stabilize and support the spine as well as execute power in our movements.



Pilates exercises simultaneously activate all muscles to either stabilize, mobilize, or work in coordination with other muscles to move through a specific range of motion. This process is derived from the entire core integration.


When performing any exercise, focus on engaging the most internal layer of the abdominals, the pelvic floor, by drawing the pubic bone and tailbone towards each other. Since the pelvic floor is an internal contraction, it takes practice to learn. It’s a different activation than the beloved six-pack abdominals!


Developing internal core strength is what makes Pilates exercises so powerful and useful in other activities as well as everyday life!



The benefits of Pilates go far beyond core strength and flexibility. Regularly practicing this total-body method can:

  • Improve posture
  • Ease back pain
  • Prevent injuries
  • Improve bone density
  • Boost heart rate to blast extra calories
  • Promote weight loss
  • Develop lean and sculpted muscle tone
  • Develop core power


These benefits make Pilates an effective cross-training workout that can be added into your regular strength and cardio fitness routines.



Tap into your hidden core strengths. Accomplish this by incorporating this Core Power circuit into your typical Total Gym routine to effectively and efficiently develop ultimate core power production.


This Total Gym workout contains 5 Pilates exercises utilizing the Total Gym cables to develop core strength and power. Each exercise activates your core to stabilize, mobilize, and energize power production.


These exercises are simple enough for a beginner, yet challenging for a Pilates pro! So even if you’ve never done Pilates before, give this circuit a go!



  • Attach the cable to the glide board.
  • Incline level- The incline height is based on individual strength and as well as keeping proper body alignment throughout the exercise.
  • A higher incline significantly intensifies the resistance of the exercise.
  • A low-moderate incline allows you to maintain proper body alignment and strength control throughout the exercise.
  • Explore the best incline for your body, but focus on core stabilization to improve your strength and power.



  • Execute slow, controlled, and precise movements.
  • Pay attention to alignment, breath, and core control.
  • Alignment: a fundamental principle of Pilates intended to maintain the body’s bones and joints in their neutral zone for proper posture and optimal performance. 
  • Breath: Fully inhale (to prepare) and exhale (to exert) throughout each exercise.
  • Core Control: mindfully activating and recruiting the smaller, deepest internal muscles of the abdominals and lower back to maintain stability and control of the spine, especially during dynamic motion.
  • Perform each exercise for 10 REPS, once through, and in circuit format. If time permits, perform another round of the circuit!


  1. Arm Circles

Lie supine with the cables in each hand.  Draw your ribs together and activate your core to draw circles with the arms.  Perform the same number of reps in each direction.

Advanced: lift the legs to 90 degrees or extend the legs straight while keeping the spine in contact with the glide board.


  1. Leg Circle

Lie supine with the cables in each hand. Extend the arms straight out from the chest.  Keep them stationary as the legs draw circles in each direction.

Advanced: draw large circles with straight legs.


  1. Scissors

Lie supine with the cables in each hand. Extend the arms at a 45-degree angle towards the thighs. Keep the arms stationary while the legs alternate a scissor movement.


  1. Kneeling Chest Expansion

Kneel (or sit) on the glide board facing the tower with the cables in each hand.  Keep the arms extended and spine elongated. Press the arms back to open the chest.  Hold them stationary as the head looks right, center, left, center, then release the arms to repeat.

Advanced: high kneeling position


  1. Prone Coordination

Lie prone on the glide board with the cables in each hand and the arms extended long.  Lift the torso into extension to begin. This is a four-part movement: (1) bend the elbows bringing the hands above the shoulders (2) open the legs (3) close the legs (4) extend the arms to the starting position.

Keep the spine lengthened and core activated throughout the exercise.



End your Pilates session with a series of stretches that lengthen the muscles worked, prevent injury, and get you ready for your next workout.


Be sure to check out the video to see how these powerful core Pilates moves are performed on your Total Gym!


Developing an internal base of core strength is what will excel your body to accomplish greatness in all you do. Strength comes from within. If you have the internal strength development, it will shine through to the surface!


Best Always,



Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. http://www.groovysweat.com http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos) http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

Leave a Reply