Looking to develop lean muscles and long defined lines?

Let’s boost your existing workout program with Pilates exercises that focus on improving inner core strength and power, while emphasizing proper biomechanics. Performing a Pilates based routine on your Total Gym will do just the trick!


Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. Pilates exercises focus strongly to improve postural alignment while lengthening, strengthening, and utilizing core control through a series of functional movements. Pilates exercises also aim to improve proper biomechanics such as posture, balance, flexibility, stability, and mobility.

The exercises are initiated by the core, known as the powerhouse. This internal core activation emits the power to perform a wide variety of exercises through different ranges of motion.

Pilates also places a strong focus on the mind-body connection. Your mind should be constantly aware of the goal and place emphasize on connecting to your breath when performing the exercises.


The Pilates method was developed by Joseph Pilates, a German born genus, to originally rehab injured dancers and soldiers while living in the UK. In the 1920’s he immigrated to the USA and opened a Pilates studio in New York City to continue to share his method that he originally called “Contrology”. He believed mental and physical health were closely connected to improve overall wellbeing. This is the mind-body connection of what makes Pilates so special and beneficial to incorporate into a consistent practice.


Pilates is much more than a workout. It not only integrates the entire body to sculpt your muscles, but it also conditions your mind and gives you inner serenity. Additionally, Pilates improves:

• Posture
• Inner core strength
• Flexibility and muscular length
• Stability, mobility, and balance control
• Proper body alignment
• Abdominal endurance
• Coordination
• Circulation
• Energy

“The Pilates Method of body conditioning is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.” - Joseph Pilates


Pilates is all about progression and letting the exercise work for your body. When learning any Pilates exercise, focus on these three Pilates Principals to achieve the most from your workout efforts:


Achieve proper body alignment and form within every exercise


Learn how to utilize your breath to properly move through the movements.
Example: inhale (prepare to move) and exhale (move on the exertion)

Core Control

Initiate and stabilize the exercises from your core while actively lengthening the surrounding muscles.

These key principals are used to integrate the mind-body connection and are the foundation to mastering a solid Pilates workout.


Pilates requires a basic understanding of the exercises in order to learn the proper mechanics and get the most out of the movements. Your body needs to develop muscle memory and learn how to create length through activating supporting muscles.

This is achieved by initiating the movement from the core, stabilizing the supporting joints, and facilitating length through proper range of motion. Therefore, it’s best to start with a few exercises and learn them well, then add other movements to the routine.


Your Total Gym equipment can be used to perform Pilates Reformer exercises in a similar fashion to achieve great results. In short, the Pilates Reformer equipment is a bed-like frame with a sliding carriage that is loaded by adjustable springs for resistance and uses straps to train your extremities.

Here are the different terminologies between the Total Gym and the Pilates Reformer:

Total Gym:
Glide Board
Toe Bar
Incline Levels

Long Straps
Foot Bar

The biggest difference is that the Total Gym uses gravity to assist or resist the exercises whereas the Reformer uses springs.


In order to achieve the results your body is capable of achieving, I’ve designed three Lean Line Pilates Workouts and added a fourth comprehensive workout that integrates moves from all three routines. The Lean Lines Series is dispersed over four blogs so you can focus on each workout individually.

The workouts are categorized by basic, intermediate and advanced exercises and progress in a simple format titled the: “Ready, Set, Glow Lean Lines Workout Series”.


Learning the basics of Pilates and how to initiate movement from the powerhouse. This initial workout prepares your muscles for more challenging exercises.


The foundation of Pilates basics is formed, new skills are added, and your body is set to develop muscle memory that improves with repetition.


Additional exercises are added to the mix that provide a challenge for your mind and muscles. The previous workouts will prepare your body for these more advanced movements.


When learning the Pilates workouts, practice performing each exercise using the Pilates Principals. Become familiar with the routines sequence and practice until it’s fluid.

Keep in mind these progression tips when perfecting your Pilates routine:

• Take time learning each exercise to develop confidence through repetitive motion.
• Listen to your body and make the exercises to work for you.
• Modify by executing shorter ranges of motion or by adjusting the incline to accommodate your strength level.
• Increase the intensity by elongating through the muscles, changing the tempo or range of motion. You can also adjust the incline or body position for an added challenge.


Pilates exercises take time to learn and understand the mechanics to perform them properly. When learning a new workout, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the exercises and the proper form.

Pilates exercises are performed slowly with complete control and are typically performed for a small number of quality reps, not quantity. Therefore, the exercises in this workout will be performed slowly with control for 5-10 reps depending on the intensity of the move and for only one set.

You are now ‘Ready’ to learn the Pilates basics routine on your Total Gym.

LEAN LINES BASIC || Ready Workout

This workout contains basic Pilates exercises to improve your posture, overall muscular tone, and core strength. With a consist practice, you will learn the exercises within your body and they will get you ‘ready’ for more challenging movements.

Once you have confidently mastered the skills from Part I Ready Workout (basic), progress to the next blog to experience the Part II Set Workout (Intermediate) while remembering to apply the Pilates fundamentals you’ve learned from Part I.


Toe bar & cables


• Set incline to a medium level with toe bar attached
• Perform all exercises slowly with control in a flowing sequence
• Do 5-10 reps each exercise, then continue to the next move

Set Up: Medium level / Toe bar

1. Plies
• 1st position: heels together, toes turned out

2. Running
• Parallel foot stance: heels drop under the toe bar

Spinal & Core Prep
3. Roll up

• Articulate each bone as it peels away from the glide board

Long Stretch Series:
4. Down stretch

• place palms on the toe bar with arms extended straight
• both knees go down to the carriage simultaneously with the toes tucked under
• extend through the spine with arms straight
• move glide board out/ in while in spinal extension and leading with the heart


Abs Series:
5. Single leg stretch
6. Double leg stretch
7. Hundred

Leg Series:
8. Side Lying Leg Lifts (variations)

• keep hips stacked and waist lifted
• abduction, adduction, leg circles
• perform right side, then left side

9. Mermaid

Check out the video to see how these Pilates exercises are performed on your Total Gym.

There are so many amazing Pilates exercises that can be performed in ‘reformer style’ on your Total Gym. These are just a few to get you started and provide a sequence of exercises that will challenge your entire body.

The next Pilates workout in the series is similar in format and can eventually be added to this workout. Stay tuned for the Part II Set Workout!


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. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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