Pre-Pilates Progression Class 1 of 6

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If you had a hard time doing the exercise in Alisa Wyatt's Self-Assessment video then this Pre-Pilates Progressive Series is for you! Designed to rebuild your core while teaching you the fundamentals of Pilates, it's also safe for anyone who needs to keep their spine straight due to osteoporosis, back injury or surgery. You can find more workouts like this one in our Spine Safe and PrePilates categories.

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What Others Are Saying


  1. Roosh 2 months ago


    Just started this program! I’m wondering if you could explain a bit more about keeping the pelvis heavy–I think I’m having a hard time feeling that. Also, is drawing the belly button the ground more of a sucking in motion or a firming of the muscles around the belly button that contract the belly button inwards when activated?

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi Roosh!
      Building awareness in the pelvis is definitely a process so be patient and know that as you practice and pay attention, you’ll start to have way more connection. In the beginning, simply noticing how you’re holding your pelvis is helpful, is it tilted toward you, heavier on one side than the other, does it shift when you try to move something else or is is stable? The goal here is to discover the nuances in your own body (which will be different than everyone else’s) and learn how to keep that area stable while other parts move–the pelvis is our center of balance, control and as you progress, strength.
      For the drawing in of the abdominal muscles, I’m going to advise you to think lower–below the belly button. Draw the area between your pubic bone and belly button in and firm it at the same time. It’s less of a suck all your skin to your spine feeling and more of a firming and connecting. When you loose the connection, you’ll notice everything pops out–this often happens when you increase the range of motion in a movement or switch to something harder. Just go back to smaller movements or repeat the class you’re on when this happens and it’ll improve. Thanks for asking I hope this long note is helpful! 🙂

  2. tess1111 3 months ago

    Hi Alisa! I’m loving these videos – I’m having trouble keeping my core anchored to the ground when I pull both feet off the floor. I can keep my form when I’m sliding my legs and arms but it’s a lot harder when I lift both feet. I feel like I can’t stay flat with both feet up. Any tips for that? Thank you so much!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi tess1111! Yay I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the journey! Ok question for you regarding anchoring when lifting both feet — do you have a lot of space under your lower back when your pelvis is level?
      If so, it might help to add a thinly folded hand towel under that space to give your body some proprioception for your stomach to pull into. I find this helpful for my own low back which has some extra curve. Eventually you won’t need it but especially when the lower abs are learning to connect having something touching underneath can help wake them up. You may still have a hard time keeping connected but hang in there, it may even take repeating each class a bunch of times so that this series takes longer but it’s totally worth it for the results you’re building.

  3. mchohan 5 months ago


    I am coming back to pilates after a very long time. I did the stretchy morning mat and it was so hard, so I realized I have to go back to basics! Thank you for these pre-pilates progression videos.

    I notice as I am doing the exercises with the arms up and with the shoulders pinned down, that I have trouble keeping my right shoulder in particular pinned to the floor the whole time while I’m moving my arm back. It isn’t painful at all – but I realize I start to tense my shoulders and my right shoulder in particular, in a lot of the exercises.

    Do you have any recommendations for how I should progress through these pre-pilates videos? I did videos 1 and 2 yesterday, and am doing them again this morning. I didn’t have any soreness this morning from yesterday, but I’m really cautious about form, so I am wondering what I should be checking for in my shoulders, to make sure I am keeping myself safe as I do these workouts.

    Thank you!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi mchohan!
      I’m glad you’re doing the pre-pilates, it’s really amazing for building the strength that will make everything you do easier!

      I have the same feeling in my dominant arm that you do–that joint feels tighter and more difficult to move without popping my ribs up as it goes back. I do notice that it gets better the more I practice, so maybe that will happen for you too.

      I don’t think it’s bad to do more than 1 video per day so long as you don’t end up super sore in places you don’t want to be. If you start noticing a big drop in your form, then stop but otherwise, I think 45-60 min is the max you should do at once. Of course it’s fine to do less, you’ll still get results–it’s all about doing something every day.

  4. Ann 6 months ago

    I just started the pre pilates and I really like it. I did the first two both on the same day. Im thinking I will do the 2nd for several days until it gets easier. How do I know when Im ready for the next video? 

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi Ann, Great question – you should do each video until you feel strong enough to do the movement without wobbling in your pelvis when you’re moving your legs or losing the connection to your lower belly when moving your arms.
      Since you were able to do 2 workouts in 1 day I suspect you’re probably going to be ok to move through this series pretty quickly but I would suggest doing our ClassicFit Series next (it’s the 3rd Progression on our Beginner QUick Start Page).

      If you find yourself needing to do a class several times before you feel strong enough to move to the next, you can alternate with any of the classes from this list for variety. Hearing cues from different teachers is helpful: Pre-Pilates Workouts.

      Hope that helps!

  5. 6 months ago

    This will sound silly, but how do i keep from hurting my lower back doing these exercises?

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Not silly AT ALL — if you feel like your lower back is straining, the key is to do less. For example, if I’m instructing you to hold your leg for a count of 10 you can hold for 5 instead, OR keep it at the top level and don’t lower it down. Also if you feel that you’re overdoing something, take a short break (maybe even pause the video) and focus on taking deep breaths and relaxing. I know from experience that when you’re trying to strengthen your core, the muscles that are used to doing everything can be stubborn to turn off so be patient and let your body know you’re listening. Don’t be afraid that if you change the exercise to make it easier you’re not getting a benefit, just keep repeating the workout daily and you should notice a difference in just a few days. Let me know how it goes!

  6. mmostaf2 9 months ago

    Hi Alisa,

    I started doing this as part of my morning routine. I was wondering, in the last exercise, why do you turn the leg outward slightly versus having the kneecap pointing straight toward the ceiling? Is it to activate more of the inner thigh muscles. Thank you.

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi mmostaf2,
      Yes that’s correct, it helps to engage the inner thigh when you turn the knee out slightly. Thanks for joining me for this series, it’s a great way to start your day!

  7. Bethenylynn
    Bethenylynn 10 months ago

    Thank you so much for posting these videos! I’m 5 weeks into my pregnancy, can I keep doing these pre pilates and beginner videos until I need to switch to pregnancy videos? I tried one of the pregnancy videos and I didn’t feel strong enough for it.

  8. cristinaangel 1 year ago

    Thank you so much for this pre pilates video. I have never done a single move of pilates in my life. I can’t really explain it…but pilates is calling my name. This was a perfect way to start. Very descriptive and just what I needed.

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      christinaangel, I’m so happy to be your first Pilates teacher! When I first tried Pilates it was because it was calling my name too :). Enjoy your journey it’s one that can help keep you healthy and fit for literally the rest of your life.

  9. naturealpilates
    naturealpilates 1 year ago

    hi Alisa
    thank you for those pre-pilates classes,
    i’m laure, i stopped my Pilates certification that i was doing in barcelona with Fabien Menegon because i was pregnant..
    now i feel that i need to start over, baby is 20 month now, i have a diastisis recti but i work on it and it’s much better, do you think it’s ok to start completely over?
    Even if i pass the test and my core is still strong but i want to start from the beginning
    thank you again

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi Laure! Yes it is absolutely great for you to start over from the beginning. I actually love to go back to the beginning myself once in a while, it makes everything you do better. Have fun and let me know if you have more questions!

  10. Priyakirti 1 year ago

    Thank you Alisa!

    I used to do Pilates back in LA at Ron Fletcher, and I need to start over again. That was in the 90’s and I’m now in my 50’s… so I’m starting over with pre-Pilates and it was just enough to get me started in the right direction. Looking forward to more spine-safe and beginner videos. I love pure Pilates, so I’m so excited to have a place that is true to Joe Pilates. Hard to find these days!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi Priyakirti! I’m so happy to hear that this feels like home for you, with such an illustrious Pilates beginning it’s an honor! We’re adding more spine safe workouts all the time so keep an eye out for more. 🙂

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