This Workout Routine Combines HIIT and Pilates for the Best of Both Worlds

woman doing plank exercise pilates for weight loss home workout with kettlebell
Photo: SrdjanPav/Getty Images

Combine the postural and strengthening benefits of Pilates with the fat-burning, cardio potential of HIIT, and you have the perfect at-home workout routine.

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The Best Pilates for Weight Loss Routine

woman doing plank exercise pilates for weight loss home workout with kettlebell
SrdjanPav/Getty Images

Steal this formula from David and Dylan Schenk, a husband-wife personal training team and co-founders of LIFT Society in Hollywood, California, to strike the perfect balance in your workout routine.

"When we switched to alternating days of high-intensity circuits with Pilates-based workouts, our clients' mats were just dripping," says Dylan of the aha moment when she knew they'd hit upon the perfect Pilates for weight loss plan.

By combining the benefits of Pilates (increased core strength, flexibility, and pelvic floor strength, to name a few) with the benefits of HIIT (boosted fat burn, metabolism, and cardiovascular health, and more), you get the ultimate workout mix.

How it works: There are two circuits here: a strength circuit using a kettlebell and a bodyweight Pilates circuit. Warm up by holding a plank pose for two minutes, then do each circuit up to three times. Don't rest between each move, but rest as needed between rounds. (Beginners, start with one round and build up to three.) Aim to do the workout three times a week.

What you’ll need: A light kettlebell, around 4lbs. Once you get the hang of the Pilates for weight loss exercises, go heavier; always choose a weight that you can control, though. No bell? Use a five- to eight-pound dumbbell instead.

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Turkish Get-Down

The Step-By-Step Video Tutorial On How to Do the Perfect Turkish Get-Up

Targets: shoulders, back, chest, arms, and abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell in left hand overhead, arm straight and palm facing up.
  • Keeping arm raised throughout, slowly lie down by lunging back with right leg, then placing right hand on ground behind you.
  • Lower hips, right leg, right arm, and upper body to ground (left arm stays raised throughout move).
  • Reverse movement to return to start. Lower kettlebell to the rack position and pass to the other hand to repeat on the opposite side.

Do 10 lunges, alternating legs; switch sides and repeat.

(Watch this video for more tips on how to master the Turkish get-up and get-down.)

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Clean to Overhead Press


Targets: shoulders, back, chest, arms, abs, butt, and legs.

  • Place kettlebell on ground and stand behind it with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat (form check!), grab handle of kettlebell with right hand and straighten legs as you swing kettlebell between legs, then forward. Squat again as you swing it between legs, then straighten legs and bring kettlebell in front of right shoulder, elbow bent by side and palm facing right (this is called the "rack" position).
  • Extend right arm straight up to press kettlebell overhead.
  • Lower kettlebell to rack position, then swing kettlebell between legs again. Swing kettlebell forward, switching it to left hand when it's in front of body. Repeat move on the other side.

Do 20 reps, alternating sides.

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Pistol Squat

Peter Ardito

Targets: back, biceps, butt, and legs

  • Balance on the left leg, right leg extended off ground in front of you. (Advanced: Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of chest.)
  • Keeping right leg raised (the higher and straighter it is, the harder the move), slowly lower into a single-leg squat.
  • Rise, keeping right leg off ground, and repeat. (Can't quite do it yet? Here's how to modify and master the pistol squat.)

Do 10 reps, then switch legs and repeat.

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Side Plank Row

Peter Ardito

Targets: back, arms, abs, and obliques

  • Start on ground, balancing on right elbow and outside of right foot, feet stacked (side plank, aka one of the best oblique exercises ever); hold kettlebell in left hand on ground under chest.
  • Keeping body still and straight, draw elbow up to the ceiling to lift kettlebell up to right ribs. Maintaining side plank, lower kettlebell and repeat.

Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

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Rear Lunge to Dead Lift

woman in workout clothes demonstrating how to do kettlebell single leg romanian deadlift glute exercise
Peter Ardito

Targets: back, biceps, abs, butt, and legs

  • Hold the kettlebell in right hand next to left shoulder, palm facing right (rack position), and stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Lunge back with left leg, then step forward again and balance on right foot.
  • Slowly hinge forward from hips and lower kettlebell toward ground as you extend left leg behind you. Rise up to start position, barely touching left toes to ground, and repeat.

Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

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Atomic Burpee

Peter Ardito

Targets: shoulders, back, chest, abs, butt, and legs

  • Lie faceup on ground with hands behind head and arms, head and legs raised.
  • Place feet on ground and quickly roll up to a deep squat; quickly place hands on ground in front of you and jump feet back so body is straight from head to heels (plank).
  • Bend elbows and lower chest toward ground, then press up.
  • Hop feet forward and jump straight up. Land in a deep squat again, then sit down, extend legs forward and roll back with hands behind head; repeat from the beginning.

Do 10 reps.

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Down Dog Reach

Peter Ardito

Targets: arms and abs

  • Get in downward dog position with hands and feet on ground and hips lifted so body is in an inverted V.
  • Reach left hand toward right foot.
  • Extend left arm forward as you lower hips so body is straight from head to heels. Return to down dog reach; repeat. (P.S. Here’s the most common Pilates mistake many people make.)

Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

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Crab Toe Touch


Targets: abs and legs

  • Sit on ground with knees bent, feet flat, and place hands behind hips with fingers pointing forward. Lift hips an inch.
  • Lift hips higher as you raise left leg and touch toes with right hand. Switch sides, lowering hips near to ground as you bring hand and foot down.

Do 10 reps, alternating sides.

10 of 11


best hamstring stretches: woman demonstrating an inchworm stretch
Peter Ardito

Targets: arms and abs

  • Get in plank position on hands and toes. (Advanced: Raise right foot several inches off ground.)
  • Walk hands in toward feet, then roll up slowly until you're standing upright. (If doing the single-leg version, keep right leg raised throughout move.)
  • Reverse motion to return to starting position.

Do 20 reps. If doing the single-leg version, do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

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Side X

Peter Ardito

Targets: abs and thighs

  • Start on ground, balancing on right hand and side of left foot so body is straight, right foot slightly behind left.
  • Extend left arm diagonally forward and right leg diagonally back.
  • Draw right knee and left elbow together.

Do 10 reps; switch sides and repeat.

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