Target Your Deep Abdominals With the Pilates Downhill Ski Exercise — No Equipment Needed

When many of us think about Pilates, we picture a boutique studio filled with bulky equipment. But you don't actually need a fancy studio setup to do Pilates at home.

Especially where the downhill ski abs exercise is concerned, all you need is a few feet of space to start strengthening your core. Amy Jordan, founder of Wundabar Pilates, loves this reformer exercise so much, she decided to create an equipment-free version. "I had to translate it to the floor so I can take it with me wherever I go," she says.



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The downhill ski takes your standard Pilates plank to the next level, incorporating more of your muscles for a head-to-toe strengthening workout. You can even target the deep abdominals by adding a pair of sliders or paper plates. This little hack will add instability to your lower body, giving your core a harder workout.

Mix up your usual core routine and give the downhill ski abs exercise a try — all you have to do is drop to a plank and get started.


Before you try the downhill ski, prime your body with a few Pilates warm-up exercises, such as spinal rotations.

How to Do the Pilates Downhill Ski Exercise

If this is your first time trying the downhill ski exercise, start with just 15 seconds, prioritizing good form. Then, as you get stronger, increase your total time until you're able to take Jordan up on her dare to do it for 60 seconds straight.

  1. Come into a high-plank position with your hands at shoulder-width distance, body in a straight line from head to hips to heels and feet together.
  2. Keeping palms and feet planted, exhale and shift your weight back as your knees and pelvis tip to the right.
  3. On an inhale, reverse the motion and return to the plank.
  4. Shift your weight back again and tilt your knees and pelvis to the left.
  5. Return again to the high plank.
  6. Alternate left and right, moving through the high plank between each side.


Crank this abs exercise up a few notches by placing your feet on a pair of sliders or paper plates. For this progression, draw your knees toward you instead of shifting your weight back as you alternate between right and left.

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