Best Pilates Exercise To Get Strong Arms, Legs, Lats & Abs

Arms, legs, lats and abs - the oblique bicycle twist is your one-stop-shop for all things front and back.
Aaron Smith

Pilates Expert

Oct 28, 2021

Adding dynamic movements to your regular Pilates workout is the best thing you can do to amplify your results. Working across more than one functional plane at a time not only ensures your workout is more effective, but will also improve your stability, coordination and all around efficiency.

Starting position:
Lay on your back with your fingertips at your temples, elbows wide, and legs in table top position – keeping your neutral spine flat and flush with the ground.

Exercise Execution:
1. Engage your abdominal muscles, tightening your midsection between your hips and ribs
2. Extend your left leg out of table top position, forward and upwards at a 45 degree angle towards the sky whilst simultaneously bringing your torso into a crunch position, and twisting your left shoulder and elbow towards your right knee.
3. Return to your starting position flat on your back.
4. Repeat this movement focusing on extending your right leg, and twisting your right side towards your left to balance out the exercise


1. Inhale to prepare. Engage your abdominals and force an exhalation through pursed lips as you extend your left leg forwards and upwards whilst simultaneously bringing your torso into a twisting crunch position. Inhale to slowly roll back down.
2. Exhale again as you repeat this movement balancing out the exercise with your right leg, and right side of your body

Start out with 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions (or to failure) and increase if desired.

Turn your oblique bicycle twist into a fluid progressive movement to add in that cardiovascular hit! Whilst maintaining your crunch position, set a goal to complete 30 seconds of continuous movement before resting, counting how many cycles you can get through. Try to smash your goal every time to complete this exercise!

KX Tip:
To add KX intensity to the exercise, let’s bring in a bosu ball! Try completing this movement whilst lying on a bosu ball to REALLY feel those abs come alive. When coming out of each twist, try to lightly tap the ground with your extended legs and arms, before coming back into the oblique twist. OUCH!


By Aaron Smith

Pilates Expert

Aaron Smith is The Carousel’s resident pilates expert and Founder/Owner of Australia’s first high performance pilates group, KX Pilates. In 2009 he returned from living abroad with a vision to bring a new way of fitness training to Australia. “I loved the style and concept behind dynamic pilates, but I could see some areas for improvement, where I could add my own touch. I returned to Australia in 2009 and opened my first studio, in Melbourne, in 2010″, Smith said. Smith is now an award winning entrepreneur and franchisor, with 17 KX studios across Melbourne and Sydney, re-branding as the ‘KX Group’ and expanding the service offer to include; high performance pilates, assisted yoga, barre and international fitness retreats. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science (double major in exercise physiology/pharmacology), trained in advanced STOTT reformer pilates and is a KX Pilates Master Trainer.


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