Pilates Move Of The Week: Get Those Abs Rock Solid With The Shoulder Stand

Pilates: Get Those Abs Solid With The Shoulder Stand
Aaron Smith

Pilates Expert

Feb 04, 2024

The shoulder stand is a classic pilates move to build abdominal strength. It also tests your balance and co-ordination along with increasing body awareness and control.

Make sure you’re on a mat or soft surface for this exercise to support your back and hips on the down phase.

Starting position:

Lie on your back with your arms long by your side, palms facing the floor and your legs long on the mat.

Exercise Execution:

  1. Activate your core by drawing down through your navel and lifting up through the pelvic floor.
  2. Slowly bring your legs up to the ceiling whilst your bum stays on the matt and then pause for a brief moment to stop momentum.
  3. Using your arms for support, lift your hips up towards the ceiling bringing your feet over your face. Lift to where you deem comfortable and hold at the top for 1-2 secs.
  4. Reverse the exercise by slowly rolling down your spine one vertebrae at a time until your hips are back on the mat and then slowly lower your legs, keeping them long, down to the floor.


Inhale to lift the legs to the ceiling, exhale as you shoulder stand up. Inhale as you pause at the top and then exhale as you slowly roll down. Continue the exhale as the feet lower to the floor.


Start out with 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions and increase from there. It’s a pretty difficult exercise so make sure you go at your own pace.


  1. To load the abdominals more, have your feet pointing more towards the ceiling /straight up and less over the face. This will also be harder to control.
  2. At the top of the movement scissor the legs by bringing one leg closer to the face, pause for a second and switch legs before both meet back at the top and you continue with the down phase of the exercise.

KX Tip: 

To add KX intensity to the exercise, place a pilates circle or toning ball in between the ankles to activate your inner thighs throughout the exercise. You can also add a basic crunch between shoulder stands to really target all areas of the abdominals.

Model: Pia Muehlenbeck

More pilates moves of the week…

Pilates Move Of The Week: Tighten Up Your Booty With The Bridge

Pilates Move Of The Week: Get Those Abs Rock Solid With The Shoulder Stand

Pilates Move Of The Week: Lose Those Love Handles With The Corkscrew

Have you tried the pilates move of the week? Tell us below!…


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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