Callanetics Stomach Exercises

Beautiful fit red girl practicing pilates or callanetics with ball and blue yoga mat

Dig into the deepest points of your muscles with a Callanetics exercise program. This workout was created in the early 1980s by Callan Pinckney, who incorporated moves from classical ballet to ease her own back pain.

Callanetics combines tiny, precise stretching and contracting exercises to activate your largest muscle groups. It's low-impact, slow, deliberate and spine-safe. The system promises to strengthen your back and create a totally toned body, quickly and effectively.

The stomach is one area emphasized by Pinckney's program. Employ the gentle but intense exercises to help develop a strong core. Multiple Callanetics stomach exercises and interpretations are available, here are a few to sample:

Foundation Exercise

Start your Callanetics stomach series with this foundational move.

Lie on your back with your feet planted 3 inches apart, knees pointed to the ceiling.

Keep your head down, but bring your hands to your inner thighs. Pull your elbows out and up as you resist with your legs.

Lift your head and shoulders up from the mat. Feel like your wrapping your head into your rib cage.

Hold your upper body curled up as you release your hands from your inner thighs. Your arms stay alongside your outer thighs, hovering just a few inches from the floor.

Pulse your upper body just slightly higher. Work up to 100 pulses.


Avoid shrugging your shoulders or clenching your buttocks. The pulse is very subtle and does not involve leading with your shoulders or jerking your neck.

Image of fitness group stretching trunk after workout

Add a ball to Callanetics exercises to encourage muscle activation.

Standing Side Bends

This move is said to whittle your waist and stretch your side body.

Stand tall with feet hip-distance apart. Place your right hand on your right hip, elbow bent to the side of the room.

Raise your left arm and lean to the right to feel a stretch through the left side waist.

Pulse smoothly for 50 to 100 repetitions. Return to a stand and repeat the pulse to the left.

Attractive girl with light brown hair wearing snickers, dark leggings and red short top doing side plank at gym on purple mat, fitness, white background.

Add a ball to Callanetics exercises to encourage muscle activation.

Side Plank

Side plank is used in multiple exercise systems to build stability in the oblique muscles of your abdomen.

Get into a side plank stacked on your right forearm. Align your hips, shoulders and feet to face the side of the room. Drop your right knee to the floor if you need a modification.

Lift your right hip as high as you can. Extend your left arm to the ceiling.

Hold for 20 seconds or longer. Repeat on the opposite side.

Arm Waves

This move offers value as you isometrically contract your abs and use the energy of your arms to challenge your stability.

Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet planted about hip-distance apart. Place your hands around the outside of your thighs.

Sit up tall with the crown of your head pointed to the ceiling. Tilt your pelvis forward by tucking your tail bone under.

Round your back until your elbows straighten, hands still on your thighs. Slide your heels in slightly closer to your butt to increase the challenge. Make an effort to hollow your abdominals even more.

Let go of your thighs and press your hands down into the mat. Inhale and float the arms up by your ears. Keep your elbows extended, but soft, your spine rounded and your front body hollow as you complete 15 waves. Rest and do two more sets of 15.