Teaser is one of the most quintessential Pilates exercises in my opinion. This one of the poses people immediately think of when they think of the method. It really tests the control of your powerhouse and is a great way to gauge your progress. It is a challenging exercise, but don’t worry — there are several preparation movements you can use as you’re building your strength. And, there are some more difficult variations, too!

Pictured at the top is the full teaser, coming from a prone position (post-run for #TeaserTuesday). It’s not perfect — my back should be a little straighter.

To begin, lie on your back with both legs straight to the ceiling and in Pilates stance, a slight turned-out position with heels together and toes apart in a small V. Stretch your arms long overhead while maintaining a flat back.

Legs at 45*.

Lower your legs to 45*, pressing your navel deep toward your spine and engaging your core. As you inhale, bring your arms forward reaching toward your toes. As your arms move forward, allow your body to float up to your feet, chin to chest and peeling your upper body off the mat.

At the top, you’ll be in the V position, balanced on your tailbone, back straight, neck long, arms and legs reaching long, collarbones broad.

Exhale as you begin rolling your spine down one vertebra at a time, holding the legs stationary.

Focus on lifting UP more than forward!

Repeat 3 times.


Preparation exercises: Not ready for full teaser yet?

  • Make sure you’re practicing the roll-up exercise (I’ll demo that one next week, but here’s a good video in the meantime).
  • 2a-bridge-start
    Bent-knee position.

    Perform the exercise as described above but with a bent-knee position — feet on the floor, knees to the ceiling. Focus on keeping the lower body perfectly still.

  • Once the bent-knee position becomes easy, try extending one leg to 45* while the other foot remains on the floor. Perform the exercise as described above, and after rolling down, switch the extended leg (make sure to do the same number on each side). You might do two on each leg, or you might do one with both feet on the floor and then one with either leg extended for three total.

Advanced variations

Full teaser.
  • Teaser II: once you’re in the lifted V position, lower and lift your legs three times, working from the powerhouse. Squeeze your gluten and inner thighs. Inhale as your lower and exhale to lift (like with the double straight-leg stretch/lower and lift). Move slowly, don’t rock on your tailbone, and hold your upper body steady!
  • Teaser III: from the lifted V position … Lift your arms to the ceiling alongside your ears and roll your entire body back down to the mat. Feel like your arms and legs are in opposition, both reaching away from the body as long as they can. Keep your legs and arms hovering off the mat while they’re extended.