How to Do the Pilates Jackknife Move

Three Methods:Getting in the Starting PositionPerforming the ExerciseFrequency

This high-intensity exercise strengthens the abdominals as well as the muscles of the back, arms, legs and shoulders.

Method 1
Getting in the Starting Position

  1. Image titled Do the Pilates Jackknife Move Step 1
    Lie down on your back on the Pilates mat with your legs straight and together.
  2. Image titled Do the Pilates Jackknife Move Step 2
    Keeping your arms right beside your body with your palms facing down, raise your legs up to a 90-degree angle without bending them.

Method 2
Performing the Exercise

  1. Image titled Do the Pilates Jackknife Move Step 3
    Exhale as you lift your hips off of the mat and curl your abs in. Keep maintaining the 90-degree angle of your hips and legs. You'll know when you've completed this step once your knees are directly above your nose and your legs are straightened parallel to the mat. Press your palms into the mat to help lift your legs.
  2. Image titled Do the Pilates Jackknife Move Step 4
    Inhale and elevate your legs toward the ceiling. Make sure that your chest stays low and your neck remains elongated and your hips don't move out of alignment. Once your legs have reached a 60-degree angle from the ground, hold the position for 3 seconds.
  3. Image titled Do the Pilates Jackknife Move Step 5
    Exhale and slowly lower your body back to the mat, vertebra by vertebra. Lengthen the neck and ensure that the head stays on the floor. Keep the chest open. Return to the starting position, with the legs in the air at a 90-degree angle. Inhale and repeat the exercise for the desired amount of repetitions.

Method 3

  1. 1
    Do 3 repetitions of this exercise per set. Repeat until you've completed 4 sets.
  2. 2
    In order to start seeing/feeling results, aim to increase the number of times per week you do this exercise.


  • The benefits of this exercise are increased strength and flexibility in your arms, legs, and core muscles; shoulder stability; core control; and shoulder articulation.


  • Potential injuries may be incurred if this exercise is performed incorrectly.
  • In order to help protect your neck from injuries, make sure you keep your shoulders down and elongate your neck by gently tucking your chin into your chest.

Things You Need

  • Pilates mat

Article Info

Categories: Pilates