Some days that afternoon energy dip hits harder than others, and you need a little extra burst of energy to get through the day. Rather than reaching for another cup of caffeinated tea or coffee, grab your yoga mat and move your body. Exercise, and the endorphins generated can help us feel more energized, focused and ready to tackle the rest of the workday, without the jitters of caffeine. Below are five energizing Pilates moves that activate and invigorate your entire body. Each exercise generates heat and creates a deep, feel-good burn that will leave you with a burst of energy by the end.

You can do each move one after the other for a concise, low-impact, higher-intensity workout that fits into the beginning, middle, or end of your day. Finish your full-body activation with some deep and mindful breathing to connect with your body and feel ready to take on the rest of your day!

Downward Dog to Plank Knee Hover

downward dog plank knee tap

Image by Jacqui Kingswell

  1. Start in a downward-dog position pressing your hips up toward the sky, belly button drawn back toward your spine, shoulders back and down, and palms pressing down into your mat.
  2. Enjoy the beautiful stretch and then ripple forward into a high-plank position, lining up your shoulders with your wrists, and lengthen out of your spine and body.
  3. Draw one knee in toward your chest, engaging your core.
  4. Press back to a downward dog and repeat with the opposite leg. 
  5. Note: This move actives a deep core connection and creates heat in the body. 

 Squat with Leg Extension

squat with leg extension

Image by Jacqui Kingswell

  1. Begin in a squat position lining up your knees with your 4th or 5th toe. Take your weight into the back of your heels.
  2. Engage your core, press your shoulders down and back. Using resistance extend one leg behind you, flexing the foot. Extend both arms to the side, flexing your fingertips to the ceiling.
  3. Keep your supporting leg slightly bent, and hinge forward.
  4. Come back to your squat position and repeat to the other side. 
  5. Note: This move is great to test your balance and activate your gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. 

Crab Crawl 

crab crawl

Image by Jacqui Kingswell

  1. Start at the side of your mat in a squat position with hands in a prayer position.
  2. Engage the core and take a step to the side with one foot (staying in a squat position) and then bring the other leg back to squat position.
  3. Repeat this and add a tiny pulse in between the steps to activate your gluteus maximus and gluteus medius.

Diagonal Punches

fast beats

Image by Jacqui Kingswell

  1. Set your body up by taking your hands into a fist position in front of your face with elbows lifted. Activate your core and slightly bend your knees.
  2. Twist through your thoracic spine and extend one arm diagonally in front of your body and then repeat with the other hand.
  3. Note: Really connect to your breath throughout this move, and as you exhale draw your belly button back toward your spine. I like to exhale as I’m punching so I get a great core workout, too. 

Breathe & Connect 

breath and connect

Image by Jacqui Kingswell

  1. Take a moment to take three deep mindful breaths to finish.
  2. As you inhale, feel your lungs expand, and as you exhale, feel your body relax and soften.
  3. Exhaling really calms your nervous system, so make sure you breathe right to the very end of the breath.

Please note that any advice in this article doesn’t replace personalized medical advice from a professional. It is important to check with your chiropractor before starting a new exercise routine. If you are interested in the benefits of breathwork, Deedee Poyner, RPC and Clarity Breathwork Practitioner offers online breathwork sessions. Email us at to learn more or to book an appointment with Deedee Poyner or one of our experienced chiropractors.