This week in my class at Pilates Plus Dublin, we did one of the most effective core exercises: the Pike to Catfish Combo! 

I know the name sounds bizarre, but it’s a really brilliant move to engage those deep core muscles, that are so important for improving strength, balance, stability… plus they help to give you a flat tummy 😉

The exercise also helps to strengthen your upper body, and especially your shoulders. I struggled for years with a weaker upper body, and it’s pretty common for women to find that it’s their weakest area. So I try to put plenty of focus on building strength in my shoulders, chest and arms. This can really help to balance out your body’s proportions too.


We used the special Proformer machines the studio for this move, but you can enjoy all of its benefits in the comfort of your own home… all you need is a small folded towel!

How to do the Pilates Pike to Catfish Combo at home:

1. Choose a smooth, clear floor. Tiles or a wooden for would work well, and ensure you have enough space to stretch out. 

2. Fold a small towel, big enough to place your feet on, and one that will easily slide across the floor. 

3. Get into the plank position, with your feet on the towel, your shoulders in line with your wrists and your back as flat as possible. You may want to lean your hands on a mat to take some pressure off your wrists. 

4. Engage your core by pulling your tummy button in towards your spine and pull your legs into the pike position, so that your body looks like an inverted V. Keep your core and abdominal muscles engaged, and straighten your legs as much as possible without locking your knees.

5. Return to the plank position, then go straight into the catfish by bringing your thighs to a 90 degree angle to your torso, as in the picture above. You will be just balancing on your hands and toes, continuing to engage your core.

6. Return to the plank position. 

Repeat this exercise for 30 to 60 seconds or more, depending on your level of fitness. Aim to do it up to 3-4 times a week for a noticeably strengthened core and abs 😉