Pilates is one of the workouts known for its ease and effectiveness. While you may have taken local pilates classes with your friends for fun, there is no real need to enroll at a gym to reap the benefits of pilates. All you need is a mat, space, and a willingness to get your sweat on. To summarize, you can get a full-body workout at home using your yoga mat. This might sound hard to believe, but it’s true! In this article, we’ll explain how you can start doing pilates at home using simple, easy movements for beginners. We’ll also give you some helpful tips to make it easier.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise that focuses on the body, mind, and spirit. It mainly works on the core muscles (abdomen, back, and buttocks) to improve stability and mobility (1). Joseph Pilates developed this exercise method in the 1920s. It involves low-impact movements that strengthen and balance muscles while keeping them flexible. Pilates also emphasizes proper posture and alignment. Dancers, athletes, and people recovering from injuries often use pilates to complement their training and rehabilitation.
Pilates has various exercises, such as leg circles, scissor kicks, and hundreds of others, that use small movements to improve strength and mobility. All these exercises require you to activate your core muscles for stability while engaging other muscles. These exercises make your movements smoother and more controlled throughout your body (2).
There are different kinds of pilates classes and methods, so you might need to try a few to see which suits you best. You may also prefer a certain teaching style from your instructor. All of this requires a bit of trial and error.
Can You Do Pilates At Home Without Equipment?
It is possible to do pilates at home without buying expensive equipment. When exercising at home, it’s crucial to prepare yourself for success. First, find a spot with enough room and good lighting. Second, create a pleasant atmosphere by lighting a scented candle.
When arranging your workout area, ensure you have enough space to stretch your whole body and move your arms and legs in different directions. A quiet place is best, especially if you’ll be following pilates videos. Since beginner pilates mainly uses your body, you can do it anywhere that’s convenient. You might like to set aside a corner or a room in your home for your pilates practice to create a more calming atmosphere.
Practicing a pilates routine at home has become pretty easy with free online videos. Find a quality mat and place it in an open space in your home. You can also bring props like head support, magic rings, balls, and Thera Bands.
Some of the exercises that you can do at home, without relying on equipment and machines, are:
Lying Legs Extension
Stay on your back for this exercise. Lift both legs off the ground and bend one knee towards your body. Then straighten it out and do the same with the other leg. That’s one repetition. Do this 15 times.
Lying Windshield Wiper
This exercise is fun and great for moving your legs and strengthening your core. Lie on your back and lift your legs at a 45-60 degree angle. Move your legs from side to side like a car windshield wiper. Each time you move them to one side, it’s one repetition. Do this 15 times.
To do this exercise, lie on your back with your hands at your sides. Bend your legs at the knees and put your feet on the ground. Use your core muscles to lift your chest and upper body off the ground while keeping your head and shoulders down. Then lower your body back down. Do this 15 times.
Lie on your stomach with extended legs and lift them off the ground. Also, lift your arms off the ground and look up. Use your core muscles to stay balanced. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pilates at home for beginners isn’t about exhausting your muscles to the point that you can’t feel your body anymore. You should begin by taking baby steps and then create a proper pilates routine for regular practice. You can find many excellent books and videos to help you with your pilates exercises at home. Select ones with instructors and images that are easy to understand and follow.
Can You Do Classic Pilates At Home?
Below, we have rounded up some classic pilates exercises at home that are easy to follow for beginners:
One Leg Circle
Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Keep one leg straight on the ground with your foot stretched, and lift the other leg straight up towards the ceiling. Move the top leg in a circular motion across your body, downwards and around, while keeping your pelvis still. Do this five times. Then, change the direction of the circle and move your leg away from your body, downwards, and around. Repeat this exercise with your other leg.
The Hundred improves core strength, stamina, and coordination (4). It will help if you use your abdominal muscles while making a specific breathing pattern to do it. There are ways to make the exercise easier, like raising or bending your legs and keeping your head down.
Single Leg Stretch
Lie down on your back. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground and bring both knees towards your chest. Keep your chin tucked in, and look at your abs.
Next, stretch your right leg at a 45-degree angle from the ground. Hold your bent leg with both hands, one on your knee and the other on your ankle. Switch legs by bending your right leg and stretching your left leg out at a 45-degree angle.
Keep alternating legs and repeating the exercise.
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Double Leg Stretch
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your arms extended alongside your calves. Your lower back should be pressed against the ground while your head, neck, and shoulders are lifted.
Inhale and stretch your arms behind your head while straightening your legs. Exhale and circle your arms while returning your knees to the 90-degree angle. Keep repeating this exercise for the desired number of repetitions.
Pilates is the perfect workout for you if you want a slim and toned body without getting bulky muscles. However, it’s also important to do cardio exercises every week. Pilates at home has many benefits, such as saving money, being available anytime, and managing your time better.
You can easily manage 45-60 minute best pilates sessions around your schedule without traveling to a gym or studio. You can also work at your own pace and repeat exercises you want to improve, or your body needs that day. Try to set aside at least three times a week to do pilates and block that time out so other things in life don’t get in the way.
Is Pilates At Home Effective?
One of the most asked questions alongside “Can you do pilates at home?” is about its effectiveness.
There is no doubt that pilates is a great exercise that strengthens your core and increases joint flexibility, leading to better posture and a stronger, more balanced body. But sometimes, deciding whether to do pilates at home or in a studio is hard.
Pilates can be highly effective at home when done properly or under the supervision of an instructor. You can either join an online streaming class or seek help from tutorials. You don’t need expensive equipment or a studio to do pilates effectively. Simply using a mat and the weight of your body for resistance during at-home workouts can be just as helpful.
Practicing pilates at home can help improve your balance, strength, and flexibility, as long as you have a comfortable surface to exercise on. The most important factor when doing a pilates workout at home is consistency. Exercising at home can be strenuous because you may get distracted by things that need to be done around the house.
How To Do Pilates At Home For Beginners?
Regularly practicing pilates can benefit your body, such as improving your posture, flexibility, and endurance. When learning pilates, it’s important to remember that this might not be suitable for everyone, especially beginners.
To try it out, start with online pilates workouts and then book a beginner class at a local studio. If you enjoy it, you can incorporate pilates into your routine a few times a week, either as a standalone workout or as part of your existing routine. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to pilates, so find a way to make it work for you and your schedule.
Once you have learned some moves under expert guidance, you can add them to your daily exercise practice. Try to stay focused on that one hour during your pilates practice. Watch videos online and take notes if you want to. You can also create your pilates routine to suit your needs. Don’t get discouraged if you find some exercises challenging. Instead, enjoy the time you spend practicing and take note of your progress along the way.
What Do I Need For Pilates At Home?
If you are unsure whether pilates will work for you, start with a mat workout. Later, you can add some common equipment like:
- Resistance Bands
- Pilates Ball
- Ankle Weights
- Pilates Ring
Each of these tools has its unique uses. Ensure that you are investing in a material that is usable and durable. There are many levels of a pilates workout, meaning you can keep modifying your routine and add equipment when you like it.
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The Bottom Line
Next time someone asks can you do pilates at home? Say, “Yes”!
You can become a pilates pro in your home with just a mat and your body. No need to worry about awkwardly bumping into your Pilates classmates or the instructor correcting your form in front of everyone. Just remember to wear your favorite pair of leggings, crank up your favorite tunes, and get ready to feel the burn in all the right places.
Who needs a fancy studio when you have your living room?
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Pilates: how does it work, and who needs it? (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Core Galore: 15 Pilates Exercises to Develop Your Powerhouse (2021, healthline.com)
- These 19 Benefits of Pilates Will Inspire You to Fire Up Your Core (2021, healthline.com)
- Core Stability (n.d., physio-pedia.com)