Blog Fitness Pilates Pilates Exercises for Beginners – Going from Zero to Hero!

Pilates Exercises for Beginners – Going from Zero to Hero!

Ready to spice up your workout routine without all that complicated stuff? Well, say hello to Pilates – the game-changer you didn’t know you needed! It’s like a mix of strength training and yoga, but way more fun. 

Pilates exercises for beginners are a form of low-impact workout regimens that focus on controlled movements which employ both the mind and body. This exercise is named Pilates after Joseph Pilates, a German Physical Trainer and developer of this method (9)

Pilates can enhance muscle tone, improve balance, promote body alignment, strengthen the core, and improve flexibility and mobility. Hence, Pilates has plenty of perks. These easy-to-do, low-impact exercises make core toning less intimidating.

So, grab a comfy mat, and let’s dive into the world of Pilates together. Get ready to make sweating stylish!

How Do You Start Pilates for Beginners?

The world of Pilates may seem daunting initially, but in reality, it is pretty straightforward. Following Pilate exercises at home is simple and inexpensive. You only need a floor mat and motivation to thrive in this journey. 

Like all workout plans and diets, consistency is the key to adhere to the Pilates exercises and to increase your fitness level gradually. Another critical factor is discipline, as Pilates can be effective only through disciplined practice.

Pilates workouts include full-body exercises that focus on toning the core muscles while aligning the body and posture. These core muscles are a powerhouse and include the abdominal muscles, lower back, glutes, hips, inner thighs, and pelvic muscles (14). Through small controlled movements, the core is engaged.

Lean and toned up body isn’t just a far-fetched fantasy. Check out the BetterMe app and watch it propel your weight loss journey into high gear!

Pilates requires controlled, precise movements, so correct and focused movements are more critical than other workouts. Its primary focus is in controlling the movements and muscles, so its original name was “Contrology” (9). Besides control and precision, learning breathing techniques that engage the core and increase lung capacity are other important focuses on Pilates (13)

Collectively, there are six basic techniques to learn at the start of a Pilates exercise regimen:

  • Control
  • Precision
  • Focus
  • Centre or Alignment
  • Breath
  • Flow
See also
Wall Pilates FAQ: Answers From The Experts

Learn these techniques either from an online trainer or from a Pilates instructor at a Pilates Studio. Being in the physical presence of an instructor will be useful in posture correction and proper instructions and guidelines. Meanwhile, online resources such as Pilates for beginners at home videos are readily available online and do not require physical presence or gym fees.

Going to a studio or gym is the pricier option, but getting the correct form and posture will be something at-home Pilates can not guarantee. Another bonus of going to the studio is using special Pilates equipment like the Reformer (9).

These training sessions are essential for getting the hang of the fundamentals and rules of Pilates. The more training you gain and the deeper understanding of the exercises that you have, the more likely you will be to increase your difficulty level and  progress to advanced levels (3).

pilates exercises for beginners  

Which Type of Pilates is Best for Beginners?

Pilates has existed for about a century, so many modifications and variations exist. Amongst the many types of Pilates, Mat Pilates exercises are ideal for beginners (7)

Mat Pilates provides the necessary training for fundamentals without requiring specialized equipment. Mat exercises can quickly be done with just a mat, a towel, or even just carpet. Sometimes, props or small equipment for support purposes are used like the Swiss ball or magic circle.

Another type suitable for beginners is Wall Pilates Exercises. For this type, instead of a mat, a wall is used and it is a modified version of the Classical Pilates. In the Wall Pilates workout plan, a wall or any other firm surface is usually utilized for support and additional resistance. Wall Pilates is safe and easy, even for seniors, as it does not require constant lying and getting up from the floor. It is low impact enough to allow beginners to perform it and provides increased stability and balance (2)

The popular 30-Day Wall Pilates Challenge became viral, as it was easy enough to do at home and required no equipment apart from a wall. It also provided great results for beginners regarding effective toning and greater core strength.

See also
These Wall Pilates Arms Exercises Are Perfect for an At-Home Upper Body Workout

Other types of Pilates Exercises include (16):

  • Classical Pilates: The original form developed by Joseph Pilates himself. It has proper sets of specific exercises in a particular order and employs Pilates traditional equipment like the Reformer and Cadillac.
  • Contemporary Pilates: It is Modern Pilates that merges traditional Pilates with modern exercises and techniques. It also involves newer props like resistance bands and Swiss balls. It is the go-to exercise for Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy.
  • Reformer Pilates: True to its name, this type employs the Reformer machine. These exercises are more intense and require advanced skills. The reformer can be used to add more resistance or even provide support.
  • Clinical Pilates: Pilates specifically for rehabilitation purposes and prescribed by professional medical personnel for treating injuries or improving posture or flexibility. They are also advised for prenatal and postnatal exercises.

Mat Pilates does not require any equipment and can be literally done anywhere. This makes it suitable for beginners, as they can do these Pilates even at home or in a class. 

Apart from accessibility, Mat Pilates involves exercises that perfect the fundamental techniques of Pilates and review the basics, which is why they are ideal for a beginner. Once you learn the basics, you can learn mat exercises for advanced levels. 

The intensity level of these workouts can be increased by incorporating Pilates resistance band exercises. And let’s not forget that Mat Pilates does not require special equipment, so it is considerably cheaper and oftentimes, classes for Mat Pilates exercises for beginners are also less pricey (7).

Read more: Wall Pilates for Butt: A Quick Guide for Beginners

Is Pilates Hard for Beginners?

The promotional images and videos for Pilates exercises and classes usually show professionals exhibiting advanced-level Pilates exercises. Even some acrobats and dancers are shown with perfect postures and forms performing some of the most difficult Pilates exercises. As a result, many people have a preconceived notion that Pilates is some undoable hard exercise regimen. This is a misconception as even some of the best Pilates exercises for beginners are quite easy to accomplish.

With so many modifications and types of Pilates exercises, it has become quite easy for anyone, whether at a beginner level or advanced level of fitness, to dive into the world of Pilates. Any exercise can be modified to suit the preference and personal fitness level of an individual, making it quite easy to accomplish.

See also
20 Wall Pilates Benefits: You'll Wish You Knew About These Sooner!

Even for professional athletes, Pilates exercises will start from the beginner level by learning the basics. Afterward, they progress to advanced levels as the foundation exercises are perfected. The primary thing to learn is control and precision, how to control the muscles and posture while stabilizing body alignment (12)

To sum up, the adaptability of exercises and availability of modifications per skill level for every move make Pilates a great option for all fitness levels including beginners.

pilates exercises for beginners  

What Are the Best Pilates Exercises for Beginners?

Venturing into the world of Pilates requires following proper workout plans suitable for beginners. Some Pilates exercises are better for beginners, as they focus on fundamental principles and work on improving breathing and form. When Pilates is considered as a tree, the basics of Pilates are covered in the root exercises. 

Advanced Exercises pose more challenges but are essentially based on a particular root exercise. The 10 root exercises form the base of every Pilates move. Beginners must master these root exercises to begin their Pilates journey (3) (15)

The 10 essential root exercises suitable for beginners are as follows:

  • The Hundred: The Hundred is an original classic move and the basis of most Pilates Exercises. It flattens the tummy and strengthens the core. It is done by lying flat on the mat and bending your knees while lifting your feet above the ground. After lifting your neck and shoulders, start pumping your arms up and down.
  • The Saw: This exercise primarily stabilizes the core and lower back. It gives a sawing motion while twisting the midsection. Simply sit with legs extended forwards with a wide gap between your feet, then twist the torso to touch your hand with the opposite leg and repeat on the other side.
  • Roll-up: Roll-up aids in spinal mobility as well as breathing and abdominal flexibility. Lay on your back on the mat and lift your arms in the air. Then, in a rolling manner, lift your spine from the mat and roll into a curling sitting position using only the abdominal muscles.
  • Single and Double Leg Circles: Leg circles tone the legs and abs. Lay on the mat, lift either one leg or both in the air, inhale first, then move them in circles while pulling the abs muscles in.
  • All Fours: All fours increase core stability and strength. This exercise requires kneeling on all fours, both hands and knees. Then, extend one leg behind and the opposite hand at the front. Then, do the same with the other hand and leg.
  • Single and Double Leg Stretches: In this, while lying on your back, lift the head and shoulders then lift one leg parallel to the floor and bring the other leg close to your chest.
  • Pelvic Curl: They are also called Pelvic Tilts. Lay down and keep your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Move the Pelvis up in a curling motion forward then slowly back the other direction by rotating glutes towards the floor
  • Spine Twist: Lay on the mat with hands extended on the side and lift legs parallel to the floor then twist knees to one side then other. Keep your rotation centered by keeping the opposite shoulder firmly on the mat.
  • Bridge: Just like the standard bridge, lay on the mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis while keeping your feet stable on the mat.
  • Rolling like a ball: To do this, roll up and bring your legs towards your chest just like a ball.
See also
6 Pilates Principles You Must Know To Get Started

Looking for a way to break the vicious cycle of weight loss and tone up all the jiggly parts? Watch the extra pounds fly off and your muscles firm up with the BetterMe app!

How Do You Add Resistance to Pilates?

To increase the intensity of Pilates, exercise equipment is added. Resistance and strength training via Pilates is also done by adding resistance bands, circles, rings, or weights. This added resistance helps build muscular strength and endurance as well as stamina and balance are improved. Increasing resistance does not necessarily mean that the level has progressed from beginner to advanced. Rather, Pilates resistance exercises for beginners often adds challenge or provides support in difficult moves (1).

See also
Wall Pilates Workout for Beginners

To amp up the resistance, Pilates resistance bands and Pilates rings, are some good options. Other equipment and resistance props that can be incorporated into Pilates resistance exercises for beginners include:

  • Dumbbells,
  • Weight bands, 
  • Weight ring,
  • and Pilates balls.

Knowing this, there are many options for incorporating resistance in Pilates exercises so choose as per personal preference.

What Kind of Resistance Band is Preferred for Pilates?

There are many different resistance bands available on the market, and choosing one suitable for Pilates requires considering many factors. The most important factor is the material of the resistance band and the level of resistance it offers. Latex-free resistance bands work well for Pilates resistance exercises. 

Another important factor is that open-ended resistance bands are best suited for Pilates, due to the type of movement and exercise in Pilates. That said, loop-less and no-handles resistance bands are preferred for Pilates. Besides being latex-free and without handles or loops, Pilates resistance bands should be extremely stretchable and durable, yet not slippery for safety purposes (10).

Read more: Pilates Full Body Workout for Beginners (No Equipment Needed)

pilates exercises for beginners  


  • How often should a beginner do Pilates?

The frequency of Pilates exercises for beginners should ideally be two to three times a week. For optimum results, the number of sessions per week should be at least three (6).

  • How do I prepare my body for Pilates?

To ease into a Pilates exercise plan, consult a healthcare professional and Pilates instructor. After you get a customized plan, start doing warm-up exercises and practice breathing exercises required for Pilates. Prepare the necessary gear and start following a particular Pilates exercise plan, suitable to your fitness level. Create a soothing environment and relax your mind as Pilates is basically focused on mind-body connection (12)

  • Is Pilates better than walking?

Yes, it can be! Pilates is proven by research to be better than walking in increasing metabolic markers (5). However, walking at a higher speed had a better response. Therefore, to gain maximum benefits, combine walking with Pilates. This will ensure mindfulness, proper posture, and agility during walking (8).

  • Is Pilates alone enough exercise? (You can combine it with resistance or weights)

Pilates is a great component of an exercise routine, but is best when combined with other types of exercise such as strength training. Remember, rest days are important and you should aim for 1-2 rest days each week to allow your body time to recover. In addition, Pilates alone is not ideal for building muscles or making you lose weight, rather it will  help tone and exercise muscles (4). It’s better to add Pilates to another workout regimen. 

  • How many times a week should you do Pilates as a beginner?

The frequency of Pilates exercises for beginners in a week should be two times at least. Whereas three times is recommended for effectiveness, beginners should not start slow and work their way up to more days per week. To adapt your body to Pilates, be sure to do Pilates exercise twice weekly (11).

The Bottom Line

Before starting resistance training, be sure to practice the basics of Pilates and be able to follow its principles smoothly. When you are certain about all the movements, then gauge your fitness level and the limits of resistance that your body can endure. Depending on your expertise in Pilates exercises, fitness level, and resistance endurance, choose the right resistance band or equipment for you.

Even then do not abruptly add the full amount of resistance, but rather gradually ease into it by adding smaller resistance at first and slowly increasing it. Then, choose either Pilates resistance bands or Pilates ring exercises for beginners, whichever one you prefer and use them consistently. Be sure to consult an instructor before adding resistance to your Pilates exercises.


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!


  1. 5 benefits of using resistance props in your Pilates mat work (2023,
  2. 10 Beginner Wall Pilates Exercises To Try At Home (2023,
  3. 10 Essential Pilates Exercises for Beginners (2019,      
  4. 10 Things to Know Before You Take Pilates Classes (2022,
  5. Cardiorespiratory responses: Pilates compared to different walking speeds in healthy adults (2023,
  6. How Often Should A Beginner Do Pilates? (2022,
  7. How to Get Started With Pilates Workouts: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide (2022,
  8. Is Walking Better For Exercise Or Pilates? Why Not Do Both With Pilates Walking? (2022,
  9. Pilates (2023,
  10. Pilates Band vs Resistance Band (2022,
  11. Pilates for Beginners Guide FAQs (2016,
  12. Pilates for Beginners: Your Complete Guide to Getting Started (2021,
  13. Pilates Method for Lung Function and Functional Capacity in Obese Adults (2015,
  14. Pilates Powerhouse – What Does it Mean? (2015,
  15. The Pilates Basic 10 (2020,
  16. Types of Pilates: What Pilates class is right for you? (2021,