Curious, new to Pilates, or even a bit intimidated? No problem! Here’s everything you need to know about wall Pilates for beginners. Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that emphasizes proper postural alignment, core stabilization, and breath control. The goal of Pilates is to strengthen the deep abdominal and back muscles that support the spine, while lengthening and stretching the muscles of the hips, thighs, and arms (2). Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. In fact, many physical therapists use Pilates exercises to help their patients recover from injuries. Wall Pilates is similar to traditional Pilates in that it uses slow, controlled movements to tone and lengthen the muscles. The difference is that wall Pilates is performed with the help of a wall (or other support). This makes it a great option for beginners who are still mastering the proper form and technique.
Here’s everything you need to know about wall Pilates for beginners:
What Is Wall Pilates?
The lengthening and strengthening benefits of traditional Pilates can be achieved by doing exercises against a wall. Wall Pilates is an excellent way to introduce beginners to the basic principles of Pilates without using any equipment.
Wall Pilates is based on the same six principles as regular Pilates:
- Concentration: Focusing your thoughts on your movements allows you to move with greater precision and control.
- Control: Doing the exercises slowly and with purposeful movement will help ensure that your muscles are doing the work, rather than momentum.
- Center: Pilates exercises are meant to be performed from your center, or core. This engages your deep abdominal muscles and helps to protect your lower back.
- Breath: Proper breathing helps you move more efficiently and also oxygenates your blood.
- Precision: Each Pilates movement is meant to be executed with a specific purpose and form. This allows you to get the most out of each exercise.
- Flow: The exercises are meant to flow together smoothly and continuously.
Does Wall Pilates Work?
Yes! Wall Pilates is an effective way to get all the benefits of traditional Pilates without using any equipment. Below are some of the benefits that you can expect to experience from doing wall Pilates:
Improved Core Strength
Your core is a set of muscles that includes your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and hips. These muscles work together to support your spine and help you move efficiently. A strong core translates to better posture, less back pain, and improved sports performance (1).
Wall Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen your core muscles. The exercises force you to engage your core muscles in order to maintain proper form and alignment.
Many of us have sedentary jobs that involve sitting at a desk all day. This can lead to poor posture and over time, to conditions such as rounded shoulders and a forward head posture.
Wall Pilates exercises can help to improve your posture by lengthening your spine and broadening your shoulders (1). The exercises also help to strengthen the muscles that support your spine, which can lead to better posture overall.
Good flexibility is not the trophy of gymnasts and yogis. Everyone can benefit from increased flexibility, which can lead to improved range of motion, reduced risk of injuries, and better circulation (4).
Wall Pilates exercises help to lengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion. The slow, controlled movements also help to improve your body awareness, which is an important foundation for good flexibility.
Proprioception is your body’s ability to sense where it is in space. This is an important foundation for movement and balance (1).
Wall Pilates exercises help to improve proprioception by challenging your balance and requiring you to control your movements. This can lead to improved balance and coordination.
The benefits of Pilates go beyond the physical. The concentration and control required for the exercises can help clear your mind and reduce stress (1). Like other forms of exercise, Pilates also releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
The stress-reducing effects of Pilates can also lead to better sleep (1). If you have trouble sleeping, try doing some wall Pilates exercises before bed. You may find that you sleep more soundly and wake up feeling more rested.
Who Is Wall Pilates For?
Wall Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. The exercises can be modified to make them easier or more challenging, so everyone can benefit from doing them. The following people may find wall Pilates to be especially beneficial:
- People who are new to Pilates: Wall Pilates can help you learn the basics of Pilates without having to use a mat or other equipment.
- Older adults who want to improve their balance and flexibility: The exercises in wall Pilates can help you stay active as you age.
- People who want a low-impact workout: Since you’re only using your body weight, wall Pilates is a great option for people who want to avoid putting too much stress on their joints.
- People with limited mobility: The exercises can be done while sitting or standing, so they’re ideal for people who have trouble getting up and down from the floor.
- People who can’t afford a gym membership or expensive workout equipment: Wall Pilates is a great way to get a full-body workout without breaking the bank.
What Do Beginners Need To Know?
If you’re new to Pilates, there are a few things you need to know before starting wall Pilates. Here are a few tips:
It’s A Journey
Pop culture would have you believe that Pilates is all about having a six-pack and looking like a Victoria’s Secret model. But the truth is that Pilates is a journey, not a destination.
You will get results (toned muscles, improved posture, increased flexibility, etc.), but they will come gradually. So be patient and focus on the process, not the end goal.
When you’re starting out, some movements may seem impossible. There could be several reasons why; maybe your muscles are weak, or your range of motion is tight. Whatever the reason, don’t try to force yourself into a position that you’re not ready for.
Start with small movements and build up gradually. As your strength and flexibility improve, you’ll be able to do more.
If you find yourself holding your breath or gasping for air, you’re probably doing the exercise wrong. Take a break and focus on your breathing before continuing.
The benefits of deep breathing go beyond Pilates; it’s a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall health.
Engaging your core is an important part of every Pilates exercise (2). Your core includes your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and hips.
Engaging your core helps to protect your lower back and makes the exercises more effective. At first, it may seem like you’re using all your muscles to engage your core.
But with practice, you’ll be able to do it without thinking. One way to tell if you’re engaging your core properly is to see if your stomach moves when you breathe. If it does, you’re on the right track.
Modify The Exercises
There’s no shame in modifying the exercises to make them easier or more challenging. In fact, it’s encouraged. As you get stronger and more flexible, you can make the exercises more difficult.
If an exercise is too hard, don’t be afraid to back off and do an easier version. The key is to find a level that challenges you without going overboard.
Pay Attention To Your Body
Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise, but that doesn’t mean it’s risk-free. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.If you feel pain, stop the exercise and consult a doctor or physical therapist. It’s also important to drink plenty of water and warm up before doing any Pilates exercises.
As a beginner, it’s a good idea to get help from a certified Pilates instructor. They can teach you the proper form for each exercise and make sure you’re doing them safely.
If you can’t afford private lessons, there are plenty of online resources (books, videos, etc.) that can help you get started.
The BetterMe app Wall Pilates workouts can be helpful—not only do they provide step-by-step instructions, but they also offer modifications for different fitness levels. Watch as an experienced instructor demonstrates each exercise and follow along at your own pace.
How Often Should You Do Wall Pilates?
There’s no hard and fast rule, but most experts recommend doing Pilates at least 2-3 times per week. This gives your body enough time to recover between workouts. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to take it slow and not overdo it. Once you get more comfortable with the exercises, you can increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
Will Your Body Be Sore After Wall Pilates?
It’s common to feel some muscle soreness after doing Pilates, especially if you’re new to the workout. This is perfectly normal and usually goes away after a day or two.
If the soreness lasts longer than a few days, or if it’s accompanied by swelling, redness, or fever, consult a doctor. You may have overworked a muscle or joint, and they’ll be able to give you specific advice on how to recover.
Is Pilates Good For Weight Loss?
Pilates is not the most efficient workout for weight loss. Compared to other forms of exercise, such as running or cycling, it burns fewer calories.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Pilates can make you more likely to maintain a healthy weight in the long term (4). The destressing effects of the workout can help to control emotional eating, and the increased muscle tone can make it easier to stay active.
Pilates is also a great complement to other forms of exercise. By strengthening your core, it can make other activities, such as running or skiing, easier and less likely to cause injury.
Wall Pilates is a great way to get started with this popular form of exercise. It’s low-impact, gentle on the joints, and can be done anywhere. And best of all, it’s suitable for beginners.
Keep these tips in mind as you start your Pilates journey and you’ll be on your way to a stronger, healthier body in no time.
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 – health benefits (2022, betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
- Pilates: how does it work and who needs it? (2011, nih.gov)
- Pilates for improvement of muscle endurance, flexibility, balance, and posture (2011, nih.gov)
- Pilates for Overweight or Obesity: A Meta-Analysis (2010, nih.gov)