Reformer Pilates is great, but for many, it’s either too expensive, too intimidating, or too time-consuming to get to a studio. And for some, it’s downright impossible due to physical limitations.
That’s not to say that studio Pilates isn’t beneficial, but it doesn’t hurt to have an alternative that you can do at home without any fancy equipment. Wall Pilates is a practical and accessible answer to these common issues.
You’ll use one wall in your home to perform a range of movements that are designed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
Interestingly, wall Pilates isn’t necessarily a watered-down version of its studio counterpart. Some of the moves can be just as challenging, if not more so. That being said, here’s your guide to an effective wall Pilates workout that is specifically tailored for beginners.
Is Wall Pilates Good for Beginners?
Wall Pilates is great for beginners for many reasons. The main one is that it doesn’t require much to get started. Even if you’ve never done Pilates before, you can easily learn these basics and start doing the exercises with minimal guidance.
You won’t need to buy a bunch of equipment either; a non-slip yoga mat and a wall are all you Other reasons why we recommend wall Pilates for beginners include:
You’ll Feel More Confident
There are many reasons why your first reformer Pilates class may seem a little intimidating: you’re worried you’ll move the wrong way and hurt yourself so you spend the entire session questioning your form, or you’re concerned about how you’ll look compared to others.
With wall Pilates, you have literal support. For example, a crunch that would’ve been tough to do on a mat becomes achievable when your feet are pressing into a wall. This immediate feeling of stability and success will give you the confidence to try more challenging moves.
BetterMe App helps you achieve your body goals with ease and efficiency by helping to choose proper meal plans and effective workouts. Start using our app and you will see good results in a short time.
You Can Modify Exercises More Easily
Pilates exercises are like a Rubik’s cube; they can be modified in so many ways. However, it takes the right cues and practice to get them right. Doing wall Pilates eliminates much of this issue as pressing into the wall gives you tactile feedback to align your body correctly.
In addition, if you have any physical limitations or injuries, modifying exercises on the mat can be challenging without the help of an instructor. With wall Pilates, you can quickly adjust exercises to suit your needs and abilities.
You’ll Develop More Control and Coordination
Wall Pilates requires more control and coordination than traditional mat exercises.
When you use a wall for support, you engage your core muscles even more to maintain proper alignment while moving (10). This increased focus on stability will translate into better balance in your daily life too.
You’ll Be More Consistent With Exercise
The easier it is to do something, the more likely it is that you’ll stick to it. Wall Pilates workouts are so convenient and accessible that there’s no excuse not to show up. There’s no need to drive anywhere or wear fancy workout clothes; all you need is a wall and some motivation.
The Wall Pilates Workout for Beginners
Now that you know why wall Pilates is perfect for beginners, let’s get into the workout itself. This routine is designed to take approximately 20 minutes and targets all the major muscle groups in the body.
There are a few rules:
- You must perform each exercise with control; don’t rush through them
- Use the wall for support when needed, but try to challenge yourself by not relying on it for every movement
- Remember to breathe throughout each exercise. Inhale during the preparation phase and exhale while performing the movement.
- Engage your core muscles during each exercise. This will help stabilize your body and prevent injury.
- The suggested rest is less than 1 minute between each exercise, but if you need a longer break, you should take it
- Rest for approximately 2 minutes between a circuit (a set of exercises) and repeat each circuit 3 times
- Use a non-slip yoga mat positioned perpendicular to a wall
- Make sure the area surrounding you is clear of any objects or obstacles
Cat Cow Stretch
- Start on all fours with your hands aligned with your shoulders and knees aligned with your hips. Inhale, drop your belly towards the mat, lift your head, and gaze up (Cow Pose).
- Exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, and tuck in your chin (Cat Pose).
- Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
- Remain on all fours with your hands aligned with your shoulders and knees aligned with your hips.
- Inhale, arch your back, and tilt the back of your pelvis toward the ceiling.
- Exhale, round your spine, and tuck in your pelvis. Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
Thread the Needle Stretch
- Start on all fours. Reach your left hand up toward the ceiling, then thread it through the space between your right hand and right knee.
- Allow your shoulder and head to come down toward the floor.
- Continue moving through this movement for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Stand approximately a foot away from the wall with your back against it.
- Slide down the wall until your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then slide back up. Repeat 3 times.
- Stand facing away from the wall with your feet hip-width apart, several inches away from the wall, with your body leaning up against the wall.
- Allow your arms to hang by your sides while you start to nod your head forward and slowly roll your spine down and away from the wall while you focus on pulling your abdominals in.
- Hold for a few seconds, then slowly roll back up. Repeat 10 times.
- Face the wall and stand an arm’s length away from it.
- Place your hands on the wall slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the wall, then push back up. Repeat 10 times.
Wall Leg Lifts
- Stand facing the wall with your hands on it at shoulder height.
- Lift your right leg out to the side, keeping your knee straight and your foot flexed. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times for each leg.
Wall Calf Raises
- Stand facing the wall with your hands on it at shoulder height.
- Lift your heels off the ground, then slowly lower them back down.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Lie on your back with your feet against the wall and your knees bent.
- Press your feet into the wall and lift your hips off the ground, then slowly lower back down.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Stand facing the wall and place your hands on it at shoulder height.
- Step back until you’re in a plank position with your feet hip-width apart and your body in a straight line.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then step back to a standing position. Repeat 3 times.
- Kneel on the mat with your knees wider than hip-width apart and your toes touching.
- Fold forward while sitting back onto your feet, bringing your chest toward the ground, and resting your forehead on the mat. Hold for 30 seconds.
Downward Facing Dog
- Start in a plank position, then lift your hips toward the ceiling and straighten your arms and legs.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then lower back down to the mat.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
- Lie on your back with your legs straight in front of you.
- Slowly lift one leg up toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Can Pilates Burn Belly Fat?
Pilates won’t specifically target belly fat – no exercise does. In addition, losing belly fat comes down to a combination of changes in diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle (9).
That being said, Pilates can do something for your core muscles (3). It will strengthen them, which makes it easier for you to maintain proper alignment and posture (1). This can help make your stomach look flatter.
A strong core also helps you exercise more efficiently. For example, when your core strength is improved, you may find you can do more reps or hold a plank longer. This means that your workouts will be more effective and you’ll see results faster.
In addition to core strength, Pilates focuses on overall muscle endurance and flexibility (7). As you progress in your practice, this can lead to an increase in lean muscle mass which can contribute to a higher metabolism and potentially help with weight loss (2).
Check out our blog “Does Wall Pilates Really Work?” for more information about the benefits of wall Pilates and how it can impact your overall fitness journey.
What Is the 28-Day Wall Pilates Challenge?
The 28-day wall Pilates challenge is a program that’s designed to help you develop a consistent Pilates practice using the wall as your main prop.
It includes daily workouts that target different muscle groups and gradually increase in difficulty, which provides a well-rounded and challenging workout plan.
In addition to the physical aspect of the challenge, there’s also focus on mindfulness and self-care, with daily reminders to take breaks and listen to your body’s needs.
The goal of the challenge is to help you establish a strong Pilates foundation and incorporate it into your daily routine for long-term health and wellness benefits.
We have a Wall Ball Workout that’s perfect for beginners who are looking to try out a wall Pilates practice.
If you wish to free yourself from all the extra pounds that have been weighting you down for way too long, start using the BetterMe app and overhaul your entire life!
Does the 28-Day Wall Pilates Challenge Really Work?
The 28-day wall Pilates challenge is effective for getting you into a consistent Pilates routine and helping you see improvements in strength, flexibility, and overall well-being.
However, as with any fitness program, it requires dedication and commitment to truly see results.
Some of the results you can expect from a regular wall Pilates workout include:
The wall provides support for deeper stretches and allows you to work on improving flexibility in a safe and controlled manner.
The focus on core strength and proper alignment can lead to improved posture during exercise and in your daily life.
Increased Muscle Tone
With regular practice, you may notice your muscles become more defined and toned, particularly in the arms, legs, and back.
Are you interested in exercises for toning your arms? Take a look at our previous blog – Wall Pilates Arms Exercises.
aPilates incorporates mindful breathing and relaxation techniques, which makes it a great way to relieve stress and anxiety (5).
Improved Mind-Body Connection
The slow and controlled movements in Pilates can make you more aware of your body and its capabilities, which can lead to better coordination and balance (5).
How many minutes of Pilates a day is effective?
30-60 minutes of Pilates a day is recommended for optimal results. However, even just 10 minutes of consistent practice can provide benefits for your body and mind.
It’s important to find a routine that works for you and fits into your schedule, as consistency is the key to seeing progress with any exercise program.
How many calories does 20 minutes of Pilates burn?
20 minutes of Pilates can burn approximately 80-150 calories (6). This number may seem low compared to more intense forms of exercise, but Pilates focuses more on building lean muscle and improving overall strength and flexibility rather than solely burning calories (8).
In addition, the benefits of Pilates extend beyond just calorie burn, so it’s a valuable addition to any fitness routine.
What are the benefits of 20 minutes of Pilates?
The main benefit of 20 minutes of Pilates is that it’s a time-efficient workout that provides numerous physical and mental benefits over time.
Some of the specific benefits include (4):
- Improved core strength and stability
- Increased flexibility and muscle tone
- Better posture and alignment
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved mind-body connection
The Bottom Line
A good wall Pilates workout can make a difference to your physical and mental well-being. The 28-day wall Pilates challenge is a great way to get started with this form of exercise and see how it can impact your overall fitness journey.
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!
- Core Stability Exercise Principles : Current Sports Medicine Reports (2008, journals.lww.com)
- Increasing muscle mass to improve metabolism (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Pilates: how does it work and who needs it? (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Pilates (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Pilates and Mindfulness: A Qualitative Study (2012, researchgate.net)
- Pilates Exercise: Lessons From the Lab (2011, ideafit.com)
- Pilates for Improvement of Muscle Endurance, Flexibility, Balance, and Posture (2008, journals.lww.com)
- Pilates – health benefits (2022, betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
- Taking Aim at Belly Fat (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- What is Wall Pilates? (2023, exercise.co.uk)