Joseph Pilates invented Pilates in 1920 to help soldiers from war as well as dancers rehabilitate and reduce aches and pains in the body. He probably never envisioned it being practiced in one’s home without a trained instructor in the same room. But today, it’s easy to get a great Pilates workout in the comfort of your own home if you follow a few simple steps.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Can Pilates Be Done at Home?

Pilates can absolutely be done at home. Pilates requires minimal space and equipment to help you get fit at home. The only downside to doing Pilates at home is that you may struggle to keep yourself motivated. This is a common struggle but one that can easily be resolved by finding the right online Pilates program with instructors that keep you engaged.

How to Do Pilates at Home

Doing Pilates at home requires the right setup, equipment, and workouts.

1. At-Home Pilates Setup

Luckily, setting up a suitable space for at-home Pilates workouts is quite simple. All you need is enough unobstructed space for a Pilates mat (or a yoga mat) and a little extra room on all sides of the mat. This will allow you to perform all the movements involved in an at-home Pilates practice.

2. At-Home Pilates Equipment

The nice thing about at-home Pilates is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment to get a good workout. Many Pilates exercises are bodyweight only, so all you’ll need is a Pilates or yoga mat, but some classes add light weights and resistance bands to really maximize your workout.

Here is the complete list of at-home Pilates equipment you may need:

  • Pilates mat (or yoga mat)
  • Light dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Ankle weights
MIRROR has all the Pilates equipment you’ll need to get in a great workout at home.
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3. At-Home Pilates Workouts

Finding the right Pilates workouts is the key to at-home success. Look for online Pilates classes that have a wide variety of options such as duration, intensity, and type of equipment used. Most Pilates workout classes online are pre-recorded (which are great for beginners or those with a busy schedule), but some have the option to attend a live-streaming class online. MIRROR offers live and on-demand Pilates classes for all fitness levels with varying types of equipment.

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Pilates for Beginners

Everybody’s got to start somewhere. The nice thing about Pilates is that it’s a great workout for all fitness levels and getting into it is easy. Here are some important tips for Pilates beginners.

How Do You Do Pilates for Beginners?

Doing Pilates for beginners should start with shorter classes (e.g. 15 to 30 minutes), at a lower intensity, and should include bodyweight movements only. As a beginner, you’ll want to ease yourself (and your muscles) into this new type of workout. If you go too hard too fast, you may overexert yourself and be less inclined to try again.

How Do Beginners Do Pilates at Home?

Doing Pilates at home as a beginner is a great place to start. Doing Pilates at home allows you to go at your own pace and not feel overwhelmed by all the new movements and lingo.

When a beginner does Pilates at home, we recommend starting with a pre-recorded Pilates class. Pre-recorded classes allow you to pause and rewind if you need a second to grab a sip of water, catch up to the instructor, or watch a certain clip again to fully understand the movement.

Once you feel more comfortable with the Pilates exercises, beginners are encouraged to start attending live Pilates classes online through MIRROR where instructors can see your form and offer corrective suggestions to help you improve your performance and get the most out of your workout.

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Example of a Beginner Pilates Exercise

The Hundred

How to perform:

  1. Start by laying flat on your back on a back.
  2. Then, inhale and crunch up, curling your spine off the floor and keeping your chin tucked.
  3. Exhale and pick your legs off the floor, either into table top position or extended. The lower you extend your legs, the more challenging this exercise will be.
  4. Extend your arms by your sides and pump them up and down, about 6-8 inches.
  5. Everytime you pump, take a short breath. Continue pumping for 5 short breaths in, then 5 short breaths out.
  6. Keep your shoulders, hips, and ankles in a straight line with straight legs stacked one on top of the other.
  7. Use the forearm of your left arm to support your upper body and place your right
  8. Keep both legs straight, brace your core, and sweep the top leg (right leg) out and in front of you, floating it above the ground.
  9. Perform as many controlled reps as you can in 30 seconds.
  10. Repeat on the other side.

Intermediate Pilates

Once you’re comfortable with beginner Pilates exercises and you’re ready to advance into more challenging workouts, use the tips and considerations below to help you elevate your practice.

How Do You Do Intermediate Pilates?

Leveling up your Pilates practice from beginner to intermediate means that you’ll need to increase the intensity of your Pilates workouts, add more weight, and take longer classes. For example, moving from a low-intensity 30-minute class that uses only body weight to a one-hour long class that uses dumbbells or ankle weights will increase the challenge and intensity.

How Do Intermediates Do Pilates at Home?

You don’t need to go to Pilates studios, invest in a Pilates ring, an at-home reformer, or wunda chair to make your Pilates workouts more challenging.

Leveling up your Pilates workouts can be done at home with equipment such as dumbbells, ankle weights, and resistance bands. Once you have this equipment in your possession, look for online Pilates classes that use them and have more advanced classes.

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Example of an Intermediate Pilates Exercise

Clamshell with Resistance Band

How to perform:

  1. Place your resistance band around both legs just above the knees.
  2. Lay on your right side on a flat surface (e.g. your yoga mat).
  3. Your whole body from your feet to your right elbow should be in contact with your mat.
  4. You can rest your head in your right hand with your elbow bent.
  5. Bend your knees but keep your feet in line with the rest of your body.
  6. Brace your core and bring your left knee up towards the ceiling, keeping the right side of your body lifted away from the floor
  7. Slowly lower until the knees almost touch.
  8. Repeat as many times as you can in a controlled manner for 30 seconds.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

Is 20 Minutes of Pilates a Day Enough?

20 minutes of Pilates each day is not ideal because the same workout shouldn’t be performed each day. Instead, it’s important to vary your exercises throughout the week to create a more holistic approach to fitness and health.

For example, practicing Pilates two to three times a week while incorporating other activities such as cardio, weight training, and barre is a well-rounded fitness plan for someone looking to increase muscular strength, improve cardiovascular health, build muscle and core strength, and improve posture and balance.

Pilates Practice At Home with MIRROR

Practicing Pilates at home has never been easier or more engaging than it is with MIRROR. With MIRROR, you get to connect with a Pilates community from around the world and get personalized feedback on your technique to help you get the most out of your workouts.

Start a free 30-day trial with the MIRROR app and gain access to thousands of our at-home Pilates workouts.

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