Pilates is beloved by celebrities like Lori Harvey, Tabitha Brown and Samuel L. Jackson — and it has tons of science-backed benefits for everyone. The good news is that you don't need a ton of equipment or even a lot of time to get a great Pilates workout in. Just grab a mat and a wall.
Pilates, developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, is a healing, strengthening exercise method. It can help you do everything else — even daily living — better, thanks to its focus on the core. The core is the foundation of our bodies; it houses our main organs and is the center point for strength.
Beginner Pilates exercises are excellent for the core and are for everyone, including seasoned Pilates practitioners. You do not have to have equipment or props to do Pilates — using a wall provides support, feedback and the challenge you need to increase your core strength.
10-Minute Beginner Wall Pilates Workout
Do these moves one after the other, completing the entire number of reps for each move and taking a 5 to 10 second rest before continuing.
1. Tabletop Breathing
Starting with breathing in the tabletop position prepares your body for a Pilates workout by helping you connect your breath to your core. Maintaining an even breath during your workout is a cornerstone of Pilates.
- Sit in front of a wall with your knees bent. Lift your feet and plant them against the wall, keeping your shins in line like a tabletop.
- Place your hands on your belly. Breathe in the through the nose and out through the mouth for 5 counts. Do this 10 times.
2. The Hundred
Many classical Pilates workouts start with The Hundred, which is a core-firing move that warms up the body. Your inhales and exhales here connect to the pumping of your arms. You breathe in through your nose for 5 counts as you pump the arms and out of the mouth for 5 counts as you pump the arms.
- Place your feet against the wall in a table top position, with the feet hip distance apart.
- Using your core, lift your head and gaze forward. Raise your arms next to your hips with your fingertips pointing toward the wall.
- Pump your arms up and down, as if you're slapping water, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth for 5 counts.
- Do 10 total cycles of breathing.
If you find it becomes too tiring to keep your head lifted, lower it back to the mat and keep pumping your arms up and down.
3. Assisted Roll Up
- Place your heels against the base of the wall, with your legs hip distance apart. Reach your arms forward, hands open, and drop your chin toward your chest. Roll down slowly to your back.
- Stretch your arms back by your ears.
- Using your core, lift your head, drop your chin to your chest, breathe in and round up without losing control of your feet.
- Exhale to sit up straight, drop your chin to your chest and round back to the floor.
- Repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 repetitions.
4. Single-Leg Circles
- Lie on your back with your arms at your side. Place the ball of your left foot against the base of the wall and extend your right leg up to the ceiling, pointing your toes.
- Draw small circles with your right leg three times each way without brushing the wall.
- Repeat on the left side.
For a challenge, straighten your left leg and place the entire foot against the base of the wall while you circle your right leg.
5. Rolling Like a Ball
- Sit up and place the balls of your feet on the wall just below your knees.
- Place your hands under your thighs, gaze down at your knees and push off from the wall with your feet, tucking your legs and rolling like a ball onto your back.
- Using your core and staying tucked, roll back up to return to sitting with your feet against the wall. Repeat 2 more times.
6. Single-Leg Pull
- Lie on your back, and place your feet on the wall with your legs together in tabletop.
- Using your core, inhale lift your head, press your left foot into the wall and exhale pull the right knee into your chest using both hands.
- Inhale while you switch legs, Exhale while you pull one leg in and . Repeat this 3 times on each side.
7. Spine Stretch Forward
- Sit on a mat with your back against the wall from your tailbone to the back of your head. Stretch your legs are out straight and flex your feet up, keeping your spine lifted against the wall.
- Reach your arms forward, shoulder distance apart. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and round forward through your arms like you are going over a big ball. Peel your spine off the wall, bone by bone, and then roll back up the wall as you inhale to return.
- Repeat 4 more times, equaling 5 repetitions.
If your arms get tired during the spine stretch, place your hands on the floor between your legs or on your thighs and slide them forward as you round your spine forward.