At-home Pilates Exercises to Get You Fit Without Wasting Time in the Gym

At-home Pilates exercises to get you fit without wasting time in the gym
At-home Pilates Exercises to Get You Fit Without Wasting Time in the Gym

Last update: 10 November, 2019

Pilates is one of the world’s most popular exercise methods, as you can quickly see results. The system is based on medical and physiological research about the best exercises to get a solid core and lean muscle. At-home Pilates is easy to practice and just requires a little equipment.

There are lots of ways to do Pilates, and you do not always need the fancy, boutique gym equipment to get a lean Pilates body. At-home Pilates exercises can be just as effective, as long as you have a few key pieces of equipment, including a yoga mat, weights and a ball.

When you are practicing Pilates at home, remember to apply the principles on which this discipline is based. These include: maintaining alignment, balance, concentration, control, precision, fluidity and breathing.

As with any exercise program, you should always warm up before exercising. To get the best results from your at-home Pilates practice, you should also maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

At-home Pilates exercises to get you started

get in shape pilates

Leg scissors

Leg scissors are an exercise that promotes muscular elasticity and works the thighs.

  • Requires: A yoga mat.
  • Start by lying on your back, face up.
  • Raise your legs to a 90 degree angle, so your ankles are positioned above your hips.
  • While partially sitting up, hug your left leg to your chest (keeping it as straight as possible) while your right leg descends to hover above the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Switch legs — extend the left leg to the floor while hugging your right leg into your chest.
  • Do a set of 10 moves on each leg.

Roll up ab exercise

Rolling up into a seated position strengthens your abdominal area and works your back, legs and glutes.

  • Requires: A yoga mat.
  • Start by lying on the floor, with your legs together and your arms stretched over your head.
  • As you inhale, slowly sit up while you outstretch your arms in front of you, like you are reaching for something directly ahead. You should be curling your upper body, until you are in a C-shape position.
  • Then, slowly roll back down until you are lying flat on your back. Make sure to exhale deeply while rolling down.
  • Perform 6 repetitions.

Rolling like a ball


at-home pilates
The rolling like a ball exercise strengthens your abs and lumbar spine.

  • Requires: A yoga mat.
  • To start, sit with your legs bent into your chest and your hands clasping your shins or ankles. Your head should rest on your knees.
  • Very slowly, roll backwards with control until your shoulder blades touch the ground. Take a second in this position and inhale deeply. You should be feeling deep core engagement.
  • Roll up to return to the starting, seated position while exhaling.
  • Aim to do rolls for three consecutive minutes, and then perform six to ten repetitions.

Pilates with weights

Adding weights to your at-home Pilates exercises can strengthen triceps and tone your arms.

  • Requires: A chair and two weights. Choose whatever weight you want, but consider starting with 2-pound weights in each hand.
  • Sit on a chair with your back straight and your feet resting on the floor at a 90 degree angle. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Raise your arms straight above your head while exhaling deeply.
  • Bring your flexed arms to the nape of your neck while inhaling.
  • Do 10 repetitions.

The saw

Promotes muscle flexibility and strengthens the spine.

  • Requires: A yoga mat.
  • Start by sitting with your legs straight and hip-width apart, with your arms outstretched in a T-position. Keep your back straight, then turn your torso to the right side while inhaling.
  • Exhale and tilt your chest forward while keeping your abs engaged. Bring your extended arms towards the right side, so that your left hand touches the external part of your right foot.
  • Do the same thing on the other side. Perform four or five repetitions on each side.

Spine twist

Stretches out and loosens up your lumbar region.

  • Requires: A yoga mat.
  • Sit with your legs straight and closed, to start.
  • Stretch your arms to your right hip while turning your torso to the right at the same time as you inhale. Stay in this twisted position for about 3 seconds.
  • Return the trunk to face forward and return your arms to rest by your sides, as you exhale.
  • Do the same on the opposite side, and and perform three to six repetitions.

The V

at-home pilates 2

The V exercise is great for stretching your arms and legs while strengthening your lumbar spine and abs.

  • Requires: A yoga mat.
  • Lie on your back with your legs and arms lying on the floor, as a starting position.
  • Raise both legs to about a 45 degree angle, at the same time as you raise your torso with your arms stretched overhead. Pull your abs in and maintain a straight back and legs so that from the side, the position looks like the letter V.
  • 10 repetitions are recommended.

Swiss ball crunch

Strengthen your abs without impacting your back.

  • Requires: A yoga mat and a large exercise ball (also called a stability ball).
  • Lie on your back on the ball with your lower back pressed into the ball, and your knees bent and your feet resting on the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your head, at the nape of your neck, then crunch up to lift your chest and shoulders. You should feel a nice contraction in your abdominals; when you feel this, hold the position for a second or two.
  • Return to the starting position, concentrating on pulling your abs.
  • Try to perform 10 repetitions.

At-home Pilates exercises can be just as effective as doing Pilates in a studio, as long as you exercise regularly and follow the governing principles. Perseverance and consistency are the key to seeing improvement, just like in any fitness routine.

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