I ts inception began in the 1920s and it was developed by Joseph Pilates. This popular practice is founded on low-impact movement and training that help strengthen the muscles, increase flexibility, and improve balance. Two aspects on which a lot of accent is put in these workouts are posture and alignment. This is why the exercise routine’s popularity exploded when it appeared and is still going strong to this day. Moreover, people who suffer from lower back pain and who are recovering from injuries reported noticeable improvement, in most cases their issues even reaching an end through the practice of Pilates.
There are numerous different types of Pilates techniques and classes so that everyone who takes up the routine can find the style they like. Unlike most exercise routines and workouts, Pilates is easy to perform at home too, being quite similar to yoga from this point of view. You will require some equipment to have the same conditions you would when you attend a class, of course, but there is nothing too expensive or large-sized involved.
By practicing Pilates at home, you have a few added perks, especially if you value your privacy or have a hectic schedule that does not allow you to participate in classes. There is the money-saving factor to consider as well – even if you spend a few bucks on equipment, in the long run, you save money as classes would end up costing considerably more over the years (even more if you prefer to use a personal instructor). Of course, we cannot overlook the whole COVID-19 outbreak situation that put most countries in lockdown, which means that people were not able to leave their homes to exercise and work out, gyms, and other similar venues closing until the situation is resolved.
If you are a Pilates practitioner who wants to make a sweet home setup to follow through with your routine in a more convenient, comfortable manner, or if you intend to take up the low-impact routine for the first time, there is some gear you must acquire and make room for, as we will detail in the following.
Creating Conditions that Favor Home Workouts
With any type of home physical activity, what you must always put an accent on is creating the right conditions so that you won’t lose motivation and have an ambiance that resembles that in your classes or gym. The idea is to turn a room or space in one of your rooms into your personal fitness haven where you can freely move and do your routines without being interrupted, distracted, or sitting cramped.
How Much Space You Need to Clear
Visualize your home workout space first, and then think of what room could host what you have in mind. Take into account the amount of space you need according to the gear you intend to employ in your Pilates sessions. If you only get the basics and a mat, an 8’ x 8’ space should be more than enough, but if you go all-in and even put a reformer in the room, then you have to reconsider your arrangement. What is great about Pilates, in general, is the fact that even when you make a professional space for your physical activity, it won’t take up as much space as a home gym would, for example. Thus, even if you live in a rather small condo, you can still create the conditions you dream of.
What Equipment Is Needed for Pilates?
- Mat: The mat is the foundation of any Pilates workout. This is the one piece you cannot go without. Go with any sticky mat that is preferably thick as you will do a lot of poses on your knees and back, so thickness counts toward comfort (about 1/2” thick should suffice). But how does stickiness factor in? Well, when you do your routine, you are bound to sweat, so your feet and hands might slip off if the texture of the surface you sit on doesn’t support you right.
- Pilates reformer: The king of the workout equipment, the reformer resembles a bed frame that has a flat platform connected by springs and rolls to one end. It rolls back and forth on wheels set within the frame. There are shoulder blacks set in place to keep you from sliding during the motions you go through. At the end of the spring, you find an adjustable bar that you use during the routine, and it even features long straps with handles that you pull during certain exercises.
- Exercise ball: A great equipment piece with which you can diversify your workout routines and that you can even use for fitness training. You can use it as a tool in your routine or modify the poses in which you sit. If you are feeling overly ambitious, you can even replace your desk chair with the stability ball to work on core strength and balance while doing your job. To pick the right ball, you have to factor in your height (User height under 4’8” – 18” ball; User height from 4’8” to 5’3” – 22” ball; User height from 5’4” to 5’10” – 26” ball; User height from 5’11” to 6’4” – 30” ball; User height 6’4” and up – 34” ball).
- Resistance bands: Originally used as recovery workout tools, resistance bands can be integrated into Pilates sessions to add to your strength and flexibility. There are various types available, but the most frequently used are ribbon-style bands. When you do get a set, make sure that it comprises multiple bands with different resistance levels.
- Pilates ring: Developed by the founder himself, Joseph Pilates, the ring’s purpose is to increase the resistance of certain movements you undergo during the routine. Moreover, not only does it help increase your flexibility but it helps you develop muscle mass quicker.
- Pilates bolster: This support mechanism is intended to sustain your spine when you perform more complicated movements, ensuring that you will sit in a comfortable and relaxing position throughout.
Is Pilates at Home Effective?
Yes, of course. Or rather could be, depending on how involved you are in your routine and how committed you stay to the cause. As aforementioned, your priority when you set up a workout space at home is to make sure you have enough room to fit all of your equipment and that you can freely move as if you were at a class or gym.
You have the room, you have the equipment, now what? Well, now you need to stay focus and get serious about your routine by establishing a schedule to which you stick. You should also do some research so that you try to diversify your routines, maybe get some instructional DVDs that you can follow to spice up the routine. Don’t forget to put some music on, ambiance goes a long way with any physical activity.
How Many Days Per a Week Should You Do Pilates to See Results?
As in most workouts, to see results quickly and go through the transformation you dream of, you must practice it at least three times per week. The founder recommends a minimum of four sessions per week where you dedicate at least 20 minutes to the exercises (make sure to diversify the routine too, it matters when it comes to the end result).
When it comes to seeing results, if you do at least three classes per week, in 10 to 12 weeks you should see major changes in the way that your body looks. More than that, what Pilates does is help you feel better as well, both physically and mentally.
The bottom line when it comes to scheduling is to do it as often as you can. If you have the time and energy for it, do Pilates on a daily basis. There are no repercussions to proceeding this way, so why not give it a go if you can. Evidently, with daily routines, results will blow your mind as you will reach your goals much faster.
Working on Your Motivation to Stay on Track
Most of us tend to associate our homes with relaxation and comfort, finding a place to just sit back and let time fly until a new workday comes around. So you might not be all that inclined to be active when you are at home, except when you have to clean, cook, or do other chores around the house. But finding the motivation to be active even when you are at home isn’t impossible, you just have to push yourself a little in the beginning and you will get the taste of energy Pilates brings, a moment when you won’t be able to let more than a couple of days pass by without working out.
We are social animals and need interaction, and one sure way to lose motivation with exercising and everything else, especially when you are confined at home, is to lose touch with others. If you have a hard time finding motivation on your own, maybe you could talk to a friend and have Pilates sessions via webcam so that you can interact and do your routines together. It will feel as if you were participating in a class! If you don’t live alone, maybe get another household member to exercise with you too.
Bottom Line – Is Pilates at Home a Good Idea?
Hands down, yes! Great practice for the body and the mind, Pilates, just like yoga, is a routine that might end up being a lot more pleasurable and productive when performed in the comfort and intimacy of your own home.
The gear you need to make the whole scene as professional as possible is not that expensive, definitely not when compared to what you need to make a home gym, for example. Space won’t be an issue either, even if you live in a relatively small condo. Just reconfigure one of the rooms as required, and you can create a neat corner in which you can work out.
For inspiration or to simply recreate the ambiance in classes, you can follow an instructional DVD to follow through with the indications in it, whatever suits you best. In the end, what matters is for you to stay active and healthy, and Pilates is one of the best means to care for your mind and body, especially if you plan on not leaving the house to get your groove on.