Publication date January 19, 2024

Wall Pilates For Beginners: Is It Right for You? A Complete Guide to Finding Your Fitness Fit

Stuck in the home workout rut? Pilates might be your savior! This low-impact, beginner-friendly fitness routine tones your core without needing a gym or fancy equipment. But now, there's a twist: enter wall Pilates.

Wall Pilates for Beginners

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Think of it as Pilates 2.0, where your trusty wall becomes your secret weapon. It adapts classic moves to your level, offering the same sculpting benefits of reformer classes – minus the boutique studio price tag. Social media's buzzing with claims of flexibility gains, sculpted abs, and newfound strength, but is it all hype?

Let’s dive into this Wall Pilates for Beginner's guide as we untangle the truth about this workout. We'll explore its benefits, debunk any myths, and help you decide if it's the missing piece in your fitness puzzle. 

What is wall pilates?

You can simply understand Wall Pilates as a fun twist on traditional Pilates. It takes core strengthening workouts to a whole new level by using a wall or sturdy surface for support. 

In Wall Pilates, you’ll essentially perform the same old Pilates exercises, such as bridge pose or Pilates 100s but with the assistance of a wall, which mimics the foot bar used in reformer Pilates classes. Pressing your feet against the wall while performing Pilates exercises allows you to add resistance to each move, which can help you build strength.

Heather A. Milton, an exercise physiologist supervisor at NYU Langone Health’s Sports Performance Center, told Today "In Pilates, the only resistance you have really is the force of gravity. Using a wall for static resistance, you can actually exert the force.” “This is a type of resistance training known as isometric training," Milton explains. "Essentially, you can choose to exert force at varying levels of your maximal effort."

Benefits of Wall Pilates for Beginners

Callie Jardine, a Pilates instructor and founder of Sweaty Studio explains “Wall Pilates is great for improving stability, balance, strength, and control, Unlike traditional Pilates, your feet are usually elevated throughout most of the workout, so you may experience increased circulation, improved digestion and sleep and reduced muscle cramps.”

Benefits of Wall Pilates for Beginners

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Wall Pilates may also provide an easy way to enhance your overall strength, balance, and stability in the comfort of your home. “The wall adds resistance to workouts without the need for extra equipment,” says Callie.

Milton describes that the study does show that doing isometric exercise is an effective way to build strength without putting a lot of stress on the joints. But, she also adds, there isn't much research to support claims about Wall Pilates specifically. Much of the claimed benefits are anecdotal or are simply assumed based on the proven benefits of traditional mat Pilates.

However, Milton does see some benefit to adding this type of exercise into your routine, she says, "There is benefit in that you can strengthen your abdominal wall.” "It is a low-moderate intensity exercise, so it will not offer the same benefits as a moderate or vigorous exercise in terms of body composition improvements and cardiovascular health, however, if you are not doing any exercise and decide to start wall Pilates, you will achieve a benefit of improved musculoskeletal health."

Using a wall for support is also an effective way to ensure that you're performing Pilates moves with proper form, she continues. "Doing exercises that use the wall as feedback — for example, doing a side-lying leg raise as you slide your heel up the wall — is a great way to ensure you are maintaining proper alignment," Milton adds.

She further says that in a traditional Pilates class, you might watch your alignment as you perform the exercises in a mirror or get feedback from a trainer. When you are at home, using the wall to do Pilates is a good alternative method. Aside from this, here are a few other believed benefits of Wall Pilates for Beginners: 

  • Accessibility
  • Relief From Back Pain
  • Increased Core Strength And Function
  • Improved Spinal Alignment
  • Lower Risk Of Injury
  • Energy Boost
  • Stress Relief
  • Relief From Menstrual Pain
  • Better Flexibility And Mobility
  • Improved Circulation
  • Improved Digestion

Is Wall Pilates really effective?

The workout majorly became popular through a one-month Wall Pilates challenge on social media. One popular challenge introduced by Rachel’s Fit Pilates has almost a million views on YouTube. And the before-and-after photos of people who did one month of wall workouts are actually compelling.

Fitness influencer Renée Mowatt is one of those success stories. She first came to know about this workout on TikTok, where the hashtag has 12.6 million views. She was impressed to see results from Wall Pilates and so shared her popular workouts with others who want to give it a try. 

“To start, I did wall Pilates around 4-5 times per week to really help improve my form and fitness,” Mowatt says. She started to see results after about a month of doing 10-30-minute wall Pilates workouts; noticing an improvement in her strength, flexibility, and coordination.

But the big question this, are these results something everyone can expect? Is it really effective for everyone? To answer, Milton states, "When starting from nothing, yes, you can see improved strength or balance.”  "However, if you are an already active person and decide to change your workout to this, I predict you will not see much improvement in one month."

It usually takes a few months to see noticeable physical changes from a strength workout, Milton continues, and it may take even longer to see changes with a lower-intensity workout like wall Pilates.

5 Beginner-friendly Wall Pilates Exercises 

Now that we know the several benefits that come with Wall Pilates, you definitely will be interested in trying these workouts for yourself. Here are 5 Wall Pilates for Beginners that help you get started: 

1. Leg raises

Leg raises

Source: BetterMe

This one is one of the simplest Wall Pilates exercises, making it a perfect option for beginners. To do leg raises, begin by lying flat on your back facing the wall with both legs extended vertically and arms stretched alongside the body. Now rest both heels against the wall, then lift each leg one at a time toward your body at around a 45-degree angle and alternate for 20 repetitions.

2. Glute Bridges

To perform this exercise, plant your feet hip-width apart on a wall and keep your arms and neck neutral on your mat as you lift your hips up and then lower them back down. Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds. When want more challenge, pause and squeeze at the top and/or incorporate a resistance band.

3. Wall Sits

Wall Sits

Source: Bustle

Wall sits is another great exercise to improve your overall posture and we all have seen it in the Pilates wall workout chart. Simply lean your back against a wall, then slide your booty down until your knees are bent about 90 degrees. Press your back into the wall and focus on your quads, glutes, and hamstrings to stay steady. As a beginner, you can hold anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds and repeat the exercise three times.

4. Wall Lunges

Wall Lunges

Source: Paraguay Educa

When it comes to beginner-friendly Wall Pilates exercises, Wall lunges can be a good option. To perform this exercise, stand with the side of your body near the wall. Now keep one hand on the wall for support, step your inner leg back, lower straight down into a lunge, then return your leg to start. To make it challenging, lift your leg in front of you to waist height. Repeat this workout for 60 seconds on each side.

5. Wall Push-Ups

If you want to work on your arm and back, Wall push-ups can be another great option. Simply press your hands into a wall about shoulder distance apart and then step your feet back. Remember the further your feet are from the wall, the more challenging it’ll be. Now, lower yourself towards the wall, keeping your elbows in at a 45-degree angle. To rise back up press into the wall and aim to perform this exercise for four sets of 10 reps. 

That's a wrap on Wall Pilates for beginners!  After learning what experts believe, it's safe to say that Wall Pilates exercises can be win win for overall health and well-being. The low-impact nature and adaptability for different levels make them accessible to everyone, from fitness newbies to seasoned gym rats. And the best part? They're even pregnancy-friendly and gentle for those with injuries or chronic pain.  So, why not give them a try? You might just discover your new favorite way to sweat! 

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