One question I get asked a lot, in person and in the blog comments is what to do if you’re a beginner. High impact or high intensity workouts are great for calorie burning but they aren’t really suitable for beginners. Or maybe you’re working around an injury that means you can’t put lots of body weight on your foot or ankle… what to do? Pilates! Did you know that pilates was originally created for rehabilitation and morphed into the pilates fitness class format we see today that can be done with or without equipment. For this 15 minute pilates workout we’re opting for no equipment, just you and maybe a yoga mat. So let’s go!
15 Minute Beginner Pilates Workout
So first up you don’t NEED one but a yoga mat will make things much more comfortable. I use the Veda Yoga Mat I mentioned in a previous blog post, which you can find on Amazon. However, any mat will work so #noexcuses get the workout done! There are 8 different exercises, however two of those you will do on the right side and the left so 10 total movements. Each exercise is done for 15 reps, and should take between 12-15 minutes to complete one set. If you have longer then repeat for 2 sets, and so on. Beginners though, just go for one set, and work up from there. Full video is below, and make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to get the latest updates!
Glute Bridge – 15 reps & 15 small pulse reps: Lying with knees bent and feet on the floor, around hip distance apart. Pushing into the full foot lift the hips up and away from the floor, squeezing the glutes as the hips extend up. Slowly return to starting position.
Ab Crunch – 15 reps & 15 small pulse reps: Lying with knees bent and feet on the floor, around hip distance apart, and hands to sides of the head. While exhaling lift the head and shoulders up and away from the floor. Lowering to starting position on the inhale.
Lying Leg Extensions – 15 reps: Lying with knees over the hips and shins parallel to the floor. Extend one leg away from the body then return to center, repeat on the other side. This can be a challenging movement so to modify push the foot more to the sky/ceiling than lower toward the floor.
Lying windshield Wipers – 15 reps: Lying with knees bent over the hips and shins parallel to the floor, with the arms out to the sides. Slowly lower the legs towards the floor coming about half way down, then control the movement to lift the legs back to center then move over towards the other side.
Side lying leg abduction – 15 reps & 15 small pulse reps: Lying on the right side side with the right leg bent, right arm extended and the head resting on the right upper arm. Left arm drops in front of the body for support and the left leg extends. Lift the left leg up and away from the floor, then slowly returning towards the floor.
Side lying leg adduction – 15 reps & 15 small pulse reps: Lying on the right side side with the right arm extended and the head resting on the right upper arm, with the left knee bent falling towards the floor in front of the body. Left arm drops in front of the body for support and the right leg extends across the floor. Lift the right leg up and away from the floor, then slowly returning towards the floor.
Repeat Side lying leg abduction & Side lying leg adduction on other side:
Back Extension – 15 reps. Lying face down on the floor, with the elbows bent, and forearms and palms down on the floor under the shoulders. Tuck the elbows in, push gently into the hands and lift the head and shoulders away from the floor. Ensure you lift with the BACK not the arms, and keep the neck in line with the spine.
Goal post lifts – 15 reps. Lying face down on the floor, with the elbows bent, and out to the sides with the arms positioned like goalposts away from the body. Keeping the chest, and head down on the floor, use the postural muscles of the upper back and posterior deltoids to lift the arms away from the floor. Slowly return arms to the floor and then repeat.
Honestly I don’t do pilates often. I incorporate some in yoga as a few pilates movements are actually yoga poses, and I might use some within a workout but I rarely do a whole pilates workout anymore. I think pilates is wonderful for beginners, and injury rehabilitation but it can get stale quickly meaning you reach a plateau in your fitness unable to progress. So if you find that you can perform 3 sets of each of these easily then it might be time to move on to something more challenging.
Do you do pilates?