I did this 28-day wall Pilates plan — here are my results (2024)

I did this 28-day wall Pilates plan — here are my results (1)

Pilates has long been heralded as a way to transform your body, in both appearance and strength. Until recently however, progressing beyond basic mat work has required access to pricey studios or even pricier equipment. Thankfully, wall Pilates is changing that.

I’d heard some rumblings about wall Pilates among my fellow personal trainer friends, but not being much of a Pilates devotee myself, I hadn’t tried it yet. I stumbled upon popular YouTuber Rachel’s Fit Pilates 28-day wall Pilates program, and decided that it was as good a time as any to give this growing trend a go. Here’s what I observed after four weeks against the wall.

If you’re a total Pilates novice, it would be a good idea to attend a live class with an experienced instructor before trying the moves on your own. As is the case with any exercise, correct form is crucial for reaping all of the benefits that Pilates has to offer.

What is Wall Pilates?

Developed by trainer Joseph Pilates during World War II, Pilates is a collection of exercises designed to connect the body and mind, develop core stability, and improve overall strength and flexibility. Most of the fundamental exercises are performed on the floor, while the more advanced movements incorporate apparatuses like the Reformer, Wunda Chair, High Chair, and Ladder Barrels.

Wall pilates utilizes a bare wall to perform variations of many popular Pilates exercises, which can increase the range of motion and difficulty of the movements. With the addition of just a bare wall, Pilates aficionados can up the ante in their workouts safely and effectively — without having to empty their wallets on costly Reformers or studio memberships.

What is the 28-day Wall Pilates plan?

Rachel Fit Pilates’ 28-day wall Pilates plan is a series of workouts ranging from 10 to around 30 minutes in length. Each workout has a different focus including glutes and abs, upper body, full body, and stretching. Days 7, 14, 21, and 28 are designated as rest days, but Rachel gives users the option to try their favorite workouts again, if desired. Most of the routines are repeated at least once in the 4-week course, and several incorporate the use of optional equipment (dumbbells, ankle weights, a pilates ball, and a loop band).

I did this 28-day Pilates wall plan — here are my results

Excited to try something new, I rolled out my mat, cleared away a spot on my living room wall, and pressed play for 28 days of wall Pilates. Here’s what I found.

It was a lot more challenging than I had anticipated

I have to admit, I’ve never thought Pilates was all that difficult — after a few lackluster mat workouts and a reformer class that I practically yawned my way through, I had written Pilates off as something I could do if I was sick or injured. So when Rachel started off Day 1’s workout by saying “Wall Pilates is harder than you think,” I laughed and thought, “yeah, sure it is.”

By the time I hit the five-minute mark during that first glutes and abs class, I was completely humbled. My glutes were on fire, my legs were visibly shaking, and my core was totally fatigued. I was shocked at how hard I had to work to keep good form and range, and my body definitely felt it the next day.

I tend to lift heavy and keep my reps relatively low, so all this endurance work was really hard (and apparently, very needed). While the workouts got more doable as the 28 days progressed, they always remained challenging. In fact, the only workouts that I didn’t find at least somewhat brutal were the upper body days — and even those I wouldn’t categorize as “easy.”

Some of the movements hurt my neck

There’s tons of core work in Pilates, which is great for developing strength and stability in your abdominal muscles. But since a lot of the exercises are done in spinal flexion (lying on your back with your head and shoulders lifted off the floor), I found that my neck got very tight, very quickly.

Rachel includes verbal cues like “look forward” and “don’t crunch the neck in” during several of the more intense ab workouts, which is generally helpful for keeping the core muscles properly activated to support the weight of your head and shoulders. Unfortunately, however, implementing these cues didn’t alleviate my neck tension. I had to modify most of the exercises by placing one hand behind the back of my head, which got a bit complicated when both of my arms were supposed to be reaching, circling, or pulsing.

My back pain decreased

After being diagnosed with degenerative discs in my lower back, my spine doctor suggested I look into Pilates as a way to mitigate the pain and stiffness I was feeling. I nodded, secretly ignoring his suggestion while planning my running route for the next morning.

Today, I’m officially apologizing to my doctor. The 28-day wall Pilates program did wonders for my back pain — more than meds, heating pads, or ice packs had ever been able to accomplish. Whether this was a result of all the targeted core work, the dedicated days to full body stretching, or a combination of both, my lower back felt better than it had in years. By the end of the 4 weeks, I was waking up each morning limber and pain-free.

It helped my performance during other athletic pursuits

My workouts are generally around an hour to an hour and a half, so I supplemented each day of wall Pilates with some cardio or additional light resistance training. On the off days, I’d complete my usual heavy lifting routine.

By week 3, I was noticing that my heavier lifting days were feeling a lot easier than they had at the start. Even my runs felt more comfortable and less taxing. This continued into the final week, and was enough to convince me that wall Pilates deserved a permanent place in my regimen.

The verdict? I love that Rachel’s 28-day wall Pilates program is relatively accessible, offers a few modifications for those who need them, and is compiled into shorter-duration videos that are easy to fit into a busy schedule. While the core exercises tended to aggravate my neck, and some of the movements felt a little awkward, I’ll definitely be coming back to wall Pilates on a more regular basis.

More from Tom's Guide

  • Forget sit-ups — this abs-on-fire workout sculpts your core using just 4 exercises
  • Here’s what an hour of Pilates can do for your body
  • 9 best Pilates exercises that target your core for the ultimate burn

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Jennifer Rizzuto is a freelance writer and certified personal trainer based in Long Island, NY. She covers various fitness-related topics and reviews for Tom's Guide. She also writes sketch comedy and short films, and performs frequently as an actor, singer, and improviser. When she's not writing, working out, or performing, you'll find her trying to convince her husband to get a dog.

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    I did this 28-day wall Pilates plan — here are my results (2024)


    How long does it take to see results from wall pilates? ›

    "Strength gains take 4-6 weeks for the nervous system to improve the efficiency of activating muscle, and more like 12 weeks to actually see changes in the muscle size itself," she says. "This is when you are stressing the muscles at least 60% of their max ability.

    Does 28-day wall pilates really work? ›

    The 28-day wall Pilates program did wonders for my back pain — more than meds, heating pads, or ice packs had ever been able to accomplish. Whether this was a result of all the targeted core work, the dedicated days to full body stretching, or a combination of both, my lower back felt better than it had in years.

    Does BetterMe wall pilates actually work? ›

    It's Just as Effective as Traditional Pilates

    Just because the wall is used as a prop does not mean it detracts from the effectiveness of the workout. In fact, wall Pilates can provide similar benefits to traditional Pilates in terms of improving strength, flexibility, and posture (8).

    Do wall Pilates really work for weight loss? ›

    Wall pilates is a type of strength training, so if done regularly alongside eating a healthy diet and other forms of exercise (such as walking, running, or training in the gym) it can support weight loss.

    Is the 28 day challenge worth it? ›

    When you stick to a strength and conditioning routine for 28 days, you'll likely feel stronger and have better recovery going into each workout. Feeling in shape or “toned” is subjective to your own performance.

    What is the difference between Pilates and Wall Pilates? ›

    Wall pilates is a twist on traditional pilates that includes a wall – where traditional pilates mainly involves exercising on mats or using machines like reformers; wall pilates adds a new dimension by incorporating the use of (you guessed it) a wall to press upon with your feet, arms, back, or side.

    Is 20 minutes of Pilates enough to lose weight? ›

    If you want to set a sustainable Pilates goal for yourself, you might be wondering… Is 20 minutes of Pilates a day enough to get results? The short answer is… absolutely!

    Can you see Pilates results in 2 weeks? ›

    While individual experiences will vary, many people begin to notice physical improvements within a few weeks of consistent Pilates practice (usually the initial results within about 3 weeks) This is because even in the first few weeks, your ability to activate the correct muscles and be aware of your posture begins to ...

    Which is the best wall Pilates app? ›

    Top 10 Wall Pilates Apps of 2024
    • Centr, by Chris Hemsworth.
    • Peloton – Fitness & Workouts.
    • Lumowell – Ego360.
    • Pilates & Barre by Fittbe.
    • Pilates Exercises at Home.
    • 30 Day Pilates Challenge.
    • BetterMe: Health Coaching.
    • 5 Minute Pilates.
    Apr 15, 2024

    How much does the 28 day wall Pilates app cost? ›

    Note: This app is focused on wall-assisted Pilates exercises and the 28-day challenge. Other types of Pilates exercises may not be covered extensively. - Get unlimited access to all features for USD $4.99/month, USD $19.99/year. - The payment will be charged to your iTunes account at confirmation of purchase.

    Is the 28 day wall Pilates challenge free? ›

    Rachel's Fit Pilates offers you daily free Wall Pilates workouts in her 28 day Wall Pilates challenge. For 28 days, you will follow a printable Wall Pilates chart that pairs with daily free Wall Pilates workout videos.

    What do people think of wall pilates? ›

    Wall Pilates can be adapted to suit every level

    '”For more advanced people, if you've mastered the exercises, it can be a great way to add intensity to each move, as with wall sits. It can be a tool to make your workouts easier or more complex”.'

    Will 20 minutes of Pilates a day make a difference? ›

    “Even 20 minutes a day can help because pilates activates muscles and wakes things up,” says Helen O'Leary, physiotherapist and director of Complete Pilates. “It also helps you build body awareness, and the best way to do this is little and often.

    Should I do wall Pilates every day? ›

    Yes, you can do wall Pilates every day if you want to. However, it is important to listen to your body and take a break when you're feeling tired or sore. It is also a good idea to mix up your routine by adding other types of exercise, such as cardiovascular activities or strength training.

    How many times do you need to do Pilates to see results? ›

    It can also help you lose weight and tone your body. However, like any exercise routine, the results you get from Pilates will depend on how often you do it. If you want to see noticeable results from Pilates, you need to be consistent with your workouts. This means doing Pilates at least 3-4 times per week.

    How many sessions of Pilates before you see results? ›

    “In 10 sessions you will feel a difference, in 20 sessions you will see a difference, in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body,” - Joseph Pilates.

    Does Pilates tone your body quickly? ›

    Can you tone with Pilates? Whilst Pilates theoretically is not the quickest route to increasing muscle mass, anecdotally many people do feel that they look more 'toned' when they do Pilates.


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