I tried a 15-minute wall Pilates workout — here are my honest thoughts (2024)

I tried a 15-minute wall Pilates workout — here are my honest thoughts (1)

I love the way that Pilates challenges my body, more specifically the way it helpe me to improve my core strength, flexibility, balance, and overall body awareness. However, Pilates can be an expensive hobby to keep up with, especially if you're like me and both pay monthly fees for a gym membership and spend money on one of the best running apps to access training plans. This means I often try and practise Pilates at home. And that is how I came across wall Pilates.

I spoke with Abby McLachlan, Pilates Teacher & Founder of East of Eden about wall Pilates and she explained that it's simply traditional Pilates exercises done against a wall to add resistance. So think of your favorite Pilates exercises for strengthening your core but your body is pushing against a wall.

She added, “It’s super low-impact, you only need a yoga mat and a wall, so it involves no expensive classes or equipment,” she added, “It’s also great for beginners and can offer all the benefits of Pilates — core strength, flexibility, better posture, spine.”

Eager to find out what a wall Pilates workout would feel like, I rolled out my best yoga mat in my apartment and tried out a 15 minute wall Pilates session. Here’s what happened.

15-minute full body wall Pilates

I wanted something that wouldn't take up a lot of time but would target more than one area of my body. That's when I stumbled across a 15 minute Wall Pilates routine designed by certified personal trainer Jenna Collins.

Using the wall as a force of resistance Collins has put together a varied sequence of exercises that target the lower body, core and arms. There are no repeats in this workout and you work for 40 seconds on each move followed by 20 seconds of rest, so you have time to rest your muscles.

It offers a solid workout

When McLachlan mentioned that wall Pilates is great for beginners, I assumed this would be a pretty easy 15 minutes of exercise. My ego was wrong. Having entered this full body wall Pilates session with some delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in my lower body after a recent weights session, I immediately felt the impact working against a wall can have on your Pilates practice.

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For example, one of the first exercises in the routine involves pushing your feet against the wall and performing a hip thrusting movement. Pushing against the wall helped to enhance the activation of the glutes, particularly the gluteus maximus, which is responsible for hip extension. I also could feel my core muscles being worked as I tried to maintain stability and control during the hip thrust movement.

I quite liked battling against the wall to complete the exercises, maintain good form and feel my muscles working hard.

Positioning is important

Wall exercises don't pop up in my usual exercise regime very often. When I was younger I liked to use a wall to practice my handstands. But flinging myself into an upside down position doesn't have as big an appeal to me as it used to. So, wall Pilates seemed like a nice and low impact way to exercise with a wall in my apartment.

I had to pause the workout video a few times to make sure I was positioning myself the same way as Collins, the instructor was. Sometimes it felt like my butt was too close or too far away from the wall so I had to experiment a bit with each exercise and make sure to emulate Collins' form as best as possible.

The exercises, where I had to kneel and press the lower half of my legs against the wall felt painful on my knees. If you are trying out a wall Pilates routine that involves kneeling down and pushing your lower body against the wall, I would recommend doubling up on yoga mats or just make sure you have a softer surface underneath your mat. I completed the routine on top of a thick yoga mat but the mat was resting over a hard wooding flooring and this placed unwanted pressure on the balls of my knees as I tried to move through certain exercises.

It's a great way to practice Pilates at home

As I mentioned above, Pilates can be an expensive hobby to maintain. Being able to roll out a mat in my own apartment and use one of my walls to add an extra force of resistance into my at-home Pilates practice for free felt like a bit of a win. I genuinely felt like I had challenged my muscles after the 15 minutes was up and the feelings in my muscles compared to how I have felt coming out of a 45 minute traditional Pilates class before. To help achieve this, I made sure to slow my movements down in the routine and make sure to spend time under tension in order to challenge my muscles effectively.

I can't say I think the wall replaces a reformer machine but the wall does provide support and resistance. If you have tried a reformer Pilates class before then don't expect to feel the same effect when you try out wall Pilates. However, wall Pilates can help with alignment in your practice and offers a full body workout.

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Jessica Downey

Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page@jessrunsherewhere she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.

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    I tried a 15-minute wall Pilates workout — here are my honest thoughts (2024)


    I tried a 15-minute wall Pilates workout — here are my honest thoughts? ›

    It's a great way to practice Pilates at home

    Is the Wall Pilates Challenge legit? ›

    Pressing your feet against the wall while performing different exercises allows you to add resistance to each move, which can help you build strength. "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," Heather A.

    Does Pilates wall workout really work? ›

    Wall pilates can be an effective workout. “By pressing your feet against the wall instead of the reformer footbar, you can replicate lots of reformer exercises,” McLachlan says. “This can improve core strength and flexibility and posture, but is also a great whole body exercise, working all of your muscles.”

    Does betterme wall pilates really 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).

    Is 15 minute Pilates enough? ›

    It may not seem like a lot of time to you, but fitness experts and scientific studies agree that 15 minutes is long enough to make a difference.

    Are wall exercises effective? ›

    Yes, wall exercises really do work, especially if you don't have any additional equipment, such as barbells, dumbbells, or resistance bands. You can build your upper and lower-body strength and stability with wall exercises and your core muscles. The great thing about them is that they can be done anywhere.

    What is the best free wall pilates app? ›

    Top 10 Wall Pilates Apps of 2024
    • Wall Pilates: Fit Weight Loss. ...
    • Sweat: Fitness App for Women. ...
    • Centr, by Chris Hemsworth. ...
    • Peloton – Fitness & Workouts. ...
    • Lumowell – Ego360. ...
    • Pilates & Barre by Fittbe. ...
    • Pilates Exercises at Home. ...
    • 30 Day Pilates Challenge.
    Apr 15, 2024

    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.

    How many calories do you burn in Wall Pilates? ›

    Pilates Calories Burned

    On average, moderate-intensity Pilates sessions (done at 60%-75% maximum heart rate) can burn approximately 200-400 calories per hour. For higher-intensity workouts (when done at 75%-90% of your maximum heart rate), this number can reach up to around 600 calories per hour.

    Is Wall Pilates good for arthritis? ›

    The Sports Injury Clinic states that Pilates will not make your pain worse or joints more painful, instead you should expect your quality of life to improve. All the benefits of Pilates make it a perfect choice for those with arthritis.

    How many times a week should you do Wall Pilates? ›

    As a beginner, it's recommended to practice wall pilates at least twice a week, but many find three times a week to be more effective.

    Does wall Pilates help with belly fat? ›

    Spot reduction, or losing fat in specific areas of the body, is not possible. The best way to lose belly fat is to focus on overall weight loss through a combination of exercise and diet. Wall Pilates can help you tone your abdominal muscles, but it won't specifically target belly fat (1).

    How long are the BetterMe wall Pilates workouts? ›

    They ran between 13 and 18 minutes each, with the core-focused ones being longest. After my day-five workout, aka the “Ultimate Wall Workout,” I was finally able to rate my workout as “just right.” The repetition of the program fatigued my lower-body muscles, and I finished with my legs wobbly.

    How good is wall Pilates? ›

    She added, “It's super low-impact, you only need a yoga mat and a wall, so it involves no expensive classes or equipment,” she added, “It's also great for beginners and can offer all the benefits of Pilates — core strength, flexibility, better posture, spine.”

    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.

    How much does 15 mins of Pilates burn? ›

    The research team found that a 30-minute session at an intermediate level burned 180 calories, and continuing the workout burned an additional 90 calories each 15 minutes. It was also found that men burned slightly more calories than women (likely due to the fact that men are larger and have more muscle mass).

    Does the 28-day wall pilates challenge 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.

    How much does the 28-day wall pilates challenge cost? ›

    We chose the "Better Me Wall Pilates Challenge," which promises a customized plan for about $15. Brown just has to fill out a quick questionnaire with Hayes standing by, and then her 28-day Pilates roadmap is delivered. She downloads the app, and we're off!

    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.


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