Do you miss the Pilates equipment when you're not at the studio? Here's how to replicate your favorite equipment exercises at home! You'll just need a mat and some small props if you have them.
By practicing exercises that you are familiar with in a different environment you'll experience the movement in a completely new way. By having the support of the solid ground instead of a moving carriage, you might pay more attention to your foundation.
By having less support in other exercises, you might realize you're ready for a more challenging version of a familiar movement.
You'll find videos and detailed descriptions of each of these exercises inside the Pilates Encyclopedia membership!
Reformer on the Mat
- Roll Down: Sit on Foam roller, push roller forward with your tailbone. Imagine the roller is your carriage; you don’t have any straps to hold on to.
- Long Back Stretch: Place your hands next to your hips. Support your body weight on your hands, lifting your bottom an inch off the ground. Push your hips forward and up (into an upward table position), then lower your hips down and pull them back through your arms as far as possible. If your arms are short, place two yoga blocks (or push up devices) next to your hips and place your hand on those; they will help you lift your bottom higher off the ground, and make swinging easier.
- Climb a Tree: Like a Roll Up on the mat, just holding the back of one leg.
- Reverse Abdominals: Kneel on a foam roller, hands on yoga blocks. Roll the roller towards your hands.
- Footwork: Lie supine and lift your legs into tabletop. Press your legs out and in. (like Double Leg Stretch).
- Single-Leg Footwork: Like Single Leg Stretch, but with the head down.
- Bridging: Feet on a foam roller (feels like the footbar underneath your feet).
- Mermaid: With your hands on a foam roller, rolling it away and pulling it back in.
- Hundred: It’s the same really, just without the straps.
- Side-lying Feet in Strap: It’s like Side Kicks.
- Coordination: It’s the same just without straps.
- Short Box Flat Back: Same as the beginning of Neck Pull: hinge back with a flat back.
- Short Box Twist: Just like Spine Twist, but you can hold a dowel overhead or cross your arms over your chest.
- Short Box Oblique Flat Back: Twist your spine, then hinge back.
- Inverted V: Move back and forth between Front Control (Plank) and a Downward Dog with the heels lifted.
- Arabesque: From the Inverted V, lift one leg up and back.
- Elephant: Like a Downward Dog, but with the heels down. Walk your feet closer to your hands until your heels can be on the mat.
- Scooter: Stand on one leg, lean forward a bit and imagine pushing the carriage back with one foot.
- Front Splits: Kneeling Hamstring Stretch, then lift your back knee.
- Russian Splits: Kneeling Lunge Stretch (marriage proposal).
- Back Lunge: Reverse lunges. Step back into a lunge position. Come back and repeat on the other side.
- Front Control: Same.
Chair on the Mat
- Swan From Floor: Place a foam roller perpendicular across your mat. Place your hands on the roller (imagine you’re pressing down onto the Chair pedal). Lift your chest a few inches.
Trapeze Table/Tower on the Mat
- Swan: Place a foam roller perpendicular across your mat. Place your hands on the roller (imagine your hands are on the push-through bar. Roll the roller forward a few inches to elevate your shoulders, then roll it back a few inches to depress your shoulders; to make it more challenging, add a bit of thoracic extension as you depress.
Barrels on the Mat
- Hamstring Stretch: Place your leg onto a couch, bed, or chair. Choose a surface high enough that both knees can be straight
- Figure 4 Stretch: Place one leg onto a couch or back of a couch. Then bend the knee and externally rotate the leg.
- Thigh Stretch: In a standing position, bend one knee and hold the ankle behind you.
Do you have any other favorites I didn't mention here? Let me know in the comments!