Unless you have the luxury of having your own Reformer at home, you won’t be able to do a reformer class, but you can certainly do a Mat Pilates class at home and even add props to mimic certain Reformer exercises. If you’ve been keeping up with our stories on March Matness, you’ll find videos of Teri demonstrating all of the classical Mat Pilates exercises at home. You can practice using her videos or others you find online, purchase DVDs or download classes, use an app, a book, cut out an article from a magazine, etc. You can find endless possibilities on the internet. Another option would be to take a private class and ask your instructor to show you mat exercises you can practice on your own at home.
I can speak from personal experience. I first fell in love with pilates in the privacy of my bedroom at 18 years old. I bought a DVD (when those were still popular). I became addicted immediately and did either a part or the entire DVD every day. Eventually, I became bored and started taking mat classes at my gym and buying different DVDs until I learned enough to create my own classes to do at home using my favorite exercises and what felt best for my body. Years later, I began to practice pilates on the Reformer and eventually began teaching. I still have a passion for Mat Pilates and practice any chance I get at home or at the studio. I create my own practice or use videos, books, or an app.
What are the pros of practicing at home?
- It can be done at any time. If you can’t make it to a class because of your work schedule, sleeping in, or life events that always seem to pop up? All you need is a mat (even a towel or rug will do) and a little space and you can practice on your own time.
- It can be done anywhere. Your home, a friend’s home, even while you are traveling…in your hotel room or on the beach! Sand works too!
- You can get creative. Take all of your favorite exercises you’ve learned in class and create your own flow. Add some props for more of a challenge. Light hand weights, a foam roller, a magic circle & resistance bands are easy to find and affordable options.
- There’s no dress code. One of the best parts is being able to wake up and go. You don’t have to pick out an outfit, find a matching pair of grippy socks, or even get dressed at all. I prefer pilates in my PJ’s if I’m at home.
What are the Cons?
- There is a chance of injury. At a Pilates studio, your instructor should be advised about any injuries or pre-existing conditions you have. They will keep an eye on you in class, offer modifications that will be best for your body, and usually be able to tell you what exercises you should not be doing. Before starting your own practice at home, feel free to ask an instructor if you are OK to perform certain exercises you are unsure of.
- No one is there to correct your form. Sometimes we think we have our abs engaged, our back straight, or our shoulders down, but a simple correction from an instructor will make you realize what you were doing wrong. Unfortunately, an online instructor can’t do the same.
- No one is there to keep you motivated. If you are following a class online, the instructor might give cues to keep you going, but there is nothing like having an actual instructor to stop you from cheating or quitting. Being surrounded by fellow students that are pushing through each exercise until the end of the class also helps. If you are feeling lazy, chances are you won’t work very hard on your own, as opposed to a class setting where people watching!
As much as we love to see you in the studio, I recommend practicing Pilates at home when you have the chance. Practice regularly to complement your Reformer practice or when you don’t have the time to come in. You can always find at least a few minutes to get on the mat at home. Looking to just work out your abs? Look up The Series of 5 online. If you’ve been to a class, you’ve surely done these exercises on the reformer. They are all very simple to do on your own and extremely effective. Feel free to ask any instructor for advice and recommendations. We’re happy to help! After all, the more Pilates, the merrier the body!
“Not only is health a normal condition, it is our duty not only to attain it, but to maintain it.”