Hit the Wall for some Great Pilates Action

Pilates is renowned for building core strength, improving posture, boosting flexibility and many other benefits, but its common reliance on the reformer — a costly self-propelled machine with a rolling base, platforms and handles to provide resistance — has fueled the rising popularity of mat-based Pilates.

This can deliver the basic benefits Pilates is known for but includes a limited number of movements, can require resistance bands and other equipment, and offers less stability for anyone who needs it.

Enter wall Pilates, which uses a wall to simulate some of the benefits of the reformer. No equipment is required, though a Pilates or yoga mat can be helpful for support and comfort.

Here are a few exercises to try as you explore this latest Pilates wrinkle.

The Hundred

This is one of the most basic and hardest moves to execute in Pilates. Using a wall for stability will make it easier to keep going for its 100 arm pumps.

  1. Lie face up with your feet flat against the wall, legs straight and about 45 degrees off the floor.
  2. Engage core and lift head, neck and shoulders up off the mat. Keeping arms straight, hover them a few inches from the mat and pump them up and down quickly.
  3. Inhale for five arm pumps, then exhale for five arm pumps. Repeat for 10 rounds.

Wall squats

  1. Stand with your feet about a foot away from the wall, facing outward while your back, hips and shoulders lean against it. Place your arms at your sides with the palms of your hands facing the wall.
  2. Bend your knees and gently slide down the wall. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Straighten your legs back to your starting position.
  3. Repeat 10 times.


  1. Sit at the base of a wall with your legs flat against it, arms extended to each side.
  2. Lean your legs slightly away from the wall and spread them to each side in a controlled movement.
  3. Engage your thighs while pulling them back together.
  4. Repeat 10 times.