Health and Wellness

I tried Pilates for the first time ever: Here are 14 moves for beginners you can do at home for free

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The Pilates technique has been around since the 1920s, but the workout is having a resurgence thanks to social media — Pilates has 5.3 billion views on TikTok.

On the platform, users tout benefits like improved balance, posture and flexibility, stress management and increased breath awareness.

Despite the fitness craze being around for literal decades, I'd never tried it — until now.

I went to my first Pilates class ever at The Spring in Tenafly, New Jersey, where mat Pilates classes start at $29.

I opted for the more challenging sculpt Pilates class, which is "designed to work on core muscles, improve posture, mobility and tone your muscles," according to The Spring.

"I try to encourage some heart-raising exercises and balance challenges during the class to spice it up," said Pilates instructor Noa Harari who led my class.

She wasn't joking. This class didn't include use of the standard reformer Pilates machines, but floor Pilates was still extremely challenging, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

What I loved most about Pilates was that if something was too difficult for me, my instructor always offered alternatives that helped me achieve the same goal. As a beginner, it was nice to be affirmed and supported.

Though it helps to have that guidance from an instructor, what makes Pilates so accessible is that the exercise is something you can do at home — before starting your workday or even in between meetings — for little to no cost at all.

Any equipment you might need for your specific routine, like sliders or a light weight, can be easily substituted with a towel or a can of beans from your pantry.

14 Pilates moves that you can try at home, free

It's essential to start by warming up our joints and muscles, which is important for elevating performance and preventing injuries, Harari says.

Here are 14 movements we did in class that you can add to your own routine at home:

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  • Double-leg stretch
  • Single straight-leg stretch 
  • Leg lifts 
  • The saw

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