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How To Get The Best At-Home Pilates Workout With Zero Equipment

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Two women in fitness attire smiling and holding Pilates mat

Let's Start From The Foundation

When a Pilates Instructor starts on their Pilates education, it's likely that they will start their education with earning a teaching certification in the Pilates mat repertoire.

The Pilates mat repertoire is the foundation of the equipment-based workouts that Joseph Pilates created, including (but not limited to) the Stability Chair, Cadillac, Barrels and the Reformer.

While Reformer Pilates workouts have been gaining popularity since the mid-2000s, ‘Pilates’ has been around since World War 1.

But, you’re not here for a history lesson.

You’re here to know how to get the BEST at-home Pilates workout.

And here's the good news: It’s really easy to get the BEST at-home Pilates workout.

All you need is a great Pilates instructor and little to no equipment.

Let's dive in, shall we?

Hands on a Merrithew Deluxe Pilates Mat
Merrithew Deluxe Pilates Mat

Who Is Your At-Home Pilates Workout Instructor?

As with anything, sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the best Pilates instructor for YOU because everyone is different and you might jive more with one instructor and their style of teaching over another.

What are your goals?

How detailed do you want your instructor to be on form and exercise focus?

Do you want your Pilates instructor to help you with specific physical needs or are you looking for a general Pilates workout that is focused on full body exercise?

These are the things to think through while you begin your search.

But one thing's for sure, asking your Pilates-enthusiast friends for recommendations is a great place to start.

Your Pilates workouts could be the pre-recorded on demand style where you join an online membership or they could be a private one-on-one workout where you do a virtual or in-person Pilates training session with a certified Pilates instructor.

Zero-Equipment Pilates Workouts

For a comfortable workout surface, you’ll want a cushioned Pilates mat or yoga mat however you don’t even need a mat for a great Pilates workout.

All you really need is YOUR BODY, a soft surface and a good Pilates instructor.

Pilates instructor wearing a teal fitness outfit sitting on a grey exercise mat in the Pilates mermaid exercise
Lane Grosser, STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor, performing the Pilates Mermaid Exercise.

Spice Up Your Pilates Workouts

Now, the really cool thing about at-home Pilates workouts is that you can use household items to spice up your Pilates workout routine.

Here are some items I have my clients use in their prerecorded on-demand Pilates mat classes:

Hand Towel:

  • supports your neck in abdominal work

  • Increases shoulder work when pulling out on the ends

  • Allows your feet and hands to slide on your floor


  • Increases the work of your inner thigh muscles when put between your knees

  • Supports your low back and pelvis when it’s placed underneath your hips when laying on the ground

  • Helps to stabilize your shoulder when you tuck it between your ribs and arm


  • Increases range of motion for bridges when you place your heels on the chair

  • Sitting on the chair can be used to modify arm supported workouts to take the load out of your wrists.

  • Supportive for prenatal Pilates

Soup Cans:

  • Increases and decreases the challenge in various Pilates exercises

  • Increases challenge when used as resistance (ie arm series)

  • Decreases challenge when used as a support (ie roll down)

A fitness instructor in a Pilates bridge exercise using a resistance band.
Lane Grosser, STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor, using the blue Theraband.

Building Your Small Equipment Pilates Base:

If you're ready to start building your Pilates equipment base, get these items first. They're the cheapest items that will go a long way. I've listed them here for you with links starting with the most useful:

  1. A long resistance band

  2. A small resistance ball

  3. A yoga block (but you can substitute a small footstool for this so it’s third on my list)

The long resistance band is so versatile that you can use it to replicate a lot of the reformer based exercises on the mat. It’s quite impressive.

I have used the blue Theraband for my entire 18+ year Pilates career. It’s the perfect strength - not too light and not too heavy.

The small resistance ball and a super fun piece of equipment. It’s excellent for increasing abdominal work, inner thigh work and supporting your positions on the mat.

The yoga block can also be used as a support on the mat, specifically for helping to stabilize your shoulders and hips.

Ready To Get Your At-Home Pilates Practice Started?

You've come to the right place! Join my e-list and receive a complimentary pack of Pilates, barre and stretch workouts to do from the comfort of home - with little to no equipment. 😊

Lane Grosser does not receive compensation for the equipment linked nor is the content sponsored.



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