10 Beginner Wall Pilates Exercises To Try At Home

Ease yourself into the #FitTok trend.

10 beginner wall Pilates exercises you can try at home.
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If you’ve been eyeballing the wall Pilates trend on TikTok — where it has over 7 billion views — and think it might be fun to try, there are plenty of ways to ease yourself in. Even if you’re a Pilates pro, it’s worth it to start with the simplest moves first so you can get used to using the wall for support.

Wall Pilates, aka the workout style that’s been taking over FitTok, uses a wall as a prop as you complete certain moves, similar to a Pilates ball or ring, Helen O'Leary, a physiotherapist and director at Complete Pilates, previously told Bustle. The wall helps create extra leverage and support as you do traditional Pilates exercises, like glute bridges, lunges, and leg circles.

Not only does the wall hold you in a unique way so you can zero in on hard-to-reach muscles, but it also helps you work on your flexibility and mobility. Wall Pilates is good like that: According to O’Leary, the support of the wall helps you go just a little deeper into your stretches, especially the ones related to your back and hips.

The best part? All you need is yourself, a mat, and a sturdy surface — no other equipment required. Here’s how to get started with 10 of the easiest moves.

Beginner Wall Pilates Exercises

1. Glute Bridges

To work your buns, plant your feet hip-width apart on a wall. Keep your arms and neck neutral on your mat as you lift your hips up and then lower them back down. Repeat for 30 seconds. For a challenge, pause and squeeze at the top and/or incorporate a resistance band.

2. Wall Push-Ups

For an arm and back workout, press your hands into a wall about shoulder-distance apart. Step your feet back. (The further your feet are from the wall, the more challenging it’ll feel.) Lower yourself towards the wall, keeping your elbows in at a 45-degree angle. Press into the wall to rise back up. Aim for four sets of 10 reps.

3. Wall Sits

To improve your posture, work your legs, and engage your core, give wall sits a try. Lean your back against a wall, then slide your booty down until your knees are bent about 90 degrees. Press your back into the wall and engage your quads, glutes, and hamstrings to stay steady. Hold anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds and repeat three times.

4. Wall 100s

To work your core, lie on your back at a distance where your feet just touch the wall. Reach your arms straight up, take a breath, then exhale as your lower your arms and lift your shoulders off the mat. Reach your arms towards the wall and begin to pump your arms up and down. Inhale for five and exhale for five as you pump. Keep going for 10 rounds.

5. Wall Bicycle Crunches

Forget the reformer and try doing bicycle crunches using a wall. Shimmy up close, place your feet up on the wall, and crunch as you bring an opposite elbow to an opposite knee. Aim for three to four sets of 15.

6. Wall Lunges

Stand with the side of your body near the wall. Keeping one hand on the wall for support, step your inner leg back, lower straight down into a lunge, then return your leg to start. For a challenge, lift your leg in front of you to waist height. Repeat for 60 seconds on each side.

7. Leg Lifts

To focus on your glutes, stand in the center of your mat. Reach forward with both hands to press into the wall. Look down towards the floor and keep a neutral spine as you lift one leg back behind you. Focus on squeezing your glute with each rep. Repeat for 60 seconds on each side.

8. Side Kicks

In traditional Pilates, side kicks involve lying on your side on a mat. For this version, prop yourself up on a diagonal as you lean into the wall. Lift your leg out to the side, making sure to keep your body aligned — no sagging down in the middle. Aim for three sets of eight reps per side.

9. Leg Circles

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and about four inches in front of the wall. Press your hips and palms into the wall. Without shifting your weight, lift one leg in front of you and float it a few inches off the floor. Begin to draw small circles with your toes. Trace five times in one direction then reverse. Repeat on both sides.

10. Roll Downs

To stretch your back, and wake up your body, stand with your shoulders against the wall and drop your upper body into a forward fold. Roll back up and repeat.

Studies referenced:

Kloubec, J. (2011). Pilates: how does it work and who needs it? Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. PMID: 23738249; PMCID: PMC3666467.

Tolnai, N. (2016). Physical and psychological benefits of once-a-week Pilates exercises in young sedentary women: A 10-week longitudinal study. Physiol Behav. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.05.025.