A traditional Pilates routine requires a few specialized pieces of equipment. Unfortunately, the Reformer, Cadillac, and Wunda Chair don’t fit into the living room décor of most homes. The good news is that a wall can double as a resistance-training partner. “Working out against a wall not only provides something to push against for resistance, but it can also provide stability, which is particularly good for beginners,” says Tom Holland, MS, CSCS, exercise physiologist and author of Beat the Gym.
Erika Bloom, founder of Erika Bloom Pilates Plus in New York City, developed the following Pilates-inspired exercises using only a wall and your body weight. Do them every day—or as often as your schedule allows—to strengthen, tighten, and stretch your way to a Pilates body.
Begin lying on your back with both feet flat on the wall and knees bent. Press against the wall with your feet, and slowly curl your butt and lower back up off the floor until you are in a bridge position. Hold at the top, and lift each foot off the wall one at a time, as if you are marching, for a count of 10. Roll down through your spine to finish; that’s one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.
Stand sideways to the wall, with your left hip toward the wall. Bend your left knee, lifting the foot behind you, so that you are standing on your right leg. Press the left knee into the wall strongly, keeping your hips and pelvis square. Hold for a count of 10. Repeat 5 times, then switch sides.
Stand facing the wall at an arm-and-a-half length away from it. Place your palms flat on the wall directly in front of your shoulders in a push-up position. Keeping your arms straight, slide your shoulder blades together, letting your body shift slightly forward. Then press the wall away, widening your shoulder blades away from each other. Repeat 10 times.
Forward Bend Back Leg Lift
Stand facing the wall and bend forward until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Keeping your back flat, press your palms against the wall. Raise your right leg up behind you
until it’s parallel to the floor (or as high as you can). Lower the leg halfway down toward the floor, then lift it up again. Perform 20 leg lifts on each side.
Forward Bend Side Leg Lift
Begin in the same position as the previous move, with your torso parallel to the floor and hands pressing against the wall. Lift one leg out to the side until it’s parallel to the floor (or as high as you can), keeping your hips level. Perform 20 side leg lifts on each side.
Lie on your back with your bottom against the wall and your legs straight up the wall. While keeping your legs against the wall, open them away from each other into a split as far as you can comfortably go. Draw the legs back together. That’s one rep; perform 20 reps
Twist And Stretch
Start with your legs up the wall and your bottom touching the wall. Bring your arms out to the side on the floor, perpendicular to your torso. Bend your knees until your feet are flat on the wall. Slowly walk both feet to the right until your right leg is resting on the floor and you are in a deep spinal twist. Breathe and relax into the twist, keeping your upper back against the floor. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. Switch sides by slowly walking your feet to the left. Repeat twice on each side.