5 YouTube Pilates Workouts and Resources are Perfect for Beginners

Welcome to OnlinePilatesClasses.com™, where I’ve curated five beginner-friendly Pilates workouts to help you build a strong foundation and enjoy a supportive community as you start your Pilates journey!

  • Author: lesley.logan
  • June 9, 2024
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5 Beginner-Friendly Pilates Workouts for a Strong Start

Hi! I have five Pilates workouts for you that are perfect for beginners, and if you’re new to Pilates you’re gonna want to watch for all these workouts.

I’m Lesley Logan, co-founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com and many, many moons ago, I was a beginner too. And when you are a beginner and you end up in a class that’s not the right level for you it can feel overwhelming and even intimidating. And so it’s important that we actually get to build your foundations so that you can have a Pilates practice that works for you.

Welcome to OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. The most supportive Pilates loving community across the globe. Enjoy new weekly classes from our amazing teachers. Download the OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ app today.

Before we get started, I’d love for you to subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the notifications button because I do answer your questions live every single Sunday, and we do offer many workouts on this channel, several that are for beginners. Now let’s talk about what Pilates is, and maybe why as a beginner you want to even get into it. Pilates is a strength based workout that it’s designed to balance your imbalances. It’s going to work you from your center out, it’s going to improve your posture. And it really does meet you where you are. It can be done on equipment or on a Mat. A lot of people only do it on the Mat because it’s the most accessible part of Pilates and it’s also what Joseph Pilates intended us to do. If you want to know more about Pilates and its benefits, check out our video on Pilates, no BS because I love to be honest about what Pilates can do for you. If you’re looking for the best Pilates YouTube workouts, you’re in the right place!

Top 5 Beginner Pilates Workouts

  1. 1. 15 MIN EXPRESS PILATES WORKOUT for Beginners (No Equipment)
    2. 15 Min Standing Pilates Full Body Workout with Weights
    3. 25 MIN Full Body PILATES WORKOUT FOR BEGINNERS (No Equipment)
    4 FULL BODY WALL PILATES WORKOUT FOR BEGINNERS | 20 MIN | NO EQUIPMENT
    5. 30 Minute REFORMER PILATES Workout | Full Body Pilates At-Home (Beginner Friendly)

Alright, now let’s get into the five beginner workouts we have for you on our YouTube channel. Alright, so the first one I have for you is a 15 Minute Express Mat Workout for beginners. Here’s why I love this for you. First of all, you don’t even have to do the full 15 minutes but if you’re new to Pilates 15 minutes is gonna be a great place to get started. And all of our workouts you’ll hear me say this it is amazing and brave and courageous to replace what you can’t do yet with what you can. So if there’s an exercise in the workout that’s not right for your body yet, please repeat something we already did in that workout and you’ll hear me say that in the class. But what’s nice is again, 15 minutes is a great place to start to build up your endurance for doing Pilates and then you can expand into longer classes.

Number two is one I really love because you can actually take this one with you anywhere you can do it in the office, you can do at home, and all you need is some lightweight, and what I mean by lightweight, I mean lightweight. I mean one or two pound weights. This is a 15 minute standing workout. Yep, an actual Pilates workout. You can do totally standing, super great if you can’t get on and off the ground, or if you don’t want to get on the ground where you’re at. So you can use water bottles for those weights, if you don’t have access to a one or two pound weights. You can use your favorite cans of soup or beans, whatever you want. Make sure they’re matching, that’d be really great. But this workout is perfect for energizing you, helping you work on your balance and your stamina, but also keeping you up off the ground in case it is not accessible to you at this moment.

Alright, for our third one, it’s a little longer, it’s 25 minutes. So this 25 minute Full Body Mat Pilates workout doesn’t require any props, it just requires you. You’ll repeat some of the exercises from the 15 minute workout. So you’ll actually be able to build on those foundations and you’ll learn some exercises you haven’t done yet.

So for our fourth one, I’ve got a Wall Pilates workout for you. Now, I want to be really honest. There’s a lot of marketing around Wall Pilates. There’s a lot of people trying to get to do a 30 day Wall Pilates or a 21 day Wall Pilates and half of the exercises, if not more, are not even Pilates exercises whatsoever. So that means you’re not going to get the benefits and you’re just going to dirty up your wall. But this YouTube Pilates wall workout is actual Pilates exercises done at the wall. And the wall is basically your prop, it’s your feedback, it’s giving you information. So enjoy this workout. Again, you can do it at your office, you could do it at home, you could do it in a hotel room, sometimes hotel rooms don’t have enough room to lay on the ground. So you don’t actually have to miss your Pilates practice as a beginner, you can continue to do it wherever you go.

And then for those of you who do have access to a Reformer, our fifth one for you is a Reformer workout that’s designed for beginners. And look, I love the Reformer, it’s really, really amazing. But we don’t all have access to it. But if you can get access to one, this is a great place for you to start. Again, it’ll help you understand how to use the equipment, it’ll help you do some of the basic exercises that will build on your Mat practice. And what’s really amazing with the Reformer is that it helps you do the Mat work better. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t do the Mat work better on your own just using the Mat, you can. You’ll build your foundation, you will have an amazing practice for your entire life. But the Reformer will help you get there. And you can actually do a Mat beginner workout and then the Reformer workout or the Reformer and then the Mat and have a full workout for you if you have extra time. If you’re looking for the best Pilates on YouTube, these workouts are a great place to start!

essential pilates equipment online pilates classes

How to Choose the Right Beginner Pilates Workout on YouTube

So here’s some tips for choosing the right workout for you on YouTube. First of all, you can check out the playlist that we have for beginners. But also, you know, there’s tons of other people you could be taking from. So some things you want to search for is Pilates for beginners or beginner Pilates, beginner Pilates on the Mat. The Mat is specific because unless you have access to a Reformer or a Wunda Chair or a Tower, then you want to make sure you’re as specific as possible so that you can actually find a class that you have accessibility to. You might also want to look for one that doesn’t have props, because if you are new to this, you might not have purchased props just yet.

So when you’re looking for a Pilates class, the other thing to look at is check out the teacher’s training, they should have it in their bio, in the show notes, or they should tell you about it when they’re starting to class. You want someone who is ideally comprehensively trained has been doing this for a really long time. Because, to be honest, teaching a class for beginners is very difficult. There’s a lot of different things you need to think about while you’re learning an exercise, and also not get overwhelmed. So you want to find a teacher who can explain the exercises to you in a simple way, but also help you do them correctly without overwhelming you.

Unlocking the Benefits of Pilates: A Beginner’s Guide to Transformation

So let’s talk about the benefits of Pilates for you, a beginner. First of all, when can you expect to see some of those benefits? To be honest, after you do a Pilates workout the first time you probably will feel like you feel like after any good workout, you’re gonna have a little bit of extra dopamine in there, you’re gonna feel loose in some areas, you’re going to feel tight, you’re going to feel strong, you’re gonna feel parts of your core. But beyond how you feel in that moment, you’re not gonna start to see the benefits of Pilates until you have a consistent practice. And what does that mean? It doesn’t mean you have to do every day although you can. It does mean though, you want to do it multiple times in a week. First of all, to build your foundations. Joseph Pilates would say this, he would say “In 10 Pilates sessions you’re gonna feel different, in 20 Pilates sessions you’re going to look different, in 30 Pilates sessions you’re going to have a whole new body.” What people forget to mention is he also said “If you do this three or four times a week”. So you do want to have some consistency in that Pilates practice but it doesn’t have to be an hour, in fact, doesn’t need to be. Pilates can be done in short stents, and the more effective the quality of the movement, the better. So don’t worry about the quantity of minutes, focus on the quality of the movement as consistently as possible. And then what you’ll feel and those benefits is improved posture, reduced aches and pains, you’re actually going to feel like you can do a lot of the things you already love to better. If you like to run, or weight train, or even just like chase after your children what’s really cool about Pilates is that you’re gonna have more increased stamina endurance in all the things you already love because as you do Pilates more and more, you start to reduce the amount of breaks you take, and you start to go from one exercise into the next that will increase your stamina endurance. For a great starting point, check out our Pilates beginner video to help you kickstart your journey!

Essential Pilates Equipment for Your Home Practice

Alright, so what do you need to have at your home to have a Pilates practice? Well, first of all, you just need a great Mat. So an eight to 10 millimeter Mat is what I’m going to ask you to get yourself. If you’re using a yoga Mat, that’s fine, just grab your beach towel, fold it up, put in the center, because you do want it to be a little bit thicker, it’s going to help you with those rolling exercises. Beyond that, the other props that are out there are awesome. Not necessarily essential, but can improve and help you if you need a modification or an adjustment. So for example, a Magic Circle. I love the Magic Circle. Balanced body, who I do have a great link from, a little discount link if you want to check it out in the show notes below, they have an amazing Magic Circle. They have a small one, if you’re more fun size. They have a larger one, if you’re more of an average size. I like to have both personally if you have that, if you have space for it, but it’s going to help you find connections to your glutes, your hamstrings, and more.

A Theraband is another great essential tool, it will actually assist you especially if you have a hip click or you are needing a little bit more support. Maybe having your legs out straight distally is a little more than what your back can handle right now, a Theraband can kind of assist you with your legs and those exercises. Other things you can use, I love a Triadball, it’s a purple squishy ball. Well, it’s squishy only because I let the air out of it. But you want to get that because it can help prop your head and chest up. So that if you are having a hard time curling your head and chest, you use the ball to help you get there. And also use the ball between your ankles. Especially if when you have your legs together your knees, keep your ankles from touching. Closing that chain having a ball there is a really essential tool. A Bolster, it’s not really a Pilates prop. But it is something that can help you again prop your head and chest up. You could also use a couch cushion though, so you don’t actually have to go buy these things, right? So some of these tools like instead of a Theraband, I’ll use old leggings. Instead of lightweights I’ll use water bottles. So you have lots of options that you can use from your household items. But you don’t have to invest a ton into your practice.

beginner pilates workouts online pilates classes

Pilates Equipment: Enhance Your Practice at Home

Now, if you’re loving Pilates and you’re ready to invest, I highly recommend the Contrology Mat that I use, again, use our discount code. I love it because it folds up but it’s got handles and a strap that will help you build your practice up. I have a great FREE guide that will actually help you understand what Pilates equipment you can fit in a small space. So I would love for you to go check that link out. Because a lot of people think they need the Reformer in their house to have Pilates equipment but you don’t, you can get a Wunda Chair. In fact, we have a really awesome video on which chair you should get and you can see the size of the chair and how easy it is to fit in your house. You can also use a Spine Corrector. I love a Spine Corrector, it really helps with your posture and helps teach your body really amazing strong back bends. So there’s so many different tools you could actually invest in if you know Pilates is what you want to have as part of your life that don’t include buying a huge Reformer and taking up space in your home. If you have any questions about any of the items I talked about, or the tools that we have, check out the links below. And if you’re like me and you just want to go all in and have a Reformer in your living room, check out our video on How to Choose a Home Reformer. I think you’ll get a lot out of it.

Common Mistakes to Avoid as a Pilates Beginner

Some of the common mistakes that you might make as a beginner are thinking that Pilates isn’t for you because you’re not doing it right. And look, when you’re new at something you got to allow yourself to be a beginner. It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be weird, it’s going to be interesting. And look, if you have questions about whether you’re doing an exercise right or not, you can put in the comments below, you can tell me what’s going on. I can answer that on our lives on Sunday. Or if you’re an OPC member, you can actually film yourself doing an exercise and get feedback on your form. But please understand that if Pilates feels easy to do, it’s probably that you’re not doing it right yet. And if you’re finding that it’s hard or hurting you, it’s probably that we need to change the form that you’re using or change the way that you’re doing an exercise. So give yourself a break and allow yourself to be a beginner.

Other common mistakes are doing too much. I find a lot of people like “I’m gonna do two hours of Pilates because it makes me feel so good”. A little goes a long way. And so it’s really important that you give yourself permission to do what is possible and really build your foundations. Other things that I find people making on mistakes is actually picking an instructor that’s not exactly right for them yet. So someone who’s like, over demanding or over correcting or over cueing. If you’re finding that you’re not understanding what the teacher is saying, go find a new teacher. It’s really okay. There’s so many teachers out there. And it’s also really important that you actually choose the level of a class, it’s right for you. Or if you choose a class, like let’s say you end up in one of my classes that’s more advanced, give yourself permission to omit an exercise you’re not ready for yet. It is absolutely okay to repeat an exercise you can’t do in place of one you can.

Signs You’re Ready to Progress in Pilates

So how do you know when you’re ready to progress beyond beginner Pilates? Well, here’s the deal: you’re gonna feel it. Here’s how you know: the exercise you’ve been doing actually felt more possible, yet harder. So I always tell people this, if you’re truly advancing, the beginner exercises start to felt more challenging. And that’s because you’re able to recruit more muscles, more parts of your body. So in the beginning, when you do the Hundred, you might only feel your abdominals, but over time you feel your inner thighs and your outer hips. That’s when you know you’re able to start progressing your practice up to another level. So challenge yourself to not think of beginner exercises as truly beginner, the way I like to think of beginner exercises are that they’re actually very difficult and it takes our entire lifetime to do them. So we learn them at the beginning. The other thing you’ll notice is that you actually just start to have more time for your workout. So that means you can actually add more exercises in. And so what I love for the way that I teach Pilates is I do use Joseph Pilates orders and his intentions. And what that means is when you take a Mat class from me, we’re gonna probably start with the Hundred. And we’re gonna end with push ups or something around there. What allows you to do is actually have some certainty, have some autonomy. And when you start to remember the names of these exercises, that is when you know, you’re also ready to progress.

For those looking for the best YouTube Pilates workouts, these guidelines will help you gauge your progress and get the most out of your practice.

Transform Your Pilates Practice with OPC!

I hope this was very helpful. I would love to hear what your questions are in the comments below, and I would love for you to try out those classes I suggested. Let me know which one you liked the best. If you’re ready to actually join in our OPC and see what it’s like to do new class each week, be part of the community, get feedback on your form, and really have accountability in your practice, go to onlinepilatesclasses.com/free. Every single week we drop a new class, which means we take the old class away which really helps you show up for you and develop your practice. You’ll see how different themes pop in and different props are used to help you find the best practice for you. And make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos from us. Thank you so much and we’ll see you next time.

By lesley.logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with OPC Teachers.
Enjoying Lesley's teaching style? Willing to travel? Explore the world while maintaining your practice by joining Lesley on a Pilates retreat.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are “affiliate links”, a link with a special tracking code. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support our Website, and we genuinely appreciate your support. By watching this video, you agree to our Terms and Conditions, which you can read here:https://opc.me/tc

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pop up summer tour | online pilates classes

SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Yes, we are focusing on Horseback in this week's workout. But, we are also giving a celebration to all of us who might be back in our Pilates saddle again. Or, maybe you've been in the Saddle but stuck in the mud. This week's workout it's designed to be a positive play time with an exercise many of us avoid and one that we may never get. But, hey, it's always fun to be out where a friend is a friend - get it? If you know the song you do!

Mat: Theraband and light weights
Reformer: no props needed

See ya in class,
xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Theraband, light weights and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Backstroke…the ultimate Middle Exercise! From our chest to our knees, front and back, we have to work our “Middle” in coordination to make The Backstroke happen. We’ll use a small ball on the Reformer and light weights on the Mat to help find our connection to this exercise.

    See you in class,
    Tami

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a small ball and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    AIN'T NO PARTY LIKE A 100 PARTY

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    So many people don't love the 100. But the 100 is an incredible exercise that when you know all its capabilities can be something you might look forward to...maybe even like a little bit. Or a lot!

    We often wonder why the 100 is the first exercise. I mean, it's got a lot going on for a warm up. To me it's a survey, a feedback, a mirror to how our body is doing that day. And, how cool it is to know how your body is feeling as you go into your practice. This way you can explore what your body needs in other exercises.

    Let's explore what the 100 is telling us and how to make it our own each day!

    No props needed.

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

      STAND BY ME

      Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

      The key to longevity is being able to get down to the ground and up again with as little assistance as possible. In this weeks class we are going to focus on how to stand in your feet no matter where they are in space.

      On the Mat we will have a playful ending that Joseph Pilates would do!

      The Reformer we’ll end challenging ourselves standing on our carriage. (Options to do the exercises off the Reformer too!)

      No props needed.

      See ya in class,

      xx~LL 💋

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

      FRENEMIES

      Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

      Hello, it's OPC Teacher Christine here! I used to get commended for my form and flexibility in any type of movement class I went to, even if it was my very first class. But what I struggled with was always hitting a plateau where I couldn't make progress or improvement. For me, that changed when I discovered the strength and control I found in practicing Pilates.

      Getting on the apparatuses puts your body in a position where you find strength, stretch, and control through your center. I was unable to fold my body like origami anymore. One of the mat exercises - double leg stretch - is great for finding a strong center regardless of what the arms and legs are doing.

      For this month, we'll explore using the concept of finding an inner lift of the belly away from the thighs to find a strength in our center, the two-way stretch of the limbs, while controlling the movement of the arms and legs whether they move away from center, or come back to center.

      Mat class: Magic Circle and squishy ball

      See you in class,

      Christine

      HANG 10

      ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

      Grip strength as well as upper body strength plays an important role in so many different exercises throughout the mat and all apparatus. Our grip can influence the connection from our wrists - to our arms - to our back. And building strength in our chest and upper back can help us connect more to our center in every exercise.

      All month long we’ll explore the feeling, the strength, and the position of our hands and upper body to see how our exercises change with a little extra focus. We’ll also play with ways to gain more strength and awareness in our chest and upper back to create even more connections to the exercises.

      Props:
      Chair - short pole* and a foam roller for balance
      *A thicker pole or roll down bar size might feel nice, but no worries you’ll find your connections no matter what you have on hand!
      Mat: a pole
      Reformer: No props needed
      Cadillac: No props needed

      See ya in class,
      xx-LL 💋

      I LOVE ROCK & ROLL UP

      Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

      Finding some love for Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker isn't easy! But, these two exercises unlock the potential for so many other exercises. And what we don't like we often need. So, let's dive into what we need to rock our Roll Ups and Open leg Rockers and see how that changes the rest of our practice in the meantime.

      Mat: Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband
      Reformer: have your shortbox pole near by

      xx~LL

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, short box and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.