In general Pilates doesn’t require any special equipment or much space, so do you really need to go to a special class to experience a Pilates workout? Back in the day you’d buy a workout video/DVD, but now everything is online.
Pilates can be learned online thanks to a wealth of tutorial videos available. Many of these videos are available free of charge, some are available via paid for courses, they are a great way to experience Pilates where ever you are in the world.
It’s important to take care with your movements, you won’t have someone in the room to monitor how you’re doing and prevent you from causing yourself an injury.
With a wide range of free classes available by different teachers you’re sure to find something new to try out online whatever your fitness level, let’s take a look at how to take advantage of all the free content.
How to Get Started with Online Pilates
Having the ability to do exercise anytime, anywhere can be a huge time saver, for a start you don’t need to travel anywhere, you can pick the workout that suits you and you have a huge range of instructors to pick from.
However, before loading up a class let’s consider what equipment is required. To make use of online classes you’ll need:
- An internet connection
- An internet connected device (e.g. TV, tablet, computer)
- A source of classes (e.g. YouTube)
Most people will have an internet connection and some sort of device, such as a tablet or computer. Pilates looks great on a large screen, if you can use your TV that’s ideal. If your TV has apps such as Netflix on it, you should be fine to use it for Pilates, they usually have at least a YouTube app.
If your TV isn’t a smart TV you can easily add some smarts with something like an Apple TV or Android box. These little boxes plug in to your TV and connect to the internet, they have apps on them that are shown on your TV screen allowing you to benefit from a large TV screen.
A tablet or laptop also work well and are a better option than a mobile phone, even a large mobile has a tiny screen compared to laptops and tablets.
You’ll also need to create a space for your workout and I’d recommend getting a Pilates mat regardless of floor type.
While most Pilates classes are mat classes that use your entire body and nothing more, some may require additional Pilates equipment, for example small weights. If you don’t have any you can always improvise with household items such as tin cans and the good Pilates instructors will suggest alternatives.
Which Online Pilates Class Should I Pick?
As with an in person class, you will find a range of Pilates instructors who offer beginner classes, intermediate classes and advanced classes. Some may offer specialist Pilates courses or classes, such as for those with a Reformer.
I recommend trying a few different instructors out, as with any form of exercise it’s important to feel comfortable with your Pilates teacher, be that in a private session or an online one. After all, you could be spending hours of training with this person!
Pilates YouTube channels offer a fantastic way to start your Pilates journey online. Even instructors who offer paid for courses will likely have a YouTube channel so potential clients can get to know them and see if they like their training style.
If you’ve not used YouTube before don’t worry, it’s very simple and doesn’t cost anything. You can use it without signing up for an account, but it is better to sign up for one as you can then ‘Subscribe’ to your favourite Pilates instructors to be notified when they post a new video.
Having a YouTube account also makes getting the videos on your TV much easier, just sign in to your account on the YouTube app and all your favourite teachers will be ready and waiting on the big screen.
Suggested Pilates YouTube Channels
So where to begin? You can just type a search into YouTube and check out the results, or check out the following channels that I’ve enjoyed:
Pilates with Donna Finnie
I’ve got to kick off with co-contributor to this site, Donna Finnie. A relatively new channel, Donna publishes regular weekly workouts. She’s a qualified Pilates instructor in the UK and so the classes you’re getting for free on YouTube are similar to those you’d pay for in person.
Many require just an exercise matt, some make use of additional pieces of equipment.
If you’re looking to get started wtih online Pilates check out her 8 day challenge series, here is day 1:
Sean Vigue Fitness
Sean Vigue has one of the best established channels on YouTube and stands out as one of the few men to break into this space having been named one of the “Top Onine Workout Instructors” by The Huffington Post.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of Sean’s videos, he has a quirky sense of humour and doesn’t take himself seriously, but does take his fitness classes seriously. It’s worth noting his channel isn’t focused only on Pilates, he has both Pilates and Yoga workouts available.
Here’s one of his 10-minute core workouts:
Move With Nicole
If you do a search for ‘Pilates’ in YouTube you can’t help but come across the Move with Nicole channel. Her videos have clocked up millions of views and have firmly established her as one of the big hitters on the platform.
Based in Australia, Nicole is a former dancer and gymnast turned Pilates instructor who publishes content on a very regular basis, often daily.
Here’s her most popular workout video that (at the time of writing) has recieved over 3 million views:
Taboota isn’t a YouTube channel, but it’s worth mentioning alongside these channels as it offers a free and easy way to find free workouts online. If you’ve not heard of it before check out our article on it: Learn about Taboota
Online Pilates Courses
YouTube isn’t the only place online you can learn Pilates, there are lots of online courses available. I think it’s always a good idea to get to know the instructor first, check you like the teaching style, before investing in a course.
The advantage of investing in a course is you won’t have any annoying adverts pop up as you do on YouTube (don’t hate those ads, they help the video creator out), and you often find the courses are more targeted.
For example, a YouTube channel might publish a 45-minute full body workout one day, then a 5-minute ab workout the next, there is no consistency. Whereas a course will usually offer a structured, more rounded approach with classes the same length.
They can also cover specialist topics, for example advanced Pilates, Reformer Pilates, or Power Pilates.
Such courses tend to be self paced, on demand videos. You log in to the instructors website and fire up the next class.
What if you’ve gone a beginner class and enjoy instructor feedback but are unable to attend in person? The global pandemic forced a lot of Pilates studios and instructors to adapt the kind of workouts they offer and many now offer live Zoom classes.
These classes are similar to pre-recorded Pilates videos but the instructor is streaming live, meaning you can interact, ask questions and gain feedback just as you would in a live session.
This is especially important for injury prevention as your fitness instructor can spot if you are doing something wrong, even those at an advanced level need feedback!
Wondering what a Zoom Class is like? Check out this recording of one:
Thanks to the internet you’re not restricted to instructors in your local area, time zone permitting you can attend classes by instructors all over the world!
The type of class on offer will vary, sometimes it’ll be core Pilates, sometimes you’ll use exercise bands, maybe the focus will be on cardio Pilates or contemporary Pilates, generally you book on to the class you are interested in attending.
If this sounds interesting you can book a FREE introductory Zoom class with Donna via this link: Free Online Pilates Class
Hopefully this quick overview has helped start you on your online Pilates journey. Just remember the major drawback over in person sessions is the lack of instructor intervention if you’re doing something wrong.