How to Create a Pilates Home Gym

Tamsen Butler
Woman doing plank exercise

Creating a space in your home for your Pilates workouts can help increase the frequency of your workouts and allow you to practice at your own pace. Like any home gym, you can just buy the essentials or go all out on an impressive space dedicated to your workouts.

The Essentials

Choose a space in your home that has enough room for you to maneuver based on your plans. For example, if your Pilates will largely consist of following instructional videos, you'll only need room for a mat and a screen you can see easily. On the other hand, if you anticipate having extensive equipment, or if you want enough room for friends to join you in your Pilates workouts, you will need more space.

Pilates Mat

Though you can use a yoga mat for Pilates, there are specific Pilates mats that are a little thicker. These mats provide much-needed cushioning for the rolling moves characteristic of Pilates. Choose a durable mat that is comfortable and long enough for your body. For your home gym mat, make sure you have space to store it and a spot for cleaning wipes or spray - you don't want your mat to become a storage spot depot for germs. If your Pilates workout will primarily be mat work, this is the most important piece of equipment for your home gym. Buy a deluxe mat for around $75.

Pilates Ring

If you anticipate using a ring in your Pilates workouts, purchase one based on Joseph Pilates' Magic Circles. These are available in different sizes and weights. Consider adding a wall hook for easy storage of your ring. Purchase a ring on Amazon for around $20. A Pilates kit will likely include a ring along with the other items you need for home workouts.

Hand Weights or Weighted Balls

Increase the intensity of your Pilates workouts with adding weight - you don't need heavy weights for Pilates. In fact, suggested hand weights for Pilates generally range from 1 to 3 pounds each and weighted balls are typically around the same. You will want not only the weights or balls, but also a way in which to store them and keep them out of the way when not in use. Merrithew has a good selection of hand weights and balls designed for Pilates ranging from around $20 to around $70.

Hand weights and weighted ball

Full Length Mirror

Whether to include a mirror in your Pilates workouts is a matter of some debate among Pilates enthusiasts. While some say it's important for checking form, others say it's a distraction that detracts from relying on how an exercise feels. If you want a mirror in your home gym, ensure it's durable and properly mounted.

Foam Roller

Rollers are used in some Pilates workouts for stability, but the real benefit of a foam roller in your home gym is for stretching and releasing tense muscles after a workout. Self myofascial release with a foam roller gives similar results as deep tissue massage when done correctly. Choose a foam roller that is not too rigid nor too soft and consider installing a shelf or bucket for storage of your foam roller in your gym. Buy a foam roller for around $50 from Amazon.

Instructional Materials

Unless you're a Pilates professional or well-versed in this type of exercise, you'll want to set aside space for some instructional material that can help you achieve correct, effective form throughout your workout. Posters of mat sequences are available on Amazon for around $20, as are instructional books and videos. Note that not all videos that appear on searches for Pilates videos are actually Pilates; PiYo, sculpting videos, and other workouts may utilize Pilates moves in their sequences, but these aren't Pilates workouts.

Additional Options

Pilates isn't just work on a mat. You can add a variety of expensive equipment that requires ample space but will take your Pilates home gym - and workouts - to another level.

Pilates Reformer

A Pilates Reformer offers a challenging workout that builds core strength. This large piece of equipment ranges in price, but expect to pay at least a couple thousand dollars for a quality Reformer.

Pilates Tower

Pilates towers combine elements of the Reformer and Pilates mat work. The starting cost of a tower is around $2,000 and can go up to over $7,000. Note that this piece of equipment takes up a good amount of space, so plan accordingly if you plan to add one to your home gym. Peak Pilates offers a variety of towers at different price points.

Pilates Chair

The Pilates chair is designed as a compact option for Pilates workouts. This piece of equipment is designed to increase and improve stability and can provide similar benefits to other expensive Pilates equipment. Buy a Pilates chair from Amazon for around around $1,400 but keep in mind that the chair expands so the dimensions of the chair aren't indicative of all the space you'll need to set aside.

Pilates Barrel

The Pilates barrel is a versatile piece of equipment common to group fitness Pilates classes. The barrel helps relieve lower back pain and provides a deep stretch. Large, sturdy barrels are available as are lightweight arcs that offer similar benefits. Peak Pilates has a variety of barrels and arcs for home use starting around $500.

Safety Items

Have water accessible in your home gym and ensure the temperature and humidity of the space can be controlled. That might mean saving a space for a water cooler or bottles and perhaps buying a fan, heater, or humidifier/dehumidifier. Lighting should be enough to where you can see your surroundings. Reserve some space for your phone so you know exactly where it is in case an injury forces you to call for help.

A Peaceful Space

While Pilates isn't about the mind-body connection as much as yoga, it still takes a great deal of concentration in order to execute correctly. Your Pilates home gym should be away from distractions and should be set aside as your personal space for your workouts. Don't allow the space to become the family's storage area or a place for kids to play.

How to Create a Pilates Home Gym