Only have half an hour to workout? These are the most effective 30-minute Pilates workouts you can do from home

Keen to get a good workout in from home?

30 minute Pilates workout: A woman using a resistance band
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best Pilates sweat sessions don't have to be done in an expensive studio, as these 30-minute Pilates workout videos prove. The big benefit to following a real-time exercise video is that you can get the same Pilates burn from the privacy of your own home, saving you money and time (especially as you can pulse in your PJs rather than finding a good gym 'fit).

While the Pilates obsession still rumbles on on TikTok, what exactly are the benefits of Pilates? Well, a 2021 study published in Frontiers in Neurology found that Pilates can induce large effects on physiological and psychological health, improving factors such as muscle strength, balance, endurance, flexibility, depression, sleep quality and pain. Phew.

The best news is that you don't need to do hours of Pilates of videos a week to get results. One study found that inactive women who started doing one hour of Pilates for beginners a week for 10 weeks had improved mood, body awareness, muscle mass, balance, flexibility, core- and abdominal muscle strength.

Of course, there are so many ways of doing Pilates, from reformer Pilates to Pilates ab workouts. But the best workout is the one you stick to, and training from home has been shown to increase consistency time and time again: for example, a 2019 paper found that home exercise programmes had a high session attendance which helped improve the cardiometabolic health of participants.

Eager to read our edit of the best 30 minute Pilates workouts, as chosen by a personal trainer? Keep scrolling. 

These are the best 30 minute Pilates workouts, according to an instructor

Why is Pilates good for you?

First up, let's talk about why you should prioritise Pilates. "Pilates can help you create a powerhouse core as all moves are done with a consideration of your muscles," explains senior instructor at BLOK studio, Rachel Lopez.

Not only that, but the expert shares that it can improve your mobility, form and posture, in turn easing neck and shoulder pain, dull headaches and muscle aches. "The improved joint mobility makes general life a lot easier and can be a great way to prevent injury," she goes on, "as when the body is effectively balanced and strengthened, you're less likely to suffer from injury."

Lastly, Pilates prioritises breathwork as part of the practice, helping to "build and boosting your overall immunity."

Worried that home Pilates workouts might not deliver on all of the benefits? Lopez says confirms that it can and will, if practiced correctly. "You don’t need the fancy lights, music or air con of a studio - home sessions are a great affordable option," she confirms. Plus, if you work from home, it's an easy way to get moving and can be a great way to break up your day. "It's grounding and can really energise you," Lopez adds. 

The best kit for 30 minute Pilates workouts at home

FYI: you can do all Pilates moves using just your body weight, so you won't need to invest in ankle weights, bands, or gym kit. That said, you will need something soft to lay on - think a cushioned yoga mat designed for working out. "Any mat with grip will do, but a Pilates mat tends to be thicker than yoga to allow for more comfort in the joints," says Lopez. (Read our guide to the best yoga mats and best exercise mats, if you're not sure which to invest in). 

If you can afford to invest in some equipment, the instructor recommends a Pilates ball, a magic circle, a resistance band and ankle weights.

How often to do Pilates at home

'Pilates is designed to be done safely every single day. It compliments every style of training you can think of and it's one of the few ways of exercising that will not impede on any other training,' says Lopez.

'If you suffer from headaches, neck and shoulder pain, lower back pain, sciatica or a weak pelvic floor, then the more Pilates you can do the better. But if you are pregnant please make sure you are doing prenatal specific Pilates with the guidance of a fully qualified instructor.'

The best 30 minute Pilates workouts to try tonight:

1. 30-minute full body Pilates by Move With Nicole

What? A full body session that's uses the classical Pilates style.

Why? Lopez really like this workout - "it’s the right balance of challenging and restorative with good technique and breathwork," she shares. Do note, though: watch your form on some of these moves if you're hypermobile,' says Lopez.

How long? 30 minutes.

2. 30-minute morning Pilates by Move With Nicole

What? For those who want to benefit from the energising perks Pilates promises, this is a great flow to start your day with.

Why? "I love the breath cues on this - it's a great challenging way to start your day," says Lopez.

How long? 30 minutes.

3. 30-minute total Pilates workout by Lottie Murphy

What? For anyone looking for a full body routine that's not too hardcore, try this from instructor Lottie Murphy. 

Why? "It's a lovely and easy video with a really good amount of reps per movement," says Lopez.

How long? 30 minutes.

4. Mobility Pilates flow by Lottie Murphy

What? Pilates is great for mobilising joints, and that's the aim of the Pilates game with this flow. 

Why? "Beginners, listen up - this is a great video for learning correct technique from, with detailed and clear explainers on how to use the breath to your benefit," says Lopez.

How long? 30 minutes.

5. 30 minute Pilates workout for beginners by Issa Welly

What? For those who are new to the workout, start with this beginner session. You won't go easy, but you'll get loads of cues on form and great instruction to help you develop your Pilates flow. 

Why? "Issa is a brilliant instructor - she has beautiful technique and concise cues. This is another very good video for beginners," says Lopez.

How long? 30 minutes.

6. Pilates full body workout by Go Chlo Pilates

What? With loads of unilateral work - meaning working one side at a time - this is the perfect Pilates workout to help you even out imbalances and prevent injury. 

Why? "I love that she gives good cues for form, too," says Lopez.

How long? 30 minutes.

7. Calming pilates by Gede Foster

What? Pilates might have a rep for burning, but it also should be known for its low impact, low intensity, calming vibes. During this workout, Gede shows you how to zen out. 

Why? "This is a really straight forward video with clear cues and beautiful technique," says Lopez.

How long? 30 minutes. 

Is 30 minutes of Pilates enough exercise?

As per the NHS guidelines, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. 

If you spread this over five days, that equates to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day (or one of the Pilates flows above). 

Chloe Gray
Contributing Health Writer

Chloe Gray is a freelance journalist who writes and talks about health, fitness, and wellbeing through a feminist lens. She was part of the launch team for Stylist magazine's fitness brand, Strong Women, and has written for i news, Women's Health, Red magazine, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, and more. She's all about building mental and physical strength, eating delicious food that fuels you well, and making the fitness industry more accessible and enjoyable. She's also a qualified fitness trainer and research nerd, so you can be sure everything you read is backed by proper science.