Free Online Pilates Exercise Videos

Woman in sports bra and leggings on yoga mat in front of laptop

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You can find detailed instructions along with pictures for just about any Pilates mat exercise you are looking for online. Written instructions offer a lot of benefits in that you can take your time studying them and practice at your own pace. They can also often offer more depth than you typically find in a video clip. That said, witnessing a beautifully performed move executed in a video can provide useful insight into a particular Pilates exercise.

The Best Free Pilates Instructional Video Clips

The videos and video clips included below are free, easy to see, performed with excellent form, and have verbal instructions that are clear when they are provided. Although many of these clips are short in length, they each include detailed written instructions to help you improve your form.

Spine Stretch on the Mat: Lengthening the spine through stretches on the mat is a basic part of most Pilates workouts. This video demonstrates the proper form needed to stretch the back, hamstrings, and abdominals.

Chest Lift on the Mat: This beginner to intermediate level Pilates exercise targets core development and strengthens the supporting muscles of the chest and back.

Pilates Push Up on the Mat: Maintaining proper form while learning how to do a Pilates push up can help you reap the benefits of push ups by developing arm strength and core stabilization.

The Hundred Exercise: Named after the number of beats your arms will make while performing this classic Pilates abdominal exercise, you can modify your movement based on your skill level and ability.

Wall Roll Down: It's important to understand the steps of a Wall Roll Down as shown in this video clip in order to get your alignment right and learn to engage your hamstrings and abdominals throughout the exercise.

Roll Up: This intermediate-level Pilates move is a classic mat exercise that mobilizes the spine and strengthens the abdominal muscles by slowly engaging the core and back throughout the course of the movement.

Single Leg Stretch: This Pilates exercise will help you work your glutes (butt muscles), hamstrings, and core as you keep you shoulders and pelvis stable and aligned as you move. Once you have mastered this move, you can progress to a single leg kick or double leg stretch.

Criss Cross: This video clip gives you a detailed look at the proper way to align your body and use your muscles to perform a criss cross exercise to work your abdominal muscles while paying special attention to the obliques.

Corkscrew: Watching this video clip that demonstrates how to properly perform a corkscrew in Pilates can help you see proper form to prevent leg separation and back arching that could hinder the benefits of the movement.

Saw: Sometimes referred to as the ultimate Pilates stretch, this video clip of how to execute a saw movement shows proper alignment needed to see pelvic stability as well as the maximum benefits from the stretching of the back and hamstrings.

Swan: To expand the chest and open the front body during your Pilates workout, watch this video demonstration of the swan to see proper form and best practices for performing the move.

Where to Find More Free Online Pilates Videos

When you want more in-depth explanation of Pilates practice than a clip or short video of a specific move can provide, longer videos can be helpful—and plenty of them are available across the Web. These resources offer a wealth of information and demonstrate various types of Pilates practices.

Balanced Body Podcasts: Balanced Body offers a series of Pilates workout videos. These downloadable videos are divided into focus categories with sections for instructors, enthusiasts, and for rehabilitation. One series called Elizabeth's Studio features Pilates expert Elizabeth Larkam teaching on a variety of topics. Balanced body updates their videos frequently, so there is always fresh content to choose from.

YouTube: In recent years, there has been an explosion of Pilates videos posted on YouTube. Utilizing YouTube as a resource for Pilates videos allows you to really customize your workout, because you can choose from Pilates mat exercises, Pilates reformer exercises, Pilates studio equipment demonstrations, and even full classes that utilize varied techniques.

If you are new to Pilates, depending on YouTube videos to guide your practice can be tricky, as the quality of the videos and amount of instruction given varies. However, there are wonderful Pilates demonstrations to be found on YouTube if you know where to look.

One strategy to start with is to search well-known instructor names or practices like those from Pilates DVDs that you might already be familiar with, and then explore from there. Some examples of reputable YouTube channels for Pilates instruction are:

Also, some of the very best Pilates on YouTube is archival footage of Joseph Pilates, who developed the Pilates Method. Just search "Joseph Pilates." In the archival videos, you can even watch Joseph Pilates with his protege, Romana Kryzanowska, in the Pilates and Romana Original Video.

By Marguerite Ogle MS, RYT
Marguerite Ogle is a freelance writer and experienced natural wellness and life coach, who has been teaching Pilates for more than 35 years.