30-Day Guide to a Beginner Pilates Exercise Program

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This beginner Pilates exercise program is designed to help you build a strong foundation in the Pilates method, based on the classical exercises developed by Joseph Pilates. As he once said, "A few well-designed movements properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortions."

During the next 30 days, you will learn not just what to do, but how to move with the Pilates principles of centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow that make Pilates a fitness experience for both the body and mind.

The exercise instructions include modifications, but it is important that you learn to modify exercises appropriately for yourself and progress at your own pace. The weekly schedules below are guides only.

It is also highly recommended that you support your home practice with Pilates classes.

Equipment Needed

The Pilates method begins with your body and a mat on the floor. You won't need studio equipment for these exercises. If you don't have a mat, start with a padded surface, but do consider getting a Pilates mat.

Day One

Begin with the Pilates fundamentals set. Mastering these easy exercises is crucial for building good form in the Pilates method. You will get the most benefit from Pilates exercises when you do them correctly. Next, do the Pilates beginners routine, which is going to launch you right into building core strength and flexibility.

Week 1 (Days 2 through 7)

You can do Pilates every day, but it is quite reasonable to expect good results from scheduling Pilates three to four times per week.

  • Continue your Pilates fundamentals training.
  • Continue the Pilates beginners routine.

Week 2

Warm up with the fundamentals and add these exercises:

Move on to the first 10 classic Pilates exercises and the side kick series. However, if the beginner exercise routine continues to challenge you, stick with it until you are ready to move on.

Week 3

Warm up with the fundamentals and additional exercises chosen from the warm-up list. Do the first 10 exercises listed in the classic Pilates exercises and add these exercises:

Week 4

Warm up with the fundamentals and additional exercises chosen from the warm-up list. Do first 10 classic exercises and add:

You've Completed the 30-Day Beginner Plan

Now it's time to stretch yourself even further. You can continue to learn more about Pilates at a local studio or through online and video instruction.  It can be helpful to get the guidance of a Pilates instructor to help you perfect your form and get the most out of your home practice.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Zoumbaris SK. Encyclopedia of Wellness: From Acai Berry to Yo-yo Dieting. United States: Greenwood; 2012.

  2. Campos JL, Vancini RL, Rodrigues Zanoni G, Barbosa de Lira CA, Santos Andrade M, Jacon Sarro K. Effects of mat Pilates training and habitual physical activity on thoracoabdominal expansion during quiet and vital capacity breathing in healthy womenJ Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2019;59(1):57-64. doi:10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07908-7

  3. Wells C, Kolt GS, Bialocerkowski A. Defining Pilates exercise: a systematic reviewComplement Ther Med. 2012;20(4):253-262. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2012.02.005

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.