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The 20-Minute Pilates Workout for Any Fitness Level

The 20-Minute Pilates Workout for Any Fitness Level

All the straps, springs, and moving parts of a typical Reformer class make Pilates seem almost scary compared to those yoga classes full of flickering candles, blocks, and cozy blankets.

Add in the svelte celebrity fans applauding the workout, and we don't blame you for thinking it all seems a little intimidating—and out of your budget.

But before you pass up on Pilates, we have some good news: You don’t need any extra equipment to reap the physical and mental benefits—all you need is a mat! Mat-based Pilates is a gentle, low-impact, yet serious strength workout that research shows can help ease low back pain, reduce body fat, improve flexibility, and even support mental well-being. In fact, mat Pilates can be even more effective than using a reformer since you’re using your own bodyweight to strengthen your muscles and stabilize your joints, says Taylor Phillips, a senior Pilates instructor at Equinox.

Here, Phillips demonstrates a 20-minute Pilates mat workout—no gym needed. Whether you’re new to Pilates or you’re an experienced pro, you can follow along, taking modifications or more advanced positions where noted.