I tried a 10-minute, no-equipment Pilates class, and it worked my core without weights

This short session helped strengthen my core, develop a connection with my body, and reminded me to slow down

James Frew performing a Pilates workout
(Image credit: James Frew)

I miss doing yoga. I’ve barely practiced since my local studio closed. And as much as I want to get back into it, I don’t have time to dedicate an hour to the practice. 

I get some of the benefits of yoga from my daily meditation. It improves my awareness of my body and helps me feel more calm and mindful. However, it doesn't improve my flexibility like a good yoga session. 

I recently came across this 10-minute, equipment-free Pilates session, which offers some of the flexibility-boosting benefits of a yoga session with a side of core work. I figured if I could do a 10-minute meditation, I have enough time for a 10-minute Pilates class too, so I gave it a go.

How to do this 10-minute Pilates for travel session

This short session was developed by certified Pilates teacher Jessica Valant. You don’t need any equipment to get started, although a yoga mat can help makes things more comfortable during the floor-based exercises.  

Valant guides you through all the moves. Make sure you watch the video and copy her form, which will help you get the most from the session and avoid injury. 

I tried the session out at home—here are my thoughts after doing the 10-minute routine. 

1. You can do a lot in 10 minutes

To me, 10 minutes doesn’t sound like a very long time. I went into the session thinking we’d probably do a few moves, but that I wouldn’t feel like I’d achieved much. Thankfully, I was wrong. 

The routine flowed easily between standing poses and floor-based moves. There was a good balance of low-intensity stretches, core-focused moves, and breathing exercises to help you connect with your body. It was a comprehensive session, even though it was short.

2. Pilates is good for your core

My doctor recommended I do Pilates when I got diagnosed with a medical condition several years ago. They said it’d develop my core, which would help boost my circulation and raise my blood pressure. In the end, I chose to do yoga and core strengthening exercises instead.

But this 10-minute class worked my midsection with twists, alternating leg raises, and bicycle crunches. These targeted muscles I don’t usually engage during my weights sessions, so the next day I did feel the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) around my abs.

3. You don’t need weights for an effective workout

Since I stopped my regular yoga practice, I’d drifted into thinking that an effective workout should leave you dripping in sweat, with your muscles on fire. To pack everything into my day, I usually do high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), so it’s fast and intense.

Jessica Valant’s class was a good reminder that exercise doesn’t have to be full-throttle all the time. There’s value in slowing things down, not just because it makes you feel calmer, but it also gives you time to really focus on your form, rather than rushing through sets.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.