I'm swapping out weights for bodyweight routines like this ten minute Pilates session—here's why

Bodyweight workouts require no equipment and help me strengthen muscles that I forget about in the gym

Fitness writer Alice Porter in a high plank position
(Image credit: Alice Porter)

I usually rely on gym workouts to keep me fit and strong. I like to visit multiple times a week and take advantage of the heavy barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells on offer. However, I'm currently traveling and don't have access to a gym, so I'm on the lookout for alternative ways to maintain my strength. 

My regular gym sessions can also get repetitive and I end up working the same body parts. That's why equipment-free Pilates is a great option for me, as it focuses on small, intentional movements that strengthen overlooked muscles. It can also boost posture, balance and coordination, which are all areas I want to improve as they impact everyday movement and lifting ability.

Pilates instructor Georgia Weibel recently posted the below ten-minute workout. I decided to try it first thing in the morning, as a quick way to get moving.

Watch Georgia Weibel's 10-minute full-body Pilates workout

Unlike cardio workouts where moving quickly increases the difficulty, Pilates exercises are more challenging if you do them slowly, as this increases the time the muscles are under tension. Go at a snail's pace and you should experience a burning sensation in your muscles, indicating that you're working hard.

Weibel described this as a full-body routine, but I mostly felt it in my core. I found that these muscles were 'switched on' throughout the entire session, while other body areas were rarely called into action.

Fitness writer Alice Porter doing boat pose

(Image credit: Alice Porter)

Despite moving at a slow and challenging tempo, I wasn't sweaty or out of breath by the end of this workout. I still felt like I'd gently activated a range of muscles and worked some core areas that I usually neglect. For that reason, this is definitely a routine I'll come back to.

However, if I really want to challenge myself I'd rather do something like this beginner's bodyweight workout, as the goblet squats, lunges and push-ups will strengthen a wider range of muscles

Need something to support you during your Pilates session? See our guide to the best yoga mats

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.