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Set Up Your Home Workout Space

Tips for Making the Home Workout a Reality


Updated June 17, 2014

Mature Caucasian woman doing Pilates with exercise ball at home
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You don't need at lot of room to do Pilates home workouts. All you really need is a clear place on the floor big enough to put down an exercise mat and enough room around it to extend you arms and legs to the sides with a few extra feet on each side, and at the foot and head. That is very minimal, but it will get you by.

Now let's talk about making conditions more optimal for sticking to a home workout program. Having a nice spot, large or small, that you can count on and enjoy will go a long way toward ensuring the success of your home workout plans.

The first step is to see yourself working out at home. What qualities do you think the space you create needs to have? Does it need to be private? How should it look? How often will you use it? As you visualize your home workout space, notice if you find yourself gravitating to a certain area in your home. It might be different than what you first thought.

Most of us can't fulfill every part of our ideal vision, so use the tips below to help refine and prioritize your choices.

Space Planning
As I said above, you don't need very much space for Pilates mat workouts. Of course it depends on your height, but 8' x 8' is conceivable for a medium size woman, just as an example.

Are you going to add equipment to your workout? Pilates rings and exercise bands take very little space, and are excellent choices for adding variety and challenge to the home workout. But an exercise ball, for example, is going to have to go somewhere that is not where you are when you are not on it. And what about the larger pieces of Pilates equipment?

Be very realistic in your planning when you are investing in the larger, more expensive pieces of Pilates equipment. They take up a lot of space. Even if you get a reformer or Pilates chair that is made to be "portable" you might not want to "port" it as much as the manufacturer implies you will. I own a portable chair and a reformer, and I don't like moving either one. I would not workout much if I had to. So make sure you can set up a big piece and still have room to do your mat work, or at least get around the equipment comfortably. As a reference, the Stamina Aero Pilates Reformer measures 85" L x 20" W, and most are going to go up from there.

Real Availability
When you set up a home workout space your priority needs to be setting it up in a way that will ensure that you actually workout. A pleasant space makes a big difference in most people's motivation levels. I can't tell you how many well intentioned workout spaces have been set up in basements and garages only to sit there, unused, making their owners feel guilty. The main reason is that those places tend to be too cold or too hot, strangely lit, and sometimes musty. Not very inviting.

"Too cold" is one of the most common excuses I hear for not using a workout space at home. Of course you can put a space heater in a cold room, but are you going to workout if you have to wait half an hour for it to heat up? Just think it out realistically. Can you make a not so ideal space consistently comfortable? If so, it might be worth the investment. If the answer is on the edge, you might be better off going for something smaller or less private or whatever, just to make sure you can get to it.

Think about when you are most likely to workout and choose a place that will truly be available to you then. Many a workout has been derailed by comments and distractions from the peanut gallery -- kids, hubby, roommates. Need I say more? Though the family room might seem like the obvious location, would you be better off creating a great little spot in your bedroom?

Workout with Pilates DVDs
For many, Pilates DVDs are the cornerstone of the home workout. If you are planning on using them, your permanent workout spot has to have access to viewing a DVD, and room for whatever bit of machinery you are going to play it on. In other words, don't set up so you have to work not to kick the TV, and don't think you are going to haul a big DVD player back and forth between the basement and the living room. Portable DVD players are cheap. Go ahead and get one if you need to.

Read more about working with DVDs: Make DVD Workouts Work for You.
Read Pilates DVD Reviews
Compare Prices on Pilates DVDs

Find Exercise Instructions for Home Workouts

I hope you are feeling motivated to make yourself a perfect spot for home workouts. Setting aside a time and a place will have a very positive effect on your follow through. If, by chance, you are still on the fence, read: The Joys of the Home Workout.

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