So, you want some extra flexibility, tone, strength, and enhanced muscular control – it sounds like Pilates could be the ideal solution for you then.

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In theory, Pilates may seem like a mild, yet efficient workout. What most people do not know is that Pilates can be extremely challenging and sweat-inducing as well.

Find out how to build your own Pilates springboard, and your workouts will go to another level. This is one of the best-kept secrets of this type of workout, but is often found as a class for more advanced Pilates enthusiasts. Here is everything you need to know to do it at home.

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What is springboard Pilates?

The springboard is basically a wall with different attachments to challenge your Pilates workout. According to Purely Pilates Center, the workout is mat-based. The mat goes next to the wall, which features all sorts of levers and springs. They are attached to the wall – this is the actual springboard.

Such workouts tend to combine the traditional mat-based Pilates with different types of equipment. Get ready to sweat and challenge your body a little. No matter how dedicated you are to your workouts, such exercises will help you overcome a fitness plateau.

Benefits of the Pilates springboard

The spring resistance is one of the main benefits of using a Pilates springboard. It challenges your body and forces it to adapt to the new resistance. Variation is also important. Classic Pilates may take you to a fitness plateau at some point, just like any type of workout – the springboard will help you get over it.

The springboard will work on your balance and stability in unique ways. You will need to balance and stabilize simultaneously – a bit tricky until you learn how to do it right. Furthermore, there are specific exercises suitable for those who work in offices or drive, only to fix the laptop hunch or the desk slouch.

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How do you use a Pilates springboard?

Imagine all sorts of exercises you can normally do with arm or leg springs, not to mention roll-up bars. This is what a springboard can give you – everything by the wall of your choice. A springboard with a push-through bar will give you even more exercises.

Moreover, you can also perform classic exercises that you normally do in a gym, but with some extra resistance and your bodyweight only – such as squats, exercises for arms, and especially your core. Your imagination is the only limit to the exercises you can do when you see yourself by a springboard.

You can perform workouts for your actual muscles and gain some muscular mass, but you can also enhance your flexibility by stretching and maintaining a proper balance. Your options are literally countless. 

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Pilates springboard installation

Learning how to build your own Pilates springboard is fairly simple and most of the items can be found in hardware and fitness stores. For a basic springboard, you will need a few planks of wood and eyelets to go into them and then fitted into the wall and snap hooks to attach tubes to eyelets.

Moreover, you will require a kit of resistance bands – different levels of resistance. You need a few springs – this is probably the priciest part of the DIY project. Finally, a wooden dowel will complete your springboard.

The springboard should be installed on an external bearing wall because you want it to be solid and resistant. You need to use heavy-duty and weight-bearing bolts. Screw them in, but also glue them. They need to support your weight – otherwise, the whole thing may fall all over you.

This is by far the hardest step in the process. Once you have it covered, simply attend a Pilates springboard class or take a look at the springboard in your gym. Take a picture of it and replicate what you see – simple as that.

When building your own Pilates springboard at home, you may not have all the bells and whistles you can see in the springboard in your gym – there is nothing to worry about. You do not need them anyway. Besides, you can do your springboard for up to 15 times less money than if you buy it.

Which is better – Pilates mat or reformer?

The truth is both the classic Pilates mat and the reformer are excellent for building up some strength in your core and toning various muscles throughout the body. Both options will give you benefits in your day-to-day activities.

In theory, you can perform the same exercises on both the mat and the reformer. However, the actual workouts are different. Unlike the classic mat, you will gain some extra resistance with the performer, rather than just your own body weight.

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Is reformer Pilates more effective?

Classic Pilates implies using your body weight for exercises, pretty much like you would with a pilates chair. We won’t dive into that right now though, for those who are curious about pilates chair, this post by fitnessbaddies is dedicated to just that. 

The reformer is slightly different. It is modern, yet it looks quite medieval. You basically have a narrow bed with all kinds of pulleys and straps – it looks like a torture instrument, but a few workouts will make you feel excellent.

The reformer is basically a support system for your body. You gain some extra resistance, which means you can challenge yourself when basic Pilates is not enough. You can add or remove springs based on the level of resistance you want as well.

Extra springs are handy when you need to focus on big muscle groups. Reduce the amount of springs when you challenge small muscles, or you just want to stabilize them. This means you have great control over the intensity.

Based on this level of versatility, the reformer is more effective than a classic mat. You simply gain more options when it comes to resistance and can always push yourself. Sure, Pilates is extremely diversified too, and you can go for years without getting bored, but the reformer is just more effective.

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Can you do reformer Pilates at home?

In theory, you can do any type of exercise at home. You can come up with your own gym. You can have dozens of different weights to lift, cardio machines, and all sorts of fitness equipment. Pilates makes no exception either.

You can purchase your own performer and conduct your workouts at home. There is a bit of a problem sometimes, though. If you are new to it, you may not necessarily want to spend a lot of money on a performer – they do not really come cheap.

Second, the performer is a bulky and large piece of equipment. If your space is limited, you do not want it in your living room. But then, if you have plenty of space in the basement or the garage, it is totally worth it.

It is important to note that you can mimic the reformer at home by using various things you may already have. For example, you can rely on towels, sliders, gliders, paper plates, or even some socks on a clear and shiny floor.

You can perform plank to pike moves, sliding forearm planks, sliding pushups, glute bridge hamstring slides, and so on. You can also throw in some inexpensive resistance bands. The key to having an effective workout is to make slow and deliberate movements.

How do you simulate Pilates reformer at home?

Apart from towels and socks, bands often add effectiveness to your workouts. Mini bands are those resistance bands available in loops – different resistance levels. They add some more resistance and work.

They are handy for upper body exercises – such as extensions for the triceps, hip work, side lying glute workouts, glute bridges, and so on. They have limited functionality because they come in loops. If you want more versatility, get a long resistance band instead.

They can be looped around shoulders, doorknobs, feet, and so on. You can do all sorts of strapwork, raises, presses, curls, stretching, and so on. The idea is to move slowly. Just imagine water pulling against you in a swimming pool. The slow pace is definitive for your Pilates workout.

What exercise cannot be performed at the springboard?

According to Gear Mashers, it is hard to think of any exercises that you cannot do by your springboard. The push-through bar is probably the main one. If you have attended classes before, you have probably done this exercise. However, the board is limited by the wall. That is the maximum point you can reach.

For lots of people, this is more than enough. Most newbies will not be able to reach further anyway, but a seasoned Pilates enthusiast may need more. Simply put, exercises that imply reaching beyond a wall cannot be performed by the springboard, and the good news is there are not too many.

Conclusion

Bottom line, the springboard is definitely an innovation in Pilates and a very well-kept secret for many newbies. Whether you get it in an official gym class or you decide to make your own springboard at home, these workouts will take your Pilates experience to another level.​