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The truth behind TikTok’s viral 28-day wall Pilates challenge

Another day, another viral TikTok workout routine. This time, it’s wall Pilates challenges that are spreading all over your FYP.

And, over on Google, searches for free 28-day wall Pilates challenges are at breakout levels.

While Pilates has been trending for a few years now, becoming the most popular workout of 2023 with reservations up 92% in a year, according to ClassPass, wall Pilates is the latest style to go viral.

Online, there are videos of people suggesting the workout can achieve everything from building muscle and losing weight to reducing pain.

What is the wall Pilates challenge?

‘Wall Pilates is an evolution of mat Pilates that you can do at home with the addition of a wall for extra resistance or support,’ explains Paola Di Lanzo, founder of Paola’s Body Barre.

‘It involves pressing your body against the wall for while you complete a range of Pilates exercises.

‘In the same way that you would add a ball or a Pilates ring, the wall provides variation and some added benefits to your workout from the comfort of your own home.’

Most of the online challenges relating to wall Pilates involve following a wall Pilates class every day for 28 days, though some creators have their own rules and guidelines to challenges.

What are the benefits of a 28-day wall Pilates challenge?

Online, there are many superlative claims to the 28-day wall Pilates challenges. So, we spoke to experts to find out the legitimate benefits to practising.

Muscle strength and health

For some people, using a wall can add extra depth or resistance. For instance, performing a glute bridge with your feet against the wall means your hips can move through more range of motion compared to performing the exercise on the floor, which can improve muscle engagement, strength and mobility.

‘Wall Pilates can offer additional stimulus for bodyweight movements, with the opportunity to change the angle of the exercise to give you the chance to adapt exercises using the principle of progressive overload,’ explains personal trainer Nancy Best, founder of Ladies Who Crunch.

Progressive overload means consistently increasing the challenge on your muscles – such as adding extra weight or reps – to continue to build strength. ‘If you’ve been doing bodyweight movements in your pilates sequence for months, using the wall can help to intensify and progress the movement whilst performing the same exercise,’ adds Nancy.

Good for all levels

As well as being used to scale up a workout, wall Pilates can be used to scale down Pilates for those who find it too challenging. For instance, you can use it to assist you in standing exercises if you struggle to balance, or elevate movements for those who struggle with the full depth from the floor.

‘The wall offers support, as well as challenge. A wall plank, for example, reduces the tension in your wrists versus the mat version. Similarly, I often use the wall to regress press ups for beginners or members of Ladies Who Crunch who are recovering from a shoulder injury,’ says Nancy.

Reducing pain and improving posture

If you struggle with your posture during Pilates (or in daily life) and find some movements painful, wall Pilates can help.

Nancy says: ‘Wall Pilates offers support to improve postural alignment in compound movements like wall sits, or single leg RDLs. This helps to ensure your technique is correct and you can complete multiple repetitions with confidence that your hips, knees and spine are stacked correctly.’


28-days is a good amount of time to stay consistent to feel and see results, says Paola. ‘Any 28-day fitness challenge is long enough to get results, provided you are consistent and compliment the workouts with other lifestyle factors such as good nutrition, adequate rest and stress management.

‘It’s worth noting that often the greatest results aren’t always visible, especially with Pilates which is designed to be a full mind and body rehabilitation exercise. I think challenges like this are amazing at building a sense of consistency and commitment to your workout routine which will undoubtedly provide you with a huge sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue to keep moving your body in the months to follow.’

While it’s important to take rest days, a gentle wall Pilates workout may be seen as low-intensity enough that it’s fine to complete every day without overloading the body. However, it’s always best to do what feels good for you, and if a daily workout for 28 days feels too much, then you take a break.

Does wall Pilates work?

All of these benefits aside, can 28-day wall Pilates challenges really lead to the results we see shared online? It’s unlikely, say the two experts.

‘The big claims that come with these challenges that worry me. Ultimately, everyone is made differently and the results that one person might see from a 28-day challenge might be very different to another,’ says Paola.

‘In my view, consistent participation in a Pilates challenge is very likely to yield results such as improved core strength, flexibility and muscle engagement. Many people people will also likely experience better posture, reduced pain, and a general sense of wellbeing. However, significant changes in body composition, such as fat loss or muscle gain, might require more time.’

It’s also worth noting that it’s impossible to spot reduce fat, as many of the wall Pilates creators claim. This means you can’t intentionally lose weight from a particular area, such as your stomach, simply by doing exercises that focus on this area.

Nancy adds: ‘Building muscle mass isn’t a one size fits all approach and it’s important to take factors like genetics and nutrition into consideration.

‘I’d recommend complementing wall Pilates with resistance training using dumbbells or kettlebells. This equipment helps to ensure there are opportunities for adequate progressive overload, to continue to develop your muscle fibres.

‘A wall is great for exercising when away from home, for example, but it’s not enough as a standalone form of resistance to reduce the risk of osteoporosis as we age.’

‘As a professionally qualified coach, I’m always sceptical of any claims that lack empirical data. Wall pilates is a great form of exercise, but just like any other kind of movement, the results vary, depending on the individual: whilst it is undoubtedly powerful and transformative for one person, it doesn’t guarantee the same physical and emotional results for the next person.’

Should you do the 28-day wall Pilates challenge?

If you’re looking to ease aches and pains, improve flexibility and mobility, be more consistent with your movement or mix up your workouts, a wall Pilates challenge could be a good idea.

That it’s low impact, simple and good for you should be enough, without TikTok claims of weight loss, re-composition and over-stated changes.

‘I think pilates has become too fetishised thanks to TikTok which can leave certain demographics feeling excluded. But wall Pilates is accessible and valuable to everyone. I’m a huge advocate for variety in your training, to help keep exercise fresh, so unless you’re rehabbing a specific injury that precludes you, everyone should feel able to try it,’ agrees Nancy.


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