I miss a lot of things about the pre-pandemic world: restaurants, hugging, packed concerts...the list is literally endless. But oddly enough, one of the things I miss most is Pilates classes — there's just something about the soothing studios and hands-on instructors that make each one enjoyable and effective. Like many, I turned to online solutions to help fill the Pilates-shaped hole in my heart that appeared in March. But what I quickly discovered is that not all virtual Pilates platforms are equal, and that finding one actually worth the money is easier said than done.
In fact, some of the ones I tried were downright bad. And after experiencing a few that I high-key hated, I was feeling pretty annoyed that I'd wasted my time and, sometimes, money to test them out. Because I figured I wasn't the only one going through this process, I decided to try out a bunch to see which ones were actually worth the cash.
The journey was eye-opening. And honestly, that's mostly because I discovered some platforms so good, they actually got me excited to work out at home — something I don't think I've ever experienced before, and definitely didn't expect to find.
So if you're like me and feeling lost in the sea of endless virtual workouts, continue on. The four online Pilates platforms I'd recommend — out of the many I tried — are ahead.
Virtual Pilates Platform: YogaToday, $15 Per Month
What It Is: While YogaToday is technically a boutique online yoga subscription service, it also offers several Pilates classes as well. What sets it apart is that it's based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and all of its classes are filmed in National Parks and public lands, making each one serene and calming to watch.
What I Liked: In addition to the soothing backgrounds of each video, there's a lot I love about YogaToday's Pilates classes. The exercises are pretty traditional, and the instructors seem incredibly knowledgable. They focus on form quite a bit, so even beginners can easily follow along with most of the videos. That said, its classes are challenging enough that I almost never felt bored or like I didn't really get a workout.
What I'd Change: Since this is primarily a yoga platform, I went through every single Pilates class in less than a week. Because of that, I wouldn't necessarily recommend paying for this if you're only looking for Pilates classes — if you do, you'll run out quickly. However, if you want a mix of yoga, Pilates, and meditation videos, you'll probably be happy with the selection.
Overall Takeaways: Aside from the number of Pilates videos, I have no real complaints about YogaToday. I think the cost is reasonable (and there's a 14-day trial, which is more generous than many other sites), the classes are soothing yet challenging, and it's easy to use. I would definitely recommend this to a friend (in fact, I already have several times over).
Virtual Pilates Platform: Obé Fitness, $27 Per Month
What It Is: Obé is a platform that offers live and on-demand fitness classes, with a range of workout types from pilates to HIIT. It's also a millennial's dream: Every class is filmed in a colorful, minimalist, and Insta-friendly studio, making it very easy on the eyes.
What I Liked: I actually loved the fact that the videos were so aesthetically pleasing. But on top of that, Obé's classes are fantastic; its workouts are creative and hard, and its instructors are fun and diligent about form. It's also easy to find anything you're looking for: You can search by workout type, length, fitness level, impact, equipment, and more. Plus, there's so much to choose from. Even just in the Pilates category, there are workouts like dance HIIT + Pilates, hard AF Pilates (my personal favorite), Pilates abs, and so on. I often do multiple videos a night, and weeks later, I'm still far from bored.
What I'd Change: Oddly enough, the only thing I don't like about Obé is that it's hard to cancel your subscription. You actually have to call (and during a certain time), which is inconvenient and feels like a real-life gym membership.
Overall Takeaways: Obé is one of the best online fitness platforms I've ever tried. I plan on paying for this without hesitation, and have already convinced my mom to sign up, too. I'm not being dramatic when I say I've never looked forward to my workouts more.
Virtual Pilates Platform: Melissa Wood Health, $10 Per Month
What It Is: The MWH Method was created by meditator and certified Pilates and yoga instructor, Melissa Wood Tepperberg. Its online classes focus on low-impact movements in videos that are typically 10 to 30 minutes long.
What I Liked: Though MWH's platform seemed a little less technologically advanced than the others I tried, I still liked how organized it was; the video library is split up by several different types of workouts, like beginner, 20- to 30-minute workouts, no props needed, etc. Additionally, there was quite a bit of variety to choose from, which is sometimes rare with Pilates-focused platforms.
What I'd Change: My biggest beef with MWH is that none of the videos I tried had music. Though I generally enjoyed the routines and found most of them challenging, I had a hard time sticking with the workouts because the lack of music left me unmotivated.
Overall Takeaways: While the MWH videos weren't as exciting as I'd hoped, Tepperberg is a knowledgable instructor who has created a wide variety of challenging routines. Though this platform isn't exactly my cup of tea (I like videos with a little more excitement), I still think it's a great affordable option for those who don't mind providing their own music.
Virtual Pilates Platform: NYP World, $40 Per Month
What It Is: NYP World is a digital studio recently launched by New York Pilates. It features various class formats, all focused on Pilates, and videos that range from 5 to 60 minutes.
What I Liked: This platform is unlike anything I've ever tried, which made it super fun to test. Unlike most soothing Pilates platforms, this one has a funky futuristic vibe that makes it interesting to watch and interact with. Its routines are also extremely hard, which I love because I like to make the most of my time working out.
Additionally, the setup of this site is well thought out. Each video breaks down all the moves you'll be doing at the beginning, and there's a timer for each one so you can see how many moves or how many seconds you have left at all times. The music, which you can choose to play or not, is interesting and motivating. And the instructor is thorough and provides tons of modifications and tips throughout for making the most of each routine.
What I'd Change: To be honest, there's not much I didn't like about this platform. My only complaint was a few technical difficulties with the music button disappearing, but it resolved itself when I closed and reopened the tab.
Overall Takeaways: NYP World was a breath of fresh air in my quest for the perfect virtual Pilates platform. I found it motivating and shockingly hard, and I always left each workout exhausted but wanting more. Though it's one of the priciest I tried at $40 per month, if you're a Pilates fanatic, I think it's 100% worth every penny.