What is Mat Pilates?
Pilates is a workout that strengthens your core muscles, tones your muscles, and can be done anywhere. But what is mat pilates, and how can you add it into your routine? Let’s dive into that now.
What Is Pilates?
Joseph Pilates, a circus performer, self-defense instructor, and boxer, developed pilates in World War 1 by using hospital bed springs to create workouts for his patients. He brought this exercise from Germany to the United States in the ’20s by offering it in a New York City ballet studio. Pilates is a mind-body workout that will strengthen your core, tone your entire body, and help you with stability. Pilates is a class that can be done on a mat or a reformer (a piece of equipment made with springs and ropes to add resistance to your workout), and, similarly to yoga, can be taken with you wherever you go.
What Is Mat pilates?
Mat Pilates is a pilates training practice that can be done on a mat, meaning, no reformer is used. In this class, you hold movements like planks, side planks, and core exercises to build your muscle groups and core strength. Much of the equipment that you find in a reformer class can also be used in a pilates mat workout. Your pilates instructor will give you options to use bands, exercise balls, and sometimes even small weights to help level up your pilates experience.
Mat Pilates Workout
For a successful mat pilates workout, you only need your body weight and a pilates mat, which is thicker and denser than a traditional yoga mat. But, to up the ante a bit, you can use an exercise ball and bands to add a little more resistance.
Pilates Workouts You Can Try At Home
- Roll: You can start your mat workout with a fun and dynamic movement—the roll. For this exercise, you curl up like a ball and roll back and forth. You begin by sitting up and pulling your knees towards your chest while hugging your shins. Then, breathe in while you roll back, and breathe out when you roll back up to your starting position. This movement engages your core and massages your back and spine, helping to ease low back pain.
- Toe Taps: This ab-burning workout looks simple but will set you on a path to a stronger core. Sit up with your knees towards your chest, lift both of your feet to ninety degrees and then take one leg at a time, moving it down until you lightly tap your big toe to your mat. Alternate your legs on each tap.
- The hundred: Possibly the most famous Pilates pose, the 100 is sure to make your abs burn. Start by laying on your back, engaging your core, and lifting your head and shoulders off of your mat. At the same time, lift your legs off of the ground (the lower your feet are to the ground, the harder this will be). Extend your arms toward your legs, and then move your arms up and down for ten breaths or up to 100 pulses.
- Plank: Start in a pushup position with your hands situated under your shoulders, drop your glutes, and maintain a straight line from your feet to your head. Hold for as long as you can.
- Plank Leg Lift: Stay in your plank position and lift your leg off from the ground, drop it back down, and switch sides. Continue for one minute.
- Side Plank: Lay on your side, place your top foot down on the mat in front of your bottom foot, and then lift yourself with your arm either up onto your elbow, or all of the way up on your hand, and hold. Switch sides.
- Side Plank With Hip Dip: Once you are done with your plank, you can try the side plank with hip dip. Maintain the side plank, and then dip your hip down toward the floor. Continue until exhaustion.
- The Swan: Lay on your stomach on the mat. Place your hands underneath your shoulders, and push up, keeping your legs and thighs on the mat. This pilates move will help to stretch your chest and counteract the movements done in the rest of your pilates exercise.
Where to Try Mat Pilates
We recommend trying pilates in a group exercise class. In pilates—and any other exercise, for that matter—form is incredibly important. With pilates, micro-adjusting your movements could be the difference between targeting the right muscles and injury. Our instructors will be there to help you find ways to modify each exercise to fit your needs, whether you’re an amateur or have been practicing pilates for years.
If you are interested in trying a mat pilates classe, check out the class schedule at a Chuze location near you. We cannot wait for you to try this dynamic and challenging workout.