Dancers do it. So do runners, swimmers and many other professional athletes. Maybe you should do it too. But what is ‘Mat Pilates’?
Mat Pilates is a method to elongate your body, primarily the core muscles which span from your hips to your shoulders. It helps in overall strengthening, maintaining balance and flexibility of your body. Pilates as a form of exercise uses many different pieces of equipment, such as a Pilates Reformer, Pilates Ring, Trapeze Table, Barrel, etc.
However, the mat series of exercises are performed equipment-free, with the moves adapted to work with just your body and a floor mat for cushioning and support.
Benefits of Mat Pilates
Mat Pilates focuses on the core of your body, which is essential to maintain your health and wellbeing. For example, if you have a strong core, you will generally recover from health issues more efficiently.
A Few Mat Pilates Workout Routines
These routines vary from individual to individual. From simple exercises to challenging ones, there is a vast choice to tailor the routine to your preferred level of intensity. Here we’ve listed six basic, intermediate and advanced workouts:
1. Roll-up: Lie on your back on your mat. Extend your legs out in front of you, making sure they are in contact with the floor and squeezed together. Reach out your arms parallel to your hips and slowly roll your head, neck, and shoulders up off the floor. Contract your abs as you roll all the way up until you're covered with your thighs, your spine making the shape of a letter ‘c’. Use control to roll back down, completing one repetition.
2. Leg Circles: Lie on your back with your arms planted on the floor alongside your hips. Reach out your right leg up to the ceiling. Leave the left leg extended on the mat, place your foot in a way that your back arches when your leg is straight. Point your right toe, pretending it's like the tip of a pencil. Draw five to eight circles to the right. Do the same with the other leg.
3. Hundred: Lie on your back on the mat pulling your navel in as if to press your spine toward the floor. Extend your arms alongside your hips. Lift your legs straight up to the ceiling and then lower them to create a 45-degree angle with the floor. Raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor and elevate your arms several inches. Inhale briskly through your nose and exhale through your mouth as you pump your arms in conjunction with the breath. Work your way up to 100 repetitions.
4. Open Leg Rocker: Sit on your mat with your back straight and stretch out your legs. Spread them out, forming a v-shape creating a 45 degrees angle between them. Now, hold each ankle with your hands. Fix your position and roll down on your back without leaving your legs. Inhale at a relaxed pace. Now, come back to the sitting position. Continue this cycle 15 times to work on your core.
5. Roll like A Ball: Sit on your mat with your knees touching your chest. With your head down, try touching your forehead with the knees. Place your feet together, without any distance between your calves and feet. Now, roll down on your back without losing grip on your legs. Roll back up. This will create a ball like a body position that will help in working out your muscles. Repeat this step for 15 rounds.
6. Single Leg Stretch: Lie on your mat with your back pressing against the ground. Bend your right leg from the knee and bring it close to your chest. Now, lift your upper body slightly off the ground at about 30-degrees and place your right hand on the right ankle while your left hand on the right knee. Make sure your left leg is extended with toes pointing out, parallel in line with your eyes. Repeat the same for the other leg. Continue this exercise for 10 rounds. Breathe deeply.
Variety is key to many people sticking to a fitness routine. Sometimes working out on a pilates reformer machine, sometimes on a mat, is a great way to add this variety.
So, if you are looking for an exercise routine that is convenient and efficient, Mat Pilates is fantastic to promote health and compliment your lifestyle. There are numerous classes for Mat Pilates across Australia, and if you want to work out at home, you can go through our products section and find yourself a comfortable and durable mat.