Mat Pilates is well known form of exercise and is commonly used as a beginner level for new clients wishing to try Pilates. The focus of mat Pilates is to establish the body’s core or ‘powerhouse’ as creator Joseph Pilates would have called it. The ‘Powerhouse’ refers to the muscles of the pelvic floor, lower back, hips, glutes and abdomen. Establishing control and strength in these muscles is the function of Pilates.
Below are some examples of Mat Pilates exercises that can be completed at home. Please make sure you have medical clearance before trying any new exercises at home.
Start lying on your back. Roll the head and shoulder up off the mat and engage the core. Leg should be lifted off the mat also and held long in front of the body or in table top (bent) position as an alternative.
The arms should be held to the side of the body held out straight and long. In a controlled manner, the arms should beat up and down while taking five short breaths in and five short breaths out.
The focus of this exercise should be on keep the body still and controlled while the arms are beating.
Sitting on the mat with knees bent in front of you, roll the spine back to the mat one vertebra at a time until the spine is completely against the floor. Arms should stay reaching out in front and straight.
Starting from the neck, roll back up to seated position, one vertebra at a time again until back at the start (sitting position.) Repeat.
The focus is mobility of the spine along with core control and strength.
Single leg kick-
Laying on stomach, resting up on both elbows with legs extended straight out behind.
Bend one leg at the knee and kick towards the buttocks and return to the start extended straight leg position. Repeated this kicking action of the other leg. Repeat.
The focus is on gluteal musculature with spinal and pelvic control.