5 Classical Pilates Mat Exercises for You to Try Today

5 Classical Pilates Mat Exercises for You to Try Today

The brilliance of the pilates method is that you are continuously finding yourself in similar movements and body positions throughout your workout and that as you progress throughout your workout, you get more out of each of the exercises.  Each exercise helps you to prepare for the next and adds an additional element for you to work to master.  

The method is clear.  Pilates designed his system with precision and clarity, “nothing is haphazard”, thus our favourite five classical pilates mat exercises for you to try today, will help you to build a strong foundation that you will repeat in different ways, with additional challenges throughout the entire system.

The Hundred: This exercise starts supine, using gravity to help the spine lengthen along the mat. Full, deep breaths increase circulation and warms up the body. 

The Roll Up:  Stretch your spine and work against gravity to tone your midsection with the Roll Up. The key to creating a controlled roll up is learning how to properly engage your powerhouse.

One Leg Circles: One Leg Circles increase the challenge to your powerhouse as you stabilise your torso.  This exercise helps to further warm up the lower extremities with a lengthening quality to the legs and stretch to the body.  You’ll see similar movements repeated in more advanced exercises, like single leg stretch, scissors, corkscrew and hip circles, just to name a few!

Rolling Like a Ball: Following the on from the One Leg Circles, the spine is now ready now for an alignment challenge and restoration. In this exercise, the spine is massaged and the powerhouse is further challenged.  While it looks, easy, this exercise requires both strength and control.

Spine Stretch Forward: We love the deep stretch for spine that we get in the Spine Stretch forward.  Not only does it help us to refine our all-important “C-Curve”, it’s also a great point in your workout to reinforce deep breathing, especially with exhalation. This deep abdominal exercise is great for working on balancing out the front of the back of the spine when seated and prepares our bodies for the more advanced exercises to come.

These exercises actually feel more difficult as you progress! Instead of needing more repetitions, advanced students learn to work deeper and to refine movements.  Moreover, as you move from one exercise to the other with smooth, controlled transitions, no part of your body will escape your control!  

The process of refining your movements, just as you will with our top 5 picks, continues throughout the entire system on the other apparatuses, building body awareness with increasing intensity focusing on precision, rhythm, flow, and breath dynamics. 

Try to perform this routine daily in accordance to Joe’s original intent, “Concentrate on the correct movement each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits. Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities.”

Would you like to challenge yourself with Joseph Pilates' original mat programme? Join us for 1.5hr  **March MATness Masterclass**! The Classical Mat sequence will definitely invigorate your mind and challenge your body!