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Introducing the Eco-Lux™ Imprint Mat: 6 functional exercises to try on our do-it-all mat

6 Eco-Lux Imprint Mat exercises

To get a good workout at home, all you need is enough space to spread a Pilates mat. The Eco-Lux Imprint Mat is the perfect starting point for any type of workout. This ultra-supportive half-inch (12 mm) thick mat has two non-slip sides to choose from, a soft upper layer and a firm under layer, facilitating all forms of exercise, from downward dogs to burpees.

For studios and fitness facilities, the Eco-Lux Imprint Mat Pro, which is nearly an inch thick (17 mm) is a versatile crowd-pleaser, providing the most comfortable and supportive mat-based exercise experience for all types of clients.

Both Eco-Lux Mats are designed with a closed-cell structure and antibacterial properties so they can withstand high-intensity exercise, prolonged use and sweaty sessions.

Begin your next mat-based workout with these six functional exercises from the STOTT PILATES® and Halo® Training repertoires, as demonstrated by STOTT PILATES student-in-training Myunsun Kim (Claire) at the Toronto Corporate Training Center.

1. STOTT PILATES: Side Bend with the Mini Stability Ball

1A Side Bend
1B Side Bend

Starting position: Lie on your side with Mini Stability Ball under rib cage. Laterally flex over the ball, with bottom arm outstretched under head, top arm along hip. Bottom hip and knee flexed, top leg straight. Maintain a neutral pelvis.

Movement: Engaging the abdominals, lengthen spine to a long neutral line on the way up and then return to start position.

What’s working? Works internal and external obliques on top side of the body concentrically on the way up and eccentrically on the way down, as well as the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum concentrically on the way up and eccentrically on the way down. On the ball’s unstable surface, the torso rotators, such as the internal and external obliques and multifidus, will engage to prevent the torso from rotating in this side-lying position.

2. STOTT PILATES: Half Roll Back with Toning Balls

2A Half Roll Back
2B Half Roll Back

Starting position: Seated, neutral pelvis and spine, hips and knees bent with feet flat on mat. Arms straight forward, shoulder distance apart holding Toning Balls (or any type of hand weight).

Movement: Start to roll back, increasing lumbar flexion and keeping feet on floor. Simultaneously rotate spine to one side, sweeping one arm down and behind the body. Keep the pelvis still, but allow rotation in the thoracic spine.

What’s working? This works the rectus abdominals concentrically to flex the spine, the contralateral internal and external obliques work to rotate the spine concentrically, and the same muscles activate eccentrically on the way back to the start position. Hip flexors work eccentrically when rolling pelvis away from femurs and concentrically when moving pelvis back to start position.

3. STOTT PILATES: Bend and Stretch with Fitness Circle® Pro

3A Bend and Stretch
3B Bend and Stretch

Starting position: Lying on back with legs in tabletop position, flex thoracic and cervical spine towards thighs, with hands behind head for support. Place Fitness Circle Pro around the outside of ankles, abducting the hips to hold it in place.

Movement: Extend legs as low as you can while maintaining a neutral or imprinted pelvis. Hold thoracic flexion throughout.

What’s working? In this exercise, the rectus and oblique abdominals work isometrically to maintain thoracic flexion and pelvic stability. The hip flexors work eccentrically as the hips extend, and concentrically as they flex. Quadriceps work concentrically as the knees extend and eccentrically as they flex. Hip abductors work isometrically to maintain slight pressure in the ankles against the Fitness Circle.

4. STOTT PILATES: Single Leg Stretch with the Stability Cushion

4A Single Leg Stretch
4B Single Leg Stretch

Starting position: Lying on back on top of two Stability Cushions in tabletop position, pelvis neutral or imprinted, head can rest on Foam Cushion C, with arms long at sides.

Movement: Reciprocally perform a knee and hip extension while the other side performs knee and hip flexion, in a bicycle type motion. Keep head resting on cushion.

What’s working? The abdominal muscles will work isometrically to prevent the torso from rotating and the spine from side bending or extending. The pelvis shouldn’t hike up. To move the legs, the hip flexors will work eccentrically as the hip extends and concentrically to flex. Quadriceps work concentrically to extend knee and eccentrically as it flexes.

5. Halo Training: Bridge

5A Halo Bridge
5B Halo Bridge
5C Halo Bridge

Halo® Trainer Plus position: Handles down

Starting position: Lying on back in tabletop position with neutral pelvis and spine, arms long by sides. Place heels on Stability Ball, which should be cradled in the Halo Trainer Plus.

Movement: Maintaining a neutral spine and pelvis, lift hips so bodyweight remains on upper thoracic in a bridge; you do not want weight on the cervical spine. Then, with hips lifted, straighten legs allowing the Halo to move away from the body. You can do a few repetitions flexing and extending just the knees while keeping hips up, or you can perform this whole sequence as one rep.

What’s working? This exercise works the gluteus maximus and hamstrings concentrically to extend hips and hamstrings eccentrically to control the knee extension; the hamstrings work concentrically to flex the knees and hip extensors eccentrically as the pelvis lowers. The hip extensors work isometrically to maintain the height of the pelvis during the flexion and extension of the knees. Abdominals also work isometrically to maintain a neutral spine and pelvis throughout the exercise.

6. Halo Training: Pushup

6A Halo Pushup
6B Halo Pushup

Halo Trainer Plus position: Standard V

Starting position: Get into a plank position, holding the Halo’s long handles with arms straight, neutral pelvis and spine.

Movement: Perform a pushup by flexing elbows while keeping torso and lower body in alignment.

What’s the benefit? With the Halo Trainer Plus in this position, the challenge is to stabilize the upper body in the transverse plane of movement while fighting against rotation. This exercise works the entire body’s stabilization, activating the pectoralis muscles, anterior deltoids and triceps brachii.

For more on-demand workout content, check out Merrithew® Connect, our new online streaming platform. Go now >

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