By using this site you consent to the storing of cookies on your device to improve your experience, personalize content, optimize your shopping experience and assist in our marketing efforts. View our cookie policy

Join Master Instructor Trainer PJ O’Clair for her favorite Pilates mat exercises

Pilates mat exercises with PJ O’Clair

It’s March MATness! For the whole month of March Pilates enthusiasts from around the globe come together and practice Pilates mat-based repertoire. To celebrate, we asked Merrithew® Master Instructor Trainer PJ O’Clair to show us some of her favorite STOTT PILATES® mat-based sequences.

What is mat Pilates?

Mat Pilates is one of the most basic forms of mind-body exercise. The mat sequences are designed to enhance mind-body awareness while toning the entire body. Mat Pilates focuses on integrating movement from the core. While there is no equipment required it is easy to increase the challenge and add diversity to your workout with small props. Mat Pilates will increase your flexibility, build strength in both the stabilizing and mobilizing muscles and enhance overall tone and posture.

What is the difference between Reformer Pilates and mat Pilates?

The Reformer supports your bodyweight it will help you find proper form making it easier than doing similar exercises on the Pilates mat. In fact, Reformer workouts can enhance your experience in Pilates mat sessions. The resistance of the springs promotes flexibility, strength, and endurance of the entire body.

Mat Pilates require you to be in full control of your body movement as you do not have any assistance or support of the spring of a Reformer, which adds to the challenge.

What are the benefits of Pilates mat exercises?

Safe and effective: Mat Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that offers numerous mind-body benefits. It can help practitioners build muscle endurance and tone, improve posture, flexibility, mobility, and balance, and enhance their cardio conditioning. With its focus on intentional breathing, postural alignment and body awareness, people often practice Pilates for stress relief, injury prevention and to improve their overall quality of life.

Adaptable and inclusive: Mat Pilates can easily be adapted and adjusted based on your fitness goals and needs, making it an inclusive form of exercise for all levels. Different Pilates props, such as Foam Cushions, Spine Alignment Pads and the Stability Barrel Lite, can be used to provide support and are especially useful for rehab and active aging clients.

Build a strong Pilates foundation: Mat Pilates allow you to gain a deep understanding of the movements, optimal sequencing and how to target specific muscles using gravity as resistance. Using just your bodyweight requires greater focus and helps build muscle strength and endurance without the assistance of springs and straps. This makes it a great place for people to start their Pilates journey, but also for skilled practitioners to return to.

Improves mind-body sync: Mat Pilates requires attention and coordination. This will help you foster a deeper mind-body connection which is the most essential aspect of Pilates. It allows you to be fully aware of every movement as you focus on breathwork and postural alignment.

Full-body toning: Sure, mat Pilates is known for challenging your core muscles, but a well-designed class will also tone your arms, legs, back and glutes and challenge you in all planes of motion.

This sequence focuses on spinal articulation, endurance, flexion, and coordination. These exercises will help you improve spinal stability and mobility.

Exercises in the sequence:

  • Rolling Like a Ball Prep
  • Rolling Like a Ball
  • Single Leg Stretch
  • Oblique Lock isometric with Lower & Lift

Core stability is one of the most important aspects of Pilates. It helps with the prevention of injuries and allows you to perform everyday activities with ease. These exercises are focused on core stabilization, hip mobilization in flexion and extension as well as coordination.

Exercises in the sequence:

  • Side Kick
  • Side Leg Lift Series, Side Bend
  • Side Body Twist

In the final sequence, we focus on shoulder girdle stabilization, which is the foundation to ease shoulder joint movement. These exercises will also help to strengthen and stabilize the core musculature.

Exercises in the sequence:

  • Side Bend Prep
  • Side Bend
  • Leg Pull Front

We hope you enjoyed these Pilates mat videos and are inspired to challenge yourself. The STOTT PILATES Matwork repertoire focuses on helping people build their Pilates foundation and gain strength. These exercises will prepare you for more challenging Intermediate and Advanced-level repertoire. The best part is that mat Pilates workouts can be done from anywhere— at home, the gym or studio. Try more mat Pilates on Merrithew Connect.

Check out some of our best-selling mats here to elevate your workout experience!

Related posts