Mat Pilates is a way to stretch and strengthen your body, primarily the muscles of the core, which span from your hips to your shoulders. This practice offers toning, flexibility, better posture, more efficient movement, the body/mind connection — just about every benefit the Pilates method has to offer can be achieved through mat work.
Mat Pilates borrows from disciplines such as dance, yoga and classic calisthenics. The Mat series of exercises is performed “equipment-free”, with the moves adapted to work with just your body and a floor mat for cushioning and support. Having said that we do use Pilates balls and resistance bands to enhance and make the workout more challenging. The exercises included in a mat Pilates class vary from instructor to instructor. They also become progressively more difficult and complex as you practice over time. However, most classes based on the original teachings of Joseph Pilates begin with a warm-up known as the hundred and move on to leg circles, roll-ups and a five-part “ab series.”
Mat Pilates focuses on the core, or the “powerhouse,” as Joseph Pilates called it. You’ve probably heard how essential the core is in maintaining the health of your body and deterring injury. For example, a strong core helps ward off back pain and makes daily chores more doable. A strong core is a must, as it increases stamina and power. When your core is strong, it serves as the center of power so your limbs don’t have to bear as much of the brunt of the movement. The Mat Pilates sequence is an exceptionally good workout that will provide the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits.