Try These Mat Pilates Moves If You Miss Your Studio’s Reformer

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When it comes down to it, Pilates is about finding balance while strengthening, toning and lengthening oneself. So what does it involve when people talk about reformer Pilates or mat Pilates?

What is reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates takes place on a bed-like frame. Different weighted spring combinations create resistance when moving the frame forwards and backwards. A reformer bed also allows you to target specific muscle groups to form long, lean muscles. It provides a broader range of exercise movements than the mat derivative, but you can achieve the same results with both forms – the time it takes will differ though.

As the name implies, mat Pilates is performed using a mat and your body weight for resistance.

5 Pilates mat exercises to get you started

This list is not extensive but acts as a great starting point. There are a lot of online Pilates instructors available in addition to mobile apps, so there’s really no excuse.

Core plank series

Move into Plank Pose and engage your abs. Slowly draw your right knee inwards towards your chest and then extend your leg back towards the ceiling – this will engage your hamstrings and glutes. Repeat 10 times before switching to the left knee.

Kneeling sidekick

While kneeling, lower your left hand to the ground and extend your right leg backwards – keeping your right hand positioned behind your head. Lift and lower your leg for 10 reps before switching to leg rotations for another 10 reps. Repeat on the opposite side.


Lying on your back, slowly lift your neck and head to lift your shoulders off of the ground. Lift your right leg slightly and point your toes. Continue lifting your leg until it’s pointed towards the ceiling. Grab your ankles and pull your leg inwards towards your head. Release and repeat for 10 reps before switching legs.

Side teaser

Lying on your side while supporting your body with the hand closest to the mat – for example, if you’re on your right side, you will use your right hand. While engaging your core, rotate your hips and lift your legs off of the floor as high as possible and then release. Repeat for five reps before switching sides.

The hundred

Lying on your back with your arms by your sides, lift your neck, head and shoulders upwards while extending your legs. Find the position where your abs are engaged while your back remains flat on the floor. Start pumping your arms up and down for 10 breath cycles. Repeat for 100 reps.

The choice of mat versus reformer is based purely on personal preference and equipment availability. With Pilate studios remaining closed for the foreseeable future, mat Pilates is a great way that you can stay in shape in the comfort of your own home. It also requires minimal equipment and is cost-effective to do as you only need a mat and an online Pilates instructor. You simply need to take the decision to start and the rest will fall into place.

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