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What is mat Pilates?

Mat pilates involves performing pilates exercises on the floor using a pilates, or yoga mat. Exercises in mat pilates can also involve basic pilates equipment such as a pilates ring, resistance band, or weighted balls. Mat pilates exercises are performed in a slow, controlled, precise manner and require an intense concentration. These exercises help strengthen the body's core by developing pelvic and scapula stability, and abdominal control, using focused breathing patterns. The main fitness goals of a mat pilates program include improved flexibility, muscle tone, body balance, spinal support, low back health, sports performance, and body-mind awareness.
Mat pilates is done on the floor using an exercise or yoga mat, which employs controlled breathing during body weight resisted movement to build core strength. An example of a popular mat pilates pose is called the Hundred. To do this, start on your back and engage your lower abdominals as you raise your arms off of the mat while reaching through your arms and fingertips. Raise your upper back, shoulders, head, and neck as you tuck your chin and look towards your toes. Your legs should be reaching and extending straight off of the mat. The abs should be doing all the work as you begin to slowly pump arms up and down in a controlled manner that is in unison with your breath. There are various other set movements or poses, and these can be learned in a class or by following a DVD at home. Mat pilates is a good place to start your pilates experience before moving on to more advanced techniques or equipment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.