Pilates Mat Exercises

Prep for Snake and Twist on the Mat

This prep allows you to be on a Mat instead of a Reformer and get your bearings. You get the twist, the upside-down, and the reach through your limbs.

Footwork on the Mat

When you do Footwork on your Mat it’s easy for your legs to try and take your chest with them. Keep your chest up and still as your legs go in and out.

Side Leg Kick Variations on the Mat

In Joseph Pilates Return to Life, only the Front Back variation was there. But, over time and with many of his proteges, more variations have been added.

1 Rep Drill on the Mat

I find it’s easy to throw away the first rep most of the time. In this workout, you are forced to really do your best and then move on. Enjoy this practice.

1 Minute Pilates Workout on the Mat

It’s as if Rolling Like a Ball, Double Leg Stretch, and Hundred had a Pilates exercise together. Perfect for when you only have 1 minute to workout.

“Arm Springs” with Weights on the Mat

You can still do many of the standing exercises with light weights. You won’t have springs to challenge your center but you also don’t have help to connect.

Short Box Series on the Mat

The Short Box series is challenging whether you are on the Reformer or the Mat. What I love about doing it on the Mat is that you can’t cheat your muscles.

Swan with the Magic Circle on the Mat

In Pilates the longest extension in our practice is always the goal. The connection you’ll find here will help you in all your extension exercises.

Teaser with the Magic Circle on the Mat

Add the Magic Circle prop to your practice to help engage those muscles. The goal is that you can take the circle away and still use those same muscles.

Side Kicks with a Ball on the Mat

Grab a ball and use it to teach your waist to lift off. Your range of motion may be smaller but you’ll feel more stability in your body.

Swan with a Ball on the Mat

Find length, strength and maintain the connections of your arms to your back. Use a ball as a way to focus on your connection without feeling stuck.

Teaser with a Ball on the Mat

If you don’t have a Cadillac or Reformer to practice the Teaser, use a ball like the Triad Ball to connect to your center and challenge your center.

Roll Up with a Ball on the Mat

If you struggle connecting to your inner thighs, you can find the connection by using this ball. Then, you can teach the muscles what you need them to know.

Pulling Straps with Weights on the Mat

Try this if you are working on getting more length in your Swan, Long Stretch, and Breaststroke. It’s a great warm-up for your Teaser, Arm Circles and more.

Breathing with Weights on the Mat

While it doesn’t give you the same instability or resistance that Breathing on the Cadillac provides, it does allow you to feel your arms work from your back.

Shoulder Bridge with a Ball on the Mat

Props, like the Ball, are such a great tool for telling our body what it should do so when you take the prop away hopefully your body will remember!

Ab Series of 5 with a Ball on the Mat

It’s easy to do the ab series incorrectly or “cheat” yourself and your body, then you think that Pilates doesn’t work. When all you needed was get connected.

Rowing with Weights on the Mat

Do all six Rowing exercises or pick and choose what you want. You will see some variations that you can take advantage of the shoulder-back connections.

Crab on the Mat

Crab challenges your Seal and Rolling Like a Ball. As you roll back and forth maintain the lift and space in your center.

Half Roll Back on the Mat

A great replacement for the Roll Up, is the Half Roll Back, considered a beginner or Pre-Pilates exercise. As you gain strength straighten your legs.

Elbow Slip on the Mat

An excellent exercise that helps you feel exactly what muscles you need to be using to get through the toughest part of the Pilates Roll Up.

Push-Ups on the Mat | Online Pilates Classes

Push-Ups on the Mat

What is lovely about the Push-ups is the amount of variety they bring. They will meet you where you are. Make them as simple or hard as you need.

Online Mat Pilates Classes Lesley Logan Control Balance

Control Balance on the Mat

That moment when the legs switch and you have to balance on your shoulders is the moment you will feel the essence of Contrology.

Pilates Rocking on the Mat

Rocking on the Mat

Rocking back and forth does not come from the head but instead, it comes from the strength of the legs. Press your feet into your hands and your legs up.

Boomerang on the Mat

Boomerang is a rolling exercise. If you can keep that in mind as you move through each rep, you will enjoy this exercise so much more!

Side Bend on the Mat

If you like the Side Kicks on the Mat, then you’ll enjoy the Side bend. Another side body exercise that needs all the strength you learned in your sidekicks.

Kneeling Side Kicks on the Mat

Kneeling Side Kicks on the Mat

In the setup pay attention that your standing leg hip is directly over your knee. It’s easy to stick your seat out, especially if you are tight in the hip.

Leg Pull Back on the Mat

You do not have to lift your leg. You can get into the position and just hold and think about lifting each leg. One day they will lift on their own!

Double Leg Stretch

The Double Leg Pull aka the Double Leg Stretch in the Pilates ab series is also probably THE Pilates exercise that preps you for ALL Pilates exercises.

Leg Pull Front on the Mat

Picture each rep, maintain your connection until you are ready to lift the legs, and move. This is great for preparing for Long Stretch on the Reformer.

Swimming on the Mat | Online Pilates Classes

Swimming on the Mat

Swimming is absolutely essential for our bodies fight against bad posture and shrinking. Due to lives in front of computers and sitting, extension is needed.

Hip Circles on the Mat

Hip Circles on the Mat

The key to this exercise is not thinking that it is all about the legs circling but more about the seat circling the legs. Reach your arms back and go!

Teaser on the Mat

Teaser is not the peak pose in Pilates, it’s not the end all be all of Pilates exercises. It’s a great check in and see where you are in your practice.

Double Leg Kick on the Mat

if you can keep from twerking your way through this exercise you will feel a great stretch across the front of your hips and your hamstrings

Tips for Boomerang

If you need some help to flow your Boomerang consider how your Rolling Like a Ball, Open Leg Rocker, and Double Straight Leg Stretch are going on the Mat.

Swan and Swan on the Mat | Online Pilates Classes

Swan and Swan Dive on the Mat

The Swan has several variations. Instead of focusing on how “big” your Swan is, focus on how long your Swan is! That is where you will find the strength!

Corkscrew on the Mat

Some days you will roll up into a shoulder stand, other days you won’t. Some days your Corkscrew will be bigger than other days. Focus on the control.

Spine Stretch Forward on the Mat

Spine Stretch Forward looks like a simple hamstring stretch. However, when done correctly, it is an incredible strengthener, back and hamstring stretch.

How to do the Pilates Roll Up on the Mat

Since most of us do not have a strap and pole at home to help us do the Roll Up on the Mat “successfully,” it can be frustrating and even deflating.

Single Leg Stretch on the Mat

It will also challenge your back connection that is. Because it also goes by the name Single Leg Pull. You pull on your leg from your back!

Neck Pull on the Mat

Neck Pull on the Mat

The Neck Pull is really a tougher Roll Up. So, if your Roll Up is rockin’ add a little weight behind your head and go for it! But, don’t forget the pull.

Roll Up on the Mat

Roll Up on the Mat

After years of Roll Ups and talking with my teacher who studied with Joseph Pilates, I’ve learned that the strap is essential as you advance your practice.

Pilates Spine Twist on Mat | Online Pilates Classes

Spine Twist on Mat

There is a difference between twisting and turning. The Spine Twist on the mat will show you if you are twisting or turning.

Pilates Jackknife on the Mat | Online Pilates Classes

Jackknife on the Mat

Jackknife is a fun exercise to do and one that has many layers. Each rep you can try to get more length and more height!

Pilates High Bicycle on the Mat | Online Pilates Classes

High Bicycle on the Mat

Some of the mat exercises are easy to cheat your way out of. The High Bicycle is one of them. It requires that you truly oppose yourself.

Single Leg Kick on the Mat

Single Leg Kick on the mat is fantastic for getting you connected to your seat and your back. But it’s also one of the most misunderstood exercises.

Shoulder Bridge on the Mat

When you do your Shoulder Bridge be mindful of equal weight on your feet front to back and side to side.

High Scissors on the Mat | Online Pilates Classes

High Scissors on the Mat

When doing High Scissors on the Mat one leg is reaching UP while the other leg is reaching AWAY! This prepares you for High Bicycle and Shoulder Bridge.

Pilates Open Leg Rocker Prep on the Mat

Open Leg Rocker Prep on the Mat

Stop getting stuck on the bottom of the Open Leg Rocker and feel what it takes to get yourself back up and to balance with control!

Criss Cross on the Mat

When doing the Criss Cross you will want to speed through and skip the good stuff. But, can you go a little deeper and twist a little more?

Open Leg Rocker on the Mat

Open Leg Rocker rolls your Teaser and Roll Up. It’s not an all-new exercise it’s another dimension of an earlier exercise! Challenge what you know!

Seal on the Mat

Seal is so much more than meets the eye! Take your Rolling like a Ball, add some balance and coordination and really challenge your strength and stamina.

Rolling like a Ball on the Mat

Pilates Rolling like a Ball also known as Rolling Back is more than meets the eye! There is a lot of control and connection needed to accomplish this Pilates exercise!

Side Kicks on the Mat

Moving your top leg while maintaining the strength and stability of your torso and bottom leg is only one of the challenges of the Side Kicks!

Roll Over on the Mat

Roll Over on the Mat is considered an advanced Pilates exercise. However, it is also a wonderful warm-up for your Mat practice by opening your back.

Thigh Stretch on the Mat

The Pilates Thigh Stretch on the Mat is more of an advanced exercise. I like to teach it to people after they have done this exercise on the Cadillac.

Saw on the Mat

The saw is similar to Corkscrew. But, instead of twisting your lower half around your body, you are twisting your upper half.

Single Straight Leg Stretch on the Mat

If you’re super flexible it is easy to cheat and rest back on your mat and pull your leg over your face without activating all the strength of your leg.

Single Leg Circles on the Mat

Single Leg Circles on the Mat is an all levels Pilates exercise. The goal is to freely circle your leg without disturbing the rest of your body.

Hundred on the Mat

100 on the Mat is an all levels Pilates Exercise. If legs at the high diagonal is too hard, lift them higher. Or lower them towards the floor if too easy.