You’ve said you’d begin working out regularly within the next 21 days. But with so many studios and gyms closed down due to COVID-13 limitations, it can be difficult to get motivated. Enter: Pilates mats to motivate you.
A Pilates mat workout is designed specifically for those new at Pilates and for those trying to take their workouts up a notch. It does away with the need for a partner and provides a total body strength-training experience. By bringing your own body weight into the equation, a Pilates mat Pilates workout becomes more than just a little aerobic exercise. It becomes an entire body conditioning program in one. And because it’s all on your own, there are no distractions from others and thus a greater chance of keeping focused. With the right mix of a Pilates mat and your own body weight, a Pilates mat Pilates workout becomes a total body conditioning program in one!
What should you expect when you first start working out on a Pilates mat? Well, like any other workout plan, your first few weeks will be the most difficult. After that, you should notice an improvement almost immediately. Your core strength will become more pronounced, and after a while, your body should feel like it’s ready to take on any exercise routine that you give it, and that includes on a Pilates mat or on a reformer.
There are many different types of Pilates mats and each one is designed to do specific things. Some help your spinal alignment by taking pressure off the spine while practicing yoga. Some strengthen and support the muscles of the lower back and buttocks, while others focus on the hips and hamstrings (or calves and thighs). And some combine the two movements together for a more complete workout.
Depending on which type of Pilates mat you purchase, you will also be able to buy accessories that go with them, like yoga mats for beginners, and bolster or foam blocks to help increase your versatility. You can also use thick balls and other devices to help you do certain poses. These extras make exercising with Pilates even more fun and enjoyable and allow you to perform different movements without using a support ball or foam block.
A Much Ado
When you first start Pilates mat classes, you will have to start out on a reformer board. It is designed to help you center and stay balanced while performing different poses and is generally used by more advanced students as well. But once you master this basic pose, you may want to master the Winsor Pilates exercise ball, which is designed to help you increase strength and flexibility, while decreasing your chance of injury. This is because the reformer board requires the person to be fully extended in order to properly control it. The Winsor has a ring on its base to prevent the person from falling off and has a series of springs to stop the body from bouncing off the board.
During your Pilates exercise workout, you will also do some strength training. For example, when doing the upward dog poses, which is often done in class, you will need to hold onto the upper arm of your assistant, squeeze your muscles in, and then release. There are a number of springs in the device to allow you to do this and should be controlled by your instructor. When doing floor exercises, your instructor will usually use a small prop instead of springs. It is much easier for you to use, doesn’t require the same amount of concentration, and does not get your heart rate off like a spring will.
If you are just starting out, you may want to start with a mat Pilates machine. They are fairly inexpensive and have the advantage of being easy to store and take with you if you are moving from class to class. A reformer is more comfortable to do in class but can be more expensive and hard to find if you don’t live near a Pilates studio. Take your time to find what is right for you!