MAT PILATES: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!
Never tried mat Pilates? Always practiced on a reformer or never at all? Well, Team 30Fifteen is here to tell you all about why mat Pilates is 'where it is at'.
Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start):
Pilates was created by fitness enthusiast, Joseph H. Pilates in the 1920s, Pilates created a series of exercises during World War 1 to help bed ridden patients maintain body strength. In 1926, Pilates and his wife moved to New York City to open a studio near the New York City Ballet, Pilates developed a following among dancers for his ability to rehabilitate them from injury and create long, lean bodies without added bulk. Though performed in studios and among the elite, mat Pilates exercise didn’t gain widespread recognition until the 1990s. The mat Pilates exercise routine is performed on the ground using an exercise mat. Over the years, mat Pilates has evolved to include small pieces of equipment such as resistance rings, balls and bands. Traditional mat Pilates exercise is still performed with body weight alone. Even without added equipment, the workout is challenging and provides great toning benefits.
The exercises in mat Pilates focus on strengthening the muscles of the hips, back, abdominals, and glutes or what is known in Pilates as the powerhouse. The exercises look simple but require stabilization of the torso and focused effort to keep the abdominals contracted and working throughout the exercises. Popular exercises like the hundred strengthen the abdominals by holding a curled abdominal position while pumping the arms.
The key to performing mat Pilates exercises well is to focus on breathing. Pilates mat exercises require you to perform belly instead of chest breathing. Your lungs expand and contract without too much movement in the chest. You can mimic Pilates exercise breathing by placing your hands around your lower torso and ribs. As you inhale, you can feel your ribs expand, filling your lungs with air. As you exhale, your ribs contract. This type of breathing stabilizes the spine and ensures that the abdominals are challenged correctly during mat Pilates exercise.