Pilates: Explained and Mat Based Exercises

Pilates refers to a set of nearly 500 exercises developed by an American fitness trainer Joseph Pilates so as to help people maintain their fitness level.

These exercises are inspired mainly by yoga. These are also inspired by ballet and callisthenics. It improves body flexibility, strength and balance. These also help in improving muscular and postural strength.

These are not as easy as they seem. They demand concentration and focus as you are required to perform various degrees and range of motion. Each and every exercise has a well-defined placement of body, rhythm and breathing pattern. Hence, although they are nice and beneficial but at the same time are challenging.

Ok, I got that!


But how often should I perform?

In order to get the maximum out of these exercises, you should consider doing them at least 2-3 times a week. After going for about 4-6 weeks, you can begin to notice changes in your body language (hopefully) and posture. Each one should have 10-20 repetitions and the whole workout ranges from 45-90 minutes.


And where should I perform them?

These can be performed at specialised Pilates studios or community centres or you can even do it at your home.


Do I also need some sort of equipment?

These are basically of 2 types:

Pilates Mat Exercises: These require no equipment and are performed by just lying, sitting or standing on a mat.

Pilates Equipment Exercises: These require some specific types of equipment to perform the exercises and strengthening of muscles are based on applying resistance to the muscles to bear it and hence strengthening them.

Here we are going to discuss mat based (Equipment based would be dealt in next article on Pilates).


Some Mat Based Exercises:

Depending upon levels of an individual there are basically 3 degrees of exercises and some of them are listed below:

  1. Beginner Level:


Pilates Hundred

Spine Stretch:

Pilates Spine Stretch

Chest Lift: Pilates Chest Lift

Pelvic Curl: 

Pilates Pelvic Curl


  1. Intermediate Level:

Hamstring Pull:

Pilates Hamstring Curl


Spine Twist:

Pilates Spine Twist


Open-leg rocker:

Pilates Open Leg Rocker


Front Support:

Pilates Front Support


  1. Advanced Level:


Pilates Cork Screw



Pilates Scissors



Pilates Jack Knife



Pilates Rocking


Leg pull front:

Pilates Leg Pull Front


A Couple of Precautions

Although the above-mentioned exercises seem easier to perform but here are some precautions that you should follow to avoid some injury (especially if you are performing on your own):

  1. Don’t go for advanced ones directly. It is strongly recommended that you should first be well versed with the previous ones.
  2. Consider visiting your doctor and consult him if you are pregnant or above 40 years of age or already having some medical issues. These exercises require concentration and are challenging.

Yep, that’s all. Enjoy the exercises and be healthy and hale!


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