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  • Is Matwork Pilates Just for Beginners?

    Is Matwork Pilates Just for Beginners?

    It’s easy to think of Pilates Matwork as merely the starting point of a program. After all, there’s no fancy equipment, no springs, no straps. However, exercises performed on the mat allow you to focus on areas that are often overlooked: quality of movement, optimal sequencing and activating the whole body.

    We do encourage starting with the Pilates Matwork repertoire so that a deeper understanding of the material is developed.

    There are a couple of things to consider when looking at Pilates Matwork and how it is used for clients of all levels and ability:

    1. Gravity as Resistance

    The main source of resistance in all Matwork exercises done without props is gravity. Learning how to work with gravity to produce the desired muscular activation is one of the main goals of a trained instructor.

    Using only bodyweight requires greater focus and helps build muscle strength and endurance, and makes the tendency to “cheat” a little easier to avoid. Bodyweight training has long been regarded as a highly effective means of increasing fitness levels in any individual.

    2. Progressive Exercise

    It is true that many workout warm-ups are done on the mat, but the intensity and challenge of the workout can be as individual as the person performing it. At any level, movement quality is paramount.

    Often, the same exercise will have versions at the Essential, Intermediate and Advanced levels, each building in intensity and physical demands.

    3. Elements of the Essences

    Each exercise in the full Mat repertoire has a particular focus, or Essence, that may include strength, stability, mobility, balance, coordination, muscular endurance and flexibility — individually or in combination. Starting with the Essential exercises, each area is developed and movement competency must be achieved in the majority of these areas before additional challenges are programmed.

    4. Giving Props

    The exercises in the Matwork repertoire also support the use of props to target elements needing more focus. Resistance props like the Band and Fitness Circle require greater muscular strength and can be used to incorporate full-body movements. This could mean adding arm work to an exercise that is traditionally core-focused.


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