Classical Pilates Apparatus: Mat

The Classical Pilates Mat Workout is a sequence of 34 exercises performed in an order which never changes, these exercises form the root of the Pilates method as all of the subsequent exercises performed on the apparatus were designed to help a student build the strength, flexibility and flow to be able to successfully complete the mat workout.

The Classical Mat Workout is a balanced and progressive form of workout containing not only its own warm up but encompassing the goal of Pilates of working...


“STRETCH WITH STRENGTH AND CONTROL, WHERE CONTROL IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART” (Romana Kryzankowska; first generation teacher) one challenging and flowing workout with no apparatus or springs to give support against gravity.


The advantages of having a set order of exercises within the workout include:

1. Gives a structure within the workout so that a student works all of the body and not just the areas, which they like and excel at.

2. The order helps build a deeper mind body connection, which Joe Pilates was always striving for in his students. As mentioned previously CONTROL is essential when practicing Pilates and it is the mind, which consciously creates the movements and not the muscles.

3. Having the order allows a student to learn which exercise follows which leading to, consistent practice, which in turn leads to a deeper feel and understanding of the exercise, without this set order and consistency it becomes difficult to become proficient and continually improve.

Even though there is a set structure and order to the workout; Classical Mat can be varied with the focus of the class being based around one of the Pilates principles such as, power house activation, shoulder placement and activation, strength, flow etc. Challenge can also be added to a more advanced class by using small equipment like the POWER CIRCLE or BABY ARC BARELL and all levels of class can have different endings such as, hand weights, leg weights, power circle and wall.

As in all Pilates workouts whether on a one to one basis or a group class, the workouts are broken down into levels beginning with FOUNDATION and then onto LEVELS 1, 2 AND 3 where level three is the full Classical repertoire of 34 exercises in one very challenging and vigorous workout. Each new student begins at foundation level where they learn fundamentals, principles of Pilates and the foundation series of exercises, each subsequent level progressively builds on what has been learnt in the previous level by adding exercises, working towards ideal form of each exercise and at the same time building strength, flexibility and more knowledge of the workout. Students move up onto the next level when their teacher thinks they are strong enough and experienced enough to be able to handle the challenges, which moving on to the next level brings.

Some students may never aspire to or be able to safely perform the full level 3 Classical Mat workout but that doesn’t really matter as everyone is different, each body is different and Pilates isn’t about competition or about having to be able to perform at the most advanced level. We can all run 100 metres but there are not many people around who can run 100 metres in under 10 seconds and as such in Pilates whether on the mat or apparatus there will be people who can perform at the highest level, all students need to remember is that the true benefits gained from Pilates comes from regular practice at a level which challenges them to perform at their best. Joe Pilates was once reported to have said that a student should not move on to the next exercise or level until he or she could perform the previous exercise well.

The beauty of Pilates lies in the fact that no matter where a person is on their own Pilates journey there is always room for improvement and progression, so much so that the Pilates Method can bring challenge even after many regular years of practice as your body is changing continually with the ageing process and as such the way you practice will change. Pilates is truly an exercise form, which can bring challenge in every phase of our life.

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The Green Room was created to deliver the truest form of Pilates to the North of England, adhering to the original form and teachings of its creator, Joseph H Pilates.

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