Class #1776

Traditional Mat Basics

30 min - Class


Adrianne Crawford teaches a beginner Mat workout designed for those who are new to Pilates, or want to refresh themselves on the basics. Adrianne breaks down the setup and modifications of each exercise, and emphasizes the importance of breath patterns with the movement.
What You'll Need: Mat, Pilates Pole

About This Video


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Hello, I'm Adrian. I'm going to be teaching KC a basic mat, so you'll need a nice comfortable mat. Doesn't necessarily have to be this one, but um, something pretty thick that if you have yoga mats I would suggest doubling them up, especially on a hardwood floor. Um, and also report I brought her a Paul, so we had that head back here and that'll be ready for a little bit later. So I'm going to have her go ahead and lie down on the Mat. We're just going to start just kind of getting situated on the Mat and getting centered. I'm going to have you move a little left, Casey. Great. And I'm also gonna have her bend her knees to start just so that she has a nice support in her spine because the longer the legs are, the less support you have. So just just for now, um, let's start with just breathing. Take your arms up to the ceiling, straight up to the ceiling. 90 degrees. Take a nice deep breath in. Stretch your arms back and just start to exhale.

She got fantastic range. She's able to take her arms all the way back. Hopefully you can too, and just get your chest nice. Broaden out, take your arms up, take a nice deep breath in, and use the exhale to lower your arms back down to your side. You're just kind of getting the oxygen into the body. Okay, and I have her do that two more times. Arms Up, exhale back, relax. Take another deep breath in and exhale down. Very nice.

She's also adding a little bit of an imprint of that diaphragm, getting her back to sink deeper. Nash, she's gonna do that one more time. Arms go up. Inhale, exhale, relax. Nash. She's going to add one step. Take the arms up. Inhale. As she lows those arms, she's going to start to deepen her muscles, getting the back to drop deeper into the mat while she's lengthening it up. So getting that tummy to pull up through the spine and relax.

Good. Bend your elbows out to the side just a little bit and see if their shoulders can roll up and around. Three times. Circling one, two, and rest. Now stretch your arms out long at your side. You can keep your legs bent though, just for now. And bring your arms close to your side.

Now add that same circle up and around and let your arms reach away from you as their shoulders pulled down or back, right? You're getting a nice link. The upper back. One more time. Do a circle up to the years, back to the pad and stretch. And then let them just kind of relax. Now go ahead and extend your legs out. Let them just kind of breathe. And then I went and had her bring her legs back up so her knees are bent again. Feet are down and she's going to bring one knee into her chest. Good.

Make sure that you're not lifting your bottom, that your toxic bone stays down, that your back is long. Good. And she's going to extend that right leg straight up, right? And what I want her to do is just hold the extension and turn out the leg a little bit so your toes point away from you. Good. And then she's going to take this leg and lower it down a little bit and count to three. And what I want her to think about while she's doing that is getting that back to stay really flat, not letting the back art at all.

And she's going to lower down and count to three again. So she's going to work her leg down in increments. Holding for a three counts each step, two, three. Now she's gonna work her leg up and count to three each time she stops a little bit higher. Now careful as you're doing these not to tense your shoulders or your neck or your elbows and hold two, three.

Then she's going to bend that knee, give it a nice stretch by taking a hold of her leg with her arms. Hold your thigh when you're stretched, just to keep the circulation going throughout the leg. It doesn't get cut off in the knee there. And then she's ready to switch legs. So she gonna drop her ripe, lift her left and counter three, two, three. Then she lowers and holds two, three. Now everybody has a stronger, weaker side.

We want to make sure both sides of your back or down exactly and a little bit lower. So make sure that you're aware of that. When your other leg, whichever side, you're stronger on that your weaker side is also engaged. I you don't feel one side off on one side, down lowering and holding to three. Now working up a little bit at a time, holding three, two, one and up and hold soft shoulders. Bend those over the Little Casey and now all the way up as high as you can without lifting your cock slick though. Kick that tailbone down. Drop. Yes, there you go. Good. She also turned out without me having to tell her. Very nice. Bend your knee and give that like a stretch.

All right, so I'm going to have her go into a breathing exercise. Your hundreds. So go ahead and place that foot down. The breathing is to really get your oxygen moving to fill up those lungs. So we have a tendency to just breathe up here in our chest. You want to fill up the whole diaphragm.

So she's going to take a nice deep breath in right now and try to let the lungs expand and then exhale and just try to ring all of that out. Now count to five as you do the inhale and the exhale. Two, one, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, four, five. One more time. Inhale, one, two, five, three, four, deepening, five rest. Okay, so that's the idea of the breathing is to really get the the air in and expel it out. Good. And increase that lung capacity. Bring your knees into your chest. So she is going to do this while her arms are moving and her legs are in the air. So she's got a lot going on for the hundreds. She's going to start in a plotty stance. Heels together, toes apart.

Toes are relaxed. So yeah, and then what you're going to do is lift your arms above your hips. Their arms are stretching forward, just like she did when she reached them down and she did that circle. She's going to stretch those arms out long, pulling down the Scapula, and then she's going to start to pump the arms. Inhaling, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, five. Now you're trying to breathe in and out of the nose and you'll see how that kind of changes the the diaphragm. It pushes down deeper into those ribs. One more, two, five, four or five.

Then I'd like her to just relax because now that she's got her breathing down, you can rest your legs, restaurant, arms, and she understands what her arms are going to do. We're now going to have her go right into the hundreds, so this one is a lot more challenging. You're going to bring her knees into your chest. She's going to start with her legs at 90 degrees in her bloody stance. Now she's going to lift those arms above her hips. Before you lower those legs.

She's going to lift her head. Then she's going to lower her legs to about 45 degrees, making sure she has good support, soft in those elbows, bend them a little bit, and now start your hundreds. Inhaling to five oh four five and two five around into herself. That's the position. So the tips of the shoulders drop, those wings are on the mat while she's deepening into that, those tummy muscles, back muscles, legs are stretching. Now deep breath in to for fun in through the nose, out through the nose. If you can. Three more. Two, three, four, five, two more. Now as she's moving, if this is too challenging, you can bend those knees, but she's doing great and she has finished.

Bend your knees, drop your head and rest. You can drop your legs too. Okay, so now I'm going to have her sit up and depending on your ability, you can either turn to your slide to set up where you set up all the way. Good. And she's going to start with her knees bent and a little closer to your seats. So slide your heels towards you. That's fine. You're gonna hold on to the back of your thighs.

Her head is going to be forward. So she's going to around her back into what's called your secrets top of the head to the hips has around it. And really what we're looking for is the nice pool into the stomach. Can you pull your tummy away back into my hand? Yes, it should really working in here to pull back into that spine. Very nice. Now keeping your shoulders relaxed, your feet flat on the Mat.

You are going to start to round backwards and I want her to stop when her arms are straight. You're holding as lightly as possible and really thinking of pulling in as you move. Continuing that curl the hip line down. Now her arms are nice and long. Drop your shoulders and now pull in a little bit more. She's going to take a nice deep breath in.

Use The exhale to curl back over her hips forward. That's it. Now she's going to do that two more times. She's now going to use the breath. She's inhaling. Issue goes back. Once her arms are long, she's going to drop those shoulders and exhale, pull. Bring yourself up. Now she's got the ability not to have anything on her feet.

There are things you can do. You can use a strap or prop your feet underneath the couch. Deep breath in to kind of give you something to hold onto. Ideally, you don't want to have any movement in the feet and exhale forward. I, let's go ahead and have you sit up tall and just stretch your back out. Good. You want to keep your neck and shoulder relaxed through this.

Now that was pretty easy. So let's challenge that. Having her reach her arms forward and about shoulder with the part. Bend your elbows a little so you're not locking your elbows. She's going to drop her head back into bed. Seeker. Her head is in front of her hips.

Now she's going to pull in and start to round your back that now she's going to start to lie down. Drop your shoulders, and as she's going down, she's still doing what you just did, but she has nothing to hold onto. So take your time. That's it. All the way till her head touches in her arms can drop to her side. Good. And as she did that so nicely, she's going to come back up. She's going to take a deep breath in, reach, arms forward with that, locking your elbows and exhale, pull in.

And what's really nice is she hasn't had to use that strap yet, but here too, if you needed to, you could put your feet underneath the strap and she's breathing, always breathing in and out, long breasts, restaurant arms, and inhale, curling up. I should see the ribs pull back the chest, pull in, exhale forward. And I go ahead and sit up tall. Those are so nice. I'm going to have her move on to the more challenging exercise, the rollups. So restaurants, this one, I'm going to give her this strap, not necessarily because she needs it, but as a demonstration. She's going to put her feet underneath the strap and you're going to start lying down. So go ahead and just lie down first. Her legs are straight, her feet are going to be in her plotty stance. So heels together, toes apart, and not necessary who? Surly flexing, but just kinda in there if you need it.

I'm going to now use the bar. So here's where she is going to hold the bar. The bar is a great reference, so it'll teach you a lot about placement because it's visual and you can see it right away. So here's your imaginary window. She's up at 90 degrees and she can see her window. So that's great because that's where your head is kind of kind of be. You want to always kind of be able to see your arms. So before she began, she's going to imprint her back like dropping into the tummy muscles and lifting that tummy up, making your back longer and gave them getting rid of any arch and that back.

She's also going to squeeze her seat. She already is, and a rock the thighs around, getting those inner thighs to zip up. Now she's ready to begin. Same breathing. She just did. She's going to inhale, start to curl her chest, Chin towards her chest, and now she's going to start to exhale. Drop your shoulders peak at that bar as you're moving and make sure it stays level. It doesn't tick talk and she's going to drop her nose between her knees as far forward as she can. Very good. Now she's going to start to go back. Inhaling, drop your shoulders and now she's going to exhale and all the while she's concentrating and getting rid of that arch in the back.

So push your back down. Good. You don't want to lift the spine, not on these deep breath in. Lift your head, curl the chin. Exhale all the way over. Nose between the knees. Now her heels should stay together the whole time. Keep the tension out of the toes. Shoulders down. Yes. Now, if I were to grab this bar and you held onto it, I could help you get a little bit deeper. So go ahead and pull me to the mat. Not with your shoulders, but with your tummy. Go ahead. You've got a lot more strength than that.

There you go. Adopt their shoulders and go all the way down. Take their arms. Go ahead and take your arms all the way back. Now we're right here. The back will lift. That's it. Try to drop a down. It's even more challenging. Get that rapid, the size and how. Take the arms up. Begin to breathe. Deep breath in.

Use The exhale. Pull it to your girl and one piece of spine off the mat at a time. Stretcher. Now if I pulled you this way, you pull me back with your tummy and your shoulder. Drop the shoulders more. Yes, there you go. You feel that? That's good. Deep Sea.

So I'm helping her work extra hard and deep in that scoop into the belly. No shoulders though. Yes. And you got more hair. Pull me back. There you go. Stay centered though. Oh do I? Now I'm going to let go and you're going to have to control that. Good. And now those are beautiful. I'm going to have her move. She can just come up.

Deep breath in, up over nose between the knees. Now I'm going to have her go a lot faster cause I personally like to move when I'm working out. Drop those shoulders and deep breath in. Up. Excellent. Ooh, I like to break a sweat and come back down shoulders. Now, not to say that you can't, when you're working really hard going slow, but I like to get those endorphins moving. Exhale and come back down. I'm going to have her do [inaudible] two more. So if those were easy for you, do them like this. If they were not, continue with those knees bent holding onto the thighs.

And one more time. Inhale up. Every time she comes forward she gets a little looser. Very nice. She is going to end up getting rid of the bar. You can just place it at your side and yes, and then she's going to leave her feet where they are. And if you don't have the strap, don't worry about it.

Your legs can just be like that. Let's show two ways. Bend your knees. Actually take your feet out of the shop for now. So her knees are bent hip width apart, right? She didn't bring her right like into her chest and give it a stretch. So these are your leg circles.

She was going to take her right leg straight up and rest her hands at her side. Now you want to make sure those hips aren't popping up, that they stay flat. You don't have a little curve going on in that lower, lower spine. Good. And that your hip is turned up. Now she's got good placement. Her back is nice and long. If that feels fairly comfortable for you, relax.

Relax your knee a little bit. She can straighten her left leg. So go ahead and straighten your left leg on the mat. That makes it harder for the back. So in either position, whichever feels more comfortable, she's going to start to circle the leg. The circle is really that big toe circling around inside your shoulders and hips. Five times she's done. Three I want to let go and you're going to try to lift that leg up should feel heavy, especially if you have tight legs and tight hamstrings.

One more. She's doing a really good job at not moving her hip. She's going to reverse those five times up to the nose. One lift. Now can you get that like straight or now to now I want it straight. No shoulders for. Go ahead and bend your knee. Five. So you really don't have to do too many of those, but you have to do with a properly keeping those hips from moving and your back flat. All right, she's going to switch legs, left leg in, give that left leg a stretch. Good.

And since she was good on the other side, she's going to go ahead and straighten her right leg now. Now she's ready to take that left leg up and she's gonna turn that leg out. Now I know just by watching her that her right side's a little weaker. So she's going to have to work extra hard or not letting that right side move. Lift the leg and that left leg is a little tighter so it's going to be hard to lift it up and hold it up there. Can you lift that leg and hold there?

You go through. She's on three now. She's going to do two more for Walmart. Pull in five. Now reverse it. Let's add a little accent to kick up. One kick up to don't go too low. More up. That's to the nose. They lift up three, add a little bit quicker. Up Four so you're not hanging over there and bend your knee. Grab the side, give it a stretch. Good. Very good. All right, now she's going to sit up.

You could either turn to your side to sit up or just nicely sit up like that. Several different ways you could do that. Alright, so let's go into rolling like a ball. You're going to slide your heels as close to you as your can. Exactly. Getting centered on the mat, and she's going to get back into that secret. So for the first time, if you've never done these before, you can hold onto your thighs. She's going to drop.

Her head is close to inside those knees as you can't sit in a really tight basket in a nice rounded position. Now let's just have you balanced by taking your feet off of the mat. So she's gonna Kinda rock back a little bit in order to balance onto the first sitz bones. She's close. She could almost rock back a little bit further. Whole shoulders relaxed and drunk. The feet arrest. Now I'm going to add a step.

She's not gonna roll yet. She's going to try to do a little control exercise. She's going to take her feet off of the mat, keeping those heels together, toes apart. And now what she's going to, I'm going to have her do is fall back onto the hipbones is bar. She can't without actually falling. And then she's going to bring herself forward, pulling in those stomach muscles. Draw up your feet. Rest. Do that two more times.

So you'll find your balance fall back without falling. Bring yourself or drop the feet. Rest. Try to stay as relaxed as you can and your shoulders and your hands and forward rest. Go ahead and sit up tall and just stretch out for a moment. Lift your back. Good and back in touristy. She is ready to move into the actual rolling exercise.

Now that she knows that it's this area that she has to kind of fall back on to, hopefully she'll be able to maintain that in her ball, her rolling like a Bach. Alright, so take your feet off of the mat balance. Initiate with that first movement you just did where you fell back a little bit, but then roll all the way back and then bring yourself all the way up. Exactly. Show there's relax. Remember how you started. You kind of took your time and you didn't fall first and forward. Now don't roll all the way back. Go halfway and then roll and halfway go all the way back and now all the way up to more breathing in, breathing out. Nice and balance as you come up.

That's it. Very good. So she did an extra one just because I had her hold it so long. Drop your feet. Go ahead and sit up tall and stretch. So the idea is to be able to come up a balance each time. All right, I'm going to have her lie back down. Nice and controlled. Very nice. And let's go ahead and have you move back a little bit on the mat and you can straighten your legs. So if those were too easy, you can always hold your ankles and do the same rolling like of all otherwise.

That's a good way to start, Ben, both knees into your chest. Now you're going into a coordination exercise, part of your stomach series, and you take your right hand and hold your ankle, your left hand on your ankle, or I'm sorry, your left hand on your knee. So right hand on the ankle, left hand on the knee. Take your left leg straight up and let's just practice the arms and legs. You're gonna turn that left leg out. Good. And I watched that your knee is lined with your right shoulder and that you're also not crunching the knee.

You want to keep the heel up a little bit higher so you don't cut that circulation off. Good. And exactly the left leg will be turned out. And now the coordination of it is you're going to switch legs and switch arms. So switch legs and your left hand goes to your ankle. So switch hands. There you go. Mind Body. Can you drop that tailbone? Yeah. Yeah, you're going to do the same thing. She's going to switch hands, switch legs, right hand, right ankle, left hand, left ankle.

So the arm kind of becomes fairly mechanical. Yes. Now elbows out to the side. Nice and strong. Does arms working good? Now she's got it. So let's start with your right leg in, right hand on the ankle. Left hand on the knee. And now she's ready to go ahead and lift her head. Going into the exercise. Turn the left leg out.

Now what I'm looking for is not only her stretching by pulling the leg in, but that table does it rise. Drop your hipbone and pull in. Very good. So she gets good strength through here. Filling that space up and now she's going to switch hands and switch legs. Soft feet, switch hands, switch legs. Good. Just relax those shoulders. Now let's move.

She's got the right leg and she's going to do five sets. She's got one switch to, can you pull that leg in? Mark two they give the knee coming in three without dropping your heel so much for four Poland. Those ribs drop your shoulders. Five and that's enough rushed or head drop your legs. Good. So now she's done the single leg stretch.

She's going to go into her double leg stretch. So this is more of a breathing exercise here. Bring your knees into your chest. Granted they all work you in that power hough. So heels together, toes apart. This one, depending on her flexibility, you can either hold onto the back of your thighs or your ankle. She's got enough flexibility to hold her ankle.

So I'm going to have her go ahead and reach for her ankles. Glowing her heels together. But don't let your bottom rise. That stays down. Good. So your spine stays flat right now you're gonna take your arms and legs straight up to 90 degrees, so you'll let go of the legs. So the legs go here, they arms go there and she's still in her plie snatch. She's going to take a deep breath, man. Circle, just terms around.

Exhale and bend tourney. You can grab her ankles. Go ahead and keep your head down for now. Don't lift your head. We're just going to practice legs and arms. So heels together, toes apart, arms and legs. Go straight up. Deep breath in. Exhale, come back in. That's it. Do that one more time. Deep breath in. Exhale. Now this time she's going to make sure her arms don't go behind her.

They go to 90 for now, cause she's still just starting the exercise. Take your arms like straight up and we'll go here. So here's that window that you did for rolling era roll-ups, deep breath. Then keep those legs up high. And now exhale, circle. Go ahead. One more like that. Once you put a little weight on the left over, your legs left. Yes. Now your center. And exhale.

All right, relax for just a moment. Drop your feet. She is now ready to add her head. So the same movement with the arms and legs, but now your head will be up. So you're in that powerhouse. So heels together, toes apart. So start with your knees bent. Grab your ankles, but lift your head yes. And I want you to curl up like a roll up almost. Go ahead. That's great. Now she's ready. So shoulders are down. Curl up a little higher. Beautiful. Now she's ready. Arms and legs up. Deep breath in.

Circle the arms, grab those angles, keep weight on that left side. Inhale, arms and legs out. Exhale, arms, legs in looking good. She's going to inhale, stretch. Keep that, gave those arms in your peripheral. So make sure you can see your hands. You can't going too far back, arms up. There you go. Yes. For now there is a point where she will end up going all the way back for beginner. Let's stay where you can see them two more and exhale and Walmart and exhale, rest your head. Rest your legs.

Be careful though when you do pull your knees into your chest that you're not lifting your bottom to do that because really the stretch is to get your back to lengthen and not doing that. Otherwise it's not really likely. All right, so now that she's done all that, I'm actually gonna have her put those two exercises together without stopping. So single leg stretch and double leg stretch you just learned. So start with both knees in and I'm going to have her do about six sets. So right hand on your ankle, left hand on your knee, left leg as long. Exactly you are going to lift your head and then you can lower the extended leg down to a comfortable level.

But keep your turnout and now here, ready? Begin. Right leg, left leg. What to pull in as you're moving. Three, three, soft feet, four, four, six sets, five, five, six and both legs in. Grab your ankles, devil leg, stretch, arms and legs. Go Up. Deep breath in. Circle around and grab up. He'll stay together. Inhale out, exhale, and I'm going to grab you. Keep going. Inhale over here. Exhale, Eh, three more. Inhale, stretch.

Exhale in. Get those legs to reach for me to deep breath in. Exhale, one more time. Don't let your bottom rise. Exhale and drop her feet and one extra for the road rest. Okay, I'm going to have you sit up to finish with the spine. Stretch forward, all that hard work. Now she gets this stretch out. So both feet on the boxes. Now you don't have to have boxes. Just make the legs a little wider than your shoulders. Flex your feet.

Take your arms in front of you. Here's that same window she had on roll-ups, on double leg stretch. She's still can see her window. See, there it is. Soft elbows sit as tall as you can. Now, if you're not able to sit up really tall here, you can bend your knee. So go ahead and bend your knees and lift your back. That's it.

Just don't fall for it. Now she's okay though. She can actually straighten those like she could use that challenge. [inaudible] fate are gonna flex for this. So push your heels out. Now she's going to squeeze her bottom and sit even taller. Go Tall, are through this mountain. He saw how she grew. That's great. Take a nice deep breath in again and exhale. Drop your head.

Let your head fall between your window and think of your head dropping to the floor. Try to put your head here all the way down. Push those heels out. That's it. Yeah. Now she's going to start to come up and she's going to stack her spine one vertebrae at a time until she's sitting back up. Shoulders down, elbow, soft theatre, flex, deep breath in. Exhale, drop your head between your window. Go as low as you can. Good. Now I have it go much quicker. Sit Up Tall, lift your back, elbows relaxed, and three more deep breath in. Squeeze your seat. Exhale, you can get lower tall. Two more. Inhale up, exhale down. Go all the way there. That's it. And come back up.

Enjoy that stretch. One more time. Deep breath in. Exhale all the way forward and up and rest. Okay, and that concludes your basic mat.


very good. I loved doing some exercises and learning about others.
Glad you enjoyed! Thank you
Thank you Adrianne, nice video. You have your student a lot in outer rotation at the hips. In the one leg circle, in the double leg stretch. Is that special for this student to work in outer rotation because she is weak in the hip rotators, mid-glutes? Do you also teach it with legs straight?
Hi Carine,

Romana's Pilates teaches us Pilates stance, which is turned out for the less advanced student. Parallel is done if the student has a strong understanding of the "wrap" or if they, like myself hyper rotate, or some other anomaly that prevents the turnout.The turn out should not be large, really only have the feet two fingers apart on the turn out. Not a first position. The main focus is to find the wrap in whatever stance you are inn and not be holding in the quads. Thanks for the question and thanks for watching!
this is a great class
Thank you Maria, glad you enjoyed!
Found this a good workout even though I have been doing Pilates for a few years. I find it good practice to go back o he basics periodically! Thank you.
I love the way Adrianne explains things.
Thank you Faedra! Nice to hear that
I’m currently dealing with some funky things in my lower back/ hamstring. This was a great class to get a workout in with risking Leaving my back unsupported. Thanks!
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