Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 3

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 3

Welcome to Episode 3 of Transitions on the Mat!

In this episode we'll pick up with Spine Stretch Forward.

Post Series of 5 and into Spine Stretch Forward

  • Sit up after Criss Cross.
  • Begin your Spine Stretch.

Post Spine Stretch and into Open Leg Rocker

I'm a big advocate of getting into this exercise with straight legs.

Yes, you can begin with bent legs first to work on the balance of the position if you must. But more often than not one can go directly to the straight leg version in the following manner:

  • Pull the stomach in and curl backward until the weight of the upper body and lower body equalize. Your legs will begin to lift off the mat as you lower your upper body away from them.

(Don't worry about how far back you are going with your upper body for now. Also don't feel you need to be in a hurry to get into your position for Open Leg Rocker.)

  • Pull the stomach in and reach the legs out and upward into your hands (As though you would lift up the legs in the Teaser 3).
  • Keeping straight legs will put you immediately into the most advantageous balance for the Open Leg Rocker. Your legs will be supported by your center.
  • Begin your Open Leg Rocker.

Post Open Leg Rocker and into Corkscrew

And now for one of my favorites of what I call an ‘Embellishment Transition.'

Here you've got a few fun/challenging options to add: additional balancing, a closed-leg verision of Open Leg Rocker, as well as the ultimate version done with heels reaching skyward and holding onto your toes.

You may choose to include any or all of the following 'embellishments.'

  • Finish your Open Leg Rocker (the standard version).
  • Hold the balance and slowly bring the legs together.
  • Slowly open the legs continuing your balance.
  • Repeat 3-5x.
  • Keep legs together holding the ankles. Roll back 3-5x in this “closed rocker” position.
  • Hold the balance and reach heels away and hold your toes.
  • Roll back in this ultimate position 3-5x.
  • Finish in the balance and let go of the toes holding your Teaser position.
  • Control your descent to the mat.
  • Reach for the handles (if you've got them) or place arms by your side for the Corkscrew.
  • Begin your Corkscrew.

Post Corkscrew and into the Saw

  • Finish your Corkscrew.
  • Roll down the center and sit up into your Saw position.
  • Begin your Saw.

Enjoy this short vlog!

Missed an episode? No prob.

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 2

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 2

Welcome to Episode 2 of Transitions on the Mat!

This episode is all about the infamous Series of 5 – getting in and out of it.

Please note that efficient transitions are meant to challenge stamina and advance your workout.

If this series of exercises is still quite a challenge and you are not in the custom of doing them all in rapid succession, please take care of yourselves. Rest your head if necessary and continue the exercises in this manner.

Post Rolling Like a Ball and into Single Leg Pull

I like the challenge of this transition especially if you have a stiff back. Use your control to not fall onto the mat.

  • Finish your Rolling Like a Ball.
  • Bring your right leg into the position for Single Leg Pull while still in the balance of the Ball.
  • Use your stomach and control your descent to the mat: keep your head up and reach the left leg out.
  • Begin your Single Leg Pull.

Double Leg Pull

  • Finish your Single Leg Pull with the left leg pulled in.
  • Pull your right leg in and hold one hand on each ankle.
  • Begin your Double Leg Pull.

Single Straight Leg Stretch (Scissors)

  • Finish your Double Leg Pull and straighten both legs upward into the Scissors position.
  • Begin your Single Straight Leg Stretch (Scissors).

Double Straight Leg Stretch (Lower Lift)

  • Finish your Single Straight Leg Stretch (Scissors).
  • Reach both legs to the sky and press heels together.
  • Use your hands to hold up your head, placing one palm over the other.
  • Begin your Double Straight Leg Stretch (Lower Lift).

Criss Cross

  • Finish your Double Straight Leg Stretch (Lower Lift).
  • Pull the right leg in as you twist the waistline and upper body to the right.
  • Keep your hands the same as in Double Straight Leg Stretch (Lower Lift).
  • Begin your Criss Cross.

Enjoy this short vlog!

Missed an episode? No prob.

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat!

Thanks for all the love and comments on my Transitions! Transitions! series which featured the Reformer exercises.

Bring on the MATness!

In celebration of March MATness 2016 this post will begin a 10 part video series on how to tighten up your transitions between Mat exercises.

So you'll be all set to whip your little selves into a Mat frenzy come March.

Most of you are aware of my deeeeeeeep devotion to the Pilates Mat exercises.

Connecting each exercise to the next creates an efficient and continuous chain of movement. Perfecting my Mat workout in this manner is a pet project of mine.

Working steadily and at a brisk pace, these effective transitions on the mat will allow you to finish all 38 exercises in about 25 minutes.

Now that's what I call efficient.

Who hasn't got 25 minutes to Return to Life?

A word about the Pilates High Mat

Of course you can do your Mat exercises anywhere, anytime.

However, I can't say enough about my Pilates High mat with the strap and handles. It is a studio quality piece of apparatus that I find indispensable. Mine is made by Gratz, which is one option.

Another option is to stretch those DIY muscles: find a handy spouse or client and use this post via Pilatesology.

And here's why your body, your clients, every body! needs one of these babies…

It's a common misperception that the strap is only for beginners – to help new students achieve the Roll Up and the Neck Pull, for example.

In reality, as the student becomes more and more proficient in their Pilates workout, they can benefit more from the strap. The strap gives a vital assist to open the back more efficiently and consistently than is possible without it.

Everybody Pilates in Portsmouth, UK has a handy client who built 12 high mats for the studio's busy Mat Class schedule. I have seen with my own eyes the strength that has been created in all the bodies that only come to Mat classes.


Students that have never touched the apparatus were accomplishing all the 38 Mat exercises (yes – High Scissors and High Bicycle too) and looking super strong doing them.

Creating 10 or so DIY studio-quality mats is an investment for a Pilates studio, but in the process you'll set yourself apart from every other Mat class in town.

With apparatus quality mats, clients will see results more quickly and bodies will change.


And now for some transitions!

Enjoy this short vlog that begins standing and continues through Rolling Like a Ball.

And now for the Show Notes!

Descending to the Mat

Each Pilates Mat workout will start and finish in a standing position.

  • Stand at the front of the mat.
  • Cross 1 foot over the other and cross the arms in front of you.
  • Use your lift and control to grow taller as you lower down to a seated position.
  • Lie down on the mat as efficiently as possible and center yourself top to bottom as well as side to side.

The Hundred

You can begin the Hundred with the legs long on the mat or with legs bent into the chest just like Frog.

  • In one motion bring everything up into position.
  • Choose how you will begin the exercise and finish in the same manner.

The Roll Up

This first sequence of exercises is quite strap-heavy. If you're using the strap there will be a lot of getting up to put it on and lying back down into position.

It's really by design. Your workout is preparing you for the sitting up, lying down, getting up challenges of life, so use your stomach and do it with gusto!

Also we've just started the workout. Your mat is coddling you now. How nice to get to lie on your back with lovely support for your whole body. Joe Pilates is so thoughtful…

The body is warming up, stretching out, limbering and it's nice to have a great support from the mat apparatus at the onset of your workout.

Just you wait.

Later you'll reflect fondly on the time you spent with your feet in the strap…

Strap version:

  • Sit up and put the strap on your ankles.
  • Lie back and tighten the strap.
  • Take a pole if you've got one.

No strap?

  • Lie with legs long on the mat.
  • Reach heels forward, gently pressing them into the mat.
  • Take a pole if you've got one.

The Roll Over

Strap version:

  • Finish your Roll Up and lose the pole.
  • Use your handles with straight arms if possible.
  • Take your feet out of the strap and begin.

No strap?

  • Finish your Roll Up and lose the pole.
  • Reach your arms long beside you on the mat.
  • Begin your Roll Over.

Single Leg Circles

Strap version:

  • Finish your Roll Over, lowering the legs to your level.
  • Sit up and put the strap on your left foot.
  • Lie back and reach for the handles, making the strap tight on your foot if possible.
  • Reach your right leg to the sky and begin your Single Leg Circles.
  • Finish the right leg and put that foot under the strap.
  • Reach your left leg to the sky and begin your Single Leg Circles.

No strap?

  • Finish your Roll Over, lowering the legs to your level.
  • Reach your right leg to the sky and begin your Single Leg Circles.
  • Finish the right leg and scissor the legs bringing the left leg up and the right leg down to the mat.
  • Reach your left leg to the sky and begin your Single Leg Circles.

Rolling like a Ball

Whether you've got a strap or not:

  • Use your stomach.
  • In one swift maneuver come to up to balance in your Rolling Like a Ball position.
  • Roll on friends!


More episodes:

Questions? You know how much I love comments!!

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