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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