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What's your favorite apparatus?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mix up the Mat

Recently, I have noticed that there has been an increase in mat class attendance at the studio. It has been a wonderful and pleasant surprise. Being a Pilates studio in southeast Michigan with a failing automotive industry can be a little unsettling. Luckily, I do have a very dedicated client base and being the sole owner and teacher at the studio, I have the ability to offer classes in sessions at an extreme discount.

With several clients opting for mat classes, it is important that the classes always remain challenging and interesting without sacrificing the method. Those of us who have been trained properly are aware that the exercise progress in a certain order. When we have clients that come in several times a week are we concerned that they will get bored? Do we then stray away from the list in order to make the class interesting? Do we add Yogalates to the schedule? Nope!

Using a small apparatus in class adds a whole new element and challenges muscles in new and exciting ways. Magic circles are a great way to add a little extra resistance. Light weights can be used for the rowing series. Thera-bands are great to use for upper body work and stretching. The dreaded thera-ball is great for is the foam roller. These subtle and easy additions keep the muscles working differently and keeps the clients working hard without losing the integrity of the method.

I don't believe anything that has proven to work for over 100 years needs to be changed. Do you?


  1. I completely agree that really the use of props can add hundreds of different exercises to a mat. All the props mentioned are great, and can greatly increase the difficulty of already challenging exercises. Mat work is already most challenging because you can not modify exercises as much as you can for a client on the apparatus. Simple changes such as a different order, or varying the number of reps can even change up a class significantly . Students who enjoy pilates and work hard know that it works and are usually open to whatever you throw at them. At our uptown pilates studio in NYC we really to to keep the atmosphere as creative as possible with props and mat work, especially in a reformer or tower mat class!

  2. this is the best mat out there, you can do pilates at home!

  3. Can i ask what MAT means here ...???

    Diet Plan
    Walk in Clinic

  4. I very mush like your approach to keeping things interesting, whilst keeping the pilates regime original.

    I am also glad that you are taking the recession into account and tryign to help your community.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. The beauty of mat exercise is you can take it with you anywhere: on holiday, business trip etc... Is the most challenging cos you use your own body weight.
    I love your blog n have post it in our Facebook page. Thanks

  6. I believe you're right, Julie. There's no use making significant changes to a program that has been successful for so long. The subtle additions of new exercises and an apparatus or two, which simply work the muscles in a different way, are more than enough. Oftentimes, small changes and keeping the muscles guessing can produce more than pleasant benefits.

    Thanks for publishing a great blog.

    Alan Hammond

  7. I agree that anything that has proven itself for years should not be changed. Good call Pilates Guru!