March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

It's hard to believe we are on the cusp of March MATness 2017!

How did it all start?

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

Now in its 5th year, March MATness is a global celebration of the original Mat exercises and brilliant body conditioning system that is our beloved Contrology.

Read more here.

OMG I love the Mat exercises!

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

Yes.

It's true.

I'm endlessly fascinated with all of Joe's Mat exercises. He stretches us to the very edges of our capabilities with infinite variations on a theme.

My personal Mat workout consists of the 34 exercises from Joe Pilates and the 3 extra ‘Series of 5‘ exercises reportedly added by Romana Kryzanowska: Single Straight Leg Stretch (Scissors), Double Straight Leg Stretch (Lower Lift), and Criss Cross. Another staple is Thigh Stretch, an exercise Jay Grimes learned from Joe Pilates in the 1960s.

Which brings my total to a whopping 38 exercises!

Sometimes I like to add the High Bridge after the Shoulder Bridge. Because I can.

And if you can you should.

Every little bit of this workout can be completed in under 30 minutes.

Let's get the party started with the Hundred on Wednesday March 1, 2017.

The Order of the Universe

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

I'm a huge fan of Joe Pilates' original order of the Mat exercises.

What a precious gift from Joe Pilates.

We've got an entire month (and beyond) to focus on his brilliant sequencing.

Thanks Joe.

If you're new to the order of the Pilates Mat exercises get your list of the exercises here.

Stay tuned in March for the debut of My Mat Poster…coming soon!

3 Cheers for our Faves

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

This year I'm thrilled to have a few more favorites on the Mat than in previous years. Maybe you do too.

Since last year's MATness I have come to thoroughly enjoy Swimming.

Way more than I ever thought possible…

Other stretchy favorites include Control Balance and Bicycle.

Don't get me started on the rolling exercises…  #goodtimesroll

Wanna take a closer look?

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

On the Mat, perfecting your exercises can take time.

Use these posts to dive in deep this week and sail on through the weekend:

Maybe you're ready to link your exercises together into one glorious chain of movement?

Tighten up those transitions between exercises all month long:

Or you can watch the playlist on YouTube.

MATness All Month Long

I hope you'll join me here for Mat-centric posts as we move and sweat our way through the MATness.

Got an exercise you'd like to see featured in a post or tutorial?

Leave a comment below and I'll get on the Mat!

And here's where you can find me in 2017.

Pilates Mat Exercise #3: The Roll Over

Pilates Mat Exercise #3:The Roll Over

I happen to be MAD about both The Roll Up and The Roll Over.

What a pair!

The first thing I have to say is

1. Don't be in a hurry.

Yes, it's the third exercise, but you may do Pilates for a while (even a long while) before you do it.

And that's okay.

Just like other challenging exercises where you must lift yourself off the Mat, The Roll Over improves over time and requires a strong foundation in many of the other exercises.

Please notice that I use the word ‘lift.'

2. Lift vs. Fold

Lift: to raise to a higher level

very different from

Heave: haul (a heavy thing) with great effort

No snark here, your lower body is a large proportion of your total body weight.

Fling: move or push suddenly or violently

Throw: push or force violently and suddenly into a particular physical position.

Easy on the violence, babe…

What about our other contender?

Fold: bend over on itself so that one part covers another

That's not it either, right?

Let's take a look at the difference…

Pilates Mat Exercise #3: The Roll Over

LIFT!

versus…

Pilates Mat Exercise #3: The Roll Over

Folded…what. is. going. on?

This is when the whole Contrology thing really comes in handy. You must strive for control. Now.

 3. A Starting Point

You may have seen students and teachers perform this exercise, their feet reaching all the way to the floor behind them. While yes, if you can reach the floor, you should, I did this exercise for more than a year before my feet got anywhere near the mat behind me.

It's the quality of the journey on the way back there that counts.

You will cultivate the important skills necessary to complete the exercise safely and effectively. Moreover,

Just because your feet don't reach the floor doesn't mean you're not doing the exercise.

Where will you find your very first lifting skills in your Pilates Mat workout?

Roll Like a Ball! Look at that lift!

Spoiler Alert: Now in the Roll Over you just have to get the lift without momentum…

Remember, if you are just beginning to work on this exercise, today's goal may not be to touch your feet to the floor over your head.

Today's goal is control. Check back tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure the goal will remain unchanged.

Pilates Mat Exercise #3: The Roll Over

Just so we're clear.

At the risk of giving this exercise tool a fancy name, I like to call this ‘Tiny Roll-Over'. It's packed with just the essentials and plenty of lift. You may find it to be helpful as you work on the Corkscrew as well.

  1. Keep your legs at 90 degrees and lock them together at the heels, inner thighs and buttocks.
  2. Aim for the ceiling and lift just the tailbone and maybe a couple lower vertebrae off the mat.
  3. Hover. Show off your fabulous willpower over your body. Open the Legs. Did you wiggle?
  4. SLOWLY, lengthen down back onto the mat. Zip the legs together again.
  5. Repeat 3x each direction.

See how you do. You may find this version to be equally as challenging as the full Roll Over, so I urge all you feet-reaching-the-floor-folk to try it as well.

Share your successes in a comment below.

 

On the F-word. The other one.

Make sure you let the F-word infiltrate your Pilates workout.

No, the other one:

On the F-word. The other one.

Perhaps you've heard of it?

Fun was a chief impetus to this blog and an aspect my Pilates world was sorely lacking at one time.

Not now.

Now I am replete with the f-word. I use it all day long.

Let it fuel your rolling exercises. Rolling is FUN. 

Wheeeee!

Be amused by the exercise that is the. most. challenging. for you. 

I love Anula Maiberg's MATness photos for their strength and their ability to make me smile. Fun-tastic!

Look at that!

The Side Kicks Kneeling – mind you – definitely in the realm of potential UN-fun-ness – but doesn't she look so amazing that you want to try it?

I can't take my eyes off the dress, it's mesmerizing. The lines of the body and the garment are in a perfect union of geometric goodness.

Gah! It makes me want to do the exercise right now when I see this photo.

And you should know that I am not a member of the Side Kicks Kneeling Fan Club…yet!

The Pilates exercises are exacting, but they will do their serious work while you do your job of being your own best friend. Wasn't that Teaser better than the ones yesterday? Or last week?

Just notice, smile and move on!

A particular Pilates exercise got you down? Let's discuss and turn that 🙁 upside down.