Our Favorite Pilates Mat Exercises
March MATness 2017 is underway so we've got Pilates mat on the mind all month long! Learn more about the movement in our latest newsletter (plus find out how you can win a full month of FREE Fuse!), then read on to find out which mat exercises our teachers like best (so you can request them in class!). Our newest instructors love Swan Dive: Lauren - My favorite classical move is Swan Dive. I love the challenge of keeping myself rocking for as long as I can. Rachel - My favorite classical mat exercise is Swan Dive! I love Swan Dive because it shows the amount of progress I've made in Pilates. I started Pilates with an ailing lower back and I would never dream of doing extensions for fear of putting to much pressure on it. Now, I am aware of how to pull in my lower abs to protect my back and I have so much fun taking this dive! Our resident boot camp instructor is a glutton for punishment: Abe - My favorite exercise is Neck Pull - definitely a love/hate thing! Like most Pilates exercises, it's a true multi-zone burner, and gives you zero room for cheats. The roll up is tough through the whole core, but the real magic is the lean back...upper back and shoulders have to engage to support the head and expand the chest; transverse abs draw deep to lengthen and support the straight spine, while the low abs and hips control the slow movement. Even the glutes and legs help anchor the body through the tough spot. And the gentle tuck and roll as you lower all the way is soooo satisfying after the shakes that you'll definitely get. These ladies love to lengthen and stretch: Marisa - Jack Knife because my legs look so long and it feels lovely to move from jack knife into teaser – one lengthening exercise into another. Mariska - Side Bend. Love the stretch! Tori - The Saw. I love the stretch in the back of my legs and the feeling of working my abs at the same time. And you've probably tried Shoulder Bridge in a million an one different ways with these two: Laura - Shoulder Bridge. So many great variations! Ayelet - Shoulder Bridge because it feels so good on the back and feels so effective on the glutes! As a teacher it's an exercise that allows for endless variation opportunities! Most of the Fuse crew is definitely TEAM BOOMERANG: Anita - A tie between Jack Knife and Boomerang (because they both require tremendous amounts of control, strength, and patience, and subtle adjustments can lead to huge change). Anna - My favorite traditional mat exercise is Boomerang since it's a two-for-one (Teaser and Roll Over). It's tricky, but fun once you get the coordination down and learn to control the momentum. Clare - I loooooove boomerang; whenever it's in class I feel like I got an extra dessert. It has everything I want in one exercise: tons of coordination for the part of me that likes to overthink things; spinal flexion, extension, and articulation; chest opening, wrist stretching, sheer willpower, and flippy upside-down stuff (a very technical Pilates term). Laci - My favorite is Boomerang because it combines the techniques of several movements introduced earlier in the order. It also requires a lot of control and really is a full body workout. Oh, and the spinal articulation. Always the spinal articulation. Meredith - Boomerang, which speaks for itself. Nicole - My favorite exercise is Boomerang. It's fun, but also combines elements of several different exercises in the sequence and reminds me how intelligent the classical method is. Of course, Fuse's official flex queen never misses an opportunity for an extra set of arm work: Jocelyn - Push-ups will always be my favorite exercise. And we can't forget the most famous Pilates exercise of all: Joe - Teaser! It’s challenging, but you feel empowered and, frankly, badass once completing it with grace & ease! Rumer - Teaser! Because with my disproportionately long legs it's a challenge, but when I first really got the full teaser down I was so proud! Now I'm starting almost from scratch after my tailbone injury and remembering why I love/hate it so much!