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Beginner Pilates Mat Exercises

This is where you will find links to instructions for the many free beginner Pilates exercise instructions here at pilates.about.com.

5 Standing Pilates Exercises
Use these standing Pilates exercises as part of your warm up or after a mat work to transition into daily life movement.

Standing Pilates Legwork Exercises
These standing Pilates exercises are wonderful for creating better posture and increasing balance. They tone the abs and legs.

Arm Reach and Pull
This Pilates exercise helps establish shoulder stability by increasing awareness of scapular placement and movement.

Beginner Pilates Exercises
Use this routine of beginner Pilates exercises to build the basics of your Pilates training.

Chest Lift
Pilates Chest Lift looks a lot like an abdominal crunch, but beware, it's not! Use these instructions to work your abdominals in a way more effective than the common crunch.

Chest Lift with Rotation
This Pilates exercise strengthens your abdominal muscles and teaches pelvic stability. It is also a great prep for criss cross, one of the best flat abs exercises ever.

Child's Pose for Pilates and Yoga
Showing up in both yoga and Pilates classes, child's pose is a wonderful relaxation and stretch exercise. Here are the instructions for child's pose.

Clam - Pilates Fundamental Exercise
Clam is a simple Pilates exercise that tones the hip and thigh muscles. It is also a pelvic stability exercise.

High Clam
High clam takes Pilates clam exercise to the next level, literally. Everyone likes high clam because it is so good at toning the inner thighs as well as outer thigh, hips and abdominals.

Criss Cross - Pilates Mat Exercise
Criss Cross is a popular Pilates mat exercise for targeting the abdominal muscles, especially the obliques. Working an upper body rotation against a stable pelvis is an excellent workout for all of the abs., but the rotation involved requires extra work from the obliques. Working the obliques supports posture, the ability to flex and rotate the torso, and is a waist whittler!

Pilates Dart - a fundamental back strengthener
Dart is a back strengthening exercise often recommended for certain kinds of back pain. In Pilates we use the abdominal muscles to help support this back extension. Get instructions for dart.

Double Leg Stretch
Double Leg Stretch is really a powerful abdominal strengthening workout. In this exercise, everything moves from center, working the abs for strength and endurance.

Double Straight Leg Lowers - Pilates Mat Exercise
This Pilates mat exercise is a very effective abdominal workout, working both the upper and lower abdominals. Provided that you learn to do it correctly this is an ideal core strength builder. Follow these step by step instructions and learn to protect your back as you get a great abdominal challenge.

Fundamentals Exercise Set
These exercises teach the basic movement principles upon which other Pilates exercises build. They also translate directly into better posture and efficient everyday movement.

Head Nod
Head nod starts many Pilates exercises. A fundamental move, can use it to warm up and as a stress reliever throughout your day.

Hip Stretching Exercise
This easy hip stretching exercise stretches the outside of the hip, providing flexibility and release of tension.

Inner Thigh Lifts - Pilates Mat Exercise
Inner Thigh Lifts work your legs from your core abdominals. They tone the thighs and abdominals and stretch the hips.

Knee Folds - a Fundamental Exercise
Knee folds is a Pilates fundamental exercise. It teaches pelvic stability and efficient movement principles. This is one of the Pilates exercises that is often used to help relieve back pain.

Lateral Breathing
Lateral breathing will help you breathe deeply even when your abdominals are pulled in.

Mermaid Side Stretch
Mermaid Side Stretch lengthens and opens the side body, it engages the scapula in the back, and it connects your stretch all the way through center. Use Mermaid as a gentle warm up or a more intense stretch later in your routine. This exercise is one of the free sample Pilates exercises at pilates.about.com.

One Leg Circle - Pilates Mat Exercise
One leg circle is a great test of core strength and stabilization. One gets a great workout for the abdominal muscles by keeping the shoulders and pelvis stable against the movement of the leg. One Leg Circle also tones and stretches the thighs.

Open Leg Balance - Pilates Mat Exercise
Open Leg Balance is one of the best Pilates mat exercises I know testing the strength of the lower abdominals. Core strength is the name of the game here as you will literally lose your balance unless your abdominals are working hard.

Opposite Arm and Leg Reach - Kneeling
Opposite arm and leg reach helps build core strength by challenging balance and stability. This is one of the Pilates exercises recommended for back pain.

Pelvic Clock - Pilates Fundamental
Pelvic Clock is a basic Pilates exercise. It helps one understand the difference between neutral pelvis and flat back, and how to move the pelvis with the abdominals. It also reveals imbalances in the back and abdominal muscles.

Pelvic Curl
A beginner exercise that works the abs, glutes, hamstrings and inner thighs and offers a nice spinal articulation as well.

Pilates Mat Exercises: The Roll Up - Pilates Mat Exercise
The Roll Up is one of the classic Pilates Mat exercises. Roll Up is a great challenge for the abdominal muscles. It has been said that one Pilates roll up is equal to six regular sit ups, and is much better than crunches for creating a flat stomach.

Plank - Front Support - Pilates Mat Exercise
While Plank really targets the abdominal muscles and shoulder stability, you will find that plank is an excellent way to get a full body challenge. It is often modified to help build core stability for beginners and those with physical challenges.

Rolling Like a Ball - Pilates Mat Exercise
A classic Pilates exercise, Rolling Like a Ball is considered a fundamental exercise and it is almost always included in Pilates mat classes. Rolling like a ball stimulates the spine, deeply works the abdominals, and tunes us into the inner flow of movement and breath in the body.

Saw - Pilates Mat Exercise
Saw is a basic Pilates Mat Exercise that is appropriate for all workout levels. It is a good spine stretch utilizing spinal rotation and the breath to increase the stretch. Here is a free example of this Pilates exercise, with clear photos.

Shoulder Bridge - Exercise Intructions
Pilates shoulder bridge strengthens the powerhouse, works with the coordination of movement and breath and is an especially good challenge for the inner thigh and hamstrings.

Side Kick Front/Back - Pilates Mat Exercise
Use Pilates Side Kick Front and Back to work the back extensor muscles, the abdominals, the hamstrings, and the hip flexors. Side Kick Front/Back tones the thighs, hips and abs.. It is also an excellent balance challenge, calling forth the ability to use core muscles to stabilize the pelvis, and work the legs independently.

Side Kick Up Down - Pilates Mat Exercise
Side Kick Up Down is a great Pilates exercise for toning the thighs and hips. It also works the abdominals as they must maintain stability as the leg moves independently. This is part of the free Pilates mat exercise series.

Side Leg Lifts - Pilates Mat Exercise
Side Leg Lifts done as a Pilates exercise works the entire abdominal region. Lifting the legs together keeps the inner thighs and buttocks engaged as the powerhouse pulls in and up, developing core strength and balance.

Single Leg Stretch - Pilates Mat Exercise
Single Leg Stretch is one of the best Pilates Mat Exercises for working the abdominals. It is an especially good exercise for the lower abdominals. If flat abs. is one of your goals, this exercise is for you.

Spine Stretch - Pilates Mat Exercise
Spine Stretch is a Pilates mat exercise that feels really good. It can show up anywhere in your workout as a great stretch for the back and the hamstrings, as well as a moment to center oneself before moving on to more challenging exercises.

Swan - Pilates Mat Exercise
The benefits of this Pilates mat exercise are numerous. Swan is an extension exercise so it provides a great counter to the many flexion exercises in Pilates. Swan stretches the abdominals and hip flexors, even as it strengthens the abdominals, back and shoulders; as well as inner thighs, pelvic floor and hamstrings.

Swimming - Pilates Mat Exercise
Pilates mat exercise, Swimming, is a fun exercise, yet quite a workout. Swimming, like the activity it is named after, works every part of the body. This one is perfect for toning the abs. butt, back and hamstrings. Try Pilates Swimming as a great counter exercise to all the front flexion exercises.

The Hundred - Online Video
This online video will help you see the ab and rib connection, modifications, and breathing pattern for the hundred

The Hundred
The hundred is a classic Pilates exercise. It builds core strength, stamina and coordination. To do this exercise well, you must fully engage the abdominal muscles while you practice a dynamic breathing pattern.

Wall Roll Down - Standing Pilates
This standing Pilates exercise is great practice for beginners or more advanced students as it teaches the basic Pilates moves of using the abdominals to effect an articulation of the spine and roll the torso up and down. Practicing from a standing position makes this exercise assessable to people for whom rolling from a prone position is too...

5 Anytime, Anywhere Pilates Moves
Here are five Pilates moves you can practice anytime. These moves will help you build a strong foundation for Pilates exercises.

Foam Roller Exercise: Reclined Marching
Learn a simple reclined marching exercise that you can do on the floor or on a foam roller. This exercise helps build core stability and teaches good movement mechanics.

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