A Set Order of Pilates Mat Exercises Helps Your Progress
There are several advantages of following a set order of exercises. It helps with memorization if the same exercises always follow each other and this subconscious learning of the order enables your body to absorb the exercises without your brain having to think too much about what happens next.
This enables you to add in layers of depth and sophistication as you progress through the intermediate level, and by the time you are advanced you can surrender to the practice in a way which can create a very special state of mind – the “movement as meditation” which is typical of advanced pilates practitioners.
Some teachers work hard to entertain their students with new exercises. We don’t think this is necessary. After all, never making progress because you never stop working on new “choreography” and never feeling or seeing changes in your body is much more boring than doing the same exercises all the time.
A Set Order of Pilates Mat Exercises Gives You a Balanced Workout
The sequence that we use is balanced and progressive, containing its own warm up within the workout itself and building over time as you add in exercises to progress from basic to intermediate and intermediate to advanced.
This means that every part of the body is worked and you don’t only do the things you like and do well, and ignore the things which you need to do, but dislike.
A set order gives you a structure to work inside, meaning that even if you are feeling uninspired then you have something that will give you the discipline to have a productive and transformative time on the mat.
Disadvantages of a Set Order of Pilates Mat Exercises
Surprisingly, after years of practicing the same order of exercises I do not find boredom an issue. The deep connection between mind and body that is possible when you follow a “ritual” order is far more interesting than the superficial stimulus of changing the exercises all the time.
There are, in fact, many ways of finding variety in the exercises: different tempo, different focus (e.g. breath, working the wings, lower stomach, stretch, strength, flow, concentration etc.), different forms of the same exercise and the use of the magic circle means that the mat work can be done in many different ways.
The mat can also be done with different endings (e.g. the wall, standing arm weights, rowings on the mat, magic circle and other standing exercises).
The main disadvantage with simply doing the mat exercises all the time is that there are fewer resources for dealing with any particular day’s issues and needs. It is, of course, possible to omit or modify exercises if they are going to create problems for your body on a particular day, but the mat is not the whole system, it is a part of it.
As important as the mat work is, it really helps the body to use the springs and have the different focus of the apparatus.