Whether you are just beginning your fitness journey or wish to upgrade your level, there are a few essential types of equipment that can always assist you. A popular one among them is a mat. These are portable and quite useful when it comes to a home workout. In fact, there are some exercises that especially require a mat. This article is all about them.
Mat exercises have been a hit among people who don’t want to miss on their fitness. Moreover, these exercises are also quite easy to learn and perform. So, those who are beginners and do not really wish to go to the gym, can learn some mat exercises and achieve their fitness goals.
What Are Mat Exercises?
As the name suggests, mat exercises are those physical workouts that you can do using a mat. These can vary based on the goals or the types of exercise you wish to do. For instance, yoga mat exercises are different from the dumbbells exercises you can do on the mat.
Mat exercises are ideal for beginners as they usually do not need high strength and flexibility. You can also decide your own sets and reps based on your physical capability. Similarly, the poses or exercises to do on a yoga mat can be customized according to the needs and requirements.
In case you do wish to learn the mat stretching exercises or some specific ab mat exercises, you can refer to online workout classes. They can teach you everything from the step-by-step guide of gym mat exercises to the right form.
10 Different Mat Exercises
From ab mat exercises to a few of the yoga mat exercises for beginners, this list contains it all. Let’s begin:
If you want to use a mat for core exercises, you must try planks. They engage your core muscles and also stretch your lower body. This is also a good alternative to crunches as they also help in building body strength and muscles. Just make sure you maintain a proper form while doing planks and you can work out your entire body with just one exercise.
As the name suggests, this mat exercise requires you to bend your back in a way that it looks like a bridge. If you are looking for abdominal mat exercises, we would suggest you try this one. Watch a video to learn how to perform it.
Check any belly fat burning workout and there are high chances that crunches will be among the top mat exercises to do. It engages your rectus abdominus (the muscles that make the abs) and back muscles. Learning crunches is also helpful in upgrading your fitness level since it is a foundation movement for other challenging crunches such as bicycle crunches, or truck-ups.
- Leg Raises
Another excellent addition in the best of abdominal mat exercises, leg raises can be done on a mat easily. However, do make sure your movements are controlled and slow. This is how you can engage your core and hip flexors. Lying leg raises also alleviates your lower back pain by improving strength and stability in the part.
Talking about lower back pain, you can also try the Superman exercise to reduce it. Also known as Superman hold, this is also one of those mat stretching exercises that also work on your hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles.
- Pilates 100s
The list of mat exercises is incomplete if it does not contain any Pilates mat exercises. So, here is the classic move that is often recommended to beginners. The name of the exercise is due to the fact that you have to do 100 beats of your arm muscle while holding your legs extended and your head and shoulders off the mat. You can also do the hundred as a dynamic warmup before you perform exercises for the abdomen and lungs.
- Seated Russian Twist
The seated Russian twist is an effective exercise that can tone your core and shoulder muscles. Though it can be added as yoga mat exercises for beginners, the workout is not so simple. You require a lot of strength and support to perform it.
- Mountain Climber
To increase your stamina and build core muscles, you should definitely give mountain climbers a chance. The exercise mimics the action of mountain climbing. The only difference is that you have to do that on a yoga mat. It will look like you are running against the floor. Once you have mastered this move, you can also try mountain climber variations.
Moving on to the mat stretching exercises, beginners can perform the Cat-Cow pose. It is a simple yoga pose that is also known as Chakravakasana. During this stretching exercise, you move your spine from a rounded (flexed) to an arched (extended) position. It is best for those who have long sitting hours at work.
- Downward Dog
Since we are talking about yoga mat exercises, it is essential to add the Downward Dog pose. This is a foundational pose for many other yoga poses and exercises. The exercise also stretches your whole body and builds better balance and flexibility.
Benefits of Mat Exercises
While each of the mat exercises we mentioned above has a different set of benefits, there are some common benefits you can enjoy when you use mat for core exercises. These include:
- Strengthen core, glutes, back, and shoulder muscles
- Improve flexibility and stability
- Alleviate back and neck pain
- Build muscles and burn calories
- Reduce stress and anxiety
Precaution (If Any)
Here are a few basic precautions to take for the exercises to do on a yoga mat:
- Make sure your posture is right.
- Do not perform the exercises quickly.
- Avoid mat exercises like downward dog and planks if you are pregnant.
- Talk to a doctor before starting mat exercises if you have any shoulder or back injuries.
- Do not eat a meal after or before any of these exercises.
Incorporating gym mat exercises in your routine to be healthier and stronger. And now that you also have a list, it is time to plan your next fitness class soon. In case you are not sure about the poses and technique, make sure you learn them from a fitness expert.
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