8 Pilates Mat Exercises to Make Your Workout More Fun 

pilates mat exercises

At Lindywell, we focus on Pilates mat exercises because we love how accessible they are. Whether you’re targeting your arms, legs, or core, you can do your workout anywhere. Sometimes, you don’t even need a mat! (Our standing workouts are a favorite in the community.)

Another thing we love about mat pilates is how fun these exercises can be. Forget workouts that are repetitive, long, and boring. At Lindywell, we always want to make pilates workouts challenging but also enjoyable. I mean, why else would we do it, right? Plus, when we love what we’re doing, we’re more likely to be consistent with it. A win-win!

Let’s talk about the importance of building more fun into your workout routine. Afterward, I’ll share some of my favorite Pilates mat exercises that are as fun as they are effective. 

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The Benefits of Making Fitness Fun

At the start of classical pilates, the original technique was brought from Germany to the United States by Joseph Pilates. It was soon picked up by ballerinas in New York City around the 1930s and Hollywood celebrities in the 1970s. Now, the culture surrounding pilates exercise is focused on having fun as well as getting effective strength training.

It’s no secret that a consistent wellness routine is important for both your physical and mental health. In fact, there are a number of benefits of pilates for the mind and body. If you don’t look forward to exercise, however, chances are, you won’t stick with the program. That’s because interest and enjoyment are two main predictors of sticking with a workout routine over time.

This fun factor boosts your intrinsic motivation, which helps to build more consistency. Plus, this has a positive effect on your mental wellness too. There’s a direct correlation between exercise and dopamine (your happy hormone). There are also studies that show how you can calm your nervous system through the fun of working out. The more you love it, the more you do it, the happier you are. That’s an equation I can get behind!

Finally, prioritizing fun in your workouts can help with social connections as well. When study participants took part in group or community exercise programs they felt more energized, experienced healthier relationships, and felt more satisfaction in life overall. 

You can’t argue with science—fun fitness pays off!     

8 Fun and Playful Pilates Mat Exercises 

While I think most Pilates exercises are fun, I especially love these ones, which come from our Joyful Movement mat workout

If you’re not already a Lindywell member, sign up for your 14-day free trial to get instant access to this, along with more online pilates classes, a weekly workout calendar, and daily featured workout suggestions—say goodbye to decision fatigue! Plus, our breathwork classes help alleviate stress and regulate your nervous system!

1. Spinal Warm-Up (10 repetitions)

Spinal Warm-Up

 Allow your body to move in an unstructured, free-flowing manner. This is a fun and comfortable way to loosen the spine, increase circulation, and work out any stiffness or tension. Remember to softly bend each knee, maintain a neutral posture, relax each shoulder, then let the arms swing freely as you twist from one side to the other—and have fun!

2. Prancing (10 repetitions)


This movement activates the calf muscles and helps strengthen the feet and ankles, an area that can be easily forgotten. As you perform this back-and-forth motion by alternating from your left to right leg, maintain a lift in your pelvic floor and length in your spine. 

3. Standing Balance (5 repetitions on each side)

Standing Balance

This is one of my favorite Pilates mat exercises for challenging stability. Balancing forces your accessory muscles (all the little muscles) to work harder, so you’ll build even more strength. Remember to continuously use your core strength to stabilize yourself as you move through this exercise.

4. Rolling Like a Ball

Rolling Like a Ball

Rolling exercises are so silly and playful—and it’s also a great way to massage the spinal column while building core strength. If you find that you’re falling flat on your back as you roll over, tuck your pelvis more (creating more of a c-shape with your spine) to get that rolling motion. This one is fun, so enjoy it!

5. Open Leg Rocker (10 repetitions)

Open Leg Rocker

 If you love Rolling Like a Ball, you’ll love this one too—and the added challenge can make it even more silly because it’s not always easy to do gracefully! Remember that you can modify this position with a slight bend in each knee. 

6. Hamstring Pull with Roll Up (5 repetitions on each side)

Hamstring Pull with Roll-Ups

Tension in the hamstrings can lead to injuries or limit flexibility and range of motion in the hips and lower back. This is a great Pilates mat exercise to do regularly as a double leg stretch to stay mobile if you sit at a desk all day—plus, it’s also great for your core.

7. Seal Pup (10 repetitions)

Seal Pup

Unleash your inner seal with this exercise—”barking” noises are optional, but encouraged! As with all of the other rolling exercises, remember to tuck your pelvis and activate the abdominal muscles. Use each arm for the double leg pull so you can flow while building strength. 

8. Plank Hovers with C-Curves (5 repetitions on each side)

Plank Hovers with C-Curves

This movement creates resistance in your shoulders, arms, spine, abdominals, glutes, quads, and calves. It’s one of those amazing full-body Pilates mat exercises that’s so efficient! Exercises like this make your workouts super effective—and fun.

Make Your Workout More Fun With Pilates 

No matter where you’re at on your fitness journey, Mat Pilates is accessible, beneficial, and enjoyable for a balanced body. You can adapt each move to your own comfort level while building strength, balance, and flexibility. Looking for the right mat? Find our collection of mats and other pilates equipment for home. If you want to make fitness fun, give each mat exercise a try—and don’t forget to sign up for your free 14-day Lindywell trial to enjoy this full workout and many more like it!

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6 thoughts on “8 Pilates Mat Exercises to Make Your Workout More Fun ”

  1. Yes I have been told by my Dr had a mild heart attack that I need to do more strength exercises
    I went to the physio too as my tight leg is weak and often painful and need more strength going forward
    So, using weights 15 minutes a day and having exercises to support this will be helpful

    1. We are so sorry that you had a heart attack and for any pain and discomfort it may have caused but we are so glad that you are receiving medical care and treatment and that you are listening to your provider’s recommendations. We are cheering you on, Meg, and hope you have a quick recovery and are back in full health soon!

  2. Anne klingborg

    Thank you Robin for offering so many alternatives to exercising! Lindywell pilates is my go to every day!!! I love all the exercises, blogs, and recipes!

    1. And we are so glad that you are a part of the Lindywell community, Anne! We are celebrating all of your hard work and the way that you are caring for yourself! 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing these fun warm ups! I’ve been enjoying the workouts on the app but have felt like a little more of a warm up would benefit me. I’m excited to have fun with these and add them into my routine 💪

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