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35-Minute Mat Workout (Full Body)

Strengthen the entire body with this guided mat workout! These floor exercises are perfect for working out in a small space, recovering from a leg or knee injury, or just working out on days you don’t feel like getting up off the floor. Chest, shoulders, arms, back, glutes, legs and core – we’ll hit it all in around 30 minutes, entirely from your yoga mat.

Strengthen and lengthen with this guided mat workout at home – no standing necessary.

This strength and pilates mat workout targets the upper body, lower body and core in a new and challenging way.

Mat workouts typically involve a series of controlled movements that focus on strengthening the core muscles, improving posture, and increasing flexibility.

Floor exercises (like the ones found in this mat pilates workout) are also an excellent way to increase core strength and control while working other muscle groups, such as the legs, back and arms.

woman lying on her side performing a leg lift from the floor as part of a mat workout

Mat Workout FAQs

What Is A Mat Workout?

Mat workouts, or mat pilates workouts, are a form of exercise that is done from the floor, or from an exercise mat. This is an effective way of strengthening the upper body, lower body and core – without standing.

Are Floor Exercises Effective?

Floor exercises are an effective way to target the entire core. Additionally, mat workouts allow you to isolate specific muscle groups. You can isolate the upper body, abs and core, and lower body with floor exercises.

Can You Lose Weight By Doing Floor Exercises?

Floor exercises burn calories and build strength in a variety of different muscle groups, such as the legs, core and back. Bodyweight floor exercises are great for beginners, and you can add dumbbells or resistance bands to increase the intensity as your strength improves.

woman performing a seated back row with resistance band as part of mat pilates workout

The best floor exercises to build strength – entirely from your exercise mat. Add a set of dumbbells and resistance band to increase the intensity, or perform with just your bodyweight.

Add full body workouts like this one to your home training program 1-2 times a week to build muscle mass and increase endurance.

Workout Equipment:

Medium set of dumbbells. I suggest anywhere from 8-25 lbs. I used 15-20 lb dumbbells in this mat workout.

Option to add a mini loop resistance band (discount code: NML), pilates ball and ankle weights if you have them available.

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woman lying on her back performing a single leg glute bridge as part of mat workout

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the Pilates Mat Workout video on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 5 Circuits
  • 3 Exercises Per Circuit (A/B/A Format)
  • Timed Intervals. (Perform Move A for 30 seconds of work, then Move B for 45 seconds of work, then repeat Move A for 30 seconds of work. Rest time is always 10 seconds between moves.)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets

Workout Outline

A: Single Arm Chest Press (Right)
B: Bent Knee Leg Lower and Ball Squeezes
A: Single Arm Chest Press (Left)

A: Side Leg Lifts (Right)
B: Single Arm Back Row
A: Side Leg Lifts (Left)

A: Skull Crushers and Leg Lowers
B: Dumbbell Dead Bug
A: Skull Crushers and Leg Lowers

A: Single Leg Glute Bridge and Leg Lift
B: V-Sit Alternating Arnold Press
A: Single Leg Glute Bridge and Leg Lift

A: Side Leg Lift and Oblique Crunch (Right)
B: Prone Leg Lifts and Open
A: Side Leg Lift and Oblique Crunch (Left)

woman performing a seated shoulder press as example of floor exercise

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Mat Workout

5 Best Floor Exercises

Side Leg Lifts

Targets: Outer glutes, quads (top of legs) and core.

woman lying on her side performing leg lifts to target outer glutes as part of mat workout

How To Do Side Leg Lifts

  1. Start lying on your left side, hips and ankles stacked over each other. Option to place a resistance band a few inches above your ankles.
  2. Keep your left leg on the mat and hover your right leg 2-3 inches above it.
  3. Squeezing through your outer glute, lift your right heel up a few inches, focusing on making the movement come from your muscle rather than momentum.
  4. With control, lower your right leg, returning to starting position.

Skull Crushers and Leg Lowers

Targets: Triceps (back of the arm), lower abs, pelvic floor and deep transverse abdominal abs.

woman lying on her mat performing skull crushers and leg lowers as example of floor pilates exercise

How To Do Skull Crushers and Leg Lowers

  1. Lie on your back, holding dumbbells straight overhead, wrists in line with shoulders, palms facing in towards each other.
  2. Extend your legs straight up so they’re parallel with your arms, slight bend in the knees, feet are flexed.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells towards your forehead. As you lower the dumbbells, brace your core and slowly lower your right heel towards the mat.
  4. Then squeeze through the back of your arm to extend the dumbbells overhead. As you raise the dumbbells, lift your right foot back up to meet the left foot.
  5. Repeat; lowering the dumbbells towards your forehead and this time lowering your left leg. Exhale to press the dumbbells back overhead and return your left leg to starting position.

Modification: Bend your knees, performing bent leg lowers rather than full leg lowers.

Dumbbell Dead Bug

Targets: Deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis), lower abs, hips, shoulders and back (posterior and anterior deltoids).

Adding a dumbbell is one of my favorite ways to strength train the core muscles.

woman lying on her back performing a dead bug exercise as example of mat workout at home

How To Do Dumbbell Dead Bugs

  1. Lie on your back flat on the floor, performing a slight pelvic tilt to press your lower back into the mat. Lift your knees to form a 90-degree angle (knees stacked on top of hips).
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your hands straight overhead toward the ceiling. Inhale, letting your belly expand.
  3. Exhale, engaging your core and simultaneously extending your left leg and right arm away from your body, lowering the dumbbell in your right arm towards the ground with control. Left arm and right leg remain in place. With control, inhale as you return to starting position.
  4. Then repeat on the opposite side, exhaling as you extend your right leg and left arm away from the body, lowering the dumbbell in your left arm towards the ground. With control, return to starting position.

Modification: Drop weights, performing this move with just your bodyweight. Reduce range of motion of your legs, performing bent leg dead bugs.

Single Leg Glute Bridge and Leg Lift

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips and pelvic floor muscles.

Unilateral (or single-sided) exercises also increase core engagement.

woman lying on a large mat performing single leg glute bridges

How To Do Single Leg Glute Bridges and Leg Lifts

  1. Start lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Keeping your right foot planted on the mat, extend the left foot straight overhead (ankle stacked over knee).
  3. Press through your heels to lift your hips off the mat, squeezing your glutes as you lift. Think about keeping your core engaged and knees in line with your hips.
  4. Hold this bridge position as you slowly lower your left heel towards the floor, keeping your left leg straight through the entire range of motion.
  5. Inhale to float your left leg back up, returning to starting position.

Side Leg Lift and Oblique Crunch

Targets: Outer glutes, external oblique, internal oblique and rectus abdominis.

woman lying on her side performing a side leg lift and oblique crunch

How To Do Side Leg Lifts and Oblique Crunches

  1. Lie on your left side on the mat. Keep your body in a straight line, with your right leg stacked on top of the left.
  2. Place your left hand on the mat in front of your body, supporting you on the ground. Raise your right arm overhead.
  3. Engage your core, especially the obliques, and lift your right leg while simultaneously lifting your upper body off the floor. The goal is to have your right leg and right fingertips move towards each other.
  4. With control, reverse the movement by lowering the right leg and upper body to the mat.

Modification: Lying on your side, perform an oblique crunch, keeping both legs touching the ground.

Pin this: 5 Best Floor Exercises (Mat Workout At Home)

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  1. How many pounds are your ankle weights that you’re using in your mat workout?