Workout Wednesday: The Mat Workout

Having one of those days when going to the gym feels impossible?  You  know you want to work out, moving your body sounds nice, but standing up to do so? Terrible. Sounds like it’s a perfect day for this mat workout!

The only piece of “equipment” you’ll need is a yoga mat-although you don’t even really need that- and something to act as a single weight. This could be an actual dumbbell or a gallon of milk or a heavy book!

And don’t worry, even though you’ll be laying down, you’ll still be sweating by the end of this, and it just might energize you enough to double its length! Clocking in at just 13 minutes, this mat workout packs a punch — especially if you opt to do it twice through!

Want to give it a try? Lie down on your back and let’s get started. 


The Mat Workout

You’ll perform each of these exercises for 30 seconds with no rest in between. At the end of the circuit do not rest. Instead, start over again at the top. 

Repeat the circuit 5 times without rest. 

If you’re feeling brave, at the end you can rest for three minutes, then do it all over again.

Reverse Crunch

Okay, I lied. For this exercise, you will need to find something stable to hold onto while you’re lying on the floor; this could be a couch or bed frame, something that wont move as you do these.

Once you’ve found it, lay down and grab hold of it with your arms above your head.

In this position, use your lower abdominals to pull your knees into your chest, then extend them straight out (hovering about an inch above the floor.) 

Go for 3o seconds, then move on to the next exercise immediately!

Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle crunches may seem basic. In fact, I bet you already know how to do them. 

But, just in case, let’s make sure you’re doing them correctly. After all, we want you to get the most out of this mat workout. 

So, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your hands behind your head. 

From here, lift your your shoulders off the ground while keeping your neck long. 

Now, twist from your waist and try to touch your left elbow to your right knee. As you do this, extend the left leg straight out so it’s hovering above the floor. 

Switch sides. 

As you get tired it will be tempting to crunch your neck and simply flap your elbows to your knees. Resist! 

Moving slowly with good form will build more strength and, ultimately, burn more calories than simply moving as fast as you can.

Go for 30 intentional seconds, then immediately move on to the next exercise!

Weighted Hollow body Hold

Next up in our mat workout is the weighted hollow hold! For this exercise you will need whatever you’ve chosen to use as your weight.

Lay on your back with your arms extended by your ears holding your weight and extend your legs straight. Brace your core then, Martha Graham style, scoop your core to contract letting your shoulders come off the ground and legs lift. 

Hold this position for 30 seconds then move on to the final exercise in our mat workout!

Weighted Russian Twist

Finally we reach the final exercise in our mat workout circuit!

Russian Twists are probably something you’ve encountered in core workouts  before. For this workout, you’ll be holding whatever you’ve chosen as your weight in your hands. 

Begin in a sitting position with your knees bent, feet flat on the mat. 

From this position, brace your core and lean back as if your body is a solid board, arms holding the weight close to your chest.

Now, float your feet up one at a time so your shins are parallel to the ceiling. Good!

While maintaining this solid core position and keeping your knees even, gently rotate your spine so your chest faces to the right, go as far as you can until you are tempted to begin twisting from your shoulder. 

Then, slowly and gently twist the opposite direction. 

Repeat for 30 seconds then immediately go back to the top to repeat it all again!

Finishing it up!

To complete this workout, perform this circuit 5 times through with no rests.

It’s nice and short, but this mat workout is 10 minutes of solid work.

Have you gotten to the end and want more? Wait 3 minutes then do it all again!


Did you like today’s workout? Check out these winners on the Dancers Who Lift Blog: Training Tip Tuesday: Three Point Row, Follow Your Heart? Everything You Need to Know About Heart Rate Variability Training, Workout Wednesday: A Circuit Workout

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