Barlates: Mat Barre Series

Mat Barre Series contains 3 workouts that use some combination of a pilates ball, a resistance loop or a resistance band–and in one of the workouts, all 3 are used. These are all total body strength workouts done on the floor (mat work). They are all very tough and effective workouts. Since none of these workouts have a warm up, I used Linda‘s free YouTube Total Body Warm Up before doing each one. And since these were all weekend workouts for me, I finished them off with a longer Jessica Smith stretch.

Mat Ball and Band is 48:30 minutes long with 3:30 minute stretch. For this workout, you need a pilates ball and pilates band. This was a surprisingly thorough total body workout in less than 50 minutes. You hold the ball between you thighs for a long time in the beginning of the workout and that makes a difference in the way the exercises feel–you are working muscles you otherwise would not be working. It was intense and challenging and I had some burn out at times. During some of the upper body band exercises my muscles started screaming. #9 surprised me; my non-working leg hurt much, much worse than my working leg–my glutes in particular. In fact, if my non-working glutes had not been in such agony, I feel like I could have gone through the entire sequence w/out stopping but my “non”-working glutes burned so badly I had to stop and let them thaw a few times. Then when you move to the other side I felt the burn right away because those glutes were still burning! But then the non-working leg (which had just been “worked”) started burning! So…. somehow this was working the wrong leg–much harder than the “working” leg! An excellent and challenging total body workout using little equipment.

  1. Place pilates ball between thighs and come into straight arm plank–lower knees 2x then lift one foot off floor and pulse toward other foot 4x, alternate foot; lower into elbow plank and lower knees 2x then rotate hips to each side
  2. Push ups on knees (ball still between knees) with one arm close to body and other arm out wider (tricep push up); changes to “circle” push ups (still on knees); changes to pulsing at halfway down; repeat push up circles but with arms close to body (so tricep circle push ups); pulse halfway down (still tricep push up)
  3. Tricep dips in crab (ball still between thighs); changes to circling torso while in crab (so tricep dip circles); ends w/ tricep dip pulses
  4. Raise onto knees, ball still between thighs, fold band in half and hold an end in each hand with arms extended in front of you and tension on band–twist side to side then lower hips to heels and tuck hips when raising them while raising and lowering arms/band; changes to just rotating arms side to side
  5. Same position as #4, raise arms/band overhead, lower hips to heels while bringing elbow to same side hip, alternate sides/elbows
  6. Still kneeling, place band under knees and hold one end of the band in each hand and do side lateral raises w/ palms facing behind you; changes to two raises then bend elbows bringing hands to shoulders 2x (arms from shoulder to elbows still held straight out to sides); changes to wide bicep curls; add raising and lowering hips to heels; changes to 4 pulsing bicep curls + 4 circles (arms bent in bicep curl)
  7. Still kneeling, band still under knees, cross the band, hinge forward and do delt flys with band; changes 2 flys then bring hands to shoulders 2x
  8. Still kneeling, band still under knees, still hinged forward, do back rows (you have choked up on the band); add tricep extensions at top of row
  9. Lean to side on one hand and same side knee w/ other leg raised and bent, ball wedged behind that knee–raise and lower bent leg w/ ball behind it; changes to two raise and lowers, then bring knee forward then back, return to side and circle knee 2x; hold leg and pulse-squeeze ball behind knee
  10. Place band behind knees and come onto all 4s, anchoring band with hands, raise knees off floor so you are in a “hover” then lower knees to ground 2x (when you raise from tapping knees to floor, come up into down dog) then do 4 side leg raises while in hover (alternate sides for side leg raises); cross the band (so swap the ends you are holding–band still behind knees) and this time remain on all 4s (no hovering)–raise bent leg behind you then raise bent leg to side (hydrant); changes to pulsing foot up to ceiling; repeat on other side
  11. Lay on back w/ ball between knees, legs raised straight to ceiling and squeeze-pulse the ball 4x then lower and raise straight legs 2x; still on back, place ball behind both knees and squeeze to hold ball in place, place feet on floor and do hip/glute raises; changes to 2 glute raises + 2 reverse crunches
  12. Still on back, place ball behind one knee then cross that leg over the other knees so that your legs are in a figure 4 position and ball is wedged into that space made by both legs–do a full crunch in this position; changes to two full crunches in this position then straighten the leg that is on the floor and raise it to the ceiling then raise and lower it 2x; repeat on other side of body
  13. Lay on back w/ ball between thighs and raise legs straight to ceiling, lower legs to a few inches off the floor then raise back to ceiling, then bend knees and push legs out straight (legs again are a few inches off floor), bend knees back in and push legs straight up to ceiling

Mat Ball and Loop is 46 minutes long w/ 3:30 minute stretch. Equipment: pilates ball and resistance loop. This was another very good total body mat workout using very little equipment. I found the first half of it much more intense than the second half. The second half wasn’t easy–it was just less intense. I was really sweating in the first half. By the end of the second half the sweat had started drying, if that makes sense. #2 & #3 below seriously burned my legs out. And #4 really surprised me–my arms were really starting to ache.

  1. Loop is around legs, just above knees and you are in straight arm plank–tap feet out to each side and do a full push up, tap feet out to each side and do a knee push up; changes to one tricep push up on knees, raise onto toes and raise one leg and pulse it 4x, alternate legs; come into straight arm plank, lower down onto one elbow and do a push up, come back up to both hands and do one hip dip, alternate sides
  2. Get on hands and knees and place ball behind one knee (loop still above knees), raise and lower leg with ball behind you, pushing toes to ceiling; changes to 4 raises behind you to ceiling + 4 hydrant raises to side; changes to singles (one behind you + one to side); repeat everything on other side of body
  3. Still on all 4s, loop still above knees, raise and lower one leg straight behind you; changes to 4 straight leg raises behind you then swing straight leg out beside you 2x; repeat everything on other leg
  4. Kneel (loop still above knees) w/ knees wide and heels pressed together behind you, hold ball between both palms in front of chest and squeeze/release ball between hands; add lowering hips to knees then straightening, still squeezing ball; changes to pulsing 3x when you lower hips to heels (the ball squeezes change to 3 pulses, too); changes to just tucking hips forward while still kneeling and pushing ball overhead while still squeezing it; hold hips tucked forward while pushing ball up fast and squeezing it fast
  5. Still kneeling, knees still wide, heels still together, still holding ball between palms, twist ball side to side; changes to 4 twists + 4 figure 8s w/ ball
  6. Put loop around the bottom of feet, ball at small of back and sit in C-curve, raise feet off floor and bicycle the legs (bring one knee into chest while pushing other leg away); changes to 2 bicycles then lower both heels and tap the floor twice
  7. Put loop around ankles or calves and lay on back w/ ball under small of back, legs raised and toes pointing to ceiling, scissor legs across each other; changes to 2 scissors then bend knees and tap toes on floor
  8. Loop is still around ankles, ball at small of back and sit in C-curve, one leg is bent w/ foot on floor, the other is extended straight in front of you–open and close straight leg out to side; turn straight leg out to side (so inner thigh faces ceiling) and raise and lower leg; repeat on other leg
  9. Lie on back with ball behind the knee of one leg and raise and lower hips into glute bridge; changes to two hips lifts + alternating knee raises while hips remain raised (one raise each leg); cross leg w/out ball over other knee and do more hip raises; repeat with ball behind other knee

Mat Ball Band and Loop is 51 minutes long w/ 6 minute stretch. Just as the title indicates, you need the pilates ball, dynaband and a resistance loop. OMG–I think this one was hardest of the trio. I reached burnout so many times during this workout. She hit every muscle she worked with so many reps. My upper body was burning, my lower body was burning. Several times my form started going to $hit and I had to take a few seconds to recuperate before continuing on. Very, very challenging total body mat workout. Probably the only muscle she didn’t hit in this workout is your back. Everything else gets worked very thoroughly.

  1. Straight arm plank w/ loop around wrists, do 3 swivel steps (stepping feet across under body) + 2 hip dips while feet/legs are crossed
  2. Place loop on thighs above knees and lay supine on floor, lift upper and lower body up into teaser, grasping calves with hands (legs are straight), lower and raise one leg then lower body into banana and scissor legs once–keep repeating, adding a rep each time you repeat ladder or pyramid style until you are doing 5 reps, then go back down the ladder
  3. Straight arm plank w/ loop around wrist, bring knees to elbows under body, then knees to elbow outside of body, bend knees so you are in quadruped and do 2 hip dips to same side–alternate sides
  4. Repeat #2 on other side of body
  5. Push ups w/ one hand on ball (do one push up then raise arm w/ ball in front of you, do 2 push ups and raise ball in front of you twice, keep repeating and increasing reps ladder/pyramid style up to 5 reps then go back down the ladder/pyramid; repeat w/ ball under other hand
  6. Kneel w/ ball between thighs and band under knees, holding an end of the band in each hand and do bicep curls–one to the front, one to the side, and keep adding a rep (more ladder/pyramid work) up to 10 reps then go back down the ladder/pyramid
  7. Start in same starting position as #6 but this time do front/side raises (raise one arm to side and one arm to front then bend elbows bringing hands in to elbow pit), do this exercise pyramid/ladder style as well up to 5 reps then go back down the ladder; repeat on other side of body
  8. Still in same starting (kneeling w/ ball between thighs), band is around back, an end in each hand–lower hips to heels and when you raise up open arms wide and do chest fly, when you lower hips to heels bend elbows, pulling arm back and when you straighten, cross arms in front of you, keep alternating these two arm movements while continuing to raise and lower hips
  9. Tricep push ups w/ one hand on ball (do one tricep push up then do a tricep kickback w/ ball; continue this pyramid/ladder style to 5 reps then go back down the ladder/pyramid); repeat on other side
  10. Lay on side, hips stacked, with ball under ribs and band looped around bottom of top foot, holding the ends of the band to the floor–swing straight leg to the front, back in line with bottom leg and raise leg, swing leg to the back then back in line with other leg and raise; point toe and do tiny circles; bring knee into the chest and press out to front, bring knee into chest and press out toward other foot (center), bring knee into chest and press foot behind you; changes to just doing the knee in and presses to center 16x, to the front 16x then to the back 16x; repeat on other leg
  11. Get on all 4s w/ band round feet, push one leg in and out behind you; changes to lifting and lowering straight leg w/ leg turned out to side; repeat on other leg
  12. Lay on back with legs raised straight to ceiling and ball between thighs, feet turned out w/ heels turned in–pulse squeeze ball between thighs; changes to raising and lowering straight legs to count of 4 while squeezing ball 4x on the way down and 4x on the ways up, at top rotate legs and squeeze ball 4x then rotate legs the other way and squeeze 4x

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2 responses to “Barlates: Mat Barre Series

  1. I have been on a total barlates kick lately and I really appreciate all your reviews on her workouts! Just wondering if you are noticing changes in your body doing more of her type of workouts vs Cathe-type boot camp and weight workouts? I think they are helping to lean me out more, esp the “muffin top” area as she calls it and the outer thighs. They at first don’t seem like much but the burn is real!

    • No, but I don’t blame that on the workouts. I really cleaned up my diet last year and lost 10+ pounds. Well…. I’ve been back sliding and have gained some of the weight I lost back. Considering I workout every single day for 15+ years, that weight gain is 100% fat–which makes it hard to see any “slimming.” I blame it completely on my diet–not the workouts. I am trying to clean my diet up again even tho the motivation isn’t nearly as strong as it was last year for some reason. I am sure once I stop eating crap I will see a difference. I think if I had kept my diet consistent I would have seen changes. I’m working on cleaning my diet up again–getting rid of the sugar, mostly. That is my problem.

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