No, you don’t need fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships. Keep up with your busy routine. These 12 exercises and a thick fitness mat can get you a powerful kick start to your new explosive fitness journey.
Sweaty, dirty, and smelly carpets don’t fancy anyone. Or, you might have a hard floor, and a simple sheet or towel won’t suffice. Well, an exercise fitness mat can help.
Personal exercise mat industry is a billion dollar market. Why? Because mats are effective, compact, inexpensive, and a dynamic fitness equipment to train with. You can do your thing pretty much anywhere, any time. You can train for weight loss, for abs, for strength, resistance, or any fitness goal you want to achieve. Proof?
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An 8-week study on fitness mats, done with new novice trainers, showed insane results. Exercises were also beginner-friendly and the duration was three times a week only. The results showed significant improvements; “Body composition, muscular endurance, and flexibility significantly improved after 8 weeks of traditional mat Pilates”.
Turns out, your fitness journey can get a decent kickstart with a fitness mat only. So, to help you get started today, we’ve laid out 12 of the best fitness mat exercises to do at home, without any equipment. You’ll also discover intense variations of these exercises to keep leveling up.
Let’s get into it.
Grab Now: Best Fitness Mat in UK for Floor Exercises
Introducing Gallant’s NBR Fitness Mat — designed for all floor exercises; yoga, workouts, gymnastics, and more.
10mm thick padding is perfect for every type of floor, and gives you the just needed comfort around your hips, knees, wrists, and neck. The ideal padding doesn’t make it too spongy and squishy — train on it with balanced form.
Plus, the non-skid surface eliminates risks of slipping and sliding, and getting injured. It stays wherever you put it, no matter how intense you go.
What’s more, to make your workouts purely hygienic, we’ve made it sweat and waterproof, so your floor or mat doesn't get smelly, dirty, and becomes home to germs. Easily wipe clean it with a damp cloth dipped in detergent, and you’re all set.
Easily and neatly carry it with a provided strap to cut though the hassle. It’s lightweight and folds up so you don’t have to sore your shoulders while carrying it around, or put strains in your back. Take it with you on travels, hikings, and easily store it in your cupboard or in the back of your car. All a breeze.
So, if you’re looking for something to do your fitness workouts like Pilates, stretches, toning, or any sort of floor exercises — this is the only fitness mat you’ll ever need for the next many years.
Steal it from us at a 30-day money back guarantee’s promise. Keep it if you love it or you can always return it back within 30-days. Can it get any better?
Well, yes, free shipping for you, if you’re from the UK Mainland. Grab your fitness mat now from the link below to avail the 30-day money back offer.
Alright, let’s move onto the real stuff...
Top 12 Fitness Mat Exercises for Beginners to Get Started with the New Fitness Journey
- Lie down on your back on the fitness mat; bring your legs up in the air, forming a 90 degree angle with the knees. (or if you want to challenge yourself, keep them straight up)
- Keeping your arms along your body, curl your upper body a bit so that shoulders are slightly raised.
- Now, take your arms up and down, slowly.
- Make the movement rhythm with the breath; breath in, move up, and breath out, move down.
- 5 counts when breath in, and 5 counts when breath out, this total of 10 reps will complete one set. You’ll perform 10 sets to complete Hundred reps. This is why you wonder why this Pilate exercise is called ‘Hundred’.
(Pro tip: Feel the stretch in your abs, keep your body still, and your legs up throughout)
Why this exercise: Hundred exercise is so powerful for toning your abs, one of the best fitness mat exercises for abs. Along with that, it activates your core muscles and powers your lungs. This Pilate exercise will help gain flexibility, muscular strength in your lower body, especially in lower back, and glutes. You’ll achieve athletic explosiveness.
- Lie down on the mat on your stomach, fully stretching your legs.
- Tightening your abdominal muscles, put your hands under your forehead so that fingers of both hands are touching it.
- Now, while keeping your lower body still on the ground, raise your upper body along with your hands. Stretch as you possibly can. (to go heavy, raise your legs at the same time, forming a 90 degree angle with the knees)
- Slowly return back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10-15 reps.
(Remember to keep your stomach and lower back stretched to maximise your gains)
Why this exercise: The first and foremost benefit will be the enhanced coordination between your lower back and your upper body. This will improve your range of motion to give you ease in day to day activities. As an added bonus, you’ll get a stronger back, and nicely defined posture while standing or walking.
- Put your body weight onto your hands and on your knees, e.g. sit on them. Your hands’ placement should be shoulder-width apart, and your thighs make a 90 degree angle with your knee.
- Keeping your leg bent as it is, raise it outwards as much as you can, forming a 90 degree angle. (Drive only your legs and thighs, don’t pinch your hips or lower back)
- Then bring it back slowly. Do the same with your other leg.
- Repeat 10-15 reps.
(Remember to keep your back and neck straight and still as much as possible. To maximize gains and to increase intensity, hold your leg for a while in the air.)
Why this exercise: Unlike in the gym, where you’d have to use a machine to do this, Fire Hydrant exercise makes training your glutes and side legs a lot easier. Building strong and sculpted glutes will get you attractive posture, increased flexibility in movements, and less-risk of getting injured.
Burpees are one of the best mat exercises at home. But, most beginners make mistakes here. “Burpee is a difficult exercise combined with a total of four other exercises: jump, squat, push-up, and plank”, nicely explained by Charlie Atkins, a fitness trainer at Well+Good. Here’s the right way to perform a Burpee:
- Stand on the vertical edge of the mat, leaving a few inches of space ahead, so that the larger portion is behind you.
- Squat down completely, widening your knees, and keeping your tailbone inlined. As you do that, burst up and perform a high jump, and softly land back into the squat stance.
- Now, you’ll pivot to do a plank. As you squat, keeping your back straight, put your both hands on the mat ahead, and jump back, stretching your legs. Keep your body nice and flat, and your shoulders inlined with the wrists.
- Now, do a push-up, while maintaining the planking stance.
- After you’re done with the push-up, bring your knees forward to the outside of your elbows.
- Stand straight, and repeat.
- Do 5-10 reps.
(To maximise your gains, you need to closely follow the guide. Beginners might need to go through a learning curve, but as you slowly master Burpee, it can prove to be incredibly powerful)
Why this exercise: “Burpees are total body strengthening movement”, says the fitness coach, Charlie Atkins, at Well+Good. That’s true because there’s a lot going on while doing a Burpee. Benefits of doing Burpees everyday are improved cardio game, total body conditioning, muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. All at once.
- Lie down face up on the mat, bending your knees, and bringing your both feet closer to your glutes.
- Keep your arms alongside with palms facing down.
- Now, lift your hips up in the air so that your knees and glutes are straight inlined.
- Hold the stance for a while.
- Then lower back slowly.
- Repeat 10-15 reps.
(Remember to keep your stomach muscles tight throughout. And keep your glutes stretched when lifting in the air to maximise gains)
Why this exercise: To increase strength and stability in your core muscles so you can have less injury risk in the arena or day-to-day life. Plus, it builds strong glutes and improves your posture like an alpha male.
Seems like an obvious thing, right?
- Get onto the mat, in a push-up stance, and keep your back and head straight.
- Depending upon what type of push-up you’re performing, keep your hands width accordingly. The neutral way is to keep them shoulder-width apart, then slowly lower down your body, bending your elbows.
- As your nose is about to touch the ground, press back up with the force, and repeat.
(Remember to keep the back, neck, and toes straight intact. You can try different versions of push-ups, like increasing the hands placement distance, decreasing it to do diamond push-ups, or doing it on a single hand. Each version will add a different level of intensity, challenge, and will target different unique muscles.)
Why this exercise: Push-ups mainly target the upper body — chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, wrists, and upper back muscles. But, it is one of the most simple and dynamic exercises that also targets a lot of other areas, like core, lower back, glutes, and even Achilles tendons. Add this in your routine for a perfect strength and resistance training every day, and gain insane results.
- Stand up straight on the mat.
- Step forward with the one leg, bending your knees until it forms a 90 degree angle with the leg. Don’t let the other leg touch the ground.
- Repeat 10-15 reps for each leg.
(Remember to engage your hamstrings and core muscles, and create stretch in your abs. Keep your back and head straight up. Keep it nice, slow, and stretchy to maximise your gains. Feeling adventurous? Add intensity by adding weights like Kettlebells or Free weights dumbbells.)
Why this exercise: Lunges target your lower body muscles; glutes, hamstrings, abs, and quads. Not only this exercise will put mass on them, but will also unlock the explosive range of motion. You’ll be more outgoing, fast, flexible, and your day to day or sporty movements will be more balanced. Added bonus, you’ll get a handsome posture.
- Get into the stance: put your hands on the mat shoulder-width apart, legs extended backwards, just like you’d do in a push-up.
- Squeeze your glutes, engage your hamstrings, and core. Your back and neck should be straight intact.
- Now, place your forearms on the mat, aligned with your shoulders, while palms facing down.
- Hold the position as long as possible without losing your stance. Increase the duration as you get more and more comfortable.
(Remember there are various other variations of planks, like side plank, walking plank, and reverse plank. This forearm plank was basic, but equally powerful and challenging)
Why this exercise: This simple & easy looking exercise is actually one of the best mat exercises to lose weight. Strengthen your core, crush belly fat, improve body posture, fix muscle imbalances, and develop a great mind and body coordination. Add this in your routine every day to experience dramatic results faster than you’d imagine.
Bird Dog Exercise
- Get into the stance: Your arms and your knees are supporting your weight, just like a tabletop position. Your knees should be under your hips and your hands should be under your shoulders. Keep your back and head straight inline, and engage your abdominal muscles.
- Keeping your stance, extend your left hand ahead over your head, and fully extend your right leg backwards in the air. Simultaneously. As you do that, hold them for a few seconds, and bring them back to the same place at once.
- Next, do the same with your right hand and left leg.
- That will be your one rep.
- Repeat 10-15 reps to complete a set.
Why this exercise: If you’re dealing with lower back pain, lower back posture issues, or hypermobility in your lower back, this exercise is especially beneficial for you. It targets muscles around your spine, glutes, and lower back to enhance stability, and increase movement and control. With this in your daily routine, you’ll develop an attractive posture with the correct spine and flexible body. But, you’ll need a soft padded mat to perform this exercise so you don’t hurt your knees. Checkout Gallant’s thick fitness mat that gives you ideal padding and cushioning during all floor exercises.
- Lie down on the mat facing up. Keep your hands alongside your body.
- Extend your legs straight in the air until your butt lifts off the mat.
- Hold there for a second, and slowly bring them back, and hold them just a few inches above the mat. Don’t let them touch the floor.
- Raise them back up.
- Repeat 8-10 reps.
(Remember to keep your body still and intact with the ground. Engage your abs, glutes, and hamstrings to maximise your gains.)
Why this exercise: If you’re someone who’s less mobile during the day, for example, sitting in the office chair, this exercise is awesome for you. It targets your lower body, your glutes, abs, core, quads, and hamstrings. You’ll develop strength and flexibility, and explosiveness that you might be lacking because of constant hours sitting on a chair, without any walks or jogging in your routine.
- Lie down facing up on the fitness mat. Place your feet straight while bending your knees at 90 degrees angle.
- Place your arms behind your head, while crossing fingers of both hands to make a strong hold. Or, you can place them on your chest, criss-crossed.
- Keep your back straight and your neck relaxed. Lift your upper body without losing the position.
- Exhale as you lift up and inhale as you go back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10-15 reps to complete a set.
(Remember to drive power through your abs and core to keep them engaged. Using your neck or shoulders to drive power might cause injury and get you opposite results. Do this in a controlled manner, nice and slow. The version laid out here is simple and basic. To add intensity, lift your upper body up until your face is about to touch your knees.)
Why this exercise: Crunches hammer your core, increase flexibility, endurance, and range of motion in the lower back. You’ll get a toned tummy and nicely finished abs. But, if you want killer abs, and strictly want to burn belly fat, add planks in your routine more often.
- Start in a press-up or push-up stance; hands on the ground shoulder-width apart inlined under the shoulder, legs extended back hips-width apart with toes pushed over the mat. Keep your back and head inlined, straight.
- Explosively push your left leg ahead, bending your knees, and quickly return back.
- Do the same with your right leg.
- 10-15 reps to complete a set.
(Remember to always keep your abs tight, neck and back straight, and your hips properly inlined. Don’t hunch your back or hips. Keep it light for your toes. Keep it as explosive as possible, but if you’re just starting, take the time to master it.)
Why this exercise: Mountain climbers is an all-in-one exercise that targets multiple muscle groups; hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, upper back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Just like a push-up, you can count it as a full body exercise to train for strength, resistance, endurance, and flexibility at the same time. If you take control of your diet, and add this in your everyday routine, mountain climbers can even help you lose belly fat crazy fast.
Wrapping Up: Ready to Get Fit at Home with only a Fitness Mat Under Your Feet?
It was never meant to be complex. If you’re someone who loves to wangle up with steel and iron gym equipment and machines — well, great. Gyms are made to build champions. Dozens of tools can train you to build insane resistance and strength.
But, if you’re someone who loves at-home workouts, and doesn’t want to pay for crazy expensive gym memberships or doesn't want to drain the account on fancy equipment to build a home gym — this fitness mat is only for you, pal.
Keep your busy routine maintained or if you love to play video games and lay around all day home, sure. Devote only an hour or so in these floor exercises to develop a healthy and fit you. All with only a simple mat. Grab it now, if you haven't already, and let the grinding begin, today!
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