10 Effective Mat Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

You can say a lot about exercises, from visiting gym houses, using gym equipment taking a road walk, jogging, playing outdoor sports and so on. That said, you can also enjoy the pleasures of working out in your space, indoors without having to go out or use heavy gym equipment. If your space can occupy a mat, then you are ready for an effective ab workout.

Mat exercises are noiseless, abs centered and you get less chance of being injured from your workout moves. Mat exercises allow you to burn out your cores without the extra duties of getting out of your house or buying expensive gym equipment.

Here are few examples of mat exercises, how you can do them to make an impact on your overall fitness and health.

1.  Planking

Planking on a mat helps in engaging your inner muscles. It is perfectly done on a mat wherever you are whether in your room, in a gym, or as a group.

Planking helps to exercise up your core muscles, your abs, the muscles on your back and shoulders.

It looks like push-ups but different in the way it is done: the position of the legs and hands. While push-ups involve some movement of your body, in planking, your body remains still in such position for an extended period. You have to lie on your elbows: which have to be bent and aligned with your shoulders.

You will be facing downwards, with your legs extending backward and your hands tightly clasped. You must maintain a straight body positioning from your head to your toes; parallel to the surface of your mat.

You can start planking by holding this position for at least 30 seconds and as you continue to build your stamina, you can increase the time frame.

To achieve effectiveness planking, you need to follow the guidelines and steps properly. Check out this plank lesson video to learn more on accurately performing your planking exercise.

2. Bridge

The bridge as a mat exercise helps to work on your gluteus muscles and your hamstrings. To carry out bridging on your mat, you need to start by laying down on your back.

Put your arms down on the mat, near your body with your palms flat on the mat facing down. You will then raise your hips.

By now, your body weight should be completely on your shoulders, head, and your feet. As you raise your hips higher, it becomes more difficult. Your thigh muscles will start to contract.

Performing bridge exercise helps you increase your hip movements and increase the strength of your lower back. This exercise will benefit you a lot if you spend most of your time in a sitting position.

3. Leg Raises

Leg raises are going to help you strengthen your core muscles. You start leg raises by laying on your back, with your legs together in a parallel position on your mat. Keep your arms straight on your side with your palms face down. Then raise both legs together up from your mat, till your butt is lifted.

Then slowly bring them down until they are a couple of inches away from your mat. Then raise them again like before. As a beginner, you can start by doing 10 – 15 reps and as you continue to increase in stamina you can also increase your reps. If you carry out leg raises slowly, you can get the most results from this exercise.

If you do regular leg raises, you are reducing the chances of a back injury when you carry out some activities. It strengthens and supports your back muscles as well as your abdominal muscles. Check out how to properly do leg raises from this video.

4. Single Leg Circles

Single leg circles benefit your inner and outer thigh muscles. It strengthens and engages your abs muscles as well.

You start by laying on your side on the mat, resting your head in one hand with your elbow on the mat. Let the other one lay palm down on the flow right under your armpit.

Both your knees should be unbent. Raise your upper leg about 6 to 8 inches from the mat and use it to make 10 circles without break. You can do this in a few reps before you switch to the other side and do the same.

5. Half Banana

Start half banana by laying flat on your back with your face upward. Raise your arms straight up. Raise a leg up at the same time you lift your upper body.

Ensure that you touch your toes before laying your back down. Then do the same for the other leg which will make a rep. Maintain accuracy as you complete as many reps as you can.

6. Crunches

Crunches will work on your abs muscles. To begin your crunches, lay on your back, bend your knees upward with your feet flat on the mat.

Ensure that your feet are at most a hip apart. Put your hands on the back of your neck and hold up your neck with your hands. Then raise your upper body.

Only raise your shoulders about a few inches from the floor. You will feel this exercise mostly in your abdomen, if your neck is feeling strained, you are missing something.

While you are holding your neck, it is your abdominal muscles that are more engaged, maintaining this position for more time to make it easier.

Crunches are high risk for new mothers because of their healing uterus. It is advised to wait for about 6 months after childbirth before you do crunches if you just gave birth. See this video on how to effectively perform crunches.

7. Pilates Hundred

Pilates is an exercise that engages your abs. It is called 100 because it involves a hundred times movement of your arms.

You start by laying on your back on the mat, raising your legs to a 90 degrees angle. Curl up your upper body by raising your shoulder blades from the mat.

Make sure that your arms are stretched out on the floor close to your body. Then once you are comfortable in this position, raise your arms up and down while your body remains still.

The movement of your arms should be a hundred times for a rep. Let the movement of your arms also be in tune with your breathing. If you want to achieve better results, ensure that you keep your body still throughout your reps and you retain the tension in your abs.

8. Bird Dog Exercise

You get to engage your abs with bird dog exercise. Also, it strengthens your butts, lower back, and thighs.

To start, kneel while your legs are opened a hip apart, with your palms flat on the mat. Raise a hand in a parallel position to your body at the same time as the opposite leg.

You must ensure that you achieve a balance. Remain in this position for a period, then return to your initial position. Do a few reps for each side.

You may want to start by firstly raising your hand then once you are balanced, you can proceed to raise your leg. You must be feeling the tension in your abs. If you have a history of back pain, you may want to avoid doing a bird dog exercise.

9. Fire Hydrant

Fire hydrant exercise helps you to achieve the strengthening of your butts and the muscles on the side of your thighs without using a gym or any equipment aside from your mat.

To start, you balance on your mat with your palms face down with your shoulders above your stretched arms and you are on your knees.

With your bent knees, raise it to up to 90 degrees then return to the original position. You must keep your back still to benefit from this exercise, you can interchange your legs after some reps.

10.  Burpees

While burpees majorly train your abs, glutes, and hamstrings, it also benefits all the muscles in your body. It is an exercise for your perseverance also and not just for your muscles.

Begin by standing at the front part of your mat, your feet hip-width apart, then bend your knees with your palms flat on the mat in front of your feet. Then jump into a shell position with your elbows touching your knees, and again jump back with your feet and legs on the mat.

Stand with a small jump above your mat and clap your hands together, then repeat. It will help you better if you perform this exercise in a well-coordinated manner.


Mats exercises are limitless and good for isolation workouts, whether you are in your room or on a vacation. You can always rely on a mat to keep you fit if you maintain accuracy and keep yourself motivated.

At The Animascorp, we offer practical, real-life tips and inspiration to help you live better. From decorating and gardening advice, to entertaining and home repair how-tos.

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