Back and gymnastic exercises as well as yoga, Pilates or Body & Mind exercises need a suitable surface.
When exercising, the body should not come into direct contact with the floor. Mats offer comfort and protection from injuries when standing, kneeling, lying and sitting.
The size of the mat can vary depending on the specific purpose. As a basic rule, the mat should always support the buttocks and the back of the head. The mat should therefore be at least about 58 cm wide and about 120 cm in length. These dimensions can only be deviated from for some special uses. For example, if the mat is only used by children, if the mat is not used for lying on but as a standing surface in front of a wall bars or as an additional surface for balance cushions (to increase the standing surface or to prevent slipping).
It must be easy to fold the mat or roll it up for storage. It must also be easy to put it back into its initial shape, i.e. it must not roll up again on its own. Turned-up corners can pose a tripping hazard.
The mat should be non-slip in two respects. On the one hand, it must lie securely on the floor and not slip when the user jumps for example during the exercises. On the other hand, the surface must be designed so that the feet do not slip when standing on the mat.
Ideally, it will have a long service life and can be put to different uses, e.g. in water or as sensorimotor equipment.
The mat must be easy to clean in the interests of hygiene (e.g. with a damp cloth). The surface must be resistant to perspiration with an antibacterial finish to prevent bacteria or mildew from forming on the mat.
The mat must also have good haptic properties, i.e. skin-friendly, soft and supple.
Finally, the mat must offer the user good protection from cold floors.
A good mat that complies with all these factors is ideal for gentle, efficient exercising of joints, tendons and muscles. In addition, it provides an ideal surface for exercising with balance products, exercise and oval Pendel balls as well as other equipment.
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Various back exercises
The shoulder bridge:
gentle stretching for spinal column and neck
Lying on your back, position your feet spaced a step apart and so that you can just touch your heels with your fi ngertips. While breathing in, raise your arms over your head or spread them out at shoulder height and raise your buttocks. Hold the tension and breathe deeply a few times in and out. Then bring your arms back to the side of your body and lower your buttocks to the floor.
strengthens and invigorates your back
Take up the prone position, place your forehead on the back of your left hand and stretch your right arm out ahead of you in extension of your body; tense your buttocks. While breathing in, raise your right arm, your left leg and your head, pressing yourself up off the fl oor with your left arm and right thigh. Repeat three to four times, then change sides.
stretches and relaxes the muscles in your back
Sit in an upright position (beginners on a chair/stool with their feet on the floor, those with more experience cross-legged on the fl oor or in the lotus position), hands on your knees, stretch your spinal column and breathe in deeply. While breathing out, place your left hand on your right knee and turn the upper part of your body to the right. Place your right hand on the fl oor behind your pelvis. While breathing in, stretch your spinal column, increasing the stretching effect when you breathe out. Hold for a few breaths, then repeat with the other side.
Set of exercises for your back: activates your spinal column and shoulders
(1) Start by sitting on your heels, then lean forward with your chest on your thighs and forehead on the mat; stretch your arms out to the front. (2) While breathing in, stretch the top part of your spinal column, raise your chest and head, stretching your neck. (3) While breathing out, assume the all-fours position and arch your back. (4) Next time that you breathe in, lower the middle of your spine to form a hollow back, expanding your chest. (5) Only for those with more experience: while breathing out, position your feet securely on the mat and assume the downward dog pose. Make sure your back is stretched; you can bend your knees slightly if that feels better. Hold the pose for a few breaths. (6) Then lower your knees to the fl oor and assume the all-fours position. Now start the exercise again from the beginning and repeat fi ve times.
Simple functional exercises to strengthen the muscles.
Strengthens the side torso muscles
Lie down on your side, supporting yourself with your left arm; pull your left leg up at an angle. Stretch your right arm over your head. Lift and stabilise your hips. Hold the tension until your muscles start to tire. Then change to the other side.
Trains the back muscles
In the quadruped position, stretch your right arm and left leg in the diagonal, looking at the floor. Repeat the exercise about 10 times, then change arms and legs..
Stretches your back
Lie relaxed on your back and grasp your knees with both hands. Carefully pull your knees towards the upper part of your body. Hold the tension for one minute.
Strengthens the gluteal muscle
Kneeling on the floor, bend the upper part of your body forwards and support yourself on your lower arms. Now push your left ankle vertically towards the ceiling, with the knee and foot joint angled at 90°. Repeat the exercise about twice per leg until the muscles start to tire.
Simple functional gymnastic exercises to strengthen your muscles
Starting position: standing upright.
Exercise: keeping your body upright, push your pelvis back and slowly bend your knees to 90 degrees.
Variation: lock your hands behind your neck, do the exercise close to a wall or bend your knees even lower while keeping good control. Repeat 8 to 15 times.
Starting position: all-fours.
Exercise: raise fi rst one arm, then one leg, then raise them across the diagonal, without changing your position.
Variation: bring the elbow and knee of the diagonal extremities together under your body. Repeat 8 to 15 times and do the exercise three times on each side.
Starting position: forearm press-up.
Exercise: Press-up on your forearms, shoulders and hip axis in stable parallel position. Hold position.
Variation: Raise arm or leg stretched from the fl oor. Repeat 8-15 times with three series on each side.
Thoracic spine rotation
Starting position: all-fours. Hands on the fl oor, shoulders pulling away from your ears, long neck, breastbone raised at the front.
Exercise: raise your arm to the side and rear. Your thumb points to the ceiling or to the rear, turn your head and thoracic spine so that you look at your hand, keeping the lower part of your body still. Repeat 16 times, then change sides.