Seal–The Most Whimsical Original Pilates Mat Exercise

sealSeal is the most whimsical of all the original Pilates mat exercises. As you rock back and forth, you clap your feet together at an even metered pace. Three claps as you roll back, and three claps as you roll back up. This unique situation is sort of like asking you to clap your hands while you do a forward roll. It’s not that it can’t be done; it’s just that you’ve never thought to try it before.


  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Begin seated with your knees bent, feet on the mat in line with your SITs bones. Make sure you can really feel your SITs bones connect to the mat. This will help you find length through your spine.
  3. Broaden your collarbones to put your shoulder blades in the correct position on your back.
  4. Inhale to lengthen the spine and engage the abdominals.
  5. Exhale to tilt the pelvis slightly so that you’re sitting just behind the SITs bones. You should feel like your spine is shaped like a “J.”
  6. Externally rotate from the hips to allow your knees to separate. Make sure your feet stay together.
  7. Lift one leg at a time so that they’re a couple of inches off the ground.
  8. Reach your arms under your legs and grab the outsides of your ankles. If this feels uncomfortable, it’s okay to reach your arms over your legs to get to the outsides of your ankles. However, you should try reaching under first since that’s the best way to make sure your shoulder blades stay in the correct position throughout the exercise.
  9. Inhale to roll back and clap the soles of your feet together 3 times. As your feet clap, it should be even and not rushed.
  10. Exhale to roll back up while clapping the soles of your feet together 3 times. Make sure the claps are even. Really, you should be able to keep your claps constant as you rock back and forth. This even paced clapping will help set the tempo for your roll.
  11. Complete 5-10 repetitions.

Seal Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What Pilates exercise do you think is the most fun? Let us know in the comments.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.