Class #1074

Foam Roller Basics

15 min - Class


Rael Isacowitz teaches a Foam Roller workout at the BASI Pilates Studio. He teaches six exercises that you can use to prepare yourself for your day, or for warming up prior to taking another class. Each of these exercises test your balance and stretch, strengthen, and massage your body to make you feel great.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video


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Hi my name is Rael, and I am the founder and director of BASI Pilates. I'd like to welcome you to our new beautiful facility at the BASI Pilates Academy in Southern California. So we're going to go into a short routine using the foam roller. Such a wonderful piece of small apparatus that you can simply store anywhere buy anywhere. Very inexpensive, very light.

And we are going to do six exercises which I assure you, if you just repeat these six exercises a few times a week to start your day, it will set you up for a wonderful day. Or prior to any other activity like golf, tennis, skiing, surfing, mountain biking, or a good pilates session. So enjoy your work out. Doing the pelvic curl on the foam roller, first and foremost it allows you to stretch your feet out, so you get that prehensile position of the feet wrapped around the roller. We have got this elevated surface, and Kristi will do the pelvic curl.

We inhale and exhale, as she rolls the spine up. Look at that stretch of the hip flexors, gets the hip extensors working. That beautiful rolling action of the spine, exhale, as she goes down. And inhale and exhale. Feel that this as a massage for your spine.

Feel that deep engagement of the abdominals. Make sure you have your hamstrings working and they will work, I assure you. You're on this roller in order to stabilize, you need to wake up those hamstrings. What a great preparation for the day. If you're going surfing, if you're going to play tennis, if you're going to play golf, these exercises will get your day going.

Inhale and exhale. I assure you Kristi's feeling it. It intensifies this very fundamental foundation exercise of pilates. And we'll do one more. Inhale and exhale.

Rolling up, all the way to the shoulders, feel the arms working. Inhale and exhale, as you roll down. Beautiful work. If we could turn around now, we're going to do a version of the chest lift. So one of the problems with some of the abdominal exercises, is we become so closed up.

Everything is in spinal flexion. Here we get this wonderful opportunity to open the chest as you inhale and exhale, to come forward. Inhale. Enjoy that deep curve. And exhale.

Of course all of us would like abdominals like that. Inhale and exhale. And inhale and exhale. And look at this amazing stretch you get, opening up the chest, we all need that. We work at desks that computers, drive cars.

This is what we need, we need to open. As we get older, so important to open the chest, stretch the spine, and yet at the same time we're getting this beautiful, deep, abdominal work. Inhale, and exhale. As again you get this amazing stretch, opening up the spine. And yet your head is supported by your hands.

This is our final one. Inhale. And exhale. What's wonderful about the foam roller, everyone can have it at home, it's very inexpensive. You can store it under your bed.

And let's move on Kristi. OK, now we're going to do a stretch for the hip flexors and the hamstrings. So important. If you wouldn't mind putting your one knee on there, tuck the foot under, and you'll take the other leg over. This provides a comfortable surface for the knee.

It elevates the leg, so you can accentuate the stretch of that hip flexor. Do you feel that hip flexor stretching? Good. And you can keep your hands right on your knee. That will provide the stability that you need.

However, if you want to amplify the stretch, simply take the arms overhead. And this is a little unstable, so please be careful with this move. And bring the arms forward. Place the hands alongside your feet, Kristi. And we push up into a hamstring stretch.

Notice that Kristi dorsiflexes the foot. This accentuates the stretch. She also extends the back. Which again, accentuates that stretch of the hamstrings. And she's in such a beautiful position.

Square pelvis, long back, long neck, and then she goes back into that hip flexor. And we can change legs or repeat it again. Don't be shy to repeat it twice on each side. We'll now move to the other side. And find the stability.

If you need to stay in this position, that's absolutely fine. The important thing is that you feel that stretch of the hip flexors. Great position. The foam roller provides that soft surface for your knees, and taking the arms over. Explore this is not easy.

It's not easy, Kristi makes it look easy, it's not easy. And put your hands down by your feet stretching that leg and squaring out the pelvis, keeping the back nice and flat. This is so important. Many people round their backs, because they're so tight. Rather keep the knee a little bent, but try and get that flat back position.

And look how the head is an extension of the spine. She's got this great neck. No tension in that neck. Back into the hip flexor. And this is where you would either repeat it or move out of that position.

I'm going to give you one more stretch, which is so important. And that is a stretch for the gluteal and the piriformis. The gluteal and the piriformis, a deep lying muscle under the gluteal get very tight. It's important for them to be strong, but also stretched out. So let us keep this leg bent.

Perfect. And now you just gently roll that roller through the gluteal. And it is so satisfying. When you do that pelvic curl, the chest lift, a stretch for the hip flexors and hamstrings, a nice massage for that gluteal and piriformis, you are setting yourself up for a great day. Let's do the other side.

I know that feels so good Kristi. Everyone needs to do this every day, myself included. I fall short of my own goals. But this is so wonderful just ease through that area, find the points that feel a little tender, and move into those points. It's so wonderful working with my dear friend and colleague Kristi.

OK, let's go into the mermaid. Yes. So this is a classic pilates exercises. Just to get some spinal, some lateral work, lateral flexion, and rotation of the spine. Movements that we use every day, and we need.

So Kristi simply rolls out. She's getting the side working. Then we get this great rotation of the spine. Look how elongated that spine is, rotated. Don't think too much of rounding it, but rather rotating it.

And she comes back and then lifts up. And rolls out. You need to use the muscles under the shoulder to support you. This is not easy so you may need to take it quite small. Make the range of motion quite small.

And back and up. And we'll do just one more. Inhale, and exhale. And inhale and exhale. Actually I think we'll do two more, Kristi.

Let's make it five. We need to really enjoy this and give everyone the opportunity to enjoy it. And bring the arm back. And up. And one last one.

And then back to there. Good. If you could flip around, I'll bring this to the other side. Again set yourself up with the pelvis well placed nice and squared, shoulders nice and squared. The important thing in this movement-- let's move Kristi, and we inhale and exhale-- is the flow.

This is a beautiful exercise, it flows. It's not typically for strengthening, but more for stretching, for the range of motion, for the mobility, for awakening the spine and all the muscles that support the spine. And very importantly for the breath. We inhale, we exhale, as we go around. We inhale as we come back and exhale to come to center.

And inhale and exhale. And inhale and exhale. and I believe this will be our fifth one, as we inhale and exhale. And inhale and exhale. Kristi I'd like to finish off with a back extension.

I love finishing a routine with back extension. We all need strength in the back extensors. It's the back extensor that hold us upright and support our posture. So placing your arms comfortably on the roller, it's best to have the thumbs facing upward. So the roller rolls on this nice area of the arm where there's a lot of muscle.

Put the arms parallel to each other in line with the shoulders. And you engage the abdominals, preempt by engaging the abdominals. And then gently reverse articulate the spine. So you're lifting from the cervical spine through the thoracic spine. And lift as high as you feel comfortable and no further.

And gently moving the back down. This is a great movement. You can take it as far as you like. Inhaling as you lift up. You notice how beautifully Kristi articulates that spine.

It's not just one piece lifting up. You can literally see the different parts of the back working. And she goes up through the neck, through the thoracic spine, down here into the lumbar spine and then uses her shoulder extensors to assist with that beautiful lift. And we'll do two more. And inhale.

As you lift up, looking directly forward, no tension in the neck. And exhale. And one last one. Inhale and exhale. And Kristi, I'm going to ask if you can push yourself into a rest position.

And you can actually put your arms on the roller, and just again stretch out those shoulders. A great position to relax in, to finish your short little routine. But this stretches out the shoulders. They get very tight in this area, the latissimus dorsi gets very tight. Gives you a stretch for the shoulders.

The neck can relax, and of course your back can relax. If you can get someone to gently press down on you, that would be a wonderful reward for your hard work. Thank you very much. Thank you Kristi. Great work, thank you.


6 people like this.
Can´t help but loving the both of you!
Best wishes from Helsinki, Finland!
1 person likes this.
absolutely fantastic!
2 people like this.
Really great way to start your morning!
Thank you so much for posting an uplifting way to start my day, unique, simple, and profound.
1 person likes this.
Thank you very much Rael and Kristi. You to beautiful people :)
1 person likes this.
Fantastic! What a great way to open yourself up to the day. It was wonderful to see you and Rael together. It was a love fest!
1 person likes this.
Great use of the foam rollers!
Good exercises... Wonderful instructors... Gorgeous studio!
Lovely combination of moves that will benefit lots of my clients, starting with myself on another beautiful morning here!
2 people like this.
This is fabulous addition to Pilates Anytime. As an East Coast (NY) student of BASI PILATES, I'm so happy to integrate this routine into the repertoire. More classes with Rael please!
1 person likes this.
Every moviment becomes so easy with these great..." Maestri".txs a lot
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