Class #110

Mat Workout

30 min - Class


This 32 minute lesson with Amy shows you how to incorporate everyday items found around the house into your Pilates workout. A variety of exercises performed while balanced against the wall makes for a controlled but deceptively challenging class.
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball, Pilates Pole, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Okay. So today's class, I'm going to work with this in a way. If you're at home and don't feel like getting down on the ground, let's say, or you would rather learn some new things. Here's one great tool you can work with, which is the wall. And if you don't have any things around you, like pictures hanging or things, you've got a great opportunity for a workout source here. So we're going to start with just standing with your back against the wall.

And I think foot alignment today. Uh, we'll start out with the Peloton stance, which is this, that role, teeny little turnout from the ankles. It'll actually start from your hips and work down through the knee and the ankle. And I'm going to take an opportunity here to, to give you a couple little prompts to work with. So everyone I think has a hand towel. You can roll this up or fold it up or even a little pillow maybe. And I'm going to Tuck this in between your knees or have you tuck in between your knees just as a little extra support and, uh, something to squeeze against. In a little while, we'll use some bigger props of ball and a magic circle that you might have at home as well.

But this way this can help you avoid some overextension of your knees or maybe some tension in the back of the knee joint cause we are going to be standing her for a little while. So sometimes a person will get going and they'll lock their knees back, which really does start to stress the back of the knee. So by squeezing it'll activate the back of the legs. And I'm just going to use my hands and just give a little bit of uh, assistance to these muscles in the front of the thighs to wrap around the back and I'm feeling the hamstrings, no firm, which is good. Holding the towel and your knees not really locked right now. Good. Okay.

So that's just a setup position as you're standing. But go ahead. If you, if you have an opportunity also to have a mirror in front of you, great. If not, that's okay too. We want to feel our shoulders open and we're looking for a line across shoulder to shoulder. And then the shoulders above your hips rather than the shoulders over here, away from your hips so that your trunk is very well balanced vertically. And the rib cage is oaken right between the pelvis. So we've got shoulder to shoulder down across the hips and across this way.

All right, so I'm going to move out of the way for a sec. Just lift your arms up. Okay. We can see that a little bit more clearly. Yeah. And then offsets your ribs slightly, which that's what we want. We want to avoid so that the torso, again, we want nice and square. You'll hear that reference. There you go. Or like a box. Okay, so bring your arms down.

Now I'm just going to have Brittany just roll down. Let's just take a look. Having the head round first and through the upper back and through the middle back. I'm just going to have her go all the way down to the floor. So this might be something you can use as a warm up. Get yourself ready to move and then go ahead and roll back up the hmm. Sneak and get something here. All right.

And let's just try one more time of basic roll down and then we'll detail it again in just a little. The next repetition, can you get a chance to really see the spine in a curve? It feels probably good in the lower back to stretch and rounding up. All right, so half of that. So if you go just in maybe a fourth of that, your head and your shoulders and then pause right there. Let your arms dangle a little bit. Okay. So this might be a good start position for you.

If you have long hamstrings and you want to go all the way down to the floor, you could have done the first round down or go ahead and take this just half over position. All right, so from a sign view, what we're seeing is that nice curvature of the spine, and I've used the slinky before in this nice curve and I've got this right over the head and down through the middle back. All right. And as you stay here, circulate a little bit of the scoop. Yeah, in up through the abdominal. So here's this pool up an n or in an up. And what's happening to, if you could see from my vantage point, is the back of her body is now more imprinted and touching the wall. So if you imagine for a minute doing this on the floor, you'd be up in your hundreds position or the position for doing that, the pump of the arms. So right now, take a full breath in.

As you exhale, go ahead and just start to roll back up the wall. And the head is the very last thing and you've really maintained a nice open shoulder girdle. Let's take that again and inhale. And as you exhale, press into your wall. There you go. As if this is your floor and you're on the mat and you're working your chest lip. So this can actually be a very dynamic contraction in your room. Oh, so are you feeling that? So narrowing the ribs, activating your obliques, thinking of Navel to spine and seas. Now she's been able to come a little farther, but I'm going to have her pause right there.

And if you flatten your hand Palm Street, pretend you're doing the a hundred. So you can do this down with the left. There you go. This is just like doing it on the floor, but we're doing it standing against the wall wall. Yes, it's as if the back of the arm is pulling to the wall. Good. And Eight, seven, six, five and four.

Three, two and last one. And then go ahead. Roll all the way up. Open the shoulder. So these are all things that you would be hearing on the floor if you were flat. Let's say one day you don't want to go all the way down. You can do it standing up. Okay? So staying with your body, very imprinted against the wall. I'm going to have you do a very small, um, just a real small bend of the knees. And let's go ahead and take this away there and just stay right there in that small little knee bend.

And I'm going to pull these up for you so you can see. So right now we've got a nice what? So to stand up the wall, we're going to work our glue legs just a little bit. Think of pulling this section of your body together. Here you go. And very tall as you go up the wall. And so we can go back down.

Let's take a full breath. Inhale, exhale and start down low in the inner thighs and pull all the way up and hold. And again, just little mini bend of the knees. Don't want to go to Lotus. Stress the knee joint and feel the activation of the seat and again, lowering the helmets and activate the back of the leg all the way up for more. And Ben and she's doing a nice job of keeping the shoulders open and the abdominals activated. So again, using the wall for some feedback.

She's pulling herself back to it rather than this way with the chest forward. So she's keeping her rib line, that ribbed hip fundamental that I work with. One more time all the way there. Okay, so adding on, I'm going to have her hold a stick. You can do this with a stick if you have one like this at home or a broomstick or a roll up, a towel or a belt.

Some things that you can find at home. So we're going to talk about shoulder blades and shoulder movement. Now still keeping this concentration and the connection of the pelvis to the ribs. Reach the stick forward. Yeah. As far out here in space as you can. So what's happening now? The shoulder blades are coming forward off the wall.

Now I'm going to have her move back. So shoulder blades to the wall and let's go shoulder blades forward and shoulder blades, back and shoulder blades forward. Keeping the lats pull down. Yep. And shoulder blades back and keeping the level of the shoulders relatively low. Oh, let's take two more shoulder blades forward and shoulder blades back one more time.

Shoulder blades forward and shoulder blades back. Now find a happy medium between the two. Yeah. All right. And just hold some focus here in the abdominals again. So I'm going to ask you actually just to move your hands a little wider. Soften those elbows. Yeah, that's it.

So we're not really hyper extending those joints. So just holding this stick and it doesn't weigh much, but just holding it for that long. We are getting some workup in the upper arm and shoulder. What I would like her to do now is to bend the elbows and to the side. So here I am to the side of her, I'm gonna pull on your upper arm just a little bit so that I can signal where I want her elbow to go. Not necessarily elbow back to the wall, but elbows out to the sides, kind of following the line of the stick and doing that with your lats. Very, very, very pulled down. Okay. And then reach your stick forward.

So we're working into the upper arms and the shoulders quite a bit. So here's the bend and the extension. And you may not have as much range of motion as Brittany does. She's got quite a good flexibility here in her shoulder to get her arms to bend that that much. Really keeping an eye on the level of the shoulder.

So as soon as they start to sneak up, we've gone a little bit too high. A couple more. Really think of reaching the elbows out and extend and all the while keeping the core muscles of the abdominals drawn to the spine and hold right there. Now actually Ben, one more time. Alright. And pretend for a second. This is uh, uh, tissue paper, something that you could pull apart. Yeah. So activate a sense of pulling it wide, wide and wide. Yep. So you can see some activation.

Now more a stretch in the chest. Keep going so that pull out. Can You keep that quality as you reach your arms forward and the shoulder blades are way back here on your wall. One more time. Bend and pull on the stick. Cause if you're trying to pull it apart and reaching it back forward.

Okay. And just lower your arms for a moment and rest. Okay. So adding a few more arm movements as standing. Again, engaged. There you go. Raise that stick right out in front of your chest. Now let's see where we go with lifting the stick above you or above your head. Consider this really more about your abdominals when abdominal exercise, then maybe shoulders. Okay. And then go ahead and lower your stick down. And breath wise. How about full breath? Inhale, exhale up.

Shh. And lowering down, right? So as the shoulder blades are on the wall, we also want to sync them down the back of the rib cage. Here we go. As if they were filled with a nice heavy leaded weighted matter so they couldn't pull up at all. That's going to cause the upper traps and the neck to tense up too much. So the higher the arms go, the lower you want to pull those shoulder blades.

Stay right there and see if you can just hang out. Yeah. And know what would it feel like to stretch your elbows out a little bit straighter? Yes. And you can do that. You can get a little straighter, but still have the quality of your lats. So this is a nice exercise also for your shoulders and your lats, not just your abdominals. Now let's keep the stick here. We're going to add, go back to the roll down. Just a half of a roll down. So take a breath. As you exhale, push this in. First this comes in and let the crown of your head follow your stick.

Push your back to the wall, peel a little bit farther, and then I'm just going to address one thing up here. Wow. There you can relax your shoulders and just stay right here and take about four deep breaths. So we worked a lot in the shoulder muscles that we need to breathe in and widen your back and exhale again and contract your belly. Two more breaths. There you go.

Last one. Now instead of rolling all the way to the top, I want you to go farther over to the floor, but you're getting there because the muscles of the stomach are massaging the back. Yep. Stay right there. So if I had you all, I'd have my hands underneath your stomach and I'd pull up on your abs or on your tummy, your waistline. I'm going to have her do a blow pulsing rhythm of the, my hands are doing this under her stomach. Ah, pulling up, activate the belly. Very good. And four, three, two. And now rolling up the wall, leaving your head down as long as possible. And you can also leave the stick down. Exactly. So your bone by bone coming on up. Leave that head down.

There you go. And then as you come all the way up, tallest ever, all the way through and the ribs are still in your rib hip connection. Really good. Okay. How that feel? Good. Good. Alright, so I'm gonna now go back to another prop and go to parallel. So you can stand with your legs separated and we'll use a small ball. You can use a ball, it will get to the magic circle in a second.

And we'll go put that right between the knees where the towel was here and go. And you're still very firmly pulled back to the wall and all 10 toes are parallel. So look down and get, yeah, let me get those feet a little straighter. Okay. So if you take a small bend of the crease, the hips, and bend your knees. So you're in a very small little wall squat. I'm just gonna have you stay there.

And we're going to work the glutes a little bit more in the quadriceps and let your tailbone release back. Okay, perfect. So it's, you're going to see movement at the ankles and her feet and her ankles, but not going up down this way. So look, lift your heels up and let's use that. Maybe on the inhale, the exhale, the heels come back down. So there's pressure in the ball and when we're working on lifting the heels up and down again, we want to go right over those friends of the feet, nice and evenly, not rolling out on the ankles or not rolling in and trying to get those heels as high as possible. That was better. How are you doing? Right? So the rolling in would be or rolling out at ankles. They are rolling me so it was level as you can be with the feet.

Okay. One more time and I want you to stay right there. Lifted. All right now pulse, a squeeze of the ball and sh. So we're activating out a lot more in the inner thighs and the front of the thighs and the back. And four, three, two the heels to the floor. Get engaged in and none that underneath the back of the legs and slide up. Okay, now let's hold the ball and work straight legs and rise up and lower the heels down and eight of these lift and lower and all the while you're still engaging through the abdominals and down.

I'm going to slowly add a few more props to the mix here. Two pound hand weights. She's continuing to go. Arms are just going to hold. We'll get to them in a minute and lift. Good. If you could see what I see from the side. She's got a beautiful scoop of the abdominals.

You can't see it as much probably from the front. Okay, one more time. Go ahead and lift the heels and hold. You're going to be up there for awhile and let's take the arms and come forward. Turn your palms face up. We're going to go to a bicep, one kind of traditional classical bicep exercise. So bending the elbows, you're bringing the weights toward the wall and then reach the arms away.

So again, not a full extension of the elbow. We want to keep a little bin and extension if you get tired, but I don't think you will. And lower back in your lap. Pause with the elbow right here at 90 degrees. Good and open for more to go and bend and extend. And we want to keep feeling the shoulder blades back against the wall. Your chest lifted here in the front. Two more and last one. And you could do this without hand weights also. Absolutely.

Go ahead and lower your arms, lower your heels. Okay, so healed her all the way to the floor. Let me take this away and work with something a little bit bigger for some of you have, have a circle at home. Want to put that in there? Okay, so the larger object to squeeze, um, and you might have already seen some classes on site that talk a little more about the magic circle and the power of it and the use of it. It has so much buoyancy to it that it has, uh, an ability to kind of bullying and bullying. So we're working to control the tension on the inward squeeze as well as the outward squeeze, no matter if it's at the knees, the hands, uh, the ankles. So for right now there's more of a constant pressure that she'll use on the ring. Okay. And you'll stay with your feet flat and parallel.

Yeah. Okay. Let's go bicep two. So open your arms pretty wide to the sides. We're going to go a little bit more slightly angled forward. Start with a tiny bend in your elbows and those heavy leaded shoulderblades again there. Okay. So then on the inhale, bend your elbows and just pause in this position and exhale as you open and feel like you can reach why you'd ever across the room with your chest and inhale and exhale. Shoulders heavy down the back. There she goes and Ben and extend and all the whiles still can drafting into the core. Let's go four more.

And then shoulders heavy and extensive. There's work on both phases of the bend as well as the extension two more and bend and extend. How's this feeling and bend and extend and then just go ahead and lower your arms and you can take the ring out from underneath the knees. Let's take that away. Yeah. Um, I think that's enough there with those as well. Okay, so keeping your body against the wall, I'm going to have her go back to a Pilati stance, clearing things out of her way. All right, so starting with a nice full breath in nice and tall.

Let's exhale again all the way. So head, neck, shoulders, spine, peeling off the wall. So let's say you're in a traditional mat class and you're getting ready to go out to do some pushups or walking out to plank. We may walk out to plank, right? So there is a place right here where you, you have to weight shift yourself so that your hips come away from the wall and your weight is a little bit more now onto your hands because you are going to walk out. Okay, I like to have you start with your non dominant hands. Whatever's your writing hand, use the other one to put weight on. Here she goes. And keeping those legs very integrated, engaged as if that little towel were still there.

I'm just holding this position. So again, an opportunity to work our shoulders, little release in those elbows so that yeah, there you go. All right. Now take a breath. I want you to exhale and non at, not a pike but more of a round back. So squeezing through your tummy. There's a curve of her spine here again, that c curve, she's gonna walk back in non dominant hand and trust the wall. Use it for a little bit of Ah, there it is. Now again, rolling up. You want to still work with keeping your head down as long as possible and getting your spine to come back.

Using the front of you to massage the back and as you come up as tall as possible. Let's do that two more times. Nice and fluid and in sequence. Head, neck, shoulders, rib cage, waistline. Now the pelvis comes forward off the wall and walking out and you'll sear, organize your shoulder blades on the way out and give a little re Feinman. There we go. Cause if you're pushing the earth away, not too much. You've got a strong push. Take a breath. And on the exhale again, if I could, I'd have my hand. Everybody's belly. Nope. Trust the wall behind you and role pull the pelvis down.

There you go. And all the way up tall. Waistline this take one more time. Use The wall, push into it, feel your back. Push into the wall there. Lots of stomach. Good. And you can see this. This whole workout really doesn't take a lot of space. You just need this much space to walk out into this visit. Optional.

Little more opening of your collarbones and lats. There you go. Breathe in and exhale, lift from the waistlines. It's all in here. Let your head be heavy and rolling up the wall. Why not?

And standing lifted without pushing the ribs out from get this ribbed hip line might have a duel. Just a couple of things facing the wall, which you can do to and before we, cause you're going to do a little weightbearing, roll your wrist around. It probably should have had to do it before you went out. So as you turn to face the wall, go ahead, stand pretty close to it and reach up as high as you can. And I'm just going to move this out of the way, right? So there's, it's okay to have the shoulder blades. They did. Sometimes it's a good stretch, especially after something of the weight work that you just did when a stretch the shoulders out. Stand a little bit closer. There you go. And bring your pelvis more toward the wall there. Okay.

Now if you were to pull your shoulder blades a little bit lower, there's what that feels like different. Yeah, show that a few times. So let's go up with the arms and shoulders and then watch the musculature right around as she pulls down a couple more and whoops. And up and sliding down. One more time. I'm really seeing it come forward here. All right. Now that, that position, we had her do earlier with holding on the stick and have her do now.

So she'll bend her elbows and you get out of her way to right here and just hold. This is a nice stretch for the front of your chest and you can just hold onto it. It's really close to the wall. So know that you're right up on it and visualize that you could actually lengthen your, your whole arm bone out on the wall. Yeah. Away from your shoulder blade. Do that again. So pull him in. Yeah. And then widen them wider, wider, wider, wider there.

Hold right there. I'm just gonna make a few detailed corrections. Yeah. Yeah. So there's, what we're really after is the sense of breadth across the back and she's still deeply engaging through the, the sides of her back, her back muscles course in the seat, her stomach. Okay. Now carefully walk back away from the wall and flex your wrist. You're going to stand with your hands touching the wall. So the side view, what I'm showing is where the level of her hand will be in relationship to the shoulder. So it's straight out in front. Yeah.

Rather than arms up here or arms down here. All right. And it's that plank line. Even though she's slightly inclined toward the wall, we're going to work on some wall pushups. So in place, Matt, usually the pushup is real narrow. Yeah. So do a few. Ah, she's going to do a few PyLadies pushups at the wall. So as she Benz, the elbows are going to, let's tuck them in more [inaudible]. So start again. Have your hands more in front of your shoulders. Yeah, there we go. Okay, so now as she bends the elbows, they're actually gonna point down to the floor and then press away from the wall. There we go. Elbows toward the floor and way this shoulder is trying to stay stable on the back. There you go.

And press away rib here. Chanel is still active and again, I'm seeing it from the side, but what we're not doing is we're doing a pushup with the ribs bowed forward and a big bend in the lower back so you can activate just as much through the core muscles here as you are through your arms. How are you doing? Can you do a couple more and elbows toward the floor? Talk a in a little more. Yeah. And stretch and last one and bend and straighten. Now we'll do a different version of the pushup.

Go ahead and have your hands wide or on the wall a little wider than your shoulders. Okay. And we're back to that elbow bend position where the elbows are going to go more sideways than down. It's this, yes. And now she's able to go lower toward the wall and you'll probably be able to go lower to the wall. And Ben. Yeah, and extend still working shoulder girdle placement. He's a just a different version of the push of this and more expansion across the chest and shoulders, working your chest muscles more, I think, than the triceps. Let's take four more and still connecting down into the seat.

If I had that towel, I'd, I do, but I won't take the time to do it. Squeeze through the legs. You're really working your whole body, even though this is isolated up here. Activate the lower half and try one more. Push away. There you go. And to step in toward the wall and turn right around. There we go. Now, one more fun one. Come back in. Oh, you do? Let's go wider stamps. Yeah.

And I think I will have you worked the magic circle one more time in the hands. Okay. Yeah. And neck. Let's go here with the head. Yeah. Okay. And so the feet are going to be quite a bit wider than the pelvis. Yeah, there you go. That looks pretty good. And again, we can't put a towel between the legs because the feet are separated, but activate the muscles in the inner thigh towards the midline of the body. So there is quite a bit of positive tension. Yeah. In the inner thighs.

Now how are you? Because you've got pretty flexible shoulders. I'm going to try this with you. If you raise the arms up and the magic circle up. Okay. And keep this rib line. Can we work some side bend? All right. Well it might be tiny and doing it against the [inaudible].

Well, it's fairly revealing because sometimes the arch of the back will really show up or the ribs may pull forward. So it's very tiny. Let's go towards your left. [inaudible]. Okay, so we're opening one side, shortening. They're side.

Let's come back to center toward you, right. Have the advantage right now because you're seeing a mirror and center. So really wanting that, your, your shoulders area in relationship to your hips, that the ribs are carefully not pushing too far out to the side. That's better. And then to the center and Ben to the right thing of coming up and over a little bit more and center. This is fatiguing. And one more to the left and to the center. Good for you.

And last one coming over here to the right and all the way center. So try it again. Just let's show it without the magic circle. So if I had this, if you didn't have a circle where you didn't want to hold it, maybe as your shoulders retired for after some of this work, you could just take your arms here. In fact, I might show this with you. So let's take, let's go like this. So many versions of this. So as you're taking your side, Ben, this left arm will be in line with your shoulder. Yeah. And it looks to raid out at the mirror. Rip Back.

So lift that left arm a little bit. So it's up higher with your shoulder right there. Sternum lifted. Okay. How's that feel? Kind of awkward on the wall, isn't it? Yeah. And then coming back up to vertical, it's possible. A little awkward. And then, yeah, left arm company. So main thing I want to have you work on is this arm being a horizontal opening.

The opposite side. Imprint your ribs to the wall. So you're really continuing to activate here and coming up to vertical. Let's just do one more to each side and right arm up by the ear and side bend experience it. It may be a little awkward. Sometimes I teach weird things. That's the way it goes. And up to center. We're moving our body. That's okay. And arm up lift and side bend breach and all the way up to vertical spine.

The way to get out of that, lower the arms. I like to just twizzle the feet in to there. Push off and finish. Thank you.


This was such exquisitely detailed instruction Amy that revealed so many ways I could improve my positioning and "find" more. I SO wish the camera had been able to provide "your" perspective of the student (or at the least zoomed in) and we could have seen her body in relation to the wall and appreciated all the feedback you gave her and that she put into practice. One question....what distance were her feet from the wall? I tried with my heels right TO the wall and nearly toppled over on the first roll down. :)
That's intense! Suprisingly good workout!
Joni......thank you so much for those comments and sorry I'm just now responding to your post. To answer your question about how far away she was from the wall.......try one of your own feet distances. :)
Thank you JC! Nice hearing from you!
super challenging, back against wall excellent  thank you

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