Class #1240

Prenatal Upper Body Strength

25 min - Class


Leah teaches a quick Prenatal Mat workout that will make you move freely as if you are dancing. She starts with a standing movements and then adds an arm sequence to work on your shoulders and your endurance in your upper body. Your body will feel amazing after these graceful movements!

You can go to Prenatal Mat Series #1, Prenatal Mat Series #2, and Prenatal Mat Series #3 to see the entire series of Mat workouts Leah did during her second pregnancy.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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This is another prenatal PyLadies mat class today that I want to share with you. Just a really nice short class. I really felt the need to do with standing sequence. Um, with the prenatal work. I haven't really done it yet in this series of prenatal classes, but in the same token, if standing isn't something that you feel comfortable with at your point during your pregnancy or just this particular day, you can do this whole series that I'm going to do at the very beginning, either seated on a chair or maybe on a stability ball or even seated cross leg. I've done it sitting cross legged on my bottom on the mat. Um, but I just want you to find a position that feels comfortable.

Now I want to move a little bit more freely, a little bit, um, less [inaudible] if you will, and a little bit more dancery. And I just want you to kind of feel a little floppy and Kinda let loose a little bit. So that's kind of what I want to focus on today. So in your standing position or if you choose to sit on a chair or sit on the mat, whatever it feels more comfortable for you. And I want you to feel really grounded through your feet. So if you're sitting on the edge of a chair, sit right at the edge.

So you're really, really grounded. If you're sitting on the mat, feel really grounded through your two sitz bones. And for me, I'm just going to bend my knees a little bit. I'm just going to kind of shake it out. And we're going to start with a little bit of neck and head movement. We kind of get a little bit of Titan head, neck, and chest. So let's go ahead and release that a little bit. So inhale, drop your right ear down to your right shoulder XLF in him.

So again, just feeling nice and losing your movement. Just notice how I'm kind of letting my shoulders respond to the movement. Just feel free. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Inhale. So now you're going to go to the right and you're going to lower your chin or rotate your head to your chin, goes to your right shoulder, come back to the lateral, and inhale.

Exhale, inhale and up. So just keep doing that. Inhale, exhale, inhale. So just nice and easy. Inhale, exhale, inhale and up. So now we're going to do a half circle forward, rotate and just half circle over to the left to inhale and half circle over to the right. Inhale. So just don't be afraid to lift the face all the way up to the side so you can look and all the way up to the side, one more, all the way up to this side. And to even it out, I should say one more here, all the way to the side. Now moving to your shoulders, we're going to add onto it with this little sequence lifted, right shoulder up and your left shoulder app. So just kind of let yourself flow from side to side.

So if any of you have taken dance classes and I feel very reminiscent of a dance class and left shoulder up and right and laugh. Now I want your elbow to come up. You can bend your knee a little bit more. Bend your elbow up, kind of like a sight, the scarecrow hanging over to the side and bend your elbow up. So let's your arm that's down. Get really heavy and pull down towards your feet and just feel that swing of your torso back and forth trying to stay grounded through your feet and right and left again, just elbow up and left.

We're going to add a little arm extension. Inhale up and Xcel. Swing it around. Inhale elbow, then arm and XL, swing it around. So elbow, so then we're just building on each one. Xcel, bring it around, inhale up. You should feel that side stretch. Exhale, bring it around. Inhale. Now we're going to add, rotate the body and roll up and elbow.

Arm Rotate. The upper body head comes down and roll it up and elbow, arm rotate. So this one will go a little slower and roll it up. And elbow rotate and bring it up. One more time, or one more set rather, and rotate and bring it up and elbow and rotate and bring it up. That feels good. Now here you can widen your stance a little bit.

It's actually a little bit tricky. I want you to do a figure eight with your torso, but the figure is kind of going out on the diagonal. So I might actually show it this way. So just widen your stance. Just kind of feel really grounded. You're gonna reach the torso out in front of you, figure eight it around.

You can kind of curve back into your body. So I don't really mind if your hips kind of join you, but I just want you to make any sort of figure eight the account. My point here is it gets you to move your torso. So just kind of bring your chest out, figure eight and hollow it in. So you souk help. You can see that I'm doing a figure eight and hauling and it's so notice how my knees are slightly bent.

I'm just keeping my hands gently on the front of my thighs. So again, just to loosen up the rib cage, but also I get really nice, gentle abdominal contraction here and figure it. Now bring your right foot back, enlisted the other side, so figure it [inaudible] around. So again, this is very comfortable in a seated position or in a while seated on a chair, seating on the mat. So notice how I pitch my weight forward on my front foot and pitch it back. So let your weight adjust to what feels normal. And you can do this on your bottom too if you're in a seated position. One more.

So even if you don't feel like you're making a perfect figure eight, don't worry about it. The point is that you're just making that circular motion and last one come up right and now bring your hands. If you're in a seated position and you can bring your hands on the floor if you need to, if you're off, you're on a chair, you can bring your hands to your thighs and I want you to lie. Lift your chest up, stick your bottom out, away from you, and just relax it a little bit. And in hello your chest up and bring it down. And inhale, lift your chest up and bring it down. Just nice and easy here. One more time.

And lifting up and down. Now here, why don't you stand so you have a wide stance like a little sumo wrestler and bring your hands down on your knees and bend your elbows out to the side. So try to get your back is parallel to the ground as you can. Depending on where you are at, your pregnancy's going to determine how low you feel. Like you can go. You can do this at the edge of the chair and lean forward for sitting on a chair. If you're on the mat, you actually do need to stand up to go ahead and try this one. So take your breath in and exhale, curl the pelvis underneath you.

Okay. And inhale, bring it out and Xcel pelvic floor, lower abdominals. Push into the hands and then inhale, reach it out. XL, press into the hands. Okay. And inhale, reach. It happens one more time.

And XL push and inhale, reach it out. Hold it there. Now shift your weight over to your right. Circle it around, over to your left and come into a circle or to, um, an arc. Continue that same direction. Shift your hip over to the right circle around, over to the left, and curl underneath you soon as making big circles with the hips. We've done this on the ball, but now we're just doing it in this kind of hinged forward. So squat position. Come to the center, hold it and do the other way.

Rotate the opening up those hips and come into the curve. Just rotate that pelvis and into the curve. Two more. Just feel loose here for me. Don't worry so much about form. I'm not saying it out the window, but I'm saying just feel more of that movement. Now here I'm going to turn. So I'm facing you. We're going to do what we call, I call it little snake.

You're going to step out on your right leg. You're gonna extend your left leg and you're going to snake your body up there. You're going to bend your knees, pull your foot back in, Cup into your curve, step forward, lead with the head, neck and chest, snake it out. So if you're on your chair, you can still do this. You can step your foot out away from your chair and snake it out.

I'm forward and sneak it out to the right and step it in and come up. Let's go to the left, sneak it out some getting that beautiful stretch and bring it at. I'm feeling that Nice back extension work, hip work, gentle abdominal work, and bring it happened. And just notice how I'm letting the body move and flow through space. Just let it loose ladies. And one more time, bring it forward and all the way.

Woo. Nice. Feels good. Yeah. So just to finish this really gently, take your right leg back, pull your pelvis underneath you and forward and just get that nice hip flexor. Stretch your heart rate. Probably snuck up a little bit on you there. Uh, slowly bring that foot in and take your other leg back. Makes sure you feel nice and balanced here. If you need to.

Hold onto something close to you. Please do so to stretch out the front of that hip. Uh, well my breath and coming up. So now I want you to gently get yourself down onto the floor. I'm going to go into a little seated sequence here. So you're gonna open your legs as wide as you can, feeling comfortable and want you to grab the back of your thighs so you're actually pulling yourself up. Of course, if you need to sit on a towel or a cushion, please feel free to do so.

Flex your right foot and switch your feet. Yeah, driving the energy of the heels down into the mat. [inaudible] and just keep that movement. So I've talked about in other classes how important it is to keep the articulation of the ankle joint is exactly what I want you to do here. [inaudible] so now from here, make circles with your ankles. So just circle them around.

Just mobilize. Circle those ankles. Circling around circle, circle. You'll feel that warmth kind of creeping up into your shins. It's exactly what I want. Just circling, keeping your postural control, maintaining the upright position. And let's come back to a rested position. Pull yourself up, keeping your arm behind your thigh, your hand brothers slides your right leg out with an inhale. Exhale, pull it in alternating. Slide the left leg out with an inhale.

Exhale, draw it and notice how straight and strong my back stays. Slide it out. Inhale, exhale up. Slide it out. Inhale, exhale up. You're going to feel that deep hinge at the hip that need to maintain that postural control. Slide it up, draw the energy the knee up toward the ceiling as you pull in and hold it here. Feel yourself lifted. Now for this next exercise, you may need to widen your stance. I'm going to go ahead and take my legs wider.

They're going to have to come down on the floor and bring your hands forward onto the mat in front of you, so lower your head a little bit. Just go as far forward as you can with the belly feeling comfortable and in how lift the head, neck, and chest. Let the hands slide back toward the body and then exhale, reach for. Let them slide forward. Hopefully they can slide for you wherever you're doing this. And inhale, reach the head, neck and chest, slide those hands back, getting the shoulders activated and XL sly. Then fall right two more like this. And inhale, reach, head, neck, and chest. Feel that extension through your spine and the opening of the pelvis.

Love this type of movement feels so good on the body. And one more time. Now this time you're gonna hold, you're going to push energy into the mat. You're going to push away from the mat as you hollow your body, kind of into like a cat stretch. Fill that pelvis roll underneath you like a wheel. Then inhale, bend your elbows down toward the mat and come back into the extension. Exhale, draw the center body and push energy through the heel of the hands.

As you tighten that pelvic floor, draw those lower abdomen abdominal muscles and feel like the abdominals are coming around and up. And then pull the elbows down toward the mat as you extend. So lead from the pelvis here from the leaf in the pelvis as you come into the flection within. Exhale. And then the lead from the pelvis. As you bend the elbows and come into extension one more time and exhale and inhale, reach a forward, slowly come up. You can bring your stance in a little bit more narrow here.

Then what I want you to do to finish the sequence is just circle and roll your pelvis. Very simple. So notice how my knees are just moving freely here. Just letting my pelvis tip from one side, some on my right hip here, down on both hips to my left hip and forward. So I'm just circling in the pelvis and not thinking of contracting my abdominals per se. I'm just letting that circle happen and finish in the middle and go the other way onto the left hip, through the center to the right hip and around.

So just feel that beautiful flow as you find the circle. Exhale and inhale one more time and inhale, hold it through the middle and rest. We're going to go ahead and turn. Well, you don't necessarily have to turn if you don't want to, but make sure you can see me. Then yours sit with your legs crossed. Views tend to do a really kind of fun little arm sequence. Now we don't have added weight here.

You can certainly at grabbed some hand weights if you want to, but I think you'll feel enough shoulder work without them. So palm is facing up. You're gonna go XL one, two, inhale, three, four XL, one, two, inhale three, four. So I just want to move those arms to fill that lift through the body and palm size down. One, two, three, four. So you may not be able to get your arms as narrow with the pumps facing down because of the rotation of the shoulder that's involved. But just get up as high as you can feel uncomfortable. Two more. One, two.

Inhale three down. Last one, one, two, and hold on three. Now from here he gives you little circles. One, two. So now you'll feel your deltoids. Try Not to let your body rock and roll. And I said move freely, but I take it back. For right now, I want you to keep the torso and steady. Push those arms forward. Feel that strength your buddy. I want to work on endurance here because your shoulders are going to start getting tired. I don't want you to give up and let's go the other direction.

And back two, three, four. Yeah, keep going. Good. And now from here you're going to make figure eight so you're going to go forward, back, back, forward, back, back. So you're making a figure eight with your fingertips. It's kind of hard to explain, but the figure eight is kind of lying on its side, parallel to the ground, if that makes sense. That's the one I'm imagining anyways as if I were drawing the number eight on the walls on either end of me here. Forward, down, start to fill those shoulders. Keep up your control here.

Keep up your endurance, keep up your breath. Keep up your postural control and come back to center. Bend your elbow. Said that they come in, elbows to the chest, kind of shake it out for a second. You're going to go internal rotation, excel in Halen XL in Halan to keep that broad sense through your shoulders. Use your breath to go through this sequence. Notice.

Don't focus on the discomfort per se of your shoulders. Direct that focus into your breath, direct that focus into your energy, reaching out through your spine, that heaviness through your pelvis to more an out draw in. One more out. Draw in. Bring your arms up in front of you, palms facing in. You're going to go out to the side, palms face, forward, reach up and down and in to the side, up and down and in. So as you bring the arms down, I want you to feel like you're getting wider through the chest and through the arms. So feel like your elbows are being pulled out to the side, up and down and in. Keep up that control. Keep up that breath, opening through the chest, filling that full body, working together to maintain your calm. And let's do one more here and open and bring it in.

Now you're going to rotate the right arm down. You're going to switch if you want. You can move your head from side to side, kind of looking and twist and twist. Nicest simple, twist and twist. Now bring your arms down and let that fatigue and the energy just pour out through your arms. Let's go ahead and grab the fingertips or interlace the fingertips behind you and just stretch out the front of the chest a little bit. The front of the shoulders. We're gonna move into a short little side sequence.

I want you to bend your knees, keep your feet together. Very, very simple. Once they Len like stacked on the other, and bring the arm up here. Now you have two choices. You can stay on your hand or you can come down to your elbow, whichever feels more comfortable for you. We're just going to do a few reps on each side, so take your breath in for a little side plank. Exhale, push your hips up, fill that strength, that work in the underside of leaks.

Then inhale slowly go down. Try not to hyper extend the elbow that's underneath. You. Keep a little bit more bicep activation in that arm to help that tendency to hyperextend in the elbow to more excel. Reach a energy out through the crown of the head. Inhale slowly down. One more XL up.

Okay. And inhale slowly down. Now go ahead and come onto your elbow. Extend both legs. Actually, let's lay all the way down for this well assembled legs. There's a couple different ways you can do that, so I want you to bring that leg in. Slide it in, rotate it up to the front ceiling and slide it down. Parallel slided in with the flex foot. Rotate it up to the ceiling, slide it down just a few more. So we just mobilize, not hip, up and down. Two more to make five. Bring it in.

Go up and down. Last one, bring it in and go up and down. Slowly bend your knees in. Pull yourself up and take your legs around to the other side. For our four modified side planks, again on your hand or on your elbow, arm is up. Take your breath in. Exhale, squeeze it up and inhale slowly.

Feel that stretch as you come down and excelling. Gaze the waist as you draw out. Fill the lats on that underside. Nice and gaze full strong body in her slowly down and Xcel app. Okay and inhale, feel that reach one more time and exhale up. Okay.

Be Mindful when you come down not to sink into that shoulder. Keep yourself lifted. Slowly come down all the way to your side, both legs extended both feet. Draw the heel up and parallel rotated up to the ceiling and slide it down. Exhale all the way up. Inhale down. Exhale all the way up.

Good and inhale down. Just feel that leg being drawn up toward the ceiling. Then pressed out away from you and drawn up toward the ceiling and pressing out. One more time. Exhale, draw it up and inhale. Bend your knees slowly. Bring yourself up.

Now just to finish it, very, very simple. Bringing the legs open. Nice. And why? You've seen me do this a lot. I want you to keep both hands in front of you very, very close together. You're going to pull in and you're going to circle your arm around and then reach it forward like you're reaching forward in front of the other hand and the other hand is going to sweep around circle and reach it forward and left hand circle and reach it forward again and circle and reach it for the suit. Couple more sets. We'll move a little bit faster. Circle and forward and circle.

I'm forward just feeling like you're up and over. Just really enjoying that stretch and join that rotation forward. One more circle and forward. Go ahead and bring yourself in. Tuck your toes forward and if you want to come standing, you can.

If you want to sit back on your chair, you can and come forward for me and just feeling that stance. Bend your knees slightly lower yourself grounded and just keep your eyes open and just kinda start to sway your body back and forth. Just like you're moving with the waves, the gentle waves of an ocean and just feeling how that undulation just goes through your whole body. Your head responds, your arms and shoulders respond, your hips respond. The weight transfers onto your feet, back and forth. Hopefully have a little smile on your face and that you feel like you just got to move this nice little short mat session.

Just mobilize your body a little bit. Come back to center, filling that posture, even with this adaptations, that strength, that lift, that really is from up out of your pelvis and that groundedness that sinks down through your legs and your feet. Breathe in with me and bleed out. And thank you so much for joining me. I would love to hear your feedback on how some of the standing work felt for you in your pregnant body. So please give me some feedback down below. I'd love to hear it. And of course we can always join in a phone conversation there.

So thank you for joining me and I hope that you feel free and dancer s take care.


leave it to you for creativity!!!!
Love the natural mobilisation and spiralling of the pelvis and lumbar that you've created here. Nothing forced - just free movement. Nice to have the shoulder and lat work in there too (a little energised from that!). I'm 32 weeks and was feeling heavy at the start but certainly felt lighter by the end of this short workout. Thanks Leah and hope all is well with you and yours.
Heidi - thank you, my dear!

Leanne - awesome! so happy that you enjoyed and glad it left you feeling lighter, which is so nice at 32 weeks
Leah, you mentioned hypermobility which reminds me as I see it a lot in my clients can we have a workhop on pre/postnatal and hyper mobility or hypo for that matter too?

Thank you for your inspiring work!
I am at 27 wks and enjoyed this short work-out. I will definitely be doing it again! Thank-you!
1 person likes this.
I'm 39 weeks pregnant and loved the standing series on this workout! Great combination of spine/hip mobility with some upper body strength.
Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Heidi - yes, a workshop on hypermobility, or lack of mobility in some cases, would be great! I would suggest you let Kristi at PA know

Yvonne - I'm so glad that you enjoyed this workout and that you'll be doing it again

Patricia - I too loved the standing work while pregnant, it is also a great preparation for labor, too! All the best to you as your are at the very end of you pregnancy and about ready to have your little one. xo
Thank you Miss Leah! My shoulders are burning!! I am 26 weeks and needed a little pick me up while Miss Couper was napping!
This class was marked a level 1/2, I felt nothing. It was primarily stretching. I was looking to actually feel something. Very disappointed that I spent 25 minutes of my time on this video. There wasn't much Pilates to it either. But if you're looking for something gentle and stretching this is for you.
3 people like this.
Well, unlike the previous comment I actually felt a lot: This felt soooo good, Leah! I am 15 weeks pregnant now and have a really tight neck and shoulders since a few weeks which causes me a lot of headaches. This class was perfect to "let loose". I feel open and relaxed now, so thank you so much! In the last weeks I did all of your mat classes and will repeat them again and again. So for egoistic reasons I would be very happy if you would film more prenatal-mat-classes soon, even if you are not pregnant anymore...
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