Class #1611

Sculpting Upper Body Mat

30 min - Class


Niedra Gabriel teaches a sculpting Mat Workout with emphasis on the arms and the incorporation of Hand Weights with the traditional Mat exercises. She advises you to use a lighter set of Hand Weights as some of the movements are quicker. Experience the way weight can change how your body feels Teaser, Rolling Like a Ball, the Series of 5, the Hundred, and more.
What You'll Need: Mat, Hand Weights

About This Video

Jul 01, 2014
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Hi there. I am going to do a fast toning Mac class for the arms for the body. I'm mixing and matching. A lot of the old exercises shouldn't say old exercises but traditional exercises in a creative way, so it will be fun and I hope you enjoy it. So starting in PyLadies Mat Pilati stance, I'm sorry with your mic, I'm lifting all five toes up and checking that my arches lifted and then spreading the toes down with the arch lifted inner thigh.

Separate up just a few times, bending and straightening the knees, pulling the inner size up as I go. Imagining a string pulling up from the crown of the head. As I go down and up. Then I'm going to start lifting the arms. So imagining a string, pulling the elbows up, keeping the shoulders down as the arms come up. Then adding zipping up.

Now I'm going to pause here for a minute. So very tempting to do this. The shoulders are down and the elbows only come up as far as they need to. By the way, I am working with two pound weights and it's possible to work with more weight or less weight. I highly recommend if you're not used to it, start with a lighter weight and then build up because these are fast movements, so it's a slight different tonality, but it will sculpt and it will tone. Keeping my leg straight, arms up, shoulders down, bringing the arms in, n, n, n, n, n, n. N reaching the arms down, turning the arms out and up and up and up and up. Ops. I can starting to feel my whole trunk is warming up.

My lads are warming up, my shoulders are warming up, my arm muscles at warming up. It's a really nice way to get more tone. Moving my feet to parallel, bending over. So from my hips to my shoulders, I am long. The arms are like hug a tree. So again, I'm lifting the arms up, imagining a sprit, a string, pulling the elbows to the ceiling.

Sure. One more times like this. And then coming back up to an upright position, one arm up, one arm down and other arm. So I am seesawing the arms but controlling the shoulders as I go. So I get this sense of long reach and then bringing the arms to the shoulders, keeping my shoulders wide and now repeating the movement out this way. So in a vertical position, the tone into the muscles is working one way now Paolo feet.

First of all with the arms long I'm bending the knees and keeping the trunk long and reaching one arm forward, one arm back. So tones the shoulders, the triceps and the trunk and anything else you feel working. It's toning that too. And then bending up, keeping my shoulders wide and punching. I'm definitely starting to feel that I am working with my arms rolling back up and now turning the palms out, curling the risks in wrists out. So reaching forward, actually I'm going to bring the elbows up.

So this is a very nice detail. Work into the forearm and into the wrist. An area we don't work specifically a lot. I do because I do aerial arts and I need the strength in that area and I was quite weak. I was loose, flexible and weak. So getting a little bit of conditioning work into this area has been very useful. Now the reverse, pulling the risk down, I shouldn't say the risks, but the hand down and then lifting these weights up definitely feels delicious. Oh, okay. Bringing the arms down and I said Tall, treating the right arm up, bringing it up. Actually this is my left arm. I am so used to teaching people mirror image that I, I say the opposite.

So now I'll lift my arm up and whichever arm you want, stretching over and wrapping. Coming back up. So again, the first side, lengthening up. Do lift the shoulder, do lift, let the ribs lift so that you get into those intercostal muscles and expand the side chess. Then wrap it around and I getting an even deeper stretch stretching out to get even more and down. And then the other side, big lift up, stretching over, lengthening the right side, extensively wrapping around to get even more stretched. Seeing if I can go deeper. Stretching out and coming back up.

Now coming to the front of the Mat, arms are in front. This is where squatting down the arms actually help because if you wait, it goes back. You won't be able to counter balance staying on top of the leg. So I don't mind if you only go halfway, but eventually you want to be able to go all the way down. So here we are. I'm coming down, rolling back and forth three times rolling like a bomb.

On the third one I'm taking my hands and my weights back and using the weights to help me stand up. A lot of people who could not stand up and sit down with this exercise. With the help of a weight, we're able to really master this and be able to enjoy moving to the next level of ability. And again, three times and coming all the way up. This time I'm coming down, popping my hips back and curving over. So I'm scooping a little bit and lifting the right Blake and the left leg and the right leg and the left leg and the right leg and the left leg.

Now pressing slightly into the arms just to activate this school, both legs and pressing down, keeping my weight forward and one more time rolling down, bending the knees in. Let me make sure I'm on my mat. Bending the knees and legs to the sitting. Pilati stands for, first of all, I'm taking my arms over the head, keeping my back long. If you can go all the way to the floor, great. It doesn't matter, but you want this trunk stable. Then reaching the hands to the thighs and sliding up those ties as far as I can and now sliding up, pushing the weights up and sliding up and down and sliding up and then reaching the legs long an hour and starting my hundreds so the back is long and flat.

The shoulders are pulling down away from the ears. [inaudible] and I'm going to add footwork to this. I keep pumping with my arms, extending the legs, pumping with my arms, extending the legs, pumping with my arms, extending the legs and pumping with my arms, extending the leg, reaching long and slowly lowering down. Very interesting because I have to work harder because the weight is towards the lower body roll up, lifting way up to the ceiling first. So this is forcing the upper power house to work and then reaching up and over on the way down I'm spiking and flipping the legs over for roll over, rolling down arms go up over my head and over. Arms spiked into the mat and over flip flop and over and spiking and over and ruling and over and spiking and over reaching the arms over anchoring the heels style and now taking a stretch through my legs.

If I take the weights, they help stretch even more. If you're stiffer, get the weights higher up and now taking the right leg and just for a minute, pressing the leg away, curling up to open up the back of the shoulder blades and lowing back on the mat. I'm spiking these weights down in, here we go one. So I'm actually using my arms to help get more grounding in the trunk. And then the other side, keeping both hips nice and steady and then changing legs. So again, the leg is up, walking up that leg to open up between the shoulder blades, using the weight to get extra stretch. And then as I roll down again, I'm looking to get more space and more length through the spine, anchoring in and creating the pelvis. And here we go. One, two, three, four, five reversing it. One, two, three, four and five. Floating the legs down, arms over the head and appealing up slow, lifting up another inch, another inch, another inch, another inch and over at rolling like about five times going up to standing and coming right back down three, four and now coming to standing and arms up, lowering back down and spiking the weights into the mat and roaring down for single like stretches and switch, switch, switch, switch, switch, switch, switch and switch. Bringing the knees in, five pumps and then arms and legs extend all the way and again, one, two, three, four, five arms and legs all the way around.

And one, two, three, four, five arms and legs all the way around. And one, two, three, four, five arms and legs all the way around. And now arms going over my head so I have an extra stretch in the chest. You can spike them. In fact, I'm going to do that myself so I can keep the shoulders down, legs up to the ceiling and scissors using the arms over my head to give me stability in my upper trunk and I'm actually pushing the weights into the floor in order to create this feeling or this extra active position. So arms come down, curling up, extending the legs, bending them back, extending the legs, bending them back, extending the legs, bending them back, extending and extending, bending the knees in.

And now as I Chris, I'm going to do five of these too. Three, four, five and twisting to the other side and one, two, three, four, five and twisting to the first side, one, two, three, four, five and twisting to the other side. One, two, three, four, five and feed her down. Arms over the head. So if your arms do not get to the floor, I would take them sideways. So you're using this. In fact, I'm going to do that too. To get that sense of openness in the chest, that start to get the shoulders to be stretched out. Rolling the hips up, rolling the hips down, rolling the hips up, rolling the hips down, rolling the hips up, rolling the hips down, rolling the hips up, rolling the hips down, rolling the hips up, rolling the hips down. Now rolling the hips up. My knees are hip with the part. I'm pressing the arms down and making sure my shoulders are away from my ears.

Lifting my right leg up and taking it all the way to the mat. Why not? And all the way it really forcing my hips to work. One more time trying to keep my hips up. I can feel them drop. So I'm getting them up again, making sure my feet are active and then the other side working through the heel, working through the heel, working through the here and then pressing the hips even further up and rolling down. Just for a minute I'm going to place the weights down. Bend the right foot in. So I'm checking that both hips are even, cause it's a real common to want a swivel in the pelvis to get this concept of the knees moving away.

So I'm pressing the knee out but I'm not letting the hips move and then with this knee pressing away, I'm building bringing the other leg in so it's giving me a good hip stretch, making sure to feel the release it's starting to happen for me. I'm flexible so I can actually use the elbow to help that go a little bit deeper, stretching the leg, other leg up and still keeping my hips pressing away. I'm starting to bring this leg in to really open up the pelvis and it doesn't really matter how far you go. It matters that you're getting an effective stretch. I'm checking the hips again, pressing the knee out and making sure that the, in my case it's the right leg, I'm not turning it in.

Very common and then pressing both hips towards the floor as I bring the foot closer in and then reaching up to get a little bit of length, pressing the leg down, arms come to the side. One more time. The first side, dropping the knee out. Very unusual way to stretch here. Dropping the other knee out and then reaching this knee away. It opens up the whole side of the waist.

It's a delicious stretch that has an unusual angle into the body coming back, making sure my hips are even changing to the other side, letting the knee drop open and again, opening up that hip. This leg is a little tighter for me. Taking my time, feeling what is happening in there and coming back. Oh, okay. Grabbing my weights over my head and then extending a few times. Just getting those shoulders nice and long, plugged into the back, reaching with the legs and then three times, obviously the theme is standing up and sitting down and standing up.

Oh yes. And sitting down and this time spine stretch forward to the arms are out. I'm taking the palms facing down, lifting up this the spine. So here we go. I felt like it was a little back vertical now and scooping as I reached forward, coming back up scooping is I reach forward and up scooping as I reached forward. Keeping those arms up and now let's see the weights really shift things lifting up all yes. Rolling back in up the open leg. Drucker.

Whoops. And up again. Rolling. Ha. This is really good for me cause I have a tendency to be more flexible than strong. So there we go. Legs are together. Same thing. Rolling back and rolling up. Reaching up towards the ankles or towards the shins.

And up one more time. And now rolling my back down. Lowering the leg slowly, slowly, slowly to the floor. All right, well my stomach. I got [inaudible] my hands light up more or less with my eyes or my ears with the elbows lifted and just lengthening up all the way from the pubic bolts.

A nice lift through the whole back in preparation for the swan dive. So the shoulders are retracting down the bat, making sure I'm engaging my upper back first and then nice and long through the crown of the head at the same time. I'm reaching my legs away. One more time. I this literally pressing down to nice change of feeling with the arms long like this. Now instead of having the arms in front, I am placing the hands just above the pelvis with the elbows wide and lifting ding my legs and my chest up, letting the elbows drop, lifting up again, letting my elbows drop and I'm going to do a variation [inaudible] on the swan here. So the weights up providing a fall croon right in the center of the body to stimulate it and it actually is a very grounding sensation. Then coming up for single leg kick. So again, nice and long through the ribs and just nice and fast to get the hamstrings and calves to be active.

And as I reach out I'm taking the arms out all the way around, lifting up and lowering down and left leg and right arms. So this is not swimming, but it works to strengthen the back of the shoulders and what I'm focusing on is being very steady and even in my pelvis. Okay. Bending the knees in and using the [inaudible] weights to help me get a little bit of a stretch through the size. Now I'm pressing the hip flexors down and lifting up and interestingly enough all this work with little hand weights has actually allowed my spine to be more flexible and loose and strong because I've been moving quite fast.

So there's a stimulation that occurs and down sitting into my heels to get a good stretch and just a little bit of work into the legs just to keep them nice and part of the workout. I always like to have an even the balanced workout. I've been doing a lot of standing up and sitting down and now I just want to get the control and the looseness happening here. I'm going for bicycle now bending, watching that the knee always stays in line with the hip in line with the in line with the hip and back and now side kicks and side lifts and bottom foot beats. Now legs are staying in the air.

I am on my belly and doing my little beats, lowering down, pushing into child's pose just for a minute to stretch out and other side. I'm lying on my right side now with the legs forward, so get checking with my spine as long going for the front and back kicks or swings. I always like to think of this like a pendulum, a pendulum that swinging loose and long but the trunk is very stable. One more time reaching long to the back. Now bicycle bending in watching. This is a side that I have to watch. I always have.

We all have a side we have to watch. It's like the, I have two dogs, I have a bad dog and a good dog, so my left sides, my side that likes to play tricks on me. Yes. Keep that alignment in place and other side reaching that leg away and again, reaching the sky away and our sidekicks to the ceiling. I like to flex on the way down and I like to keep these loose and fast so that the body relaxes when you're advanced. I consider that it's important to have and now lifting and lifting and lifting and lifting and I was talking about in advanced, sometimes if we spend too long working only slowly and detailed, we can get a little heavy. It's, and it's important to also kind of speed up and just trust. And as I'm a rather hyper person any way I can kind of like that.

But any way from here, moving into teaser, I will start out with my hand waves the way we did four hundreds so with the legs up, reaching my arms, the ceiling, reaching towards the thighs, lifting up, lifting up, lifting up and see if I can actually come up to teaser, take my arms out. There's no way I'm going back to the floor like that so they aren't have to come forward and rolling down. And just to challenge my shoulders. I'll take my arms back a little bit. They can come forward lifting up and rolling up. So this time my legs were on a Di agonal a ways made it a little bit more counter balancing for the weight of the weight. Oh, this is nice and challenging and rolling back.

One more time like this. Forward rolling up. Rolling back and out. And then coming up for seal. Clap, clap, clap, roll back, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. The last one. Clap, clap, clap. Oh, harms alone.

I'm going to cross this time. Stretch out. Swivel around and just pour for the fun of it. Roll down. And here I have my little weights. So I'm coming out on my fists to a plank. Let me get nice and even, and three pushups and walking back.

This is kind of fun. One more time going out, scooping, coming down. And as you can see, I'm not a super strong pushup position. I wish I was, but I'm not. So one of the ways I work at is I bend my knees lower down, lower up, straighten. So do this two more times. Lower down to what I'm focusing on is making sure that from my knees to my shoulders, I'm in one piece and then coming back, rolling up, lifting the arms up, checking that my spine is long, my shoulders are down from my heels up to the midline, I'm lifting and then nice with the weights. This feeling of everything flowing down on the outside of the body. So there's this laying foul through the hands, linked out through the fingers. Everything is kind of draping down.

I always like to imagine myself under a waterfall where everything is flushing down, but I'm being uplifted as a result. So hope you enjoy this as well. Thank you.


1 person likes this.
Good challenge with good instruction. Thank You!
Niedra Gabriel
Thank you Mary, glad you are enjoyed the class.
1 person likes this.
Thoroughly enjoyable and perfect to wake me up, thank you.
Niedra Gabriel
Hi Kate, I always check out the bio of people who comment and see you work for Alan Herdman, how lucky you are - Alan was my first teacher! and I just spent a few days with him in Korea at the Pilates conference we were both guest presenters at. So we have a lot in common you and me. Great to meet you and happy you enjoyed my class.
Great work out, thank you, just up my teaching alley
I almost didn't click on this video because I saw the hand weights in the photo..That would have been a mistake! What a creative way to add strengthening and toning without mindless repetitive contractions. Increasing strength and supporting flexibility really resonates with me. Thank you Niedra.
Great love it-thanks!
What, what a replacement session for my LA Fitness Pilates Mat class. Thanks Neidra, I love it!
Beautifully done, Enjoyed it very much and will be back to it soon. Thanks
Wow, that was fun but hard! Would love to roll and stand up but will stick with the rest for now.

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