Class #2107

Pre-Pilates Prep

25 min - Class


Before you start a vigorous workout, you can warm up with these pre-Pilates exercises that Monica shares with us. She shows how you can find the safe zones for your body to work in so you can concentrate on having good form and posture when you are in a class. She also demonstrates exercises that work on maintaining your full range of motion so you can continue to feel healthy and young.
What You'll Need: Mat, Pilates Pole, Reformer Box

About This Video

Apr 04, 2015
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All right, so today I wanted to take you through some pre politesse exercises and something we called TV exercises, so they are, before you would even do, I guess what you would say a basic system, but they are really essential to having good form and read good reminders of our range of motion of what it should be. So I'm, I'm going to start with Maria here. She's lying down with her knees bent and I put a little pillow, a little towel, just a tiny bit underneath her head. If she had a really hard time keeping the back of her neck long, I would put a little bigger pillow. But that looks good for here. And I always start my clients checking their range of motion. That way if they are coming to me with any type of injury or if you have any type of injury that you might want to check your range of motion so you're, you're telling your mind this is going to be a safe zone for my body to work in and then your body will perform better.

Because if it's anticipating that there's going to be an exercise that's going to hurt them or hurt yourself, then you're going to brace yourself in. It's going to get even worse. So I'll check range of motion. But before I even do that, I always start with the basics, which is we want a straight line from one shoulder to the other. Part of Polis is just so simple and that is just really beautiful. The nice common sense.

And then a straight line from one hip bone to the other hip bone. So straight across, not one hip higher than the other. And those hip bones need to be directly under her shoulder bones. So I also don't want her hips a little bit over to one side or over to the other side. I want them directly in this cause is called our frame or [inaudible] box. And if we work, when we're starting off implies in our frame or box, we will really be safe on our spine to ensure that we're safe on our spine.

We use our powerhouse and that is a four or five inch band and muscles around our waist. Kind of like a weight lifters belt or acting like a corset to really hold us in. And when we use our powerhouse, we don't want to tighten it and bare down, but actually feel as if our naval just sinks down to our spine. Almost relaxing it for some people, but drawing it in. So we're going to initiate from our powerhouse to do every single move, whether we do an arm exercise or what you would consider a leg exercise.

It's going to be about your stomach. So do you feel that your lower back is on the mat right now? Okay, good. And if you had your tailbone kind of more on the mat, is there a way you could arch your lower back? So if you twist, that's right. So you're very aware right now that your lower back is not on the mat. Right? So let's use our stomach to pull in and get it on the mat and Kay.

So as a beginner, I'm not really gonna talk about a or B pre-applied nine top out neutral pelvis or tilting your pelvis, but more about feeling her stomach pull into her back to support it. And so like I said, I'm going to check her range of motion cause maybe, maybe we have a shoulder and sometimes when we start talking about injuries, we have all con, everything starts coming out. And so it moves fine going up and down and you want to check yourself or even in a circle. And sometimes it is okay in one direction, but not in the other that she is great. And I come around and check the other arm. So we're going to lift it up and that looks great.

Feels good. All right. And we're going to go around in a circle and like I said, sometimes it's okay one way, but not another good. All right. And same thing with the legs. So we're gonna check our legs. We're going to bring in, I put my hand on her stomach so she knows to initiate from her stomach. If she had a bad knee, I wouldn't be able to push it in too much.

Maybe hold underneath the thigh, maybe just keep it here and see how the hip feels. But she has a healthy hip and knees that feel all okay good. I'm going to straighten the light to get an idea of her flexibility. And again, this is a good way of saying, all right, this is what's in store for me in the next 10 or 15 minutes and I can do it so far and we assist you a lot. Or you might try to find a band or something to assist so that feels good. And does it feel okay to do a circle in one way?

And I'm now letting her move her [inaudible] frame. I'm not letting her hips move while I do that and that feels all okay good. These exercises are also really good to keep in mind. If you've are maybe rehabilitating in your, you've been in good physical condition and you find yourself in the hospital and you want to keep your blood flowing. Um, but you don't want to hurt yourself and obviously you're recovering. And feeling very weak. But these are things that you can just, uh, get your body moving again and feel safe about it.

And people have seen tremendous benefit from that. So I've checked her range of motion and she is, has no real injuries. She has no injuries. If you do, you're going to find them out right here. So we're going to, we've talked about our frame, our box and our power house and how we use our stomach to support. And I'm going to help you do the a hundred which is to pump the blood through our body. So I'm going to want you to extend the arms long, lift them up to the level of your hip bones and pump them five inches up and down. And I'm helping her and I want you to take a big breath. Great. And then exhale. And what you've done is use inhaled two, three, four, five and exhale two, three, four, five and keep going. Good.

And maybe she can do her arms on her own. So I'm going to let go. And this is something like I said, you could actually do if you were in your hospital bed in there with a pillow in your head, there is no injury, but you're pumping your blood through your body. Not that I'm saying for you to do that, you should always talk to your doctor, but there are things to keep in mind. Why is isn't as torturous as we have to make it. And let's go ahead and bring your right knee into your chest. Good.

And just keep it pumping. Good. [inaudible] Nice. And on your next exhale, let's bring our left neon. Good. And so I wouldn't make do anything more today, but have her legs here at this nice table talk. I'm going to keep her head even down, but maybe next time we visit this exercise we can use your stomach and I can help assist lifting your head. Last one. Exhale. Really feeling your belly sink down and emptying all the toxins out of your lungs and then hug in your knees and that should feel nice.

That's good. All right, now I'm going to go into single leg circles. So I'm actually skipping some of the basic exercises you might think, which is a the roll back or the roll up. And I'm just gonna do single leg circles with her. So actually before we even do that, let's work on holding or like cause it's important in to start laying the foundation that we use our stomach to initiate everything and hold everything, not our squads or survivor muscles. So let's bring this leg down to the level of your other thigh.

And without over tightening your quadriceps or hyperextending your knee, see if you can hold it there for five seconds. So it's going to be one beautiful, two, three, four, five. Great. And now lower it three inches, one, two and good. Hold it there. And it's hard. You're trying not to grip here. Sending a message to relax and said you using your stomach, maybe the back of the thigh and seat, that's five. Let's go down as low as you can.

Keep your back flat or your stomach. Engage in hold again, watching no pressure in that knee joint. Beautiful. Maybe thinking of reaching that leg long and then reach it all the way up to the ceiling and bring in the knee. Good. If again, if she had a bad knee, I wouldn't bend it so deep into her chest. And we're going to bring in the left and try that too. So you did a beautiful job of keeping your box square and did you feel your stomach more than your leg holding that leg? That's really good. So we're going to keep your belly in and lower down to where the thighs, one more inch are at the same level and her, she's holding it from her stomach.

Good. Not The knee joint or that gripping in that quad. Go down a little bit lower. You have to send a lot of messages. Try not to grip in the hip flexor, but the stomach may be, oh, I can work my seat a little bit and that's five and let's go down as low as you can. Keep feeling your belly pulling into your back. Nice. Maybe reaching long. Yeah. And then pulling up. Beautiful. And we're going to bring that knee back in. Good.

So let's revisit that single leg circle. Because to have healthy hips, you want to get nice blood flow into that hip joint. So I'm going to circle your hip, your leg so that the blood can get into that hill. So we turn the leg out just a little bit and we do not move our box. We try to pull the leg up as high as we can to our nose, cross the body. So you're crossing that frame, go down a little bit and pull it back up.

And I'll do maybe two more with her. And if I felt like she had good flexibility and it wasn't hard for her, like I'll let go and you can do two more on your own. Beautiful. And then the reverse is always tricky. So we're going to go down a little bit for some reasons, like rewiring the brain, telling it which way to go. Now that she's got it all, let go for the next three. Great. Really getting blood flow in that hip, keeping it healthy, and that's enough hugging in that knee.

And we're going to put that foot down and now we're going to bend in the left knee. Good and straightening it and same thing. And since she's already held the leg at various levels, she has an idea of how to support that leg from her stomach. One more with me. I love how this hip doesn't move at all three on your own. It just stays there.

She crosses her frame as much as she can without moving that hip one more and reverse and around, up. Good down. Cross your frame down, Cross your frame and one more down. Cross your frame. Great hugging in that knee. Good. And now I want you to pull your belly in. And here's another thing that I'm saying.

If you've been in good physical condition and are trying to get your body moving again, it's not hard to do these things before you're able to do some serious Pilati stuff. So you're, she's just engaging her stomach and bring in your right knee to your chest and maybe hug it into you. Good. And then put it down. So she's focusing on and now and do the left on. Not allowing her back to arch and come in, but really supporting her back. We're going to bring in the right and not bringing the leg in by clenching that quadricep or the hip flexor, but focusing more on her stomach muscles. Good. And since that might be a bit easy, we'll hold onto this right leg and the left instead of just straightening it right here.

It's nice around the body if we bring it in towards you and then straighten it almost to the ceiling. And now we're doing what we just did, which was hold that leg up at a certain level just to touch harder and keeping your belly and switch legs. So the left right leg will go just to there and switch and all the energies in your belly. And this is a big concept in pilates is reaching away from a force that's being grounded into the mat. So that left eye is reaching long, the right legs, reaching long instead of everything, everything being heavy, there's opposition. One more set. Maybe next time I would have her lift up her head, but right now we're good. And now I'm going to have her do the double version.

So rest your arms down. Good. And I want you to extend, I'm going to help her extend both legs cause once the both legs get working, it gets hard on the back and then pull in with your belly and out and scooping it. Good out and scooping it. Sometimes your hamstrings, the back of your legs are so tight that if I would go straight up, that's actually harder. So it's nicer to go. Just a little forward from a perpendicular line. Now let's add a stretch.

So you're going to put your hands on your ankles and point fingers towards you. So they're like that. Yeah. And then we're going to stretch in. Get that nice lower back in and up. And now reach your arms straight to my hand as these legs go out. Good. Not too far back. Nice. And then pull yourself back together. Stretch, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

It's almost easier to do some of these with your head up, but it takes out that next strain when you're just getting your feet wet. All right, that's enough there. Very good. So we would normally do spine stretch forward in a basic system, but instead we're going to really learn how to sit, which like I was saying earlier, some of these foundation, these [inaudible] or TB exercises are actually very difficult to do and we should always revisit them and make sure that we can do them. So I want you to go ahead and sit up. I'm not going to pull out a box. We're going to put it right in front and turn around that your feet [inaudible] yeah, good.

So you want to sit comfortably where your knees can be right over your ankles and then your knees and your feet are relatively in line with your hip bones. Good. I'm going to go get a pull just so that we have a little prop. All right, so here we are. I'm getting this pole bar, whatever, so that she has a really good tactile awareness of whether or not her back is straight. Okay? So I'm going to put it right behind and I want most importantly her waistband on here and then her bottom of a shoulder blades and then possibly even her head. But if she can only get her waistband, that is fine.

And then if she can add the bottom of her shoulder blades even better. Good. So I want you to actually bring your hipbones forward a little bit. Excellent. Cause you were just a little curved under. Could you feel that? Okay, so now her hip bones are directly over her sip bones and she has to work really hard with their stomach to pull into the pull. And I want you to try to slide up the pull as much as you can. Almost like you're sending your sip phones through the Mat, your tailbone through the mat and your waist.

These lovely powerhouse waist muscles are lifting all the way up through the crown of your head. Nice. So that's really, really lifting tall. Excellent Andrus. Relax. Good. So that is fabulous. It's hard to sit up tall, especially for our uh, the new generation. It's impossible at the dinner table or anything. It's just impossible for them to sit up tall.

These are some serious muscles involved here. So we're pulling in and tall and then to take the bar away now cause she has a good idea. And we're going to practice lifting one leg. So I want you to keep your right knee bent imagining I haven't too. And you can rest your, you're fine there. Maybe put your hands here though, since your legs gonna lift. So you're pulling in and up and almost pretend like there's a sling around your knee. [inaudible] so put the foot down, we're going to do exactly that, but initiating a little bit more from our powerhouse.

So pulling in and let your right foot just dangle and hold two, three, four, five and down and scoop it in and hold two, three, four, five and down. I'm going to switch your grip to that so that we don't push into the mat at all. And here's our slang. There you go. So you don't wanna lift using the quad. Do you want to feel more of it from here? That's very hard. And rest and same thing. Yes. Two, three, four, five and down.

Now let your right leg just extend like it's hanging off of the box down. So now instead of it being a bent knee, it's going to be lifting, um, a straight leg. So pull in, hold, nice. Three, four, five and rest it down or do it two more. Same leg, scooping in and growing tall. Lift two, three, four, five and down. Beautiful posture. One more stomach in and lifting two, three, four, five and down. Return that right foot. And we're going to switch. Now Maria's been doing plies for a long time, so she knows how to hold her body in good posture. But this is not an easy thing to do. You're going to want, as soon as that leg comes up to go straight into an arched back, not pull in and lift from more underneath.

And we're going to pull in and let's lift up that left and up. Try not to straighten the knee. There you go. And lower it down and pulling in. That's it. That's nice. Three, four, five and down. And last one, two, three, four. Good.

Posture in, down. Return the foot. Good. So now I want to wake up your shoulder. So you're going to lift your shoulders up by your ears and then back behind you and down away from yours. And then close your chest. Yes. And then up by your ears and open your shoulders and down. Exactly. Nice and up. And so just three shoulder rolls. Now reverse them.

So we're going to go, um, let's see. There Ya go. When they're down, crack a walnut behind you. Then lift them up to your ears, roll them forward, go down, then crack a walnut behind you. Lift them up to ears. We'll do one more down. [inaudible] all that good. Sometimes we're honestly just not aware, not aware of where our body is. So I want to do shoulder rolls before we do our neck.

So now I want you to just exactly what you were thinking of is drop your right ear towards your right shoulder [inaudible] and then bring it up. Now the caveat is that is without moving your box. So you're actually going to get a lot of stretch here. You're not going to have your shoulders. Come on. Let's get that ear on. Aha. And then bring it right on up. We're going to do two more.

So you're gonna keep this exact, no, you're good. I was just holding your shoulder while you really try to get that right ear down. Yeah. And then up and the left. Good and up. And one more time. Good. And up and sit up taller. Oh yeah. And now go over to here again. That's it.

And lifting up tall and relax. Good. Now I want you to lift up through the body and then bring stretched crown of the head and bring the chin to your chest and come up, rolling up through your neck. And two more. Lift up through the crown of your head and then bringing the chin to your chest. Nice and good. And one more. Lifting up and stretching it down. Nice.

And try not to round your upper back though. That's it. And relax for a second. Now finally for the neck, you're going to pull into your lower back, lifting up off of those sit bones and nice open shoulders and try to look all the way over this shoulder. So, turn, turn, turn, turn, turn. And then all the way over this shoulder, straight over, not stopping in the center at all and look forward. And this time we're going to look this way first. Look over, over, over. Try not to tilt your nose, your head [inaudible], and then go all the way over to the other side and then look forward and realize where I knew one more set like that and pulling in.

This one's one of the most important ones and looking over this shoulder. Good. So this, this one really changes as we get older and look forward and looking here, good and all the way over and look forward. A lot of times when someone's calling our name, we can just turn our head to look. But then as we get older we might have to turn more of our upper body. And then maybe before you know, you really have to turn your entire body to hear someone's, you really want to keep this range of motion super important.

Now let's do a delicious, almost a neck roll. So first you're going to look over this shoulder. Good. Then bring your chin as close to your chest and then scrape it down over here and then over here and then look forward at the cat forward. Good. And look over that way. Circle all the way down over that shoulder and look forward. Good.

One more set. Look to the right. Tommy's pulling in and up. Still trying to open the collarbones even in one more looking left, scrape and down, all the way around over here and looking forward. Wonderful. How's that feel? That feels good, Huh? Yeah. So now another real important one, and some people have arthritis and this is also very helpful for preventing and always getting blood flow into your hands. We're going to do cast nets, so we're going to lift our arms into a beautiful classical line. Okay.

So we're gonna point our palms towards each other and your shoulder is just higher than your elbow, which is just higher than your wrist. Romana used to say that water should be able to trickle down to your fingertips, not drop your elbow, get caught in the well, so you want to lift that elbow beautifully. So that's already a lot of work. You can do this also without lifting your arms, but you should try to get here. We're going to try just the pinky to tap into the middle of your hand. Five Times. Both. Pinkies one. Just the pinkie. Two, three, four, five. Now the ring finger, one, two, three, four, five.

Your middle, two, three, four, five. The index to three, four, five year thumb, two, three, four, five. Now do your thumb again. Thumb two, three, four, five and your mid ring. Uh, index finger. Thank you. Three, four, five. Your middle. Two, three, four, five. Your ring. Two, three, four, five. Your pinky? Two, three, four, five. And if that wasn't enough, we're going to play our cast minutes. So we're going to ripple it and starting with the pinkie five times.

Don't forget the thumb. Two more rebel in play in those casts. And that's one more. And now go the other way. Start with a thumb. Old Boy. That's a message, right? Yes, you can do it. Start with your thumb. Alright, now just shake them out. Super important. Super important. Shake gum until you feel the tingling in your fingers because you need that blood flow to get all those joints and keep them healthy and young.

And then once you feel that you can relax. Whew, nice drop. Very good. And that is all we have for today. For your pre Polis, you should, if you can keep those in your repertoire, you'll always be really healthy and young and have full range of motion. Thanks Maria.


Yeong Cheol C
I have a good look at exercise and follow.
Thank you.
Thank you for those simple exercises which when done well can transform our body and really get the blood circulating.
Monica - you always give the communicative "tools" needed to provide great basic classes. Thank you! Most of the classes you do are broken down for clients to be able to understand exactly what they can do to make Pilates work for them.

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