Class #2732

Rocking-Inspired Mat

25 min - Class


Fire up the back side of your body in this Mat workout with Benjamin Degenhardt. He teaches a Rocking-inspired class that works on spinal mobility so that you are ready for the full exercise. He includes creative variations to exercises like Roll Over, Saw, and much more!
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi everybody. My name is Benjamin. I'm here with Benny and Elisa for a rocking inspired mat class. Rocking and exercise. That is not awesome Todd. It's a wonderful extension exercise, very much like a wheel in yoga. Um, it has movement built in that comes out of our swan dive and really asks us to fire up the whole back of a body at one. So it's quite complex. A lot of people always leave it out. I think. Let's put it right back in.

I put some exercises together for you that hopefully help you understand the exercise better. There's a tutorial that focuses on the exercise in isolation as well. Uh, we begin by stretching our spine up. The exercise requires a lot of spinal mobility. So just come to the front of your mat. It's get warmed up here. Bring your heels together and your toes apart.

Just lift your heels ever so slightly off the ground and draw your heels into one another. Really fire up your legs, your hips, your inner thighs, and then take your arms up to the ceiling, hold hands with yourself, and then stretch your hands straight up to the ceiling. We begin with a little bit of a side stretch here, so you try to become as tall as possible first, and then you take your body over to the right, using your right hand to pull the left side longer, all the wild stamping your left heel down into the ground. Take a full breath into your left side rib cage here and then slowly return to center. We'll do the same thing to the other side. As you bend sideways, we're not looking for a big range of motion. We want to think that you just move a tiny little bit, but in a lot of places along the length of your spine rather than sinking into your side, come all the way back through central. We'll do one more round each way. Go up first, then over to the right.

Avoid arching in your back. Avoid twisting your spine as well. Slowly come back to center. Keep both feet grounded into the floor. Take one more up and over to the left. Make sure it feels really good. Use your breath to stretch the right side of your rib cage. Open more. Come back through center.

Separate your hands and take your hands to your hips for a second. Use Your hands to make sure that your hips are in good alignment, that your tailbone is lengthening down, your chest lifts forward and arb. We try a little bit of a standing back bend here. Pull your chest forward and up. Lift your gaze and try to find a little bit of a backbend here that supports your lower back, meaning that you're not sinking into it and really lifting through your chest and heart and then slowly return back to center. We'll do that one more time.

You can take your hands literally to the hips here to hold your hip bones in place. We'll do one more. Lifting through the chest, opening wide, avoiding creating too many wrinkles in the neck or the lower back. Instead of putting them into the upper back. Take it back through center. Take your hands behind your head. We'll do the same thing two more times with the support of your hands. Now perhaps allowing you to go a little bit farther.

Take the chest up and back cause this is going to be true for a rocking as well. We're not looking for a crazy deep back then, but a nice and even long curve through the spine. Come back through center. Do that once more. Support your head with the hands. Lift through the chest. Take your body back, stamp your heels down to keep the backs of your legs, hips and lower back active as well. Come all the way back through center. Release your arms down by your sides. Cross one foot behind the other.

Sit yourself down. Go ahead and lie down on your back. Stretch your arms over your head. We go into our a hundred from here, going through it, a little bit of mat work to get the body ready for that rocking exercise. First a hundred take your arms up and forward. Lift your Chin over your chest and pause right there. We're not even lifting the legs yet.

Press them into one another instead and focus on staying super open through the chest. Take a full breath in. Take a full breath out, get a little longer through your arms and your legs. Then release your head back down. Stretch your arms over your head. We'll do that same thing again. Arms up and for which and over your chest. So we activate the front of our body here. Lifting head, neck and shoulders up, reaching long through the arms. Challenging our breath. Now imagine that you heal that resting on a scale and you try to live just half a pound of weight out of your heels. Make the legs a little bit lighter.

They might not come up. They might just feel a little lighter and it sets up the fire in your stomach. That's right. Stretch forward with arms and legs. Take one more breath because you can and because you should release the legs down. Release your head down, arms over your head. We'll add the pumps on the next one. Again, the legs stays super low here.

Arms up and forward. Chin over. Chest. We're really trying to teach the body here. You can begin to pump the arms up and down as you know how, what we're teaching the body here to fully extend through the hips rather than ending up too deep in the front of our hips without effort, right? So keep reaching the toes out of your body. Breathing in, breathing out, opening through the chest. It's almost like you try to resist curling up too high. Breathing in, breathing out, you know, see if you can mobilize your shoulders with that so the arms move up and down, significantly widening through the upper back as well.

Let's take one more full breath. Inhale, exhale all the air out and only when you're empty and you've got to relax. Release your legs, your head, your arms. Reach over your head. Give yourself a lovely stretch there. Maybe let your ribs pop off for a second. Maybe flex your feet for just a moment to reengage that sensation of pushing the feet out of your body. Bend your knees into your chest. Give yourself a squeeze or rock yourself up to seed it.

And then let's start our roll up from the top. We're not going to use our strap for this one here because I really want you to focus on that same sensation. You just had your legs in the hundreds, so you flex your feet, you'll lift your arms up, you lift the spine up super tall, and you push your heels so far out of your body. It lifts your spine up even taller and it might just even feel like it lifts you heels ever so slightly off the ground. Now begin to curl yourself back. Try not to get any shorter in your spine. You still keep that nice length and curve the heels continuously reaching out your arms, reaching over your head at the end.

Keep that energy in your legs as you come back up, arms up and forward and rocking. We'll need to extend the hips quite significantly, so this is a way to get ready for that. We'll roll yourself back down, push out through the heels, perhaps even pushing the heels down into the mat more actively. Arms overhead. We'll go a little quicker. Arms up and forward. Should over chest round over the legs. Find a longer curve in your spine in outcome down arms, which overhead last to even quicker. Lift up. Take a sec, take it down.

Arms reach overhead. One more time, still with the same quality. Just quicker. Roll yourself down with your arms over your head and then let your arms come down by your sides. Push your arms into the mat and open your chest here. For the sake of getting ready for rocking, let's turn the pumps up. In fact, so that we have a sensation of lengthening the collarbones out even more. We'll do just the leg circling portion of rollover, so no overhead lift of the hips. We just circle the legs inside the hip sockets.

Double leg circles if you will. Take them straight up to the ceiling to start. Continue to have your pumps face up. That's it. Press the backs of your arms down. Open your chest now, lower the legs as far as you can. Sustain that length through your spine and that opens up your chest. Open the leg, circle the legs up. Squeeze them together at the top.

Repeat that twice. More down, open, lifting up, mobilizing the hips. We'll need that later to circle and reverse for three. Open, lower, squeeze and lift. Each time you emphasize, come together, hug them in deeper. Lift up. One more time. Down around and lift up. Lower the legs all the way down. Take your arms over your head, flex your feet. Change your approach again to reaching the legs out of your body.

Now pick yourself up into your role over like before. Take a deep stretch over your legs. Now that we opened the hips somewhat, we go right into the open leg rocker. Sit yourself up tall, so at your fingertips away from you. Open your leg slightly. Roll your body back halfway and parts continue to stretch your legs out of your body so much they hover off the ground, but just like in your a hundred maybe, perhaps a millimeter off the ground and then just stay there. Could stay there forever, right? You take a full breath in and then in one motion, sit yourself back up.

Take a stretch over your legs. That's your spine stretch. We'll combine those two ideas. Curl yourself back down. Try to hover your legs off the ground again. Maybe this time and then the higher, just a little stay there for a full record, even though that curve in your spine. Nice, and then lift yourself back up. Take a big stretch over your legs, empty it out.

We'll take one more like that and then you get to roll back and forth or all yourself back. Stretch the legs out of your body. Let them hover up this time. Allow the legs to lift up until you can reach up with your hands. Grab Ahold of your ankles. You both have enough space behind. You don't need to look back and have some fun. Now Roll yourself along the length of your spine to the shoulders.

Come right back up, going back and forth. Now this has very little to do with rocking at this point, but I want you to hold on to your legs and pull your chest open so that your chest is in between. The shoulders are throughout. You're hanging off your legs, you're rolling back and forth. That's what similar to rocking. One more time. Rolling back. Lift yourself all the way up. Stay at the top. Bring your legs together, teaser out. Take your arms up and forward. Try to lift up and out of your way.

So even though you're trying to touch your toes, you never close the chest. Slowly roll yourself all the way down onto your back. Stretch your arms over your head. Once you're there, remember that. Roll up or do another one. Flex your feet and lift all the way up and forward over your legs, pushing out through the heels. Take a big stretch. Lift your spine up.

Take hands behind your head. Open your legs as wide as your mat. Flex your feet. We'll do something that I call them negative saw. It's really just the same range of motion of the spine rotating left and right, but then we add extension to that. We begin to the right. Press your head into your hands. Lift yourself up, twist your torso to the right as far as you can. When you get stuck, take your left elbow to the outside of your left knee. Pull your right elbow up all at the same time.

Fully inhale here and then lift yourself all the way back through center. Lift out of your sitting bones. Take your turn to the left now, right elbow to the outside of your right knee. Both feet actively pressing out of your hips. Spiraling the right rib cage under the left and come back through center. One more time each way. Twist your torso right, but bend over to your left. Might be a little confusing.

Stay a little bit this time. Corkscrew the crown of your head towards your left big toes and then come all the way back through center. Quite yummy. When you get there, take your body to the left twists, reach, and then again corkscrew your head right towards the right. Big Toes. Nice left hip heavy. Come all the way back through center and let your arms come down by your sides. Alright, shake it loose for a second.

We're going to transition into a swan dive preparation. You can just swing your legs to the other side of your mat. You end up on your stomach facing forward. Beautifully synchronized. Take your hands underneath your shoulders for this preparation. Press your legs together.

First thing I want you to work on is to lift your thighs, but not by crunching into your lower back, but then really reaching your legs back behind you so much they have nowhere else to go but up, right? So stretch your toes out of your hips. See if he can lift the backs of your thighs towards the ceiling. It's not about height, it's about length. And then release back down. So if you can match that with your hands, almost pulling back on your mat, right? You're not actually doing much with your hands. You just give yourself traction so that the chest can lengthen forward in our position. And then you release all of that back down and then we add on, you start to use the attraction of your arms to pick up your eyes, looking forward over the front of your mat, perhaps a few feet ahead of you on that ground.

Stretching the legs back and up as well. So we're looking for that even extension of back that we had standing up in the very beginning. Release back down from here. Let's do one more like that or lift yourself up. Pull the elbows back, pull the chest forward, perhaps even hug your shoulder blades together just in an effort to open the chest more and then release back down. Now from here we gonna add a little swan dive action right and rocking. We will have to control our momentum as we rock over our stomach, back and forth.

Swan dive is a great place to explore that because you have longer leavers to rock from. We start in the same position though. Maybe reposition your hands just a little further back underneath your shoulders so that you can push yourself up a little bit higher. Lift your chest forward, and I've tried to pick your legs up behind you this time. Actively use your hands, pressing down to create a lift. Here's how you prepare for your swan dive. Swing your arms out to the side. You rock onto your chest, picking your legs up behind you, and then you catch yourself with your hands underneath your shoulders or right.

So you can give yourself a little bit of leeway here to then swing into your swan dive like you're actually falling off that cliff or on down. Lift the legs up, catch yourself, try it again. Play around with that right. It might feel a little awkward at first, but then once you get the hang of it, you'll start to find that the whole back of your body has to fire up at once so that can sustain you through the range of motion so that over time we can add more repetitions to that. Let's do three. Lift the chest up, so without taking your hands back to the floor. Now swing your arms out to the side. Lift the chest, go to lift back up. One more. Wow, that went well. Take your hands under your shoulders.

Lift yourself up one more time. Let's try one more deep breath in and go swing your arms out to the sat. Three, lift the chest to lift the chest. One, lift the chest up and then catch yourself with your hands underneath. You slowly retreat down. Sit yourself back over your heels, give yourself a counter stretch, Mary. Nice work. So you have those two options to catch yourself after each one or do play with how well you can sustain the shave. Working on stamina a little bit, keeping the back body fired in this counter stretch. Push your hands actively into the mat so that you can really sit your hips back far nice. And then we take our one leg cake.

Come forward. Again, place your elbows underneath your shoulders, but first make sure that that's okay with your back. I want you to also be able to pick up the backs of your thighs towards the ceiling all at the same time so you feed your knees, not touching the ground. If that's not happening without putting a major dent into your low back, you can walk your elbows further out in front of you. Further out to the side. You can put your head flat down, all is available to you. Keep the thighs lifted. Kick the right here to your seat. One to end switch, one to end switch, one to end. Keep on going. As you play with that, become more and more aware of how this is really a thigh stretch, right, but trying to stretch the quadriceps, the front of the thigh here, which we're going to need for our next exercise, or rather the exercise we're really building towards, which is a rocking eyes lifted kick. Kick. One more set left, left.

Stretch it back. All right, bonus round. Finish here. Stretch the legs back and then release your body down. Take your hands to your lower back. For simplicity, say we keep the forehead flat down for a double leg kick. Press the legs together. Kick, kick, stretch your feedbacks so your hands back, but your chest lifts forward and up. Stay here for a second. Fine tune that opposition. Press your hip bones down to activate your seed.

Bursts your chest open and then release back down. Hands to the lower back. Keep the thighs out. Kick, kick, stretch your feedback. Hands back, chest lifts up. This is exactly the same motion that brings us into rocking. Later. Come back down. Kick twice. One, two feedback. Hands back. Chest lifts up. Find the opposition. One more time. Kick ones, kick twice. Feedback. Hands back. Chest stretches up.

Take your hands underneath your shoulders. Release your legs down for a second. Release your head down for a second. We'll add one more variation in here. That is a little bit, um, borrowed from the reformer work. The breaststroke. Variation, the legs. Lift up. Same idea. There's a AA cake like the previous exercise who kicked once or twice? No, you stretch you feedback.

You reach your arms out long in front of you letting them hover off the ground. You arm circle to the side, back behind you to create the same lift from before. Same oppositions. You AA cake. You take your hands underneath your shoulders to start again. We'll do that twice. More cake once. Cake twice. Feedback on forward.

Swim the hands back behind you. Reach your fingertips towards your own heels and come back down. So good you guys. One more time kick and to kick stretch arms and legs apart. Open your arms out to the side. Reach behind you. Release. Take your hands under your shoulders. Sit Back Ovu heels.

Give yourself that calendar stretch again. You have options here to keep your knees together, which forces your back to bend a little bit more. You can also open your knees as wide as your shoulders to sit your hips back a little bit farther, depends a little bit on where you want the stretch to be here. Perhaps choose one here that you haven't done before. All right, and just when it started to feel really good. I want to get back to working a little bit. Come on up onto your knees, Louise, and we'll do our thighs stretch, right? In order to do rocking well, the whole front of our body has to be incredibly loose and open and ready for action and also strong enough so that it can sustain ourselves in that position.

Thigh stretch is a great exercise for that. You reach your arms as long in front of you. Begin by pressing your hips forward and feel like you're dragging your inner thighs towards one another on your mat. Unlike the previous exercise where we were back-bending our spine. Almost think of forward bending ever so slightly, so curl your tail down.

You keep your eyes straight in front of you. Maybe the chin comes down a little bit and then you just take your body back as far as you know you can stay for full breath. Hold it there and then lift yourself all the way back up coming forward. Feel how it's not just your quad stretching, but also you seat firing so that you're not flinging back onto your heels. Let's do two more here. Take your body back.

You can sort of see from the side that this is kind of the shave that we're looking for in rocking later as well, where the feet don't push into the floor and into our hands. There's one more time. Take your body back, energize those arms, reaching forward. They can help you lift yourself back up. Come all the way back up. We'll take a variation on chest expansion here using our thumbs to push into one another behind our backs. I'm just going to turn my back here for a second. You have your hands spread out wide, your thumbs pointing towards one, and now that you push the thumbs into one another to create an opening in your chest, see how that feels first. Again, your inner thighs are dragging towards one another.

Your heels point straight up behind you and then you leave your hips, your chest, your shoulders forward so much it feels like your feet are about to fling up behind you. That's where your body is starting to work really intensely, even though we're not even moving yet, right? Continue to press your thumbs into one another. Now reach your hands back behind you as far as you can, keeping your hips still reaching forward. I see a little shake. Yes, I like it. Turn your head all the way to the right until you feel a stretch. Come down the left side of your neck. Turn your head the other direction.

Keep pressing your thumbs into one another. Look straight ahead. Release your arms by your sides. Release all that tension in your body for a second. Ah, quite difficult. It's really one more time. Take your arms behind you. Thumbs together. This is really a willpower exercise.

You kind of have to make it happen for yourself a little bit. Push your thumbs into each other, drag your inner thighs together, push your hips forward, reach your hands back, and then turn your head to the left first stretch the right side of your neck. Then turning out the other way. Keep pushing this forward to open the front of your body. Look straight ahead and then release all of that transitioning into our shoulder bridge. You can cross your feet behind you. Sit down behind your feet, roll onto your back here.

Place your feet very close to your hands that are reaching forward on your mat. And then we do the same thing here. We connect the thumbs, the second the hips lift up. So with your feet nice and close to you hip distance apart, go ahead and lift your hips up and take a moment there. Bring your hands close enough to one another that with spread our fingers, you can push your thumbs into one another and see if he can recreate that same sensation of opening the chest, right. If we flip the body around in this position, we would now get closer to what rocking actually is going to look like, right?

So even though our Chin is towards the chest, see if he can hug your shoulder blades together. Open the chest more actively, and except for your upper back, you're in a full on back. Then keep pressing the heels down to lift the hips up nice and high. Stretch the knees away from you and then let your thumbs come apart. Roll the spine back down. Take a full breath in here. We'll do that one more time. Press your heels down into the ground.

Lift your hips up, coming towards the end. Now hug your thumbs into one another. Press them together. Push your palms down as well. Open your chest. Almost feel like you're pressing the back of your head into the mat. But then you're trying to lift your heart towards your chin to come up a little higher. To maybe hug those shoulder blades together a little more. Nice. And then release your hands. Let your body roll down again. Nice work. You guys.

Bend your knees into your chest. Rock yourself up to seed it. Cross your feet in front of you so it can rock unto your knees. And we'll transition onto our stomach from here. Bring your legs back behind you. We have one more preparation before we go into our rocket AA kick, which is, as I said, the same exact movement, right?

We begin with our hands on our lower back and the forehead down. So what's shared by these two exercises is the cake, the extension of legs and arms, and the forward lift of the chest. There's only one difference. We're holding onto our feet. We'll do double leg kick first. Pick your thighs back up like you did before. Kick your heel through your seat once, twice. Switch your feet back, switch your hands back, lift your chest forward and up.

We mind yourself of this sensation, your body. Look for it in what's next. Take it down again. Kick your heels to your seat. Once, freeze on the second. Now reach your hands towards your feet and grab a hold of them. So now the rest of the exercises exactly the same, except you're not letting go of your hands. Try to extend your arms back, extend your legs back as far as your arms. Allow you to lift your chest forward and up. Now hold that for one full breath.

Even out the space in your back. Open the chest, open the hips, open your quads, and then deflate the shape you're in. Keep holding onto your feet, so just let your tourists will come down. See if you can release your body here. Continue to pull your heels against your seed. Make sure that your knees are about hip distance apart. So there's your thigh stretch, there's your shoulder bridge. There's all these movements we worked out right. Paul, your heels through your see for a little tug tug and then kick your feet back into your hands. Lift your chest forward and up again.

Find the highest lift possible, but one that doesn't steal your breath. He pressing their bonds down. Chest is nice and wide open. Just like in your chest. Expansion. Deflate the shape urine. We'll take one more. Remember that little fun we have with rocking in our swan dive?

That's what we're going to add in here. Tag Todd, he'll succeed. Kick your feet back into your hands, lift your chest up and like in your swan dive, lift your chest a little and then rock forward and back. Doesn't have to be a big movement rolling over your stomach, kicking your feet continuously into your hands for two, for one, lift yourself up and then release on down. Finally, let your feet go. Stretch your legs back behind you. Take weight into your hands. Push yourself back onto your heels. Take account of stretched again.

Maybe one you haven't done yet means together or part. Remember, you have those options. Either way your hands are super active here and move your left hand on top of the rate. Think of that standing spine stretch that we did in the very beginning. We'll do a similar thing here to finish up your left bunching, pulling back away from your arm, reaching over the right so that you really open out the left side of your rib cage here. Breathe in fully and XL. Nice. Take it to the other side. Left hand walks to the left side of your mat.

Right hand on targeting longer across the right side of your body. Now deep breath in and exhaling all out. Never forgetting to breathe, especially when you stretch. Center your hands again. Give yourself a little push into your hands. We'll sit the hips back far just to center yourself and then roll yourself all the way up. Tuck your toes under. Come into a forward bend here. Hands flat down, head releases towards the ground, and then soften your knees.

Roll yourself all the way up. Let your shoulders relax by your sides. Open your chest nice and wide. Remind yourself all the work you did on opening the chest in that little class we just did right. See if you can take that with you for the rest of your day. Awesome work you guys. Thank you.

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Okay , this swan dive instruction was the first time I have ever felt successful with this exercise ! Thank you Benjamin for your enthusiasm and thoughtful instructing !!!
1 person likes this.
Nice mat workout. Thanks!
1 person likes this.
Once again: fun and intelligent instruction. Loved it!
1 person likes this.
Fabulous building up of the body to achieve the target. Loads of ideas to try out on my clients. Thank you
1 person likes this.
that was amazing,always having trouble with breaststroke now i'll make that exercise as routine to improve.just what i needed.
And sweating and panting and feeling an openness in Rocking that I have never felt before.

You are a very clever man Benjamin and a wonderful teacher.
Benjamin Degenhardt
Thanks everyone — you literally rock! #punintended
Just brilliant! Exactly what I needed on every level I can think of. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
I was glad to see this mini class based on swan. I thought I had a strong back but perhaps not. I am a disaster at swan. I am unable to get my legs up behind me at all. I have been practicing pilates and yoga for years and am in decent condition but unable to do this pose at all. Thank you for your clear and energetic teaching, I enjoy all of your classes.
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Benjamin! you are defiantly my favourite!
so inspiring and complete!
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