Class #2752

Active Recovery for Athletes

25 min - Class


This quick Mat workout by Karen Sanzo can come at the end of a more intense session for an athlete performing other skills. It is a lower intensity, but still high enough that it keeps the blood moving to all key muscle groups. You can also choose this session as a Mat warm up prior to hopping on other Pilates equipment. With this class, you can expect Karen's same high energy with clarity in the details.
What You'll Need: Mat, Weighted Balls, Moon Box, Small Tennis Ball, Overball, Reformer Box

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This class, this mat class, is gonna be relatively short. It's an active recovery class, and this class really uses Pilates exercise and Pilates principles to kinda warm down your body, rather than just all the sudden stopping your exercises. So go ahead and pick up this little ball here. And we're gonna start with some tapping. You just can take the ball in your right hand, we're just gonna tap, get some lymph going, get some recovery through your whole system.

Keep using that ball in your right hand, and just keep tapping all the way down the inside of your forearm, raise your arm up, tap down the side of your body. Take that ball, tap it down your thigh. Put it down in your calf, take it behind your calf. There's not a wrong thing that you can do here. You're just tapping and tapping and tapping, and then stop and just pause right there, and just feel how your body feels a little buzzy, just little more circulation, stuff like that.

Take the ball, switch it in the other hand. Tap, tap, tap. This is not a workshop in tapping, but tapping is a very real principle with all its own style of terminology and stuff, but I like to use it to just kinda get the system, either to speed up its flow or to relax, just getting it all around. And then stop. Take the ball one more time, tap behind your shoulder.

Tap the top of the head. Tap, tap, tap. Okay, thank you for joining me today, that's it. No, just kidding. Alright, now stop at the last time, take the ball, put it away.

And just take your legs and just kinda jiggle your legs, don't worry about your skin shaking, shake your head, just do everything like that. Sideways with your hands, let's see your hands shake. Good, good, okay. Take your right hand and then sweep down your one arm, sweep down your other arm, sweep down both your legs, very good. Take the squishy ball, I don't have a squishy ball, but y'all can turn and face me this way.

Put the ball right on top of your head, and lace your fingers right on top of that ball, as if you're going to pull your fingers apart, so your arms are engaged. Lengthen up through the crown of your head, and just pause right there. Take an inhale, expand your ribs side to side, exhale, grow up tall. Be sure the ball is on top of the head, and then you grow all the way up, you tighten all the way through the legs, very nice. Now we add a side bend to the right, so inhale, side bend to the right, lengthen your left lungs, your left ribs, and then bring yourself back to center.

Inhale, side bend to the left, exhale back to center. One more time, push up through the crown, and side bend right, and then center, and then one more time side bend left, and then bring yourself all the way back to center, pause right there. Now, with your hands still on top of the ball, and of course if you didn't have a ball, you could just put the hands on top of your head, gently nod your chin and round your spine down. As you flex your spine, the crown of your head will go to the floor. Take an inhale while you're there, expand your ribs.

Exhale, unwind yourself back up, giving your legs a little juice, and then bring yourself all the way back up. And do that again, inhale lengthen, exhale, nod your head so this occiput goes away from the neck, the spine rounds here, the low back rounds, take yourself all the way down. Very good, breathe into these back ribs. Two breaths inhale, and then exhale, lean your body weight forward, so you can turn on your legs, very good. Inhale again, exhale, tailbone drops, unwind the spine, and bring yourself all the way back up.

Keep that ball on top of your head. Tidy up your legs, push down long through the floor. Show me a hip hinge, so with the hip hinge, the body bows forward, don't be in a hurry to stick your bottom out so much, let your front ribs come up into these back ribs here, good, and then stack up from your hips. And we'll do that two more times. Inhale, hip hinge forward, and keep that hip hinge forward please, and make sure that these back ribs are coming into your T-shirt, right here, very good, yes, and then bring yourself all the way back up.

Good, and then, last time, hip hinge forward, stay forward in your hip hinge, very nice. Stay forward in your hip hinge, feel your abdominal wall pull away from your pants or your shirt, hold yourself right there, big inhale, tighten up the legs, bring yourself all the way up, and relax your arms down by your side. So why do you have the hands over the head? Why do you have the hands holding onto the ball? Well, when your hands are over your head, there tends to be a little more core activation going on here, rather than the hands out in the front.

You, of course could have the hands out in front, but the most advanced way would be the hands over the head. Continuing with the ball up here, we're gonna step down into a half lunge, so the hands are back behind, back on top of the head again. You're going to take your right leg, step backwards, drop down on that knee, and then side bend your body to the left, making sure that that right hip crease stays nice and forward, and then bring yourself all the way back up, engage your legs, and stand all the way up. Take your left leg behind you this time, and slowly bend that back knee, hold right there. Inhale, side bend to the right, lengthening up.

Take this pelvis back a little bit here, there you go, and then bring yourself all the way back up, and then bring yourself all the way up. Good, take the balls away, I'll take 'em. And then come down to your knees, please. You're coming to kneeling, you can face each other this time. So next exercise here is called thigh stretch, and then take the arms out in front of you first, press down through your shins, and then before you do this, you want to be sure that your front ribs come close to your back ribs, there ya go, and then when you do this thigh stretch, you lean back in your knees, so inhale as you kneel back in your knees, keeping the line long from your ribs to your thighs, exhale, return, very good, we'll do that three times.

So, inhale, lean your body back, shins are pressing down to keep active behind the thighs, very good, bring yourself forward, and then one more, inhale, going back, shins down, belly pulls in, and then return yourself all the way forward. Hands on top of the head again, we could have the ball here again, but we're just going to stay all the way up tall here, thigh stretch two more times. It's gonna be a little bit tougher. Inhale, lean yourself back, front ribs to back ribs, front ribs to back ribs, good, and then bring yourself forward, and then when you lean back, front ribs to back ribs, go back, but keep the pelvis forward, yes, and then push down to return up and then just one more time. Because I am not the best counter, go ahead and go back.

And then exhale, bring yourself all the way up. Very good job. Next exercise, side plank, please lie on your left side, face me this way, looks like this. We're gonna prepare here your fingers. You can face me please, and be on your left side, so please put your head at that side, there you go.

So, just to get ourselves ready here, let's do it like this. Take your bottom leg long, your right leg in back, okay? And just bring yourself up to this side plank position. We've all done this before, take your right hand to the ceiling, and now this back right leg is gonna jump to the front, and then it's gonna jump to the back, and then it's gonna jump to the front, and jump to the back, and then it's gonna stack, and as you stack, you stay long and strong, and now, we add the very traditional side bend. Right arm down, head turns, looks over right shoulder, you dip down into your left shin, the arm paints the ceiling, and then you side bend your torso towards the ceiling, turning your head, looking down at your left arm.

And then bring yourself all the way back, bend your knees, pull your shins in, right hand on right shin, left hand to the ceiling, side bend your torso with a nice straight left elbow. And then bringing yourself all the way up. Swing your legs, you can still face me. We'll be on your right side now. Press into that right hand, you're gonna start with your left leg behind you a little bit, stretch out your bottom leg, and bring yourself right up into the side plank.

Take your top arm to the ceiling, there you go, lengthen long and strong, now that back leg comes to the front, front leg comes to the back, back leg comes to the front, and then stretch that leg out long, hold for five, four, three, two, one. Getting ready for the side bend. Now drop the shin down, hand comes to the side, look toward your left ankle, and then bring yourself all the way up, and then side bend your ribs to the ceiling, and then bring yourself level, and then slowly lower yourself down. Two knees coming in, left hand on left shin. Right arm up, long and strong, straight elbow.

Side bend your torso. Good, and then inhale, lengthen yourself all the way up, and then one more time, side bend. Good, and then bring yourself all the way up. Turn and face each other for our next sequence in sitting. So we're gonna grab some boxes here, and I'm gonna have you sit on this one.

And you go ahead and sit up here, so it's really important in this exercise that we do spine stretch and saw, so legs are out long, about mat distance, arms are out long in front, pull your abdominal wall back, good. Take an inhale, expand your ribs, and exhale, spine stretch forward, so your hands and your arms will be parallel to your ears, your legs stay strong, and then unwind yourself all the way up. This time, please inhale forward, it adds a different dynamic, inhale, feel your ribs round, exhale, unwind, bring yourself back up. Good, let's do a couple more like that, growing up tall, inhale, round forward, picking up your back ribs, yes, beautiful job, and then unwind yourself all the way back, last time, inhaling, rounding forward, exhale, stay there, relax your shoulders. This is lovely, yes, beautiful job, just like that.

And then bring yourself all the back up. Two hands come behind the head now. Getting ready for saw, but first we're just gonna do a twist, so twist to me, so twist your body to me, like you're gonna look all the way this way, but pull your elbows apart so that you really feel that connection, good, and then come back to center. And then twist to the other direction, inhaling. And then come to center, now do that again, but be mindful of your feet, so that when you twist to me, the feet don't shrink back into your hip sockets or your thigh doesn't shrink back.

So come on and inhale this way to me. As you inhale, these legs stay equal, good, and then come back to center, and then you go to the other side, one more time, inhale, twist, and then, exhale center, and then rest your arms down. Getting ready for the full exercise, saw. Two arms come out to the side like a T. Take an inhale and twist yourself to me, twist yourself towards me, and take that reaching arm past your pinky toe, and saw one, saw two, saw three, come up in your twist, turn and face the center, other side.

Inhale, twist, and exhale, saw, back palm reaches up here now, two arms reaching further and further away from each other, good, and then bring yourself all the way up. One more time, each side, inhale, twist. Exhale, reach. Good, inhale, stack up. Go all the way through the center to the other side, and then reach yourself down, making sure that the chin is elongating the back of the neck, very good, and bring yourself back to center.

Nice job, go ahead and take yourself off of the boxes here. I'm gonna move this out of the way. Have a seat back down now, preparing for the little series I like to do, open-leg rocker to rolling like a ball, mmkay? So, facing each other, have your legs be in this position here where you just kinda finished, pull your abdominal wall back, lean your body back partway, take one leg up, grab somewhere on your leg, but you're pressing that leg away from you. Then you take the other leg in, and you reach it back.

This is a long flexion exercise. When you do the exercise, you tip over, holding and maintaining the same shape. It's an inhale back, and exhale up. Inhaling, if you didn't want to roll for any reason, you could always just balance, and you still get the same connections, the neck never touches the mat. Let's do two more.

And then, last one, and now balance here, bend your knees in, hug your shins, look down gently between your knees, and now you roll like a ball, inhaling, exhaling, rolling through the spine, and then, last one. And then reach your legs up long one more time. Pulling your abdominals in, close the legs. Reach your arms long, and then slowly, slowly, roll your torso all the way down to the mat, and pause right there. Bend both of your knees, your feet are flat.

Two hands come behind your head, preparing for the exercise Criss Cross. So, lift your head and curl your trunk, look right between your knees, hold yourself right there, take an inhale, as you exhale, float both knees up off the ground and hold for five, four, let your abdominal wall pull back, three, and two, and one, lower legs, lower torso. Continuing this time, let's lift the right leg first this time to tabletop, sync your abdomen down without changing the shape of your spine, lift the second leg to match, pause. Inhale as you lift your head and curl your trunk, inhale. Fill up the back ribs, and then exhale, pause (exhales), inhale, can you curl up any bit more?

Let the inhalation buoyant up your ribs. And now let's add the criss cross, to the left, inhale, to the right, exhale, left inhale, right, exhale. Now we go quickly, we go left, right, left, hold, two, three, then we go again, we go right, left, right, hold, two, three, two more sets, go, left, right, left, hold, two, three, and then right, left, right, hold, two, three, legs down, head down, arms down, bridge. Being very mindful here in the bridge, your front crease, both of you all, everybody, three of you all, whoever's watching out there, put your hands right in front of your hip crease, and ask yourself, "can I keep that hip crease lifted long?" Now take both of your hands, and put 'em right underneath your bottom, and make sure that your bottom is indeed working, without overarching your back. Continue to press down, continue to open the knees, excuse me, continue to reach the knees while you open the hip.

Take your arms all the way up over your head, as if somebody's pulling behind you, relax the neck, and then drip the chest all the way down. Arms come down by your side. We'll do that three times in a row, so arms lift, butt lifts, off you go, inhale. Arms lift, bottom lifts, exhale, down. Press feet, inhale, belly pulls in as the thighs open by reaching the knees, exhale, everything comes down.

Last time, inhale, arms up, bottom lifts, and then exhale, drip yourself all the way down. All the way down, very good. Roll to your tummies for swan and double leg kick. Let's have you face each other, you can just face each other here. So the first swan, we'll do a very basic swan, with your hands just underneath your shoulders.

Gently press down on your hands, as you reach your elbows long behind you. Pick up the chest, and take an inhale. Barely lift your head, use your chest to lengthen, the feet stay down on the ground. And then drip your spine all the way back down. Let's do that two more times, so press the hands and lift up, good, so the legs are long, oh this is fabulous, keep that lift, take an inhale.

Keep that lift, take an exhale, and then drip yourself all the way back down. Now lift yourself about half that distance this time. Just about half that distance, hold. And then just hover your hands up off the ground. And just hold that right there, big inhale.

Can you reach your legs any longer? Can you coil the upper chest up any higher? And then lower yourself all the way back down, very good. Now, prop up on your elbows for me and look across your mat, but as you lift this head, you wanna be so careful that it's the chest in the front that's lengthening, that's very good. So this is about how high you might lift at the end of double leg stretch.

So go ahead an lie yourself down, turn your head to the left please, and grab your hands behind your back. Good, and remember this exercise, we let the elbows rest to start, it's so important to let the elbows rest down, it kinda rounds the shoulders so that you can then indeed lift the shoulders and reach the chest. Tidy up the legs, take an inhale. As you exhale, kick your booty three times, so kick one, two, three, inhale, long legs, long arms slide down the back, lift the chest, lengthen the heart, turn your head the other way, grab, grasp your hands again, and kick your bottom again, go, one, two, and three, inhale, long front body, extend through the torso, hold, and then lower yourself down, one more time, each side, go, and kick one, and two, and three. Reach long with the arms, lift the chest, fabulous job right here, and then turn your head the other side, lie down, and take these arms up your back and rest your elbows.

Last time, big inhale, kick, kick, kick, and then reach long, stay long, right here, right here, stay long, now reach your arms way up over your head, across the room, almost to the other person, it's okay, they're brother and sister, they can stay here, lengthen the skull, and now do the exercise, swimming, go, alternate arms and legs. Alternating arms and legs, try not to wobble your body. Good, it's the butt, it's the lower traps, it's a long, long, long, long, long, and then everything comes all the way down. Woo, very good, turn onto your backs, please. Final little series here, we're gonna do the hundred beats; it's your favorite exercise.

This time we're gonna do it, watch, you're gonna lie down, it's now at the end of the workout, please watch me one time. Your arms are gonna be long by your side, your belly's pulled in, and you're gonna gently point the toes, and the legs will just float up, and your trunk will just lift and curl, and we'll do our hundred beats, and then you'll lower yourself all the way down, mmkay? So, you go ahead and lie down, it's the way, actually, Mr. Pilates wanted that done, long legs, gently lengthen the toes, lengthen the toes, because the lengthening in the front of the toe isn't just a toe point, really, it's lengthening from the whole front of the thigh. So, legs long, arms long, mm-hmm, and then take an inhale, as you exhale, the legs float up, they squeeze together, you curl your trunk, and you do your hundred beats. Inhale, and exhale.

Good. And the legs squeeze together, and the trunk curls, beautiful. And inhale, and exhale. Scoop the front belly toward your back spine, curling, there you go, squeezing legs, if your legs get tired, you can bend your knees. You're doing well, make your front ribs come closer to that pelvis, there you go, two more sets.

That's gonna be about a hundred. And then, last one, and then, slowly, slowly, lower legs, lower trunk, and pause right there. Bend both of your knees, put your feet flat. Take both of your feet and kinda, just, stomp them, yeah, make a sound, it's okay. Even smaller, even smaller over there.

Yeah, that's it, kinda get your legs jiggly. Again, this is lymph flow again, good. Exact--, yes, and now stretch your legs out long, and then bend and straighten your knees, and just jiggle them, opening the chest, adding the breath, good, and then all the way down. And now flex and point both the, all your feet. All two of your feet, I guess that would make six altogether here, up and down.

So not circles, just up and down. Feel how that makes your trunk kind of elongate like that. Very good, and then bend both of your knees, put your feet flat, and, hopefully you feel your body kind of winding down. We're gonna take one of these weighted balls, I'm have you take that, you're gonna put that right on your tummy. So, one of the things in one of my other previous videos in the beginning mat, as I did that exercise we call sink the sandbag, or sink the weight, so what I want you to do is put your hands right on that ball to start with, and now we're winding down, you just let your abdomen kinda pull the ball into your belly.

You're not using your back to do that, you're just using your abdomen, it should make a little hollow feeling, like a little hammock for that ball to sit in. Your arms now come down by your side. Take your right leg out long. Good, so instead of at a beginning, we're doing it at the end of this series now, we're getting, we're wound down, you get back connected into the core, you're gonna hover that right leg up off the ground, and the ball is not going to move to the ceiling. Inhale big, exhale big.

Good, and then lower that leg down, and then bend that knee in, take the left leg long. And then take a nice big inhale, expand your ribs side to side, and then sink the ball, let the left leg float up, good, from a nice strong left leg, doesn't matter how far it lifts. The key here is to just get back connected all the way into your center torso, very good, and then that leg comes all the way down. Two legs down, ball sinking on the belly. Good, big inhale, big exhale.

Thanks for joining me.

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enjoyed this quick workout Karen . Still the same level of detail to each exercise and loved some of your different approaches which I am going to use in my classes . Many thanks .
1 person likes this.
Great to see the beautiful family all together.

Great class, always learning new variations and cues for deeper connection.Thank you .
1 person likes this.
Karen, I'm always so happy when I see a new class with you on PA. I can't take your live classes anymore at The Ranch But I still can, from the Baja. Always, your queuing is succinct with anatomical understanding and with little twists that make all the difference. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Karen, I loved it! I am use the arms behind the head as a change and it really helps people stay nice and tall and engage their torso. Also I liked your lunge back and side stretch and the side bent. Nice cueing very clear. Also the open leg rocker and rolling like a ball segment is a lovely combination.
1 person likes this.
Love your queuing. Thank you for this great class.
Great detail and cues Karen, am teaching this tonight, love the ball and variations too , thanks for sharing :)

1 person likes this.
Very interesting class Karen.  Enjoyed it very much, a lovely addition to any class.
Carolina H
Loved this class, the cueing and how you incorporated the ball etc. 🫶

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