Class #2817

Mat for Bone Density

60 min - Class


You will work on building bone density in this Mat workout with Sherri Betz. She starts with an aerobic workout, similar to the movements that Joseph Pilates did at Jacob's Pillow. She then moves onto the traditional repertoire, making sure to add dynamic weight bearing, squatting, and balance to improve your bones.
What You'll Need: Mat, Yoga Strap, Braided Towel, Pilates Pole, Theraband

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Sherri Betz, and I'm a physical therapist and PMA certified Pilates teacher. And I'm also a specialist in treating osteoporosis and using Pilates to help people with osteoporosis. I used to teach a large mat class in a recreation center and also in a large health club where there was a mixed population of people. And I want to show you how you could teach a pretty advanced mat class based on the classical repertoire that is safe for people with osteoporosis. And not only safe for people with osteoporosis but effective in helping to build bone density.

Joseph Pilates at Jacob's Pillow started his mat classes with an aerobic warmup. And I think that is so smart to get the body warm before you start to bend the spine and move the spine in all directions. So we're gonna do a little bit of that, and, in hopes that we're gonna do some dynamic weight-bearing, some balancing, some squatting and some jumping that will actually help promote bone density. That dynamic loading and impact on your feet is actually great for building bone density. So let's start by keeping our, starting with our feet together.

We're gonna get our feet warmed up first. And I'd like you to lift your toes as you inhale. (nose inhaling) And exhale, place the toes down. (mouth exhaling) Inhale to lift the toes. And place them down.

Now let's lift the heels. Rise up, click the heels together and then back down. I call that my Dorothy cue. There's no place like home. Draw the heels together.

Now, that's a problem for people sometimes when they can't get their knees all the way together with their valgus positioning. Place a tennis ball between the heels, and that works really well. One more time, lifting up and hold. Find your balance. Draw your heels together like a little tripod and send the crown of your head toward the ceiling.

And then press the heels away from the crown of the head and lengthen. Now, let's lift just the right knee, bending the right knee, get the cracks out of the ankle. Lift up onto the tippy toe and roll the top of the foot. Give yourself a little stretch to the top of the foot. He calls this the dancer's stretch.

Point and then to the ball of the foot. And then up to the point and then roll to the top of the foot. And point and to the ball of the foot, and place the heel down. Other foot. Lifting up and point and roll forward, and then, if your balance is challenged with this, I suggest that you use a dowel or stand holding onto a chair with the balance.

But we are going to be doing a pretty advanced exercise class, so this might be something that you wanna observe before you try. And then take it up and to the ball of the foot. And now place the heel down. And this helps us to prepare for jumping. So now what I want you to do is lift your heels and just hover in place, and now bend your knees.

And then keep the heels lifted and stand. And bend, keeping the knees apart this time, not together. You want to make sure that when you bend your knees your knees are apart and heels and ankles can be together for this, but they don't have to be. Just want to make sure your knee is going right over the middle of your foot and not inward, 'cause that's a really bad position to be jumping in. So you want the heel lifted so that your arch is lifted and you're prepared for landing.

The hardest part about jumping is landing. That's where most of the injuries occur, so you want to make sure that you're protecting your feet. So this is a good jumping preparation. Now, keeping the heels down, bend the knees. Get the rest of those ankle cracks out.

Let's do that one more time. I have some more cracks to get out. And then now that's moving a little more smoothly. And now let's do a little jump in place. We're just gonna keep the feet close together and jump, jump, jump, jump, jump.

Yay! J Geils Freeze Frame. (laughing) Jumping jacks, a little old fashioned aerobics. Now, not too wide, so you don't step on your toys over there. And then Joseph Pilates running in place. Left foot forward and right foot forward.

Opposite arm, opposite leg. Switch. Three, four, switch. Two, three, four. Switch two, three, four.

Need some Madonna. ? Holiday ? ? Celebrate ? All right, back to center. And then side to side, just little ones though. Yeah, that's it, nice. Getting the body warmed up, get a little circulation.

Have a little style if you want, add a little rotation. And then knee up and up and up and up, and for my friend Sarafina Ambrosio from Italy, Statue of Liberty. (laughs) Other side, two, three, four, and slow it down. So it's just a little taste of a warmup. I got our heart rate going a little bit. Yeah, a little flashback from the 80s.

I got my career in fitness started in Nautilus Fitness Centers in 1980. Kinda scary. All right. When Madonna published her first album, so all right. A little hip stretch.

A little walking in place. Always want to cool down quickly. (laughs) Cool down slowly, sorry. Not cool down quickly, cool down slowly. As we move to the mat, so you don't want to get your heart rate up and then lay down on the mat.

That's a great prescription for a heart attack. So it'd be good to check your pulse too and get that heart rate a little slower before you start your mat work. All right. Now, come to the front of your mats and then gaze into each other's eyes. (laughs) And then you're gonna cross your hands like a genie and then cross both legs. And guess where we're goin' now?

We're gonna try to do the sit down like Benjamin Degenhardt's taught on his class on Pilates Anytime and Joseph Pilates did a Jacob's Pillow. So the sit down to the mat, and see if you can slowly get down without rounding your spine. Now, the big test is can you get back up. So let's try it. Breathe in.

Hinge at the hips. Breathe out, and stand up. Okay, whoops, okay. So most people have a really hard time with that because of hip mobility or issues with the knees. So let's play around with that.

So swing the legs around. Come up to kneeling, and take one foot forward and then vertical spine, turn the toes under. And then push yourself straight up. Step together. Good, now step back with one leg.

And then square off your hips. And then rise up and down. So we'll do a little stretch, working the legs, trying to get us prepared for the lunge. I call it the marriage proposal lunge. And then take it up and stay.

Hold that heel lifted. Bend the front knee just a little bit, the back knee just a little bit and then go down a quarter of the way and back up We're gonna kind of test the waters here and then halfway and up. Three quarters and up. And then full, all the way down and then back up. Now, if you're spine tips forward or you have a hard time with that, just stay high with it.

Don't go all the way down. Step together. Opposite leg stretching back, squaring off the hips. That's it. And then rise up, heel lifts, and then take it back down.

Bring the head back just a little bit and rib cage back. And up and down, letting your hip flexor stretch on the right leg or the leg that you have behind you and also getting your calf stretch. Swing your heel out just a little bit more, Nicole. Good and then come back up. And down.

Now, heel needs to stay lifted so you don't collapse on the back foot. And then bend the back knee. Bend the front knee a quarter of the way down and back up. Halfway down and up. Three quarters down and up.

And all the way down, coming to full kneeling and stay. Okay? Now, we're gonna put our outside hand on the mat. So whatever knee is down, you put that hand on the floor. Take the arm up.

Now, you're gonna swing the back knee forward and sit down. Perfect. And you're prepared for our next exercise. Okay? So now let's flex the feet and point.

Now, notice if you can get your pelvis into a vertical position, you could take a dowel behind your back and see if you can sit tall in that position with head, mid-back and sacrum touching the dowel. You guys can try it. And if your hamstrings are a bit tight, then you want to keep them slightly bent, or you can work on some stretching and the kind of exercises we'll be doing in just a moment. Nice, head, mid-back, sacrum against the dowel. That's it, and then you could straighten one leg and then bend it, and then straighten the other, kind of walking in place, letting your body kinda warm up to the position.

Nice that your hamstrings are a little bit warm because we did a little jumping and did a few lunges. Very good and then coming back down. And then see if you can do just a little bit of a hinge back and then come back up. That's it. Keeping the three points of contact, hinge back, and you're gonna really press through the back of the legs so that you don't use your hip flexors too much for it.

You're gonna use them, but certainly not too much. That's it and then back up. And then one more time and then take it up. Good. Now, curl the pelvis just a little bit.

Do a bit of a curl back with the pelvis. Your back will touch the pole, and then you come away from the pole. That's it, and curl back and stay vertical. Yeah, you're gonna stay vertical here. Let me just hold it for you.

That's it, and then press your back into the pole, and then return to vertical. Good, there you go. And press and return. Really nice. Keep the head against the pole.

Good. And then sit up tall. All right, take the pole and put it on the side of your mat. And get onto your right side and then lay on your back. Mm hmm.

Doesn't matter, just lay on your side, and I'm trying to get them to lay down on their back without rolling down. And then lay on your back now. So you're gonna go to your side first and then to your back to keep your spine safe if you have low bone density. All right, now we're gonna figure out what we need for our next exercise, which is the hundred. I'm gonna have Nicole straighten her legs, and I wanna feel the space underneath her back.

And you don't, don't press down. Just stay relaxed, and I want to feel how much space she has under her back. I can stack about three fingers up under her back. She has a normal lordosis back there. Pelvis is in neutral.

Neck and shoulders look very relaxed. So I'm gonna choose this thickness. This is a Fletcher Towel, and if you could bend your knees and lift your hips up. We've looked at Kristy before, so she needs a little bit thinner object. She's going to use a yoga strap, and she's gonna double the yoga strap and make it a little bit thicker.

And she'll place that under her back. Her lordosis is about two fingers. And then that's gonna be the position that we're gonna keep the spine in, 'cause we're not gonna be doing the curl up with the hundred. So now, take your feet and bring them closer in. Put your feet about a hip width apart in front of your pelvis.

Bend your knees. All right, very good. Now, hold onto the towel or the strap, whatever you're using, with one hand. And I want you to pull on it. If your legs are actually straight, and you pull on the towel or the strap, it should actually move.

So let's do that, Nicole. Go ahead and straighten your legs again. And then pull on the towel. So it does move if she pulls on it pretty hard. All right, now bend your knees.

Press down slightly on the towel without tucking your tail too much. Yes, that's it! So that means that it's coming from more of the rib cage. Pull on the towel. Hold that towel down. Yes, very good.

That looks great. And then, from here, I would determine whether or not you need a pillow. So if she's doing the pelvic curl and she starts to get overflow to the neck and the chin juts up toward the ceiling, I'm gonna put the pillow under her head. So I'm gonna go ahead and give it to you so the folks at home can see what that looks like. That's gonna give her a better advantage for this exercise.

Okay? And now Kristy can use a pillow if she wants to use one, and that does give her a little bit of an advantage. That's it. Now, keeping ahold of your towel or strap, you're gonna keep a tug on it, just gentle tug, and take one leg up to 90 degrees. Do a little bit of a tabletop position.

Good, and then take the other leg up. And did the towel come loose underneath your back? Did your belly bulge? Did you back arch? Or did your pelvis lose its position?

You want to maintain the position throughout, and you also want to maintain the intra-abdominal pressure, which is that control underneath your pelvis. Okay? Extend the leg, one leg, just one leg out to about a 45-degree angle. Pull on the towel or the strap, and then bring it back in. If it stayed snug, great, you did great.

Extend the other leg, pull the towel. So this is the way you can make sure you're doing it right at home. Bring the knees in, that's it. And then extend both legs out. And then guess where we're going now?

Right? Can you hold that position? You're gonna find your hundred position by lowering the legs down, and if the towel starts to come loose. So if she goes too low then the towel loosens. So let's go just above the point where the towel starts to loosen, and then let's pulse the arms.

Ready, and (nose sniffing) Keep the head down. Right? So, I know, it's so instinctive to go up into that curl-up position. The abdominals are actually longer here, and it's actually more challenging to keep the head down. You'll be surprised, I think, if you haven't done it with the head down.

And we're gonna do the hundred-ish. We're not gonna do all of the counts here, 'cause we did a lot of preparation. Nice, all right. One more time inhale two, three, four and exhale two, three, four. And then bring the knees in.

Bring the knees toward the chest. Hold the hands on top of the knees and circle the hips, feeling this wonderful massage to the hip joints in the sockets. Good, very good. All right. Now, bring the right knee towards your chest.

And then hold onto the shin at about midway. Extend your left leg and keep it hovering above the mat. Let's flex the foot so that the foot is pointed straight toward the ceiling. This keeps you in a parallel position. Now I want you to see how far you can bring that knee toward your chest without losing your pelvic position.

So you're not pressing the back down. You're keeping the pelvis in a neutral position. Exactly. And then see how far you can get. So this determines how mobile your hip is.

Now, press against your shin and pull your low belly away from the thigh, and then you press the back down, and you go into more of a lumbar, a little bit of a curl. So you are pressing down. You're in a little bit of a posterior pelvic tilt. Okay, now, go into your traditional hand hold, which you have the inside leg close to your knee. The inside hand close to your knee, and the outside hand close to your ankle.

Point the toes and then change. And do the same thing. Test that position of the left hip. You're holding that leg, just hovering off the floor, that opposite leg that's straight, so that you can stabilize your pelvis and see how mobile your hip is. So you're really trying to see is my hip mobile enough to bring my knee all the way to my chest without moving my pelvis?

That determines how healthy your hip joint is. And then if it isn't healthy, then you would work on stretching it without pinching it. Okay? And now, pull the belly away from the thigh. So if you wanted to add more abdominal control with this, you can press the low belly away from the thigh, press the back into your strap, and then change.

All right, so here we go. Inhale, change. Exhale, change. (breath releasing) Inhale, change. Exhale, change.

Two more like that. Inhale, reach. Exhale, reach. Inhale, reach, and last one. Good.

Bring the knees in towards the chest, and then hold onto the midpoint of your shins. Mm hmm, and you're gonna do your double-leg stretch. So you're gonna press your low back down away from your thighs just a little bit. You will be in a posterior tilt, a little bit of a pelvic curl, and then you're gonna take the arms and legs straight up toward the ceiling like a U shape. Yes, that's it.

And then lower the legs down a little bit and raise them a little bit. Now, take a moment and use one hand to pull on your towel. Lower your legs as far as you can. Keep the other hand up in the air. And lower both legs.

Yeah, that's it! Pull on the towel to make sure you know how far you can go. So it looks like you guys are both about 45 degrees. So that's as far as we're gonna go down. Take the legs back to the U shape. Take the arms in a circle, lower the legs, and then bring the legs around.

Hug the knees into the chest. Excellent. Now, place the feet on the floor. Take the strap out from under your back. You're gonna use it for the leg circle.

All right? So stretch your right leg up toward the ceiling, and your left left on the floor, but, before you put the strap on, what I wanna see is if you can straighten your knee and get your leg to a 90-degree angle. So yours would be about right there is where it starts to, where it starts to bend. So that's gonna make the leg circle really hard exercise for you, so I'm gonna have you use the strap on your foot. And, Kristy, go ahead and use the strap on your foot if you'd like to.

You don't have to, and then try to press into the strap and straighten the right leg, so you get a chance to get this little hamstring stretch. Now flex and point the foot. Flex and point. So this glides the sciatic nerve in the pathway. Now, sometimes people have neural tension, and they might even feel pain down to their calf or into their foot that is not a hamstring stretch, right?

That's a nerve stretch. You would have to back off to the point where you don't feel that referred pain and then do your flex and point. And that can sometimes help glide the nerve in the pathway. You might notice early in the morning that that's worse than when you're warmed up later in the afternoon. Now, take the straps into your left hand or the hand here, yeah.

And then take the leg across, and this is really gonna tense up the sciatic nerve, so if you have anything going on past your knee as far as an ache or tingling numbness, deep ache, you have to back off with that. Now flex and point the toe. Exactly, and this is a wonderful preparation for the leg pull, I'm sorry, for leg circles and for getting that leg up a little bit higher, 'cause sometimes people have the neural tension that's really limiting the hamstrings. Okay, and then you can do a little small circle with the leg if you have the strap on. It's can't be very big if you have the strap assisting you.

Yeah, that's it. The main thing is to go across the body, so you're gonna inhale across, exhale circle around. And then let's go across this way first. Inhale across, exhale up and around. Yeah, that's it.

Exhale as you go up and around. Inhale across and exhale up and around. Nice. And then let's go the other way. Outside first and then take it around.

Very good. If you wanted to make it more dynamic, you could certainly take the strap off your foot. And then exhale circling up and around. Nice. All right, now, step into the loop with your left foot or your opposite foot.

And then take it down, and stretch that right leg really far. That's it, and then take that leg up, straighten the knee. Do a couple of knee straightening. Yeah, so you're trying to push the ceiling away from you. Yeah, that's it.

You're trying to deepen that hip in the socket, so you're not gripping in the hip flexor with this. That's it. Now flex and point your toe once you get the leg straight. Nice. Take the leg across, right?

And you can either hold onto the straps with both hands or change them to the outside hand. And then do the flex and point. You don't do a lot of these. You want to do five or six. You don't want to irritate the nerve, but you just want to free that nerve in the pathway.

Yeah, it's like the bicycle with a coated brake, so the cable is gliding through that coating. Good! All right, now take the leg even farther across, and then circle down and around. Do your circles. And you might need a longer strap for that or separate the strap into two hands, Nicole. That might be better.

Yeah, that's right, 'cause you'll have more space to move. It's a little harder, sometimes, to stabilize your pelvis and try to navigate the strap too. Nice. Very good. Let's go the other direction.

Inhale to open out to the side. That's right. And circle up and around. Inhale open out and circle around. Really anchor that side.

Okay, I'm gonna give you a little cue here. Push into my hand so you anchor that pelvis, and then try again. Yeah, I know, it's like wow. Anchor that pelvic. It's like you're trying to roll the pelvis away from your leg.

Yeah, that's better, that's better. There you go and return. Good. All right, now you're gonna take the strap off your foot, and let's go into shoulder bridge, feet parallel. Take the pillow out from under your head.

If you have a pretty good amount of kyphosis, or roundness in your back, you might leave the pillow under your head, actually, for shoulder bridge. If your chin is jutting up to the ceiling and you're looking behind you, you definitely want to keep the pillow. All right, so we're gonna take the bridge in four parts. So bending the knees, starting in a neutral pelvis, lengthening the spine with an inhalation. Exhale, peel up just to the top of your sacrum.

Breathe in here. Stay there. And keep the low back down for right now. Right there. And then exhale, peel up to your low back, right in the middle of your low back.

And then on the next breath, let's peel up to the shoulder blades. I'm mean, sorry, the back of the ribs. (laughs) I'm jumping ahead. And then to the shoulder blades. Yeah, there you go. Breathe in, and then exhale.

Roll down to the back of the ribs. That's it, and then breathe in here. Roll down to the waistline, and then roll down to the back of the pelvis. And then all the way down. Beautiful.

All right, now let's do a lunar liftoff bridge. We're gonna take the pelvis straight up. So pretend like you have a glass of water on your low belly, just above your pubic bone. You're gonna lift that pelvis straight up. That's it, and then find a straight line between your shoulders, ribs, hips and knees.

So there's no fold at the hip, and no jutting upwards of the ribs. Beautiful. Now, keeping that water glass balancing on your pelvis, bend your right knee up towards the ceiling. That's it. Extend the right foot.

Flex the foot, and then imagine that you're pressing your foot towards the ceiling. Lower the leg down to parallel to the floor. Yeah, get that foot really close to the floor. That opens the front of that hip, and then bring it back up. Point the toe.

Flex and lower, and point. And lift, that's it. Flex and lower, and lift. And lower and lift. One more time, inhale lower, exhale lift.

Place that foot down. And developpe the other leg up, and then point the foot to the ceiling. Flex the foot. Press that foot to the ceiling, keep it lifting out. So stay there for a moment, and then keep the foot flexed.

Lower the leg down. Hover it above the mat. Keep that foot flexed. Now point it to bring it up. That's it, and then flex to lower.

And point to lift, beautiful. Flex to lower, point to lift. Last one, flex to lower, and point to lift. Now, place that foot down, and then place the pelvis down without spilling your water. So you're not rolling down this time, you're doing more of the pelvis straight up and down.

Yes, that's very good. You're really leading with the tailbone, leading with the pubic bone to come down. Very nice. All right, now, bring your right knee to your chest. Hold that.

Try to lift off now. This is one of my favorite glute tests. It's a really interesting test for the strength of the glutes. So lift the buttock. That's it, and then pulse it up.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. And place the foot down, and then lower the pelvis. Nice, other leg. Bring the knee to your chest and then lift the leg up, lift the hips up, the pelvis up. That's it.

See if you can get that glute to really work to get you up there, and then pulse it up. So it's a really nice isolation for the glute, and pulse four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. Very good. Come on down. All right, very nice.

All right, we're gonna roll over onto our right side for the side kick. Okay? Getting up on the elbow, we're gonna do the side kick on the elbow. You're gonna take the elbow and put it just underneath the shoulder. Uh huh, and your forearm's gonna be on the ground.

Yeah, and then you're gonna lift through the waistline on that side. I am going to take my dowel and make sure that you're in the right alignment by bringing the head, mid-back and sacrum against the dowel. Lift up through the shoulder. Yeah, that's it, so you've really got to keep the waistline lifted in order to get into that position. I want your feet as if you're standing on the floor so that you're flexed.

Yeah, so that gives you that little bit of stability there. Keeping your waistline lifted, hover the top leg. And then just a little bit above the ground, so it's about six inches is all. Take the leg forward, and take a moment to stretch that hamstring, pull the toes toward your nose. And then extend the leg back, so you're basically doing just what you did in the leg circles and in the shoulder bridge.

So you're taking the leg back, and, now, what I want you to see is that if she keeps her pelvis stable, that she will fire her glute. And then take the leg up a little bit higher. Uh huh, that's it! So you want the hip to extend so much that the glute actually fires. So take the leg forward now, inhale forward. And then exhale reach it back.

Two more times like that. Inhale forward, keep the lift of the waistline, and exhale reach it back. Good. And forward, and then stay back there on this one and pulse it back, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. Okay.

You guys are gonna love me for this one. This is adding a little bit of resistance to this exercise. I think the gluteus medius is one of the most important muscles in the body to have stability of the pelvis and for balance and certainly declines as we age if we don't work on it. So now you're gonna go into that same position and take the leg up with some of that resistance and pulse it one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. Now take it forward.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. Now take it back, last set. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. Beautiful, all right. You can take that off for right now.

Let's go to the other side. Flex the feet. Pretend like you're standing against a wall and on the floor, so that bottom ankle is really important here. That's it, very nice. Lifting the waistline up, excellent.

Take the leg and hover it. Take it forward, give yourself a little stretch, and then reach it back, get that hip to fire, that hip to fire, the glute, because the hip is extending. Then bring the leg forward and take it back. Hip extends, glute fires, and you're not finished until that glute turns on, right? Take it forward, and then reach it back.

And one more time, take it forward, and reach it back. Let's pulse it back. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. All right, back with the straps here. Take the leg up, um hmm, feet flexed, foot's parallel to the floor.

You don't want the foot to turn up toward the ceiling. I like the flexed foot, 'cause you can really tell if your leg's in the right position. All right, so we're taking it up for 10. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. Now take it forward for 10.

Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. And take it back. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. Beautiful. Now, I'll take the straps off.

And then let's come to the other side to rest that shoulder. Swing around to the other side. We're gonna go into the side bend. You're gonna go here. Uh huh, on your right side.

Flex the feet. My favorite exercise of all time is the side lift, which is a variation of the side bend. I like the side bend, because it does so much. It's ankle stability, hip stabilization and fires that gluteus medius and the adductors of the hip, torso strength and stabilization, shoulder girdle stability and certainly neck challenge. All right?

So you're getting in that neutral position, really strong bottom ankle, and those of you at home might even think about getting your feet against the wall for this one. Now, lift the hips up in the air. If that's possible for you, you're at level one, right? And then you're gonna come down. We're gonna do four times like that.

Exhale lift and lengthen and down. And lift, lengthen and down. And one more time, lift and lengthen. Now we're gonna add the challenge. Lift the top arm.

If that's doable for you, lift the top leg. Beautiful. And maybe you stay with just the arm lift. If that's possible, than you take the leg forward and back into the side kick. Maybe not today.

And then coming down. (laughs) All right? Beautiful. Now swing around to the other side. Left elbow's under the shoulder, feet flexed, getting into the position as smoothly and cleanly as possible, and then you lift the hips. We're gonna do that four times and down.

You can use your hand to help you. Sometimes I put a foam roller or yoga block in front of people to give 'em some help. And then lift, last one. We're gonna stay lifted. And then lift that top arm.

You'd be surprised, because sometimes you're stronger on one side than the other. You can also reach overhead and do more of the side bend. Now lift the top leg, see if you can hold that. If not, that's okay, just stay strong on that bottom side, and then you could kick the leg forward and backward for the star. Excellent, Kristy, that looks great.

One more time, reach it back and down. Return to the mat. Exactly. Now, you're gonna push up to the mermaid position. Okay, you're both perfect, right?

That's it, so, at home, you're gonna be swinging your feet to the left, okay? All right, and then taking this tall position here sometimes it's really challenging on the hips. I feel like if you are sitting like this, I want you to sit in more of a diamond position here so that the feet are kind of together. And that's a little more doable for your spine. You don't want to be in a flexed position with this.

So, that being said, we're gonna start with a little bit of mobilization of that hip. So the hip of the foot that's behind is going to be the hip that you're working on and rotating. And this is, again, one of those inspirations from the Ron Fletcher floor work. I love that. One more time, roll that hip forward and back.

Take the arms out to a T position. Keep that vertical alignment of the spine, lengthening up. Try to soften the hips so that you're not reaching up so much that you're gripping in the hip flexors. And then you don't have to have both sit bones on the floor for this, so please know that you don't have to have both sit bones down, especially if you're slumping to do it. All right, now, let's place the hand down of the foot that's behind you, reach the arm up, and then lengthen that side of your waist.

And it's not an over, it's a lift up. So it's a long lean position here. And then back to center. And then other side, and this one's a little less of a stretch because of your pelvis position. And then back to center and the other side, lengthening up.

Lift that rib cage away from the pelvis, and press that pelvis into the mat. Back to center, arms to a T. Bring the legs up to a teaser, sort of balance position. See if you can get here without putting your hands down. Now, can you go to the other side without putting your hands down?

Oh, whose body is that, right? (laughs) It's always so different one side as opposed to the other. Exactly. Now, place your hands down. Place your hand on the front of your hip, and then press that hip up and forward, rotating, and sink that hip down and back.

Wonderful mobilization for your hip joint. Those of you with arthritic or stiff hips, this is a really nice position and nice movement to do with the hip. All right. Once you get that hip feeling much better, lengthening the spine, reach the arms out to the T position. Sometimes, if you're kind of stiff, you can place a pillow or a yoga block underneath your pelvis.

That helps a lot with decreasing the amount of motion at the hips. You can hold onto your outside leg here and lift the arm up. So if you're having a hard time sitting up, you can use that to help you get longer. And then lengthen that rib cage away from the pelvis. Reach the arm for the sky, and then back to center.

This is kind of the rest after the work that you just did. Bend your elbow, draw your shoulder down to lengthen up. And then back to center. And then either placing the hand on the mat, if you can reach it, or just holding onto your leg, lifting up. Nice.

That looks great, you guys. And then back to center, T position of the arms. Now, see if you can come back to the teaser position. Beautiful. Place the feet down.

Put the hands behind you. And then let's lift the chest, open up the chest. Keep the eyes forward so that you get this really nice stretch to the back of your neck. And return. And lifting up.

And return. Now scoop the pelvis, roll back and forward. And rolling back and forward. One more time, roll back and stay. Lift one leg, lift the other.

Now, if you're really far up, and your arms are close together and you feel like you're falling forward or your hip flexors are screaming, then take the arms and separate them a little bit. If you're still screaming and can't get your spine to stay in the right position, you can actually go down to your elbows here. But you wouldn't want to sag in the position. So, coming back up. And then place the feet down, take a little rest.

Now we're gonna go through the teaser sort of variation. So once you establish your position, swing your legs forward. Mm hmm, good. Take one leg up, other leg up and then maybe separate your hands a little bit more off the mat. That's a lot more friendly, right?

Extend one leg, lower the leg, and lift. Did you stay in the right spine position? Whatever you established at the beginning is what you stay. Extend, lower and lift, return. All right.

Now we try both, and in. So just do that for a while. Sometimes that's where people are for a while. And then the most advanced would be to lower and lift, and lower and lift. Bring the knees in, place the feet down.

Take a little rest. We're going right into hip twist. Okay? One leg up, other leg up. Rotate the knees together to the right and center.

And left and center. Advancing, right stay, extend the legs. Bend and center. And to the left, extend, bend and center. Now, extend, rotate, center, and then rotate and center.

So that would be your progression for the teaser in hip twist. Now, come up a little higher. Take your hands and place them on the mat just behind and turn your fingers outward. Extend both legs. It's gonna make leg pull feel delicious.

Now extend the legs up. Ahh, stretch the front of your hips. Feel those glutes working. Look at the wall straight in front of you, and then back down. Try to keep eyes on each other. (laughs) And then lift up.

And then back to the mat, folding at the hips. One more time, scoop the hips up and then hinge at the hips to put the hips back down. All right, and then it doesn't matter how high the leg lifts, the point is the strength of the opposite leg. So here we do, lift, just a little one. And up and up and up.

One more each side, lift and lift. Beautiful. Hinge at the hips, and sit down and sit straight up for your spine stretch. We're gonna go spine stretch into saw. All right, so sitting up tall and letting your hip flexors get a little bit of a break there.

Do a little bit of a curl back, and then sit up tall. That's pretty much your spine stretch (laughs) for this variation. Yeah, so we're gonna turn this spine stretch into more of a hip hinge. So see if now you can hinge forward and lead with your tailbone to try to get that neutral spine. So I'm gonna give you the dowel behind your back to give you some feedback so that your spine stays in neutral, and you lead with that tailbone.

Yeah, that's good. The spine will flatten just a little bit with this one. Now, try it with straight legs. Okay, now sitting up tall, and so that's gonna be her exercise right there that's not gonna be possible for her. So let's do this.

I'm gonna place the towel against your legs, and then I might let her use your strap if that would be okay. I'll trade with you, 'cause that's not long enough for her. And then let's put this long strap around your feet. Yeah, there we go. And then see if you can practice using the strap to get the length that you need to do this.

Now you're not coming forward like this. The goal is to try to get your tailbone to move. Yes, that's it! Now, try to get your legs straight. And you could straighten maybe one at a time and then really working there. Hinge back and then pull forward.

Right, that's it. So the whole thing is trying to get your tailbone to reach behind you. Exactly. Nice. Okay, so now, put your hands behind you.

Just let the strap drop. Put your hands behind you with your fingers pointed back. Kind of on the widest part of the mat. Mm hmm. Good.

All right, now, from here, I always find that people who are a little more stiff or a little more bulky in their muscles, imagine a football player doing Pilates, the saw is gonna be really challenging for them. So we're gonna do it a bit differently. And I want you to take your left hand and reach for your right leg. Yes, and you're gonna help yourself rotate a little bit with that. Yeah, so you're spiraling up and rotating.

You can do this with bent knees as well if you wanted to. And then you hinge forward just a little bit. So, Nicole, you're gonna stay with that, and then, Kristy, if you could reach forward just a little bit to show a little bit of a hinge with the rotation. So you're just adding a little bit of extra assistance with that. Very good.

And then come back out of it. And then change hands, rotate to the other side. Use the hand to help you, and use it to lengthen and spiral up. Yeah, there you go. Holding the hip down, and not a lot of force.

You don't want to go to end range here. You want to go to maybe 75% of your range of motion, just encouraging a little bit more rotation in that neutral orientation. Beautiful. That's it. And then coming back up.

You could do the same thing here with the knees bent. And I like to do spine twist into the saw as well. So bend your knees quite a bit, and then hold onto the back of your legs. And then just help yourself rotate to the right in a vertical position. Um hmm, nice.

And then you could place your hand on the outside of your legs. Place this left hand on the outside of your right leg. Reach this hand behind you. And reach back, so that might be your spine twist and/or saw. Good.

And then come back to center. Hold onto the back of your legs. Gentle rotation left, and then look behind you to see how far you can go. Reach back with your left hand, and then reach the arm up. So you're trying to stay in that vertical position.

And then shoulder down and rotating and lengthening as you rotate. And see how far behind you you can see. Good. And then I could actually have her push into my hand here to allow a little bit more rotation. It's so nice to have that little bit of assistance.

All right, very good. Okay, so for now we're going to go onto the next exercise, which is a kneeling side kick. So I'm gonna have you go onto the mat, onto one hand. Let's go into quadriped first. I like to go into it from quadriped.

So let's go onto all fours. You're gonna be facing each other. I can move these out of the way. And now, take your left hand and put it in the middle of the mat. You take your left hand, yeah, and put it in the middle of the mat.

And lift your right arm up and rotate open into the kneeling side kick position. Exactly. Move our toys out of the way. Exactly. So the first thing is to try to get ribs connected to pelvis.

Spine is lengthened. Head is back. Exactly, so you're in that neutral orientation. Very good. Lift the leg up, and then take the leg forward, so you're gonna basically do the side kick.

Take the hand behind the head for the traditional position, and then take the leg back. So there's pretty much no difference between this side kick classically and the osteoporosis-safe version. I think it's a great exercise for those with osteoporosis. Nice! All right. Take it forward and reach it back.

One more time, take it forward, and reach it back. Good, now, place the foot back down on the mat. Lift the arm toward the ceiling, open the chest to the sky. There you go. This is really nice thoracic rotation stretch.

Beautiful, that looks lovely. And then back to the quadriped position, rotate to the other side. Place the hand in the middle of the mat and then lift the arm up. Get yourself in alignment, ribs connected to pelvis. So usually pelvis forward, rib cage back is a good cue for most people.

Flex the foot, lift it up, and then swing it forward. And take it slow at first, and then extend it back. Take the hand, place it behind the head. Swing it forward. (train whistle blowing) Hi, train! And then back.

And then flex it forward and back. Last one, flex forward and back. Placing the foot down, make a stable, strong hold there. Lift the arm to the ceiling, and open the chest to the sky. So you might have to bring that top leg back a little bit if you're losing stability.

So it's a little easier to stabilize if the leg is back behind you. Beautiful. All right, now, take the hands to the mat, going into your plank position. So let's establish quadriped first, elbows slightly bent so that you're not turning off your serratus anterior. If you lock your elbows, you're gonna turn that off.

So you're gonna really widen the elbows out wide. I think of the inner eyes of the elbows looking at each other and not looking forward. And then pressing up through the back of the neck. Beautiful, that looks great. So if I were to measure that, need the head to come up a little higher.

That's it, and then we'll see if Kristy's in her neutral. Yup, she's got a little bit of a flat thoracic spine, so I'm gonna fill up the space here. Okay, and lift your tailbone a little bit more. Perfect. Lower the head a little bit more.

Nice. And then elbows bent a little bit more. See how fast they straighten, you know, and that tends to be what happens. All right, now, place a glass of water on your sacrum, and I want you to extend your legs back without spilling the water. Beautiful.

You shouldn't see the pelvis rise or drop. And then you're gonna lift one leg, point the toe and reach that heel back of the foot that's on the floor. Stretch it forward, replace. Lift the opposite leg, stretch it back, bring it forward and replace. Now, with breath.

Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Let's do a pulsing breath. (nose sniffing) (mouth exhaling) (nose sniffing) (mouth exhaling) (nose sniffing) (mouth exhaling) Last one. (nose sniffing) (mouth exhaling) Take it down and rest.

Beautiful. Send it back to child's pose. There we go. And then right back up for three pushups only. (laughs) Or 22 in honor of the veterans.

All right, extending the legs back. And then probably you guys want three, right? Okay, now, (laughs) then as far as you can go down without the head moving and without the scapula narrowing. Nicole, bring your head to the stick. And then back up, and then head to the stick.

Make sure it's touching and then bend. That's better, and then back up. Okay. So keeping your arms straight, let's just do a scapular resting, Kristy. Scapular retraction and protraction.

That's what I think would be better for Nicole to do right now. And keep that lift here so that she's really working the serratus and her abdominals and the awareness and control of her spine. Yeah, good. Bring your knees down, sit back. Beautiful.

Lay on your stomach, hands under the forehead. And this is where we will need the pillow. So I'm gonna bring it to you. You're gonna place it under your ribs and pelvis. And these floors are wood and the mats are not so thick, so you want to make sure that you have, let's put it up a little higher.

You want the pillow under your pubic bone and under your lower ribs. That's really important. Now, you're gonna have the length in your spine to start with so that you're wiggling your pelvis away from your ribs, ribs away from pelvis. Draw the shoulders away from the ears, and reach the crown of your head away from your body. Beautiful.

Hands are planted onto the mat, and they stay planted, okay? Lift the head as far as you can away from the hands without the forearms moving. So you're really trying to target upper thoracic extension. So lift a little higher. That's it, very nice.

Keep your eyes on your fingers, and lift your right hand to your forehead without dropping your spine. Good, so you don't want to see the head drop or the chest. And the other, left arm, and back down. Now, both, this is where the bone building and strengthening occurs, and down. This is how my preparation for swan looks to try to target the upper thoracic.

Now, take the hands to a goal post position, taking the hands off the edge of the mat. Plant the hands and forearms on the mat. Lift the face as far away from the mat as you can, bringing the heart up and forward, holding steady there. Lift the right arm and left leg at the same time and then back down, keeping the back of the neck lengthened. Beautiful.

And left arm right leg and down. And can you lift both arms and legs? You don't have to lift your legs. It's very important that you keep your chest upright. Sometimes, if you can't control that, you just go back to the single arm-leg variation.

Place the hands back down. Place the fingertips under your collar bones, and then in the traditional swan position. A little farther back. Yeah. All right, this time, you're gonna keep the lowest ribs on the pillow, and I want you to lift your nose, your chin, your throat, your breastbone.

Your eyes under your collarbones are trying to look at each other. So you want to smile at each other across the room here. Look like you're having fun at least, right? And then lift the hands off the mat. Now, if you come up too high, you won't be able to hold that position, right?

If your low back is painful, try tucking your tail a little bit more, pressing the pubic bone into the pillow or lower yourself down a little bit more. And then place the hands down. So if you just stay with the swan, you won't get the bone-building benefits and the spine-strengthening and muscle-strengthening benefits of the exercise. You have to really extend that spine against gravity in order to build bone. Now, keeping the hands up in the air, take your hands and interlace the fingers behind your back, going right into double leg kick, taking the chest up.

Bend, right, bend the knees as you look to the right. Lay your head down. Bend the elbows. That's right, kick, kick, kick. One, two, three, and up.

And it's the same as you already know it just with a different position of the arms. Turn to the left, that's it, and up, up, up. And then when you bend, put your face down, you kick, kick, kick, and then take it up. And then put the face down, kick, kick, kick, and come up. So you can get that little internal rotation shoulder stretch while you are down, and then by placing the hands palm to palm, you'll get external rotation of the shoulders as you come up.

So try one more time, taking it up and reach. Now, stay there, let go of the hands, and slowly bring your arms all the way forward, trying to stay up tall and draw the shoulders down. Place the hands on the mat the same width as the mat. You're on the floor, yeah. That's it.

Now, from there, lift the nose, the chin, the throat, the breastbone. You're going right up into swimming. Yeah, so now, hands down on the mat, you're gonna let the hands help you push up into swimming. Beautiful. Push into the mat to get the heart higher, press the lowest ribs into the pillow.

That's it. Now, lift right arm and left leg. See if you can maintain position, that's it. And then put that set down, left arm, right leg. Nice, that looks great.

And down. And right arm, left leg, and down. Really anchor, thinking of lifting your arm from your back, anchoring that shoulder blade down, looking at your hands to keep your neck lengthened. Beautiful. One more time, up and down.

Float both arms and legs up. We'll do three sets, one and two and three and down. Beautiful, all right. Now, place the hands under your forehead. We're on the home stretch here.

Bend your right knee. Take your hand and reach back for your ankle of your right. Yeah, your right ankle. And press that heel toward your buttock. If you cannot grab that foot, and you can't reach it, than that's what the strap is for.

You can loop the strap around the leg and be able to use the strap to assist you with the stretch. You want to watch that the knee doesn't go out to the side. So, right now, we're doing the modification for rocking. Certainly, if you know rocking, you can go right into that. All right.

Now, press the foot into the hand, and let that open your shoulder. Nice, keeping your head on your hand. Right, that's it. You're really using that quadriceps to get the arm to go into external rotation. Now, press into your forearm on the mat and lift your face off the mat.

Beautiful. Lift the heart up and forward, that's it. Tuck your tail and push your pubic bone slightly into the mat, lifting up. That's it. Breathe in and breathe out to lower.

And then change arms. Let go of the foot, switch sides. Find that ankle, see if you can keep the knees close together. Draw the heel as close to your butt as you can. Press the pubic bone down.

So try not to let your pubic bone come up on that. That's it. And then press into the foot to open the shoulder. Yeah, so that you get some external rotation of that shoulder, letting that chest open. Lift your face, coming up and forward.

Lift the heart. Breastbone shines forward. You're in a little bit of rotation as well. It's okay to smile. Extending back.

That's it, and try to come up as high as you can. All right. No contraindications with this one. Only need to protect the ribs. And, of course, you wouldn't do the full rocking position there.

Beautiful. All right, coming all the way back down. Hands under the forehead. Place your hands in a pushup position. Press yourself up to all fours.

Hold the hips above the knees and then walk the hands out long, the width of the mat, going into what I call the prayer stretch or half down dog. You can rest your head on the pillow or the mat, and you're gonna keep your hips above the knees. Beautiful, and try to keep the sense of length through the spine, and then lifting here. So your head can either float just an inch above the mat so that you're in an active stretch. You're planting your hands into the mat, and then you're lengthening here.

Nice. Now, send the hips toward the heels, moving into the extended child's pose to stretch your low back, which feels good after the extension. Very nice. Lift the eyes, lift the heart up and forward, adding a little bit of thoracic extension. Come up to all fours.

And then you can actually use this pillow for the next thing. Bring the body up to full kneeling. You can cushion your knees with the pillow, which helps a lot for cushioning the patellas. Come up to vertical. Shift your weight to the left leg and step forward with your right foot.

Extend the leg out long like this. Glide forward. We're gonna do the mat version of Eve's lunge. Now pull the low belly back. Right, so that gives you that deep psoas stretch.

You can add to the psoas stretch by lifting the arm of the leg that's behind. So take the arm up, lengthen the rib cage off the pelvis, stretching up instead of over. And then back to center. Push back to vertical, and then shift the weight so that you can take this leg down without losing your balance. That's it.

That's what the dowel can come in handy for. Shift the weight to the right and step forward to the left. Extend the leg, and then gliding forward. That's it, and then pull that low belly away from the thigh and feel that delicious hip flexor stretch. Some people think it's horrifying but. (laughs) Yeah, it usually feels really good after doing all the leg lifts from Pilates.

And then lift the arm of the leg that's behind, and lengthen the rib cage up off the pelvis and feel that deep attachment of the psoas to the front of the spine that can often lead to some compression in the spine. Breathe in. Think of breathing into one lung. And then come back out of it. Place the hands on the pelvis.

Bring the leg back behind you, turn the back toes under, and then see if you can remain in a vertical position as you step all the way up. Hands by the sides, feet together. Hands behind the head, and finishing with a tribute to Joseph Pilates, squat. (laughs) And then taking the body into a vertical position, so you don't want to lose vertical. And then bend the knees, knees wide.

So that would be as far down as you might go. And then once you lift the heels, that's when the trouble starts, right? And then coming back up again. So if your body tilts forward, you stop. A great place to do this at home would be the pedipole, or I mean not the pedipole at home, but in the Pilates studio, the pedipole.

But the doorframe makes a great place to do this exercise. And then come back up. You try to keep those three points of contact sliding up and down the wall. Inhale to bend, that's it. And then exhale to extend.

So there's how you can get some loading to the legs. Bring the arms down by your sides. Place one hand on your low belly, one hand on your tailbone, hinging at the hip joints. And thank you both very much for joining me. You were excellent students.

Thank you, Kristy. This was amazing. (audience applauding) Thanks, everyone. Hope you enjoyed the class.


1 person likes this.
Thank you so much for all the knowledge you shared! I learned a lot from this class and enjoyed it very much. Thank you!
Sherri Betz
Sorry, Ash, that was my fault I am sure! Usually when teaching aerobic activity we have loud music to cover that up! The mike may have been a little too close to my mouth as well...
Sherri Betz
Thank you for the positive feedback, Gina! Glad you enjoyed the class!
1 person likes this.
Thank you for the variety of exercises and instruction.
1 person likes this.
Thank you for the excellent cues
Thanks Sherri for sharing your knowledge with us. That was fantastic. It was clear you put so much effort into the class and really want to try and help others. For me the sound quality was crisp and really clear. Loved it! :)
2 people like this.
Great Class x enjoyed some new nuances in familiar exercises
3 people like this.
The hundred with pillow under the head and the strap as feedback in the curve of the back was marvelous. No strain in the neck and all the focus in the abdominals. I didn't feel like I was "cheating"...I felt like I was "achieving."
Sherri Betz
Thank you Joni, that is such wonderful feedback that every teacher is happy to hear! Glad you enjoyed the class!
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Sherri! Very. instructive class! There is no noise from the mike, everything is perfect!
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