Class #2953

Prenatal Reformer Workout

60 min - Class


Work on strength and endurance in your upper body with this prenatal Reformer workout by Leah Stewart. She focuses on mobilizing and opening up the upper body so that you will be able to find strength at all ranges of motion. She explains why it is important to target this part of your body during pregnancy and how it can help you during labor and birth.

Leah starts the first series on two red springs and one blue spring.
What You'll Need: Reformer, Fitness Ball

About This Video


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Hi there I am Leah Stewart and I am here. I'm apple ids anytime from my third, um, which I'm so grateful for. My third pregnancy where I've gotten to come and do some prenatal Palazzos classes for you. So we are going to hone in today on our reformer. And our topic or a theme of today's class is why the upper body matters during pregnancy.

So for this class you're going to need a stability ball and you're going to need obviously a reformer. And what I want you to just set up your reformers to take a couple moments to do that is put your football all the way down. And if you have the ability, which would be really helpful if you have a reformer that allows you to move, um, your carriage back to give you some more space in between your carriage and your platform or your foot bar, that would be really, really helpful. If you don't have that capability, maybe you can work with a smaller ball. I just don't want you to feel like you're squished up. I want you to feel like you have a little bit more space.

So I'm going to go ahead and get started and we're going to talk a little bit about the upper body and why it matters as we start to go through our movement. So let's go. Okay, so you're going to take your stability ball and this is a big old one, but we're going to work with it. Any waste you're going to come sit against the ball and with your legs wide so that your belly, wherever you are in your pregnancy can fit in between and you can kind of play with your foot position. I might adjust it as I go along, but for now, cause we're going to be extending the carriage out so you can put a little bit more pressure into the balls of your feet by placing the balls of the feet on the foot bar. Or you can place your heels down kind of inside the inside edge of the platform, as I call it. You can push out that way so you can flex your feet. So whatever feels more comfortable for you is what I want you to do.

So as far as your positioning here, you may feel more comfortable with your hips slightly forward. So when you lean back over the ball, your head is supported and that depends on the size of the ball and of course your height or you can set a little bit more upright. So you're right on top of your issue to roster these. And that way it's a means a little bit more extension of your upper back to rest your head back. So it's really up to you and you can adjust as we go, as you'll probably find me doing as well. So he answered to go behind the head and our goal here is to mobilize and open up the upper body. Um, then we're going to go into some stretches and then we're going to go into some deeper mobilization and strengthening toward the end of our class.

So hands behind the head here, and don't press your elbows open with a lot of force. Just let them kind of sit where they want to sit naturally as we're just kind of warming up here. So we're going to take an inhale, push the carriage back, lift the sternum up over the ball and then come back to center. Now I'm using an inhale here, which is opposite of what we normally do when we XL our Susan and when we press the carriage out cause they want you to fill that through your sternum and then should come back in with your exhale. I want you to just feel a little bit of that abdominal awakening as you draw your chest forward. So let's go out three more times. And as you do this, you let your elbows just open a little bit wider and you really feel the musculature of the chest start to expand. Start to loosen up a little bit.

One more time and I want you to hold here. So now you notice that I'm really letting that extension carry through obviously my cervical and my thoracic spine, but also through my lumbar spine, through my lower back. You can see I have a little bit of a hyper extension there, which I want you to emulate as well. So now what we're going to do here is with an exhale, you're going to curly yourself forward. You're going to press your low thoracic spine and your lumbar spine into the ball. Then inhale, come back at XL and inhale that. So again, you can see where mobilizing the upper spine, opening up the chest a little bit, getting those muscles awake in the upper back.

We're also waking up the abdominals. We're mobilizing the lumbar spine and inhale up one more time for me. Exhale. So I want you to hold here. Now from here, you're going to come up on a diagonal, so you're going to actually extend your upper body away from the ball. Then exhale, you're gonna push the mid, lower back back into the ball and come back into flection. Inhale, come up on the diagonal. So now we're getting a little bit deeper into that spinal mobility, into that opening of the upper body, the upper spine chest, [inaudible], but we're also getting a little bit of a hamstring stretch articulation in the hip joints as well. Two more times for me. And Inhale, Veatch. Exhale come into your flection.

And one more time in helm. So hold this position and take the arms out and I want you to see how far your arms go out to your t position. That feels comfortable for you here. So again, without popping your chest out, I want you to fill the Scapula, glides sightly together, and then just feel how that stretches out to the musculature of the chest, the pectoral muscles, even the anterior shoulder muscles. You might feel it all the way through your biceps and down through your forearms as well. Take your hands back behind your head. Come back upright and bend the knees in. So this time we're going to use an Xcel the press out.

You're going to laterally flex to your left. So exhale. Then inhale, come back in x. And now you might notice that your elbows are a little bit wider now than they were just a few moments ago when we started this little series. And that's because you muscles are stichting and you're getting warm and you're getting the blood flow going and the oxygen to those muscles. So when you're doing this lateral flection XL out in Halen, I want you to really feel that you're keeping equal pressure on both sides of your pelvis and you're really trying to initiate the movement purely from that kind of mid spine area and letting the upper spine and the lower spine follow in that lateral flection center. Exhale to center again and inhale, and one more time. So here I want you to hold, you should be over to the right side. I want you to take your right hand down to the carrot and reach your left arm up over your head.

And I want you to reach as much as you can over toward the right and extend your back. Let your head and your upper back and lay your head. If he can rest on the ball. And I just want you to feel that beautiful stretch. You may feel it a little bit more through the anterior portion of your torso, through your obliques, through your rib cage. You might feel a little bit more if you're really sinking that left hip down here through that cute quadratus lumborum muscle.

I just want you to feel that beautiful stretch. And then more importantly, I want you to feel the Latissimus Dorsi stretching here underneath your arm that connects all the way down the Fascia that connects all the way down into your lower back and want you to feel that stretch. Now Palm is facing down. Tried to extend that elbow as much as you can, but at the same time, keep that healthy position of the Scapula as you're reaching, filling that stretch. Go a little bit deeper if you can, to get a more dynamic stretch through the lateral body. Slowly bring the hands behind the head back into lateral faction. Go to the left. Now feel that stretch. Okay, now left-hand down. Reach the right arm.

Ah, use your breath here. So as we're breathing canvas stretching, I'm going to come back against the ball. I'm going to turn my head slightly to the left. Now my head doesn't rest all the way on the ball cause that's kind of weird. This is where I feel comfortable right now. So find a position that feels right for you.

Okay. And feel that stretch again. Filling may be feeling a little oblique. Maybe you're feeling a little bit in the posterior aspect of the quadratus. Lumborum extend the elbow, reached the arm to really feel the lattice, Miss Dorsi stretching. Feel that stretch, fill that opening.

So not only are we working on that upper body with the lats, we're also working on the torso. The trunk come back in, right hand behind your head, left hand, and bring the carrots in. Ooh. Now I want you to go over to the left again, and then this time I want you to flex forward. So we're kind of in this rotation, this little pipe position. Then I want you to in Hell Forbes are just going to do four times in each side.

Exhale, come into flection. So now what you're gonna feel is you're gonna feel a beautiful opening through the right posterior side of your right rib cage rather, and extend and notice now how much more open your shoulders are, how much more opening your elbows are extended. Believe that was for, come back to the lateral flection and bring the kerogen Xcel to the right. Feel that beautiful side bend and then rotate your torso to the right. So my hips are saying squared. It's almost as if I'm sweeping my belly across.

So I'm almost thinking of my left shoulder kind of coming forward toward my right knee. And then I extend and flex, extend. Exhale, flex, extend and flex. One more time. Extend and flex back to the lateral flection and app. Now this time very simple. We're just going to rotate back and forth. Very, very simple. Just a short little sequence here. Xcel, you're going to spiral. So again, notice how I'm using the ball. It's really support my upper body so I can focus on the mobility here.

Yes, I'm having to use my, my strength capabilities and my um, you know, facilitating my muscular short for posture control. But that's not my main emphasis here. It really is about mobility of my upper body and right now, mobility of my whole spine. One more time to the right and hold this position. Come back to center, take your arms out, not to finish this little sequence.

That's what I call the body wave. So you're gonna kind of be doing this hugging motion with your arms. As you pull the Kerogen, you're going to come forward as much as feels comfortable with your belly. And then as you press out, you're going to lift her sternum up and you're going to reach forward. Inhale and excess.

I changed the breath on you a little bit and inhale cause I want that exhale now to really give you some energy as you press out and inhale and exhale, reach up one more time in this direction and exhale. Good. So now your arms are going to go the opposite direction. So you're going to reach forward and out. So it's Kinda like you're diving through forward and out two more times like that, forward and out one more and forward and reaching that sternum here, finding that position and come on in. So now that we've taken some time to mobilize an open the shoulders and open the chest a little bit, we're going to get to a little bit more kind of through some dynamic stretching.

So movement and stretching that happens within a constant flow of movement. Now we're going to work a little bit more on isolated stretches or static stretches. So same positioning care starting here. And as we sit into these stretches, I'm going to take some time to explain to you why the upper body is so important during pregnancy. So lefthand down on the carriage, right on, free to go. So you're going to reach back with that right arm. So I want you to make sure you're in a comfortable place. So whether your hips seem to be further or closer to the ball, you decide what works for you.

Like I'm going to get a little bit higher up on my ball and my right arm is overhead and my elbows is extended as possible. So I'm just going to breathe every time I exhale here, I want to feel as if the weight of my arm drops my arm back a little bit more and not forcing it. I'm just letting gravity do it so I can get a deeper stretch in that shoulder. So three breath, I'll try to count correctly. As I explained to you here, as you go into your stretches. So one thing we really want to think about with the upper body during pregnancy is we spend so much time last breath really thinking about the pelvis and the spine and the belly, which is important. So stay with me.

Open your arm out to the t here so you perfect tee position. Let the back of your shoulder really rest on the ball. If your ball is of the size that you can do that. And then as you exhale, you're just going to let that chest open a little bit more each time. But what we tend to forget is that the upper body, the posture that happens in the upper body and the thoracic spine in the cervical spine, is really affected by the big anatomical changes and physiological changes that happen in the lower part of our bellies who use your breath. Now this time I want you to flex, so you're gonna extend your fingertips and you're going to flex your wrist, but keep your arm down. I'm just showing you what it looks like.

I started on the wrong side. I can't really show you that well. So I want you to push the heel of your hand forward so you feel that stretch go really deep into your biceps and into your forearm and even down into the palm of your hand. Yeah, take some time to breathe here. Yeah. But as our body changes, slowly come back up, release that arm, come in. We're going to do the same thing with the left arm, right hand down on the mat and reach back.

So as our body experiences the changes, what we find is that that upper body and also during pregnancy are obviously the size of your breasts will increase as well. Um, and our, our chest gets heavy and our upper spine starts to respond in a curve, what we call a kyphotic curve. As our lower back starts to tilt forward, as our belly grows in our extension of our spine gets a little bit more dramatic in our lumbar spine, our lower back. So use your breathing here, let your arm fall back a little bit more if you can with each exhale. So the upper body and the posture and the mobility of it, the openness of it is really going to have a profound effect on some physiological things in our body. Like our breathing capacity, our capacity to um, you know, just get deep breath in our postural control, open the arm out to the side, just straight fingertips here. Yeah. Our posture and the way that our back as a whole entity feels healthy, wise, comfort wise and the relaxation and the ability to open up our chest, relax our shoulders is going to play a role in our, our neck and even into our jaw. And that has a really profound effect on when we go into labor and birth on how our pelvis and our pelvic floor muscles respond is kind of a interesting phenomenon that, you know, if our upper body is really tense, our jaws really tense, our lips are really tense, it has an effect on the, the concentration or the contraction or the inability to release happening within the pelvis.

Flex your wrist now expand your fingertips and deepen that stretch. So we really want to be able to understand that our upper body is so crucial in its ability to hold correct postural alignment, to counterbalance the big postural changes that are happening in the lower body, to keep that calm and relaxation that we need. And also we talk about strength and I'll speak to that in a little while when we get to those series, the strength of the upper body in the role that that plays as well. So slowly bring that ironman and then I want you to flex your torso forward cause we just spent a bunch of time in extension. So I want you to push your thoracic, your mid back, your lower back into the ball with as much effort as you can and just counterbalance that extension by just stretching out those long spinal muscles here. We're going to go onto our last little bit here, which I called chicken wings.

So I want you to bring your elbows back to the ball and I want you to squeeze as hard as you can with your elbows and get a deeper stretch through your chest here. So squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. So not only are we opening up this g the chest, but now since our chest is really nice and open and our anterior shoulders open, now we can really start to activate the upper back in a deeper way. So we can't activate the muscles of the upper back. If there's a restriction happening in the anterior part in the body, we have to allow these muscles to lengthen a bit and open a bit. And then we can, um, efficiently engaged in musculature, the upper back.

So you should feel that you're to Scapula, your shoulder blades are drawing together. You're going to pinch your elbows into the ball. So inhale and exhale. Inhale each time, squeeze a little bit deeper. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Three more. And exhale, getting a little bit deeper into the squeeze XL. Last one.

Inhale and hold. Exhale, hold it. Squeeze it as much as you can. Squeeze. Good. And now you're going to release. You're going to bring the arms forward to here's your chicken wing part, and you're gonna press back and arms forward. Inhale and press and inhale.

So now as you draw your scapula together, I want you to feel like those bottom tips of the scapula are really pulling all the way together. Inhale and exhale three more so I'm not resting my head this time on the ball. You certainly can if you want to, but I'm just really feeling that power of that extension and two more and exhale. Last one, inhale and exhale all the way up, all the way, all the way up and harassed. So I did that series on two-and-a-half spring. I kept it pretty late. I mean that's really in the interest of just me.

I'm teaching this class to you right now, but when I'm working in this series alone, I'm in my studio. I do a little bit heavier. I'll do three springs or even three and a half. Sometimes they get a little extra leg work and forgive me because I don't believe that I said that at the beginning of that series. Now we're going to go into kind of our spinal articulation series, a little bit of a pelvic curl. Just a little bit of a note for you to consider.

We are going to be rolling our hips up and resting your upper back onto the back of the ball. So there is a little bit of instability obviously going on with the carriage. We are going to try to do a little bit of extension of the legs so you might want to watch a couple of times to see what it looks like and then maybe try it. There is a little bit of a need I'm going to kit you through to kind of try to hold onto the framing of the reformers. This is a little bit different than some of the rules that we use with some of our regular bottom lifts or pelvic curls on the reformer.

You can go two and a half springs or you can try a little bit heavier. I'm going to try three springs just to give me a little bit more um, support and I'll kind of see how I feel from there. I'm keeping my heels on the n side of the platform here. So here we go. I'm just starting here. I'm going to push the cares out a little bit more to give my hips a little bit more space.

I'm going to Tuck the pelvis so you can see how I'm pushing down into the carriage and I'm going to lift my body up into a bridge. So now my fingertips are on the frame and I'm just using that as a little bit of security for myself as I have precious cargo. So take your breath in and I'm going to start to roll down through the body. I'm going to feel where my carriage is and I'm going to let my hips rest here. So as I went, I naturally extended out a little bit further.

This is naturally where my body feels the safest and the most confident for some of you might be a little bit more in, might be a little bit more out. So taking your breath in. So here you can see I initiate from the pelvis. I'm really pushing my hands down at this point. I'm going to press up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up. Now because my chest is nice and open, I can really drape my upper body on the ball, breathing in, and then I'm going to roll down. And don't worry about how much you move the carriage. Obviously we're not going to go crazy on it, but let's not be so caught up in the carriage thing.

Absolutely stable and pressing. So the upper body worked, but now I'm getting abdominal work. I'm getting hip work as well. So we're just progressing in our class here. Rolling down and up. We're going to do one more time. Now this time as we go up, we're going to stay up.

So arms out to the tee if you feel confident in your balance. And you're going to do a little bit of chest openers here, so just a little bit. Now make sure when you push your weight on the ball here, you're going to feel the ball. Push up a little bit against the shoulder blocks, and that's okay. As long as you feel like you're not gonna fall one more time. Now swing the right arm back over your head and the left arm down as a little pendulum swing here. And I want you to maximize that range that you can in those shoulders, keeping the elbow straight, keeping the hips up, using the hip extensors, the gluteals, the hamstrings, keeping the energy of the downloads pulled up, keeping the length of the lumbar spine and breathe. Feel that challenge of the body breathing.

After this one more set right and left, we're going to come out of it very carefully. So bring the left arm down, bring the abdominals and find the carriage. With your fingertips rolled down, you're going to feel the ball start to come back down. And that's good. So again, there's a little bit of instability there, but not so much that we're putting you in a dangerous position, but definitely something that you'd be aware of. If you don't feel comfortable doing that series here on the reformer with the ball, you can do it down on your mat. Lying Supine, be a little bit different, but you can definitely get the benefits of the hip extension out of breath and the shoulder mobility. So let's go into our last little sequence here, here. So press the carriage out and roll. Press up now arms are out to the t or you can keep them down.

I'll start with them down here. So I'm going to extend the carriage slightly and as I bring the carriage in, I'm going to flex my torso forward and bring my hips down. I'm going to exhale, extend the carriage and ex, excuse me, inhale, come in, exhale. So you can see what I'm doing here is with my fingertips. Is it just as a security for me?

Yeah. So I want to be able to focus on that opening of my body, the extension of my hips. And then as I go here, a really nice safe way to come into a little bit of abdominal work. So I'm tucking my pelvis or posterior tilt and I'm just lengthening my head and my neck up, getting a little bit of upper flection of my spine and extend. Exhale, inhale. So with arms open, if you felt like you want a little bit more challenge, it would look a little bit different. I wouldn't be able to come up as much as my chest because I don't have the support of my hands on the carriage to help me push.

So you may like it better with your hands down on the carriage. You can see the difference three more. And draw it in. Exhale and inhale. One more time. Exhale and inhale. Continuing to roll all the way down, all the way down.

Find your seated position and open your arms out to the side. Feel that nice opening and release. So that was a bit of our mobility and stretching, opening sequence, long opening sequence. And so you're going to go ahead and shoot your ball away and we're going to move on to our next sequence. Okay, so we have gotten rid of our ball and now we're gonna move on to standing on the outside of the reformers. So I want you, if you've taken your carriage out for that first sequence, I want you to pull your carriage back in and I want you to load yourself up from, and you have to decide what's comfortable for, you can start on half a spring onto one spring to one and a half spring. It really just depends on what kind of, what's your emphasis on your shoulders.

If you want to just focus on a little bit of mobility and opening and a little bit of stability, you can keep it a little bit later. If you want to work a little bit more on strength with those, you can keep your spring a little bit heavier and the interests of the class and just not having to puffing too much. So I can focus on you guys. I'm going to go a little bit lighter, but I'm certainly might change it. And you're going to keep the foot bar down for this portion, for this series. So we're going to go into a app stretch position or a down dog position.

So I want you to start standing what you think would be comfortable for you. You can of course adjust your stance as you go down. So taking your breath in, you're going to exhale, roll down. Now the heel of my hands are on the carriage here and that's going to be just give me a really nice secure way to be able to push the carriage out. Now you may want to have a slight bend in your knee as you start the series, and then as you go into the series, you'll find that your knees naturally extend. So I want a really nice, beautiful extended spine.

Your shoulders are equipped for this. Now because of the series we just did, just your hamstrings might need to catch up a little bit. So as we go into it, you'll find that your hamstrings will open up, your hips will open up, and you're going to be able to get a little bit flatter back here. So we're going to start with scapula glide. So you're going to draw the scapula down, you're going to depress the scapula. Then you're going to elevate the scapula. We can just do this five times. So it's just a little mobilization of the scapula.

My elbows see nice and straight. You notice how my, I'm not teeter tottering on my feet. I'm not rocking my pelvis. In fact, I'm trying to do the opposite. I'm really trying to focus on stabilization. I think I have two more. If I miscounted. Sorry. You can just do an extra one and last one. Inhale. Then you have the elevation of the Scapula. And now let your scapula settle into a really nice natural position here.

Then we're going to lift up into a back extension or a swan. So I'm lifting up. Then I'm going to press back down in this other diagonal. So this is your chance to get a little bit deeper into your hamstrings. Stretch a little bit deeper into your shoulder flection. Here is your torso, comes down in between your arms and inhale, lift up. So notice when I'm up, I have a beautiful arc of my whole spine here. I'm not letting everything go, but I have this really nice arch and as I go down, I'm hindering from the hip.

You notice my back goes into a more of a neutral straight position as I go deeper into the ups judge and I'm trying not to teeter totter on my legs and down. Let's do one more of this one and lift up. So go down into your ab stretch position here. Elbows are going to bend, the elbows are going to go straight down toward the floor. And then Xcel, so tricep press one. So I want you to feel how your scapula state control, but they have to move naturally with the rhythm of your humerus. So your upper arm bone, so extend out, we can do four of them. And then from there we're going to hold the arms straight and we're going to pull the pelvis underneath. I'm going into posterior tilt to the pelvis.

I'm going to let that flection go through my entire spine into a beautiful pike position. And then I'm going to extend out. So now again, instead of holding that pelvis steady like we have and we're gonna articulate it in and out of the posterior tilts, we're in articulate the spine and we're going to try to go a little bit straighter with the spine, even a little bit deeper into our hip hinge and our shoulder flection here as we go down. One more time, an extended hold it for more tricep press. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, Exxon. You'll start to fill that shoulder work. Start to come in. Inhale, exhale, and Xcel up. Inhale, extend. Exhale up. Inhale, extend to more XL up. Inhale, extend one more time. XL Up, and inhale, extend. So now all I want you to do, I want you to hold the carriage out. I want you to step your left foot a little bit forward and your right foot back.

So you're in like what I call like a stagger stance here. So now it's really easy to open my hips and let my pelvis kind of sway in the opposite direction. I want you to try the best that you can given the ability with your belly. And I want you to square your hips. What do mean in this position is to pull your right hip forward, your right side of your pelvis forward.

Let your chest come down a little bit more. You're going to turn the right palm the other direction. So I have one arm facing up, one arm facing down. We're going to do three pikes. Come in and out. Now you're going to feel a little deeper stretch in your left hamstring here.

And that's what I'm going for and out. One more time. Exhale and inhale. So now you're gonna take your right arm. So now you're going to be doing util lateral shoulder work and you're going to lift the arm up into your pike and you're going to look up at that right hand. Then as you ex, uh, inhale, you're going to reach out, exhale up.

Now you have a little bit of balance going on here, right? You don't want a teeter over in your body. So if you need to put a little bend in, you need to feel more secure. Absolutely. Go ahead and do that and reach forward and come up and reach forward.

So now hold the extension and reach the arm up. So we're going to do the opposite now. So exhale, you're gonna come into a Pi going to look under that arm, hopefully put some deodorant on, right? So look under the arm, then extension, reach out. So looking now how big that mobility is of our upper body. I feel so I feel that big shoulder movement, but they also feel a great opening right here in my lower back, which is so welcomed and so feels good on a pregnant body. Yeah, and reach up one more time. XL and reach up. Circle the arm around. Find your position to your square, your hips off. Very carefully.

Switch your legs here so your right leg is forward, your left leg is back. Turn the left palm down. Find your extension here, Xcel into the pike, and inhale, extend. If your belly is big, if you're later in pregnancy, you can certainly open your legs a little bit more so that your belly doesn't hit the front of your thighs so much. Exhale and inhale. One more time. Exhale and inhale, hold this position.

So you're going to really rely on that right arm to push a lot of energy into the heel of the hand. You're going to release the left arm come into your pike. So feel that position first. Reach up so you have rotation of your upper body. Allow your hips to rotate. Open a little bit more too. It doesn't have to stay perfectly square.

You're going to swing that arm around coming out of the trunk, flection into extension. Now this time I'm trying to square out my shoulders and my hips. Excellent. Come into the pike, reach up. Inhale, I swing it forward. Exhale, Yep. In health swing. Let's do one more in this direction. XL in house swing. Now hold that extension and reach the alarm ups and now my arm is up and I'm in spinal extension XL.

I come into the pipe and I stay on that rotation looking under my arm. Then inhale, I reached it that Xcel. So this is not an easy exercise that demands a lot of control, balance and obviously shoulder mobility, shoulder strength, and extend. One more time. Exhale and inhale, reach. Hold. That reminds me of the triangle pose in Yoga.

So come here, hold it there, drop the chest a little bit more, fill that extension and step your feet in and come into your pike. Let's roll up out it for just a moment. Okay, so far, last little sequence here for this kind of Pikey app. Stretchy Mobility. So if you've been doing, I've been doing this on half a spring and it I feel really good and open. I've also done this on one and one and a half spring and it feels really different on the strength, uh, demands on my shoulders. So again, choose what you want to work on today.

And then maybe when you do this class again, you can try a different resistance. So I want you to stand facing forward and this time you're going to come into a side Pike. So I want you to think as much as you can to keep your hips square forward. It doesn't have to be perfect. We're pregnant. You know, we get away with a couple of little things, right? So I want you to feel this beautiful pike. Now the way, how much you can extend here depends on really just kind of what's going on in your body and your mobility.

Now I'm finding it easier for me to do this and focus more on my spine by bending my knees slightly and exhale, coming up just four times. Inhale and exhale, reaching up. Inhale and exhale last one, and inhale and exhale. So now we're going to add onto it. So you might need to Scootle a tiny, tiny bit away from the foot bar. You're going to take your right leg out. In this case, your outside leg out and you're going to reach the carriage out. My belly is pushing into my eight month belly. Heres pushing into my thigh, but it feels comfortable for me. It doesn't feel uncomfortable.

So I'm under reach here as I come up into the pike. I'm going to draw that leg forward, inhale and exhale. So feel a little bit more demand on the stretch of the torso in the rotation, a little bit more demand on the abdominals. And then of course a little bit of balance, but you're really secure because your hands are down on the carriage and reach, not try to get a little bit more reach or a little bit more extension through your spine. Breathing out, up, two more reach. Exhale, come up, up, up, up. Last one, reach and exhale. Hold it there.

Hold it there. Take your foot down and roll yourself up. All right, so we're going to go ahead and do the other side. So, um, I want to show you the other side. So I'm going to be talking to you from going to be looking at my backside here. So it's just for a little bit. So you're going to go down, let's hit your heel, your hands on your carriage, and go into the extension and Xcel up into the pikes to remember.

These first few are really about just letting your body adapt to this kind of, you know, this big rotation with that extension. So just breathing in and exhale out. Again, breathing in and exhale out. Let's have one more here. Last one. Inhale and exhale. So now take your left leg out or your outside leg. Extend your back.

So you're in this kind of little lunge, really reaching energy out through that heel. I'm going to take my right leg a little bit away from the foot bar here. Then exhale, I'm gonna come up and inhale. So just really focusing on the rhythm of the upper body with the torso, getting some really nice abdominal work, some really nice balance work and some outer hip work here for stabilization on my right hip or my inside leg. And exhale up. Two more. Inhale, exhale, reaching up, really finding that pike last one. And exhale, reach up, hold that pipe, pull that left leg in a little bit more.

Take the hands down, take the feet down rather and slowly roll yourself up. So now we have little bit more mobility, a little bit more strength with that series. Now we're going to go into an arm series and kneeling arm series. You can work from half a spring to one spring here. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

I want you to sit on your heels with your legs a little bit wider. Your knees kind of on the outside of the shoulder blocked. I want you to, if you're feeling comfortable here, go ahead and place a towel, a cushion, a pillow, something underneath your hips so that you feel nice and comfortable. We're going to reach forward to find our straps. We're going to hold onto the straps. We're going to start with some hip extension.

So I'm finding my postural control. I don't want to give into my pregnant hyperlordotic curve here. I really want to try to hug the abdominals in, pull that pubic bone slightly forward, get a little bit more length through my, my lumbar spine and let that length really translate through the entirety of my spine. Taking my breath in and exhale. So we're focusing on that chunk stability. Now again, we can build on the strength here by pushing our arms in a posterior x direction or extended possessions that direction of our shoulders. Because our upper body, our chest is nice and open, supple and ready to go x, so that was five for the last five here, you're going to lift your hips up, XL one and bring it back down stream. Incorporate a little pelvic floor work a little abdominal work XL to now I'm actually bringing my pelvis forward into as much of a poster, your tilt as I can three and I'm kind of stretching out the hip flexors and the quads in a dynamic way for last one five. Now hold that position and do five more.

Exhale. Now this time, use your hips, depress your pelvis forward. Keep that link through your spine. Two more. Last one, hold it there and come down. So moving into biceps here, you may want to slide a little bit further back on the carriage depending if you want a little bit more resistance. So going into our bicep curls here, I'm going to hinge slightly back with my upper body just to get a little bit more tension on the strap. Excellent. Come in, inhale out. So strength of the upper body becomes so important in kind of maybe some of the positions that we choose to labor and birth in. We're going to need some upper body strength to be able to have some endurance to work through those positions.

So not only is mobility and relaxation, a vital equation to our whole body health for pregnancy and labor and birth, but strengthen endurance is as well. So XL think that was five or six. Five. We're going to lift the hips up on a little diagonal. So a lot more chunk support here and coming down. Oop without being in the kerogen XL.

So increasing your appropriate sections so you're aware of where your body is in space allows so much better. Exhale. So notice on my upper arm is things staple. Exhale and reach down to more. Exhale. Feel your heart rate increasing. That's exactly what we want to happen here. Last one and come down.

So give your arms a little bit of a shake out and elbows are bent here this time we're gonna reach back and come forward. So this movement is coming from the shoulders, not from the elbow. We're not hindering at the elbow to engage the bicep in the isotonic way where my subs are engaged, I symmetrically and we're using our interior shoulders or deltoids here to lift the arm up and down as we really feel the co contraction of the front and back body here to get a hinge. But because we can rely slightly on the support of the straps, for us pregnant women, it doesn't put the same amount of pressure on our abdominal wall than if I was just hinting alone supporting my own body weight. So it's a really way, a really beautiful way to safely work those abdominals, especially later into pregnancy where our abdominals are stretched out and adapted to the growth of the uterus. We start to worry a little bit about increasing our chances for a diastasis rekti and lifting up.

Yeah, but I still get some really beautiful challenging abdominal work. Notice I'm not throwing my head back. Okay, two more and down. Last one. And let's see a little bit more here. Lifting up just five of these down.

Lifting up. Okay. And down. Lifting. Yeah. [inaudible] and down. Two more. A lot of full body work here and down.

One more time. Yeah. To finish us off, I want you to take your palms down and then wants you to bring the arms up. Lift your chest up and circle just a few of these. Yes, this is hard. You're moving against resistance.

So if you're trying to solve on one spring, you might, if you're doing one spring, you're awesome. Please tell me about it. And if you are doing one spring, you're like, oh yeah, half spring sounds really good right now. No shame in that. It's very challenging with a half sprain and lift up and circle. So now to finish this series, we're going to turn around facing the foot bar. Now again, I like to sit on my heels with my knees open and I'm going to grab my straps and go straight into shaving here.

So my body is slightly forward and I'm going to press up now during this whole series. Ladies, if you're feeling uncomfortable on your knees, you can try this sitting on a long box. You can try this sitting on a, um, a little moon box. If you have one accessible, it's gonna change a little bit of the dynamic of the exercise, but you're still gonna get the benefits of the arm where you just won't get the benefits of the hip extension that we were doing. Press one more time and pressing up and hold. I'm going to flex my body forward. My straps hit my shoulders. Hopefully you don't find it annoying my reach my fingertips toward the carriage. And then I'm gonna lift up into extension. Feel so good. Now notice what I'm doing here.

I'm using my arms to pull it for, I'm not coming from my abdominals, so a little bit too much pressure on the ABS, so I'm bringing the forward. Then once my spine gets neutral, then I can safely engage my ads for Chung flection. I'm going to bring it up and stretch back. So notice again, it's my arms. My abdominals are engaged here for stability. It's my arms.

Then now my straps aren't saying if I keep my arms a little bit more narrow, my straps stay on top of my shoulders, which feels a little bit more comfortable. And then I reach up and stretch arms first. So we're marrying the strength sequence of the arms with a little bit more stretched and mobility. Excuse me, and lift up soon. Now bring the arms forward, bend the elbows, my upper arms. Stay steady. TRICEP.

Press five here and exhale too. So a lot of chunks. Stability here, really isolating into those triceps XL four and five and I'm going to come to the left. I'm going to keep a little tension on my left strap and I'm going to reach out one to the center. Two I'm swaying the body three points to the right, three to the center, four to the left, five. So just keeping that beautiful rhythm of the tricep extension going right center left and back and forth and keeping that beautiful mobility of the spine.

Here we're going go to the center. And then to the right and we are done with that and extend. Come back to the center. Now here, this is a little bit challenging. You're going to press your hips up and you're coming into a semi plank, a pregnant lady approved plank down. Exhale up. So my hips come forward using my hamstrings, depressed my pelvis forward using my abdominals to stay stable, extending my arms. Inhale down, exhale up. Inhale down.

Two more XL up. Inhale down. Last one. Hold it there. Feel that strengthen your shoulders, fill that, strengthen your torso, finding that extension and slowly down, arms out to the side to finish here, hug a tree, comes in one Xcel. So we're just moving through the sequence with flow, with focus and concentration. We're giving yourself a little bit of breaks in between to kind of help with some of the strength and endurance qualities, but you're certainly building on that strength capability. Last one here. Then we come up, we do a little tuck to the pelvis.

Boom and extent. I love this exercise because I can get this really dramatic articulation of my spine, so from flection, the notice how I send my tub bone out and come into beautiful extension, but I'm still getting a nice amount of arm work as well and reaching as I come in. I'm using my abdominals, my pectoral muscles. Then I'm feeling this stretch through my pelvic floor, stretching in my chest to more exhale and inhale. We're almost there. Exhale and inhale, reach open the chest. Let this job's pull your arms back, lower me down a little bit. If you feel more comfortable that way and breathe and feel how your body, your upper body is so incredibly open and nice and strong as you've done the arm work and our last little series of the day to kind of tie everything together, it's going to be a little bit of a plank series.

We're going to go ahead and get positioned for that. Okay. We are going into our last movement sequence here and this is going to be kind of our plank sequence, so I want you to put your foot bar up. The middle setting's going to be fine. Of course. Just adjust it to what feels comfortable for you. I'm going to work with one and a half spring, but I also find that one spring sometimes feels really comfortable for this as well. We're going to come onto our elbows on the foot barn with our palms facing it on our fingers. Nice and straight.

I'm going to have my legs together, but if you want a little bit more support you can certainly work with your feet apart and your toes forward so you have that support from the shoulder blocks or you can work here. So I'm going to let you decide. I'll show it both ways. So here we're going to think of a lot of shoulder stability. We're going to add some mobilization, but a lot of stability to begin with. So I want your shoulders as much as you can over your elbows. Scapula, really nice and open and fixed against the rib cage here. So really nice and sturdy there. My abdominal wall is in.

I'm going to take the carriage out. I'm just going to lower the hips. As much as I feel like I can control my torso and not put excessive pressure on the abdominal wall. If I were to go here, that's a little bit out of my comfort zone for being almost eight and a half months pregnant. This feels better for me and I'm going to draw it in with an inhale, exhale and draw it in. I'm going to do five of these, so I'm really working on that. Pure shoulder stabilization and then just getting that nice modest but yet effective movement through my torso. Xcel. If you want to go lower with your hips, a little bit more hip extension and you feel like you can do so with movement, integrity and control, please do it.

This time I'm an extend my elbows and sit back. I'm literally gonna use my last subpool forward. Press my body down and extend back. Exhale. Inhale forward two more.

So draw the Latissimus Dorsi really nice and wide with the Scapula as well. And then you're going to stretch out the lats as you come here. And last one. Yeah. And I'm going to read. So now I'm going to draw the elbows in. I'm going to rotate my hips to the right and dip my left side of my pelvis down.

And then I'm going to reach back out. So I'm getting a little bit of rotation of my trunk, but my shoulders are staying fairly square. So you notice my shoulders aren't perfectly over my wrist here and that's okay. This is kind of where I feel really strong, uncomfortable in my position, so let's not get hung up so much on Oh, shoulders need to be exactly over the elbows. I said risk before I met all those. Um, it's more about finding that shoulder control and stability and extend.

Reaching out. One more time. Rotating and extend. Reaching out. Hold it there. Hold it there. So now you're going to bring your hands in. You're going to step up on your feet and you're going to come into a squat. So my heels are down, my elbows are extended.

I'm going to reach my hips back. I'm going to push the carriage back, extend my leg. So I have shoulder stability. Then I'm going to reach back in and come into a deep squat again. Xcel, pull the shoulders nice and white. Even think of pulling the elbows wider. Extend. And then carriage comes in slowly and come down. So extend up [inaudible].

So notice my shoulders are staying relatively in the same spot. They're moving a little bit, but they're not going crazy with them. And come in all the way down to more press and convinced them filling that warmth on my shoulders. That stability in that strength. And Michelle, there's the last one. [inaudible] and come in all the way down, coming down into your squat, holding it there. Now I want you to breech back.

Hold the of the carrots and sit back on your heels for that squat. You can feel like a frog and try to extend that spine. Okay. And our final exercise here, carefully coming forward, your legs are going to go on the outside of the shoulder blocks, elbows down on the carriage, palms on the platform, or as much of your palms as you can get. So from here you're going to float the elbows off the carriage.

You're going to reach the telephone back. So look how much of a dramatic lumbar curve I have keeping my elbows floating. I'm going to glide the carriage right underneath my elbows as they come into a tuck. Okay. I think in my notes I call this like meow keyed cat and reaching up. So again, our focus here is our upper body.

You're feeling that strength and that demand on strength in your shoulders here. But look at the other added benefits we're getting of the pelvic floor work, the spinal work, the hip work, reaching out XL, drawing the ABS in, pulling deeply in and reaching out. Notice how my angle hopefully hasn't changed in my shoulders and my elbows. There's a lot of stability. We've done a lot of mobilization. Now we're working on stability. Drawing in one more time and draw it and hold it there and stretch back.

Your hips should be somewhere on the shoulder blocks. Oof. Curve your fingertips over the platform. Drop your head down, fill that beautiful stretch, stretching out the back, stretching out the hips, allowing the pelvic floor to feel open and wide. Using your breath here. Go ahead and stay in that stretch for me. Continue your breathing and just knowing that again, the upper body, the demand for openness, mobility, flexibility, the demand for calm and relaxation, and the demand for strength and endurance and stability. Those are all a part of this very elaborate equation of what our body needs for healthy pregnancy, healthy posture, help, food movement, and then of course, healthy labor and birth as well, and even into postpartum recovery.

So go ahead and come out of your stretches if you haven't already. And so just sitting here, you can sit on your knees, on your reformer, sit on your bottom, whatever it feels comfortable for you, and just notice that warm that you feel across your chest in that shoulders, in the shoulders, in the upper back, and just really feeling how that whole class was. The dynamic of it, just really challenged your whole upper body. Then we got some added benefits of your abdominals from your pelvis as well. So thank you so much for joining me. Any comments or questions below, I will always try to respond to quickly. Thanks again.

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2 people like this.
Leah, you are awesome!!! So creative, so strong and doing all this while being 8month pregnant! I am full of admiration! I did this workshop without being pregnant because I like your pregnancy-classes for my clients with big bellies.. :) , - but I was really challenged myself! Thank you and all the best for you and the new baby!!
1 person likes this.
Beautiful work Leah as always.. I also followed this for my older clients with bellies and think a lot of the work will be perfect for them . I was a bit distracted by the big waves going on outside!!
Thank you, Leah! I love your classes and your passion for pregnant classes. I would like to be pregnant again to see how it feels with a belly! I will definitely teach some variations in my Mat prenatal class! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Beautiful work, Mummy to be.
So helpful & supportive for folks with big tummies, lower back and shoulder pain as well.
Great class Leah!  I did this class as an observation for my comprehensive training and really appreciated your perspective, cues and anatomy as it pertains to pregnancy!  This was a great learning experience for me!  Thank you!!
Excellent class! This was my first prenatal specific reformer class (that I took as an actual prenatal person) and wooh! Great stretches, excellent breath work and ended up with a lovely little sweat. I felt wonderful after. 

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