Class #3073

Foam Roller Mat

15 min - Class


Enjoy the feeling of being light and grounded at the same time with this Mat workout by Sarah Bertucelli. She uses the Foam Roller to give you the opportunity to experience how your body is different on each side. She encourages you to slow down with this tool so you can explore what it can do for your body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Alright, we are going to play with one of my favorite tools in the Pilates Studio, the foam roll. I have three pieces that I offer up to a lot of my clients and I'd like to share them with you. So let's get started. We're going to sit on the foam roll and I find this to be a really interesting experience to, opportunity to, experience how we feel on the two different sides. So I literally just want you to sit for a couple moments, I'm lucky I could enjoy the view, the dolphins, maybe you have something to look at.

And try to feel your pelvis grounding into the foam roll. Feel the muscles separating, not separating, but letting go and just explore. What I'm doing with my legs here is just a little forward and back and I wanna be able to sense the two sides of my pelvis are equally weighted. And when in fact I find that, I feel a lot more sensation on one side than the other. So, no judgment, just feel.

And now, the movement can grow. I'm gonna pull myself forward a little more, I have to use my abs a little, I'm not thinking about my abs to keep myself from needing to put my hands down, however, I'd have no problem if you did. Equal weight on the two sides and then I'm just slowly, I'm really trying to soften into this. I'm gonna let my head hang, I'm not holding my shoulders back, I'm just relaxing. And now, I'm going to this point where my legs are straight and I want a little more sensation, so I'm gonna move back just a bit so that where I land is with the foam roll right on my hamstrings where they meet the glute, and them I'm gonna pull forward using the backs of my legs a little bit.

I'm not thinking of working out, but I am using my body. And then find this place where I get a nice little flexion in my spine, both sides of my glutes are weighted. And I always feel a lot more sensation on my left side. It's profound for me. And then we're just gonna do this one more time, all the way through.

Here when the legs are straight if you flex the feet you take your hands forward, let your head fold and maybe sway side-to-side a little bit. You'll feel the two sides, you can sense whether they're balanced or not balanced. I even like to roll a little bit side-to-side on my thigh bones is what I think about. And then release the hands, use your body as much as you can and now this time we're gonna go over the top here. So I'm rolling over my glute and there's a point where I've gotta put my hands down or else I'm gonna slip, so I'll put my hands down behind me and continue moving forward.

Now this is a place I really like to explore. I'm really leaning on the foam roll, my hands are guiding me, but they're not holding me up. You certainly can hold up more if you need to, that's fine. And then I'm gonna soften my pelvis a little bit over that foam roll. I get a nice little adjustment sometimes in my sacrum.

I find that sometimes people use the foam roll as a tool and they go too fast and furious. And I like to slow down this tool and explore. And then we're gonna come back up. And now, we'll knead out one leg at a time. So I'm just gonna shift to my side here.

And really let the foam roll into my glute. And notice that I've got this leg, this leg's gonna end up relaxing. This one's just guiding me and I want you to go so slow that you can really iron out something fine, something, a lot of times people will start with the foam roll massage and kind of feel like it's not as exciting as it can be. And I think that's usually when we're not able to let go. This feels go good when, there's my spot right there, so I'm gonna linger at that spot and let the foam roll into my glute and just go a little deeper.

And then I'm gonna go back over that same spot. A lot of times our hips, our tightness in our hips or whatever it may be can contribute to other things, I'm just gonna leave it at that. And so loosening up the hips can be useful for also dealing with backs and knees and shoulders and all kinds of things. So I'm just gonna take one more pass there, feel that glute. And then we'll shift to the second side.

Now you can just roll to the other side, I'm actually gonna shift around so that I can see you and you can see me, but you can just roll over. So then I'm gonna sit on my glute here. I've got my hand assisting me. This leg is relaxed and certainly, you know, pause this if you want to sit with the glute a little longer. I could roll this glute for probably five minutes or so, but I'm trying to just keep this nice and slow, and get what I need or show you what I like to do, that's the idea here.

So it's interesting how my legs respond differently and I feel on this leg it's just I always feel more sensation down low and that's where I wanna hang out and kind of let the foam roll in where on the other side it's up high. No energy, I have no problems with it. Just accept it and play with it and see how slow. Alright, so just one more pass and certainly if you need to sit on one side a little longer then pause and keep going. And then we'll come back to the next piece.

That feels so great, really let the foam roll in to the glute, to the leg. And there we go. So just for the sake of my angle I'm gonna come around again. But now we're going to place the foam roll back a bit, so not a bit, but really place it so that you can put it right underneath your, like right around the middle of your rib cage or underneath your shoulder blades and then we're gonna let the head be held by the hands and I like to take my elbows forward so that I'm not worrying about my shoulder flexibility yet. I'm leaning up against the foam roll and again, I want you to just kind of slowly iron out the spine.

A lot of times I see people do this and we go really fast and furious and I'd rather you explore and let the foam roll in. You'll get a lot more sensation, you'll find more if you go a little slower and you, you sort of let go. So I'm ironing just to the bottom of my ribcage, about, and then I'm ironing softly up to about the base of my neck or what feels right to you. Certainly if it doesn't feel good, you shouldn't do it. You should try something else or not go as far.

And then, I want to articulate those same points. So most of us are gonna feel pretty comfortable here with the foam roll kind of smack dab in the middle of the ribs, so the middle of the back, right about, you know, right around the shoulder blades or just below and it feels very comfortable for me to be here. So again, I still want the elbows to be in a little bit and I want you to just let your head lead the way and see if you can go over that foam roll and just feel the head resting in the hands, opening through the chest. And then we're just gonna lift up a little bit. So I'm really thinking about pivoting around the foam roll.

So I'm letting my sternum reach up, not actively but because the foam roll is there, while my head relaxes over. Now, if you feel totally comfortable here, then feel free to explore. I recommend exploring the arms once you're there. So allow the shoulders to open, the elbows to open and explore where your head might wanna roll side-to-side. So here I like to do three times at least in three different positions.

So that was the third time and now we're gonna go down. So I'm gonna roll so that the foam roll is more at just above that point or a little below the base of my neck or what feels good. For me, I'm thinking about opening my collar bones so as I go over the foam roll, I want my collar bones to be pushed up a little bit and then we'll just lift a little bit, so just exploring. Again, if you know you're totally comfortable here, once you go over, feel free to explore where your arms wanna go, and see what sensation you feel in your shoulders or your chest. And just three times there.

I feel like the range of motion here is usually a little bit smaller and that's okay. Alright, and then the third position for me here is going to be lower. So there's a vulnerable point for most of us and it depends on our articulation and our strength and lots of other things. So here I'm stabilizing a bit with my abs but I'm not making this an ab exercise. I'm letting the foam roll in just below my sternum to extend my upper back and for me taking the elbows open feels good, but for many of you, the elbows narrower is gonna feel better and we're gonna lift.

And again, just letting the foam roll in, letting the chest open, letting the head relax in the hands, maybe a little sway side-to-side. And we lift, so there is a little bit of engagement in the abdominals, but nothing too profound. And then here. I am quite flexible in my back so I do feel my head resting on the floor and it feels fantastic to me. You can also explore a little movement side-to-side with your legs, just real small movement, that sometimes feels nice.

And then we're gonna lift up. Here we slip down and you sorta have to find a way to hold on here. Slip down so that the foam roll is right at the base of your neck and then I don't want you forced into a huge stretched position instead I'd like you to just sort of let your head rest, okay, and note you're not pushing, we're just relaxing. And just roll your head side-to-side. This offers up a really nice little massage for the neck muscles.

If this doesn't feel good, stop. Or try a different position. And then if you stay on one side and you kind of nod your chin up and down you might get a little sensation that feels like a good idea. Notice my hands are stabilizing the foam roll here so it doesn't slip away. It's important.

I'm also, like, you know, I'm letting the weight of my head hang out on the foam roll so it's not going to slip away on me. And then back to center. And then we're gonna get out of that. So I actually find that if I take my arms back and phew, my hair, and push myself up that feels good but certainly you can get out in whatever way you might need to. We're gonna do a final piece here where we go on this long-wise.

So, this first part can be a little tricky and perhaps take a leap of faith to realize that it's a good idea. But, I encourage you to try. It's not the prettiest thing to get on, but I'll do it. And I'm gonna sit right here on the edge of the foam roll. And I'm trying to sit upright, so this has been a nice tool for my clients to, and myself, to work into this deep squat position and massage some of the stuff, the connectors down in the pelvis area.

And so, just playing with the idea of tilting your pelvis back and tilting your pelvis forward feels really nice here. Okay, now, this is actually more intense, if you take your legs out in front of you, because all of the weight of your body is now on it and it requires a little bit of balance. Whoa (laughs) balance Sara. And then the same thing tipping the pelvis forward. And tipping the pelvis back.

So you're just getting a nice little massage there. Sometimes people will feel a little discomfort as if they rode a bike for a long time after doing this. So, don't be surprised if you do. And then from here, again, sit with this a little longer if it's a good idea for you. Don't move too quickly.

From here we can roll back. Now many people in this world can roll back with no assist and keep their balance, I may or may not be one of those people so I have no problem taking the hands down to help you all the way down. Whoops, you wanna make sure that your head is just right at the edge of the foam roll or is slightly hanging off, but you certainly want something for your head to rest on. I like it to be right at the base of my skull, that feels really nice. Now, a balance challenge would be to keep the feet all the way together.

If you're new in the foam roll, I would definitely separate the feet a little bit, just so you feel that you have, you're stable. What's so nice about working long-wise on the foam roll is you get this real feedback as to where your spine is in space. So once you feel you've got your neutral spine, try floating your arms up to the ceiling. Here, I also like what I can feel on my shoulders, if I let my shoulders droop over the foam roll and like hugging it, but if I reach forward then I'm creating space in my back by rounding my shoulders forward. I want you in the sweet spot just between, but I want you to be aware of not hugging the foam roll with your shoulders.

So we open the arms to a wide position and stretch outward with the hands, but really more importantly, we're stretching outward from the scapula and opening the chest and then float the arms up. I'm quite flexible in my shoulders and I could take my arms, no problem, all the way down, but I'm looking for a pec opener here as well. So, I don't want you to let the shoulders just fall, I want you to think about opening through the scapula. So most of us will probably land about, about in the peripheral vision, maybe a little bit more, but maybe not. After you've practiced this sometime, feel free to add small hand weights.

I would stick with maybe two pound weights, three pound max. And then you can take your arms overhead. I like to touch my thumbs together and reach and stretch and feel that stretching out through my whole side body and then lift back up. So I'll ideally, I touch my thumbs together to keep the narrow arm alignment, but I wanna avoid keeping my hands connected the whole time so I let them part just a little bit so my arms are working separately. And then we lift up.

And now from here you can thread this movement together with circles but it's a little tricky, actually, to go from this overhead position and then spread the collar bones and the shoulder blades back to this wide position. I think some people can fall into a little bit of a scary spot in their shoulders. So just make sure that that's not you. And feel this idea, I'm almost lifting up a little bit with my hands as I come around just to feel that I've not lost my way. I'm just gonna do one more in that direction.

My favorite part about being on the foam roll lengthwise is that moment that you get off, it feels so divine. You get to look forward to that. Reverse the circles open and reach the arms overhead. So I'm lifting through my underarms, stretching through my body and lift up. But it's also really wonderful because if you tend to flare your ribs a lot you can feel when your ribs flare off the foam roll so it's really a nice little bit of feedback for your spine.

I'm just keeping the repetitions short for time today. Certainly you could do a few more if you wanted to, nice. And then here, we're just gonna take the arms down by the side and then I'm a little vulnerable because I'm up high here, so I'm just gonna make sure I don't slip off of the table (laughs). And then just enjoy... (sighs) The feeling...

of light and grounded at the same time. Thanks for playing, I hope you enjoyed it.


Thank you! A lovely, relaxing 15 minutes on the roller with new ideas and great cues. Thanks, Sarah, I really enjoyed this.
2 people like this.
This was great! We need a LOVE this button, instead of just a LIKE button! 😃
1 person likes this.
You taught me some great new ways to use my foam roller. Thank you, Sarah.
1 person likes this.
Thanks for this wonderful class! Wish the class was longer!
1 person likes this.
Love! I love your mat classes and wish there were more :)
1 person likes this.
Loved this, more ideas for this sort of thing on the foam roller
1 person likes this.
I need to do this everyday! Awesome 😀
2 people like this.
I loved it! Thanks for sharing 😊
Thanks much! Perhaps I will film another foam roll class.
1 person likes this.
This was just perfect - simple and learned a few new moves - loved the hamstring stretch! Thanks.
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