Class #3104

Hip Strengthening Tower

30 min - Class


Practice the movement of the hips in all directions with this Tower workout by Cara Reeser. She focuses on increasing strength in the hip girdle by working on exercises that target the back of the leg, side of the hips, and glutes. She includes different variations to movements like Thigh Stretch, Swan, and much more!
What You'll Need: Tower, Foam Roller

About This Video


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Hi everybody. I'm Cara Reeser and I'm here with Meredith and Laura, and we're going to do a tower class. And the focus of this tower class is a lot of back of the leg, side of the hip, gluty, really getting this kind of hip girdle strong. So here's the things you're going to need for this course. You're going to need one roller which they each have on the side.

You could use a hard foam roller or a soft foam roller. We're going to be using the leg springs, medium setting. You want your push-through system set up and waiting for you and your roll down system set up and waiting for you. And I think that's probably it. There's a lot of variations in this class so just stay with it, know we'll be staying on one piece of apparatus at a time mostly, so we're going to start with the roller at the edge of your Cadillac ladies.

You're going to take your roller and you're going to put it at the end against the post. Go ahead and put your ankles on there Meredith and grab your roll down bar. All right, so go ahead and put your legs, mmm, pretty much together, maybe hip distance apart but not too wide. So go ahead and reach forward. Go ahead and put a slight external rotation in your upper arm bones and just drop your head forward and just start with your breathing.

And take a few breaths, good. Just lean forward a little bit more. Let yourself stretch. Sort of nice here because the ankles are elevated, you get sort of a different stretch in the back of your legs. And then you're going to start to roll down and you're going to bend your knees and bring that roller under your feet as you roll down.

So you're going to roll down doing your regular sequencing of your spine but then you're going to get that roller under. You might want to pull it a little closer under you ladies. You'll figure it out as you go. And then you're going to come into a shoulder bridge. Yep, so you're going to lift up, extending the front of your hips.

Watching again that neck Mary, that you're not pushing back. Go ahead and bend your elbows, pull the bar in. And exhale away. Holding that bridge three more times, inhale, exhale. So you want to feel like you're pulling that roller in with your feet.

Two more, inhale and exhale. And again, you're pulling that roller in with your feet. Your hamstrings are lighting up and then you're rolling down. Good, and then as you lift your head, neck, and shoulders, you'll straighten your legs and you'll come right back into that starting position. It's just a little variation on roll up.

Let's try that again. You're going to roll on back. Keep that external rotation, your upper arm bones. Pull that roller under your feet. Soles of the feet are what's pushing.

You're going to go ahead and come up into that bridge extending the front of your hips. And then we're going to do that pulling. Inhale pull, exhale away. Keep your chins off your throat ladies. Inhale, and gentleman out there.

Exhale. Inhale pull, exhale. You want to really keep the front of those hips open. One more with the arms. Yeah, super hard on the hamstrings.

And roll on down. Let your booties down. Lift your head, neck, and shoulder and find your way up. Super, okay this time we're going to roll on back with the legs staying straight. So you're going to roll on back.

You have your achilles on the roller. You're going to give me a straight leg bridge. Ladies, come on up. Good, right. And then we're going to tricep press to the hips.

Inhale, exhale. Good, again. Two more, inhale, exhale. Right, you might want to dorsi flex your ankles so your feet don't get all catty-wampus on you. And one more time.

Roll the body down, and lift the head. And roll up. Yeah again, now at this point you could really go forward. Let your sits bones kind of come out and really indulge in that stretch. Just allow yourself to go for it.

Let's do one more of the straight leg bridging. Go ahead and roll back. You want to be aware when you go back into this bridge that you're really contracting those hamstrings first and not too much of an arch in the low back. Press the arms down, inhale, exhale up. Two more, inhale.

Meredith go ahead and flex your feet just to, yeah, keep your feet from getting too strange looking down there. Good, I mean there's nothing wrong with your feet but you know that happens. And roll up and good you guys. Super, take that stretch. And then go ahead and just take that roller out.

Set it to the side. And we're going to come back to using it but now you're going to do roll down with your arms crossed. So go ahead and take your right arm across everybody. Right arm over, uh-huh. They were like, which way across?

On top is what I meant. And you're going to take your feet to the bars. Good, so you're going to roll on down. We're going to take this lateral variation. And I'd like you to take your arm out to the side before you side bend.

So take the bar, all right. Once you're lying down, arm out to the side, palm up. And then reach over to get to your side bend, right. Slide your leg over to the other inner thigh so you're getting an increased stretch there and take a few deep breaths reaching your foot away from your hand. So you're really lengthening across that whole side body there.

Yeah, she smiled. All right, now what's going to happen is we're going to bring the feet to the center. Both feet to center. Cross that top arm just under your sternum and we're going to down some oblique sit-ups. You're going to bring your arm like here.

And what we're going to do here, I'm going to help Meredith. We're going to lift the head and you're going to do a sit-up going on this diagonal, right. So you're going from one diagonal to the next doing the oblique sit-up. She can drop her head. And then when she comes down you're going to go back into that crescent shape you were in.

Yeah, good. And again, they're going to go across inhaling. This is an oblique. Yes Mary, good. Good you guys.

And as you come back you're taking the crescent shape of the body, that side bend, one more time. This can be spatially challenging so give yourself time to really think about this. You're going from this diagonal across, let your eyes and head lead you. And then back out taking that crescent shape. Super.

Take your legs, separate them, put them on the poles again. Good. Put both arms on the bar and roll up to center now Mary. Yeah, great. Good, let's switch sides.

We'll do that same thing on the other side. So again, you roll back and once you're laying down go ahead and just take the opportunity to get that arm out to the side, palm up. So that you can actually move into the side bend. Instead of that spring shortening you on one side. Then cruise that inner thigh over to the opposite inner thigh, right.

And get that full length stretch across your body there. Super, big breaths. Exhale. Sometimes the low back gets a little arched here so you want to keep that lengthening. Good, now they're going to cross that arm under the sternum area.

You can go like or this, whatever you want. And then bring the legs to center. Right, so now you're on this diagonal. You're heading on that diagonal. So they're going to lift their heads and they're going to think of going to the corner of the Cadillac and the other corner of the Cadillac.

That's another way to think of it. And go on back. Good. And carry on, two more. You want to be careful that you don't let that spring protract that scapula too much, so keep that scapula pretty much in place.

And then you're going to roll on down. Super. And one more time, yep. Trying to go right over there on that diagonal. Nice Meredith, much better.

Good, and come on back into that side bend. I really like this variation. And then you're going to open those legs. Get your poles on your feet again. Both hands to the bar, straighten your body out.

And lift that head and roll on up. Fantastic. All right so now let's go ahead and get going. Let's take the legs over the bar. And now we're into our third shoulder bridge right?

So I said, we're getting into the back side here so get your arms down by your side. Good, and let that bar assist you as you come up into that bridge. You're going to go all the way up in the bridge. Both, everybody. Everybody taking this class is going to be thinking about their scapula staying underneath their rib cage.

So squeeze that together a little bit, yeah. And then you got a couple breaths up there and you're going to roll down. Good, amp up the breath a little bit everybody at home, so you can hear yourself breathing. Inhale coming up, take an exhale while you're up there. Take an inhale while you're up there.

And exhale down. Yeah, there we go. Nothing like breathing well, yeah. And one more time. Take it up.

Good. Maybe this is your highest bridge today so you can kind of get a little more extension. Your arms can get a little more force backwards. You've got that breath really dialed up. And you're rolling down again.

Super. I'd like you to reach your hands back over your head. And interlace your fingers behind your head. Yeah, so go ahead and cup your skull with your head, right. So we're in this kind of position and we're going to curl up into an upper abdominal curl.

And we can use all the skills we've played with, head lifts and all that today. Elbows narrow in my world, scapula super lifted up guys. Now they're up there and they're going to pull that bar in to their nose, good. Their elbows in to that bar, and then their exhale, going to lay back. Reach their arms over their head and do a shoulder bridge with your arms over your head.

Right, so we're going to keep sequencing now between these two things. You're going to come down. Take your hands behind your head. Pull everything together into a little ball. Spread it back out, reach your arms over your head and go into a shoulder bridge.

Let's flow this a little bit now ladies. So you're up and come on down. Squeeze it in, take it out, open it up. So we're really just going from contraction to lengthening. One more time, pull it in.

See if you can get up a little higher this time. And then take it back, really open it up. Stretch from the armpits all the way through the side body. Bring your hips down, hands behind your head. Curl up one last time, pull the knees in tight, tight, tight.

And hundred, arms down by your side. Inhale, exhale. Good so now it's starting to get difficult. This is the moment you have to kind of use your mind to calm it down. Yeah, you're using that breath.

Maybe you have a friend to hold your head because they've been working very hard today. And you exhale. Right, but what you're doing is you're using that breath during a really complicated, difficult stressful moment to convince you that it's all going to be all right. Yep, it's the whole idea there. And lie down and rest.

Great. Okay, take your hands onto your rolled out bar. If you have these small ones you want to be on the outside. Straighten your legs up to the ceiling. And this is just my favorite roll over so if you've followed me on Anytime you've probably done it before.

You're going to pull that bar down. You're going to come over, uh-huh. And then as you roll down that bar will start to come up. Right, and today we're going to bend the knees and let them rest over the bar in between each one. And again, lift the legs up.

You've got a big breath going on. You're thinking about all these great things. Straight knees, lengthening your head. Lift the bar up as you roll down. And you can let the knees come over the bar.

One more time take it up, good. Really pulling down. Straighten your knees if you can. I know it feels hard. Exactly, and you want to use those quads in the front guys and then go on back.

Super, and knees around the bar. And just put your feet down for a second. Give more one more shoulder bridge for good measure. Yeah, and then roll it back down. Good.

Find some cool and creative way to get out of that position and let's set up your push through bar please. All right, so we've got our push through bars up. Now what we're going to do is take the roller, set it like this. And you're going to go ahead and straddle that roller with your shins, with your arms on the push through bar for cat. Good, so I would take the front end and push it back so it's not in your way as you go.

And you're going to straighten your arms all the way Meredith, back up a little bit sweetie. So you guys want to be arm distance away with the spring. Uh-huh, great. So here we go. We're going to pull down, we're going to roll down.

You're going to squeeze into that roller and you're going to go into your extension cat. Now what's fun about using the roller and those side hips is you can go forward. So let yourself go forward in space. Nice Meredith. And then come on back.

Curl that tail under as you come up. And find your way all the way up to a straight spine. Good, and again. You're holding on, you're curling through. That's it Mary.

You go all the way out. Now because you're holding on you'll be able to lean a little bit more forward. You're going to feel shaky in your shoulders, that's okay. You're going to roll up and great. We're going to do one more from there.

Really holding on to that roller. Down you go. External rotation, that upper arm bone. Yep. It's going to get those triceps involved more. And then you're going to go out, looking out.

Gorgeous Mary, and up. All right, now here's when the fun begins. Take your hands off the push through bar and just hold them, graze them just above. And start with thigh stretch tipping back. Right, and coming back up.

I'm sorry in advance for this exercise, very difficult. And again, tipping back and squeeze that roller. One more time. We're going to add in a little bit. We're going to tip back, sit down, vertical spine.

Push the hips back through and come on up, yeah. And if you bike 500 miles a day like Laura that might be a little bit of a stretch on your quads. And one more time, going back. Sit on down, good. Push those hips through.

So you really want to get the hips through there. Got to give a little help to my friend. And let's go to one more push through bar. Roll down cat, just get that movement. So we're really practicing the movement of the hips in all directions.

Flexion, extension, all this good juicy movement. Rolling back up. Good, and rest. So we'll take your rolls out and you're going to push down for swan. So I'll put your roller there Laura.

And you're going to lie all the way on your belly. Straighten arms out for your swan. And I like the legs together in my swan. I just think it helps me sort of figure out what way I want to extend the front of my hips. But you can do whatever you want really.

So let's start with bringing the head to the level of the body. So we're very specific about that lift there first. Then lift your eyes. Come into a straight arm swan. Come on all the way up as high as you want.

Good, and exhale down the hill. That's good, the head goes down. And then the head comes up. So level of the body and then it starts to extend. Yeah and you're going to go all the way up.

Really try and get your navel off and your thighs down. And then they're going to go back down. Good, they're both doing a beautiful job executing this. You might get up a little higher this next time. You're going to go all the way up.

Yep, you're going to keep that bar in. Now lo and behold you're going to bend your knees nice and slow without tipping forward, keeping that extension. Go ahead Mary, bend those knees. Yes you can. Stretch the whole thing out.

Yeah, so her hamstrings want to cramp. I think that's what she's telling me from behind her head here. So yeah, so we don't want cramping right? So she's right to slow down if she's cramping. Yeah, I'm going to give her a little rub down.

All right, let's go up one more time. Again you could squeeze something between your legs if you're a cramper, that sometimes helps. And then you're going to come up into this beautiful full swan expression. There she goes, great. And out.

Good, now you're going to open your legs and turn them out. We're going to borrow this exercise from Irene Dowd. These girls are going to lift their right legs up, bend their right knee slightly and then they're going to reach the leg across and get a little twisting action here. Super yummy on this front hip flexor line and then she's going to come back down gently placing. Try to keep your trunk relatively stable at the beginning of this gesture.

Pick up the leg. Yep, and she's going to bend it. So at first she's going to really work to mostly reach this lower body. Yeah, that's it Mary. She can even squeeze me a little if she wants, yeah.

And come back in. Yeah I feel like it's so nice to get a little extension while you're twisting. Let's do one more on each side. Yeah, you can do it. Yes you can, beautiful.

Again, you might want to stretch out even more there. It really feels good. I wish somebody was doing that to me frankly. And one more time. Good, but that's why we love our jobs right?

We make people feel the way we want to feel. All right, there we go. And come all the way back, great. And put your legs together. And figure out a way to get out of that position.

Good, let's go ahead and put that push through bar away for right now. We're going to go to some side leg springs. So this is what you want to do. Get that push through bar all the way out of the way and get your leg spring on. Up to you how heavy you want it, but somewhere on a medium setting, not too low.

We're going to be laying all the way on our sides. All the way to the edge of the mat. So it's a little bit of a different variation. So this is a variation I got from Kathy Grant. You're going to put that foot on that strap on your foot.

And then I think there's a couple things you could do here. You could hold on like this, for me that's a little more stable. Or you could take the top arm and put it down here on the mat, right. So it's up to you, whatever works best. But it's teeter-totter right?

We're right on the edge. And we're going to start with kicking forward. So you're going to come forward right. Go ahead and kick forward. You want to keep your leg at the level of this trochanter and then bring the leg back.

And then take it back into a stretch in the front of the hip. A little bit of lumbar extension. Forward to center, take it front right. You want to keep a little external rotation in that leg as you go forward. Bring it back.

Note that you're at center and then take the leg back adding the glutes and the lumbar extensors. One more time, forward, good. You could imagine you had a pole coming right through your major trochanters to keep your hips level and then come forward. Take that back and take a stretch. Good, so now we're going to go forward.

We're going to let the torture begin. We're going to keep the leg slightly externally rotated and do five pulses, small. One, and two, and three. That's your lateral hip you're feeling. Four and five.

Just in case you didn't know. And pull the leg down. Good, now you're going to turn the leg out and kick up to the side. Right, and back down. Let's just do about four of those side kicks.

Up inhale, exhale down. Right, you're going to do your best to keep your pelvis kind of squared as long as you can and then it will move at the end when you go for that big extension. One more up, and hold it. Now slowly bring the leg forward, keep it turned out. And go to where you had been for the pulses.

Pull it straight down now, to your other leg. Good, bring it forward again. And open it up. We're going to repeat that. That's not nice.

Forward, right? And down, this is just to the other leg this time. Forward and open, keep that external rotation. Forward, and down. I'm sorry, just one more time.

Forward and open and lie on your back. Both arms on the post, leg is up. We're doing single leg circles with the opposite spring, one of my favorites. Right, good. So make sure you're squared off.

Take a minute to adjust your posture. And then here she goes. You're going to cross over, inhale. Exhale around and up. Good, big breath Meredith in.

Exhale, yeah. Let's go back to that audible breathing that's supporting your movement. One more time. Good. And other way.

Now the spring has a different torque on it when it's across your body, so you have to manage the push and pull of that spring which I think is very interesting about this. Yeah, good. One more. (laughing) And yes I think very interesting in Pilates though. Let's go ahead and switch sides, right.

And we're doing the whole series on the other side. So you're going to do that same set up. They're going to the edge and they're going to get that leg down right under them. Again, you could imagine you had a bar coming straight through those major trochanters that's stabilizing, right. This is the axis of rotation.

And there they go. They've chosen their hand position. They're going to go forward, right? A little bit of external rotation. And pull straight down under and then go a little bit behind adding that lumbar extension.

Lovely, inhale good. Here's that trochanter. She goes forward, they've got it, and down. Keep the breath everyone. Take it back a little.

Let the lumbar spine change. Forward, good. Sometimes your ribs want to flair out in the front and arching your upper back too much so just try to keep your alignment the best you can. Take it back, good. And then forward, yeah.

And then we're just going to pause there. You're going to roll that hip down and pulsing, one, and two. It's hard, and three. Try not to hike your hip, and four. You have five of these, this is the fifth.

And then bring that leg straight down. Turn that leg out and we're going up and down. We do that four times. Just finding that. Again, keeping in mind that you want to keep your trunk in good alignment, not too much extension there.

Up, and then on your fourth up you're going to stay up for a second for me. And then you're going to lower that leg down in front. And you're going to bring it down. No Laura, we're going to bring it down to the other leg. And then go forward, and then go open.

So think of that inner thigh presenting itself to the front of the room and then go forward. Go down just to the other leg now. Go forward, go open. Yeah, and go forward and go down. This is the last one.

Go forward, go open and let that openness turn you onto your back. You have both arms on the poles. You square it off for single leg circles. You're going to cross over, inhale. Exhale around.

Good, in, exhale around. You can let your pelvis tip here Meredith. Let it go over a little, yeah. Just resolve it when you come back to center right? So there's everything good about rotating there, yeah.

Other way, I think she signaled me. Yes and home, that's good for her. And they go out. Let's get you guys back in sync here. Out, and down, cross over.

Great, let's go out, down, cross over. One more time on this side. Yeah, out and great. And take that spring off, great. And roll up to seated.

Good, okay. So let's take your push through bar back on with the spring and we'll finish with a little standing series on top that I love. All right, so you're going to stand up on your mat. You're going to face out. We're going to be in a second position.

That's a ballet term but it basically means wide, turned out legs in ballet. And then you're going to bend your knees and you want to be about arm width away, right. Yeah, and you could both arms out. I think that looks nice. Right, so they're working really hard to keep their pelvis' under them and we're going to use the right leg first.

We're going to go up on the ball of the foot. One, two. Down, three, four. Up, one, two. Down, three, four.

We're doing four of those. Up, one, two. Down, three, four. Up, one, two. Down, three, four.

Stay low, other side. One, two. Three, four. So this is endurance in the legs here in the hips. But we've warmed you up well so we're ready for this.

And one more. Good and then straighten your legs. You're going to bend both legs again. The bar is just there to support you. Now we're going to do both legs, up.

And down, yes. Up, good. And down. And both of these ladies have really nice turn out. At home it might not look this, like wide, that's fine.

It doesn't matter, it's not about that. It's about doing it. Two more. And feeling it, shaking through it. Yes they are they said.

And they're going to straighten both legs. They're now going to face their push through bar. Everybody's going to face their push through bar and we're going to go into a couple of squats. Yeah, we're going to go straight down. The bar is going to help us.

And we're going to go up. And we're going to go straight down. And you can let your tail curl under as you get down there a little bit. That would be sort of normal. And up, two more.

Straight down. And up. And straight down. And up. Great, so turn to the other side for the side legs.

We've got again that second position. Right, you want your toes and knees in good alignment so if you're more narrow that's fine. Bend your knees. Come into a big second position. So we're going to do the left leg first.

And you're going to go one, two. Three, four. And you can see that Laura's not changing her pelvis, neither is Meredith. Right, they're going. They're continuing I should say.

And they're not changing their pelvis or changing their leg. Other side and up, and down. They're really forcing that arch up on the top of their foot which is great. We want a lot of movement in that leg. And up, and down.

Straighten both legs. Good, and plie down. Yeah, and then we're going to go two legs. And one and two. Yeah, and you can see how much that has to really work those turn out muscles, those hamstrings.

It's really super for your legs. Yeah, super for you. And one more time. Good, and good. Straighten both legs, good.

And just face your bar again. Let's do one more round of squats. We'll do four and we head down. Down and up. And down, and up.

And two more, big breaths. You can let that tail curl at the end. That's a natural progression for your lumbar spine there so you don't want to really force yourself to not do that at all. Good, and then let's finish with a big forward bend. Just roll down, take that bar down with you.

Take a stretch into a little extension or flat back, whatever feels good to you right now in those hamstrings and hips. And then you're going to roll up, yeah. And one more time. They're going to go down and whatever feels good guys. If you want to really extend and let those hip bones out that's just fine.

It feels so good to stretch the legs after that class. And roll up. And finish. (clapping) Good job you guys.


4 people like this.
W O W !!! Loved it !!! Thanks Cara :)))
1 person likes this.
Loved the Kneeling Cat with the roller & the Swan with the hip stretch/rotation. Beautiful class as always, I really enjoy your teaching. Thank you for sharing.
1 person likes this.
SUPER FUN and felt great! Thanks Cara!
1 person likes this.
Love this workout! Thank-you!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Cara! I don't have a tower but was able to do class with my MOTR and ball. Loved the rotation with extension
Love Love! Not just hips, core, baby, core. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Awesome work
1 person likes this.
This looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it!
1 person likes this.
Just great variations, always love your classes!
1 person likes this.
Loved this workout! My hips thank you x
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