Class #4016

Mat for Thorax and Planks

20 min - Class


Prepare your spine, ribs, shoulders, and arms for Front, Back and Side Planks in this Mat workout with Elizabeth Larkam. She uses Moshe Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons to influence sequences for spine side bending, rotation, and extension together with rib movement. You will sequence for success by moving from side-lying to quadruped to Leg Pull Front, Leg Pull, and Side Bend. References include The Physiology of the Joints by Kapandji.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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Welcome to [inaudible] anytime. I'm Elizabeth Larkam. Delighted to be with you for this fascia focused mat sequence that focuses on preparing the thoracic area, the shoulder girdle for planks, and I use as my reference for this class, the three volume set of the, the second edition of Kapan. She's book the physiology of the joints. These three volumes are published by handspring publishing and you can find the, the references for this class on the, the website of PyLadies anytime. Come to lie on your side. Now here you are lying on your side with your palms together and one knee above the other. As you exhale, slide your top hand and your top knee forward and then slide them back.

Now you could take an interest in the movement of your hand and the movement of your knee or and you could take an interest in the movement of your pelvis, your thoracic area, and your shoe and your shoulder girdle. So you could have a proximal start to this motion and a proximal start to the motion and connecting proximal motion to distal, distal to proximal, etc. Now bend your knee ceiling elbow and bring it to your shoulder and circle your elbow forward, up and back. Exhaling forward, up and back. Reverse back up.

Now this circle of your elbow could have a focus focus of, Oh, there's my elbow and it's circling in space. Reverse direction. You could also frame this movement, getting quite interested in the feeling the motion of your scapula, of your shoulder girdle, reverse direction gliding on the curve of your thorax, the curve of your ribs. Now having done that with a short lever, let's take the longer lever. Now as you exhale, slide your Palm forward and then sweep your fingers above your head, moving your whole lever arm into the space behind you and to the floor and across your thigh. Exhaling turning your sternum, your chest bone towards the ground.

Having the idea that your fingernails start low and your pelvis, or at least the tissues of your hands start low in your pelvis. So there's a continuity from the pelvis across the thoracolumbar fascia, through your shoulder girdle, through your arm and your hand. Hover your ceiling leg and your ceiling arm. Now lift up your ribs and lift up your waist. Move everything forward and back, keeping your ceiling elbow extended, keeping your hand in line with your shoulder and your knee in line with your hip joint.

Now move your thorax and your pelvis in opposite directions. Rotating the thorax to the back, the pelvis to the forward and in opposition twice more. Lifting up your ribs and lifting up your waist. Bring everything forward. Open your ceiling, arm and ceiling leg, keeping your elbow and knee aligned with each other simultaneously. Lift your limbs from the ground and Corinne in slow motion over to the new side coming up and over your mic box opening simultaneously your straight elbow, arm and knee.

Continue that motion and then simultaneously following, so this is, you could consider this to be scanning the heavens for signs of intelligent life. But the intelligent life that we're interested in here is not heavenward. It's actually the near infinite connections of complexity of connecting your thorax and your pelvis. Now the new side of weights. So come onto your new side here, sliding your top Palm along your bottom Palm and your top knee along your bottom thigh. Exhale to slide forward. Inhale to slide back. Exhale forward.

Inhale, turning your torso towards the mat, turning it towards the ceiling and towards the mat and towards the ceiling. Then your ceiling, elbow and circle. First you can think distally of the path that your elbow is taking in space. Reverse the direction, reverse the direction, and now you can think more proximally getting interested in the glide of your scapula over the curve of your thorax. Reverse moving from circumduction with the short lever to circumduction of a long lever.

Slide your hand forward. Sweep the ground with the fingertips above your hand. Moving into the space behind you, keeping your top thigh close to the bottom thigh and come around. Exhale to sweep forward with this long lever. Appreciating that the tissues of your hands are continuous with tissues across your back and into your pelvis. Reverse direction.

Sweep back behind you. Fan open at the front of your chest and forward and sweep around behind. I am so hampered with this Mike box trying to find an excuse. Now, hover your ribs over your waist, up off the ground, forward and back, keeping your ceiling arm and your ceiling thigh parallel to the ground. If this is an unusual movement for you, you can use your hand on your top knee to remind your knee to guide your knee, to stay in line with your hip joint and then moving the pelvis and the thorax in opposite directions.

As you roll your thorax to the back, your thumb turns up as you roll it forward. Your thumb turns down, lifting up your ribs and your waist. It's time for the proximal abdominal control up and over to one side, landing with your ribs and waist lifted, keeping your bent knee and your straight elbow in alignment with each other. Well, it's more make sure that you simultaneously lift the floor limbs, land the limbs simultaneously and simultaneously. You re turn, come on to all fours. Now here you are on all fours but all with the forearms on the ground with your forearms on the ground.

Rock forward and rock back. Shift your weight forward and shift your weight back. Now previously you were exploring the uh, the motion of the shoulder joint, um, in an open chain situation. But now you have your Bentel, both forearms in contact with the ground pro nation, palms down and palms up. Now slide one leg back and continue this motion using the ground force of your foot to propel you forward.

Change to the new side, connecting your foot with your pelvis and your torso. Now come up onto your hands, palms wide, fingers spread. Rock forward and back the light from your chest bone shining at the ground between your hands. One leg up. Continue to center your weight chest bone over between your thumbs.

Change sides. Now come down to forearms again. You could leave your palms down on the ground or take your palms together, your fingers interlaced. Tuck your toes under. Press into your forearms and resume the shifting of your weight, creating the ground force through your feet. Continue this motion hovering one leg [inaudible] and change legs hovering up. Come down from here. Come onto your palms, palms wide and fingers spread. Tuck your toes under, press through your heels and create the ground force through the soles of your feet pressing wide into the little fingers side of the heel of your hand.

Rocking forward one Lega change. Have a seat on the mat now and take your arms behind you. Bentel both forearms on the mat, turning your palms down, lower your pelvis, the back of your waist towards the ground, and then turning your palms up. Rock over your pelvis, lifting your gaze to see the ceiling above and behind you. Exhaling so you sync between your shoulder blades. Broadening your collarbones. Inhale, moving over your pelvis, articulating your spine in the direction of thoracic extension and cervical extension. Exhale, pressing outwards with your elbows. Inhale, drawing inwards with your elbows so one can get interested in the distal cue of the ground force of the elbows, as if the elbows widening and the elbows narrowing and one could get interested.

Also in the more proximal action of the mobility of the thorax of the stern of the shoulder girdle between the supports of your arms. Now keeping your bent elbows on the ground. Draw your feet towards you. Swing your pelvis forward, lift it up and lower it. Lift it up and lower pelvis towards your knees and lower and up. Come to sitting.

Turn your hands behind you and ankles together. Pressing into the little finger side of your hand. Draw your thorax forward and sink it a little bit in hail Tang, up, eyes, up. Gaze up and down. Inhale, tongue up, eyes up. Gaze up and down.

And inhale. Bend both knees as [inaudible]. Inhale, press into your hands. Swing your pelvis forward and up. Exhale to come down, forward and rocking. Just transferring the weight from hands. Defeat from feet to hands, hands to feet, feet to hands. Turn your fingers outwards. Resume [inaudible] four no, no, back and down forward. I know back kinda shoulderblades coming towards each other and way towards each other.

Bring your hands, fingers towards your heels. Now forward under each position of the hands invites a different time. Coordination, a different ground force of your shoulder blades on your thorax. So here it'll be a little bit easier, I believe, to keep the scapula wide, which gives you a good support for this motion. Straighten both legs out.

You can keep them in parallel or move into external rotation depending on the preferences of your knees. Fingers back. Press into the heels of your hands. Bring your pelvis up and down and pelvis up and down. Fingers aim to the side and fingers aim towards you this time you'll see day up and lift one leg up and down and one leg up and down, twice more UPenn and and and a pound and come to your side. Now with your bent elbow forearm on the mat, hold on to your lower ribs. Sink your ribs. Push into your elbow as if you could brush the mat away with the thumb side of your hand. Sink brush away.

Sink Palm up, brush away. So it's super nation and pro nation with side bending of the spine. Continue this motion with your leg outstretched. Sink and glide your foot away. Sick and collide.

Side bending of the thorax and the lumbar spine. Change to the new side. Here you are on your new forearm. Then Lyft [inaudible] side, bending side, bending, rocking your pelvis over the greater trow canter. Reach your leg. Long change sites. Now come on to your bent elbow, forearm price the other hand into the ground. Reach each leg long and lift up your ribs and lift up your waist.

Turn towards the ground and then heavenward turn towards the ground and the ceiling. Rotate and pushing into the floor with your shoulder blade relating to the ground force of your elbow. Yeah, both hands can be on the floor for starters here. Both legs long. Lift up your ribs and lift up your waist. Turn towards the floor and towards the ceiling towards the floor and towards the ceiling towards and away and towards and away.

Come to the new side, Palm wide and fingers spread. Lift up. Now come onto the side of your pelvis and here you are turning towards the mat, turning heavenward towards the mat and ceiling towards the ground and and towards and up. Change to your new side. Tuck one foot behind the other. Press into the heel of your hand. Turn towards the floor. And the ceiling towards and up.

Rotate and rotate. Thank you so much for joining us. Please let me know how this class goes for you. I'd love to hear from you and always love being with you on Pilati is anytime. Bye now.


12 people like this.
Good morning, Elizabeth! We are imprisoned at home. Your class is our light at the end of this virus tunnel. Thank you!
Good evening from San Francisco Viera. As of this evening all of California joins you in staying home to slow the spread of the corona virus. Sending you, your family and the Pilates community world-wide best wishes for strong health and calm.
Awww, this was SO nice, I really enjoyed that, thank you!
4 people like this.
Elizabeth, you are such a pleasure and font of information❣️ Please continue to pour forth from your font to all us hungry and in need of this essential understanding. You have a gift for translating the complex into the understandable . God bless you 🙏🏻❗️
2 people like this.
PS: I LOVE the leotard 🥰!
Ellen W
2 people like this.
Thank you so much Elizabeth. As usual I was carefully listening to your every word  for more enlightenment as to how our bodies move. I love the way every movement can be appreciated from a different perspective. I'm already waiting for your next video and hoping that you stay well and healthy and let this virus pass you by!
This was delicious and exactly what I needed. Mobility and strengthening! Thank you
Lina S
1 person likes this.
It is an interesting class. Does it mean that by mobilizing our fascias with a circular motion, we can better recruit our muscles or make the move in a more efficient way? I felt all the plank variations were a lot easier.
Lina, good news that you found the planks easier. My understanding is that movements of the thorax in side lying, all fours and sitting prepare the spine to organize for weight bearing through the shoulder girdle and arms.  The preparatory movement sequences do encourage  glide of the layers of tissues that connect the rib basket with the the shoulders, arms, hands and pelvis
I came to this class to learn something and then you snuck in all those planks without batting an eyelash and now I'm sweating! But what wonderful sequencing to get there as I was just as surprised as the next to actually be hanging out in a one-arm side plank like nobody's business. A great teaching AND exercising moment, thank you! 
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