Class #4039

Day 2: Extension

20 min - Class


Welcome to Day 3! Today, Carrie reminds you to keep your abdominal strength from yesterday to maintain your dynamic connection as you move through exercises that focus on extension. She focuses on finding strength in your back as you build up to a full Back Bend.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

May 18, 2020
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Hi everyone, welcome to day two of the challenge. Today's workout is all about extension. Let's get warmed up seated just like we are here. Take a nice full breath in. And as you exhale, draw the chin to the chest and you're gonna round back, push your knees out against your hands and your hands against your knees, as you hang from your legs.

And then just come right back up to sitting tall. And then take that into a little extension. Push the chest forward, lift to the gaze high. Inhale, look straight ahead. Exhale, round back, pushing the legs out against the hands as you hang from them.

Inhale sitting up, exhale, nice big lift. Again, inhale, chin to chest, exhale, hang it back and bring yourself up. And arch, taking this into a side bend, bring one hand to the mat, other arm to the ear side, bend over. See if you can bring, leave your arm on your ear as you stretch. Come up switching arms, the shoulder will rise up high that's okay.

Go over and try to keep that contact of the arm to the head. Come up, arm comes down, switch, take it over. Inhale, lift, switch. Exhale, take it over. We'll come up on this one, arm comes up, we'll bend to the side.

We're gonna rotate that down towards the floor. So I'm reaching out beyond the line of my leg. As I hang the head down. Turn that back to face in front, and come up. Other arm lifts, side bend over.

Turn that to the floor, stretch back. Reach long beyond the line of the leg and then turn and come up. Let's add a little rotation, one hand to the knee, other arm behind the back, lift tall as you turn, and don't forget to turn your chin over your shoulder, so that your whole spine is rotating, not just the middle back. Go the other way, switch hands and turn the chin, look over the shoulder, see how far you can look to the side. Come back to the center, and we're gonna lie down going right into the 100 beats.

Reaching your arms in front of your nice, inhale to prepare, will roll down. Bring the knees into the chest, get into a nice tight curl, reach your arms long palms to the mat, extend the legs and we go, breathe in and exhale. Using this to really get the body warmed up, exhale full long breath out in in, two, three, four, five and exhale. Start to progress your legs to where you like them. (exhaling) We're in a challenge.

Let's see how low we can take our legs. (sighs) And exhale, two more long breaths. Inhale and exhale, less big breath inhale, and exhale two, three, four, five, rest your heels on the floor, rest your head on the floor and bring your right knee into your chest. Bring your hands on to the leg, big breath in, chin to chest curl up, float the leg, single leg stretch. Inhale one and two, and exhale one and two, and inhale one and two, and exhale one and two.

Inhale one, both knees into the chest, place the head down, and we're gonna go into a stretch to warm up for scissors. Send the left leg down, bring the hands underneath the right thigh. Extend your leg up, breathe in, breathe out and bend the knee down. Bring the leg up, stretching out through that leg and bend it down. Take the leg up and we'll hold it, now flex your foot.

Inhale point it, exhale flex, inhale point it. Exhale flex, point and hold. Now we're just gonna curl up, walk the hands up to the ankle, float the other leg off and scissors. One, two, one, two, inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale, one more set, inhale.

Now hold that leg up, bend the knee into the chest, the hands come underneath it, we rest the head down, float the leg up, and bend it down, lift it two, use the breath to get the body warm, three, and bend it down. We lift it up and flex the foot. Exhale one, inhale you point. Exhale flex, inhale point. Exhale flex, inhale point.

Now we curl up and we repeat scissors tapping the heel one, two, one, two. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, one more set. Inhale, exhale both legs up, bend the knees and the head comes down. Let's extend the legs all the way down onto the floor. Do a roll up here as you lift your head, you're gonna peel up off your mat, and we're gonna take this right into spine stretch.

With your first exhale, draw the chin in, reaching forward ,two, three. Inhale, grow tall. Now we're gonna take it into some extension, reach your arms back, bring your fingertips to the floor, and lift. Now use your abdominal strength to bring the weight out of the fingertips, the hands in front of the shoulders, chin drawls and reach forward, one. Feel that dynamic connection through your core as you're reaching forward.

Then open the arms, reach back, arch through the spine. Now from here, that dynamic connection of the belly that you had as you reached forward, brings your arms in front of you, and then that takes you forward. (sighs) Open the arm's, reach back. Inhale, float the arms in front of your chin to chest, reach, inhale, open the arms, reach it back, big lift. Now come up, this goes into saw, same idea we're rotating, you're gonna reach past the little toe.

Now you're gonna come up, put the fingertips on the floor, big circle of the arm, fingertips to floor, and saw that the other way. Inhale, fingertips to the floor, big circle at the arm, lift up through that extension and then going forward into your flexion. Reach up. (sighs) And reach up. This should feel really good.

It doesn't need to be perfect. It doesn't need to be pretty, just move, lift, big extension of the spine and forward. Final side lift up, and through, inhale, sit tall. And we'll turn over to your stomach for swan next. So, lie down and we're gonna progress slowly through our series of swan's here and extension.

So, we're actually gonna start, hands underneath the shoulders. And we're gonna use our strength for our extension first. So rather than relying on huge amounts of flexibility, we're just finding our strength. First thing I want you to do is take your hands, and bring them off the mat, so that you're in a long position, where from the top of your head down to your toes, the shoulders are rolled back and down. So we've gotta have them back, in order to be able to go into extension, float the head in the chest, and you're gonna go into just a little arch.

I keep my front ribs down on the mat, so I can feel them down there. And then I'm gonna come down, and I'm leaving my hands up. Again, for strength, lift the head and the chest. Allow the muscle of the back of the body to exercise here, use them, you're gonna need them in a little bit. And again, float it up.

Now, we've progressed that, you're gonna place your hands on the mat. From here, use your arms as little as you need to, to come up to your full expression of your swan. As you come down, see how soon you can lift your arms. And then we're gonna take that all the way down to release. So we'll repeat it, so it's a lot, there's a lot of instructions, you try to follow the guide of this.

The shoulders are rolled open, and the hands come off the floor. The first thing is to really find my strength in my back, lifting with the muscles of the back of my body. Now my hands come down and I allow my arms to help, but I use them as little as I need to. Now I come down and I remove the help of my arms as soon as I can. And then I take that all the way down.

Doing that again, hands are free off the mat, head and chest lift. The hands come down, and I begin to lift. And then I'm coming down. I release my arms as soon as I can, and then lower all the way down to release. For a counter stretch, push up to the hands and knees, and sit back on your heels to round out the shape of the spine.

Come forward onto your stomach again, we're gonna add another progression. Because at the end of the class, we are gonna go for a backbend. So I'm trying to help you build up to the fullest expression of extension, which is gonna be our backbend. So, this adds a little bit more challenge. I'm gonna begin by lifting up head and chest.

Coming up to my swan. Now take your left hand, bring it to the very center line of your body. So you can use it as like a kickstand, your other arm is gonna come in front of your head, you're just gonna hold it. One of the biggest challenges on that back bend, is having the shoulder mobility, to be able to get your arms back over your head. (mumbles) So, from here, what I'm trying to do is just open that up, and I'm gonna put my hand down and I replace, one hand with the other, and I'm trying to push this elbow open, pull it back, and then I put the hand down.

We're gonna bring that down. Get a quick counter stretch, just one big breath. (sighs) And we're gonna take that forward. So we have another progression. From here, head and chest lift, arm to the center line of the body.

I've gotta hold this shoulder really strong, keep it rolled open and back. The other arm can go forehead or up high. And you're gonna try to really reach your arm back. I want you to try to circle it around. And then we replace.

One hand with the other. Forehead first, if it's available, arm goes up high, and you even try to push it back. Think about what has to happen in a backbend. Circle that around. And we'll bring that all the way down.

Push up to the hands and knees, sit back on your heels for a rest. Come forward onto your elbows now. We're gonna prop up onto the elbows to do the single leg kick. Roll the shoulders open and remember that this exercise is about extension. So be careful of pressing down and trying to get too strong in your core.

Allow your body to arch, so that you're programming that position in the body. We're gonna take the legs now and lift them both up just a little bit, the left heel kicks towards your seat, one, two, and then you switch, one two, breathe in and out. Really embrace the way that this feels in your back. Let it be an exercise. So the shoulders are really wrapping back, and I can feel my back really working.

One, two, one two, kick, kick and enough, reach the leg straight. Lie down on your stomach now and look to one side. Take two fingers behind the back, and you're gonna take your legs and hover them again. This is three little kicks of the heels, one, two, three, we're gonna send the legs out, wrap the shoulders and hold this extension for three, two, one, turn look the other way, and it's three kicks, one, two, three, extend the legs, reach the arms and hold this for three. Think about your backbend.

What are you gonna need to be successful there? Look the other way. One, two, three, inhale, reach, wrap the shoulders open, legs are long. Look the other way, one, two, three, reach, and we hold this one. Now you're gonna take your arms and try to very slowly let go.

Don't worry how high this arche is, but try to maintain whichever position you're in, as you circle your arms around, build strength, build strength, don't be afraid, and rest down. Push up to your hands and knees, sit back to rest. Coming up, we're gonna go into a mermaid next, to give our backs a big stretch. That's what I'm going for is a big one. (giggles) 'Cause I'm feeling a lot of work there.

Hold on to your top ankle, feel free to separate your legs. Do what you need to be able to get a very bendy mermaid today. So take your mermaid over to the side. We're just gonna go this direction today. And we're just gonna enjoy that moment.

Now it needs to be held up with strength, but certainly yearning for the biggest stretch you can get. Now, turn your upper body down towards your legs, take your hand and put it down onto the floor or the knee. But just try to get into almost like a rolling like a ball position, even though you're twisted and bent over. So a lot of dynamics like pull from the front of the body and stretching out through that back. Now we're gonna turn that back to the side, and the arm comes down.

We'll spin the legs the other way. And the arm comes up, and we just take it over. So again, just let your strength be support for the flexibility that you're going for. So strong through your center, and maybe you'll find a little more reach. Then rotate down towards the floor, bring your hand either to your leg or the mat, somewhere so that you can really create a very rounded shape in your back.

Deep in through the belly. Stretch it out, draw the chin in tight, and then return to your bend. And the arm comes up. For going back into swan on your stomach, doing the progressions of the hands to the head and the arms of the sky. We're building up to that backbend.

So just keep the end goal in mind here. On your stomach, float the head and the chest, press to come up. One hand to the center of that mat, other arm goes forehead first. And then if you can, arm goes up, and then if you can, see how much you can circle that arm around, and bring it down. Hopefully that feels a little better than it did a moment ago.

Switch hands, arm to the front of the head, other arm to the sky. Circle that arm around, and open the arms. Reset your swan. Lower all the way down. Push up to the hands and knees.

Sit back to the heels. Onto your stomach once again, for a dynamic swan dive series, that is gonna really help you build up the energy and the strength to be able to do this backbend at the end of this class. So, if you're tired like me, don't worry, I'm tired also, we're gonna get through this together, but it's gonna help us really have what we need to be able to finish the class with the. (mumbles) roll the shoulders open. The first dive, is gonna be a dive with the hands under the shoulders.

So we'll float it up. And you're actually gonna use your hands to propel your body forward for this dive. Hands hover under the shoulders, pull and lift, two, and lift, three, and, lift, sit back. Now we're taking that forward. We're coming up again and adding the dive with the arms overhead.

So, it begins, lift it up. Now instead of pulling my hands back, I'm gonna shoot them up over my head and rock and I go. And push up to the hands and knees, and rest. Now we're going into our backbend. So, you're gonna lie down on your back.

So for your backbend, we're gonna go through a few progressions, there is one where we're gonna be kind of balancing on the top of the head. Please keep in mind, your weight it's in your arms, you're not resting on your neck. So, always keep that safety aspect in mind. The heels need to be really close to your seat. So get those suckers pulled in, and then you're gonna put your hands by your shoulders.

The first thing I'm gonna do, is just pick my hips up as high as I can. So, I'm gonna allow my back to really arch here. Now, I'm gonna use the strength of my arms and I'm gonna prop up to the top of my head. Now I am using my arms a lot here. From here, if you can, you push your arms straight and you go right up into your backbend.

I'm using my seat, I'm using my back, you have to use all of those muscles that we found a moment ago. Now to come down, it's like a tricep press, you're slowly bending your elbows to hold up the weight of your body as the top of the head finds the mat, then tuck your chin in and roll down out of it. We're gonna do that again. So, now you know what to expect. I want you to really, people see an exercise like this and they think flexibility.

It's definitely a huge aspect to it, but you've got to use your strength. That's why I encouraged you to use it so much, during all of the stuff earlier. So from here, let's really think about how much strength we need in our arms and in our backs. First thing is to push your hips up super high, so that your back is arched, head is still down. Now, bring your head in, top of the head and use your arms.

My quads are working. My butt is working. Everything is integrated. Now, arms pushing up nice and high, lift. Now, if it is available to you, you are gonna take one leg and extend it up high to the sky, hold it three, two, one, put it down, other leg extend it, one, two, three, bend it through, and slowly come down, easy through the top of the head, tuck the chin in and roll down out of it.

(sighs) We did it. So, building up to that that bend is not easy. I want you to know that I felt it too. Just know that we need that strength. We get excited about working our abs, we don't always remember to work our backs.

So that's why that class was important to me. Let's finish the way we started and balance out all of these extreme extension exercises that we did. Sitting on your mat. Take your hands, bring them onto your knees and just exhale, draw the chin into the chest and round back and enjoy this more than ever. So as you're reaching back, you let your chin drop in, and you're getting that flexion through the spine.

Now sit up in a nice, easy arch that now feels really easy. And again, chin into chest round back, and then come up, lift. And to the side, one arm comes up, we side bend over, see if you've got a little more range, bring yourself up. Other way. (exhaling) You're gonna take that up again, and to the side and we turn reaching out long past that line that the leg is reaching, and your arm reaches long and you stretch.

Turn it back to the side and bring yourself up. Other way again, over, and you turn and reach, and you bring it back, And you come up. We did it, day two is over. I'll see you next time.

10-Day Pilates Reset Mat Challenge: with Carrie Pages


7 people like this.
Hi Carrie - day 2 extensions I dislike due to my tight shoulders and limited range of motion I could only finish until rocking swan even then I found those uncomfortable 🥵 hope tomorrow brings a new day . Thank you 🙏
I'm so sorry the class wasn't a good fit for you!  I hope you'll join me tomorrow for hips and glutes!!!  
6 people like this.
LOVED this class! It felt so good and was such a challenge! Thank you for doing an extension focused class, as I usually avoid it because it's hard!  Any specific exercise recommendations for building shoulder strength? I didn't have enough to push myself up into the full bridge/extension. Thank you, again! 
3 people like this.
I love your cues! Thank you for this lovely challenge!
3 people like this.
That was super challenging AND I loved it! I really enjoy the Swan variations with one arm moving; it taps into a little dance reminder while demanding the shoulder support I desperately need. Thank you Carrie!
2 people like this.
Loved all the swans....I couldn’t see myself but felt awkward and wobbly on the back end .... trying new exercises around my neck at home always make me nervous but you are so right it’s about the strength 
3 people like this.
Thank you for the extension challenge. I am generally not very good at extension - but something that I've been working towards. I loved the cues and progressions towards the back bend. It opened up and strengthen my shoulders & back body tremendously. I wasn't able to go into the full back bend... but you've got to have goals, right?! Any suggestions for shoulder strength build up would be appreciated. Thank you again. 
Anita W
2 people like this.
Amazing class!! Because of the progressions and your amazing cues I was able to go into the back end. I haven’t been there in 45 years. I look forward to tomorrows miracle.
Mary T
1 person likes this.
Great class Carrie. Excellent transitions and flow. I am working towards a back bend so this was helpful. One day I will get there!
Rebecca W
4 people like this.
I did a backbend! Not perfect by any means but woohoo! Thank you for the last 2 classes! Both truly excellent!
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