Class #4209

The Posterior Chain

55 min - Class


If you spend a lot of your day sitting, this class from Mariska Breland's Pilates-ish is the remedy you need. She begins by explaining which muscles make up your posterior or back body, and spends the entire workout focusing on conditioning these areas to combat desk posture. Her blend of Pilates and other movement disciplines will have you feeling open and lengthened through the connection of your posterior chain.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hello, everybody I'm Mariska, and we're going to be doing a Pilates-ish workout today, focused on the posterior chain. So the posterior chain, if you don't know what that is is basically the backside of your body. So it's glute Max, hamstrings calves, back extensors. So your erector spinae, it is also your trapezius, which is not terrible to work. I know, we're always people to like, try to get things out of their traps, but you need to have them for certain exercises, also post your deltoid rhomboids.

And if I forgot anything, let me know. Actually, for today, we're gonna start with a couple of standing exercises, because I really do think that some of the best ways to work the posterior chain are in the weight room, not necessarily in the Pilate's room. So we're gonna do a couple of standing exercises that normally I would do with weights, but we'll just do them without weights. If you have weights, you can go ahead and grab them. And then we'll also do a lot of stuff on the mat, it will not feel like the most balanced workout in the world, because we really are only gonna focus on the posterior chain.

But if you spent a lot of your day sitting or a lot of your life kind of in the forward movement of what we do like Ron or computer, whatever this kind of stuff is what feels really good to me. So the first thing we're gonna do is an exercise, again from the weight world called a good morning, which I think is appropriate because it is morning, and hopefully it is good where you are. And you can go ahead and you can stand either with your hands on your hips, you can bring your hands back behind your back, which is usually where I put them on. If I had a weight, it would probably be a barbell. But we're gonna have your hands wherever if you wanna make it a little bit harder, your arms reach overhead because then it's more weight.

The goal is that you're hindering completely from the hips. So your back remains really flat. And then you think about when you lift up, you're actually pushing with your glutes to come into extension. So your back remains nice and long. And you stand back up and you reach forward.

I've also heard this exercise, I think there's variations of it called a woodpecker, or some sort of bird thing. But I think about like, you know, just leaning forward almost as if you were like the the early bird getting warm, which would never be me, because I don't get up ever before 8:30. But I understand some people like get up at like, five. God bless you know who you are, but it's reaching down. And then standing back up, and then reaching down and standing back up.

So the next thing we're gonna do, I'm gonna hold on to the wall, because my balance is terrible but you can do it in the middle of the room, if I had a weight, it would actually be a little bit easier because it kind of creates a counterbalance. So I am next to the wall that has this really nice moldings, so I could hold on to it easily. But what I wanna do is essentially what would be a Romanian deadlift with one leg. So one leg is gonna go back, I'm gonna kind of try to keep everything really super straight. So my leg is back, and I'm dipping a little bit into my sides, I'm gonna have to push into this hip, and I'll come back in and that's what can I find the floor.

So you lean forward and lift back up. So I'm gonna mix this up with another exercise, which I just think is an amazing hip opening exercise, which is not part of the posterior chain. Get, it's still a good exercise. So after we do five regular ones of these. So we'll call this five, we're gonna stay here in this sort of folded over position and then you're gonna open your hips.

The reason I'm having my leg that's up the wall leg is that I can open the leg to the wall can kind of feel what that feels like and then come back down and open. When you're opening, you're pushing through your standing leg, kind of firing into your hip rotators can open up and lower back down. We'll do two more opening up and lower back down and open up, lower back down and hold your take your opposite arm lifted by your ear, think about stretching your arm and leg away from each other. And then we can go ahead, come back up we're gonna do the other side. So again, I'm doing the inside to the wall leg.

Can be on your hip for this one. First thing is you're just looking for a forward fold with square hips and then lift back up. When you're lifting up, you're actually pushing through your glute have the standing way to lift back up. And I noticed my foot was kind of turned out so I'm kind of tried to keep it parallel. Know that when you keep your leg parallel for some of us, if you have tight glutes, it puts a stretch on the muscle in a different way that might not feel as comfortable.

So once we're down in this position, we're gonna do that opening, pushing into your leg using your hip rotators and then we'll come back down. And push it open and come back down, we're just doing five. And if you don't wanna be standing, don't worry, this is the last thing we're doing standing. Open up and back down, open up and back down. Reach your arm by your ear, think about stretching everything along in a way, it's almost like a standing kind of bird dog.

And then you can come all the way back up standing. And let's come to the front of your map, it's gonna be the back of your map. Whichever direction you wanna face, your stand up tall, cross one arm on top of the other and then we're gonna slowly lower down and then tuck your foot under. And we're gonna come to a supine position for the first of what I can say will be many bridges, many different bridge variations. So go ahead and you're gonna have your legs a comfortable distance forward, and about sixpence distance or hit them distance apart.

So I look at my asis, and I want my legs to have maybe a fist distance between them, but it's gonna depend on your anatomy. We're gonna start with a hinge bridge, which means you're just gonna lift your butt off the floor and push into your glutes, lift up, and lower back down, push, lift, and lower down, lift up and down, lift and down. And we're gonna do maybe four more. And two, and three, and four. Now will articulate which is more like ever getting into some different areas, but articulation of your spine feels good.

So you're gonna lengthen your low back so that your low back makes contact with the mat. And then your from there, Press into your feet will lift up. Now there are different ways we can kind of think about this position, we could think about pushing forward, which is gonna get your quads, that is not the posterior chain, no, hamstrings are sooner I think about pulling your heels in towards you, as you lower down, bone by bone, sort of creating your own resistance. Again, pressing into your feet, lifting up, coming to a straight ish line and then slowly lower all the way back down. Again, pressing down.

You wanna have a little action with your arms pressing again. Puts your chain is gonna include your poster deltoids, and the back of your arms and your upper back. So we're gonna need to get all of those active. In this way, say a pelvic curl can be the hardest exercise, depending on how much you're focusing on all the little pieces. So from here, you're gonna think about pulling your shoulder blades down into the mat, use that energy to lift up a little bit higher, maybe a little bit higher, should really feel your glutes, pull your heels towards you should feel your hamstrings.

And from there, I want you to take your right foot and bring it back a little bit and you're on your tiptoes and you're gonna lower down when you lower down your heel will lower down as well. When you push up, think about pushing through your toes to lift yourself up. Keep your hips level, go ahead and slowly lay your spine back down. Don't forget about your hamstrings, hamstrings still have to be active and push, lift and slowly lower down. We're gonna do eight total.

Here's four, I think and lower back down. Here's five, think a bit about pulling your legs towards you and lower back down. Here six and lower down. That's your lifts and lower down really lots of energy through your arms. Lift up and lower back down.

You're gonna bring your right foot back, left foot on your tiptoes. We're gonna lift up and then lower down. Heel is gonna drop so if you see a shaking in my leg or my calf when I'm lowering down, that is an hamstring. I can't control it. It is something called clonus that happens when you have a upper motor neuron lesion.

And it basically means that the stretch reflex isn't quite working correctly. So that's what you're seeing. It doesn't hurt if you're wondering, lower back down and do a couple more here or actually four more push ups and lower back down. Press, I mean, if your leg shakes, that doesn't mean you have, like actual brain damage. It could also mean, you just have a shaky muscle.

And so I don't wanna freak anybody out if you're at home. You're like my God Mariska, what are you telling me. Lift up and lower back down. We're gonna let your feet come to where they're a little bit closer than they were. But your arms just lift up just to kind of give your arms a little break from all that.

Hopefully, pushing down is an app that you were doing. You're gonna press down, lift up, and then we're gonna go for prance through drop one heel and switch and switch and switch and switch and switch. For eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Both heels up, hips go higher, should really feel your glutes, try to pull your legs towards you should really feel your hamstrings, press your arms down, you should really feel your upper back. Keep your heels lifted as you slowly lower down bone by bone.

Go ahead and take one leg up into a tabletop, I'm taking my left leg up, and you're gonna push to lift your hips up. And lower down ready for these. Lift to and lower down the section. Just a warm up for the next exercise. Three and four.

Reach your arms up towards the ceiling, you're gonna lift your head and chest up, shoot your left leg out long. Bend and lift your hips up. Reach shoot your left leg long bend, lift your hips up. So I have my arms reaching up towards the ceiling just to make it a little bit more challenging. Hopefully you're feeling the back of your leg, I'm feeling the back of my leg, we're gonna do two more for total five, I think counting is not my strong suit.

Lifts up and reach out, it'll lower that foot down. If you pushed yourself back on the mat, which I feel like I did, go ahead and readjust yourself, you're gonna have your right leg lifted up left foot on the floor, you're gonna lift up and lower back down. And whether you wanna do a kind of butt straight up, or you're doing an articulation and that is your choice to lift up and lower down, reach your arms up and extend your arms, extend your leg, hands up hips up. So my balance is way different on the side. So this exercise is definitely more of a challenge on the left and the right, will lift up and down.

Reach forward and up, lift up and down, reach forward and come all the way back. Go ahead and just have hugged your knees into your chest. Rock a little bit from side to side. And you could just rub yourself all the way up to a seated position where to reach your arms forward. So with a flat back, we're gonna lean back.

So imagine you're doing short blocks on the reformer, which if you're like me, this is not your favorite exercise on their former but just imagine lean back and lift up. So your goal is that you're trying to keep your back straight and you're really sitting up tall. Lean back and sit up tall and lean back. And up, lean back. And now on this next one.

Let's go ahead and lean back. So it's almost like neck pole, except their hands are behind her head. We're gonna round back so you can come onto your back, legs extend forward, arms extend overhead, and we're gonna sort of do a swimming but on your back. Which is way less fun than swimming, swimming. I mean, certainly less fun than swimming in a pool or the ocean.

And even less fun than the regular bloody swimming. It feels very much less coordinated. This is what we're doing instead of 100. And then go ahead and bend everything in. I want you to bring your elbows by your side.

So remember the part of the posterior chain or the muscles of your upper back. We're gonna have your elbows by your side, and we're gonna press down. And what I want you to do is think about your torso, lifting off the floor. So in to your elbows, push left and lower back should be hard. Pressed down, lift up and lower back down.

Ready, five, total. Here's three, four, and five. Then go ahead, and you can do a roll up, you can roll yourself up, rock yourself up to seated. From here, we're gonna drop down to your forearms, Jagger your elbows back, can extend your legs forward, take your shoulders, roll your shoulders back, send your legs energy through the back of your legs as you lift up and lower. Now, it's not a very satisfying position, in my opinion, because you don't get the height that you get in back support but fret not because we will do back support as well as lower back down, push lifts up, and lower back down.

Push, lift up, and lower back down, push lift, and lower back down. We'll do two more, lift, and down and lift up and down. Go ahead and just press yourself up. Goal is to sit up super tall, with your arms forward, and shoulders back. And that is the exercise and is one of the worst exercises to ever give students is the request to just sit upright, you can bend your knees a little bit, especially if you feel like you can't extend your spine.

So really working on thinking a ponytail being pulled up towards the ceiling. And we're just breathing, making sure your shoulders are connected to your back. And let's actually bring your shoulders back a little bit more and release, back a little bit more released, grow taller. Back a little bit more release. Back, release, back, release.

Let's do four more. And two, and three, and four straight arms straight back, we're gonna do that lean back again, cross your arms, reach your arms, cross to the other arm is on top and reach your arms cross and reach, I'm hoping my back is straight, I have no idea. Cross and reach a sit all the way up top. Go ahead and give yourself a little bit of a forward fold where you're letting your back, get a little moments of relaxing. Now the leg position for this exercise can be all the way straight, you can sit cross legged, you could sit on your knees.

And what I want you to find is a position that's comfortable enough that you can bring your arms up into a goalpost, which is this and be able to keep your back really strict. So from here, we're just gonna press your arms together, back, squeeze and release that squeeze, release back, squeeze, release, push and push and push for eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven hold it back on the eight you're gonna rotate so that your elbows come forward a little bit and return. It's a small range of motion, you should kind of feel laughs and underneath your armpits and reach and back. You should be feeling the back of your shoulders or maybe it's just me. Reach so your elbows are going forward a little bit and back and forward a little bit and back.

You're taken one arm, reach it up and back down and other arm reach up and back down. I don't care if you get your arm all the way by your ear, you could actually bring your arm into scaption which would be slightly forward of your shoulders, which tends to be a much more comfortable position than trying to reach your arm straight up. So whatever you prefer. Let's do last eight, two, three tall spine, four, five six, seven, and eight. And go ahead and let your arms slow down go shake them out.

And then again, we can release some of this work in your back by coming round, sort of through your spine. Let's go ahead and take your arms behind you. I like hands out for this I think it feels better. Go ahead and take your shoulders if your shoulders wanna before you're gonna roll them kind of up and back so the back behind you. We're gonna lift up into just kind of a back support.

Chin goes up towards the ceiling, but head does not drop back, what's kind of a yoga thing, lower back down. So it's just a hinge at your hips, you lift and lower back down. And lift up and back down. And lift and back down to two more. Lift and back down.

Last one like this lift and back down. One moment to just release your arms and go ahead and bring your arms back this we're gonna lift and hold on. So you left to hold, breath. See, if you can, we're just gonna do a little lift, just right, like up a little bit and left like up a little bit and down. My goal is more that my hips aren't shifting than how high can lift my leg.

Last one, lower back down. Bend your knees bent, your feet flat to the floor, your hands can stay where they are, think about this as a hamstring curl. So you're gonna push down and curl with your legs to bring yourself forward into a table and then sit back down. Hamstring curl brings you forward, shoulders back, chin up, squeeze your butt lower back down. Push, lift up.

And lower back down a couple more. Push, lift up and lower back down. Last one, push, lift up, hold it there, see if you get your hips a little bit higher. And then go ahead and lower all the way back down. Little setup.

Knees really bent here, arms reach forward, flat back lean, a little rotation, bring your hand to the floor, lift it back up lift back up. Lean back, rotate hand touches the floor and lift back up. Lean back, twist back to center, lift. Lean back, twist back to center, lift. Lean back, twist, back center.

Lift, lean back and twist back to center. Let your feet come together, knees drop open come into a forward fold and then come around onto your stomach. Starting with your elbow was underneath your shoulders and your chest, pulling through your arm. So I always think about digging my elbows into the floor so I can pull my chest through. Take your shoulders back a little bit and lift your head up.

I want you to actually start with your knees on the ground. We're gonna slowly curl your right like in activating your hamstring a then extend, curl your other leg in and extend, curl in and extend. Curl in and extent. And I have my toes pointed because I'm trying to work my calves again part of the posterior chain and not have them flexed. Now from here, let's walk your elbows forward a little bit to give you a little bit more space forward so it's easier to lift your knees your knees are hovering off for you're gonna bring your right leg in and extend lift leg in which for me is super hard and extend.

Right like in and extend left leg and extend right and left and right and left. You can bring your knees back down to the ground hands can be here or you can even bring them more forward to try to keep your legs together as you bend your knees and extend. If this bothers your lower back, just come lower with your upper body which means you could be here, you could be here and try to kind of tuck your pelvis under a little bit. And imagine as you're pulling your legs into this hamstring curl that something is trying to pull you back down to the ground so you're creating your own kind of energy to make it harder then it would be on its own. And we're gonna come back to the position where your elbows are into the mat.

We're gonna see if you can lift up into your Swan from there. So we just wanna kind of feel where we're gonna end up so my Swan can come pretty high, because my lower back moves a lot, my upper back doesn't wanna move at all. So I want you to start by taking your right leg to sort of the outside right part of the map with your elbows down. At the same time as your hand, push your arm straight your right leg just kind of takes a step back to the middle, and then you lower down your right leg steps out to the side. You lift and lower down, and lift and lower down, lift and lower down, lift and down four more.

One, two, thee and four. Right, like I'm such, the middle left, like takes a little step out so your left leg is a little bit out from the side. We're gonna bring it back to center as you lift up. So you're not trying to have it lifted when your chest comes off the floor, you're trying to have it down on the floor, but in line with your leg. Open outs, push to lift, open out, push to lift a couple more times.

And last one, and then you can lower all the way back down. Press yourself back into a child's pose. And especially if you're feeling anything in your back, I want you to take your hips and kind of tuck them under and you can lift up to your fingertips so this is more of a back stretch. And then just kind of hanging out here. So make it a little bit active.

And then we'll come forward and step into a plank from your plank you'll lift up into a downward facing dog, which is not up stretch, up stretches is this, we're trying to be in a downward facing dog to try and keep our plank nice and straight. And then just shift forward into your back. Push with your arms, hips go up and come forward, back to a plank. Push lift and forward, push lift and forward, extra one, push, lift and hold and walk your feet in a little bit if you want to. Come to your tiptoes which actually is gonna ship some weight into your shoulders, bend your elbows, and push you're doing eight of these two, three, I'm going a little out with my oldest today.

You can keep your elbows in more if you want to five, six, seven and eight. Go ahead and drop down to your knees. We're gonna take a child's pose. And then we'll come back into a plank. So from your plank, I just want you to hold on, hold and breathe, breathe and hold.

Try to find a little extra rotation in your shoulders, which is gonna send your elbows back some drop down to your knees are gonna slowly lower all the way down onto yourself. So from here, I take your arms, plaster them to your sides. So you have your thumbs and your pinkies both attached, chin can start down on the floor, you can open your legs a little bit which makes it a little bit easier on your back. When you lift up, I want you to rotate your arm so your thumbs are gonna come out to the side. So you lift up and lower back down.

Lift and lower. Lift up and lower for one and down two, three and Four. Go ahead and load and you can just turn your head to one side and shake everything out. I take your arms to a T. This time when you come back with your arms, they're gonna come towards your side.

So on an inhale, lift up, bring your arms towards your sides with your pinkies facing in. Open your arms back to a T Don't let them touch the floor. Inhale to lift and lower. Inhale to lift and lower. Lift up and lower.

Do four, one, two, three and last one four. And go ahead and lower down. From there you're gonna push yourself back and then we're gonna come forward again propping yourself up on your forms, I'm gonna class my hands here. This time we're gonna bend my knees and let my legs separate. I'm just gonna windshield wiper my legs from side to side.

I actually don't care if I have a hip that lifts off. I think that actually feels good. So I'm trying to get a little bit of a twist from this. Again it should feel better then exercise better than exercise same thing. It shouldn't feel like work is what I mean.

So from there you have your heels together to start. Your head is down. You're gonna take one leg, lift it up and down. So we're gonna stay on the right for eight. So there's three, four, five, six or seven and eight. Switch it.

Eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight. I have both these bent. Try to hover your knees off the floor. This time they're kind of closer to you. They don't have to be all the way together, they're just closer.

They lift up. See if you can lift your upper body up, keep your knees lifted. She'd feel everything the backside of your body rotates a thumbs are out so you can lift your chest up a little bit more knees up a little bit more. Hold for eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and lower down. You're gonna push up to a Quadro pet position.

She feel great just cause it's different. Tuck your pelvis, extend your spine, tuck your pelvis, extend your spine. So it's like kind of a little cat stretch. Now we're gonna push back so that your butt comes towards your heels. When you push forward, think about your butt doing the pushing.

So it's hip extension to come forward and reach back, hip extension forward and reach back. And you don't even need to have your hands down they can kind of just catch you, come back, catch and come back. We'll do four more like this one and back, two, three and four. I'm gonna narrow up my legs a little bit because I'm gonna do the same thing. We may do it with just my right leg, with my left leg, reaching back.

So co forward or back and forth back and push back and push back and push. So you should be really feeling the stabilizers of your rights glute. You should also be feeling your hip extensors as you're pushing forward you might feel the hamstring and glute of your lifted leg. Now we'll push forward you've got that leg lifted. We're gonna lower down chin towards the mat.

Lift back up, push back, come forward, lower down, lift up, push back. I think we'll do six. Here's three kind of wishing I said four, here's four and five and last one six, stay up in a quadrupedal. You can bring your knee back to sort of, it's more normal position. You can take your Up leg and just gonna lift it by squeezing your glutes up and down, up and down, lift and lift for eight two, three, four, five, six, seven.

Leave it up on the eight. We're gonna curl it and extend, curl and extend Pearl and extend, curl and hold lift up and down for eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. That light can come down. Other light can come up. We're gonna kind of have that like a little bit more to the middle where I sort of sit back, push forward, sit back and forward, back and return.

So energy through your right leg. Just keep your right leg lifted. That is using your back extensors, it's using your glutes. It's using your hamstrings. If you're feeling this in your lower back, your lower back does have muscles and we need to strengthen them.

You don't wanna feel anything kind, Tingley or pinchy or anything like that, but in general, it is not bad to feel you're back working. We'll go back, we'll come forward. So I did six pushups, which was a mistake. I should have done four, but gotta be consistent. We're gonna lower down, lift up, push back, two, three, four, five, and six.

That leg it's to stay up. We're gonna do little lift, up and up. Try to keep your hips square, I'm talking to myself there cause they definitely were not. Lift and lift for eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. We're gonna curl and extend.

Two, three, hold the curl little lifts for eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Leg down hips back round your spine and come forward onto your stomach. And you can rust down on your hands. We're gonna take one leg out to the side. So I'm gonna start with the camera leg.

So my knee is out. Maybe it's 90 degrees depends on how your hips like or dislike this you're gonna internally rotate and lower back down, internally rotate and down. Not exactly the posterior chain, but still a good exercise in a passive range of motion. I can get my foot almost to the floor on the other side, which is totally not okay. And my physical therapist is like never, ever, ever do that.

It's just because things are very unstable in my left hip lift and lower and lift and lower. We'll do four more, one and two and three and four. Take that leg back. Other light comes out to this side. You're gonna lift it up and lift and lower.

So it's internal hip rotation just for something different to give us a break who lift up and down and up and down. So for more one and two and three and four. Go ahead and bring that leg back. Elbows by your side, we're gonna press up into your swan and lower back down. On this one we will be lifting your legs so think energy through your legs.

I prefer to keep my legs a little bit separated on this. I like Swan dive with legs together on everything, but the mat, but on the mat, I feel like it can get into your back too easily. So I like my legs little separate. You don't have to. Lift up lower down, lift up lower down, lift up and down for more like this two, three, and four.

I'm gonna take a little break. So on the next one, we are gonna do the dive. I'm gonna do a variation with my arms to it. And then my hands coming back towards my side or catching the mat not quite sure. We're just gonna have to see how it goes.

So lift up when you go forward, you're just gonna shoot your arms side catch yourself out and catch. So to keep sort of the rock going, you can either shoot your arms overhead, or you can bring your arms to a T and then towards your side. So you're going out, we'll do four, two, three and hands down, push back into a child pose. And you can kind of wiggle a little bit from side to side. Let's do a quick little exercise where we're sitting sort of on your hip with your legs extended.

So your bottom leg is maybe a 45 degree angle. You're gonna turn your chest towards the front of the mat. And then when you come forward, lift your back leg press to come back up. So you're actually lifting both legs and up. We'll just do five, two, three, four, hold it there on the five.

Redo little lifts with your top leg for eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Press to come up. Forearms brings you back to the center. You can clasp your hands. We're just gonna lift up into a forum plank and hold.

Let's go for eight, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. We'll lower down slight turn to the left. So you have your left leg your right leg is on top. You lift up and twist towards the front of the mat. We'll dive for one, two, three, six, seven, and eight.

Untangle your self quick child's pose. And then we've been looking down at the floor for a really long time. So we're gonna flip it over and look up at the ceiling. And we've collected any weird funds on your pants. You can remove that because I find that really distracting when I'm working out.

So you're gonna start lying down on your back legs or come in a bridge, but we're gonna ask a little bit more correct. From here, so this up position, your sternum lifting up more. So this might give you enough space to get your hands underneath your hips, which is one of the ways to do the kicks is you're gonna take your like one, two, three, four, five, and six. leg comes down, lift your sternum up more. So in this position, you should be able to just almost have no weight in your hands, sternum, too.

Your throat sternum to your throat, to your throat, shoulders back and then you can go ahead and lower all the way back down. Hug your knees into your chest we haven't done a lot of leg stretches so I just wanna take a moment to stretch your legs before we need them to be able to be straight more easily. So you'll extend and bend for four, two, three, and four. Little bend of your knees, into your chest, little rock from side to side, you're gonna bring your arms down towards your side. Can start with your legs up towards the ceiling, take your legs up and over.

So I don't feel like going all the way to the floor, but I'm gonna have to try to have my legs really straight here and then, you know, bring my hands kind of underneath my back. And I'm gonna bend my knees like towards my face. From here, I'm gonna extend my knees forward. It's where I'm sitting more in my hands. I'm gonna take one leg up, one leg can be bent towards my face, one leg can be bent, like swing towards the floor.

And I'm gonna curl that shape all the way in. Think about sitting into your hands and then extend your legs. One leg bent and the other leg also bent. We'll come out into that shape one light reaches. Now we're gonna try to take the leg towards your face and extended the leg away from you and extend it bend both in coming back towards your face.

Rents hit, do that same thing. Sit into your hands. One light begins to extend away. One leg begins to extend up and then bend everything to come back in, release your hands by your side. Legs can be overhead, have them be really straight.

And then you're gonna have one leg bent and you're gonna slowly lower this down. The light that's bent, it's gonna come to the floor. The other leg is gonna stay up towards the ceiling. You're gonna lift up and down three times, two and three. Lift the bent leg back up, lower your legs down to take your legs up and over.

You're gonna switch. So you have one bent leg, one straight leg, work, straight dish for me, and then slowly lower down. I want it to be slower than that, but you know, life will lift up to lift up three and then you take that shape. See if you get some energy to take it up, that was really ugly and over, but you know what ugly is, sometimes it is honest and all movements cannot be perfect even those perfect Instagram people. Legs are straight up towards the ceiling. You're kind of sitting in your hands a little bit.

We're just gonna hold it there. I'm gonna take your legs out to the side and back out to the side and back in two more. And last one, let your legs come back, arms come down and then just bend your knees. As you slowly lower everything all the way to the floor and rock a little bit from side to side. So all of like the high scissors and high, whatever just are not exercises that I'm good at but that doesn't mean they're not valuable to work on, especially if you're working on trying to strengthen the parts of your body, you need to have a strong to do that.

And I think about those exercises as more arm strength than I do think about them as AB strength, definitely or even back strength. Really to me is like, how much can your arms help you in that situation? So go ahead and rock yourself all the way up to seated. I feel like we can't do this exercise or this workout without including rocking another exercise I'm not particularly good at. And it's definitely hard to talk through.

So we're gonna do a couple of preps of it and then see how I'm like gracefully getting down on my stomach, like gracefully or not come onto your stomach. And then you're gonna lie down and you can have your head down. You can bend one knee, grab hold of your ankle, bend the other knee, grab hold of your ankle. So if your ankles are impossible to reach, this is a good time to have loose pants on 'cause then you can grab loose pants. You're gonna press into your feet to lift yourself up and then lower back down.

So I think about it as actually a leg extension, take your shoulders back, lift your head up and lower back down. So again, I'm not super bendy in this way, so I'm not making that beautiful arc that some people make, but I'm making the art that I make. And then you're gonna take it into a rock. So I like the inhale up, exhale down, throw your head back because that way again, I can't really talk into this at the same time. So you're gonna lift up and then lower down heels and towards you, go ahead and push your legs all the way straight.

And we're just gonna actually shimmy a little bit from side to side. So just kind of sending your butt to the left and to the right, but I tend to do it kind of quickly because to me it feels best. If you do it a little bit faster, hands can come by you. This center child pose will be a little bit more lengthy and stretchy. So arms really reached forward.

Try actually to bring your arms closer than normal, maybe even so close to your stomach touch. And then little bit of pressure into your fingertips, lift your elbows up and lift up elbows, elbows lift, and down. Grab hold of your ankles. And I have a necklace that's like catching on my chin, make sure your necklace, isn't gonna decapitate you or choke you. And then you're gonna roll forward onto the top of your head, round your spine and lower back down.

Again, lift up, find that stretch and lower back down one more like this, lift and lower back down. We're gonna take both hands towards the right. So loft down is to me the one that's really getting stretch here and then go ahead and we'll walk it over to the other side. So right arms reaching and getting the stretch left arm is also reaching, not getting much of a stretch over here. And then go ahead and we're gonna swing your legs forward and we're gonna have one leg bent and one leg straight.

Now this straight leg is gonna be pointed. When you point your leg in a forward fold, it takes a little bit of the tension off of your nerve, it's your sciatic nerve. So it feels less stretchy actually to have your foot pointed but it doesn't mean you're getting less of a stretch. And then there's always the thing of whether stretching even does anything. I'm more of a fan of mobility and dynamic range of motion, which is essentially what Pilates is.

So I'm kind of just coming out of it, coming back into it and I'm just focusing on the right leg. And again, it's pointed and then you can go ahead and switch. And do you have a point on this side and it's totally normal, even if you don't have a leg that's recovering from being broken or having like a neurological difference from one side to the other tab, a difference from one side to the other. Generally your stronger side is your tighter side. For me, it's like my weaker side is my tighter side.

We'll do a couple more kind of coming into it and out and coming into it and out. You are welcome to take any last stretches that are meaningful for your body at this moment. And I think you've earned sitting in a slouch honestly for a little part of your day today. So if you have plans on kind of hanging out on the couch, I actually think you've earned it. If you ever feel like you need to reverse what you did in the couch, a lot of these exercises are on the couch, but reverse her sitting on the couch.

Then a lot of these exercises are great for kind of getting your back body to wake up when we spend so much time in our world a little bit forward. I hope to see you next week, next week we're gonna be doing stuff with the chair. I'm actually using an Ottoman so I can be on every side of it but that's really all you need an Ottoman or a chair and yourself. Have a wonderful rest of your day.


4 people like this.
Lots of great stretches and exercises. I had fun and feel  more toned. Since you mentioned that you have MS, I am mentioning that my daughter does too.  I am well aware that some days everything is fine and some days.. not so much. Thanks Mariska for keeping me in shape:) 
3 people like this.
As someone that is still working from home & sitting at a dining room table, I really enjoyed the class. Thank you Mariska. Now it's off to the couch!!
1 person likes this.
Hi Mariska!
Great workout. You mentioned weight training in the beginning of the class. Do you supplement your Pilates with a weight program?

David Yes! I do strength training twice a week.
Alison D
2 people like this.
Thanks Mariska, loved all the posterior chain ideas. And your humour is great too haha. 
1 person likes this.
Thank you Mariska, loved this class
3 people like this.
Thanks so much for this great class, Mariska! The posterior chain is often not worked enough by most pilates classes/movements so this class is priceless!! Would super appreciate more posterior chain workouts. 
Tess S
2 people like this.
Thanks Mariska, love your creative variations and functional exercises .
I can't get enough posterior exercises! delicious :)
1 person likes this.
Feels like I'm stretching some muscles and body parts I've obviously been avoiding, lol.  Definitely a keeper to repeat, thank you Mariska,
Gary thanks for letting me know. Indeed, it's an up and down disease. Live video shoots certainly remind me of that! My last class was a struggle, but I think making a career in fitness has been good for my health overall. And, I'm giving a TedX talk soon (it was supposed to be live and now will be online) about how you might accidentally end up in doing something you never imagined! xo
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