Class #4582

Uncle Joe's Mat Flow

25 min - Class


Flow through the exercises from Return to Life in this Mat workout by Chris Robinson. He teaches a traditional class that will improve your strength and mobility so that you are ready for anything that comes your way. He uses quick transitions and adds dynamic elements to exercises that are familiar including Side Kick, Jack Knife, and much more.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi, everyone, I'm Chris Robinson and today we're gonna do a mat called Uncle Joe's Mat. So this is my favorite mat that I like to do. This is what I do for myself. I feel that this mat is the essence of what Pilates is and I'm just going through a straight return to life mat, what Joe left us doing his variations and his reps. Okay, so just follow along and enjoy.

Okay, you're gonna start down. Nice and long, so I want my leg to squeeze together so my two legs become one. Reach my hands one way, reach my head the other way. Now I'm gonna lift my head, lift my feet all at the same time, hold here and I'm gonna reach. My hands start out above my thighs and they're gonna pump vigorously and down.

Okay, so in for five and out, but here comes the challenge. My head is forward, chin is on the chest and I'm really trying to get my head to my feet. Now, pumping really hard, my feet should not move. Can you see I'm having trouble? I gotta really work and really extend at the same time my head did the move.

Two, three, four, five, out, two, three, four, four more. Quick, vigorous pumps. Okay, last three. Nothing moves, just my arms. Okay, two more.

And out two, three, four, five, one more time, I'm constantly trying to get the head forward. Hold and down. Reach back long, flex the feet, take the arms up. Now the head comes up, and I come all the way over and I'm gonna reach, two, three, come back down. And then reach back.

So I come up, stop, I don't get to use momentum and then I go over. Reach, two, three, press the legs down, try not to move the heels of the feet. Everything is stationary, up, the legs are down. And I go over two, three and come back. Okay, now the last three, I'm a take it a little bit more to the goal, so once I'm up, dynamic and back.

So with that added speed, it's harder to keep the control. And down. Don't move the feet. Okay, one more time, up. And back.

Don't move 'em and good. Hands at your side, start with your legs straight up. Now you're gonna take your legs over and down. Now lift your hips as you go apart as much as you can and then roll down, stop here, breathe together, over, reach, down, apart, and come back. Now press your hands down strong.

Over, down, apart, keep pressing the hands. Reach it, we have two more. Over, down, apart, one more time with long legs. Over, reach, apart and come here. Hold now, we're gonna reverse.

Take it over, reach, down, together. Take it apart, the same that you did on the first set. Over, together and back. Press the hands down, don't let them move. Together and back, last two.

Keep the legs long, reach down, together, one more time. Open, over, reach, together, okay. I'll take it all the way down. Right leg is up, press the hands, press the head, press your leg, now circle, nothing move, only that top leg. Now make a big circle, that hip could come up and around, one more, now reverse, reach.

Nothing moves, I'm constantly pressing. It's like I'm doing chest expansion and up, one more, and bring it down, other leg. Reach, circle, up, nothing moves. The shoulders stay perfectly still. And across, one more time.

Now reverse it. Up. Press the leg. Nothing moves. One more time.

And come up. All right, now, I'm coming all the way in. Start with your feet down and I'm trying to get as tight as possible. Now I'm gonna get as tall as possible. Now I take my head forward.

Now keep this shape. It's gonna be a challenge. Come back a little bit. I'm a roll way back and come forward. Keep your chin forward.

Head is reaching for it the whole time. Now go way back and up, way back. Two more. Don't let those knees go away. The last one was hard for me to hold.

Let me see if I can get it on this last one. It is not easy. Okay and come back. Okay, now you're gonna lift up. This is a little different.

Single leg stretch. Now instead of grabbing here, I'm grabbing here, outside hand grabs the knee and I'm gonna pull way in and switch, switch, switch. Notice that bottom leg is the same position that was in when I did the hundred. Switch and switch. Now I'm pulling in as much as I can.

And pull, and pull, pull, two more. Pull, pull, one more time, each side. Pull, pull and good, relax. Okay, now both legs are in, lift, grab, reach out, hands stay to the side, reach as long as you can and then bring it in. Reach out and bring it in.

Now here's a little different. When I bring it in, I'm gonna bring it in as much as I can. And then reach and bring it in as much as I can. Reach and in and reach and in. Five more, nice and long, pull it in now.

Do not let the head and shoulders fall. They have to stay up for the last three. Two more. One more time. Okay.

And then come all the way up. Okay, nice and tall. Flex your feet, now, place your hands here and get as tall as possible with your feet flexed. Head comes down. You're gonna reach, reach, reach and then come up.

And, again, flex, reach, reach and up. Now I'm gonna add a little bit more to this. So reach, reach, go as far as you can here. Now from the hips, go further. And now come up.

Now see if you can go up to that furthest position from the beginning. Big reach, reach, reach, reach. Okay, one more time, we'll reach, reach. Okay, now the transition. You're gonna lean back, hold here.

Don't move a thing, bend your knees, grab inside of your legs and now reach long. Okay, from here the legs are apart pretty wide. Chin forward, you're gonna go way back. It's a little different and then come forward. Balance.

Way back and forward. Go back however far you can to where you still have control so I'm going back pretty far. Notice my head is always forward. I'm not throwing my head back. My head is always forward.

Now I got to use my stomach to come home, not my head. Way back. Lift. Come back, keep that head there. Now it's my stomach.

Last one. Reach and come back and good, bring it together and just lie down. Okay, from here come straight up. You're gonna go over, twist, go down on your right side. Make as big of a circle as you can.

And then come up. Turn all the way around. Remember those two legs are one and over. Twist, way around. And over.

Twist, see how low can you take your feet and up, okay, one more time. Way around and up. Last one. Way around. And here, okay, go ahead and sit up.

Okay, come up nice and tall. Take your arms out as wide as you can. So this is straight. I'm going back even further. Press the feet, press those legs down.

Keep the arms way back. Now I'm gonna turn as much as I can and then I'm gonna reach, reach, reach. Come up, open as much as I can, turn, turn, turn and then reach, reach, press those legs down. Up tall, you're gonna turn. Turn and then reach.

Now with this back hand, lift it up as much as you can. Okay, and turn, turn, turn and reach, reach, lift that back hand. Legs are down open. Keep it open as you turn. Keep it open and then you reach.

One more, open, open, keep it, keep it, you gotta work for it and then you reach. Okay, bring it together and then flip over. Start with your hands here, reach your legs away. Now you're gonna lift your chest forward and up. Okay, in one motion your arms go out to the side, chin is gonna lead you and you're gonna rock.

Do your swan. Don't change the shape. So it doesn't have to be big, but that shape has to change, doesn't change and come back. And now, make a fist. Lift both feet up and now right leg.

Kick, kick, kick, kick. Kick, kick, kick, kick. Try not to move your torso. Kick, kick, two more. Kick, kick, kick, kick, one more time.

Kick, kick, kick, kick. Okay, here, a little different. You chin goes to the mat. Take your hands behind you. Elbows are a little lifted, bend your arms.

Your right hand grabs all your left fingers. Now in one motion you're gonna kick and lift. Hold it. And then come right back, it's dynamic. Kick and hold it.

And back, one more. Kick and lift, hold it. And come back. Now change hands, grab the other fingers. And lift, come back, kick and lift, that head is way up and back.

One more and up. Okay. Come back, just sit back for a second. Flip over. Lie down, lace your fingers behind you.

Open the elbows as wide as you can, head comes up first, all the way over, keep those elbows wide. Two, three, nice and tall. Now the head comes forward first and then come down. And then up and over, keep that wide, two, three, nice and tall. Don't move your feet and come down.

Up and over. One, two, three, nice and tall. Okay, head forward and go down, two more. Up and over. Elbows wide, two, three, up.

Head and down. Last one. Keep reaching the legs away, that's where you get your stretch by using strength and here and then roll down and good. Okay. From here, bring the knees in, lift up.

Now, my fingers go to my seat and I'm gonna reach away, okay, and kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. Kick, reach. Every time I switch my legs I reach a little bit more. Reach a little bit more one more time. Okay, and then just move your hands and come down, press your feet down. Lift up, take your thumbs, put it under your waist.

Now I got my pelvis, now I can pull it away. Press your left leg down, right legs up and reach and kick. As I kick, I reach. I reach one more and then switch. Press this leg down, reach this away.

And reach and reach and reach and come on down. Sit up nice and tall. Open out, back is straight. Now, take those arms back as much as you can. You gotta keep them that way.

You're gonna turn, turn. Now the third one, hold it. Now you turn your chin and get a little more. Okay, and turn, turn, then reach. Turn a little more.

Don't move the heels. Turn, turn, turn that chin. Okay, and again. Again, turn it. One more time, you get that extra stretch at the end, but you gotta keep the hands back the whole time, both sides.

Last one. Okay, it's easy to let the arms go. Okay, lie down. The jack knife. Press your arms down, press your head down, the head doesn't move.

Take the legs up, hold it. Go over, pause, jack knife up and turn your palms up to the ceiling. Come back, go down. So you get those pauses in between. So over, jack knife up.

Come back and down. Over, straight up an back and down. One more. So over, up, there it is. Come back and come home.

Okay, on your side facing me. Back is against the back part of your mat lace your hands behind you. Okay, press this bottom leg down. Top leg is up just barely. It's a little different, it's dynamic.

Now, the head is reaching forward, lift the leg, now you're gonna kick forward, hold. Back hold, this is dynamic. Four, hold it. Back, hold it. Reach that bottom one away, hold it.

Hold it. This is how I run, hold it. Hold it, one more time. Reach and reach and here. Okay, let's go to the other side, I'll spin around, normally I face the other way just so you can see me.

Okay, lift that leg and now just kick forward and back. Forward, hold it, back, hold it, forward hold it, back hold it, forward hold it. Back hold it, it's dynamic, hold it. Hold it. Okay, and then take it back down.

All right, nice and tall here. Now the body is straight and you're gonna go to your teaser. Now the old school way of doing it. Reach the legs long. Now I'm just gonna go all the way down to here.

See how I keep that shape and then I'm a come up. One, two, now when I go forward I get closer, closer, that's the teaser part. And then come up. Okay, so reach, now, I got a 90 degree angle as best as I can. I'm gonna keep it till I go all the way to there.

Don't move the legs, come up one, get a little closer for two. Get a lot closer for three and keep coming closer to the feet and that brings me down with control. One more time, so I grow. Keep that 90. That's kind of tough and go up one.

Long legs, remember those two legs are one, two. Now get all the way, how close can you get? And then here. Okay, now from here, take your arms back, you have choices. You can go here, if you're on an elevated mat, you can go way down here.

Back is long. Head is forward. You're gonna lift the legs up. Circle and lift up as much as you can. Circle, lift up.

Circle, lift up. Circle. Way up there. Don't move your shoulders. That makes it a little harder.

Don't move the shoulders. Hold it and then come back up. All right, go ahead and flip over. Okay, you're gonna reach long. Lift your chest, lift your arms, lift your legs and now just swim.

Try to go up with everything. 10, 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two one. Sit back on your heels. Now you're gonna come out to a pushup position. Now hold this line.

Now lift your leg up and lift your chest. Nothing else moves and come down. And then the other side and then everything is straight and then lift, everything is straight. Lift, straight, lift, straight, one more time. Lift it and good, okay, go ahead and change.

Now here, make sure your fingers are pointed away from each other. Now lift up as much as you can. Now kick up, kick, two, kick, three, one more time, each side, try not to let your hips drop down. Okay, and turn to the side. Okay, this is a little different.

Instead of being straight here, you're gonna angle way out here. Top hand on top on the side of your head and your fingers turned towards your shoulder so it opens your armpit. Now the leg isn't too high in line with your waist and now the same thing, you're gonna kick forward with dynamics, back and hold it. Show me the control. And back.

Kick and back. Kick, back, one more time. Kick, back and come up. Okay, other side. Okay, so this is at an angle.

Bring your hand here, turn your fingers. Lift the leg and kick, back, kick, back. Stomach, glutes, stomach, glutes, one more, back. And come on up. This hip is down.

Now, stack your feet on top of one another. Okay, you're gonna start with your hand here. Now lift the knees up a little bit. Use your powerhouse to come up and make a straight line first, then go over and reach. The more you reach, the more you get the bend.

Come down, put the hand on the leg and I want you to look at it as it slides down. When the calves touches, come up. Reach, come back, touch it. One more time. Reach, push this hand into the ground, come back and the come home.

Okay, other side. Stack the feet. Hand on top. Okay, now reach, make a straight line first. Now the more you reach you get the bend.

Okay, then come back, touch, slide, look at it. Reach and back. And reach and back and then come on. Okay, spin it around. The boomerang.

Take the right leg on top. Hands here. You're gonna go back. Now when you switch, reach more away, press your arms down. You're gonna come forward with control.

Take your hands and control your descent down. Lower your head, lift your arms and then here. So take it, okay, cross it, come here. Now I'm a challenge you on this one. See where your head is?

Keep your head and knee close together as you go back. Keep it as you change. Keep it as you come forward. That's where it gets serious. Then one, two, three, one more.

Take it back. Reach. Change, press those arms down, come forward, take it here and then lift, two, three. Sit up for the seal. Now, the soles of your feet come together and I want you to try to get your knees as close to your shoulders as possible.

Okay, you're gonna clap. One, three, take it back. One, two, three, keep it close. That's where it's hard, come back. Right about now.

Keep that chin on your chest. Keep the head going forward. Now I can take my legs way back. Okay, two more and back. One, two, three.

The goal is to be two inches from the ground here with the toes, that's kind of hard with two inches from the ground here, basketball. One more time, do one extra. Okay, and back, one, two, three and sit up. Okay, the crab. I want you to grab from the bottom.

Okay, and you're gonna get tall. Now, from here take the head forward, go back. You're gonna reach, change, come forward, press it down and then come over. Use your stomach to come up. There you go, take it back, switch it, bring it down, press it.

Come over. The powerhouse takes you back. Change it. Come back and over. Okay and back.

So see how I'm not using my body weight. I'm using my stomach to come up here. That brings me up and change and over. One more time. That takes me back, change.

That brings me over. And then sit up here. Place your hands down. Shoot your legs back. Chin is down, a little different.

Take your hands here. Grab here. One motion. Lift, hold it. And down.

Just give you a couple of practices. Up, hold it and down. Now hold it and now low rock. Don't change the shape. Use your powerhouse to shift forward and back, not your head.

Your head is much as it can. It doesn't fall. Okay, sit back. Okay, just sit on your heels. Okay, so from here just turn around.

Okay, you're gonna lie back. Reach up, now one foot is down, gonna grab it, reach this leg up and switch. And switch. Reach that top leg up as much as you can to keep your body light and switch up and switch. Then both arms, both legs are up.

Take your hands up and then you're gonna roll and come all the way up. Okay, turn around. Reach up, long, fingers go one way, heels go the other. Now you're gonna come down, grab your legs, try to get your forehead to your knees, not your shins. Now you're gonna walk out, two, three, four.

Press your heels down and lean back. Stretch that lower back. Come up on your heels and come over. Your chin is gonna lead you. I get my chin to the mat.

One, two, now the powerhouse picks me up. Go back first onto your heels and then you're gonna walk back. Grab the legs and then reach and come all the way up. And again, so go down, grab, pull up and in. Now here, walk out one, two, three, four.

Press the heels and lean way back and in one motion come over and go one, two, a little bit of a flow. Three and back and walk. That's how it should be. Grab. Okay, we'll do it one more time.

Okay, so grab. Here, press the heels, walk out, one, two, three, four, heels down. Lift up and go right to it. One, two, three, come back. Press, walk, two, three, four, grab.

And reach. And here. All right. So, that's Uncle Joe's mat, so straight return to life. This is one of my favorite things to do because I feel strong, but I don't feel beat up.

Everything is primed and loose and ready to go so I feel I can go out there and do anything I need to do in the world. Okay, enjoy that.


1 person likes this.
I loved this. And finally got boomerang thanks to your cues. Thank you! 
Amy B
2 people like this.
This was fabulous Chris, loved your energy and back to old school flow.
2 people like this.
Yes, yes, yes! The energy, the strength, the flow - and all in 25 minutes. Thank you, Chris.
2 people like this.
Thanks Chris! I didn't have a lot of time this morning and this packed a lot of controlled work into a quick class. Sweating!
1 person likes this.
Challenging! Basics! Love it!! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Chris, great workout and loved the rocking too which normally I hate 
1 person likes this.
Sooo fun, thank you so much! Challenging and refreshing.
2 people like this.
Thank you Chris--used this as a nice quick  morning wakeup.  (And love that PA outside deck as a backdrop.)
2 people like this.
Quick NIce Strong WO - No Over-cueing Just Purrfect!!! Thanks 🙏
Lina S
1 person likes this.
This practice convinces me to buy Return to Life, the second book written by Joseph Pilates.
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