Class #4801

Upper Body Theraband

30 min - Class


Join Wendy Foster in this lengthening and strengthening flow! You will begin by connecting to your breath and body, then progress to more energizing full-body exercises. There is an emphasis on arm work throughout this class to create a sense of an open chest and a strong upper body. If possible, grab your partner or friend for a playful variation of some standing work at the end of class.
What You'll Need: Mat, Theraband

About This Video


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I'm Wendy, and I'm here with Anne today for a prenatal resistance band workout. So all you'll need for this workout is a resistance band and maybe a small ball or a towel for in between your inner thighs. So we're gonna start with the resistance band. We're gonna bring it around your ribs, kind of where your bra strap is, and all you're gonna do here is feel the resistance band just gently into your back, into the sides of your ribs, and you're just gonna take some breaths into that resistance band. So inhale as you expand the resistance band out to the side, and as you exhale, just kind of feel the resistance band gently come back to center.

So inhaling into the band, and exhaling through your mouth. And it's a medium-strength resistance band, so it shouldn't be too tight, but you also don't want it too loose. And this is the breath you want to use throughout this workout, that posterior lateral rib cage breathing. So again, into the sides of the ribs. Last one.

Great job. And then you'll bring your elbows down. Yup. And you'll have your elbows next to your rib cage, 90-degree angles with your arms, and all you're gonna do is reach your arms out in front of you, and just bend your elbows right back in. Yeah, so a little inhale.

Try not to fling yourself forward, but stay lifted. Stay centered with that breath. Inhale back in. Two more, just like this, a little warmup as you reach like you're reaching your arms out, serving a tray. And then here, you're gonna bring your arms out in front, and then you're gonna bring your arms out to the side without pinching your shoulder blades together.

Bringing your arms back in and bending your elbows. So you're gonna inhale, reach those arms out without letting them lift, open up, and bring your arms back, and in. So exhale. Bring your arms out. Inhale as you open.

Reach through those fingertips. Exhale. Bring your arms back in. And inhale, bend. Beautiful.

Two more. Reaching out, staying lifted, staying centered. And bend. Last one, bringing your arms out, and here you're gonna stay right here. So again, slide those shoulders down, open up through the chest, and you're gonna reach out through your fingertips and just do little arms circles here.

So just teeny tiny arms circles in one direction. Yep. Continuing to reach out through the fingers. Nice and long through the biceps, through the arm muscles, and then see if you can reverse the direction of the circle. (exhaling breaths) Five, four, three, two, and one.

Go ahead and bring your arms in. Roll your shoulders around. You're gonna take the band and bring it in front of you now, and you might have a five or a six-foot length band, so you'll just have a little tail on each end. Reaching your arms out in front. Yep.

Slide those shoulders down, and see if you can just inhale. Keep your shoulders down, but reach the band up. Yep. And then lower it back down. Good.

So inhale. Just open through the chest. A little bit of a lift through the sternum. And down. And your wrists should be straight as you reach out.

Inhale, lifting up. Exhale, bringing down. Good. Last one. Inhale, lift.

Keep your shoulders down. Stay rooted through the sits bones, and you're just gonna reach to one side and get a nice stretch, and then exhale back to center. Beautiful. Other side. Inhale as you reach, making sure those ribs stay in line with your hips.

Exhale back. Gorgeous. Keep going. Keep sliding your shoulders down, and back. Yep.

And keep rooted through the sits bones. Inhaling over, and exhaling back. And then one more time on the left side. Inhale as you reach. Beautiful.

Lengthening out, rooting down, and back to center. Great job. Bring those arms down, and we're gonna come to a seated position with the band. Again, I like to place a little towel under the tailbone. Just can be a hand towel, just something to lift you up a little bit, so your hip flexors don't get so tight and grip.

You're gonna place the band around the feet, holding onto each end of the band. Yup. And again, you do not have to have your legs straight. You'll probably have your knees bent, and that's even better, because you'll get more mobility through the spine with the bent knees. So starting with your arms straight here.

Yep. Holding onto the band, rooting down and reaching out through the crown of the head. You're just gonna do a couple little pelvic curls here, keeping your arms nice and straight. Yeah. And then inhale, come back up.

Yep. And you're gonna exhale. Look down at your pubic bone. Gorgeous. Inhale, come back up.

And this is fabulous. You don't want a huge scoop here. It's more about getting that mobility through the pelvis, okay? And less about really hollowing out the belly at this point. You want to think of that length between the hips and the lower ribs, keeping that length like you have no wrinkles in your shirt as you do this little pelvic curl.

Good. And then from here, you're gonna come back and you're gonna hold the curl, sliding the shoulders down, and just row your arms, and you're just gonna bend your elbows. And inhale, reach out. Good, yes. And your gaze can be down at your pubic bone or towards your knees.

Exhale, bringing the elbows in without rounding that upper back. Three more. And here's where you want to look for any bulging in your belly. If you're bulging, you're gonna want to come up and not be even in such a deep pelvic curl. Last one.

Inhale, arms go straight, and come all the way up to a seated position right here. You're gonna stay just like this, and all you're gonna do is rotate your palms up towards the ceiling and bring your elbows in and give a little lift as you look up towards the ceiling, just for some slight extension, and then let your arms go straight. Yeah. So palms come up. You're gonna inhale.

Squeeze those elbows in, lift and open through the sternum, and then exhale, arms go straight. Gorgeous. Two more. So the lower back, the lumbar spine, the pelvis just stays right where it is. It's just a lift from the upper chest.

Yep. Last one. Nice. And back. We're gonna come back to where we started, and you're gonna do a little pelvic curl and roll back, and then bring your elbows in as you row, and then arms goes straight, and sitting up.

So we're kind of bringing it all together. So you're gonna exhale, curl, and roll back, squeezing the elbows in, gaze down to the pubic bone, and inhale, come back up. Beautiful. And remember, it doesn't have to be fast. Slower is sometimes harder.

Yep. And working in both directions is gonna give you that efficiency that you're looking for in your workout. Last one. Exhale as you curl. Yup.

And arms go straight. So now, from here, your palms are towards the floor. You're gonna exhale, curl, and roll back, and just your right arm's gonna come back and you're gonna add a little twist and look over that right shoulder. Yes. And then back to center.

And then other arm, left arm, as you twist and rotate. And inhale, come back to center. And exhale, right side. As you curl, a little bit of a twist. Just that upper chest is twisting.

The hips stay forward. The legs stay forward. Reaching through those heels. Great job. Just a micro twist.

It doesn't have to be a huge rotation, just enough to remind your spine that it can move and rotate without crunching or shortening. Great. One more time each side. You got it. Exhale.

Engage that pelvic floor. Use those abdominals to stabilize. Yes. Last one. And center.

Come all the way back up and bring your shoulders down. You're going to here criss-cross the band. Yep. And same thing. Your elbows are gonna stay wide, and you're just gonna bring the band across your chest as your elbows go wide, and then inhale forward.

Yes. So the goal here is to not pinch those shoulder blades again. Yes. And to think of really creating some width, thinking of your elbows really reaching away from each other. Yeah, beautiful.

Then lifting up. You don't necessarily need to lift up really high. Working those back muscles, opening through the chest. Two more. Nice.

And last one. Gorgeous. And release. Sweet. And now you're gonna come to all fours.

So moving through your spine, just doing some nice, big hip circles. So inhale as you come back to one heel and over to the other. Yeah. This is great for pregnancy. You can have your knees very wide, your feet as wide as you want.

Create some space and some movement, moving through the ribs. Beautiful. Breathing into the side. Great job. Moving through the entire body, and then see if you can reverse the direction.

So going counter-clockwise, pressing into the hands, and just moving through that pelvis. You're gonna want a lot of pelvic mobility. It can really help with labor and birth. And just gently drawing that belly in to stay stable through your low back as well. Last one on this side, and then you'll come down to a nice child's pose.

Again, knees wide. Yep. Just breathe into your back. Take this opportunity to just center. Expand that rib cage.

Stretch those intercostals out. And then walk your hands all the way over to the left side and sit back on that right heel. Really get that stretch through the side body and then come back to center, and over to the other side, walking your hands over the right, sitting back on that left heel, getting that nice stretch through the side body. Especially if you're short-waisted can really help during pregnancy to create a little more space for baby. All right, so you're gonna come on up out of child's pose, rolling through the spine, and we're gonna come up to a kneeling position.

I like to have the towel under my left knee. Yep. And your right foot's gonna be in front of you like you're doing a lunge position. So you'll bring your right foot in front. Yes.

And you'll hold on to the band, yeah, and all you'll do here is the great hip flexor stretch. You just want to reach the band up as you lunge forward and open through the front of the hip, and then exhale, bring the arm down, and come back. Yes. So inhale as you reach up. You get that nice length through the psoas, through the hip flexors, through the thigh, and that can be really important to stretch during pregnancy because if your hip flexors are shortened, can really affect your overall alignment of your low back.

Nice. And down one more time, and you come as far forward as feels comfortable for you. Again, the shoulders are drawing down, and back. From here, you're gonna take the band and just bring it across your shin and hold onto the band down by your hip. So slide your hands down towards your legs.

Yep. Great. And so you're gonna open the chest, exhale, draw your belly in, and just reach your arms back behind you. Yeah. Opening.

Yep. And then inhale. Arms come to starting. So it's just a few inches. It's not a huge motion.

It's just enough to remind your chest, remind your upper back that it can find some safe extension without flaring or thrusting forward. Great. Two more. And your weight is evenly placed on your foot, your front foot and your left knee, so it's not... You're not shifting your weight to that left side.

And back. Great job. You're gonna switch it out to the other side, so you can bring the towel under the right knee, bringing the left knee left leg in front, and then start with that hip flexor stretch on this side. So arms out in front, and as you inhale, you'll just lean forward, bringing the band up, open through the chest, get a nice stretch through the front of that right thigh. And back.

Great. Inhale. As you reach and lift, you're gonna get more length through your psoas, so it's up to you. Again, you may be able to just bring your arms up partway, and that's absolutely fine. Whatever feels comfortable for you.

The important thing is not to overarch the back or thrust those ribs forward. Two more. Inhale, lifting up, and you can even bring your gaze up. And center. Last one.

Inhaling up. And exhaling down. Beautiful. Bring the band around that left shin. And your hands are out by your hips.

Your wrists are nice and straight, so try not to bend at your wrists. Perfect. And you're just going to bring your arms back as you open through the chest. I like to exhale. It helps engage the abdominals, which can be a little bit trickier when you're pregnant.

And inhale back. And it helps to slide the shoulders down as you exhale. Pressing through that front foot, and at the same time, rooting down through that right knee. Great job. A couple more.

Doesn't have to be a big extension or arching position. Last one. Hugging that baby with each exhale, each breath. And arms come back. Great job.

Go ahead and bring the band back, and you're going to come to a kneeling position again, both knees down. Yes. And arms out in front here. You can hold on to, either could double the band up if it's long, or you can just use one length. Yep.

Here, so same thing, we're gonna come back to this kind of hinge that we've done, so remember we talked about hinging, how important it is to do the hinging position. I'm gonna put the ball in between the inner thighs. Yup. And you're just gonna hold onto the band there. Using that ball again to engage that pelvic floor and help with alignment, you're just gonna inhale, hinge back a little bit, and exhale, come forward.

Yes. So inhale, hinging back. I like to bring my gaze up towards the ceiling. It helps give a little extra lift. Gorgeous.

And back. Couple more. So you don't want to compress that low back, that lumbar spine. You want to stay lengthened, and that ball can really help you to bring everything to center. And back.

Good. And now here, you're gonna inhale back, and you're gonna exhale. Just give a micro twist to one side. Coming back to center, and then up. Beautiful.

Inhale back. Exhale. Just a little bit of rotation with that upper spine, and center, and back, using that core, not your back to pull you back. And rotate, and center, and back. Last one, and twist, and center, and back.

Great job. Bringing the arms down. Now we're gonna come up and do some standing work. For the standing work, you'll want to take your band about a foot to 18 inches, and you're gonna double it up, and you're just gonna tie a knot, make a little loop. So you can just tie the tail through, doubling it up, so you've got this loop now that you can use for some lower body and upper body work.

So we're gonna start with the loop with the tail down towards the floor, and you're gonna take the loop and put it in between your forearms, up towards your elbows. Yep. Perfect. Palms up towards the ceiling, weight back on your heels, and you're just gonna press out a little bit into the band, just so there's a little bit of tension there, and all you're gonna do are some bicep curls. Yes.

Inhale, straighten, and then exhale, curl. This really isolates the biceps. It also works a little bit the sides of the arms and the triceps. Yep. Reaching.

Keeping those elbows nice and high. Keeping that space in between your shoulder blades. Yep. And weight back on the heels. One more.

You can bring your arms up. Yup. And then you can straighten them, and then you can bend your knees a little bit. Yeah. And then as you bend your elbows, you're gonna straighten your legs.

So inhale, and exhale. Yes. Inhale. Knees going forward, and exhale. Good.

Keeping the shoulders down. Tail is towards the floor. Remember you want to watch that alignment and make sure you're not sticking your tail out. And up. Last one.

And back. Great job. We're gonna take the loop out and now we're gonna put it on our lower body, down just on the outside of our shins. Yep. You might need to hold onto a wall to do this or a door.

Perfect. And you want to bring your feet a little bit wider so you can kind of feel that resistance of the band there, and you can put your hands on your hips just to stay nice and stable, and this is a great opportunity to really engage that pelvic floor. So just think of kind of drawing your tailbone towards your pubic bone and your sits bones towards each other as well, okay? And that will help you engage and stay balanced while you're standing. So from here, you're just gonna bring one leg out to the side, and do little sidekicks using that core, recruiting the adductor, so the outer thigh, and try not to really sink into that standing leg, right?

But to stay as centered as possible. This can be really hard and challenging if you're in your third trimester. So again, you can always hold on to a chair or a wall. Two more. You remember to recruit that pelvic floor, then the core.

Last one, and then go ahead, and we're gonna switch to the other side. So stay rooted in that right side first, get that positioning, and then press the leg out. Great job. If you are having a little bit of challenge finding your balance, just look for a focal point on the wall or somewhere down on the floor, and just focus on that one little point, and that can help you stay really balanced as you press through that opposite foot. Three more.

Two. Whoops. Oh, gosh. And one. Good.

All right, so go ahead here, and you're gonna take your right leg back behind you. Yep. And same thing. Try not to thrust your ribs forward or arch that back. Hinge forward a little bit so you've got that hinge happening with your spine, and you're just gonna press your leg back.

So you shouldn't feel this in your low back. It's more of a glute, hamstring, back of the leg work opportunity here as you press, and the band can be tight, or it can be small, or it can be large loop, whatever works for you. The smaller the loop, the little more work it is, so feel free to make it a little larger. Last one. And then we'll switch it out to the other side.

Great job staying balanced. I know it's so hard. So that hinge can really help, too, instead of just standing straight up and then bringing the leg back and pulsing it up. So you're really focusing on working the back of the leg as much as possible. All three hamstrings are engaging and working to pull that leg back and up, and your core's working to keep your pelvis towards the floor.

Three, two, and one. Great job. Go ahead and take that loop out. We're gonna undo the knot, and here's a great opportunity for you to find a partner or you can take your band and you can wrap it around a banister or a tree branch or anything that has something where you can stabilize it so that we can do some upper body work. But Anne and I are gonna do this work together.

So you'll need two TheraBands, okay? And they don't have to necessarily be this long. They could be four or five feet long. We're gonna each hold onto one end of the TheraBand, or not one end, but each TheraBand. Our arms are gonna start down by our sides, okay?

So it's nice if it's someone who's kind of your same size, but it also works if you're different sizes. So from here, our wrist stays straight and we're just gonna exhale, draw our belly in with the weight on the back of our heels and just float our arms back. And inhale, center. And exhale, back. And center.

So trying to time it with your partner. Recruit those abdominals and slowly float the arms back. Three more. Palms facing your hips. Two, and one.

Arms are gonna stay right here, and we're just going to take a little bit of a step back. Yep, and see if you can bend your elbows and then press back. So you might want to hinge forward a little bit. That might help you stay strong, pressing through the feet. Again, making sure you're nice and neutral through your spine.

Three, two, and one. We're gonna come back to a standing position, and we're gonna add that chest expansion where the arms float back, but we're just gonna come up on the balls of our feet, so you're gonna bring the arms back as you exhale. Come up. And lower down. And exhale, back.

And inhale, down. Couple more. Nice balance work. And down. Three.

Woo! Two more. And one. Coming all the way down, you're gonna take your arms and you're gonna lift up over your head, and you're gonna spin around, and we're gonna come back to back. Sliding your shoulders down here, you're gonna bring your elbows in with your palms up towards the ceiling, okay? And we're just gonna do that offering.

So you're going to here, again, engage those abdominals, so you don't lunge forward. Open your arms up out to the side, bringing your arms back in, and bend. So inhale as you reach out. Open up. And back in, and bend.

And back. And in. Last one. Reaching out. Arms go out, back in, and bend, and then you're gonna slide your shoulders down.

Bring your hands behind your head to a little salute position. So your elbows will be wide. You might need to choke up on the band just a little bit. And again, you're gonna hinge forward here. So go ahead and hinge forward with your elbows wide and fingertips right at the base, or behind your head.

Looking again down at the floor, not down at your feet, but a little bit ahead of you, and you're just gonna reach your palms out as your fingertips go up, and bend. So exhale as you reach out, using that core to stabilize. Draw that belly in, so you don't arch that low back. Reaching, pressing the fingertips together. Three, two, and one.

Woo! Bring your arms down. We have one more here. We're gonna take the band, bring it around again. Yup. Take a few steps back, or again, you can choke up on the band.

We're just gonna come to a nice, deep squat. So open your feet out pretty wide, almost like a horse stance. Yup. And bring your arms back just a little so there's some tension on the band, and we're gonna come down just to a nice squat. So come on.

You might have your arms back a little bit higher. Yeah, you want to bring your weight back on your feet, so you don't want to stick your tail out. Tuck your tail under just enough so that you're neutral, not so you're gripping, and then see if you can come up. Good. And back down, so inhaling down, knees go wide, and exhale up.

Last one. This one we're gonna hold. We're gonna come down. Yep, and you're just gonna bend your left knee. Straighten your right leg.

Come back to center. Bend that right knee. Straighten the other leg, and just get a nice opening through the hips. Last one. And center.

Come all the way up and bring your feet together. Go ahead and scrunch your shoulders up towards your ears, and down. Inhale, shoulders up. And exhale, down. Nice work today, ladies.

Prenatal Pilates: Mat Pilates for All Trimesters


Loved this class! I loved the opening of the tight neck, chest, and shoulder through the arm work. Looking forward to the rest of the series! 
Dharma D
1 person likes this.
This felt really good for my mid and upper back. These are the areas that have been getting tight in the third trimester. I'm sorry I'll miss the rest of the series, as I'll probably have had my little one by then. It's a pity the sessions are not rolled out at the same time. 
Dharma D , I agree, as I am about to give birth any week now.  Hope that the other sessions will be available soon!
2 people like this.
Ladies- these exercises are great for postpartum as well. Give them a try after your baby is born, when you feel ready.
Lovely class and pace for 3rd trimester. Looking forward to the next :) 

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