Class #4925

Stand Strong

30 min - Class


In this 30-minute standing class with Amy Havens you will use Hand Weights to build your strength, challenge your balance, and explore dynamic movements. You move through Traditional standing Pilates exercises with playful weight transfers. Amy gives space for you to play with movement and explore what's working for your body. Enjoy this class with Amy and expand your wings!
What You'll Need: Mat, Hand Weights (2)

About This Video


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Alright, let's begin. We'll grab our hand weights. I have two pound hand weights. You can do one pound. You can do two.

I wouldn't recommend going any higher than five pounds. We are doing some arms overhead movements here. And if you have any shoulder things you probably don't wanna be lifting that much weight, especially when we're weight transferring and reaching our arms above our head. So we have some dynamic movement weight transferring with the weight, which challenges our alignment and how we can stay aligned with weight in our hands and moving and transferring weight. So kind of fun.

Let's go ahead and begin with our heels together our toes apart and our upper legs somewhat wrapped around. We've got a good engagement in the legs. The abdominals really work on elongating your spine, everybody. And so this whole class being standing it could get tiring where you might start to feel like you're kind of shrinking down into yourself. That's not what we want.

We really wanna pull up from the ground and stay tall and aligned. Okay, so let's begin here with just a little bit of shoulders up and down. Just kind of warm up that environment here, up, down, a few circles. And I'm a big fan of doing protraction retraction work before we start any arms kind of specific work. So protraction, retraction, maybe we just put our arms here and do some retract, protract.

Just get those shoulder blades moving on your ribcage. Okay, cause a lot of the exercises we are wanting to have them relatively stabilized, but let's get some motion first. Okay, ready. This is the zip up. So put the weights together, open up the collarbone back and then we're taking the weights up the zipper line, up the midline of the body.

If you can get 'em all the way to your chin, that's where I'd like us to go and lower. Now, if some of you are working any, having any rotator cuff or shoulder, I'll just say dysfunction or upsetness or pain, monitor your range of motion. So you may be only going halfway up and some of these exercises you'll see, some ranges might feel fine. Some might feel a little bit more intricate to work through, alright? So I like to think of my shoulder blades dropping down my back prior to moving my arms up.

Okay, let's do an exhale and down. Couple more zipping up the jacket, building, strengthening these shoulders and pause here. Okay, separating your weights. Wrap your hand firmly on the weight. This is straight arms raising them forward.

Now I, my goal is to get us to shoulder height but like I said, in the zip up, your range is your range. If you're here, that's perfect. Okay, so as you lift the weights drop those shoulders first and then raise your weight. That's exhale. Are you standing as tall as you can?

You are, drop your shoulders, lift the arms. So I have a sense of reaching my arms into the space in front of me as I lift, but not taking the whole shoulder girdle forward, right? So the shoulder girdle stays aligned and lower exhale lift and twice more, exhale straight arm lift in front and last one. And now lateral raise. Palms facing your hips.

Shoulders are backing down and we lift and we lower, and ah, expand your wings, as I often say in class, expand your wings. So right now I'm letting my shoulder blades have a little bit of movement on my back, they're down, but then they go wide and just letting that happen. Natural movement. Okay, and exhale. So in standing work, we do have the abdominal muscles in and up almost all of the time.

Really nice workout for the center of you. Yeah, one more time, open and up. Okay, let's just do four combinations. So we do front and down. Lateral raise up and down.

Three more. Up, legs are still active, zipped up through the midline also. Forward, can you already start to feel a little weight shift as you're moving these weights? There's a little bit going on. Okay, now we're going to do the same straight arm work but palms going back, palms face back, arms press back.

Okay, now I'm gonna just slow this down a little tiny bit. What I want you all to feel when your arms move back that your rib cage stays put. It's easy to just thrust those ribs in effort to take the arms behind you. That's not really what we're after. So it's an arm strengthening exercise.

Back of the arm, back of the shoulder and the sides of your back, which are really the muscles that help move the arms behind you with shoulder control. Okay, let's take four. Exhale, three. Sometimes we'll call this chest expansion. I'm not doing the full chest expansion, but now I will hold, hold, hold, hold.

Now I want everybody just to rotate your head to one shoulder. Keep that collarbone wide, everybody, and turn and look to the other shoulder. Look front and just relax your arms. Let's do one more. Pull the arms back, hold them there.

Rotate your head, neck and eyes to one shoulder, center to the other shoulder and center and then release here. Good, bicep curls. But before we do, give a little shoulder dance. This can always be something you do in between your shoulder exercises in any of these arm exercises, okay? Bicep curls.

I want your hands palms face up. Arms are in front of you and you could have them a few inches away or all the way shoulder height. Of course, this is more challenging. You can start down here and build up to it. So if you're here it's this, it's fairly traditional bicep curl.

Hands towards shoulders, hands away. Now we have our upper arms at an angle. The upper arm doesn't move. It's really just movement from the elbow, okay? Now, but if you're coming a little bit more up level, we're here and we're bicep. Curling.

Stand tall. Check in that you're not shrinking into your lower back area. Energy out the top of your head. Let's take four more with exhales. Press the air away.

Pull the air towards you, press it away. Keep those arms up and your shoulders low. Good, one more bicep curl from arms in front and then slowly lower those weights. Okay, bicep curls from arms to the side. Same story.

Your arm line might be here and you're doing a bicep curl. That's actually quite a bit of work. I tried to tense my arm muscles, my bicep, tense them, before I pulled the weight, okay? So that could be your angle or if you're doing them more of the up level, let's go for it. We're here.

Really reach your wingspan and one. We'll do eight now, since we did a few before. Push and pull the air push the airway, pull the air in trying to expand your chest wide. Not forward, right? Expand your back wide.

Let's take two more here. Legs are engaged and press and in, and now everybody bend your elbows in please and lower your weights down. Just check in. How's it going? I wanted to do four patterns.

Okay, so we're going arms in front. Let's go bicep, curl, open and bicep curl. That was one pattern. We'll do three more. Really working these upper arm, upper back, building strength.

Yeah, really nice postural muscles in your upper back. One more time. Good, see aren't you happier not holding five pounds some of you? Okay, and then relax. Good, let's do the shoulder dam.

Just a little shoulder release in between all of that, concentrated contraction. This next one is called book opener. Okay, et me sprinkle in a few little challenges too. If anyone wants, other than just standing like this, why don't you try lifting your heels maybe an inch off the floor, okay? If you start to feel a little bit of this, that's okay.

It's pretty normal. Just kind of pull into your center, stand taller. And that leg work if you really pull to the midline, may stabilize you. I'm gonna try holding myself here. Now we're adding a little balance challenge.

Reach your arms out, bend the elbows. So we did that bicep curl. Okay, this is a book opener move. So we're closing the book. So we close the front end and the package of a book and we open, open, open.

I'm gonna take this one a little slower. I like to think about the kind of pressing the energy in and pulling the energy apart. If your balance is feeling really sketchy and you're pushing your rib cage forward, you may wanna lower those heels and not challenge yourself yet with that, okay? Rib cage shouldn't push and keep that under control. So book closes, book opens.

Book closes. And as I open, I do turn my palms to face front. Close and front and close and open last two. Close, lower those shoulders. Last one, open and then lower your heels.

Everyone lower your weights. How are we doing? Good. Hold the ends of your weights now. So I've just taken my fingers and wrapped those little weights.

These are sparklers. Remember at 4th of July, some of us, if you had little sparklers here, this is a very traditional little exercise. What we're doing, a tiny eight little circles going up and eight little circles coming down. Keep your trunk steady. Ready, one and two, three and four, five and six.

Reaching the sparklers, out and reverse the direction. As you're building your arms going higher, this is where you wanna monitor the shoulder height. Keep your shoulders low and reverse, two, three. We'll do two more sets. Let's try heels up.

1, 2, 3, reach out shoulders low, stomach in, seven and eight and a down two and 3, 5, 6. It gets a little musical and 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, really reach and down 2, 3, 4. You can lower your heels as you go. Feel those arms working? It's great, isn't it?

Okay, hug a tree or hug a person or hug the air. I want you to bend your elbows a little bit. Integrate those legs. Now I have my elbows kind of out, but the arms aren't hunkered. Alright, so you just have to flare your elbows a little bit and raise those arms up.

Alright, so I'm just gonna let you study the position for a moment. My elbow to my forearm is slightly sloped down. So shoulder, elbow, hand, this is the hugging movement. We go around the space. Exhale has become around the space.

I really do like to think that I'm going around the space, right? Keep your back, open your chest, open. One more with your heels on the floor. Let's try heels up for five repetitions. Are you standing tall?

All the way through lower back to tip of head, three. I'm lightly touching my tin fingertips right in the front. Okay, so you're moving the weight slightly adding a little balance challenge with your heels up. Everybody take your arms down for a moment. And then once again, just muggle, shoulder dance.

Okay, starting to build a little more arms above the head. I'm gonna have you pivot into parallel. Just change that position of your legs. Bend your knees a little bit here, everybody. Pitch forward at your hips and then unhinged.

So it's a hinge at the hips. Just do that a few times. It's not a really low hinge, but I just don't want you to stand vertical, right? This very second. We're gonna give our ourself a little break.

Okay, here it is. Now, take your arms in front of you on a low angle. Bring your shoulder blades back. This is a rowing movement. Okay, now the rowing movement.

I'll just do quick side view. I do want your shoulder blades to go back first and then bring your elbows back. You may have to redo it every time, shoulder blades and then the elbows. Now feel free to hinge lower if you want to, definitely gets more into your legs that way. Check your rib cage that you're not dropping your ribs forward, right?

So shoulders and elbows. Okay, and shoulder blades, elbows. This is a rowing movement. Great, for upper back between your scapula. Last two with both arms at the same time, adding single arm, let's just do single and single And keep going.

I like to just remind my shoulder blade to move first. Yeah. eight more and oh one and two and three low shoulders as well and five and six last two. And then we'll come to standing again. Okay, bring your weights right here by your shoulders. Palms are facing front.

I have my elbows slightly in front of my shoulders and let's go ahead and do an overhead reach and bring them down. Pretty big movement. Allow your shoulder blades to basically doing what our weights are doing. Shoulder blades are going up. Apart and slightly up.

It's okay. Slightly apart and up. Exhale, five more. Pushing those weights at four, three, stand tall. Check your posture.

Not hunkering down into your lower back and your last one and then everybody lower your arms. How are we doing? Dance your shoulders. Okay, now we'll do one arm in one shape, one arm in another shape. Here's home base, basically.

Okay, I'll do it slowly standing. And then we'll add a hinge to this, but one arm goes straight up overhead you did, the other arm, your palm faces down and you reach it down by your side. Okay, then come back to the home base. Palms are facing front. This arm will go up.

This one comes down. You have to turn this hand, face back, reach and alternate arms and okay, how are we doing? We're gonna try this next from a hip hinge position which I think adds a lot more challenge to it, which is pretty nice. We'll do one more each arm here. And reach, okay, here we go.

So if you get into that hinge, hands by your shoulders, this will go up. This will go down. Great, now, why is it different down here low? Well, I think it might be where your rib cage is. The ribs might wanna spill forward towards your legs, unless you're just going through gravity a little bit different.

You could also go lower. You could also get your chest flatter to do more of that. I could probably even stand to go chest lower. That's pretty intense, right? Or you could back it up here.

Go kind of mid-range. Four more here we go. So any of these arm movements I'm showing you here, you'll get to have some creative license, rest everybody in just a moment. Any of those hug, zip, movement front, bicep curls. You'll see what I mean.

Let's do this first again. A little circle, circle, circle. Okay, let's work on stepping out. Okay, what I mean? This is where we start weight shifting a lot more forward side and back.

I'll start with this right foot. I want you to step forward. Land your toes first, bend your knee. And you're coming down into a little lunge squat here. When you push backward, push from the ball of the foot step together.

Let's try the same leg again. Step out ball of foot, land, push, and land. Couple more. So you get that feeling. You don't have to go very low.

Be good to your knees, alright? If that's too easy, what I'm doing, go low. Let's do the other side. Just play with this. Just transfer weight forward and back.

In a moment we'll be adding some arm movement to this which really challenges that dynamic balance that you have. Okay, now, if we go side to side stepping out just for a moment. You're squattingish. Weight is on two feet. My weight is more back on my heels than toes.

Once again, I push off that foot to come center. Let's go the same side, four. Lowering your weight, lifting and putting it back together. Stepping out, lowering your weight, bringing it in. Let's take four to the other side.

So you're just feeling your weight transfers. Start thinking of some of your arm patterns you might wanna play with there. Okay, you can follow what I do, but you can add anything you want. Okay, step backwards. So this foot goes back.

Ball of foot land, push off, land, same thing. Okay? Start thinking of those arms, whoa, yeah. Alright, other side for four. So just step back.

Easy, does it in the knees. Last two. Okay, so now let's, before we put all that together, I'll step forward. We're gonna go front, just once, side once, back once. And then the transition is just this.

Heels up, heels down. Okay, and then we'll go left and heals up down. Maybe twice through, but then we have to reverse it from back to front. Really good for the brain. Okay, here we go.

I'm gonna step out. Play with some arm movement everybody. Push away now to the side, step out, do some arm movement, step back. Any kind of arm movement you want and in the transition what was it heals up. Other side, front whatever you wanna do.

Step in to the side. And in. Now I'm, you know, let's do heels up. Your balance is gonna be challenged with this, so do your best. Yeah, I plan this class and I teach this a lot.

This kind of work to my clients at home. So my body's used to moving like this and moving the weights. If you feel real unsteady, don't give up. Just keep going. Life is dynamic, right?

Things come at us all the time. So this is really helping you establish kind of some agility. And let's pause. We're gonna start going back and how to manage it with something's coming at you, right? You've got this strength and balance while this moving thing is coming at you, whatever that might be.

Yeah, heals up, stepping back and together to the side, to the front. Also our body doesn't really love to do the same thing over and over and over all the time. Starting back again first foot. Change it up. It's good for you.

Yeah, and if you feel a little unsteady that's okay. These are also considered some fall prevention skills. We haven't fallen. I've lost my balance a couple times too, but I haven't fallen. Okay, whew, hold.

Just how you feel. Little cardio aspect going on too, right? Okay, now standing still for the most part. Step forward with one foot. Bend that knee and this first part, everybody, you can keep your back foot on the floor.

The leg is very straight. Okay, you can do that. Now, I'm gonna do this with the arms, this arm extension, shoulder extension. Right? Now, if you want a little challenge and up this level a little, get more forward maybe just to the tip of the toe or even lift the leg up.

And you're balancing on that front knee with a little bend on there. Let's take two more. Pull the stomach up and up. And then I want you to plant the feet and we're gonna go through book opener, book opener, hug a tree and arms down, okay? So here's the pattern, transfer weight, two, two, book opener, go open again, hug a tree.

Let's try the pattern two more times. My brain's being challenged as well. So you shift your weight, stay on a bent knee. Two presses, two presses. Plant that foot.

Come through your book opener. Open it back out. Hug your tree. One more pattern. Lower your arms, transfer weight.

Let's go. And one, two. That's so good. Yes, hug your tree. Lower your arms.

Now this foot needs to come backward, step together. Okay, other side, everybody. So this foot's gonna come front. Bend that knee to start. Once again, you shift your weight.

You can plant the back toe, the back foot or come along and really check into your steadiness. Your balance. Look at something on the floor in front of you. And we move the arms. Hoping to have pretty decent leg alignment and hip alignment.

If you need to put your foot down to feel more steady, take care of that. Okay, now go ahead. We're gonna come up. Book opener a couple times. Open, close, open, close hug your tree.

Okay, same pattern. Transfer your weight. Lunge, keep that knee bent. We did two presses two presses down, open, close, and open. Change those arms up, hug a tree.

And we have two more patterns. Leaning in, shift. Press, straighten that back leg. Lift open, close, open, close, open. I did a little extra didn't I?

Oh, well, one more time. Transfer the weight, press twice. And then step back. Let's do hug. Open, book opener twice.

Book opener, hug your tree. Lower, and then that front foot has to step back. Oh my gosh. How are you feeling? A little cardio there, with the arms above the head and in motion.

Okay, one last bit. And then we do a flush out. Just kind of a fun little flush. I want you to push your heels together. Integrate your legs.

Rise up. Think about your posture. Now, whatever arms you wanna do. I'm gonna do some running arm movements like this. Just run.

Yep, keep your heels together. Legs together. Look at something. Really stare it down. Something in front of you.

Okay, keep it with you. Keep doing it. Add some different arm movements. Something else that we've done in here today. Just staying still with your legs in one position, but your arms doing interesting quick things.

Can you keep your steadiness? Doing pretty well, aren't you? Good, you've got this guy go up a little bit longer. Let's do maybe I don't know, 20 seconds more. This is all kind of improvised arm movement.

You can do whatever you want. You don't even have to move your arms, but having your heels in, not in contact with the floor as you do these really interesting arm things, your body is fighting, not falling over and let's rest. It's a fall prevention exercise in a very creative way, okay? Now step your feet apart. We're almost done.

I want everyone to soften the knees. Just kind of bend the knees a bit and I want you to swing your arms. Let 'em have some real freedom to swing. And swing. I'm gonna let my body tip forward when my arms swing back and bring my body upright When my arms are front, really natural.

Why not add one more balance challenge and we'll pick up a foot and we'll pick up the other foot and pick it up. You can push that floor off or the push the foot from the floor. Let's count down 10 and nine. You're almost done, everybody's. Aha, four more, 1, 2, 3.

And then we'll just go back to swinging with no legs, ready? Just 10 more swings. Just let it go. Nice and springy. You've got five more.

You'll have probably a little buzz after this class. Just saying, I think you probably will. It might feel good. And then just let your arms rest, ah, just feel yourself standing still. Check in.

Feel your heart racing a little bit. Feeling your buzziness through your body a little bit. I hope it feels good, practice it. It feels better and better all the time. And all of those arm movements are yours to create and do whatever you wish.

Thank you so much for joining me for this class today.

Active Aging: Pilates for Healthy Aging


1 person likes this.
Really enjoyed the standing workout Thanks 🌟
Angela T
1 person likes this.
great class, Amy!
Lina S
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this invigorating class! I like standing Pilates work from time to time. Great cueing, although sometimes the explanations seem lengthy when we don't move or wait for the exercise! Nice variety of exercises. I like the balance challenge at the end!
1 person likes this.
I like the class a lot; thank you
Cynthia G
1 person likes this.
I really enjoyed that. Thanks. Am so enjoying this series.
1 person likes this.
Thanks so much Amy, great series.

1 person likes this.
Fantastic class Amy!! Love the cues and suggestions that you so adeptly sprinkle throughout the class, very imaginative- they tempt the audience to move with concentrated form, focus and creativity!
Love all your workouts, and really the standing workouts- for bone loading/strength, balance and proprioception. All whilst keeping the pilates principles in mind. Thanks Amy- I look forward to more of these classes!
2 people like this.
This was such a great class, Amy! I did it with my tween-age daughter. While she did it to strengthen her arms, I did it for fall prevention. We each got something unique out of it. Thank yoU!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Amy! Love this class for myself and my seniors!
1 person likes this.
Another great class Amy! Thank you 🙏
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