Class #5102

Awakening Functional Mat

50 min - Class


Move with Tom McCook in this awakening functional Mat class! This is a full-body class, with a strong emphasis on your upper body's balance, strength, and mobility. Tom brings together Traditional Pilates exercises and his expertise in the Franklin Method. You will move smoothly and fluidly through zesty, mobilizing exercises to increase your side body strength, low back strength, and shoulder mobility.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Sep 22, 2022
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Hi everybody, I'm Tom McCook. I'm here with Christie Cooper and Erin and I'm so excited to be back at Pilates Anytime. The class today is gonna be a flow, but it's the function is for upper body balance, strength and mobility. So we'll do traditional Pilates exercise, but it's gonna be a great flow for your upper body. So when you're practicing, pay attention to how you're doing the movements, and enjoy your experience.

So we're gonna start standing with your feet about six inches apart in parallel, and just look down at your feet for a moment and lift all 10 toes. And just take a moment to sense your key weight bearing points of your feet, the ball behind your big toe, behind your little toe and your heel. And as you do that, just unlock your knees, and then lay your toes back down. Just take that moment a few times, lifting and lowering to feel yourself in relationship to gravity. We're transitioning from whatever we just did in our life to feeling our body.

Now lay your toes down again. Now lean a little forward on your feet. Back to center, lean back slightly, back to center. Lean to one side, back to center. Lean to your second side, back to center.

Now as you come to the middle, see if you can center the weight front to back, left to right, with your head right up over your spine, your knees unlocked. Close your eyes for a moment, and take a few deeper than normal breaths through your nose. On the exhale phase, settle down into your foot points, but also lengthen and straighten through the crown of your head. So we're both settling, letting go of tension, and lengthening, creating a little better alignment through the spine in the body. And as you're coming into your body, just notice areas of tension, let your breathing become a little lower and deeper, and just take a moment to set an intention for yourself for your own practice, whether it's just being, having a good movement experience, healing an injury, or learning something new in your practice.

And then just softly open your eyes, and take your left arm up and just tap all sides of the arm. So tapping is a way to improve your proprioception which is a big word, that means to know where you are in space. But it's also related to tension effort position. So as a way to improve how you move, we want to enhance our proprioception. Tap up around your neck on that side.

And the good thing about tapping, it's free. You can do it any time. Really good thing to do for your own body. Now on that same side, put your hand on your clavicle, your collarbone. Now we're gonna feel the movement of the shoulder 'cause we're working with our upper body today.

So take your arm and clavicle forward. Now take your clavicle back. Bend your elbow, turn, look and reach to the back. And then again, forward arm, clavicle, shoulder blade. Shoulder blade, clavicle, arm to the back.

And let it be really fluid, start to feel, wow, this is my shoulder girdle, it's designed to glide around my torso, which gives my arm more range, much more movement possibilities. Now the next time, as you take your arm to the back, take the same side leg to the front. As you take your arm to the front, take the same side leg to the back. Our little two step. So you're working on coordination, and just waking up your nervous system, letting go of unnecessary tension.

Just two more. And one. There you go. Now from there, slide your hand down onto your shoulder muscle, and just sponge your way down your arm. Bicep, tricep, forearm.

Feel how good sponging feels. Hand. And then from your neck to your finger, just brush down, sloughing off anything that's no longer of service. Ah. And then just take a moment to notice the difference between the two.

You might notice your arm is longer. Test it probably is longer. And then notice just range of motion and ease in your shoulders. You let it register. Wow, that's a little bit different, a little better.

Now let's tap side two. So you can bring in these types of practices before you're gonna do any movement, 'cause you're getting your brain and your body to notice more. And that's how you improve how you move. Noticing it's always an inside job. There we go.

Now put your hand on your clavicle. Now take the arm, clavicle, shoulder blade forward. Clavicle, shoulder blade, arm to the back, turn, look and reach back. Nice and fluid. And just feel as you're doing that rotation, it's a combination of your shoulder, your ribcage, your spine.

But you're keeping your head centered over your pelvis. There's no strain. And as the arm goes to the front this time, take the same side leg to the back. And then reverse. How fluid it can feel.

Throughout the class, keep thinking of efficient fluid movement, even in the strength movements. There we go. Last one. And then last time to the back. And then slide your hand down onto your shoulder muscle, your deltoid, and just sponge your way down all the way.

Feel that you're just waking up your nervous system with all these different ways of touching yourself. And then from your neck to your fingers, brush all sides of your arm. Ah. Very nice. Take a moment, little consumer report.

Ah, a little better. We'll take that. Now go into tapping your torso. Upper areas, your big pumps, your heart and lungs. Then the lower areas, your digestive area.

Also your stomach, spleen, pancreas, all these organs, but also your muscles. And then right around the lower back part of your ribcage with soft fists and bent knees, tap and make a little noise to vibrate your kidneys. (instructor groaning) Tap down to the back of your pelvis and back to your kidneys a few times. (instructor groaning) Now tap down the outer borders of your hips, all the way to your ankles, up the front of your legs, down the back of your legs and hips, up your inseams. And one more time, outer, front, back, inseams.

And then tap your head. Soft fingertips, all sides. Tap your face. Ah. Give your ears a little pull.

Say thank you for doing your job. Shake out your limbs. Now we're gonna go into some exercises for your posture and your shoulder girdles. So look at your feet and turn your toes in slightly and have your big toes about the width of your fists apart. Now take your arms and turn your palms away from each other.

Make a soft fist and lift your arms up to shoulder height. Okay, now with your palms facing up, draw your shoulder blades towards each other in the back. And now straighten your arms and contract the front of your thighs. Contract your quads. Now start to spin your arms to the back, but keep your shoulder blades retracted the whole time.

And let your breathing start to become a little slower, a little lower in your body. We're gonna be doing this for two hours, so you wanna get really good at it. Now we're gonna just do 15 more. Very fluid. This is waking up your rotator cuff, your postural muscles.

Now as you slowly finish, bring your knuckles to your temples. Now in the exhale, touch your elbows in front, inhale to open. So now we're waking up our chest and the muscles of the middle back, keeping your head centered over your pelvis. Inhale to open, exhale to close. Nice and fluid.

10 more. You can do this anytime with just these series of exercise we've done so far if you've been sitting a lot. Really great to wake up your body. Three more. And two.

And one. Let your arms come down. Just notice from that, you're already feeling a little better. Now take your feet wider. Maybe a little wider than your shoulders.

Turn your toes in slightly. Put your hands on your hips and bend your knees slightly. Now the movement is your pelvis and lower back. So curl your tail to the front, tail to the back, but keep your pelvis centered under your head. Feel when you curl, you feel your inner thighs, your abdomen and your glutes.

And as you reach back, feel your lower back muscles. And that little bit of turning your legs in helps to open the front of your hips a little bit more. Your iliacus. Deep hip flex your muscle. Now curl and hold it, so your lower back is long.

Take your arms out to the side with your palms up. Now translate your rib cage to your left. Back to center, right. Center, left. Center, right.

Now we're gonna add, so transfer left. Side bend left, and bend your right elbow. Now reach up through that up elbow to open up your lower back. Let that arm lengthen, come back up. Translate right.

Side bend right, reach up through the up elbow. Open the side body. Let it lengthen. Come back up. Just one more each way.

Translate, side bend, reach up, lengthen, come back up. Last time. Translate, side bend, reach up, lengthen, come back up. Walk your feet back in. Now have your feet about shoulder width, small turnout.

We're just gonna go into a few squats before we come down onto the mat. So when you bend your legs just a small amount, feel your three foot points, and see if you can stay with them as you sit into your squat and reach the arms to the front. Press into the ground, press your arms to the back. Now add your breathing, inhale, exhale. Nice and fluid.

Four more. We're just warming up your big muscles, connecting. Good body mechanics, connection to the ground. Two more. And one.

Now turn your feet out a little further. We're gonna go into a plie squat. So you'll sit back a little bit, but first as you bend, keep your head over your pelvis. Now sweep your arms out to the side and overhead as you sit back a little deeper. Press the arms out and come all the way up.

And again. Nice and fluid. Inhale on the down, exhale out of the bottom. Just three more. And two.

And one. Come back to parallel. We're gonna take it into a roll down. Have your feet run under your sit bones, do a small leg bend. Now imagine the back of your head, your ribcage, and your pelvis are on a wall.

Nice and slow. Peel your head off the wall and neck, your upper back, your mid back, your low back. Now let your leg, your pelvis roll over the top of your legs. And at the bottom, take a moment. Feel the weight of your head and torso.

Nod your head yes a few times. Rotate it no. Take a breath, now reach into your foot points. Draw the tail down and forward, and slowly stack your spine. As you get to the top, take a breath, you're gonna do one more small leg bend.

Peel down even more articulate this time. Feel how the muscles that are lengthening are controlling the movement in the back chain of your body. Let your pelvis roll over your legs and just take then hold for a moment. So take a breath at the bottom. Let the upper body be relaxed.

As you reach into your foot points, slowly articulate up, stacking each part of your spine. Let the head be the last thing up, arriving in a aligned, organized posture. Ah. Now help yourself down onto the mat, we're gonna grab your pillow or a blanket for your head, and come onto your side with your legs bent like you're sitting in a chair. And this is called telescope and pinwheel.

And we're gonna do it in a way that's gonna be maybe slightly different than you're used to. So with your bottom shoulder, pull the shoulder out from under you so you can easily let your head drop. And then bring your knees up to 90 and have your hips and knees stacked. And put your top hand on your bottom wrist. Now imagine you want to keep your knees, your feet, and your pelvis relatively still.

So nice and slow like we did standing, so you get a different position. Slide the shoulder girdle forward and let your head roll forward with it. Now as you draw the shoulder back, let the elbow bend, turn, look, and reach to the back. Now hold it there for a moment. Look towards your hand and press both knees towards the floor.

Feel how that wakes up your core muscles, and just remind yourself, the goal isn't to touch the floor with your arm. The floor just happens to be there. Then bend your arm and come back the way you came. Slide it forward, let the head roll with it. Retract the shoulder, bend, turn, look, and reach.

That's it. Just do a couple more before we add something to it. Challenge yourself in that moment of turning open, to not take the top knee with you. It's okay if it's smaller. That's it, nice and fluid.

Now this next time as you come into the open position, hold it. Put your bottom hand on the ceiling like you're doing a push up. Now push that bottom arm towards the ceiling as you push both knees towards the ground. And pull that bottom shoulder a little further away from your ear. Then slowly come back to the start, we're gonna do that three times.

Retract, feel how that lights it up a little bit. And now 'cause you press up with the bottom arm, push down with your knees, but relax your neck. Let your head be heavy on the pillow. Slowly come back. So you're waking up your core muscles that wrap around your torso, which will help the function of your shoulders, your spine, connect your limbs to the center.

Now slowly come back. We'll take it into the pinwheel. Take the top arm up towards overhead. When it gets to the front of your ear, start to turn full circle with your arm. And imagine as your arm is going overhead, let your eyes follow the moving arm.

Same principle with your hips and knees. As your opening, push the knees into the floor. So you get that balance of stability with mobility. Just one more. Ah, very nice.

And now let's help yourself onto side two. There you go, and I'm gonna come to this end. Hello. Hello. Now pull that bottom.

I have a little frog in my throat. Pull that bottom shoulder out to the front. Stack your hips and knees so you can easily let your head drop, and watch that you're not dropping your head to look down. We tend to associate this position with napping, so we go into nappy posture. So have your top hand on your bottom wrist.

Now slide that top hand forward. Let your head roll. And as you draw it back, bend, turn, look, and reach. In that moment of opening, push the knees towards the floor. So you can feel that there's an element of core activation with mobility.

Nice and fluid. There you go. Now the next one, when you come into the open position, hold, and now put the bottom hand on the ceiling. Pull that bottom shoulder a little further away from your ear. And as you push up with that bottom hand, push your knees towards the floor.

Slowly return to the start. We're gonna do that a couple more times. Retract, turn, open, press up with the bottom arm, push down with the top with both knees, slowly return. See if you can combine all that with relaxing your neck and let your head be heavy on the pillow or on the ground. One more.

Nice and fluid. There you go. Now as you return to the start, we'll go directly into the pinwheel. Take that top arm up towards the overhead. When it gets to the front of your ear, let yourself start to turn, full spiral, full windmill of the arm, keeping the hips and knees stacked all the way through.

In that moment as your arm goes up, you can add an inhale which helps open up the ribs from the inside, creating more space, giving your shoulders more room. Two more. And one. Very nice, you guys. Now help yourself onto all fours as you finish.

So this next movement is to work on your shoulder, stability and mobility together. So have your hands directly under your shoulders. Now just do a couple shoulder blade slides, meaning first thing, create a straight line, head to tail. But as you breathe in, let your upper body slowly drop between your upper arms so your shoulder blades come closer in the back. As you float your body up, do two things, widen your shoulder blades and pull 'em further away from your ears.

So if y'all have that's a combination movement. The tendency, when we widen them as we let them go up. You don't want to do that. You wanna wide them and lower them so you can keep the chest open and connect your arms to your torso muscles better. There you go, do that one more time.

Now, as you come to that lifted position, put your right hand on your left shoulder. So now we're gonna rotate around that arm. So rotate your torso into that arm, keeping the arm straight, then push the ground away and rotate away from that arm. And take it nice and slow. And you can keep looking at your hand the whole time so your head doesn't turn too much, but you feel how you're waking up the mobility of your shoulder girdle, but the stability of your shoulder joint.

I have to do that one more time. And then we'll switch sides. Crazy how that can feel a little hard. Now push the floor away. Now nice and slow turn into the arm.

Keep looking at your hand, now press away and turn away from the arm. And start to feel, wow, that my shoulder, even when it's weightbearing, has a lot of options. We want to keep those options clean and fluid. There we go, just two more. And one.

Now come back to the center, we're gonna do a movement of the arms for the range of the shoulder joints. So just push the ground away and create a nice straight line, head to tail. Now reach your left arm forward with your thumb up. Now as you open the arm out to the side, let the palm face the floor. As you take it back by your side, let your thumb face the floor.

And again, reach it forward overhead, thumb up, out to the side, palm down, back to your hip, thumb down. Do that four more times at your own pace like that, and really get the feeling of that fluid mechanics of your shoulder girdle, keeping your spine straight. That's it, stay strong on your weightbearing arm, two more. And one. There you go.

And then we'll go right into side two, press the ground away, reach the second arm forward, thumb up, out to the side, palm down, back to your hip, thumb down. And you can even picture in your mind that you're spinning the head of the arm bone in the joint where your arm meets your shoulder blade, but they're staying well aligned all the way through. You're getting all that lubrication in the joint, which keeps it healthy, waking up those deeper support muscles. One more. There we go.

Now come back to all fours and just take a moment shift back and just come off your weight of your wrist on your hands for a moment. Take a breath. So we have a couple more in this position. Then come back onto all fours. Take a breath.

Now as you exhale, slide one leg low to the floor to the back. And as you lift it, reach the opposite arm forward like you did a moment ago. Now exhale, curl your tail forward, bring the back knee forward, bring your elbow to your knee. Inhale into the reach. Do that for six on that side.

Fluid. Feel like you're connecting head to tail, hand to foot. Two more. And one. Back to the start.

Take a moment, just organize yourself. Start to slide your second leg back, and then reach the opposite arm on the inhale. Now exhale, curl and touch. Inhale into the reach. Fluid motion.

Think of the spine as fluid, strong, and flexible. Two more. Very nice. Now walk back on your mat towards the back side of your mat. We gonna do a little crawling, 'cause we can.

So now just lift your right knee and your left hand. Now walk forward. And just walk where you're timing the limbs to the front of your mat. Now walk back the same way, opposite hand and knee. And you might notice that going back like, wow, they feel uncoordinated possibly.

You want to put that back in. This is a movement pattern that's built into our nervous system, and we wanna wake it up. And then back. Just gonna do four rounds. And forward.

Now you're stimulating those muscles around the shoulder. Ah. Feels kind of good, doesn't it? There we go. Now, as you arrive back in the middle of your mat, come down onto your elbows, have your elbows right under your shoulders.

Now walk your knees back till it feels like your hips are slightly below your shoulders. Tuck your toes under. And this is an eight point plank. So the eight points are your wrist, your elbows, your knees, and your feet. And as you reach your elbows, your shoulder blades into your elbows, curl your tail slightly forward, and breathe into your width from your lower ribs, all the way up to your armpits.

On the exhale phase, draw the lower belly away from the floor, and squeeze all four limbs towards the middle. Do that for five more breaths. Relax your jaw, even though you're keeping your spine long. Fluid breathing. Feel the connection from your arms, to your pelvis, to your inseams.

Two more breaths. One more breath. Now nice and slow, help yourself back to a child's pose. Take your knees a little wider, and just stretch back and rest just for a moment, just become a little softer, foldable in your hips. Relax your neck, your belly wall.

Few more fluid breaths like that. And then nice and slow, let yourself roll up through your spine. And help yourself onto your back. And as you come onto your back, have your feet in line with your sit bones, and just take a moment to center the weight on the back of your pelvis. Now just take a few big diaphragmatic breaths where you let your belly wall move, let your ribs move.

And on the exhale phase, just fall into gravity. Let yourself deflate, and just let the floor, the feedback of the floor give you feedback about how you're aligned. You wanna have a nice straight line from your nose to your tail. Feel your three foot points on the floor. Now start to target your breath more laterally into your lower torso.

And on the exhale, follow the belly wall in like you did in that eight point plank. And on the next exhale, as you feel that, curl your tail towards the back of your knees, and peel your hips off the floor into an articulated bridge. Now in the bridge, as you inhale, pull your shoulders slightly towards your waist, then reach the arms overhead into a high V. Sink your chest as you exhale and use your abdomen to lengthen your back back down onto the mat. Once your hips are all the way down, float your arms to your side, I'm gonna do that four more times.

So exhale, peel off the ground. Inhale into the reach. Exhale, traction down. Float the arms to your side. And again, nice and fluid.

In that reach, keep reaching through your knees like they're being pulled away from you, traction down using your abdomen, the back of your legs. Feel how you're opening and lengthening, not just your spine, but your side body. Two more. And one more everybody. And reach, and traction down.

As you get to the bottom, take a moment on the exhale, as you follow your belly wall and float one knee up in the air. Then float up your second leg, but bring your heels together, knees about armpit width. We're gonna take it into a hundred prep. So reach your arms straight up to the ceiling. Just get that feeling like when you're on all fours of both widening and lowering your shoulder blades.

Take a breath, on the exhale, roll your head off the floor like a wheel, and curl up and reach your legs out to a high 45, arms parallel to the ground. Inhale back down. We'll do that six times. Nice and fluid all the way through. Three more.

Fluid motion of the upper body, connecting it to your legs and pelvis. One more. Now as you lengthen down, place your feet on the floor. So this is gonna be an oblique turn, but we're gonna add a little more of a lift through the spine, we're gonna use our arms. So take your arms in on the inhale, reach them back behind you.

Now exhale, curl forward and rotate to your right and hold the outside of your right leg with both hands. Curl your tail a little bit towards the ceiling and lift a little higher with your torso. Hold it, inhale your arms back by the side of your head. Exhale down. Inhale, begin to bring the arms forward, curl, turn to your left.

Hold the outside of your left leg. Curl a little higher. Inhale, reach back, exhale down. One more each side, arms forward, curl, rotate to the first side, curl a little higher. Reach back, lengthen down.

Last time, arms forward, curl, rotate to the second side, lift a little higher. Reach back, lengthen down. From there, take hold of your knees and rock up to a seated position for the roll up. Now let's do a couple with legs bent, then we'll do the full where we can lengthen everything overhead in the legs. So reach your arms to the front.

Take a breath. Now from your pelvis, curl back just the way you did when you did the articulated bridge. Curl the tail under, go about halfway. Short breath. Curl up and over your center and reach towards your feet.

Inhale up tall. And again, curl back maybe an inch or two further. Short breath, exhale back up, reaching forward. Now if you feel like you can go all the way down, go all the way down this time. As your arms go to the back, keep the length through all four sides of your waist.

Arms to the front, peel off the ground, reach for your feet. Inhale up tall, three more. Fluid. Flow with strength. Two more.

Nice fluid motion. One more, everybody. Very nice, now help yourself onto your back. We're gonna, 'cause we're working on the upper body. We're gonna bring in a little balance to your back muscles and your core.

So with your legs in the air, you can take hold of your knees for a moment and bring your knees, so it feels like they're over your belly button instead of over your hips, but relax your lower legs. Relax from the knees down. If you bring it up to table top, what will happen is your hip flexors will work more, and you might feel more grippy in the front of your hips. Now bend your elbows out to the side like the letter W. So your hands are at about shoulder level, and your elbows are down like low breast bone level.

Now, if you needed to, you could even put a pad under your hands if your hands feel like really far from the floor. Now pull your shoulder blades in towards the spine a little bit. And imagine that space at the bottom of your shoulder blades, you're gonna keep on the floor, so the movement's gonna be small. On the inhale, let your pelvis and knees rotate towards your left, but keep your right shoulder blade on the floor. Exhale, squeeze your midline, come back to the center.

Inhale to the second side, keep the opposite shoulder blade on the floor. Now practice doing that, and smiling and relaxing your neck. Keep the lower legs relaxed. Follow the belly wall in, find your inseams. Two more each side.

Find those back muscles in the mid back, bottom of your shoulder blades. One more each side. Back to the center. Take hold of your knees for a moment. Now pull your knees in towards your chest, open them away from each other, down it together a few times.

One more in that direction. Then reverse. Fluid, there we go. Now from there, we're gonna go into the rollovers, but we're gonna focus on the upper body from your tail to your head a little more. So with your arms long by your side, take the shoulders back towards the floor and then reach your hands a little more towards the direction of your feet.

Relax your neck. Now take your legs straight up to the ceiling. On the exhale, as you activate your arms, send your tail towards your feet into the rollover. Now inhale open shoulder width, flex your feet. Sequence down, keeping the chest open.

Point them together, exhale to the back. Open, flex the feet, traction down with control and strength. Pointing together, exhale to the back. Open flex, traction down. As you get to the bottom, keep them open, point the feet, take a breath, exhale to the back.

Draw them together in flex. Now go slow on the down. Two more times. Open point, exhale back. Together flex, traction down.

One more time. Point, to the back, close, flex traction down. Now place your feet flat on the floor. We're gonna take it into single leg teaser. So walk your feet a little further away than they were maybe for the bridge, but your feet are flat.

And just practice reaching one leg straight out in line with the other knee. Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling. Now inhale the arms to the back, circle 'em out to the side, and as you curl up, curl up into your teaser. Take a breath, now roll down with control. Three reps on this side, back, circle, curl.

Take a breath, traction down. One more. Breath of the top, lengthen down as you get to the bottom, switch your legs, reach, circle, curl. Showing my good form today. Two more.

Lengthen back, one more everybody. Lengthen down, knees into your chest, rock around your lower back just for a moment. And then roll to your side and come up, and have a seat with your legs stretched out in front of you for spine stretch forward. So you have your legs shoulder width or slightly wider. Put your hands on your knees for a moment and just push them up so you can feel the center of your sit bones.

Now if you can stay up there, lengthen your legs, but if you need to keep 'em bent, that's fine too. Reach your arms to shoulder height, and now grow tall with the inhale. On the exhale, nod your chin, pull the waistline back and up to curl over that imaginary beach ball. Inhale, restack your spine, growing tall. And again, exhale up and over.

Inhale to lengthen up. Let's do that four more times at your own pace like that, nice and fluid. Inhale to restack. Get that moment when you nod your chin, you're doing that same thing with your shoulders of widening and lowering the shoulders as you go forward. So you've got that clean mechanics of the shoulders with the spine.

Two more. Inhale up tall, and one more. Lengthening back up. Now reach your arms to the side for the saw. As you inhale, turn from your ribcage to the right, flex and reach towards the outside of your foot, keeping the left hip heavy.

Inhale center, exhale flex and reach. Inhale center, nice and fluid. Exhale reach. Inhale center, flex and reach. Same principle as the spine stretch, the waistline goes back as the head goes forward.

Nice and smooth. One more each side everybody. Last side. Back to center. Now we're gonna take it into a reverse plank, so bring your legs close together.

Bring your hands a little behind you. If this is difficult on your hands to have your fingers forward, you can turn 'em out or back. I like 'em forward for me. Now pull your shoulders back, clavicles back. And on the exhale, send your tailbone towards your feet, press into your legs and lift into a reverse plank.

Hold for a breath. Nice and slow, lower with control. We're gonna do four. And again, shoulders back, tail forward and lift. Slowly lower.

Just feel how you're waking up another series of muscles, shoulders back, you're opening your chest, turning on your whole back chain, with your core support. One more. And slowly lower. Now we're gonna move on to our belly and do something for your, open your chest even more. So this is called a mild fascial stretch for your deeper chest muscles.

So let's take our left arm out to the side, with your palm forward, your flex of the wrist, and put your left hand or your other hand in a pushup position. Now bend your legs at the knee, and anchor your pubic bone towards the floor. That's a lot of details already. Now on that arm that's extended out, start to pull the shoulder blade in towards your spine. And as you push the arm, that's on the floor, like a push up into the floor, rotate your torso away from the extended arm.

Now on that long arm, start to press through the heel of your hand, and feel like you're pulling your shoulder blade in like you're squeezing a walnut between your spine and your shoulder blade. Rotate your pelvis a little more away from the stretch side. Keep the lower back long, smooth out your breathing. Two more breaths. And one.

Nice and slow, come back, and we'll take side two. So push up position on the down arm. Now in the extended arm, rotate the thumb up towards the ceiling and flex at the wrist. There you go. So feel like you're perpetually rotating that arm up and have your hand at about eye level.

Now bend both legs. As you push the hand on the ground, into the floor, start to rotate in that direction. Now on that weightbearing shoulder, pull it in towards the spine. There you go. And feel like you're turning your bicep up towards the ceiling.

Contract your lower glutes, inseams, smooth breathing. You're exposing some tight muscles that tend to hide out. One more big breath. Nice and slow, come back to the center. That's working, huh?

Didn't know that was coming. Now rest your forehead on the back of your hands for a moment, and just take a few diaphragmatic breaths, meaning let your belly wall push the ground away as you breathe in. And on the exhale phase, just deflate, let your body just deflate into gravity. So when we're using our diaphragm correctly, the belly will push the floor away and the lower back will lengthen. If you feel your chest is lifting first, it's telling you you're breathing a little shallow and high, so you can get a little lower.

Great way to strengthen your diaphragm, but also make yourself feel more internally relaxed. Do that for one more breath. Now bring your attention to breathing more laterally into the torso. Your diaphragm's still working, your belly's gonna move still, just a little less. But on the exhale phase, follow the belly wall in, and feel like you're narrowing the bottom of your pelvis, your sit bones are getting a little narrower.

So you're opening the front of your hips. Breathe like this for the next series of exercises. Now bring your hands a little wider than your shoulders for swan. Forearms on the floor, fingertips a little forward of your shoulders. Set your shoulders down your back.

Lengthen through the back of your neck and out the crown of your head. As you inhale, start to slide your heart forward using your upper back muscles. Keeping your shoulders low, reach into your arms to come a little higher. Lengthen down through the spine sequentially, reconnect to your belly wall and your hips. And again, slide the heart forward.

Come up with strength and fluidity. Traction back down. And do four more at your own pace, nice and fluid. Feel the shoulders stay low. That's it.

Feel your shoulder blades, you're connecting to your ribcage and the legs are toned. That's it, nice and fluid. One more, everybody. Nice, as you sequence down, come back to that same starting position. Now reach the arms out in front of you a little wider than your shoulders, and just press both palms down towards the floor, but traction your upper chest a little forward so you can lift your head slightly.

Reach back through your legs like you're getting longer and more toned. Now on the exhale, lift your right arm and your left leg. Inhale to lower. Do five each side. Go for length with strength.

Feel that front to back relationship. Feel how you're opening the hip, but you're using the back of your hips. You're using your middle back. One more each side. As you lower, bring your hands in by your shoulders with your palms facing each other for what's called the breaststroke arms.

So set your shoulders low. Now on the exhale, reach your arms overhead. Circle them out to the side, when they get back by your hips, extend and open your chest. Exhale, reach through the front. And again, inhale, open, sweep back and extend.

Exhale into the reach. Inhale to open, nice and fluid. Exhale into the reach. Just two more. Fluid, that's it.

And one. And reach. Great work. As you finish, hands under your shoulders, just come up onto all fours for a counter stretch. We'll just do a couple cat stretches.

So take a breath, and as you exhale, curl the tail forward to decompress your lower back. Hold for a breath. And then nice and slow, tip the pelvis forward and open your chest to the front. Do that two more times. Feel that widening and lowering of the shoulders, and then let the shoulder blades come closer in the back as you open.

One more. Now slowly come on up to tall kneeling for kneeling sidekicks. So for kneeling sidekicks, when your hips are open to the front, reach your arms out to the side. Now side bend and bring your fingertips to the floor, and bring your top hand behind your head. Now extend that long leg and create a nice line out the crown of your head.

Reach through your leg, and as you inhale the leg forward, flex the foot, point and reach to the back. Inhale forward, point and reach. Body line out the crown of your head, out your reaching leg. Two more. And one.

Translate back to the center, side bend to side two. Reach out at home side one or two, whichever ones you choose. Now energy out the crown of your head, with a flexed foot, inhale, kick forward, point and press to the back. Fluid. Two more everybody.

And one. Now translate to the other side, but come down onto your side. We're gonna do a side plank, so we're going more back into the upper body. So you're gonna be up on your hand, and have your top leg a little bit in front. And your legs are not bent all the way to 90, maybe like a quarter of the way, so when you go up into your plank, you won't feel too jammed.

Now with your weightbearing shoulder, push the ground away. Feeling my something in my back here, here we go. Now as you press into the ground, you reach into the floor, reach into the side plank and hold it. Now just lower your hips and lower your arm, and lift back up. We're gonna do that three times.

Two, one more, now lift and hold. Take your top arm over the top with your palm facing down, now lower. Now reach through your top arm to come up. Two more. One more.

Now hold, just we're gonna do this two times. Arm straight up, your pelvis stays still. Exhale, rotate down. Now inhale, open and press back slow. Exhale, flex down.

Inhale open, press back. Back to square, and lower. And we'll switch sides. You were hoping that was gonna be like five more, I know. So legs are about a quarter bent.

Press into the ground, shoulder low, now reach into that side plank and hold. Feel your body line. Slowly lower the hips and the arm, lift. Smooth and fluid. That's it.

Now this time lift, take the arm over the top. Now lower the hips slow, reach to the top arm for that counter. One more. This time, hold, bring the arm straight up, now keep the pelvis still, rotate down, open, look and press back. One more.

Press back, and lower. Very nice. Now from there, we're gonna do a side stretch. So the side stretch will look like this. Come back to your first side.

Your bottom leg is gonna be straight. Top leg in front. Now press into the top leg in the bottom arm, and come up into that side plank. Now just lower your bottom hip to stretch your lateral hip and lower back, lift back up. Four times.

So you get shoulder stability, lower back opening, side strength, one more. Slowly lower, we'll take side two. Bottom leg is straight, top foot in front, press into the ground. Now lift into that side position. Bring your head back.

Now nice and slow, lower the pelvis, and lift. So we're opening up the lower back, waking up our lateral hips and shoulder muscles. Last two. And one. And lower.

And then we're gonna go directly into the boomerang. So for the boomerang, facing forward, cross one ankle. Sit up nice and tall, so that boomerang is a combination of a rollover and teaser, but it's more fluid. So as you start depressing into the ground, curl the tail under, start to lift the legs, take 'em over into the rollover, open, close the other way, roll up and find your teaser. Now bring the elbows in tight.

As they reach to the back, slowly lower the legs, circle the arms over the top, like a butterfly. Come up tall, and again, curl, open, close, find your teaser, elbows in tight, reach, lower with control, circle the arms. Two more. Open, close, feel the connection. Reach into it, full body.

We're finishing strong. It's all good. One more. Open, close, roll through, reach, elbows in tight, circle. Hold for a couple extra breaths.

Relax your neck. One more breath. And then nice and slow, roll up, finishing on all fours. So on all fours, we're gonna go through a push up downward dog combo three times. But the first thing I want you to feel on all fours, is just take a moment, do one more of those shoulder blade slides.

Let them slide in, and then widen and lower them again. Now keep them wide, and just bend your elbow straight back, but let your torso shift a little forward. And then straighten, and start to feel that when you bend, that you're staying connected to your shoulder blades. And as you get to where you bent after a few inches, you can let the shoulder blade tips come in slightly, but as you're pressing away, widen them, so you start to feel how you're dynamically absorbing and transferring force. One more.

And you could stay with just wrist version, otherwise we're gonna step back into a full plank. Feel like you're pressing your hips towards your hands, so you're toned. Shift a little forward as you lower into your push up, press away, lift back to your downward dog. Take a breath. Exhale, curl forward to your plank.

One more push up. Press away, lift back to your downward dog. We have one more. On the exhale, curl, lower with strength, press away. Hold your downward dog for three breaths, smooth out your breathing.

Look towards your feet so you can relax the back of your neck. That's it. Now from your downward dog, just take two more fluid breaths, feeling your length. And then nice and slow, walk your hands to your feet. Soften your knees to roll up through your spine.

Now take your feet, once you come up, about little wider than your shoulders and turn out, do a small plie and center the weight on your feet and just cross your arms in the front. Now think of filling up your body with your breath as you inhale up into a high V. Exhale to deflate and bend three times. One more. Walk your feet into parallel, and just take a moment coming back to where we started, center the weight on your feet, unlock your knees.

Let the breathing drop lower and just sense aliveness, alignment, ease, your mood, and acknowledge yourself, your great work. Great to be with you guys. Thank you for joining, I hope to see you again. And let us know how you enjoy the class. Thank you for joining Pilates Anytime.

Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.


1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Tom. Such an inspiration and so generous with your amazing knowledge. I teach in England but also loved simply attending this class.
Amy S
5 people like this.
Taking a Tom McCook class is like a complex yet very digestible casserole of movement modalities: Pilates, Yoga,  Franklin, Eldoa , AiM,,, to produce a well-balanced movement experience…
Love it!!
2 people like this.
Thank you both  for your  inspiring feedback! I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the new classes! Warm regards 
Pam K
Thank you - great class
Rina S
So enriching to have a new class with Tom. Thank you.
Dawn U
I have been holding my breath since early 2022 for a new Tom McCook class!  Probably something he would not endorse or encourage.  Thank you for the new classes on Pilates Anytime.
Thank you Tom! Great class. 
Pam KDawn UHung F, It’s great to be back at PilatesAnytime and thank you all for your wonderful feedback! You’re all very welcome!!😊🙏
Wonderful class. 
Tom -I've been following your classes  for years - was so glad to have these new ones.  Always inspiring and I immediately incorporate into my teachings.   with gratitiude!
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