Class #5170

Leg & Core Connection

30 min - Class


Get ready to gain strength, awareness, and a connection to your Thass® (the area between your thigh and glutes) with this detailed Mat workout by Lesley Logan. She uses the Magic Circle to help you connect your legs to your center so that you will be able to find it in all of your movements. She includes a mix of creative variations and the traditional repertoire that keeps you moving for the entire class.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Lesley Logan. And today, we're doing an intermediate mat based on the thass. You will need a magic circle or something you can push into, like a ball, and a TheraBand, you can push out into as well. So find something that works like a magic circle to join me in this class. The first thing we're gonna do is lie on our back with your ankle on top of your circle.

So you wanna make sure it's not on the heel, it's not too high up on the calf, but somewhere on the ankle. And then you'll lie on your back. I take my hand and I usually like to place it where my thass is, where my thigh meets my booty, and then you gently press down into the circle. And then as you lift the leg, you try to resist the circle coming up. And the whole goal of that is so you're not just going quad on, thass on, quad on, you're trying to keep the thass on even as you lift the circle.

If you're feeling this in the back of your knee, that's 'cause you're using it and not using your thass. So maybe think about even pressing a little less heavy and just keep it light. Your thass connection might just need a little bit more time to gain strength, gain awareness, and connection there. We'll do two more together. And then, to me, the easiest way to switch is to sit up.

So you can do a fancy transition with your feet, but it's hard to get the circle stacked correctly. And so here we go, other side. And what you might notice is that you have a side that is a lot smarter and a side that just needs a lot more encouragement. And I highly recommend you can always go back to that side and give it a little extra love and attention just so that you are learning to gain more strength in that side. Also, it's fun.

I like to do this when I'm warming up for pretty much any workout. So whether you're doing a fast workout or someone else's workout, you can do this as a little prep to wake that connection up, help connect your legs to your center. Then sit all the way up. We will do a really weird hundred. So what you'll do is place your circle on the center of your mat. Place both ankles on the circle.

It's gonna feel really awkward and there's not enough room. And then squeeze your heels together, outer hips together. Press into the circle, not so much that your booty lifts up 'cause that is a possibility, but just enough that you feel both thass, right? So your thass is, feel everything on both legs connect there and are holding the circle down. Take your arms up, lift your head and chest up.

And as you pump your arms for your hundred, what you wanna watch is that your circle's also not doing the hundred pumps. You want your circle to remain engaged, connecting to your thass. So that as we do our app series later, as we do our teaser later, you are going to try to find the same connection, the same muscles that are pressing into your circle. So breathing in for five, out for five, using your breath to take up space on your mat with your lungs so you're not sitting up too high and already into your teaser. We'll do that later.

Two more cycles of breathing. Last one. All right. Go ahead and sit up. Take the circle around your feet.

So you want it to look a bit like a Saturn ring. You want it to be parallel to the floor. If it starts to look a little sad like your crown just fell, that's a sign that we've lost the engagement of your thass. So flexed ankles, toes up to the sky, pushing out on the circle, lie onto your back, arms up to the sky. Let's do five roll ups here.

Lift the head and chest up, pushing out on the circle. Pulse. One, two, three. Press out on the circle as you reach your waist back and away. So the goal is that your feet are reaching across to the roll in one way. As you roll up, pulse three times.

And as you roll down, the waist is pulling away from the feet, ideally keeping your hips where they are. And again, up and over. So after the fifth one, we're gonna take the circle off and do two rolls without the circle just to see what thass connections we made because our goal is not to always need the magic circle to find our thass. Our goal is to find it on our own. So remove the circle, squeeze those legs together, roll down, and again, rolling up and over.

How can you engage those outer hip muscles as you roll up? And then as you roll down, last time, it has to get really creative. The more you work your thass at the hardest part, the more possible the exercise gets. Notice I didn't say easier. It just becomes more possible. All right. So for single leg circles, we're gonna call them single leg ovals today.

So take one leg up to the sky, point the foot. The foot that's on the ground, flex it. You can have your arms down by your side or if you have a mat with handles, you can use them. So this is the only time your leg is gonna be straight up. What I want us to focus on is not how high we can get the leg but how much we can work the muscles on the backside of our leg.

So hamstring, glutes, inner thigh, outer hips. So as you take your leg across, lower it down as low as you can go out to the side and then come up about halfway. And again, circle. So truly only coming up as much as you can keep the backside of your leg on. Yeah, you might still feel your quads or your hip flexor, but what I don't want is you to always come up and grip into that, and then this turns off.

Until you can have the strength to keep it on, keep your leg working in ovals, and then reverse. A lot of times, people make their circle smaller to avoid a hip click. I don't actually want that to be the way we live our life. I actually want, those hip clicks are just telling us we need to connect to our thass more. So go into an oval to strengthen those muscles.

And then switch the leg, and the leg is up. Foot on the ground is flexed. Really press that heel down like you're pushing into a magic circle. You should feel that fast connection happen. And then ovals, single leg ovals on the other side, five across.

And then reverse. If you can get your legs straight up and keep your thass connection, great. We don't have to limit ourselves. You can make your ovals more circular but full permission to keep them low and wide, rolling like a ball. Place your magic circle around your knees.

So just like this, like a crown, and that way, it's easier to take off. Hold your heels tight together. So I want you to push the knees into the circle without pushing the feet apart. Keep those heels nice and tight. This is gonna, this connection right here, you should feel, the feel is gonna help us in our ab series as well.

So as you rock back, you're pushing out on the circle, and as you come up, you push out. If your circle just became a necklace, you lost your thass. So again, pressing out and up. Two more. Last one, except for there's gonna be two more.

You gonna take the circle off. And again, try to find those thass muscles here without the use of a prop. Two times, rock back and up. If you got that little wiggle waggle in your hips, that is a sign you lost your thass at the top and the hip flex is kind of gripped on. It's totally okay.

We're not here for perfect, we're just trying to keep it on the whole time. So as we go into our ab series, one knee in one leg out. We're not gonna actually push our legs down like they're pushing into a magic circle, but I want you to feel that that leg reaching out isn't locking at the knee, but rather being supported at your thass. Pull, pull, switch. So single leg stretch first, pull, pull, and pull, pull.

One more time each side and we'll go into our double leg stretch before we take a rest. Heels together, toes apart. You should feel that thass connection from your rolling, like a ball. Send the legs out. Now, we've done this, we did the hundred, but now, our arms are up, right?

So the legs are reaching into an imaginary magic circle here and your arms are stretching away from your back. Two more. Reach. Feel your thass, support your legs out there. Makes it so much nicer to connect your legs to your center that way.

Rest your head for just a moment. Single straight leg stretch. Your hands are going to become a magic circle. So lift your head and chest up. Grab as high up as you can. This leg that's out in free, it only goes as low as you can hold onto your muscle.

So I'm not gonna go way down here 'cause nothing is on. I'm gonna stop about a magic circle height from the floor. The leg that's up to the sky, we're going to push that leg into our hand here. So press into it so you can get your thass connection on. And then pull, pull, switch, pull, pull.

So what's nice, if you're super tight, this is gonna be a little easier for you. If you're one of my hyper mobile people, this is not back here. You're gonna use your leg to lift your head and chest up a little bit more and really activate the back of your leg into your hands. Then double straight leg stretch. Push your head into your hands, hands into your head interlaced, and then push the legs away and lift up.

So the goal is to push into an imaginary magic circle on the way down and then resist it up. Two more. Last one. And take a moment. So for your crisscross, start with your left foot down, knee bent, pushing into the mat, and energetically pulling back.

That should get your thass connection on. Then bring your right knee into your chest. As you curl up and over to your knee, focus on that foot pushing down and pulling back. So your leg is nice and connected. And then switch.

It's also gonna keep you from rocking and rolling. And switch. One more time in each side. If this is the most you felt your thass in your entire ab series, stay here. If you're ready, you pull one knee and stretch the other leg out. Those same muscles are holding that leg up so that as you twist, your pelvis stays on the mat and your upper body can go from side to side.

All right. Sit all the way up. Whoo. A little spine stretch forward with your circle. So what I want you to focus on here is that when you push on the circle, it doesn't happen at your knees, doesn't need to happen at the femur. So here, right, watch those knees from trying to do the work for your muscles.

Then arms in front of you, pressing your heels down and away, round forward and pulse. One, two, three. Sit up all the way. And again. Round forward, one, pulse, two, and three.

The more you work the circle from your thass, the less those pulses will feel like a grip here in your hips. Again. Round and reach. One, two, three. Lift up really tall. Last time.

Okay, stay up, saw. So keep the circle where it is. Twist to inside and pulse. Two, three, roll up. What's really nice is if your thass is connected, you are not doing the shimmy across your mat, you're able to anchor those hips.

Your leg should feel a little shaky right now. That's a a good sign. And hopefully, you find that when you don't use a circle on this exercise. Last time, each side. Twist, reach those feet out into your circle, press your heels down.

And last one. All right. Ditch your circle, shake it out. Flip onto your stomach. We're doing a swan prep today. So the goal of this is that you can actually feel the back of your legs in your swan as opposed to your lower back taking over. So take your hands underneath your forehead and then spin those inner thighs up.

So not toes together, but your femurs will feel a little bit internally rotated. Then reach your tailbone for your heels. So what this will do is it will lift your frontal hip points away from the mat. That doesn't mean they're not touching or that your stomach's not touching the mat, but the energy of the bones is lifting away. Then with your shoulders and your ears, press the feet down.

Lift just your hands, elbows, head, and chest. So the extension is in the upper back and lower down. If your legs lifted during that prep, it's a sign you're using your glutes and your upper butt and lower back. We don't wanna use that today. So again, inner thighs up, tailbone reaches, and lift, Lower.

And again, lift. Keeping your feet down in a way you'll still feel your hamstrings working against gravity here. Now, if it's going well, hold it on the top and then lift those inner thighs up to lift the legs. Your legs are straight. So if you bend your knees, it's a sign your calves are trying to help out a little bit.

Keep lifting those inner thighs. Inhale here. Exhale. You might even rock a little bit like a little mini swan dive, very mini. And rest.

If you didn't find the rocking happening, it's really okay, doesn't mean you didn't do it right. So take your hands underneath your shoulders if you wanna add on a little bit. We'll do a little drop catch. So it's a swan dive, but with a catch. So here we go.

We place our hands underneath our shoulders, pull your heart forward. Then to lift, your inner thighs will lift up as your legs shoot out. That's how you're gonna do your swan dive. Right. Again, lift. So legs are straight, but your thass is lifting your legs and causing the dive to happen.

One more. Sit back. A little celebration pose, so head towards your knees, reach back for your feet, lift your center. And then slide out into your single leg kick. So this is one of my favorite exercises for finding your thass because it really is where we can open up the front of our hips and prepare us for the rest of our mat.

So what I want you to do is notice where, this is gonna take your mind's eye, notice where your knees caps are in space. Mine are off the mat. That doesn't mean yours have to be, but they are. So then when I kick my heel to my seat, my knee is still off the mat. If it dropped down that little half inch, it totally turns your booty off.

So try it on the other side. Kick, kick. So we're not lifting the knee to kick, you're just keeping the femur in space and that's gonna activate your entire hamstring and your glutes, outer hip, and then you'll feel your femur just levitates in space. You'll actually get a stretch across the front of your hip and your quads. Two more times each side.

If you're still working out that hamstring curl, stick with that, totally stick with your single leg kick. Otherwise, hands go high up on your back, elbows drop, and then we do double leg kick. So three hamstring curls with both legs. Push the feet down, lift the hands. Focus less on where the chest is going and more on your legs reaching and pressing away and into the mat.

So a little hamstring curl without a twerk. If your hips are bouncing, it's a sign we're losing that thass and we need to go back to that single leg kick to get more opening in the front of your hips. All right. Once you even, sit back. Another celebration pose and then roll up to your thigh stretch. So what I love about the thigh stretch is it's a great moment to prepare for what's coming next, but also, it's all about the thass here.

So you can almost go all the way your thass, meet your heels. I won't do that today, but it's a goal. So arms up, press your feet down, squeeze your knees towards each other even though they're apart, and then reach those knees down and towards each other as you lean back, and then press your feet into the mat and get your entire thass over your knees, so not lower back over the knees, thass over the knees. If your feet lift off the mat, that's okay. It's kind of a good sign.

It's a sign you're in a little too far in the thass way. And so you'll find your happy medium. Last time. Okay. So now, we'll do a little shoulder bridge. We'll first start with the magic circle around the knees again, and then arms down by your side.

So make sure that all four corners of your feet are on the mat. It's really easy to roll under the outside of your feet. So big toe mound, pinky toe, inner heel, outer heel, and roll the hips up, pushing the knees apart. And then roll the hips back down. Three more like that.

Again, this is one of those things you could do to warm up for any workout, just to get your thass to wake up. You can keep doing that if your thass is feeling a little elusive this far into class. Otherwise, remove the circle, stay on all four corners of your feet, lifting those hips up, collarbones, nice and wide. Lift one foot a half an inch. For my metric system peeps, we're talking like a couple centimeters, not this.

That's not half an inch. Little, little, and just go faster and faster and faster. Lift, lift, lift. So you're doing a little marching. Your pelvis has to stay in one spot and boom, you'll feel the backside of your legs working.

So you can stick with that. Or we're gonna level up one more time. Roll those hips up. Stand so much on your left thass. So all four corners of your feet.

Finding your left thass at your right foot is light. It could slide out, point up. As it flexes down, it's pushing into an imaginary magic circle. Point up and flex. You don't have to bring the legs straight up to the sky.

You can bring it up only as high as you can keep your thass engaged, and then slide it down. Switch legs. So stand so much on the right fast. Your left leg can slide out. Point up and flex down. Point up and flex.

One more. And then place the foot down, roll it down. Sit all the way up for your spine twist. So this is one of those exercises that's actually gonna test our thass connection. So if you're like, "Uh, I feel really grippy here," that is a sign. We need more.

We need more thass. So you can turn your legs out here, even though the exercise is typically parallel, that's fine with me, and then really feel that technical term where everything just kind of levitates. Take your arms out to the side and twist. Stay there. Twist a little bit more and a little more. Come back to center.

If your foot slid, we lost your thass. So twist to the other side. Look in your peripheries or just look. Are your feet still even? Twist a little bit more, and a little more.

Hug those heels tight together, and twist, twist, twist. Center, and twist, twist, twist. One more time each way. It's my favorite twist, so you're doing extra. And another side.

There'll be a quiz. They're gonna wanna know what was my favorite twist. Okay. Here we go. So, sideline leg series. So this is just a way to really strengthen our glute med, which is part of our thass, and it can easily get overtaken by our hip flexors instead of a side leg kick.

So you set yourself up, elbow and shoulders, hips along the back edge of your mat. Shoulders, just like out of your ear, head's propped up on your hands. If you need a rest on your bicep, totally fine. Then this leg, top leg is going to lift up. You're trying to keep your knee and your foot at the same level, so it won't look like this or like that when we at the same level.

Lower down. Now, here's the thing, that bottom leg is pretty much pushing down, doing the exact same thing. So you go up and down almost like your legs are pushing apart. On our fifth one, we stay here and we draw these little circles with your kneecap. Imagine your kneecap has a marker on it, it's drawing a circle.

So it's not happening at the calf, it's happening here at the femur. The up and back are a lot harder. Reverse. If your fast is already burning, it is not a sign that it's a weak thass, it is a sign that you are exactly where I want you to be. So you can pat yourself on your thass a little bit. Okay. We're not done yet.

You can feet together, then you'll do your little clams. This is not the Jane Fonda clam where we're gonna rock our hip back. We're actually gonna keep them stacked and open. So if your acetabulum, your hip joint is like mine, it's pretty sad. That's all I got. That's okay.

Right. We are all different. So give yourself the strength that you can get in this position, and then rest. Okay, rest is over. Lift the leg up, knee-to-knee, heel-to-heel, knee-to-knee, heel-to-heel. Three more.

Two. If you smile, it's still miserable. Rest, but at least, at least it doesn't show on your face. Other side. Here we go. Take your legs in that tabletop, head onto your hand, or if your head on your bicep, just do the exact same thing on this side, and then we go up and down, building a nice little tray with that top leg.

Your bottom leg is pushing down, it might wanna take a break here, but it's not really possible for it to do that. Then after five, draw circles with this top leg. Again, from the knee, not the foot, right? The femur is the circle drawer, and then reverse. Whoo.

And whoo. When you've done five in each direction, bring those feet together, and let's show off what this side can do in your little clam situation. So feet stay together, knee opens, close. After you've done five here, yep, the icing on the cake. Ready? Lift the leg up, knee-to-knee, heel-to-heel, knee-to-knee, heel-to-heel.

Whoo. Two more. Last one. And all right, you earn that. So here we are into our teaser.

We're gonna do a rolling like a ball into a teaser. So you're welcome. I want you, if you wanna just do rolling like a ball instead with the magic circle around your knees, it's totally an option for you. But take a moment with your heels together, toes apart. Go ahead and just put your hands on your knees like this.

Push your knees into your hands just so you, I mean, you just worked them, but so you know where the thass is. Got it? All right. Then you'll rock back. You'll come up, reach those legs out. It should feel like they're like pressing into an imaginary magic circle, not that they actually lower, but just that that's where the engagement is. And then bend in, and again, reach.

And bend in and reach. Whoo. And bend in, two more. If you fall out of it, it's really okay. We're not into perfect over here. Just a practice. We're doing the best we can.

And rest. All right, we're gonna flip onto our stomach for swimming. So lie all the way down, arms out in front of you, legs long behind you. Go ahead and spin your inner thighs up. If you want to keep your arms down and just work on the thass connection, that's totally fine.

You would just lift the legs, okay? Otherwise, everything comes up. Double check your inner thighs are up. It'll feel a little internally rotated in those femurs, and then swim. Lift the arms up, lift the inner thighs up.

Swim, swim, swim, and breathe. Super important. Last three, two, and one. Sit back. Celebrate that, what you did. And then sit on up for a little seal.

So before we get into our seal position totally, we're gonna take our magic circle around our knees, just like we did, rolling like a ball. and then you'll grab your ankles. So this is not seal, but it's a little prep just so you can understand where you're doing the clapping from 'cause a lot of us just do it from the feet. They're like a little dead fish handshakes down there. So instead, we're gonna take our knees and feet and they're gonna open, close.

So you're gonna push your knees into the circle, and now, the feet come apart and then squeeze together. Push, close. Push and press. Ugh. You'll know. It'll feel like, "Oh, exercise." It'll feel weird, or maybe both, but just still feel like it's a workout, yeah. Now, you can move the circle off to the side.

You'll dive your hands in, grab your feet. So now, when you open and close your legs, they're pushing into that imaginary magic circle. So beat, one, two, three. And then when you're upside down, one, two, three beats here. And then, whew.

If you tap your feet to the floor, that's okay. You're just gonna use your air brakes on the next one. So more stomach pulling back to stop you. Push your legs into that imaginary magic circle. And when you're upside down, push out.

One, two, three. Let's do a couple more just to kind of see how this is actually a nice strong workout and not just some choreography, some weird exercise. One more time. And then if you can, stand all the way up. Whew.

Okay. So we'll do a little pushup action here. Yeah. Because we tend to think the pushups are our arms, but if you use your thass, I think you're gonna like them a little bit. Take your arms up, circle them around. Hands in front of your feet. Let your head hang.

Walk out. One, two, three. Fourth step should put you in a plank. If you wanna do this on your forearms, you can, right? You can just hold the plank. Now, do me a favor.

Stand on the meaty part of your foot and hug your outer hips in. Hug them in at the hardest part of this pushup. So bend your elbows, hug those outer hips in more. Try it again. Just so you know, it wasn't like a weird little accident.

Bend your elbows, hug your outer hips in more. One more time. Head in. Walk your hands back to your feet. And now, standing on all four corners of your feet, let your head hang, arms by your ears.

Lift up. What's so cool is your thass will help pull you up, kinda like a deadlift. Ready? Circle the arms around. Hands on the mat. Let your neck be loose. Walk out. One, two, three, four.

Stand on the meaty part of your foot. Lift those inner thighs up to the sky. Squeeze outer hips in in three pushups. And then head in. Walk it back.

I really never was great with pushups. I lost a 4.0 grade point average because I got a B plus in PE 'cause I couldn't do 10 pushups. So walk it out. If someone had told me to use my legs, maybe. Here we go. Last three pushups.

One, two. Is your thass still on? Are you hugging in? Three. Head in, walk your hands back to meet your feet. Roll it up. Okay. Fun little practice for you that you can do before or after any workout.

So stand inside your circle. It's your final thing. I know you're like, "I'm gonna be feeling my thass." Yeah, you're gonna walk with your thass up high. Stand in all four corners of your feet, pushing out on your circle. If your balance is a little off, I do not mind you using a wall, especially 'cause I don't really want you leaning, which you'll see me do 'cause I'm on my own here.

So here we go. Lift up. I'm not, my wall's a little far away. So I'm gonna really try to stand in this thass to get a little bit more hip over knee, feeling pretty straight about that, and then push out with the other leg 10 times. Whoo. And rest.

So you would've felt everything in your standing leg. That's great. That's exactly what we want. We're not ever just, we're not soloist with any muscle and Pilates. Everything is working together, yeah. So stand in the other leg.

Root down as much as you can. If you lean, try to push into the circle so much that you can draw your hip over your heel of your standing leg and press 10 times. If you're like, "Lesley, your circle isn't really moving." Correct. It doesn't have to. It doesn't have to move at all for you to feel your thass in this exercise.

Last time each side. So just in case your brain's like, "I finally got it," go back and go for it. You ever find that with those asymmetrical exercises? You do it the second time, you're like, "Oh, I get it. I wanna do it again." Well, we just did. That was for you. Last time.

And rest. Ditch the circle. Stand with your heels together, toes apart, hands behind your head. Lift your heels up without them pulling apart and lower down. So I'll turn to the side so you can see that real quick. You're coming up without falling forward, and then you're lowering down without leaning back.

So it's not right. It's how high can I go up and lower down. Again. Up and down. Three more. Not going into your stiletto position just as much as you can keep all this hugging.

And rest. Pat yourself on the back. Thank your thass for everything it did for you today. And know that you can use anything we did to connect your thass and other workouts to help you find that connection. Once you have it, then it's about strengthening it and using it over and over and over again.

Thank you so much for letting me teach you and I'll see you next time.


2 people like this.
Fun, playful and different! Thank you Lesley!
Cathy S
1 person likes this.
This class was fun and SO helpful!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Lesley, that was so fun!  😃
2 people like this.
Loved this class Lesley, great cueing and fabulous energy. Look forward to your other videos in this series. 
1 person likes this.
Lesley, thank you so much for sharing this!
Birgit N yay! thank you so much for enjoying it! xx
Cathy S yass! So glad you found it helpful! xx
@lorily awe thank you so much! xx
Jane E woohoo! I had so much fun making this series! Can't wait to hear how you like the others xx
Copycat a pleasure! xx
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