Class #5268

Foam Roller Fitness Fun

35 min - Class


Get your spine moving with this creative Foam Roller workout by Cathleen Murakami. She starts with a standing warm-up to get your torso moving and to increase your heart rate. She then flows into different sequences that will challenge your balance and strength in a fun way.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video


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Hi, everyone. It's Cathleen Murakami. I'm back with some more foam roller fitness fun. Ta-ta-da. I'm using one of the softer foam rollers today, so it has a little bit of give to it.

The firmer ones will be just fine, however, if you do have a slightly softer one, you will feel maybe exactly what I'm talking about. But again, the firmer ones are just fine, okay? So we need to do a little bit of warming up of the torso. So we're just going to start lifting and lowering and bending the knees. Make sure they're going over your toes.

If you're feeling pretty good, you can create a little bit of a press of the pelvis. I'm inhaling on the lift and exhaling as I come down. Yeah. So you'll feel your heart rate go up just a little bit. All right.

And then what I'm going to do is bring it to the side and when you bring it to the side here, I'm pressing the top hand into the bottom hand. My elbow's going a little bit behind my waist. So you're resisting and you're feeling your lats. Have to lengthen and shorten and contract in both directions. All right, if you have that down, you can add in a little curtsy squat behind.

All right. You're exhaling here and inhaling up (exhales loudly). And (exhales loudly) and (exhales loudly) and (exhales loudly). Make sure that top arm doesn't block your beautiful face. Now we're gonna take it to one side.

So you'll come in the center and take it to your left. Center, take it to your left. So your right hand is going in between your legs. Yeah, can you feel this? Make sure that elbow's going a little bit behind your waist.

That's it. Now we're gonna switch to the other side. So now your left hand goes under and yeah. Can you feel that little bend in your elbows and your knees simultaneously? All right, couple more.

Yes, last one. Yeah, really good. Woo-hoo, woo-hoo! All right, here we are. We're just gonna place it across the thighs. Inhale.

I'm gonna bow the head, walk with your fingers. Roll down as far as is comfortable. Soften your knees a little bit, make this an abdominal contraction. A little pressure against your shins, take a breath. Exhale, walk it up, articulate through that spine and come to standing again.

Your breath, descending, descending. Let your head get heavy, let gravity help you, traction that spine toward the floor. Little press. Breathe in here and roll up. Check your shoulders and all the way up.

Can we do one more? Take it over. Walk it out, firm your legs. Firm your legs. Pause there.

Breathe into that low back. Exhale. Coming all the way up. I will turn sideways to you. We're taking it to the floor.

Bow your head with your exhale. Make sure you have a little bit of pressing against the legs and I'm actually kind of pressing my legs forward against the roller. Now you bend your knees as much as you need to here. All right. Take it out.

So the roller out. So your arms are a little bit of an angle. Soften through your knees as much as you can and much as you need to keep your heels on the floor. Reach out. I'm pulling the roller toward me.

Coming down. Round your spine. Legs, the knees can stay bent when you go into your flexed spine right here. So if you need to keep those knees bent, do so. You see how that roller's moving?

That roller is moving because your spine is moving. Two more here. Careful with the neck when you reach your chest out. It was really easy to try to crane our necks and have our necks do the work for us. Very good.

I'm placing my weight on my hands and bringing my knees down to the floor. Alrighty, roll that roller a little bit away from you. We're gonna work through the low spine at first. Our traditional, we love pelvic press and pelvic rolling, at least I do. And I'm going to bring my feet so that the convexity or the...

Yeah, the convexity of the roller snuggles right into the concavity of your arch, all right? Press lightly onto your feet. Yes, fire up those hamstrings, you're going to feel them. Hover your buttocks here and lower, all right? So I just want you to warm up the entire back of the leg, just hover a little bit and lower.

I'm gonna bring my arm out of the way so you can see I'm barely hovering. I'm also remembering my inner thighs lovingly (laughs). And last one. Inhale and exhale. Okay, rolling up.

Inhale to create that pelvic flexion. Inhaling all the way up, exhale, sustain your position. Now can you shift your pelvis a little bit to the right? Come to the center. Shift your pelvis a little bit to the left.

You're getting what's called medial lateral glide in your hip joint. Among other things, you're learning to feel the suspended neutral pelvis in space. Yeah. And you can feel how the shifts the activity in your hamstrings. You notice that?

Yeah, very good. Pause here. Soften that chest, roll down. And if you remember how to traction your spine from a couple of my other classes, you can throw that in. Hmm, teaser, teaser alert.

Peel it up again. All right. Here we go. This time, little rotation. Now what I'm doing here is rotating the pelvis while it's suspended in the air.

But I'm controlling the dissent of the hip that's coming toward the floor. So in other words, when you create this pelvic rotation, you're not just letting your butt drop. You are facilitating from your obliques. You will also feel that shift in the way your hamstrings are working, yeah? And hopefully you also feel your abdominals in your legs.

Last one. And soften that chest. Roll it down. Stretch your leg up, flex, point, lower. Just give your hamstring area, the back of the calf, a little length.

We'll do one more. Just really pushing out through that heel. Here's your last one. Very good. Okay, roll that roller a little closer.

And we are going to hold here the opposite hand and foot. So it doesn't matter which side you start with. I have my right hand and my left foot, but it's really up to you. Your first level, you just would lower on your inhale, come back up on your exhale. If your hamstrings are feeling a little tight today, it's okay to bend your knee, but keep the knee stable and create that movement at your hip.

And you can always have a smaller range of motion, okay? To not drop the roller, I am pulling my leg a little toward me and pressing with my hand. Last one and coming back up. You will change sides. Ta-ta-da.

Now I have to use my peripheral, not my peripheral vision, but my kinesthetic awareness to feel that I'm keeping that roller, you know like a carpenter's level, the bubble in the middle, which I'm doing right now with camera. Oops. You see, I'm not paying attention, not pressing. You don't want this to lift and lower. In the ideal, that's staying pretty parallel to the floor.

Okay? Again, even pressure. So the hand can't win, the foot can't win. Here's your last one and you'll bring it down, okay? Come back to your first side now that we know what we're doing (laughs).

Yeah, your arm, let's see. Let's cross this free arm across the pelvis. All right, bring your leg up comfortably. Then we will now inhale to prepare, exhale and curl forward. Look right down the runway and come back up.

Now I'm going a little bit lower with my foot than I did when I had my head down. So the roller from your view is probably angling a little lower toward the floor at the foot end. Breathe it out. That's it. And I do have a little pressure into my supporting foot.

If you wanted to, you could alternate. Let me tell you, you're gonna build some brain dendrites doing this (laughs). How about one more? Breathe it out and foot down. I'm going to change sides.

Straight leg. The setup here is really important. I'm gonna tell you a little hint. Be sure that roller is dead center on your foot. If you just have it a little bit off as you continue to move and if you don't pay attention to the equal pressure, it's gonna start to slip and it feels really weird.

Okay, crossing your arm, opposite hip, prepare with your inhale and (exhales loudly), and up. Now you might feel that one side versus the other. Honestly, for me, on this side, I feel like, hmm, I don't wanna lower my leg as far because I'm gonna lose my precision. So just remember, you always wanna have your breath be able to concentrate. Your movement is flowing, right?

That opposite knee. You're precise. And of course, our Pilates control, contrology. Last one, make a count. Here's your best one.

Beautiful. Hold that roller, roll your head a little bit to one side and then the other side. That's it. Okay, everyone, we're gonna roll to the side. Come on up.

And now, if you watched my other foam roller class, I did a version where we had one shin on and the knee on the floor, yeah? And one hand on the floor and one hand on the roller. Today, I'm gonna actually do this with the leg closer to you to start. You will have your leg, your shin on the roller, both hands on the floor. So they're on either side of your roller, okay?

Something like this, yeah? Then you organize your spine. The hip on the side of the leg on the roller tends to hike up towards your armpit. So as you shift forward, you see I'm shifting forward, you can just hang out right there and you're gonna feel this is the roller. It's round, it's gonna move.

I'm gonna adjust my hands personally a little more forward. Okay, now I am going to show you a little trick here. Do you see I'm flexing my ankle on the roller, that's gonna help you. I'm emptying my weight from my legs into my hands. I'm hovering the opposite knee, you can't really see right now, and I'm reaching that leg out.

I'm just gonna hold right now. Breathing in and breathing out. I'm just gonna move my ankles. And then you can see, can you let go of that ankle that's on the roller a little bit? Do your best to feel your line.

It's really fun to keep talking through this, let me tell you. One more. Right knee down. Woo-hoo-hoo hoo-hoo! I think I probably started with my favorite side. I think I probably started with my favorite side because I didn't say which leg to start on, I just went for it and you always start with your favorite side.

That means your easy side. Now you're gonna go to your second favorite side, okay? Your shin is on the top of the roller. I'm using my little cheat of hooking the ankle, a little flexion there. Hands forward.

So the first thing is just squared off. Square off your pelvis. So I'm thinking I wanna square my pelvis off to the end of the mat. My shoulder girdle, I have shifted my weight. I'm going to help myself with this little ankle flex and hug and I'm hovering my left knee, the one you can't see.

I really am hovering it, okay? And then I'm gonna extend the leg, holding. Now I know this is my challenge side. I'm flexing and pointing at the ankle and my voice is shaking a little bit, but whoa, believe me, this is pretty challenging. Okay.

Impressive, oh, my goodness! And then bring your foot down. Woo-hoo! I am sure you can see how that can go into, after the leg is extended and you're just flexing and pointing and holding, you can lift and lower your leg straight or bring the knee in. Many, many variations. Lot of fun. All right, we are now going to lie on the roller on our front.

So prone face down, okay? I have my toes on the floor, my knees are bent, and I'm hugging into the roller slightly with my inner thighs, okay? First thing, find your center, and we're going to hover the knees off the floor. All right, and I still am slightly hugging the roller with my inner thighs. Then actually, I'm gonna move on the mat a little bit more.

I'm going to extend the ankles. So I'm hovering my feet. And you know you can always touch down as you need to. Now you super bring your energy to the center of your torso. I'm starting to lighten and lighten and lighten and lighten the weight on my fingertips, all right?

The temptation is going to be to look down slightly with the eyes. It's gonna be helpful because this is extension. Your eyes are peripherals of your spine, so look slightly forward because that's gonna help you extend your spine, okay? Then I know you can't see my back arm, but I am hovering my fingers. Right, and this can go into extending your arms out to the side, like the letter T.

I can bring them a little forward. I'm actually gonna lift my trunk up a little bit. Yes. And you're gonna feel all this snaking navigation go on. In other words, this lateral flexion, different parts of your spine 'cause your brain's telling your body to attempt something that it hasn't before and is going, "What are you doing?" Ta-da! (laughs) Okay, so you get the idea there, is when you're in that supine position, start out kind of with these cactus arms, stick them up arms.

Go to your fingertips, start to lighten it, and then the lever can get longer and longer and longer and longer. And you can play around with that angle that you wanna challenge yourself with, okay? All right. One of my favorite ones to always do here, I have to do it 'cause I love it. Kneecaps are over the edge of your roller.

You're on your hands and knees. And remember again, the kneecaps are over the roller. They're not on the top of the roller there, all right? Same thing, you're going to need to shift your body weight a little bit forward. I am walking my eyes slightly forward.

Extend one of your legs, I'm extending my right. Find the line to the top of your head and right away you start lifting. And then you bend your elbows and come back up. Now what happens here is sometimes a rotation of your pelvis, sometimes what happens here as you bend your elbows, you forgot about your leg. So remember, the lifting of the leg transfers the weight into the upper body.

You're inhaling and exhaling. And the other position you have to be careful of is that this pelvis stays really level and you stay on your leg because when you bring the extended leg in, you're gonna feel your weight shift back to the center. And when you go now to the second side, instead of letting the pelvis laterally shift, you've gotta hug it right over that supporting knee. You can also do the little cheat right here, all right? Find your line first, organize, lift, little bend, okay?

It doesn't have to be very far. The elbows are bending toward the roller. You're breathing in and breathing out. You're breathing in and breathing out. And remember my analogy, you're not a turtle going in the shell, you're a turtle emerging out of the shell.

Be sure that's happening as well. And then when you bring that knee in mindfully, notice if you are coming back to the center or you didn't have to shift too much. Roll that roller out in front of you for a moment, take a little stretch, exhale into that lower back. Yes, roll yourself back up. Place it now at the...

right above your knees, okay? Or so. It's gonna be different for everybody 'cause it's the length of your legs and that sort of a thing. So the first move, this is your swan and the roller's helping you rock. Reach through your legs.

I always call the legs your tail feathers. And as you draw yourself up, evenly distribute the curve. Keep your elbows off the floor. You will wanna drop your eyes, keep them a little forward. Keep the arms straight, push yourself back.

Lift up your tail feathers. You can push strongly with your arms, your nose is off the floor, don't break your beak. Inhale and come up and exhale. Lift your tail feathers. Careful you don't break into your back, right?

Inhale as you come up, the whole back line's working. Exhale, lift up and breathing in. You know what else? You're getting a free massage on your quads. Exhale.

Lift up. One more here. And exhale. Woo, very nice. Bring your elbows in, press yourself back.

Push that roller out in front of you. I'm tucking my toes and lengthening and lengthening. And one more. Since we're here, pick it up. Thigh stretch, okay?

Hug to the midline, hinge at the knee a little bit or a lot. All right. Those of you whose ankles do not care for this position, of course you can tuck your toes, yeah? I like to inhale on the back, but if you've learned it with an exhale on the hinge or a double breath, two breaths to do this, feel free. Yeah, just giving those quads some love, lengthening them, but making them work.

More challenge, of course, is the longer lever and the arms up. You feel the line from the hands through the torso to the legs. Entire leg working, inner, outer buttocks, the whole deal. Yeah baby, the whole booty. (laughs) Booty love.

All right, very good. We are now going to roll back just a little bit and have the roller, no, not that high, sorry. Lost that brain cell. We're going to have it just behind the sacrum. Lift, come over.

It's in the lower back, you'll need to lift up. So your pelvis is a cross, yes. And then bring one knee in. Your pelvis will roll back, engage your abdominals then. And then tippy toe the opposite foot away and reach it, okay?

Now if you wanna challenge yourself and not hold the ends of the roller, you could have your arms up or your arms overhead. If you need to have a little more support, lightly have your hands on the roller to help you. We're just gonna do an easy bicycling movement. The leg comes up and reaches and reach to the heels so your hamstrings even have to lengthen more and you glide and breathe out, lengthening the front of one leg and the back of the other. And (exhales loudly) think about like you're a synchronized swimmer under the water.

There's a little bit of resistance. The leg that's descending, fire the hamstring and the buttock because that is hip extension. It's not just a matter of letting the bones hang in space, okay? Maybe a couple more here. Yes, this is your sexy leg time (laughs).

And then we reverse it. We're diving down and reversing. You'll notice that I pause for a moment at the end range, which is the splits. Now, no, you don't need to be super gumby. You could take this in a smaller range here.

It's about the energy lines moving through your legs, okay? And really enjoy that feeling. And last one, bring that in. Put your feet flat on the floor, micro press your hips up and press the roller out from underneath you. Come up.

We need to do a little tiny bit more abdominal. Now we are placing the roller at the upper back. I'm angling so you can see just a little bit. And I'm going to go ahead and first just start with my arms forward and my palms up, okay? Take an inhalation, shoulder blazer down.

Yes, your lower back is flexing or rounding toward the floor, but you're not pushing it down, okay? You still feel your big cummerbund of support and one leg or both legs. It's really up to you, okay? You're gonna stretch both legs up or you have one leg up. Let me show the one leg here.

That same bicycling movement. You can take the range of motion higher, which will be a little less challenging. Yeah, you can take the range of motion lower because your leg is heavier as it gets to the floor. Don't forget, Newton's law. When I personally do both legs, I do not go too close to the floor.

If you go to the floor and you find your back arching, that's too far for you. Breathing out. Breathe it out. Yes. You feeling the work?

Oh, yes, you are. One more time and hug it in. Come on up. Alright, come into this beautiful mermaid-like position and take the roller over to your right side. The knees are pointing to your left.

Breathe in and come up. Exhale, put the roller down on the opposite side. Both hands on, take a breath. Roll the roller out, my back arm is bent a little bit. You can take it out as far as you're comfortable.

Let the opposite buttock leave the mat, but have a little weight to it so that you will feel this lengthening sensation in your waistline and the back. Roll yourself back up, pick up the roller, breathe in. Place it on the floor on your right, okay? Put your right hand on top, reach under. You can tip the roller a little bit away if you'd like, keeping the shoulder down.

And when you lean in, you're gonna feel the tissue alongside of your right arm. Lengthen. Bring yourself back up. Place your left hand on, cross it over, grab the opposite leg and same tilt to your left. So grabbing firmly so you can pull and keep your chest lifted.

Doesn't that feel great? Yeah. Good, good. Change sides. Now your knees are pointing to your right.

Take the roller to your left. Inhale the arms up, big sweep, exhale, place the roller down. So if you've ever been on a reformer or Cadillac, you know this is part of mermaid. Oh, this feels really great on this side for me. Breathe into those tight spots.

Relax the bones, relax your joints slightly. Roll back, you gotta use your abdominals a little bit there. Pick the roller up, bring it to the floor, touch it down. Place your left hand on the top. Sweep the right arm under and rotate wherever you rotate to, okay?

No force. You wanna feel like you're a rubber band everywhere that's getting a little pull, but not to the point of snapping, okay? Then come back up. Your right hand will go on the top. Sweep your left hand under, shoulders are down and oh, leaning out.

Yeah, that is delicious, wouldn't you say? Good job. Come all the way back up. And so, there you go, my friends, a little foam roller fitness fun, just enough to get you going, just enough to feel like you did something and whatever your next endeavor is, enjoy it. See you again soon.


This was the first foam roller class I’ve done in a long time. It was fabulous! I have new, creative ways to use my foam roller. Thank you, Cathleen!
1 person likes this.
This was the first foam roller class I’ve done in a long time. It was fabulous! I have new, creative ways to use my foam roller. Thank you, Cathleen!
2 people like this.
So glad you created this foam roller class - the mermaid at the end was delish!  Thank you!!
Amazing as always !! More please!
1 person likes this.
Amazing as always !! More please!
Very nice little session 🙏
Very nice little session 🙏
1 person likes this.
Very nice little session 🙏
Gisela G
1 person likes this.
Thank you - I very much loved this class!
Cathleen Murakami
Gisela G, thank you so much...always makes me happy when a PA member takes the time to let me me know
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