Class #5391

Functional Strength

45 min - Class


You will feel stronger, more connected, and aligned in your body from this health-enhancing movement class by Tom McCook. He combines mobility and strength exercises in standing and on the Mat to give you the tools you need to everyday function.
What You'll Need: Mat, Table Chair

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I'm Tom McCook and it's great to be back at Pilates Anytime. In this class, we will combine mobility and strength exercises in both standing and on the mat. You'll feel stronger, more connected and aligned in your body from this health-enhancing movement class. You'll need a mat and a chair for this class and we'll get started. Okay, everybody.

So for this class to start, we're starting standing and we're gonna start with a little mobility and opening of our chest, which is a great idea based on how we spend our modern life. So let's start with our feet about a foot apart. Bend the knees, center of the weight on the front and the back of the feet and bring up one of your arm like you're hugging a big tree. With the other hand, you're gonna tap your chest muscles on that side as you open, turn. And the tapping will give your body feedback to the muscles, which helps them open more.

So we're gonna tap and turn and then come back. And leave the elbow bent and feel like you're tapping from the center of your chest out to your outer arm, just giving those muscles feedback with the movement and the touch. There you go. Now the next one, when you tap, turn your palm up and lift the hand to about eye level and you can picture when you do that type of a movement, you're unraveling your chest muscles into more length because of the way they attach to your outer arm. You're unsparing your chest.

How cool is that? Here we go. And just a couple more. And one. And then just take a moment just from that, you might notice, "Wow, I'm more open over there.

My shoulder might feel a little more dropped." It does on me for sure. Let's go right into side two. We'll bend, bring up the second arm, keep the hips and knees relatively straight ahead. Tap in open. So you bring in your own touch, which enhances your proprioception, your ability for your body to feel, effort, position.

All of that helps us move better and more efficiently. Now as you open, turn the palm up, unraveling those chest muscles into greater length. Ah, fluid. Couple more. And one, ah.

And we come back to the center. Now we're gonna do a coordination exercise, upper and lower body. And my question to you, are you looking forward to the next minute of your life? 'Cause that's all there is, is the next minute of your life. So put your hand on your clavicle.

Now take your arm forward, your clavicle and shoulder blade forward. Now take your clavicle and shoulder blade back, bend, turn, look and reach to the back. Think of it as about fluid organized movement 'cause your shoulder girdle is designed to easily slide around your body so we can move efficiently in space. Now we're gonna add, so the next time is your arm and shoulder goes to the front, take the same side leg to the back. Then take the leg to the front.

Turn, look and reach. So you're staying nice and vertical. Go as slow as you need to. You're breathing smoothly. Just that efficient fluid movement and gravity to wake up your brain-body connection. (exhales) Just two more front to back. (exhales) And one as you finish, just brush down the arm.

Again, take that moment feel. Now you feel really lopsided so my shoulder is more dropped. So we're letting go attention improving function just as a starting point. Great way to plan your workout sequences. Now with your other arm, reach forward, clavicle shoulder blade pull forward, shoulder blade clavicle, pull back, bend, turn, look and reach.

Fluid. Notice how you can keep your head over your pelvis the whole time. So you're just feeling that dynamic that you can move in a smooth, efficient way. There we go. Now the next time the arm goes to the front, take the same side leg to the back, then take the leg to the front as you turn, look and reach back.

So you feel that counter of upper and lower, smooth and fluid all the way through. (exhales) Getting all that tissue, spine, shoulders, and hips to start to wake up along with your balance in an approachable way. Just two more. (exhales) And last one. Ah, we come back to the center, brush down the arm. Now the next movement is for your lower back. So we're gonna take our feet a little wider than your shoulders and turn the toes in slightly.

Bend your knees and put your hands on your hips. Now nice and slow. Now we're just gonna curl the tail forward and back. Curl your tail forward and reach your tail back. And as you're doing this, when you curl, feel how you're using your inner thighs, your pelvic muscles, your abdomen, as you reach back, feel how you're using a little bit of your lower back.

Your knees are soft, head right up over your pelvis. Mobilize all those pelvic joints, muscles and joints in the lower spine. Now curl forward, hold it, sink your front ribs, take the arms out to the side with your palms up and just from your rib cage up, you're gonna translate to your left. Come back to center, translate to your right. Translate left, center, right.

Now translate left, side bend right and bend the up elbow like you're reaching up through it. Feel you're opening up your side body. Let that upper arm lengthen, come back to the center. Translate right side, bend right, reach up through the up elbow. Let it lengthen, come back up.

One more time. Translate left, side bend left. Reach up through the up elbow. Let it lengthen, come back up. Translate right, side bend right, reach up through that up elbow.

Let it lengthen. Come back up, walk your feet back in. Now this next movement is called an integrated hinge. It's to strengthen the back of your hips and your spinal muscles. And you wanna do it in a way where your back stays flat and your knees are a little bit bent.

So I'll show you from the side then from the front. So have your feet a little wider than your shoulders and have the outer edges of your feet parallel with each other. Now bend your knees slightly and bring your hands by your shoulders where you pull the shoulders back and you're gonna keep your back flat. So you're gonna hinge, you're gonna pull the pelvis back to hinge. Press into your feet and hinge back up.

So you're hinging without rounding and you're keeping the top of your chest to open. Hips pull back and then hinge back up so you're getting your hip muscles to decelerate you and to strengthen, to bring you back up. I'll do five more facing front. Hinge, hinge back up, keep the shoulders back, press evenly into your feet. (exhales) Feel how you're waking up your hips, your spine, your postural muscles, even your inner thighs. Three more. (exhales).

And two. Legs stay slightly bent the whole time. Pull the hips back. Hinge back up. Very nice.

Now walk your feet close to, actually, for the next exercise, you're gonna grab your chair. So with your chair you'll do an integrated hinge like that but we're gonna add a rotation to it. So just to show you what the arms do when you're standing, take one arm in front of you and with your other hand, take your first finger and trace it up the inseam of the arm and pull the shoulder back to reach back. So that's what you're gonna do with your arm while you're in a hinge with one hand on the chair. We'll do that on each side a few times.

So I'm gonna take my feet wider than the mat. About three feet apart. Outer edge of the feet of parallel. Now I'm gonna do that integrated hinge. Pull the hips back, knees are bent.

Now squeeze the ground with your feet so you're turning on your inseams. And put the fingertips or palm of one hand on the chair. Now keep that body line, hips back. Now trace one hand up the inseam of the other arm and then reach up. Three times on that one side.

Retract, turn, reach. Keep looking down at your hand, one more. Feel how you're opening up your chest? You're also getting into your upper back. The weight's back in your hips.

Second side, trace up. Reach. Keep the weight back in the hips. Getting that upper back to work. Fluid shoulder girdle.

One more. Back to center. Now with a flat back, come back up. And now you can take your chair out of the way. Now from there, we're gonna go into a little plie squat with rotation.

So take your feet about shoulder width apart, small turnout, hands on your hips, just do a small leg bend. Now feel like your head's right over your pelvis, the weight's centered on your feet. Bring your elbows in close palms up. Now with the hips and legs staying relatively still, turn and press from the right to the left. Back to center, then left to right. (exhales) You feel like the pressing is coming from the muscles under your shoulder blade across your waistline.

Heads right over your pelvis. Your legs are stable so you're waking up your leg muscles and another relationship. One more. (exhales) As you come to the middle, straighten your legs for a moment, then bend again. Now take your right arm overhead. Now as you side bend, reach your left arm across the midline.

Press into the ground to come back up and switch. (exhales) Lengthen up, and side. Now this time in the side bend from your rib cage up, spiral forward. Back to side, lengthen back up. Switch arms, side, spiral forward. Keep the top of your shoulders relaxed.

Back to side. Lengthen up one more each side. Side, forward, side, and up. And last time, side, forward, side and up. Walk it back in.

Now we're gonna go right into some squatting. Important movement for your entire life. Have your feet shoulder width apart. Slight turnout of your feet. Do a small leg bend, center of the weight on your feet.

Now as you're descending, feel like you're riding down on the top of your legs. As you sit into that imaginary chair, reach your arms to the front, press into the ground, press your arms to the back. Inhale on the down. Exhale out of the bottom. (exhales) Three more. (inhales then exhales) Nice and smooth on the way down. Strong on the way out of the bottom.

So ride down with control. (exhales) Smooth breathing, one more. Now take your feet a little wider. Now do the same thing. Go down for a count three and come up for one. So you're gonna work on a little more strength.

Go down slow. One, two, three. Come up with one. One, two, three, up with one. Four more.

One, two, three. (exhales) One, two, three. (exhales) And one. One, two, three and one. Very nice. Now we're gonna go into a lunge tilt. So with a lunge tilt, I'll turn sideways.

Now we're gonna use our arms, but we're also going to tilt forward over the front leg. So you have your feet about two feet apart, front to back, six inches left to right. So as you lean onto your front leg, tilt the torso forward. Now hold and reach into your back leg. Now as you hold it, pull your shoulders down, sweep your arms out to the side and turn your thumbs up as you reach your arms overhead.

Then arms back to your hips four times on this side. Inhale, arms go up, (inhales) exhale back to your sides. (exhales) Two more. (inhales) Hold on that strong body line. One more. (inhales then exhales) And switch your legs. Strong and connected. Lean onto that front leg.

Hold, shoulders back. Inhale, rotate the thumbs up, reach the arms overhead. Exhale back to your sides. (exhales) Three more. (inhales then exhales) Strong and connected. One more. (inhales then exhales) Lengthen back up.

Now from there, we're gonna go right into a 90-90 lunge. So with a 90-90 lunge, I'll face sideways again. Now this time, your upper body's gonna stay vertical. So the 90-90 relates to your hip and your knee on both legs. And if you need to make it smaller, that's completely fine.

So in this lunge position, just bend your back leg slightly and push the ground to the back to turn on your glutes and your butt. Now as you feel that, have your hands at shoulder level. Now as you press the arms forward, feel like you're pulling the waistline back so you don't arch your back when you go down into the lunge. So exhale, press forward, slowly lower your back knee, belly wall pulls in. (exhales) Inhale, back up. Five more. (exhales) (Tom inhales then exhales) Back knee straight down. (exhales) Make it as small as you need to to have good form.

One more. (exhales) Come all the way up and we'll switch legs. So back knee, right under your shoulder. Two feet front to back, six inches left to right. Now first with your hands on your hips, bend that back knee a little bit. Push the ground to the back to feel your butt.

Sense your alignment. Now bring your hands into that modified pushup position. As you pull the waistline back and press forward, lower the back knee straight down. (exhales) Push and lower. (exhales) Inhale back up. (exhales) Three more. (exhales) And two. (exhales) One more with good form. Back knee straight down. As you come up, come back to standing.

Now we're gonna help ourself down onto the mat on your back. And when you come onto your back, just bend your legs, bring your feet flat. And just take a moment to settle. Feet and lie with your sit bones. Arms long.

So just take a moment while you're lying to center the weight on the back of the pelvis and just take a moment where you're aligning your nose with your tail. Your feet are planted right in line with your sit bones. And just take a couple big belly breaths, big diaphragmatic breaths where you let your whole torso expand. And then just deflate on the exhale, just fall into gravity. (exhales) So let the feedback of the floor and gravity help you just let go of superficial tension and come into feeling yourself again. One more time as you change into this new position with gravity. (exhales) Now we're gonna do an exercise that helps decompress the spine but also activate some key muscles, the inner thighs against the tractioning of the spine from what you're gonna be doing with your breathing and your limbs, with your arms.

So walk your feet out to where your knees are about, you know, bent, maybe eighth of the way. And the big toes are touching and your heels are about an inch or two apart and your feet are flexed. Now because the heels are a little bit apart, you can let the knees come together and you can activate your inner thigh muscles so the pelvis is still level. Now put your pinky on the front of your hips, your thumb on your low ribs. Now as you breathe in, take your shoulders back and lengthen through the crown of your head.

Now breathe into your length and width like you're breathing all the way up into your armpits from your side ribs. Now the exhale phase, squeeze your inseams and draw the belly wall in. (exhales) So you have the hold of the inseams against the pull of the belly and the tractioning of the spine from the breath. And again, breathing in. Exhale, inseams belly while working together. (exhales) Now reach the arm straight up above the chest, press your 10 fingertips together, breathe into your length and width. On the exhale, squeeze the inseams belly wall in, press the 10 fingertips together. (exhales) One more breath before we add. (inhales) Exhale, inseams belly wall, press. (exhales) Now slowly let the arms go higher without the back changing.

Think of it getting longer. Inhale, widen width. Exhale inseams belly wall, press the 10 fingers. (exhales) Two more breaths. (inhales then exhales) And one more. (inhales then exhales) Slowly release. Now walk your feet closer and we're gonna go into some bridging. We'll do a few variations.

Come back to leveling your pelvis. Feet are about sit bone width apart now. Arms long by your sides. Just press the shoulders lightly back and reach through your fingertips so you can set your shoulders back and down. Now breathe into your width.

Now follow the belly wall in and as you follow it in, curl the tail towards the back of the knees and slowly peel the hips off the ground. Now in the bridge, touch the bottom of your pelvis and take that part of your pelvis more towards the back of your knees. Touch your front low ribs, let them melt more into your body. So now you have this straight line, knees to shoulders. Your core is more activated, the back of your legs and your inseams.

As you breathe in with the shoulders low, reach the arms overhead, thumbs towards the floor. High V, so your hands are wider than your shoulders. Now melt your chest and traction down. Let your tail be the last thing down. At the bottom, float your arms to the side.

And again, exhale, curl into the bridge. (exhales) Inhale into the reach. Exhale, traction down, sink your chest. Tail's the last thing down. Float the arms down. Two more times. (exhales) Reach, traction down. (exhales) Use your abdomen on the down.

Float your arms, one more. (exhales) Inhale your reach. (inhales) Exhale, traction down. (exhales) Float the arms down. Now we're gonna go into a neutral bridge. Have your pinkies right on the front of your hips, your thumbs on your low ribs. Maintain that shape of the spine from your head to your tail. As you exhale, press evenly into your feet and levitate the pelvis up.

And then hinge from the hips. Feel now you're feeling a little more the back of your hips as the initiator. (exhales) Next time, lift 2/3 of the way and hold. Bring your arms into a hug, a tree at low chest level. Have your palms on top of each other and broaden across your chest. Now imagine your pants pockets are filled with sand.

And as you breathe in, rotate the right pocket to empty the sand. Exhale back to center. Inhale the left pocket. (exhales) Feel how you're using your waistline, the back of your hips, your inseams without arching your back. (exhales) Stay open across your chest, relax your neck. (exhales) One more. (exhales) Float the pelvis back down. Now reach the arm straight up to the ceiling. Press into the feet and levitate again.

Now if you need to have your arms down, you could, that makes it easier. We're gonna go into marching. Float one knee. (exhales) Stand into one leg as you float the other. (exhales) So even keep your pelvis level, reach into your standing leg. Next time, float reach to the ceiling, bend and place it down. (exhales) Smooth and fluid. (exhales) One more each side. (exhales) Last side. (exhales) Place it down, float the hips down. Now this next movement is an abdominal curl, but it's gonna be with using the arms to get a little more range out of the abs.

And I want you to do it in a way where you're also just gonna curl the tail slightly towards the ceiling, but I'll talk you through that. So take the arms right up over your chest. Now just practice on the exhale, taking the arms back without taking the back of the waist away from the floor, so you're not gonna let your back arch, you're just gonna reach on the exhale, keeping the belly wall drawing in just a sense that you keep the lower back the same. (exhales) Inhale to bring them forward, one more time. (exhales) Now in the next exhale, reach. (exhales) Circle the arms out to the side. Now roll your head off the floor, curl, and take hold of the sides of your legs. Now just curl your tail slightly.

Now use your abdomen and a little bit of support of the arms, curl a little higher. Hold the curl. Turn on your inner thigh muscles. Slowly, without dropping your torso, inhale, reach your arms back by your ears. Exhale, lengthen down with the upper body.

Two more times, inhale, circle. Exhale, curl. Lift the tail. Curl a little higher. Inhale to reach. Exhale down.

One more circle, knot and curl. Shoulders are low, inner thighs are active. Inhale to reach, exhale down. Now we're gonna take it into a rotation where you hold the outside of one leg. Circle, curl.

Take hold of the outside of one of your legs. Now curl a little higher like you're rotating around the midline. Stay lifted. Reach back by your ears. Lengthen down.

Circle, curl, take hold of the outside of the second leg. Curl a little higher, rotate. Keep your hips anchored. Slowly reach back, lengthen down. Circle, nod, curl, first side.

Pull, feel your waistline. Now hold that lift as you reach. Last one on this side, lengthen down. Circle, nod, curl. Second side, curl a little higher.

Let the elbow bend, reach, lengthen down. Roll your head from side to side a few times. Bring your knees up, hold the back of your thighs and rock up to a seated position for some roll downs. Now in this position, bend your knees as much as you need to to get up on your sit bones. The bones at the bottom of your pelvis, you're not starting rounded back.

Now a roll down is the exact same action as the articulated bridge, but you're sitting up instead of lying down. So grow tall, get up on the center of your sit bones. Flex your feet. Reach your arms to the front. Take a breath.

Now from your pelvis, feel the curl. Feel your inner thighs turn on and curl back like a quarter of the way without your shoulders going up at all. Take a short breath, squeeze your inseams, curl back up. Grow tall. Feel the control from your inseams and your belly wall. (exhales) Short breath. (inhales) Belly wall inseams again, curl back up. (exhales) If you can go a little further, go a little further. (exhales) Short breath, exhale, curl back up.

One more time. (exhales) Short breath, exhale, curl. (exhales) Grow tall. Now start to trace a figure eight, like a kayaking maneuver. Where you're feeling a little bit of a side bend and a rotation, but you're keeping the shoulders dropped and the arms are just helping you get into your waistline. It's not a huge strenuous arm exercise. Now we're gonna add the rollback to that maneuver.

So as you roll back (exhales). And come back, actually, let me do that one more time. That wasn't quite right. So you're gonna curl, (exhales) go to the other side, and then come up for two. So we'll go down for one each side, (exhales) Up for one each side. (exhales) Down for one each side, up for one each side.

Now the next time as you're going down, you're gonna bend the leg that you're turning towards. (exhales) And then bend the one that you're turning towards as you come up. (exhales) So you're adding more muscle, more complexity. (exhales) You're having an amazingly good time. Your muscles are saying, "Yes, I'm working." (exhales) One more up and down. (exhales) And there we are. Now from there we're gonna come onto our back and do a couple traditional Pilates exercises, single leg stretch and crisscross. So help yourself down onto your back. Now as you come down, take your left knee and take hold of your left knee with your right hand, take hold of your lower leg on the same side with your left hand.

Now take your right leg straight up to the ceiling and right behind your belly button, on the exhale, bring that part of your spine closer to the ground. See if you can keep it there. Shoulders low and wide, take a breath. Now as you roll your head off the floor, use your abdominal wall to curl up and reach your leg long. Pull the knee and you're holding a little tighter.

Shoulders low. One leg is reaching one leg is pulling. With an exhale, switch. Take the leg as high as you need to to keep the back the same. (quick exhales) Pull and reach. If you can take it lower with control, take it lower. (quick exhales) One more each side. (quick exhales) As you come back to the center, let the head come down for a moment.

Roll your head a few times. Interlace your fingers, bring your legs to tabletop for crisscross. Now on the exhale, imprint the back of the waistline to float the head. Now come into your ab curl, same leg action as the last exercise, but you're adding an oblique turn. Turn and reach and switch. (quick exhales) Pull with one, reach with the other. (quick exhales) Two more each side. (quick exhales) Back to the center, place the feet down.

Now this next movement is to strengthen your back muscles and your obliques, your waistline muscles. So take your arms and take them out to the side a little bit below your shoulders with your palms up, elbows a little bent. And just pull your shoulder blades slightly in towards the spine. Now that you'll notice a tendency when we do that is to arch the back. So see if you can minimize that.

Keep your front ribs relatively dropped, shoulder blades pulled in. Now bring up one knee at a time where your knees are over your belly button, not over your hips. More up and relax your lower legs. Draw your knees together if possible and squeeze them. Now the rotation is from your waistline down with the shoulder blade staying on the floor the whole time.

So as you breathe in, pelvis and knees to your left, keep your right shoulder blade on the ground. Exhale, use your belly and your back to come back. (exhales) Inhale to the second side, it's gonna be really small. The goal isn't to take your knees to the floor, it's to keep your shoulder blades set backs. You feel those middle upper back muscles, (exhales) hollow the belly to come back. (exhales) Inhale to rotate. (exhales) Exhale center. (inhales then exhales) One more each way, relax the lower legs. (exhales) Last one. (inhales then exhales) Take hold of the knees, do some knee stirs, pull them in, open down and together three times in this direction. (exhales) And now reverse. Go down the center, open up and together. (exhales) And one. (exhales) Place the feet on the floor.

Now come onto your side for side legwork. Cradle your head with the bottom arm. Bend your bottom leg like you're sitting in a chair. Now with the top leg, just lift it up about six inches. Now we're gonna add a stability challenge for this one.

So you can keep your top hand on the floor if you need to. Otherwise, I want you to reach it straight up to the ceiling and absorb it into your shoulder joint. So you're keeping your body still and the only thing that's gonna be moving is the lifted leg. That's it. Now, point the foot and stir a circle, small circle, keeping the rest of the body still. (exhales) One more in that direction, now reverse. (exhales) One more.

Now reverse again, make it like twice as big. (exhales) One more. (exhales) And reverse. (exhales) One more. Now we're gonna go directly into sidekicks. Inhale with a flex foot, kick to the front. Now point and press to the back as you resist the down knee towards your chest, each time you stride to the back. (exhales) Keep the hip stacked. (exhales) Fluid line through the body. (exhales) One more. (inhales) Now hold the leg to the back. Put your top hand on the floor for stability.

Now press the thigh back more, bend at the knee. Draw the knee to the chest and move into bicycle. Long leg to the back. (exhales) Bend. Pull forward and reach. One more.

Your hips stay stacked as best you can all the way through. Now as you come forward, pause, reverse, reach back. (exhales) Long leg to the front. Reach back. (exhales) One more. (inhales then exhales) From there, bend your leg, take hold of your ankle, draw your knee down and back but take your tailbone forward as you're taking the arch out of your lower back. Kick the foot into your hand if possible and draw your heel a little tighter to your backside if you feel like you've got a little more room to open up your thigh. (exhales) Take two more breaths. (inhales then exhales) And one. (inhales then exhales) And then we'll set up for side two. Okay, from there, let's turn over over to side two.

So on side two, cradle your head with your bottom arm. Bend the bottom leg like you're sitting in a chair. Stack your hips and reach the top leg away from you. And lift it up about six inches with a flex foot. So you can pull it away, you get that sense of alignment.

Now if you have room, if you feel like you can take it a step further, you could keep your hand on the floor, but it'll make it a little less stable, more work. Take that top arm straight up to the ceiling and absorb the arm into the shoulder. Now point the foot and draw a circle. Small circle, a little bigger than a dinner plate. Doing your best to keep the rest of the body still.

One more in that direction, now reverse. (exhales) Hold on to that body line. And now reverse again, make it bigger. Focus on your form. Make the range work for you. (exhales) One more. (exhales) And reverse. (exhales) One more. (exhales) Hold the center, flex your foot for sidekicks. Inhale, kick to the front.

Point and press to the back and resist the down knee towards your chest each time you stride to the back. (exhales) Two more. (exhales) And one. This time, stride to the back and hold. Put your top hand on the floor. Now press the thigh back using your gluten hamstring. Keep the knee back as you bend at the knee.

Knee to the chest, leg long to the front. Long leg sweeps back, bend forward reach. (exhales) One more in that direction as it comes forward. Pause, now reverse, reach back. Sweep it forward, bend and reach. (exhales) Two more. (inhales then exhales) And one. (exhales) Bend the knee, take hold of the ankle. Take the knee down and back, visualizing a straight line from your knee to your shoulder.

But take the tail forward so you're not letting yourself substitute in your lower back and start to contract your butt on that side. And if possible, kick the foot into your hand. Draw the heel a little tighter to your backside for a few breaths. One more breath. From there, let go of your leg and help yourself onto all fours.

So this is a plank strengthening progression of stability and strengthen your torso. So what makes it harder is how far back you walk your knees. So we'll start with our hands directly under our shoulders. And I just want you to walk your knees back, maybe about six inches behind your knees, but you're not sinking in your lower back. Push the floor away, set your shoulders low and just take a couple breaths, breathe into your width, and on the exhale phase, feel like you're squeezing something between your inner thighs, but you're also drawing your belly away from the floor. (exhales) Feel that line, head to tail.

Now we're gonna play with moving our arms, keeping the body relatively still. So as you exhale, bring one hand to your opposite shoulder. Inhale to lower and alternate. (exhales) Two more each side. (exhales) Try to minimize any shifting. (exhales) Try to keep the lift in your belly. Now take one arm to the side. (exhales) Two more each side. (exhales) One more each side. (exhales) Last one arm to the front. (exhales) Two more each side. (exhales) One more. (exhales) Now just for a quick pause, shift back for a second. Now when we shift forward, we're gonna come into that position and we're gonna lower into a pushup but when you lower, let yourself go more forward.

Like you're pulling your elbows to your hips. So come back forward. Now as you lower shift more forward, elbows to your hips. Exhale the push away, (exhales) back to the start. Inhale to lower.

Exhale. (exhales) Three more. (exhales) Hold onto your body line. (exhales) One more. (exhales) Stretch back, untuck your toes. Take a couple breaths. Soften. (inhales then exhales) Slowly roll up. Now we're gonna come onto our belly. So we have a few finishing exercises for upper back and then a side stretch.

So have your hands outside your shoulders, maybe a little wider than your mat if you need to with your elbows on the floor. This is swan. So first thing, anchor your hips to the floor and reach back through your legs. Set your shoulders back and down. Now on the exhale phase, just practice drawing the lower belly in and feeling the tone of your upper inner thigh muscles. (exhales) Now using your upper back, as you breathe in, slide your heart forward and up.

Keeping your shoulders low, reach into your arms to come a little higher. Slowly lower. (exhales) And again, inhale forward and up. Keep the neck long, let your gaze naturally come up. Lengthen back down. (exhales) Four more. (inhales) Feel a sequence through the spine, the arms come in last. Legs are toned to support your your lower back.

If you need to make it smaller, make it smaller. Two more. (inhales then exhales) And one more. And down. Tuck your toes under. Press back, come up onto all fours.

Let's do a counter movement of a cat stretch. Hands right under your shoulders. Take a breath in nice and slow, curl the tail forward. Lift your waistline and round your back. (exhales) Hold it for an extra breath. (inhales then exhales) Inhale, tail back. Open the chest to the front and look forward.

One more time, curl. (exhales) Inhale to extend. (inhales then exhales) Tuck your toes, lift back, walk in place for a moment. Relax your neck. (exhales) Float your knees down, come into a seated position. Fold one leg back, one in front for mermaid. So in this position, just find your balance. Reach out.

If you needed to, you could put a pad under this hip to elevate it a little bit. It'll make it easier to sit this way. Reach the arm up, side bend. (exhales) Let the bottom elbow bend, spiral forward back to side, back to balance. One more time. Side, spiral. (exhales) Side, back to balance.

Take hold of your back ankle. Reach up with the other arm. Side bend the other way. Hold for an extra breath. (inhales then exhales) Lengthen up and switch your legs. Find your balance, reach.

Take the arm up, side bend, let the bottom elbow bend, spiral forward. (exhales) Back to side, back to balance. And again, come over the top. (exhales) Rotate. Side, balance. Find your back, ankle, reach up. Side bend the other way.

It's a little smaller this way, so take it easy. (exhales) Lengthen up. Take a cross-legged position, or whatever's comfortable for you. Thank you so much for joining me today.


2 people like this.
Hi Tom - so love your work. Really enjoyed this - as have a dodgy hip love the functional aspect of this and love slightly different variations of doing things. Keep them coming as I will be watching them!! Sam
Sam Cย , Thank you for your message! Iโ€™m happy to hear you appreciate my approach and the focus on function!! Enjoy and all the best wishes, Tom๐Ÿ™
1 person likes this.
My new favorite mat class. Love how the class starts standing and makes its way down to the mat; often itโ€™s easy to switch off if we start on the mat straight away. Loved the half roll back kayak, lovely spirals through the body. Thank you ๐Ÿ™
Another amazing class from Tom - thank you! So appreciated.
Melissa D
I really enjoy your functional movements classes. Really helps to get back into your body. Thank you so much!ย 
Rebecca C,ย Igaย &ย Melissa D, Thank you so much for sharing your experience and supportive feedback!! Enjoy and many thanks!!๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿ™
1 person likes this.
Just off the back of a pilates course from the weekend where I worked hard- I needed something gentle and grounding and this was perfect for my body. I feel stretched and strong and calm! You've got a great flow and voice. Thank you!ย 
loved it after sitting and cleaning most of the day! Thank you!!
A Pย &ย Julia L, Thank you both, I appreciate your inspiring feedback!!๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ™
3 people like this.
Just beautiful, delightful considered. Big thanks from Dublin Ireland xย 
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