Class #5526

Lower Back Focused Mat

20 min - Class


Join Leah Stewart for a transformative experience in her Lower Back Focused Mat class. With a strong emphasis on spinal extension, this class guides you through a comprehensive journey of working through the entirety of your spine, while also opening and mobilizing your chest. By strengthening your posterior chain, Leah helps you establish a solid foundation for better posture and overall body alignment.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Feb 22, 2024
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Hello there, and welcome to our spinal extension lower back short class that we're gonna be doing for you today. It's Leah here again. I'm so happy to be with you. We are going to be focusing on just sort of working through our entire spine strengthening our entire spine, but before we do that, we need to mobilize and open up the chest a little bit. So let's go ahead and get started on this beautiful short class when you just wanna focus on some spinal work. So I'm actually gonna sit to the side, so you can see my spine, moving a little bit. I'm gonna sit with just one leg in front of the other.

You can choose which leg that you want. So prior to going down and doing our spinal extension in our prone position, I wanna work in this seated position. So what we're gonna do first is hands gently on the knees, I want you to just roll your shoulders back and press your chest forward, and let your back just kinda go naturally there, and then just relax. So initiating from rolling the shoulders back, expanding the chest, pushing your chest forward, letting your back arc naturally arc as a result, and then coming back. Exhale.

And you'll feel your scapula, your shoulder blades kinda naturally start to come together, and that's exactly what I want. And exhale. And inhale. Last one and exhale. And inhale. So now you're gonna take your arms forward. Now without focusing too much on moving the upper spine or the thoracic spine, the middle spine, I just want you to open your arms as wide as you can, holding your torso steady, filling that length across the chest without popping your chest forward.

So exhale inhale. Exhale kinda suspending there, feeling that stretch and inhale. So we'll do 3 more here. Exhale. And inhale. Now, without popping your chest forward, you can feel how your shoulder blades naturally come together as you would like to, open your arms out to the side. Now feel that stretch here.

Hold it there. Now bring your front arm in. It's my right arm. Inhale and exhale. Now next step. Is you're gonna go inhale a little further back and exhale. Backarm or left arm. Inhale.

You go straight to the side exhale. Once you're to the side, go a little further behind you with an inhale to get a little extra stretch in the chest, the pectoral muscles, and exhale. Right arm. Inhale. Straight out to the side and go a little further back. Inhale. And exhale left side and inhale and exhale reaching back inhale, and DXL 1 more set and forward and side.

Reach further back. And middle. And forward and side reach a little back and middle, bring our center middle same thing. Bring your arms forward and gently come down. So now here, you're gonna try to keep your shoulders where they are. That's gonna be the the goal.

They're gonna move a little bit, but that's just what I want you to think about. So from here keeping the shoulders steady, I want you to roll the pelvis forward or, kinda like you're gonna tip forward on your pubic bone, and you're gonna reach your sit spoons behind you so that you're arcing further in your lower back. And then relax. And inhale, so it's a small movement, but what you'll feel is you'll feel the lower back muscles start to engage You'll feel the abdominals. You can kind of release them a little bit, and then come center. And forward and center.

So we're just mobilizing the pelvis sort of anchoring, warming up that lower back, sort of getting those muscles kind of activated here. Again, inhale and exhale last one and inhale and exhale. Come back to the center, bring the arms back up, bring them out to the side. So now keeping the pelvis steady, you can switch your legs if you want. I'm going to. Keeping your pelvis steady.

Now at this time, bring both arms back, draw the shoulder blades together, and then bring them forward to the back to the center. Exhale, and inhale. So you're keeping the spine quiet here, letting the shoulder blades move, letting the arms move. You should feel like you could get a little bit further as the chest is starting to release and open and expand a little bit, m forward 2 more and exhale, Inhale one more. Exhale.

And now you're gonna add the pellet. So you're gonna draw the shoulder blades together bring the arms back behind you, extend your spine, kind of feel like you're flipping your pelvis back behind you so you have this kind of arc in your back, exhale, inhale. Exhale. Inhale. So you should feel your body starting to get nice and warm here. Might feel a little bit of a challenge, even in this seemingly simple movement, but still it's good deep work.

Exhale, And inhale, last one, exhale, and inhale. Go ahead and shake it out. Bring the arms down, and that serves as our little warm now we're gonna go into our prone series. So lying on your tummy. We're gonna start with the upper back. Moving to hip extension, and then we'll move into a full final spinal extension.

So I want you to bring your hands together, place your forehead on your hands. Now you can have a little bit of space between your legs. That's con totally fine, but I'd like you to just feel a gentle draw of the abdomen, and so your pubic bone just sort of sinks and melts into your mat. Keep your shoulders very relaxed here for me. What you're gonna do here is you're gonna take an inhale. You're gonna press the arms down. So you're activating your lats a lot here, and you're just gonna lift your head up. So you're just feeling the activation and the cervical and the thoracic spine, and then release it.

And when you release, feel like your elbows are widening and let your body fully relax here, So inhale, press those elbows down. Just lifting the sternum off your mat. Your eyes should be gazing right at your hands. And exhale relax and inhale. So you should be feeling all of this work in the upper back.

And exhale. 2 more just like that. And inhale. Elbows down. Sternum forward and exhale feel like you're lengthening those elbows, widening your chest as you go down, and inhale. Pressing those elbows down and exhale.

Now take your hands out, so there's a a nice goal post position. We're gonna come do the same thing to add to it a little bit. So you're gonna exhale. Press the arms down. Lift the sternum up. Inhale. Lift the arms straight up.

Ex, I'll bring him down, press into the mat, and in him. And, excuse me, I'm gonna actually change our breath having, so it's a little bit better here. So let's inhale to prepare. And exhale. Bring the chest up. Press those arms down. Inhale, bring the arms up, draw the shoulder blades together.

Exhale, press them down and inhale. Exhale. Chest comes up, press those arms down elbows down, feeling like you're activating the latissimus dorsi right underneath your armpits. Bring the arms up. Feel the challenge and the spinal strength here.

Press the arms down. And inhale. Last two. Exhale. Inhale. Excel, press And down.

Last one. Exhale. Inhale. Bring those arms out of scapula together. Excel for us and inhale down. Reach the arms out in front of you.

Fill that strengthening of the body here. And I just want you to kind of rock back and forth. Shake those hips just a little bit. Feel that nice stretch, that nice lengthening. Try to walk your fingertips forward if you can.

Deep breath. Bring the hands back underneath you and place your forehead right back on your hands. Now we're gonna go into a hip extension series. So I want you to feel like you're keeping the shoulders just nice and gently activated. As you press those elbows down, you're going to lift the front leg.

For me, it's the right leg straight up. Lift it up as high as you can. Keep that knee extended, keep the foot pointed, and down. I want you to do the same leg. I want you to feel like your glutes are lifting your whole leg up. I want you to feel how naturally your pelvis starts to go into an anterior tilt, and your lower back extensors start to activate.

And that's exactly what we want. But the initiation is coming from the hip extension, the gluteus maximus being your biggest hip extensor muscle lifting up and down. I just want you to feel how that pattern works. You lift the leg up. Keep that knee straight. The pelvis starts to tilt just a little bit.

The lower back sensors activate and down left side or back leg and exhale and inhale. And exhale. Just filling that pattern, and we're gonna be activating eventually the entire posterior chain here. Just filling that beautiful challenge of that back extension. Last one up and down. So now we're gonna go back and forth.

We're gonna do a little bit of alternating. We're gonna bring the right leg up. Nice and extended. We're gonna bend the knee. All the way, we're gonna extend it out, try to get a little bit higher, and down.

Left and up. Keep the thyroid is as you bend the knee draw the heel to the bottom and reach. You can get a little more extension and down. So as you do the hip extension, you'll feel the lower back. Exensers really are activated and working so that length through the leg down, left leg or back leg up, and bend, and reach Inhale down. Let's do 2 more sets.

XL lift, inhale bend, exhale extend, and down. Left up and bend. And reach and down 2 more and up. So just trying to keep your upper back calm, your elbows calm on the mat. Down letting the work happen in the hip extensors and the lower back and reach.

And down. So now both legs are gonna come up and down. So here you are. You're gonna keep the abdominals just gently engaged help support the lower back member to initiate from the hip extensors, then let the pelvis and the lower back respond. And exhale. Inhale 2 more.

Exhale. Inhale. Good job. Exhale. And inhale. Let's go down to it. So we reach up.

We bend the knees. The feet can come together. Try to keep the thighs off the mat. Reaching out and down. Reach out and up with those legs and bend.

And exhale, examinee's inhale, lower them down. And exhale and bend. And reach those legs and one more and exhale and bend and reach and down. Lower those legs. Reach the arms out in front of you.

Walk back and forth here. Just swinging your hips, extending those arms, walking the fingertips forward if you can. Just feeling that. Now I want you to gently roll over onto one side. We're gonna give our find just a little bit of a stretch and a little bit of relief before we move into the next extension series.

So top leg is gonna reach back Feel that reach, reach, reach, reach like the spine responds. You feel that beautiful extension and then draw the knee in all the way to the elbow round the back draw your chin down. Reach sending it back, feeling that stretch, and then exhale drawing it in. Inhale, reach all the way back, feel that arc in your back, and then reach or excuse me, draw it in last one. All the way extend and draw it in, draw it and find that.

Drop your knee down place your head on the mat, roll forward here just a little bit. So you just feel that rounding of your spine, Breathe into it just to relax it. Extend out. And just simply roll over to the other side. We'll do 4 more on the other side.

So a hand in front of you hits on top of the one on top of the other, and reach the leg back Feel that extension, that full arch in your back, and then draw it in. Fill that rounding. And reach if you can't keep your bottom leg nice and strong and extended and exhale draw it in. To more reach. So it's kind of fun to do spec extension in a lateral lie sideline position as well.

Just add a little bit of fun variety to it and draw it and fill that rounding. Drop your knee down. Place your forehead on the mat. Breathe in this position just to soften that spine and relax. So now transition back into a prone position.

And we're gonna go into a bigger extension series as we kinda start to wind down on this lovely little short class. I'm not in front of you. We're gonna start with swimming. You know how swimming goes. You just gotta do it.

We're gonna cue it. 5 inhales. 5 exhales or 5 little pulses in your inhale, 5 little pulses in your exhale. So we'll do it together. So feel that length.

Now when you come into your swimming, just like we've warmed you up to do, you reach out. Reach out. Hip extension. Should reflection, feeling that nice, strong lift here. Take your breath in to prepare. And Exhale 345, inhale 345.

2 more exhale 345 inhale Exhale 3, 4, 5 inhale. Hold it. Reach and down. Hold it there. Now bring your hands to the side.

Couple more spinal extensions here. Stay with me as best as you can. We're gonna inhale. Arms go out. Circle around. We're doing a breaststroke all the way.

And down. Inhale rising up all the way, reaching, expanding the chest forward, and exhale down, bend the elbows in. Inhale. All the way around. Feel the strength of the chest come forward as the arms go back.

Exhale down. Last one. Inhale. All the way around. And exhale adding the legs 4 more, inhale, strong legs, from the hip extensors. Remember that.

And down. Again, inhale. All the way around pressing that chest forward. Excel down. 2 more. Email.

All the way and down. Last one. Inhale. All the way and down. Holding it there, relaxing, letting your hips rotate, finding your breath. Hands underneath your shoulders.

Going into our Swan. Elbows nice and tight. We're not doing a full swan dive. We're just doing a half swan. Head, neck, chest, elevate up.

Public bone is drawing forward. Find that position. Now here, I want you to almost suspend your chest as your elbows come down. Notice how my legs are starting to come up. I'm going from the hip extensors and rocking forward.

Lifting head. Neck chest pressing those elbows down, feeling that elevation pulling the pubic bone forward, supporting the back with the abdominals as much as possible, using the arms, and then draw the elbows in. Draw the arms in. It's like you're resisting the upper body's resisting to go down, but the legs meet it, and reach. Two more elbows are down, trying, just feeling that wonderful expansion and opening It should put a little smile on your face. It feels good.

And reaching. Reaching. Last one. And up, up, up, lift the head up just a little bit. And then draw down.

Fill that length. Challenge yourself by opening up to the side. Bringing the palms up, that how stronger your spine is, legs come down, and pick yourself up, and this sweet gift of child's pose. Four head down, hips are heavy onto your heels. And I want you to just shift back and forth.

Taking your breath in and your breath out. Okay. So I want you to now shift your hips away from me. And then walk your hands toward me and just fill this release in this stretch here. Just breathe a couple times. Now gently walk the hands back.

Shift your hips toward me and your upper body away from me. And breathe. Come back to the center. Please your elbows on the mat. Bring him a little bit more into your shoulders.

Just lift your spine up just a little bit. Keep that arc in your back. Extend your elbows. Slowly walk your hands up to your thighs and continue to lift and lift. And just feel how nice and open you are.

Bring the body back to center, and you'll feel so good. I pray in your back just your spine, feeling nice, and strong, and just how incredibly important it is for our posture, our day to day work that we feel that strong connection to our whole posterior chain, upper back, middle back, lower back, and of course, our hip extensors as well. And I hope that I was able to give that to you today in this class. Enjoy this nice little short class whenever you feel like you need that extra bit of strength and work in your spine. Thank you so much for joining you today. Take care.


That was really good. I had a sore back and now it is gone. Love your classes, thank you!
Meira H
Loved this mini class. Thank you Leah
my back feels awesome. Thank you very muchLeah Stewart 
Andrea Nyhusmoen
Great class!!  I so appreciated how you isolated the upper and lower back and then added them together.  I will definitely be doing this one again!!
Lina S
Nice progression of the exercises. I've enjoyed the warm up exercises. Your explanations are crystal clear!
Monica D
Love your short classes Leah your cues are wonderfully clear and easy to follow thank you sharing 

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