Tutorial #807

Beginner Mat Breakdown 3

25 min - Tutorial


Monica continues with her detailed instruction on the Mat work exercises with this 25-minute tutorial on "the Series of Five." Monica highlights the mechanics of each exercise and places an emphasis on the importance of using transitions as you move from one exercise to the next in order to keep the muscles engaged throughout! Use these tutorials to help deepen your understanding of the exercises and to create better flow when practicing in class.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

So we're gonna do the series of five, which is like core exercises of [inaudible], but we always want to make sure we're doing the transition. So we just finished rolling like a ball and we're gonna place our feet back down on the mat and your hands to get into this position. We're way behind you, so we're going to put them back where they were so they're way behind you. Great. And we're gonna lift your bottom back. Nice. Good. [inaudible] and we're going to end up rolling down, but it's super important to do the transitions. You can go ahead and relax your hands. There you go.

Because we want to make sure that the muscles are engaged the entire workout. It's not okay to do an exercise and take a coffee break and then come back and do another exercise. And then like, it's definitely not a checklist and it's not a pick the raisins out of the cake, like whatever is your favorite exercises. You don't want to just pull them out of order you, he was an absolute genius with his order. And as soon as you do an exercise, especially the sous of five is such a testament, you finish it and your back sometimes gets a little too much work cause your stomach gets a little too tired and you need to stretch it. And so no matter what, my clients will sit up and I'll do it back stretch without realizing, well, the next exercise is spine stretch forward. And so that's a perfect example, but you want to make sure that your powerhouse is engaged the entire time because as you get advanced, we ended up doing 45 exercises in 45 minutes, and you want to have that stamina and that endurance. And if you are taking a break in between each exercise, you'll never get to that temper and you'll never be able to keep up with the movement. So we work in between each exercises.

So that was how you lift your bottom back, and now you're going to assume the position for single leg stretch at an intermediate level. So we're going to bring the right knee to your chest. Now we can do that a lot better. So we're not gonna wave back and forth. We're going to keep your box and we're going to use your powerhouse to scoop it up. There you go. I love it. Good. Right? Hands on ankle, left hands on knee, just like you did. Beautiful Open collar bones. And I love that this elbows lifted in this one. Good.

And now here's the hard part. You're gonna keep your powerhouse scooping in that knee. So see how much that needs almost onto your chest when you lie down on the Mat. I want it like that because yours powerhouse is scooping it in right now. I'm going to assist you with this. Um, and then one day I want you to be able to do it by yourself, which you probably can, but we're gonna assist you.

We're going to bring this up to a 45 degree angle or so, and now you're going to keep that thye aren't in your chest and you're going to use your powerhouse to roll back with the neon, your chest. Good. And stop when you hit your shoulder blades. Good heads crawling up a little bit more. Nice. And let's go for the single leg stretch, pulling in left and right and left and right. Good. And pulling in and scooping in your belly.

Nice and switch and left. Let's do one more and left. Now bring in both knees and rest your head and we'll detail that one. Great job. All right, so we're going to bring your feet down and just bringing your right knee. And of course we're going to not use that hip flexor.

We're going to scoop the belly in and we're going to pull it in and off. And I feel that when I can, sometimes the knee can't pull in very much. Now if you have a bad knee, that's one thing and you want to hold underneath the knee. If that's the case and just bring it in as far as the knee or the hip allows you. But considering you're perfectly healthy body, um, we want to bring in the knee as much as we can all the way into to the chest. Romani used to queue all the way into your ear and sometimes it'll get stuck, especially in Chris Cross. Later on, you'll see that the neo only come in here and that's because our hip flexor has engaged our bellies almost pushing out.

Our lower back then was pushing back and it can't come in anymore. But if you allow that beautiful scoop to happen, then that knee comes in all the way. Okay. When you do that, we want to make sure that the body continues to stay square, so we placed the right hand on your ankle or the outside hand if you want to think about that way and the arm that crosses your body, which is gonna be your left hand. In this case it goes on your knee. And if your arms are equally strong and powerful and you do want to keep those elbows lifted so that those triceps can get a nice workout as well and the upper body stays strong in this exercise you are, this is fine, but if you did grab, just for argument's sake on this exercise, if you pulled equally, you would still basically keep your ankle in line with your knee in line with your shoulder. So this line would stay perfectly straight. So ankle, knee, shoulder, very important. Very safe for the knee, very safe for the hip. Now if you sweat your hands, just your hands. Yep. And you pour, then that knee and ankle and shoulder alignment gets all messed up.

So we're going to put your hands that way. The hand that's on the outside goes to your ankle. The arm that crosses the body goes to your knee. We're going to put this foot down and we're going to just practice it with this foot. Great. So this arm, the right is now crossing. The body goes to the knee and the outside. Left hands going into the ankle.

Good. All right. And we're going to bring this foot down and we're going to bring this one in first switch. Good. Nice job. Really working from the power house and your hands. Good. So now we're going to continue using that powerhouse and we're going to draw the head up. Good lengthening. Still we could have used a little more lengthening on the mat first. So Lana, Huh? And then draw it up. That's beautiful. Great.

So now we have a great upper body, shoulders and hips. Stay Square. And now if I was looking throughout the series of five at just your frame, I would not know you're even moving. That is the goal of the series of five that you're adding all this stuff and you can still keep your frame square using your powerhouse. So we're going to keep pulling that knee almost into your ear. And now let's wrap with the, use that outer thighs.

Squeeze that seat and stretch. Elongate away from it so it has something to pull against. And we're going to switch now bringing in the left. So this one's wrapping in, squeezing away down the middle of your body. Not out here. You're doing it gray and we're going to switch. So I never see any change in your shoulders and switch.

I never see any change in your powerhouse and switch. Good. And the legs never going to go below your hipbone either. Your didn't. Good job. A little more down the middle of your body. Use that part of your [inaudible] and right there. Good. And switching and scoop and scoop and scoop.

And one more set. And Ben both knees in and rest your head. Great. Good. All right. So that's the single leg stretch. We're going to detail each exercise in the series of five and then we're going to try to do them all together. Okay? Okay. So now the double leg stretch for some reason really gets people.

Um, it just gets them very confused. But the legs, I want you to go ahead and put your hands behind your head and lift up your head to look at your powerhouse. Again, using your powerhouse, go ahead and lift your head and shoulders so your knees are going to come in. Now, both of them into here. Good. And we're gonna extend the legs to a 45 degree angle. Great reaching and Ben. Now when you did single leg stretch, you did an awesome job of really pulling your belly in and up and then using those legs to challenge it. So those legs were rapping and squeezing and really lengthening so that your belly really felt that and draw them in.

Good and reach, reach, reach, reach, and then scoop it in. Good. Now rest your head down. And I want you to go ahead and place your hands on your ankles. If you can keep your head, um, your feet in like this, that would be great. Now I want you to ring your, bring your arms up to the ceiling. Good. And we're gonna circle them back to your ankle. Sorry.

So just up and we're going to circle back to your ankles. Good. So they go basically straight up and they come back to your ankles. The breathing is inhale up and back to your ankles. Good. Inhaling up and exhale. Great. Now I mentioned that if I saw just your box, I would not know anything's happening, right? So in the series of five, your head is always up.

So we're going to scoop your powerhouse and lengthen your neck to burning it up. Wonderful. Good. Now we're going to keep your upper body perfectly still. I don't want any of these bones to go down as your arms only go up, just your arms and circle back. Good. They go up and they circle back. Great.

Now go ahead and rest your head. Good. So that is where the, what the arms do and what the legs do. Let's put the arms and legs together. So again, drawing your belly length in your neck and bring it up. Good. Uh, it is, and we're going to reach the arms just directly to the ceiling and the arms directly to the ceiling. Yeah, I know it's tough.

And then bend in and circle back. Good. So stretch up and circle. Good. One more. Stretch up, up, up, up. Exhale. Good. And rest your head down. I know. So that is a very basic form of, um, the double leg stretch.

But I'm giving it to you because I can't explain the intermediate one without it. So as you get stronger, it's very easy to lower the legs. People like to lower the legs, but they don't lower the arms much, but they need to be in, they have to keep the same relationship. So if your arms are here and your legs are here, they open together. Okay. So I want you to think about where in your mind is a good challenging place for you? Maybe 45 degrees with your legs. So then I want your arms to be there too. And again, that means that none of your head or shoulders are going to go down. That's all going to stay up, but your arms will be reaching without pulling the weight of your head and shoulders down. Let's use your powerhouse to bring your head up.

Good. And this is going to be ideally the goal, just like the hundred where the toes will be at the same level as your eyes, but you work at where you want an intermediate, just a 45 degree angle. Hard and challenging enough. And so we're going to lengthen out. This is scooping and I want you to reach longer through your fingertips, longer through your legs, reach, reach, reach, and now exhale, pull it all together. Two more. Inhale, [inaudible] and exhale. This time when you reached, don't pull your shoulder bone, bone plates with you and inhale. [inaudible] excellent. Exhale. There you go. Yeah. Inhale.

Right [inaudible] exhale. Very good in rest your head. Nice. Thank you. Good. So now we're going to do single, straight like, okay. Single, straight leg needs to be really quick. It can't be slow. A, you want to be really, uh, if you're going to, I'm going to have you bring these legs down and go ahead and bring this knee into your chest to right knee into your chest. Good. And we're going to straighten the leg up to the ceiling. Good. All right.

And now I want you to keep scooping in that powerhouse. Yes. Good correction. You were a little bit in your hip flexor and we just want to rotate it out a little bit. Good. And keeping these hip bones straight across. I want you to reach this like up to the ceiling as high as you can, as long as you can. So this by bones becoming really long and I want you to reach it down good.

And now pull it up from your lower back, from your powerhouse. There you go. And reaching down. Good. And pulling it up from here. You TOEFL. Now I'm gonna have you do it on the left light. Bend the knee and put the foot down and bending in the left.

Go ahead and extend the leg up and scooping and drop those ribs. Just a little nice. And we're going to lengthen this area as you really reach and we're going to pull up that leg from here, keeping this nice long line. One more reach. I'm pulling it up. Awesome. Good. Bend that knee in and put that foot down. Great.

And we're going to bend this knee in, pulling beautiful engagement. Good. And bring in the left knee and extend both legs up to the ceiling. And now using your Parris, the length in your neck and draw your head up. Good. I want you to crawl up behind your right leg as much as you can. Good. But the bottom of the shoulder blades, I want you for you today. I want you to just keep them really close there.

I'm working on your curve instead. Yeah. Alright, now lower that left leg as low as you can. Good. When you bring this left leg up, it's going to be from this line, not from a heavy thigh and we're going to scoop, pull it up. Uh, Yup. And lowering the left. You did exactly what I said and pull in up and then lower. That went good. Now let's let him pass each other as they go and switch and switch and switch.

And there's a big belt going across you keeping you stable onto the mat again. These guys gotta stay right there and now double time. That tempo, it's rife left down the middle of your body. Double time it. There you go. It's squeezing your length and your rapid in squeezing here. It's scooping in your belly. Opening those clavicles. Nice like spoiling too. You too. You too. You one more. Bend the knees and take a little break.

Great job. You're very good. We're going to do double straight leg now. So this one is really, really hard and you want to have a very strong pelvis to do it. Okay. Cause otherwise you're really working from the hip flexors a lot or you might not even feel the stomach work.

So we're going to extend the legs up to the ceiling. Good. And place the hands one over the other. Behind your head. Yeah, we don't lease the fingers. We're just going to put one over the other. So right here I want you to use your powerhouse to live length. And your neck and pull it up. Good. Little bit more. That's it. Good. Elbows wide behind your ears nights.

Now here's where I want you to really squeeze your bottom and turning those legs rapping and squeeze and keeping a palava stance the entire time. We're going to keep your belly scripted and like this. As you reach long with the legs, go down with the legs down, down, down, and exhale up. Good. And reaching down, down, down and exhale up. Wonderful and reaching and long to come up and reaching. Don't bunch up in here, but pull up from here.

One more reaching and pull it up. Good. And that's enough of those. Good. Very good. It's hard not to pull up from the hip flexors and you want to just keep working on that and keep thinking that while you're doing the exercise. Um, they are always working too. They're as tight as this leg reaching for the ceiling.

Working hard to Elongate the muscles. Not, not, uh, no. [inaudible] it's almost like letting it go. Exactly. Exactly. It's a totally different feeling than a hamstring grip. It's more of a lengthening those muscles. And just really feeling it come from the powerhouse to the leg. Seem lighter.

It definitely are engaged. You can feel how they're getting sculpted and every muscles working and always your quads are gonna work no matter what. But that it's being initiated from your powerhouse and stretching your lower back. You should feel good. Lower back. Stretch with it too. Yeah, that's good. Yeah. Chris Cross. Yes. Hands still there. Good. So from the double leg stretch, so we're going to transition from that.

We're going to scoop [inaudible] devil straight leg. Thank you. And we're going to extend the legs up. Good. And they're just squeezing your bottom and lengthening. And we're going to use that belly, the length in the neck and come up. Good. And we're going to bring the right knee into your chest and we're going to keep rapping and squeezing this like down. Good. Now here, we're going to want to imagine. Yeah, go ahead and just go to your right leg.

Good. And to your left. Switching. Okay. And pulling in. Good and left. Good. Now, right now, stay here. Um, I'm going to actually detail this more. Hugging your knees. Well, I was going to anyway. But yeah, so when you do this exercise, you want to imagine there is a pole down your body. Yep. So it's right here and you want to wrap your entire body around that pole. So your upper body, it's not going to come over and lean onto your right shoulder or lean onto your left. Instead it's gonna pull up and then twist and twist and twist.

And this has to keep coming over and that as to keep going back. Exactly. Good. All right. And same thing on that side. So here's the line and you're going to adjust. Exactly. There we go. Good. Ideally your elbows are going to stay behind your ears.

So we'll end up, you want to think of leading with your shoulder rather than leading with the elbow. Cause yes, you want to keep that. The goal is to do that and just to get to the goal. You're just thinking about it and so you're going to be working more from your shoe. You're leading with your shoulders and just that'll help you end up getting towards your goal. I'm sure you're going to have a hard time always keeping those elbows wide, but that is the goal. Yes, very hard.

Now your stomach has to stay super scooped. It's gonna want to push, it's going to lower, back's going to want to push. So your hips stay completely square. They're not doing any of the twisting. They're going to stay square and that's with your powerhouse. Okay.

And then finally that left the opposite leg is reaching long wrapping and squeezing. Again, the goal being at eye level when you're an advanced student, but the from the Cho to the elbow that you're pulling back ideally is a perfectly straight line. Wow. Yeah. So that's, so that is the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal. Okay. So in flexibility, twisting the spine and we, again, we got to watch those hips so we don't overcompensate with that. How do I know where to put the leg? What level to put it? Yeah. What's the indicator? I think a 45 degree angle is actually whether you're, I'm just starting off with the crisscross or more and then you can lower it as you feel like you need more. Challenge. Um, but if you have in this case it up too high, then it ends up being hurting your back or gripping in your quad. If the leg was up to the ceiling on this exercise or hurting, or if you had tight hamstrings that you'd feel it too.

So you want that 45 degree levels much more comfortable. All right, so we're going to draw on the right knee. Good powerhouse. Good. That's drawn the left knee also. Good. And we're going to bring the way that use your length in the neck and we're going to use a powerhouse to lift up and up. Good. A little. Uh Huh. There we go. Good. So keeping this like right here and squeeze and lengthen.

So not just tight and good. Now you scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop. Great. And now look, look at your Paris when you switch legs. So scooping. That's what I wanted to see. Good. And look at your powerhouse as you come. And that's because now you're lifting still. As you come. Good.

The elbows going to be on the inside of the knee. Good. And looking at your powerhouse. Great Elbow here. Wonderful. Now keep trying to pull back that right one. Keep trying. And that's it. And looking good. Keeping it in. There you go. And so here's where you need to bring that knee in all the way. Yes, yes.

And one more to the other side before I make your stomach go into a cramp. Pull it in all the way. That's it. And hugging those knees, you could feel that lower belly really work hard when you brought those knees and just that much more [inaudible] yes. All right, so we're going to take a series of five to temper. Okay. So we'll just do, um, two sets of each. So, uh, right and left and right and left. And then two repetitions of the other ones. Okay. All right. So dry your head up using your powerhouse for single leg stretch. We're gonna.

I just want to make sure this person doesn't come me. They look like they're getting in their car. Okay. That's right. Okay. Sorry. Okay, so we're going to just tell about it. So, all right, so let's do the, um, series of five to tempo now. Okay. So we'll see how many reps we do, but let's just go for it.

So we're going to scoop the powerhouse in and out. We're going to lengthen that neck as we lift using the belly. Good. Alright. The stomach really is pulling in that right knee and you're going to elongate the left. Go ahead and let's switching left and right. Look at your belly. It's, that's the best way to make your stomach work harder. I's like burning into your belly. And again, we want to make sure that it's not just tightening, but that it's really being close.

Contact with your spine and then it's pulling up aware from those legs that are reaching there, making your stomach work harder cause they're reaching down. The middle of your body lasts, set left. And then we're gonna do double leg stretch. Inhale, reach case. So here's your toes. Get your arms down there. There we go. And exhale, pull and wash those shoulder blades. Inhale, reach, exhale, pull in. Arms can still go lower in how reach. There Ya go. Exhale. Now, somewhere in between there in how long and XL, watch those shoulder blades in.

How reach, skip, skip, skip. Oh, there we go. Give me another in house. Good up and exhale. Right leg up. Left like forward and switch and switch. And again it's skipping from there. There you go. Oh, that's beautiful. That's what I want to see from the ribs down.

Now I need you to stabilize your upper body better and pull the leg to you. Two. You two. You. That's it. That's better. Scooping. Good. Squeeze the seat. Seat that squeezing and and left and bring both legs up. Hands behind your head. Good. And this is going to go here and you're going to lengthen your legs away.

Linkedin, linkedin, linkedin and pull 'em up. Good and reach. Reach, reach and pull him up. Good. Squeezing the seat length on Linkedin, linkedin, and good inner thighs. Squeezing like mad Dell. Pull up one more time. Reach, reach, reach. Good. Draw the right knee in and twist around an imaginary pole. Get the knee all the way into your chest and switched. Draw. Look. And we have to look at your belly when you turn. So curl into yourself.

That's what I want to see him. And let this knee come in and only one more and scoop, scoop. Pull this knee all the way in and now hug both knees in and rest. And you're going to sit up automatically and you're going to straighten your legs and open them just about three inches wider than your shoulders. I'm going to have high your bottom scooting over. Good.

And then you would be ready for spine, stretch forward. Good. And take a break. Great. Good.


1 person likes this.
Phenomenal detail in teaching. Wow, series of 5 breakdown, just when I think I'm doing everything pretty good....there's always endless discovery in Joe Pilates work. Thank you Monica for taking us through these intricate corrections.
Monica your attention to detail brings a deeper awareness and connection to each of these exercises individually!! The subtle changes and adjustments really expresses the depth to the "series of 5" Thank you for your wonderful expression and ease of understanding the process.
I love the attention to detail. I feel like she's right here with me and I am gaining a better understanding for the purpose of each movement. I have such a great appreciation for the exercise even more now.
This is great I think I may add this to the end of my workout so that my tummy gets extra attention:o)
2 people like this.
Awesome! As a new teacher, this is invaluable!
Love series of 5 but I think the talk is too much. I'd rather be doing the work as you are explaining.
I wanted to get back into Pilates after about a month off due to medical need, and thought this class would be a good warmup back to my routine, but there is too much talking... not enough activity.
OMG! I couldn't even finish this work out because most of the time I was listening to her talk! I changed it....I want a work out that is engaging not just talk-talk-talk!
Thank you for your input and I hope we haven't been misleading. This is an educated breakdown of just 5 exercises out of an Intermediate Mat. It is meant to be more of a classroom tutorial approach for those who have requested more details regarding the history and fundamentals of these exercises. This is not meant to be taken alone nor used as a workout. Maybe a better title for this clip is "Series of Five, Concepts".
4 people like this.
There is no confusion it clearly says "tutorial" in the written introduction. Thank you for giving us the benefit of your experience and knowledge!
1-10 of 23

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin