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Hello, and welcome to our next day of a arm and upper body-focused class, with the option to use a light set of hand weights. One, two, or three pounds are preferred. You can also use a set of cans of beans, wine bottles, whatever you have hanging around. Maybe even some ankle wrist weights tied around those wrists. So we’ll get started with our half roll back exercise.
We’ve done this exercise in a few of the classes. This time, we’ll be using those weights for a little more upper body. Arms reaching forward, shoulder blades pulling down into the back. Take a nice deep breath and lift it through the waist. And exhale, pull that belly button back, and as you contract back, heads of the weights just passing the knee caps.
From here, we inhale, pull the elbows towards the ribs, exhale deep in the belly back, and reach the arms back forward. Inhale to bend and exhale to extend, heels staying firmly planted onto the mat. Shoulder blades pulling down away from the ears. Exhale as abs swell back, arms reach forward. Twice more, inhale to bend, exhale to lengthen.
Once more, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale, holding it here for a deep breath in, and then deepening belly back, rolling back up, shoulders over those hips, and stacking the spine tall. Taking another breath in to prepare, and exhale to round back, really curling through the low spine here. And then we’ll start with a slight bend in the elbows for our next arm exercise, opening the arms wide, and then deepening the belly as you close the arms, just like our hug-a-tree. Inhaling, and exhaling as we close the arms and close the ribs together. Inhale to open, (inhales deeply) and exhale to contract belly, pulling deeper towards that spine.
For four, (inhales deeply) and hug. (exhales sharply) And three. (inhales deeply) Exhale to hug right in front of that chest and sternum, two. Elbows stay lifted, palms facing the chest. Once more, open, (inhales deeply) and close, holding it here, reaching those arms back out long, and deepening the belly to contract and roll back up. Flipping the palms down, shoulders remain down, take in a breath here, and rounding back. Heels stay planted, maybe curling a little further if you can maintain that rounded spine.
Right arm reaches up by the ear, shoulder blade pulls down into the back, and press that arm down with resistance. Left arm lifts up on the inhale, and exhale, press and reach. Inhale, right arm right by that ear, Belly pulling down and in as the arm presses down left. (inhales deeply) And press. Once more, each side, inhale to lift, exhale to lower.
And left, lifting up, belly pulling down, palm pressing down. Now both arms lift together. Maybe not as high if you feel a little shake in the abs or like your back is flattening. We wanna keep it really round, putting that tension into the low belly, working those arms up towards the ceiling, shoulders down into the back. Two more times, here.
Arms lift on the inhale, exhale, arms press down. Ribs knitting tight, once more. (inhales deeply) Press and hold, taking a breath here. Deep in the belly back to curl and contract back up. One more set here with the palms facing down, shoulders down, take a breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale to curl back, scooping from the low belly, rounding maybe one more inch further towards the floor. Right elbow rows back, keeping it horizontal to the floor, and then exhale as you extend forward.
Left elbow rose back, deep in belly back, arm reaches long. Inhale to the right, exhale to extend, trying to keep that elbow lifted, shoulder blade pulling down. One more time, each side. Shoulders staying square, hips staying square so we’re not twisting the body, just pulling that elbow back. Both elbows back.
Inhale, squeeze between the shoulder blades, knit the ribs together to reach them back long, for four. (inhales deeply) And extend. And three. Now, I really like to extend through my fingertips to continue that energy in the body, but if you feel like working that grip strength, you can always hold on a little tighter, up to you. Reaching those arms forward, we’ll pause here, take a breath in, (inhales deeply) lower down with control to the tips of those shoulder blades, deepening the belly, and then releasing the head back, and arms all the way back overhead.
Let the arms float to the floor for a moment. You’ll feel a nice stretch to the arm pits. Legs can extend long, just taking a moment here, feeling link through the whole body. Deepening the belly, reaching those arms back up to the ceiling, shoulders anchoring into the mat, and we’ll draw the legs to a tabletop position. Right and left inner thighs squeezing tight.
Inhale, reach the arms back, this time, just framing the ears with the biceps, and then exhale, reach the arms forward, pressing the palms to hover an inch or two off the mat. Inhale, floating the arms back. Chin stays lifted, neck stays long. Exhale, press the arms down, knitting ribs together, pulling that belly button deeper to the floor. Twice more, inhale, arms reaching back and long, exhale, abs pulling down and in to press the palms down.
Once more, inhale back, (inhales deeply) exhale deep in the belly and press. (exhales sharply) Reaching arms straight up to the ceiling. Inhale as you reach right arm back, left leg long, feel length through the fingers and the toes, and then abs pull down and in, arms and knees back up to the ceiling. Left arm, right leg, inhale, feeling that length, and then zipping up through the low belly to pull it back in. Inhale, reaching back and long, exhale, belly down and in, ribs knitting tight. Once more, left arm right leg reach, and exhale, bring it together.
Holding here, bending the elbows in by the waist, creating a 90 degree bend of those elbows and knees, taking a breath to prepare, (inhales deeply) and then exhale, curling up, extending arms and legs long, finding that beautiful hundreds position. Few more preps here, we’ll bend everything back in, giving the neck a little breakdown, and then exhale, curl right back up, palms hover off the floor, toes reaching long. Inhale, take it back. (inhales deeply) Exhale, curling up and over the ribs, belly pulling deeper towards the floor. Once more, maybe taking those legs a little lower. Exhale, reaching up.
You always have the option to keep the knees bent. Begin pulsing those arms up and down. Do what you need for you today. Reaching arms a little further with that added weight, really working into those triceps. Inhaling through the nose for five, (inhales deeply) and exhale out, two, three, four, five.
Inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Option to lower the legs a little further, or, of course, you could drop those weights if it becomes too much in the shoulders. We still wanna focus on the belly, here, inhaling (inhales deeply) and exhaling. (exhales sharply) Four more breaths. Inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale out, two, three, four, five. Maybe you get those toes to eye-level. Zip up through the low belly, reach longer through the fingers and the toes.
Last two, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) One more breath, (inhales deeply) and exhale out, two, three, four, five. Hold and reach, pull that belly one more inch further. Carefully lower the heels to the mat. Arms reach all the way up, and float all the way back with control. Let them hover by your ears.
Pull the shoulder blades further down into the back. Flex through the heels. Flip those arms back up to the ceiling, using the breath, using the belly, rolling all the way up and forward. Keeping the arms parallel to the floor here, reach further through the fingertips, crown of the head releasing down, open up across that upper back, take a breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale to slowly roll back down, vertebra by vertebra. And our thighs squeezing together, reach through those heel bones, and all the way back along with the head and arms.
Again, arms up, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Chin over the chest, ribs knitting together, belly button pulling to the back of the room as your fingers and heels reach in opposite directions. And then round back, one vertebra at a time here, shoulder blades pulling away from those ears the whole time. Using those weights for a little assistance on the way up, sometimes they actually help with this roll up. Those heels stay anchored to the floor. Stretch one more inch further away, (inhales deeply) slowly rolling down, vertebra by vertebra, keeping those shoulder blades down and back.
Last time, arms reaching up on the inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Surrounding all the way up, and then stacking the spine up nice and tall. From here, we’ll keep our arms on this horizontal plane and open the legs up to a V. Find your sit bones there, sitting up nice and tall. If that means you need to soften the knees, of course that’s okay. Sitting even taller out of the hips, reach the arms up to the ceiling, (inhales deeply) and then press the palms back down.
Inhale to reach up, shoulder blades down, press like you’re moving through molasses here. Twice more, inhale, arms lift, deep in the belly, zip up through that waistline. Once more, arms reach long, crown of the head reaches long. We hold those arms straight, taking a breath here, (inhales) and then rounding up and over for our spine stretch, reaching past the toes, crown of the head dropping a little further between the thighs. Inhale, back up tall, (inhales deeply) and exhale to round and reach forward. (exhales sharply) Stacking that spine nice and tall, shoulder blades pulling down.
Maybe you choose to punch forward with a fist and a heel. Inhale, sitting back up tall. Once more, exhale, round, and reach. (exhales sharply) And all the way back to vertical. Arms float up by the ears and arms press to a T. Hold those shoulder blades down, really anchor from your back muscles.
We twist to the right, right palm flips up as we saw off that right pinky toe with the left weight in hand. Inhale back up to center, finding that middle. Left twist, inhale, exhale, reach up and over, left palm lifting to the ceiling, engage that tricep. Inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) One more each side, twist, and round up and over, crown of the head towards that right knee. Hips staying square and open, arms stay strong.
Left, inhale, exhale, lift up and over. (inhales deeply) And lifting tall. (exhales sharply) And center, and rest those arms for a moment. Should feel them from holding them for a while. We’re gonna take them with us and flip over onto the stomach. Just let those weights rest to either side of your mat to start. We’ll get into some back extension, hyper extension.
Palms just resting on the mat underneath the shoulders, here. Elbows hugging in tight. Tops of the feet pressing into the floor. On the inhale, we’ll begin to hover the palms off the mat, really squeeze those elbows tight and exhale to lift the forehead and the chest, finding that extension through the spine, through the crown of the head, really reaching it long, and then lowering with control. Again, palms hover on the inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale to lift. (exhales sharply) Keep squeezing elbows, shoulder blades, inner thighs, all towards the midline.
Hold on the inhale, (inhales deeply) deep in the belly up as you lower back down with control. Once more, just like this, warming up through the back palms, hover, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale to lift. (exhales sharply) Hold it, squeeze a little bit tighter, maybe lift a little higher. (inhales sharply) And lower all the way down. Give those hips a little wiggle, and we’ll take the weight, one in either hand. Fists will be pressing down firmly into the mat. Pretty much in the same place where those palms were before.
This time, elbows are hugging a little higher to the sky. Belly stays lifted, tops of the feet stay pressing down. Fists hover on the inhale, and then chest hovers on the exhale. We’re in that similar position where we just left off. Inhale, begin to extend your arms back, like you’re punching the back of the room.
Really squeeze your triceps straight, pull those shoulders away from your ears, and then bend your elbows only as much as you can, making sure those fists stay hovering off the mat. Inhale to reach back, (inhales deeply) exhale to bend with resistance in. Inhale to punch back to the back of the room, zip up in the low belly as those elbows bend straight up to the ceiling, for three. (inhales deeply) Deep and belly up, stay long through the back of the neck. We don’t wanna be looking up or too far down. Two. (inhales deeply) And pull it in.
Once more, inhale, punch back, reach, flip those palms down, and lower the head to one side, giving those hips another little shake. We have two more arm exercises here. You always have the option to do them without the weights if they’re becoming too much. We begin the same way, tops of the feet pressed down, palms begin to hover, and chest begins to hover. Really squeeze that pinky finger side of the fist towards your glutes, and then open those arms to a T, taking a breath in, (inhales deeply) and then exhale, pull back towards your hips as you lift a little higher, squeezing between those shoulder blades.
Inhale to open, (inhales deeply) exhale to lift and pull. (exhales sharply) Opening wide, (inhales deeply) deepening the belly, knitting those ribs together, thinking about the whole body here. Open, (inhales deeply) and lift and pull. (exhales sharply) Inhale, reaching wide, (inhales deeply) and exhale, reaching back through the arms, back through the legs. Last two, reach, (inhales deeply) and pull. (exhales sharply) Once more, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Reach out to the T, reach all the way forward overhead, and lower the palms and the head from there. Once again, give those hips a little shake. One more thing here.
Arms stay in front of us. Tops of the feet press down, zip up through the low waist. Begin hovering those palms and lifting through the chest. Think of a lat pull-down here, engage the back as you pull those elbows towards the ribs, towards the waist, and then reach the arms right back overhead by your ears. Inhale to lift and pull, squeeze between the shoulder blades, exhale deep in the belly as you reach those arms forward.
Inhale, lift and pull, (inhales deeply) exhale to lengthen through the limbs. (exhales sharply) For four. Lift and squeeze, and reach a little longer. And three. (inhales deeply) Keep breathing. (exhales sharply) Last two, pull, (inhales deeply) and reach. Once more, lift, pull, and hold. Lower the hands, lower the head, and release those weights to the sides of the mat.
We’ll sit all the way back into a child’s pose from here. Knees can be together or apart, whatever feels best on your body. Just taking a moment to shake out the hips, the arms, and releasing that low and upper back. Taking a breath here (inhales deeply) and exhaling. (exhales sharply) Give that head a little nod anywhere you might be feeling tension. One more breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) We’ll meet on all fours for some cat-cows here, just to continue stretching out the back.
Palms right underneath the shoulders here, hips stacked over the knees. We’ll meet in that black cat shape, really rounding the spine, pressing the floor away, giving that head a little shake side-to-side. And then dropping the belly, pulling heart and chest forward, shoulder blades down and back. Inhale, opening up through the spine, and then exhale to contract and round. Twice more.
Inhale to lengthen through the backside. (inhales deeply) Exhale to curl, pressing into those shins, into those palms. Once more, inhale to lengthen, (inhales deeply) and exhale to contract. (exhales sharply) We’ll meet in a flat back for our bird dog here. Option to use the weight in one hand, so we’ll begin by extending that left leg behind us, keeping even pressure into that right shin and left palm. And you can either float that right arm right by your ear, or maybe you add the weight with you. Palm facing inward, shoulder blades pulling down, tuck that tailbone really lifting your low belly.
Arm and leg lift up together, inhale, and then exhale, slow and controlled. We contract the spine, connecting elbow towards the knee, nose towards the knee. Inhale to length and back out, lifting a little higher, and then exhale, belly button pulling up and into contract. Twice more, inhale to lengthen long, (inhales deeply) exhale to curl. (exhales sharply) Once more, inhale to reach, (inhales deeply) and exhale to round. Reaching all the way back out, holding it, making sure that right hip is right over that right knee.
Pull those shoulder blades down. Reach back through the left heel, bend your right elbow right in by your waistline, and then press back another little tricep extension here as you lift the leg up a little higher. Bend the elbow, toes tap the mat. Lift and extend, inhale, exhale, tap and bend. Inhale to reach, exhale to draw it in with resistance.
For four. Low belly stays lifted, crown of the head reaching long. Three. (inhales deeply) Pull it in. Last two, inhale and exhale. One more, lift and hold.
Lower and bend. Releasing that left knee down, weight down and right palm. Just take a moment rounding the spine here, taking another little cat-cow, finding our center, maybe a little wiggle of those hips, whatever feels good. We’ll meet back on all fours, this time, the right leg reaching back. Zip up through that low seatbelt area here, really pulling up in the waistline.
Left hand reaches forward, maybe with that weight, pressing the floor away, lifting arm and leg up another inch on the inhale. (inhales deeply) Exhale, pull the belly button up towards the spine, contracting elbow and knee towards the midline. Inhale to lengthen out a little further through the limbs, exhale contracting a little deeper into the core. Last two, inhale to lengthen, (inhales deeply) exhale to contract. (exhales sharply) Peek back, see if you can make that connection each time, and making sure that that left hip is right over that left knee. Reaching all the way back out, long hold, bending that left elbow up, reaching back through that right heel, reaching back through the arm, lifting the leg up an inch, bending the elbow, tapping the toes back down, inhale, lengthen up and back, exhale, bend and lower. Reach, and in.
For five. Inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale. Hug that arm tight by the waist, four. Squeezing the glutes, hips staying square, three. (Laura inhaling deeply) Last two. (exhales sharply) last one, inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale, bending the knee, lowering that weight.
And we’ll take another child’s pose from here. Just give your wrists a little shake. Hips a little wiggle, taking a moment, releasing any tension that you’re maybe feeling in the shoulders or the neck. We wanna let all that go, really using the back and arms to work in the right way. We’re gonna roll up and meet in a plank position.
So you’ll only need one weight for this. Palms will be pressing into that weight, creating a number 11 here all the way from your fingertips, to your elbows, to your shoulders, extending the legs back behind us. Feel the palms pressing inward, ribs knitting towards the midline, inner thighs and glutes squeezing towards that midline. Press into those forearms, lifting your heart and your chest. Take a breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale, zip up through the waist a little tighter.
(exhales sharply) Hold it, two more breaths here. Inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale, stay long through the crown of the head, reach back through those heels, full lengthen the body. One more breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Carefully lower just the knees, untuck those toes, and begin to pull your pelvis and your heart forward towards those fingertips, towards the frontage of your mat. Keep just as much pressure down into those forearms. Just as much lift in your chest as you just had in that plank.
We go into our single leg kick. Right heel in, palms pressed together, top of the foot presses down. Left kick kick, deep in the belly up, reach back through the leg. Right, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale, and left, in, (inhales deeply) and reach. One more time, each side.
And lengthen, last time. Left, reach, and hold. Lower the head all the way down. We’ll take that one single weight behind our back and right face-cheek can rest onto the mat. Let those elbows open.
The palms will be facing upward here, holding onto that weight as tightly or as loosely as you would like, making sure not to drop it. Squeeze those inner thighs together. Begin to hover the legs off the mat. Pelvis presses down, knees stay lifted, we kick for three, two, one. Reach back through the arms, lifting that weight, lifting the thighs, lifting the chest.
Left face-cheek down, elbows wide, kick three, two, one. Inhale, reach through the heart, reach back through the fingers and the toes. Right face-cheek, kicks for three, two, one, lengthen to lift. Last time. Left face down for three, two, one, lengthen, lift, and hold.
Lift those arms up a little higher for five, and four, squeeze between the shoulder blades, three, last two, last one, hold, and bend and lower everything back down. Placing that weight off to the side, we’ll sit back into a child’s pose once again. Lots of upper back work there, arm work. We should be feeling pretty good, pretty warm by now. And then we’ll come all the way back up and sit in the middle of the mat, facing that direction we started.
From here, grab those weights and reach your arms back forward. Take in a deep breath in right where we started class, your shoulders down, slowly rolling onto that mat, vertebra by vertebra, taking our time, still working into that core. Arms reach straight up to the ceiling, head releases down and back. And then we’ll flip the palms to that front side. Shoulders remain down, and legs come into a table top position.
We’re gonna open up our shoulders here with some arm circles. Squeeze those inner thighs together, pull the belly deeper towards the mat so we’re controlled through our waistline. Inhale, arms float back by the ears. Exhale, they circle around towards the hips. As they reach up and back, palms face the ceiling.
And then palms squeeze to the hips as we circle, closing the arms, closing the ribs. Inhale, reach up and back. (inhales deeply) Exhale, circle around, knitting that rib cage tight. Twice more this direction. Feel openness across the collar bones and exhale, squeeze everything together. Once more, inhale, lengthen up and back, (inhales deeply) exhale, contract together.
Reverse the circle. Around and back, open up across the chest. Deep in the belly, press those palms down to hover off the floor. Inhale, palms flip up, circle around and back, right by the ears. Deep in the belly down, palms press down.
Last three, inhale to circle, (inhales deeply) exhale to press. (exhales sharply) Last two. Inhale, take it around and back. Exhale, shoulder blades pulling down, belly pulling a little deeper. Once more, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Reach those arms straight back up to the ceiling and carefully lower the feet down to the mat. We’ll separate the feet about hip width apart here, arms staying straight up to the ceiling, working into some bridging to release in the front of those hips.
So take a breath in, and then begin to tuck and curl the pelvis up, scooping from the low belly. Reach your knees forward, over the middle toes, ribs down, belly down. Squeeze the hips and the glutes a little bit tighter and higher. Reach the arms back, hovering off the mat by your ears, and then slowly roll down like someone’s pulling you from your fingertips, lengthening out through the crown of the head, through the upper and middle back, through the low back, and releasing all the way down through the tail. Arms float back up over the shoulders, take a breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale, scoop from the belly, really initiating that curl from those low transverse abdominals, pressing down into the heels as you squeeze those sit bones and butt cheeks together.
Hold at the top, squeeze the glutes a little bit tighter. Reach those arms back, holding it for a breath in. And once again, rolling back down vertebra by vertebra, taking the time to articulate through the spine. Really using the abdominals in the glutes for support there. Arms reach back up, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale to tuck and curl the hips high. (exhales sharply) Hold those hips up.
As you boost the hips maybe up one more inch, pull the elbows wide to the sides, creating a a 90 degree bend, and then reach those arms back up. Inhale to bend, open up through the shoulders and the chest, exhale, reach fingertips or fists back to the ceiling. Inhale to open, (inhales deeply) exhale deep in the belly down, hips stay lifted, inner thighs and glutes squeezing together. Little to no movement in that backside. Open (inhales deeply) and reach.
Chin stays lifted off the chest, for three. And reach. (exhales sharply) And two, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale, ribs, close arms, reach along once more, open, and extend, holding it there, taking a breath in (inhales deeply) and rolling back down, keeping those arms straight up to the ceiling, opening up through that spine. Once more, inhale and exhale, tuck and curl those hips high. (Laura exhaling sharply) Once again, keeping the hips lifted and square, float the arms back by the ears on the inhale, exhale, boost the hips a little higher, press the hands to hover over the thighs. Arms reach back.
Exhale, press ribs knit together, deepening that belly down to support the spine. Inhale, lengthen through the arms, exhale, ribs knit tight and press towards the thighs. Last two, inhale, reach it back. Exhale, press it long. Keep reaching down into the heels to squeeze those buns a little tighter.
Reach forward, hold. Arms back up to the ceiling, taking a breath there, and rolling all the way down, vertebra, by vertebra, by vertebra, releasing the hips at the bottom. Should feel a really nice stretch and length through the front of the hips. So now when we’re ready to go into some teasers, it can be all core, no quads, that’s our goal here. Squeeze those inner thighs together, really focusing on the work coming from the low belly.
Arms are still up, they stay strong here. Take a breath in, (inhales deeply) exhale, begin to curl up. Arms reach forward towards the thighs, deep in the belly back as you round all the way up. Option to keep the knees bent, or if you feel solid here, those legs extend. Now with the hand weights, we’ll flip our palms up to the ceiling, lift everything up a little higher, palms, toes, heart.
Take a breath in and slowly lower everything down, vertebra by vertebra. Now your palms stay facing the ceiling, arms, heels, shoulder blades hover off the floor. Pull that belly a little deeper and then lower the hands by your hips as the head and heels release down. Again, coming from here, taking a breath to prepare, (inhales deeply) and then exhale, chin peers over the chest. Arms hover, legs hover, and everything lifts, fingertips up towards the toes.
We stay as still as possible, only moving from those arms. They lower down to hover by the hips, and exhale, reach right back up to the toes. Inhale to lower, deep in the belly back, reach those arms up, for three, (inhales deeply) and lengthen. (exhales sharply) Two. Squeeze those inner thighs tight, reach through the toes. One more, down, lift and hold.
Take a breath and lift everything one more inch. Slowly lower in four. In three, zip up high in those inner thighs, low in the belly, hover, two, and release everything down and back on one. Now we go into some arm circles, two more sets, taking a breath to prepare. (inhales deeply) Exhale, chin over the chest. Arms hover, legs hover, belly pulls deep.
Everything floats up, finding our beautiful teaser in one long line. Arms lower to begin, and they circle out and up back towards those toes. Inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) For three. Belly pulls back to keep that spine lifted, two. Reach, one more.
Reach up and hold, inhale. Exhale, slowly lowering down, trying to get each vertebra down at a time, low back, middle back, shoulder blades, hover, release it down at the bottom. Once more, open up through the collar bones, take a breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale, chin over the chest. Zip up through that waistline, lifting everything together. Reversing the arms.
They float down, around and up. Inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) For three. And reach, last two. And reach, once more. Reach and hold.
Take one more breath in, reach the fingertips, reach to the toes, and slowly lower in four, (exhales sharply) and three, (inhales deeply) hovering, two, and releasing down and back on one. Give those legs a little shake. Reach those arms up to the ceiling. Take a breath in (inhales deeply) and roll all the way up to seated. That roll up should feel easy after all those teasers.
We’ll flip around, facing the other end of our mat for a little bit of swimming here. Now with those weights, it can be a lot on the shoulders. So, as always, you have the option to do this without them. We’ll start slow and small, with a little prep here. Shoulder blades pulled down into the back, arms and legs can be shoulder and hip width.
Right arm and left leg lift, along with the chest and the forehead on the inhale, and then deep in the belly up as it lowers back down. And second side, lengthening up and out, and then deep in the belly up to lower down. Again, first side lifts, belly up, arm and leg down. Second side, inhale, lengthen to lift, and lower. Arms and legs both lift together, hold it.
Going for a little swim, alternating here, deepening the belly to support through the spine, squeezing those glutes and hamstrings a little higher to the ceiling, breathing in, (inhales deeply) and exhale out, two, three, four, five. Inhale, two, three, four, five, getting everything a little higher, a little quicker, two more breaths, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale, reach through the limbs, reach through the crown of the head. Last breath, in, (inhales deeply) and exhale out two, three, four, five, lift and hold. Squeeze those inner thighs together. Pull those elbows back towards the ribs.
Lift everything one more inch and lower all the way down to rest, placing the weights off to the side of the mat. We’ll sit back into a child’s pose from here, letting those knees maybe open a little wider, arms reach a little further. Taking a breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale, releasing everything down. (exhales sharply) And then coming back to all fours, tucking those toes underneath us, piking those hips up into a downward dog. Just taking a forward stretch here for a moment, shaking that head out, that neck, pressing the chest towards the thighs, really actively pressing the floor away to get a link through the spine, through the back, through the legs, taking a breath here, (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) We’ll slowly walk our toes towards our hands, pausing in a forward fold here just to enjoy the stretch before we roll up to do a little arm work. So take a moment here, soften those knees, and we’ll take this gentle fold, just releasing the head, the neck, the backs of the legs.
While we’re down here, we’ll pick those weights up, one in each hand, softening those knees a little deeper, and slowly rolling up, vertebra by vertebra, taking our time, moving to standing here, dropping those shoulder blades all the way down into the back. And we’ll meet in a pilate stance to finish with some standing arm work here. So heels are together, knees and toes apart, inner thighs nicely zipped up. We’re reaching those arms out to the side. We’ll go back to our hug-a-tree, elbows are gently lifted, shoulder blades pulling down into the back, and ribs knitting tight, awareness in the whole body.
Inhale to hug someone you really love right in front of you. Exhale to open. Inhale a nice big hug, exhale to open wide, keeping that lift in the thighs, lift in those low abdominals. Inhaling (inhales deeply) and exhaling. Tailbone tucked slightly underneath us here so we’ve beautiful posture, energy out the crown of the head.
Last two, inhale and exhale. Once more, big hug, and open, reaching those arms all the way, straight energy through those fingertips, pulling the elbows right into the waistline with resistance, and reaching them right back out as if you’re gonna touch either side of your room here, and lengthen, inhale, resist to pull, exhale, reach a little longer, drawing it in and lengthening out, for five. And reach, and four. Really opening up those biceps and elbows towards the front of the room. Feel the resistance in and out, last one.
Inhaling and exhaling. Bending those elbows back into the waist, finding a true 90 degree angle, and then lifting that 90 degree angle up to shoulder height, shoulder blades pulling down. Imagine closing two doors, weights, maybe even the elbows drawing in front of the face, and then opening, squeezing those shoulder blades behind. Inhale to close, exhale, open the arms, but keep those ribs really knitted tight. Together and wide.
Inhaling (inhales deeply) and exhaling. Five more here. Opening up across the chest and shoulders as we work on toning that upper back, for three. (inhales deeply) And open. Last two, inhale and exhale, once more, together and open.
Now imagine you’re lowering the palm right on top of a tabletop, and then rotate right back up against that wall. Inhale and exhale, rotating from the shoulder here, continuing to pull both shoulder blades down into the back, lifting tall through the crown of the head, zipping up through that waistline. Inhale and exhale, last four. And lift, and three. And reach, and two.
And up, you should start to feel those arms working here, hold them up. We’ll reach high to the ceiling, shoulders pulling down into the back, and pull back just to that 90 degree angle. Inhale to reach it up, exhale to draw it down. Inhale to lengthen through the fingertips, or maybe the fists, and pull right back in. Inhale to reach, exhale to draw it down into the back, for three.
And lower. And two. Bend and pull, once more. This time, we keep the arms straight, pressing those weights towards one another, slight forward hinge in the body as we go into our shaving exercise, shaving off the back of the head. In my case, my ponytail here right off.
Inhaling and exhaling. Think of a forward hinge here, zipping up through the low belly, working a little deeper onto that balance, squeezing those inner thighs and glutes tight. Elbows stay lifted, hugging towards the midline, for four. And reach it up. And three, keep pressing the weights together.
Last two. And lift once more, inhale and exhale. Slowly lower the arms, palms facing upright to shoulder height. We’ll take a moment to roll those shoulder blades down and back. Try and keep those arms lifted.
Maybe you drop your weights, but reach those arms right back out in front of you. Bending the elbows for a simple bicep curl and reaching right back long. Inhale and exhale. Trying to keep those elbows both at shoulder height and width here, so they’re not too lifted and not too dropped. And lengthen, inhaling, exhaling, working both directions, curling the biceps, lengthening through the triceps.
We should really feel our arms by now, last three. And reach, two, and reach, one more, inhale, exhale, reach it long. Hold those arms straight out in front of you. Flip your palms down, going into a little chest expansion, press the palms back. Squeeze between your shoulder blades, hold them there.
Release in the neck muscles as you look over to the right, over to the left, back to center, and resist the arms right back up, palms facing down to shoulder height. Inhale, press down and back, squeeze between the shoulder blades, zip up through the waist, long exhale to look left, and right, and center, and resist. Twice more, inhale, press down and back, palms lift, engage those triceps. Looking right, zip up through that waistline, left, and center. And reach forward, last one, like this, inhale, press down and back, palms reaching up, squeezing towards the midline, looking left, opposite collar bone opening a little wider, and reach it forward.
From here, flip those palms up, carefully lower the arms right down towards our hips, and scoop and reach straight back up to shoulder height. Those same arm exercises we did in our teaser should feel a little simpler here since we’re standing. (inhales deeply) Inhaling, deepening the belly back, reaching those palms up on the exhale. Inhale, take it down. Exhale, resist and lift.
For three. Shoulder blades pulled down as those palms lift, two. Finishing strong, one more. Reach and hold, we circle out, down, and right back up. Inhaling, (inhales deeply) exhale, belly pulls back, arms lift for three, (inhales deeply) and reach, and two.
You lengthen a little taller through the spine, all the way through the crown of the head. Longer through those arms, reversing down, around and forward. Inhale and exhale. (exhales sharply) Last three, trying to move evenly, keeping those fingertips in your peripheral vision, two. Closing the ribs, closing the arms, last one. Reach forward and hold.
Reach the arms straight back out to the sides, palms stay facing up. We lift all the way up, keeping a slight bend in the elbows towards the ears, and with resistance, slowly fight against those weights as you lower the arms all the way down towards the hips. Three more times, just like this. Scoop out and up, inhale, shoulder blades pulling down into the back. Abdominals stay lifted, knees lifted, energy out the crown of the head, for two.
(inhales deeply) And exhale, open a little wider, a little stronger. Last time, we’re reaching out and up, holding for that breath in. (inhales deeply) And slowly lowering in four, (exhales sharply) three, taking your time, two, releasing those arms down on one. We’ll take a gentle bend of the knees. Roll those shoulders back and forward two times here, releasing any remaining tension in the upper back or neck. Reverse that circle.
Up and back. And once my little plie, bend those knees, feeling the shoulder blades drop down into the back, lifted through the spine and maybe a little tired, but strong through our arms and our upper body. I hope you enjoyed today’s upper body class and I’ll see you on your mat for our next class.