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Hello everybody and welcome. My name is Andrew Aroustian, and we are here today to do a Men’s Health Mat Work Class. Joining me today, we have Michael and Sally, who’s here to show us that while this is a Men’s Health Mat Work Class, it could be done by absolutely everybody. I hope you guys enjoy it and if you’d like a little bit more information about the Men’s Health Program, you can just watch my overview on the platform itself. Okay, let’s get started.
So what I’d like you to do, is you’re gonna stand to the back of your mat here. Okay, we’re just gonna start with a couple of roll downs. What I’d like you to do first, you just take a nice roll down. So just lower the head and just roll the body. We’re just gonna start with the roll down to begin with.
Soft knees. I’d like you to just take a nice deep breath into the low back here, just nice and big as you breathe out, using the heels to connect the back of the pelvis and roll back up. Let’s just do one more like that. As you breathe that, let the head come down. That’s it, Michael, good.
Just get that nice length through the entire back, to start with. Take a deep breath into the low back, connect the heels onto the mat and roll yourself back up. Let’s add on to that. So what you’ll do now is again, roll yourself down as you breathe out. This time, take your hands and walk four steps out to a front support.
As you hold this, lift your head in line with your back, but keep the hips nice and high. As you breathe out, walk your hands back again towards your feet. Soften the knees, use the heels to connect, and roll yourself back up. Ribs on hips, shoulders on ribs. Head on shoulders.
Good, let’s do that again. So roll yourself down. You’re gonna take four steps out to the front, support one, two, three, and hold. As you breathe in, you lengthen the spine by lifting the head. As you breathe out, walking back four steps, soften the knees, connect the heels, and roll yourself back up.
Let’s do that one more time. As you breathe out, rolling yourself down, lengthening the spine. Take four walks out. Hold this this time. So just hold it here and take a couple of breaths here, just connecting into the back line.
What I’d like you to do now, is just lower your knees down towards the mat, Walk your hands back a few steps so that your hips are above the knees and shoulders are above the hands. Just gonna start with a little cat stretch here. So as you breathe out, push the floor away from you and round your spine. Now as you’re pushing that floor away, I want you to keep that intensity of the push and as you inhale, lengthen your chest forward, lift the tailbone up, but still push away into that floor as your exhale round the spine. It’s got a lovely nice connection through the entire back here.
As you breathe in, press into the floor. Now this is gonna activate the back chain here through the thoracic spine especially. So really give me that lift. Last one, exhale, round the spine. That’s it.
As you inhale again, pushing the floor away, showing me a little bit more of that thoracic extension. Fantastic. From here, going into your thread the needle. So find your neutral spine, once again, it’s the normal natural position here. We’ll start with the right hand here.
So as you inhale, lift the right arm up. Look at your hand as you go. As you exhale, roll the hand through, palm on the floor, walk the hand through, keep the other arm nice and straight. Inhale, arm up towards the ceiling. As you come through, just keep the palm on the floor, walk it through.
That’s it, good. Getting some nice rotation here. One more time on this side. Inhale to lift. As you breathe out, keep that other arm nice and straight and that’s gonna help you with that rotation.
Fantastic, let’s do the other side. So starting with the left arm this time, you’ll inhale, lift up. That’s it. Exhale, roll it through. Use that hand to help you come through like a little spider walking down.
As you inhale, lift up, smile to everyone out there. That’s it, exhale, roll it through. Very good. One more time in this position. Inhale to lift.
That’s it, and as you exhale, reach through into your thread the needle. Awesome guys, thank you. So laying down onto your right side, that’s it. Knees in line with the hips. Heels can be sort of in line with the knees in that nice 90/90 position.
Hands will go behind your head this time, but sideline rotation. So elbows are down, bring them quite close to each other. You’re gonna start, as you inhale, I want you to just to lift the top elbow up first. Just lift that elbow up. Set the shoulder into the ribcage.
As you breathe out, you’re going to rotate your spine. Now let your head be nice and heavy. Take a deep breath in here to give yourself a little bit more stretch. And then as you exhale, bring yourself back around. Awesome, let’s do that two more times.
Inhale, top elbow. Exhale, rotating around. That’s it, take your inhale to give you just that little bit more. Exhale, come back around. Beautiful, one last time.
Inhale, lift the top elbow. As you bring yourself around, think of that bottom elbow pressing into the mat as well to give you that little bit more feedback to rotate. Inhale to hold. Exhale, bring it all the way back around. Good.
Let’s go the other side. Okay, so same thing, same deal here. So knees in line with hips, heels in line with knees, hands behind the head. Okay, inhale, top elbow. Set the shoulder girdle.
Exhale, rotate. Let your head be nice and heavy on the mat. Take your breath into stretch and then exhale, come back through. Fantastic, good. And two more times.
Inhale, lift the elbow. We’re working through this body prep category here. So we’re really thinking about all the different positions of the spine. Working through flexion, extension, rotation, just getting that body ready to move. And last one you rotate, let that bottom arm give you that nice feedback to rotate around.
Good, and then coming back to the start. Wonderful work, now just lay onto your backs, please. That’s it. Legs, nice and long. Hands behind the head.
We’re starting with a couple of chest lifts here. So now we’re gonna work a little bit into the abdominals, getting a little bit more global with our activation here. So keeping the calves on the floor, that the feet can be flexed or they can be relaxed. However it feels better for you. So as you breathe put, lift up into a chest lift.
Try and think about letting your ribcage take you up. Your eye gaze will be kind of over your toes and then come back out. Good, as you breathe out, lift up into that chest lift. Now use this opportunity to give you that nice length through the thoracolumbar junction so that center part of your back, so you can feel this traction here. So we’ve got the legs lengthening out that way, but as you come up, you are lengthening that way.
So we get a nice bit of decompression here. Good, let’s do four more here. As you exhale, so we can start to pick up a little bit of pace here. Four and back. That’s it, and three.
The body’s starting to warm up. The blood’s starting to pump. Last one. Come up and hold this time, take a deep breath into your upper back as your exhale, rotate to towards your right hip for your hula. Inhale, back to center.
Good, exhale across. We’re only gonna do four on each side. Now remember, you need to come down just slightly so that you have somewhere to go every single time you come up into your hulaveer. Good, one more time on either side. And you guessed it.
What’s coming up next? Our all time favorite, we’re going into the set of the hundred. You can keep yourself up into your chest lift. Michael’s going to do a different variation today with bent knees and gorgeous Sally is gonna do the traditional hundred. Here we go, so start pulsing those arms.
In for five beats, a little bit more. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Breathe in. Good, so what we’re doing here- Exhale, good. Remember we’re activating all of that blood and all that oxygen into the body, using your breath to draw in that oxygen and circulate that oxygenated blood through the body.
Good. I think that’s four. In two, three, four, five, and out. We’re gonna have all of those beautiful cues that you all know so well. So draw the legs away from you.
Six, in, two, four, five, and out. Excellent. That’s seven. Doing beautifully well, Michael. Four, five and out.
Two, three, that’s eight. Only two to go. So fast. All right, one more time. And in, three, four, five, and out.
Good, and just because I’m nice, you can hug your knees into your chest and have a little rest. Oh, how excellent. All right. What I’m gonna get you to do, is we’re gonna stand up, we’re gonna do a little bit of a transition here. It’s almost like a reverse rolling like a ball.
Okay, so what I want you to do is, you’re going to draw your knees towards your face, but try and keep your head up. Try not to let your head rock backwards. So you’re just gonna do a little rock back and forward and back and forward, a couple of times, however many times you need to. And then standing all the way up into a standing position. Bang, and we are ready to go.
Okay, well done. So moving on to the next part of this body prep. I know we’re still there. So mat, you’re in the center of the mat, going to the upright frog. So I’m gonna place your hands behind your head, elbows slightly forward of the ears.
You’re in the Pilates V position. Let’s not go too wide, okay? So just bring them like a natural position here. And I want your head to press back into your hands and you’re gonna feel that entire back chain activate. What you’re going to do from here, is I want you to bend your knees, but as soon as you bend your knees, your heels will lift.
Keep those heels together. Come down as far as you want to. Range is not important here. Then as you breathe out, press your heels into the ground as soon as you can to stand, helps to activate the back of those legs. Here we go.
So as you breathing, take it down, press the head back into the hands, exhale to come up. Now it’s important here to note that you want to try not to hinge your body forward here. Try to keep yourself nice and straight. Keep the shoulders, ribcage, right above the pelvis there. So couple more here.
Let’s do two more. So now we’re getting a little bit more lower body activation into our work here. Beautiful work. Alright, now let’s play with tempo. So we do a little bit of e-centric control, a bit of power work here.
So, what you’ll do is, you’re gonna take three counts to bend down as far as your body will allow. So three, two, and then straight up nice and fast on one. And down, three, two, one, and up! And three. So taking that nice strong lift. Two more.
Three, two, one, and up! Last one. Let’s reverse it. So quick down, Halt, up, up. There’s that e-centric control. Good.
So control the negative. And up. Two to go. And down. Good.
Last one, and down. Beautiful work, Michael. And beautiful work everyone. So now turn around. Face the lovely dolphins.
We saw beautiful dolphins this morning. We’re very lucky. We’re going to cross the legs to squat and just sit back down onto the mat. Excellent work. So laying down onto your back, moving on now into the integrative training section of the class.
So working into a pelvic curl position, I just might bring your feedback ever so slightly. That’s it. So what I want you to do here, you should be having a little bit of a puff going on right now. A bit of cardiovascular endurance is starting to kick in. So here I just want you to lift your hips up, the off the mat, what, however that means for you, whether it’s a curl or a lift, whatever works.
I would like you, however, to as you breathe out, roll the pelvis down. Just to get that length through the back. And exhale to lift. Hold. And then exhale to lower.
Good. And exhale to lift. Now as you’re doing this, you’re going to feel the back of the legs activate, which is beautiful. After all of that work we just did towards the front of the legs. This time I want you to think about while your back of your legs are activating, think about that stretch in the front.
Good, we’re gonna do two more of these. On the last one you’ll hold. So lift and lower. Fantastic, last one, here we go. Exhale, lift the hips and hold it there.
Now we had a little bit of strength work here. So press your left foot down, lift your right foot up into a tabletop position. Lower that right foot back down, exhale, lift the left foot up, and lower. And you’re gonna do four on each side. It’s important to note that you want to be able to stabilize that opposite non-working leg, before you pick up the other side.
Good, last one on the left leg here. That’s it. And then when you’re done, roll all the way back down. Alright, good. Now you’ve had a little rest.
Let’s work a little bit more. So bring your knees up to a tabletop position. You can hold onto your knees. Chest lift for single leg stretch, little abdominal series here, ‘cuz you can’t do without that. So right leg forward, hold that position, come up into your chest lift.
Nice and high, Michael. Do a little higher variation here. As you exhale, you change the legs. We got 10. And change, nine.
And change, eight. Now I want you to push forward. I don’t want you to kick the leg high. So four, push. Three, two, draw both knees back in for your double leg stretch.
So arms back, legs high or long. Circle and draw it back in. We have six, inhale, Exhale her out. Good, inhale, lengthen. And around three to go.
And around, very good, two to go. Keep those ears- Those arms behind the ears. Last one, circle around hands behind your head, crisscross, here we go. Rotate to your right knee first. We have 10, nine, and eight, seven.
Think of like a bow and arrow with the legs. Five, four, three, two, last one. Hug the knees into your chest and you can lower the head down. Oh, you should see the look of relief we’ve got here. It’s gorgeous.
Okay, we’re gonna get you to roll onto your stomach now. Keep your head at that end. Fantastic. So we’re going into a bit of prone work. So we’re gonna look at the back chain of the body here.
Arms down by your side. Forehead on the mat. So just hold this position, just for a couple of breaths. Recenter. Get back into the- into the mode here.
Feet are about hip width apart. So don’t be too married to legs together or legs wide. Let’s just keep them nice and nice and natural here. Arms long, palms up. What I’m gonna get you to do, is you’re gonna start off by lifting your head.
So just the head. Think about it lifting in line with your back. If you’re wanna think of a little marble on the end of your nose, you’re kind of lengthening the marble to the end of the mat. So just a little high with that head. Good.
From here, lift your shoulders off the mat, bring them in line with your back. And from here, lift your hands off the mat, bring that in line with your back. Try to do all of that without lifting the spine any higher. And then as you breathe out, let everything come down. Shoulders on the mat.
Forehead on the mat. Good. So just lift the head. That’s it. So lift, lift, lift, lift, lift, lift, lift, lift.
Then bring the shoulders back. Then bring the arms back in line with the shoulders. You’re gonna feel that thoracic, those thoracic extensions really kicking in there. As you breathe out, lower it down. Fantastic, we’re gonna do off quite a few more here.
Let’s do four more. Inhale, now start thinking of integrating that head, shoulders, arms, that all sort of come up together. Exhale, lower down. So I want you to try to avoid working into the lumbar spine here. Think more that thoracic extension.
So we want that dart shape. And down, good. Three more. And head, shoulders, arms. Good.
Two to go. Shoulders all the way down so you’ve got somewhere to go. Head, shoulders, arms, lift. Inhale. I like to inhale on the extension here.
Your choice, whatever you decide to do here is fine. Now just hold this last one here. We’re going into almost like a little arms pulling straps on the reformer. So you need to have a little bit of height here. So Michael, just a little higher for me.
What you’ll do is, you’ll bring your arms back, elbows up, and then reach your arms overhead. Exhale. And then just pull them back like an arms pulling straps and length. Now we’ve got four here, only four. And bring it forward.
So working into the endurance part now of the upper back extensors. Also getting some lumber extensor work here too, which is equally as important in our work. Good, last one. And press it forward. Eyeline nice and lifted.
And bring it back. Hold it there, arms open to a ‘T’. Palms face the floor. Now you’re gonna bring your- Exhale, bring your pinkies right back to the gluteal fold there. Inhale, open.
Three more. Exhale, press it through. Two to go. Inhale, open. Exhale, press it through.
Good, last one. Inhale open and press, hold, Hold, hold, hold, hold. And you can rest. Ah, fantastic. Going to a little rest position now sit back down onto your heels.
That’s it, and stretch forward. Good, so come all the way down and have a nice stretch. You take your time with this as well. We’ve just done a lot of postural work here, into the back muscles. Those holds are fantastic to keep up those postural paraspinal muscles to get them nice and working.
Fantastic. Alright, moving on. Let’s go into a four point kneeling position. So you may, what I’d like you to do here, just lift your head up in line with your back. That’s a nice little cue, I think that I find works quite often, when we’re trying to find these long lines, is if you keep- Think about the back of your head coming up in line with your spine.
You’re gonna be in a pretty good place there. Maybe slightly higher, depending on the body. Now what you’re gonna do from here, is I want you to move your hands further forward past your shoulder. So you’re gonna be in almost like a kneeling plank position. From here, bring your shoulders over your hands.
Hold this position, tuck your toes under, and then as you breathe out, just lengthen your legs into a nice front support position. Good. Now lift your head up in line with your back. Lower the hips down here, Michael, for me. That’s it, beautiful work.
Little bit of an isometric control and endurance work here. I know, we’re working through, Sally, you’re doing amazingly well. Very, very beautiful. Alright, so from here, your left hand goes into the center of your, where your sternum is. You’re going to roll your feet on the side, lift your right arm up.
Think of thread the needle, bring yourself a right up into that side support. Bring your right hand back down, move the left hand up, pike. Pike the body, hips up, and have a rest here. Have a stretch. Good, we’ll do that on the other side.
Ready? So lower down, lift the head in line with the back. Right hand comes in the center, left hand lifts. Fantastic work. Bring the left hand back down, lift the head and come into your pike.
That was so good. I think we’re gonna do another set. I’m loving it. Bring it out, left hand in, right hand up. Flatten those- beautiful.
Reach, reach, reach, reach. And then bring it back down, other side. Fantastic, right, and go into your pike. That’s right. And then right hand up.
However you want to do this, you can have the little break in between or you can just roll through it. That’s getting a little bit of that endurance work as well. Beautiful holding that there. Just have a few breaths here. Give yourself that time.
Nice shoulder working in a pike here. Everything’s still on. Everything’s still working. Alright my friends, just lower your knees back down onto the mat. Let’s have a little rest position here.
Why not? Why not? Take a breath. Take a minute. Let’s see what happens.
Feel that stretch in the back. Sometimes it’s nice just to get that little bit of pressure here. Just to assist in that stretch. Alright, good. Let’s move on to a little bit more torso strengthening.
A little bit more torso function control. So going into the kneeling tilt. So what you’ll do is come to the center of your mat. Face forwards for me. That’s it.
Feet are flat behind you. That’s it. Hands will come behind the head. Good. Finding in this position.
I want you to find that little bit of that force closure of the pelvis. So thinking about abdominals and hamstrings, how we force close the pelvis. If they weren’t working in these positions, we’d fall forward like that. So think about hamstrings, abdominals, giving us that support that we need here. Nice way to find that support and that strength through the back line.
Just like with the upright frog, give yourself a little press into your hands and resist that with your hands as well. Gives your backline something to do. Okay. From here, what you’ll do is as you inhale, lean to your right side. Inhale, take it over.
Exhale, come back to the center. Inhale across. Good, take your time with these. Back to the center. Now instead of thinking of lifting the ribbon laterally, flexing too much, I want you to think more like a palm tree in the breeze.
So you’ve got a nice stable base and the rest of the body is moving away from that base. Fantastic, let’s do two more. As you go to the right, press left knee down. As you go to the left, press your right knee down. Good, let’s add some rotation to the right.
First, two little rotations. Two, one, and then back to center. Good, two, one, back to center. We’ve got four of those. Let’s do four on each side.
Two, one. Try to keep the hips as square as you can as you’re doing this rotation. One more set. Two, one. Last one, two, and one, back to center.
Now I’m gonna turn this next exercise around on the side. You don’t need to do that as you’re teaching, but just for demonstrations sake today, we’ll turn this one over to the side. We’re going to a thigh stretch. Okay, so we’re going to really find length through the front of the hips and the thigh. So arms are kind of come forward.
Just slightly higher than the shoulders will be fine, if that doesn’t work for you, genie position, even hands behind the head or hips work as well. So, whatever works for you and your clients. Now, just bring your feet slightly apart. That’s it. The most important thing about this next part of the exercise is I want you to find that deep imprint.
Okay, so as you’re going to hinge back, so as you inhale, hinge the body back, imprint, only go as far as as your body will allow. Exhale, press the feet down and up you come. Fantastic. Inhale, length and out. Sternum to the ceiling.
Think of that nice proud chest. Two more. Inhale length and get them right through the front of those hips. And up, last one. Inhale length and out.
Now what I’d like you to do, exhale and come back for the next part. I’m gonna add a little stretch to that. So Michael’s gonna show you one variation and Sally’s gonna show you the progression. So sitting down onto your heels, go around and place your hands onto your heels there. Now the first, the first variation is just lifting the chest up towards the ceiling, staying seated on the heels.
Or if your body allows it, let’s lift those heels up and give yourself that nice extra stretch. You can see how this front line is just loving this stretch. One more breath here. And then sit back down onto your heels and you are done, Good. Fantastic work.
Moving on now to the final part of this, of the class, the functional stretch. So take a seat facing forwards, like I said, you don’t have to sit in these particular positions. Whatever works for your class, works for your class. What we’re going to do is sit cross-legged. So just lower that foot in front of the other one and just make sure that your toes are wider than your knees.
So you may have to move the front leg forward slightly to achieve that position. And just make sure that the toes are wider than the knees. We’re going into a little hip stretch here. Place your hands forward onto the ground in front of you and lower the head. That’s it, so you don’t have to go too far to start.
Just find your range, whatever that is for you. Really important to just allow the head to be nice and long, opening up through the back of the hips, into the low back. Good. I do three more breaths. On the inhale, allow the tissue to move and stretch.
On the exhale, is more of a release. Good, two more breaths. Inhale, allow that to stretch and release, with one more. Inhale and release. Fantastic.
Walk yourself up nice and slowly. Hands go behind your back. Swap the legs over to the other side. Good, so toes wider than the knees. Good.
We might bring your knee this way a fraction. That’s a nice position. So we’ve got a nice little square position of the thigh bones as well as the pelvis. So, hands forward, walking down. Let the head just relax.
And you’ll find that with that head relaxed, you can only get that beautiful ligamentous stretch all the way through the spine. Right from the occiput, so right from the very top of the spine. Taking a few more breaths here. Inhale. Exhale, release.
Two more. Beautiful, inhale. Find all that tissue stretching with your inhale. Good. Gives us this beautiful opportunity here just to stretch.
And walking all the way back up. Fantastic, alright. Let’s stand up, we’re almost there friends, I promise. So standing at this end of the mat, facing this way, just do a little roll down for me. Going into a pike position.
So just rolling the body, walk out into a pike, whatever’s comfortable for you, so it doesn’t have to be too far or too close. Whatever works. Trying to draw the heels down and lengthening the legs as much as you possibly can. You’re gonna start with some prances. So just one heel lifts.
One heel comes down. And then swap. And swap and swap. So we’re getting, not only are we getting a little bit of stretch here, but we’re getting that constant movement flow. Movement flow.
So it’s not too static. It’s not holding. Three more and two and one. Fantastic. Hold this pike, stretch those heels down, find a bit of length.
Walk your hands back towards your feet here. Now this next part, it does not matter where you hold on. If you’d like to hold behind the calves, like Sally’s got here. But also I’d like Michael just to show you that it’s okay to stand with the hands up higher as well. It really doesn’t matter.
We’re going into a little sciatic nerve stretch, which I’m sure is really gonna feel really nice for a lot of our male clients, and for everybody as well. So start with one leg straight, one leg bent, and then just swap over to the other side. So the heels stay on the ground here and just move from side to side. Good. And change.
So just getting a little bit of that nerve stretching happening, also helps to open up the back here. Good. Hold this last position. Let the head go long. Let your arms just go.
Just hang. Let gravity work for you here. Let gravity do its thing. Take a deep breath in, as you breathe out, connect the heels. Rolling all the way back up to standing.
Hold that position. I’d like to say thank you so very much to Michael and Sally. Thank you for joining me today. Thank you so much for joining us for our Men’s Health Mat Work Class. I hope to see you all really soon.