March MATness – Arm Weights – Chest Expansion, Shaving, Sparklers

With tank top season around the corner……..hopefully, the standing arm weights are a great add on to the mat work. You will only need a light weight of 2-3lbs to make these exercise effective. The more that you can actively put the work into your own body the heavier those 2-3lbs will feel!

Chest Expansion 

  1. Stand tall with your arms extended straight at shoulder height
  2. Inhale press the arms down and back as you maintain a stacked and stable spine
  3. Hold and turn your head right, center, left center and exhale as your release the arms back to shoulder height. Repeat 4-6x

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Shaving

  1. Lift the arms up and overhead as you actively press the heads of the weights together
  2. Bend the arms and bring the hands and weights behind the head and neck keeping the elbows broad, chest lifted and spine stacked.
  3. Inhale and press the arms long, reaching longer each time. Repeat 6-10x

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Sparklers 

  1. Hold onto the ends of the weights with the arms long in front of your hips
  2. Inhale and begin lifting the weights by drawing small circles up toward the ceiling for 8-10 counts
  3. Exhale as you circle back down. Repeat 3-6x
  4. Make sure you are using the full length of the arm to circle

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March MATness – Arm Weights Series Biceps

With tank top season around the corner……..hopefully, the standing arm weights are a great add on to the mat work. You will only need a light weight of 2-3lbs to make these exercise effective. The more that you can actively put the work into your own body the heavier those 2-3lbs will feel!

Bicep Curls Front 

  1. Stand on the mat with the legs firm and actively squeezing together, weight shifted slightly to the forefoot
  2. Zip up the waist and focus on proper alignment and posture as you move
  3. Bring the arms up to a 90 degree angle in front of the body with the top of the arm parallel to the floor – make sure the shoulders don’t round forward
  4. Inhale as you extend the arms away, exhale and you squeeze back to center
  5. As you move the arms, feel as though you are pressing through or against heavy resistance. Repeat 10x

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Bicep Curls Side

  1. After you have completed the bicep curls front go right into bicep curls side
  2. Bring the arms to the side at a 90 degree angle, keeping the upper arm parallel to the floor and the palms facing your head
  3. Inhale press the arms away, exhale pull the arms back to center. Repeat 10x

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March MATness – The Push-Up

Push-Ups are a great and effective way to strengthen the upper body. The important thing to remember is to keep the full body connection.  Body is in a strong straight line from the head to heels. Arms are a little wider than shoulder width apart with the entire palm and all ten fingers actively pressing into the mat. The creases in your elbows should face each other. Shoulders are drawing down your back with your abs pulling in and up. Thighs and heels are actively squeezing together.  Maintain these connection points as you move only the arms.

The Push-Up

  1. Stand at the end of your mat with a tall lifted spine
  2. Keep the tailbone lengthening heavy to the floor
  3. Drop the weight of the head forward and round forward until your hands reach the floor
  4. Walk the hands out onto the mat until the body comes into a straight plank
  5. Keep the hands and arms actively pressing into the mat as you inhale and bend the arms lowering the body to the mat as far as you can control
  6. Exhale as you press the body back up. Repeat 3x
  7. Walk your hands back towards your feet and round back up
  8. Repeat the whole sequence 3-5x

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March MATness – Seal

The Seal is another rolling exercise similar to rolling like a ball and the open leg rocker. Difference is you are adding in the clap of the legs to start the roll back and while you are balancing. Start by just adding the clap at the beginning of the exercise if needed. Try to initiate and feel the clap of the legs from the deep scoop of the abs.

The Seal

  1. Sit on the mat with your legs bent, heels together, toes long towards the mat and the knees apart
  2. Dive your hands between your legs and grab onto the outside of your ankles
  3. Keep the active press of the thighs and arms against each other
  4. Maintaining the deep scoop in the abs, lift the feet away from the mat so you are balancing
  5. Inhale, clap the legs from the hips 3x and roll back
  6. As your roll back the weight of the body is on the shoulders not the head
  7. Clap the legs 3x while balancing on the shoulders, exhale and roll back up. Repeat 6x

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March MATness – Kneeling Side Kick

Side Kick Kneeling is similar to the side kick series we performed earlier but you are kneeling. This will be more challenging for your core stabilizers. Still focus on creating as much length in the thigh as possible and keep the waist long and lifted!

Side Kick Kneeling

  1. Kneel in the center of your mat with a tall lifted spine
  2. Place the left hand behind your head and extend the right arm out to side
  3. Plant the right hand onto the mat as the leg left extends to the side as high as you can lift it
  4. Your top hip should be stacked over your bottom knee and the shoulder over the wrist
  5. Maintain the active press of the arm into the mat as you inhale and kick the leg forward, exhale kick the leg back. Repeat 6x and then switch sides

 

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March MATness – Leg Pull

The LegPull is basically the reverse of the Leg Pull Front. Once again, focus on finding and maintaining the ‘full body’ connection through out the movement. Holding the position and focusing on your breath and stability is a great option to build strength if you are not quite ready to add in the leg lifts!

Leg Pull

  1. Sit with your legs extended long and together on the mat
  2. Arms are extended long by your side with the palms actively pressing into the mat, fingers facing your hips
  3. Continue to actively press into the mat with the arms as you squeeze your glutes and thighs together and lift the hips off the mat
  4. Body is lifted and lengthened into a strong straight line
  5. Maintaining stability in the hips and torso, lift the right leg as high as you can
  6. Lower with control and switch sides. Repeat 3x each side

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March MATness – Leg Pull Front

Leg pull front begins in a straight-arm plank position…….. think push up. When you are in the straight-arm plank you should feel every muscle in your body working to support the position and movement. Maintain proper alignment of the head and spine. Actively press your arms, palms and all ten fingers into the mat. The creases in your elbows should be facing each other.  Keep your abs pulling in and up. Glutes and thighs are squeezing together tightly. Heels pressing together.  Now you are ready! Remember, you can hold the position and work on stabilizing and add in the movement when you feel stronger.

Leg Pull Front

  1. Come into a straight arm plank position
  2. Keep the entire body stable, especially the hips, and lift the right leg off the mat with a small double kick
  3. Maintain stability as you switch sides. Repeat 3x each side

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March MATness – Swimming

Swimming is a common exercise that you have probably done or seen in any fitness class.  Swimming is a contralateral movement and therefore a challenging exercise when executed properly.  Focus on maintaining a long lower back and putting more of the work into the upper back. The deeper you lengthen and put the work into your own body the greater the benefits.

Swimming

  1. Lie on your stomach with arms and legs extended, forehead resting on the mat
  2. Actively squeeze your legs together, pull the abs in and lift the arms, head and legs away from the mat
  3. Keep your tailbone lengthen and your pubic bone pressing into the mat
  4. With control from your center, alternate lifting the right arm left leg and left arm right left
  5. Following a natural breathing pattern keep the movement going as you focus and lengthen the arms and legs from your center with each movement for 10 counts

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March MATness – Hip Twist

From the teaser we move right into the hip twist. Your in the hip twist is to keep everything from the waist up stable as the legs are circling. Also, focus on keeping the chest lifted. The hip twist is a great way to stretch the lower back.

Hip Twist 

  1. From your teaser position, extend the arms behind you with the fingertips facing away or to the side. You can also prop yourself up on your elbows
  2. Legs are actively extending up to the ceiling at a 90 degree angle
  3. Keeping your ribcage tight and your abs pulling in, inhale as your begin to circle your legs to the right, down towards the mat to your point of control and exhale as your circle them left back to center
  4. Reverse the direction of the circle and repeat 3x to each side
  5. As you are circling the legs, try to bring the legs as close to your head as possible

 

 

 

 

 

March MATness – Teaser

Teaser

  1. Sit tall with your legs longs, thighs squeezing together arms lengthening long by your side
  2. With control, bring the weight of the head forward, pull the abs in and begin to roll back as you continue to squeeze your thighs together tight
  3. With control through your center and the curling of the pelvis lift your legs and reach the arms parallel to your thighs reaching towards your toes
  4. Keep the deep scoop in the abs and control back to your starting position. Repeat 3x

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