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 – 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 – The Mop Series

The Mop Series is an excellent chest opening exercise. We thank Benjamin Degenhardt for teaching us this series that has helped many of our clients perfect their chest expansion! As you are moving through this series, image the poles are attached to springs for additional resistance. This is a great addition to the mat work that can be done at home with a pole, broom or mop!

The Mop Series

  1. Stand on the mat with a tall lifted spine
  2. Grab onto a stick, pole or mop shoulder width apart and hold at chest height
  3. Make an active fist around the pole and feel as though you are going to pull the pole apart – you should feel your arms and upper back
  4. Inhale as you press the pole down until it touches your thighs and image you are going to snap the pole across your thighs
  5. Hold the pole at your thighs as you look to the right, center, look left, center
  6. Exhale drag the pole back to chest height. Repeat 6x

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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 – 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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March MATness – Side Kicks

Side kicks series challenges your stability while lying on your side. The closer the body is to a straight line from the crown of the head through your toes the more challenging it will be, so choose an angle that works for your body. As the leg is moving focus on creating as much length in the thigh as you can.  Remember the more opposition and work you can put into your own body the more you will get out of each movement!

Side Kicks

  1. Lie on your side in a straight line from the crown of your head down through your tailbone. From the hips the legs come forward towards the front corner of the mat
  2. Your top hand will actively press into the mat about 4 inches away from your chest.
  3. Actively draw your abs in – imagine you could slip a piece of paper between your waist and the mat
  4. Lift your top leg to hip height
  5. Kick the leg forward with control, kick the leg back with control. Repeat 6-10x on each side

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March MATness – Single Leg Kick and Double Leg Kick

Single Leg Kick

  1. Lie on your stomach with your upper body propped up on your elbows
  2. Actively pull your abdominals in, anchor your pubic bone into the mat and squeeze your thighs together
  3. Squeeze your glutes and try to lift your legs a few inches away from the mat
  4. Keeping the legs lifted and thighs tightly squeezing together kick your right heel in towards your glutes, actively press the leg away and switch sides. Repeat 6x on each side

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Double Leg Kick

  1. Lie on your stomach with the head resting on the right cheek, hands interlaced behind the back as far as you can reach with the elbows reaching towards the mat and the legs actively squeezing together
  2. Squeeze your glutes and lift the legs a few inches away from the mat – keep them actively squeezing as if they were one leg
  3. Inhale as you kick both the legs in towards the seat 3x
  4. Actively press the legs away from the body as you extend your arms down the back of the thighs lifting the chest
  5. Exhale as you rest to the mat turning the head to the left cheek. Repeat 3 sets

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