March Matness! Week 4 Re-Cap...

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March Matness Day TWENTY-TWO

SWIMMING…


*The Exercise:

Lay on your stomach with arms in front and legs long behind you. Lift your abdominals away from the mat. Spin your inner thighs to the sky to create space in low back (almost like being pigeon-toed). Arms reach from your back, head stretches away from hips, tailbone lengthens toward heels. Lift arms and legs “out of the water” and begin to “swim”! Flutter kick legs up and down from your seat/thass connection, arms lifting long and strong in front of you moving in opposition of the legs.


*Reps:

2 cycles of breathing or 20 reps


*Modifications:

Shoulder issues, leave hands under forehead and just kick legs. Substitutions: If you cannot lie prone (pregnant) try kneeling quadruped and reach opposite arm/leg out, switch slowly.


*Amanda's Tips:

I always start just lifting R arm and L leg, L arm, R leg.

Take the time to notice if your hips stay level or if you rock side to side! You want to stay afloat out there 🌊!

I like to challenge your brains and ask you to lift your arms slow and big while kicking legs smaller ROM at a fast pace! Feels nice, try it.

Keep REACHING everything in opposition!

Don’t dump into your lower back, swim from your upper back and this… careful not to over squeeze your upper butt. Find the hamstring/glute connection and lift from there!

I like a rhythmic sniff sniff, blow blow breath here.


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March Matness Day TWENTY-THREE

Leg Pull Face Down & Up are on day 23 (OOPS...I got a lil confused in the tutorial video)


Today we are covering LEG PULL FRONT/FACE DOWN & LEG PULL BACK/FACE UP…


*The Exercise- Leg Pull Front:

After you’ve swum your final stroke, press back into an active rest (child’s pose) to stretch. Shoot out into a plank position, hands under shoulders, heels over toes. Lift R leg up and out from your center & thass. Rock forward, backward, forward on the L leg. Set R leg down and repeat lifting L leg rocking on the R.

**The TRANSITION… It’s all one big DANCE on the mat! When you reach the level where you are doing these more difficult exercises, they start to bleed together with the smooth transitions. It is as important to learn the transitions from one exercise to the next as it is the exercise itself, b/c it is truly all part of the workout! This transition is maybe the thickest in the series… in your plank, INternally rotate R arm & bring your R hand to meet your L on the mat. L arm swings around as R leg tucks under & through, flipping torso and pelvis to face ceiling. Fingers point towards feet.

Is your mind fully blown yet…? It’s WAY harder to explain in writing than just to WATCH and learn, so be SURE to watch the tutorial on YouTube!


*Reps:

3 rocks 3x per side


*Modifications:

You may simply hold the plank, lift one leg without the rocking or modify the plank on shins or forearms.


*Amanda's Tips:

When your heels reach back, send your heart forward.

As your standing leg rocks forward, REACH your leg in the air way back in opposition. Once you learn the exercise, focus on the transitions so that you can flow from one to the next seamlessly.


*The Exercise- Leg Pull Back:

OK, so your fancy transition either happens or it doesn’t and you just find a way to flip into a reverse plank. So here you are ;P Standing in your hands and feet (try to have your FULL FOOT on the mat= long, extended arches), neck is long w/ head on the spine, pelvis is lifted, tail tucked. Press one leg UP from your seat, switch and repeat.


*Reps:

3x per side


*Modifications:

You may simply hold the reverse plank sans leg lifts. Substitution: Shoulder Bridge


*Amanda's Tips:

As you lift one leg up, keep pelvis lifted. As the leg lowers down, lift hips HIGHER.

STAND in your seat and feet!

Once you learn the exercise, focus on the transitions so that you can flow from one to the next seamlessly.

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March Matness Day TWENTY-FOUR

Today we are covering the KNEELING SIDE KICKS…


**The TRANSITION… From your reverse plank, tuck your R knee underneath you and your R arm under your shoulder, reaching your L leg out and L arm’s hand behind head. You are now in a kneeling side position. Remember, it’s all one big DANCE on the mat! When you reach the level where you are doing these more difficult exercises, they start to bleed together with the smooth transitions. It is as important to learn the transitions from one exercise to the next as it is the exercise itself, b/c it is truly all part of the workout!


*The Exercise:

Lift up onto the underneath (Right in this example) knee/shin, hip directly over knee, R hand directly under shoulder on mat, L hand behind head and L leg reaching long and away from torso. The ENTIRE SPINE STAYS LONG, tailbone reaching and slightly under to avoid hyper-lordosis. Kick L leg forward then lengthen back without moving the torso. ABS in & up! Shoulders on the back, sternum lifted. Variations include lower/lift of leg, small circles of leg, bicycle leg forward and back.

Transition to 2nd side by drawing both knees underneath you in a “standing kneel” with both hands behind head, then reach up and over to the opposite side and repeat.


*Reps:

3x per direction per variation


*Modifications:

You may simply hold the initial position to build strength before adding the challenge of moving the leg in the air. If kneeling is a problem you can do this one standing or substitute the Side Leg Kick Series, Mermaid or a side plank here.


*Amanda's Tips:

Hand behind head “pressing head into hand, hand into head” to stay long in the neck & keep “head on the spine”.

Keep the “box of your body squared off and silent”.

Reach into the mat w kneeling leg to lift up out of your joints.

**If you struggle with the lateral/side body strength, practice going from your transitional “standing kneel” position into the kneeling side kick position again and again. That will strengthen your obliques, transverse, external rotators and build confidence in the mechanics.

Once you learn the exercise, focus on the transitions so that you can flow from one to the next seamlessly.


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Day TWENTY-FIVE of March MATNESS!!

Today we are covering the MERMAID & SIDE BEND…

I will go into more Mermaid detail here and demo another version of the Side Bend in the YouTube video.


**The TRANSITION… To get from your Kneeling Side Kicks into either exercise, come back to standing on both shins, both hands behind head. Topple over to your R hip. From here, you can go into your SIDE BEND or your MERMAID!


*Option A: SIDE BEND (more advanced)

The Exercise:

Sitting on R hip, knees bent, legs staggered. R hand on mat slightly in front of R shoulder and in line up with feet. Straightening legs, sweep L arm over head as you LIFT up out of your R side into a "side plank" hugging your bottom hip UP. Make a big rainbow arch with your body. Bend knees and lower back to mat, repeat!


*Reps:

3x per side


*Modifications/Variations:

You can practice this on your forearm; hold a forearm side plank; keep bottom knee bent on mat. You can advance it by adding hip-dips in the side bend or going into a twist version reaching hand to opposite knee, pivoting on your feet.


*Option B: MERMAID

The Exercise:

Stack shins L over R pulling heels to seat with L hand. R arms reaches up long and straight, bicep as close to ear as possible. L hip reaches down TOWARDS mat, but not ON mat. Reach your R arm up and over to the opposite side of the room, elongating your side bodies and reaching a little further with each repetition…

1)High diagonal

2)High diagonal, middle of wall

3)High diagonal, middle of wall, where floor and wall meet

Then, sit tall arms out in a "T", topple over and counter your stretch reaching AWAY from your feet, lifting up out of the R forearm on the mat.

Transition to the 2nd side by swinging your legs around through a “Teaser” position and folding shins under sitting on L hip with L arm up by ear and repeat the increasing lateral reaches and counter stretch.


Reps:

3x each side


*Modifications: Smaller ROM, sit in a zig-zag w legs or criss-cross applesauce if unable to stack shins.


*Amanda's Tips:

For Mermaid: keeping you “arm by your ear” is like staking a tomato plant… you want a tall, healthy plant, not one that bends and breaks. It also helps to keep “head on the spine” and prevents you from bending at the NECK as opposed to lengthening your entire side body.

I love to “Waive to the Sailors!” on that 3rd/final reach by flirtatiously bending the arm behind the head, reaching fingers to opposite shoulder, pressing the head back into the bent arm, for a DELICIOUS added stretch!

For both: “Stay between 2 panes of glass.”

GET LONG before you reach over. Stay long through BOTH sides of the body throughout! For Side Bend: press your bottom hip UP to the top hip! Stagger feet rather than stack, if needed.

These are both so important to strengthen and lengthen your side bodies!!

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Day TWENTY-SIX of March Matness!!


BOOMERANG…my favorite!


*The Exercise:

Boomerang combines all of the things! Sitting on the mat, legs long in front of you, cross R ankle over L. As you round forward over your thighs, make your “Spider Fingers” and press them into the mat on either side of your legs. Rock back onto your sacrum, wrapping your legs/seat/pelvic floor beneath you, and lift the shape of your legs off the mat. This is your “magic teaser” and a great prep or sub to revisit again and again! Lift legs and rock back into the mat rolling hips overhead, like your Roll Over or Jackknife. While suspended overhead, quickly switch the cross of your legs! Round back into the mat and roll up into your “Teaser” shape, legs at 45 degrees, arms parallel to legs. Holding your lower body still, bend elbows to ribs and glide your arms behind you—-clasp hands or simply HUG arms to midline— and stretch them UP (like the end of Rowing 1 & 2 on the Reformer); lift legs INTO POWERHOUSE “nose to knees”. With control, lower the whole shape of your body to the mat (nose still to knees, ideally) and then swoop arms up and over legs as you stretch forward. Sit tall and repeat! (PHEW!)


*Reps: 4-6x or 2-3 sets


*Modifications:

Magic Teaser or Open Leg Rocker


*Amanda's Tips:

My FAV Mat exercise b/c it combines so many wonderfully challenging aspects and it is truly beautiful to watch and execute.

I like to think of “striking a match” as you lift your legs up INTO your powerhouse and then roll over. Lift from your pelvic floor and seat.

Honor each position while you FLOW through.

“Float” back to the mat without collapsing over your legs!

*Remember…Mermaids throw Boomerangs to Seals!*

Don't give up on this one, it will come. Keep practicing your Magic Teaser!!!


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Day TWENTY-SEVEN of March Matness!

SEAL…


*The Exercise:

After your last Boomerang, C-curve your spine into a Rolling Like a Ball shape, dive your hands between your legs wrapping them around the outsides of your ankles to grab the putter edges of your feet. PRESS your thighs into your elbows, elbows OUT into your thighs. Balancing behind your sitz bones, “beat” your legs 3x (open close open close open close) “clapping” your feet. You MUST maintain the opposition of the hugging IN whilst pressing OUT in order to make the beats effective! INHALE to rock back to tips of shoulder blades and beat 3x while balanced. EXHALE to roll up and balance/clap again. Continue rocking back and forth, clapping your feet at the top of each balance point!


*Reps:

5-8x


*Modifications:

Rolling Like a Ball


*Amanda's Tips:

Have FUN! Barking like a seal as you “clap” your feet helps, seriously.

Don’t stress about the beats in the air UNTIL you have the hang time. Practice filling your lungs with air and really balancing for a few seconds on your upper back (NOT YOUR NECK/HEAD!) before you worry about clapping your feet.

*Remember…Mermaids throw Boomerangs to Seals!*

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Day TWENTY-EIGHT of March MATNESS!


Today we are doing CRAB!


*The Exercise:

You have just finished Seal (great job, wasn’t barking fun?!). Stay balanced behind your tailbone, criss-cross the ankles and wrap your hands around OUTSIDE of them and grab your toes. Lift and round your body forward until the crown of your head meets the mat and sitz bones reach toward the sky. Yes, you read that correctly… we are rolling onto our HEADS!! But it’s all good because you are SO LIFTED in your center and strong in your outer hips and seat! Go YOU ;) Rock back along your spine to the shoulders balancing there while you release your feet to open and switch the cross of your ankles. Re-grab your feet/toes and roll forward, up and over to crown of head again. Repeat!


*Reps:

2-3 sets


*Modifications: Replace with and other rolling exercise—- Seal or Rolling Like a Ball, or just stay OFF your head if neck issues or that scares you.


*Amanda's Tips:

By this point in the workout, you are toasty warm and very READY to roll on your spine, so as long as you don’t have medical reasons to avoid this (osteoporosis/pregnancy/etc) then just have fun with it! Biggest tip here: When you uncross-recross ankles be sure to PRESS your legs into your arms and arms into your legs, like Seal. That opposition is everything here to help you maintain the rounded shape and stay connected to the exercise!

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