Standing Pilates Routine with a Foam Roller…

Stephen Dunn: All right. Hey, guys. What’s up? It’s Mindful Movement Monday, and today, we have Julie gonna teach another standing routine. If you have a foam roller handy, grab your foam roller. We’re gonna be using it as well. So, I’m gonna hop out of the way and let Julie take over.

Julie Fields: Hi, guys. I know I we’ve talked last time about doing some standing footwork, and hopefully, that’s working for you, getting some movement in your hips and activation in your legs, but today, I’d like to show you something that maybe incorporates a little more challenge in your footwork, but also incorporates balance. So, find something that you can use to provide a little bit of a balanced support. I’ve asked everybody to use foam rollers, but putting your hand up against the wall is fine, too.

What I’d like you to do is come back into your parallel foot position. Make sure your feet are about a fist’s width apart. So, you want the legs and knees and hips lined right into where you load into the pelvis. Here, for your warmup, just to start, again, finding those hinges. The hip hinges, the knee comes forward, and the ankle folds. Okay? Now, you may want to have you hand on a wall or a little bit of foam roller support here. So, now as you find that fold,-

It’s one of those things-

… I want you to roll onto the ball of your foot and lift your heels so you don’t … not quite as much connection with the ground. Now, keeping those heels lifted, come up, and then roll down through your foot. So, this is that articulating foot lower lift calf raises. So, do that a while in this direction and then also reverse it. So, from a straight leg, come up onto the ball of your foot and then fold all your hinges and then roll that foot and put the heel down and straighten the leg. Notice, too, that you are going to need to weight shift forward just a little bit when you lift those heels, but then come back where you feel like you’re opening the hip flexors a little bit more so that you now feel more balanced on your foot. Okay?

So, obviously, Alexa’s doing a very good job of doing this without having any more support, but, again, start with putting your hand on the wall, make sure your body knows this is what balanced feels like, then walk away. That’s a really good way of challenging. So, a little more footwork to work on. Might feel this a little bit more in your calves.

Now, we also want to talk a little bit about spinal movement today, and that’s where I really do want you to use your foam roller. I’d like you to bring it wide and hold on the ends. To get a little bit of shoulder girdle activation, feel like you’re trying to compress the foam roller a bit, and then from here, I just want you to flat back hinge, but now, drop your chest through your arms. So, now, you’re holding that foam roller overhead. Now, from here, just drop the rib cage. So, bow the head and let it drop down to the floor. So, you got this kind of decompression fold. Now, from here, try to isolate just the upper part of your spine that you’re gonna bring the rib cage up back parallel to the ground. Good.

Now, you shouldn’t feel this in your low back. You’re using your abdominal, low abs pulled up away from gravity, you’re keeping that flat back hinge, but here, I’m just asking you for a little shoulder girdle activation and some back extensor work of getting some activation between the shoulder blades, right? So, keep the arms overhead and now just move the ribs. Drop the ribs down. Drop the ribs, bow, bow, bow. There. Now, pick them up. So, now, you’re coming into this little extension pattern, right? Okay. After a while, you may feel some work through the shoulder girdle.


Yes? Okay. So, really nice way of mobilizing the upper ribs or mobilizing the ribs. Now, let’s come back and now think more globally of a full spinal movement. I want you to use your foam roller almost like a countertop, something to push into. I want you to back up just a little bit so that the arms are reaching forward. Now, what I’d like you to do is start curling the spine. So, give me a little tuck of the pelvis and curl back. You’re gonna push the foam roller away from you opening up the spine. Now, start moving the pelvis into a little bit of an extension as you pull the foam roller towards you. All right? You let it come back … And have this movement start and stop from the pelvis. I know y’all always hear me talk about that when we do things in quadruped and any sort of the cat/cow movement, but I do think it really keeps us from forgetting about how much movement that we wanna get in our low back. It’s a really good way of opening up because we get tight and crinchy back there.

So, again, you’re doing a little bit of a curl of the pelvis, you’re finding that flush, that openness in the low back as you push the foam roller away. Then, from the pelvis, start rocking that pelvis on top of the legs. You heard me say, “Lift the tail feathers.” Do that. You get a little bit of opening in the front of the spine as you pull the foam roller towards you. So, just gives you a nice way of inviting that movement that is so essential of what pilates is all about, is being able to mobilize the spine in this flexion and extension with some nice ab control and support.

All right. Now, let’s add a little bit of leg fun to this. Now, we’re gonna come back into that C curve. So, again, tuck the pelvis, lifting the abs, pushing the foam roller away from you. Now, push down into the foam roller just a little bit. You’re gonna weight shift over to your left leg and now bring that right knee into your nose, and now, kick that leg behind you as you lift the collarbone and you go into that little bit of spinal extension. Beautiful, folks. Yep. Oh, you’re really good at doing that. Again, balance. Lots of good balance work here, but also a way of mobilizing the spine in standing while you get some hip mobilization, too.

All right. Let’s try it on the other side. All right. So, curl that spine, push down into the hands, and notice how I’m making them go very slow to keep any momentum from happening. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Very nice, folks. Have the movement start coming from the pelvis. You’re gonna bring collarbones and pubic bone a little bit closer together as that knee comes into your chest. Now, as you swing that leg behind you, pelvis starts going into a little bit of an extension, collarbones lift. So, now, you’ve incorporated your spinal movement with some leg activation and able to mobilize that hip.

So, that leads to the last piece that I want ’cause we all love legs and straps, and I gotta say, it’s very hard to find it in standing that it’s as much fun as having your legs in straps and feeling so supported as you get hip mobilization, but you can almost get as much fun if you stand. Again, pressing into your foam roller. Now, let’s just bring one knee up, let it …

Exhale. Drop the knee down to the floor. Nice little hip circles, keeping with the theme of today that we’re actually challenging balance as we’re doing this. Even yourself up, guys. Find that weight shift, big toe, little toe, heel on the standing leg, feel like you’re elongating the spine, and weight shift into that standing stable leg. Now, knee fold up, knee goes out to the side, and then knee drops to the ground. So, you’re just circling that thigh, getting that mobilization in the hip socket while you’re adding lovely balance work, core stability, and if you’re pushing down on your foam roller, you’re getting a little bit of shoulder activation also.

So, hope this helps expand your work of doing reformer work at home. But always be sure to come in and join us and we’ll put some feet in straps and work on the spring tension and help you and find deeper connections in your reformer work. Y’all have a great day, and thanks for joining us. Bye.

Dudley says, “Bye, bye,” and, “We’ll see y’all next week.”

Julie began her Pilates practice in 2000 and soon realized that Pilates was exactly what her body needed to finally feel both strong and balanced. In 2007 she expanded her interest by completing a certification program through PhysicalMind Institute. At that time Julie was working in the public sector and teaching a few classes during the evenings and on weekends. Knowing she wanted to teach Pilates as her “act two career” Julie was a member of the Core Therapy’s inaugural teacher training program to expand her understanding of the Pilates method in physical rehabilitation. Julie completed the Pink Ribbon Pilates Program in 2012, a therapeutic application of Pilates for post-operative breast cancer recovery. In 2014 she completed Aston Kinetics foundation classes which provided skills in observing and assessing body movement patterns. Over the past year Julie completed training in GYROKINESIS® after seeing the results that this movement method provided in joint mobility and strengthening.

Julie is passionate about helping clients find their best body for function and health and thinks Pilates and GYROKINESIS® are smart ways to achieve both.
Julie Fields