Pilates Class on Hamstrings & Glutes with Victoria

Hamstrings & glutes with victoria


Hello, my name is Victoria, I'm with Wow, Pilates! and I'm at a Club Pilates, Petaluma East Studio. We are going to be doing a Pilates session today about hamstrings, glutes and thighs. So a lot of times when our hamstrings and glutes are too tight, they will push your hips forward and it gives you bad posture, as you can see.  And it can round your shoulders and you get what we call sway back. If your thighs are too tight, then you get this pitching forward. That means the hamstrings and the glutes are too weak. They're overstretched. So we're going to do a Pilates session today that will balance out the front and the back of your legs and your glutes.

So we're going to start with our footwork and we're going to start with a red, a blue and a red on to start. And we always do push footwork to warm up the leg muscles and the core.  So we're going to come down onto our reformer here and we're going to start with our heels on, heels together, toes out and knees are open so we are in Pilates first.  We're going to start engaging the core.

We want to make sure we start with a neutral spine. So there should be a little space here that you could slide a pencil between your back in the mat and from here maintaining that space, we're going to push out, squeeze those inner thighs, breathe on, then come back home as you breathe out and just move nice and smooth.

And this is starting to warm up your ankle joints, your knee joints and your core as long as you maintain that neutral spine. So as you push out, you don't want to arch the back.   As you come in, you don't want to flatten the back. This nice little space here. I'm also feeling this wrapping around feeling as I squeeze those inner thighs and this is working into those gluteus minimus. So just starting off in Pilates first, we are working into the glutes already and the hamstrings.  After we do a couple of those, we're going to switch to internal rotation, so bring your two big toes together and knock your knees together.  So if you do have tight glutes, this will kind of stretch them out and this is a good balancing thing. Same breath pattern, same neutral spine.  And if you can keep your knees together as you go out, that's great. Not everybody can. I can't, but some people can.   And you just want to work on this internal rotation and this external rotation, because this is what our hip joints should be able to do. And we do a few of these, about six to eight to get warmed up. And now we're going to come into parallel hip width apart. So we did external internal rotation and just parallel hip width apart.   Still keeping your neutral spine, really activating the hamstrings as we bring the carriage home.  And as long as we don't let the carriage slam, those hamstrings are really firing to make sure that the carriage doesn't slam.  And just go.  The quads are firing to push the carriage out, good for the knee joints, good for your posture. Beautiful. So now we're going to just drop down to the toes and we'll start here in our parallel position to do a few of these so we get into the calf muscles.  It keeps us into our neutral spine, work a little bit more into the quads when you're on your toes… and don't forget to breathe.

Nice.  We'll move all the way out for our last one-- out to the edge of the bar--we're going to try this same parallel. We're on the arch of the foot.

So we like to change different positions of the feet on the bar because that will activate different muscles in your legs. And we're still working into the core, keeping that neutral spine still working with the breath.  And then the last one. Great.  We'll come back to the toes, push all the way out, drop your heels under, and this gives you an awesome stretch into the calf and the hamstrings and we can always do some prancing, which takes you a little deeper into that stretch. Staying engaged in the core. Don't forget to breathe. This is an awesome stretch. It feels really good if were to do this.   And then when you're ready, bring the carriage home.

Next, we're going to bring ourselves all the way up here. I'm going to drop off two springs so now I just have a red spring on. We are going to go into some booty work as we call it. So we're going to take the strap that's right here in front of us and we’re going to lie down.

So your head is on the headrest. The bottom foot is going to push off. You're going to take the top leg and bring the strap all the way up to the thigh, then catch yourself with that leg, line the legs up together, glue them together. I like to have my ankle right against the wood while being in the sideline position. A lot of times your hip wants to fall back, so those hips and your core has to engage to not do that .  You’re going to stack the shoulders almost like you're lying against a piece of wood. And from here we're going to do the clam.

And what you are going to do is just lift this knee up just a little bit and this goes directly into the gluteus minimis.  Very important to help with those rotations that we started with. And it helps with your posture.

This is feeling it and it's a nice little clam.  From the clam, we can take this right up into the fire hydrant and the leg lifts and lowers. So the movement on the carriage is very minimal.

You might not be sure if you're doing this right, because the carriage barely moves but that's a good thing. You really don't want to move much. Make sure as that leg goes up, the hip does not fall back. That's your core staying engaged..

And then from here, hold it up here, last one, push that leg straight, pull it back in. Nice. This works the glutes, the quads and the hamstrings to do this move.  Good.  Six is always a great amount to do---six or eight-- and then when you're ready, bring it down, find something to brace with the bottom foot and then take that strap off and bring the carriage home.

Ok, we got to do the other side so let's turn it around.   Again, reach with the bottom floor to push against and the top leg goes all the way up to the thigh, catch yourself with the thigh, glue your legs together, have your ankle onto the wood and just slightly lift that knee up and down right into that gluteus minimus. Now this is the side I really need it on. I feel this.  And you can see from this angle-- from seeing my back--how my hips are stacked. So a lot of times in the work, it will fall back like this or the shoulder will fall back so lift yourself up, stack those hips, stack those shoulders to do this work… and don't forget to breathe.

And after you've done at least six or eight. Fire hydrants, the whole leg lifts and lowers.  I start to feel the burn right here in the gluteus minimus.  And then the last one, hold the leg up as you straighten it and bend it, pushing with the hamstrings and glutes, you can see how I fire them.  And then the quads are firing as it pulls the strap back up so it doesn't go too fast. Last one… and then release.

Make sure you reach for something with the bottom foot so you don't slam the carriage and bring yourself all the way around.  Nice. So after you do the glute work, toes on push all the way out.  It's very light, but you can still get another nice little stretch.  Drop your heels under because it's very important to stretch and then we'll bring the carriage back in.

Ok, I'm going to go ahead and add a blue spring on so we have a red and blue so we can do our bridgework. The bridgework is really great for the glutes and the hamstrings. If you have really weak ones, you will want to focus on bridges. If you have tight ones, you want to do the work, but you might not want to focus on it that much, OK? You will know, if you have too tight ones because you will have that bad posture.  You can look in the mirror and see or you can see if they're too loose. So, either way, you decide how much you want to do of the work. Let's have our heels on and we're just going to lift our hips all the way up in the air and that really fires up into the glutes and hamstrings.   Come down one vertebra at a time, breathing out all the air out of your lungs.

And this is articulating the spine, which is very important if you do have tight hamstrings and glutes, because it makes your erectus spinae… your back muscle…get stronger, breathe out slowly coming down, take your time. It works the core. Get a little arch at the bottom and bring yourself into neutral.

Ok, so that was a practice for the next exercise we're going to do, which is called the semicircle and the semicircle works your quads, your hamstrings, your glutes, your core and your back muscles.

So this is a little bit of a more advanced move. But what you're going to want to do is hold on to these pegs.  You’re going to scoot all the way down so that you're kind of hanging off the edge here and your arms are as straight as possible.  You're going to go ahead and push the carriage all the way out so the legs are straight and you kind of let your hips just hang right over it. And this is a great stretch. You're getting great back stretch, glute, stretch, hamstring, stretch.

And then from here you're going to lift the hips up, bring the carriage all the way in into that bridge and then slowly come down one vertebra at a time all the way until your hips hang over the carriage.  Push the carriage out.  Lift up.  This is lots of work for the glutes and hamstrings to lift up.  Bring the carriage in, takes you right into the bridge, then slowly come down. So you're getting some stretching as you work. And this last one is a great back stretch. We'll do it one more time. Breathe out, lift up, breathe, then come on home. Breathe out. Slowly come down one vertebra at a time and get the stretch.

Now, we did that three times that way. Now we can go the other way. So from this position, lift all the way up into the bridge, push all the way out now come down one vertebra at a time and just let your back kind of hang.

This feels really good.  Then bring the carriage home. So we're going to do it two more times. You just reverse your circle.  It's a great stretch and work at the same time. One more time for fun.  And then bring the carriage home.   As you bring the carriage home, just let yourself slide back into position. Nice. Let's go ahead and turn all the way around and come up into a seated position.

Ok, so we are going to stand up and we're going to talk about working on the erector spinae muscle. It's your back muscle. So a lot of times when these are tight and they're pulling the back down, this gets over stretched and you kind of lose the natural curve of your spine. So this exercise we're going to do will help kind of regain it. So did the bridges.  The bridges actually help with that but this one will also help. So we're going to drop down to one red spring and I'm going to add a box. We're going to get to work on the box today. A new apparatus, won't that be fun?

So we want to lay this the long way. This is called the long box. Some exercises we do, we do on short box so this would be your short box. But today we're doing the long backups. OK, so I’m going to lie on my belly here. And it's your choice to have your chest off or on.  I like to have mine on but everybody's different.

So we're going to go ahead and choke up, pass the buckle to the rubber part of this strap and we're going to glue our legs together.  So as we pull the strap, which starts to activate the muscle cells in the back, we're going to lift the chest up and that's starting to work into the erector spinae.

This for me breathe out, in actually, as you lift up because the spine likes to be breathed into when it's extending and this is an extension and out when you come down.   Breathe in and lift. Straight out to come down.  So we're going to add on to this, and as you lift up and hold it, you're going to lift the thighs up and stretch.   Squeeze them together as you come down.  When you lift, you want to separate the legs out to about hip width apart, it releases into the back more to do that.  Last one.  Nice.

Ok, so we worked the back.  Let's do a little bit more work for the abs, so I'm going to roll around so my feet are where my head was and I'm going to sit all the way forward.   And it's important to work the abs as that helps with your posture, too. And abs are important for anything we do in life.

You're going to take the strap, bring it all the way up to the knee again, up onto the knees, and then you're going to slowly bring yourself on to the box.

Now, notice there's nothing for your head so you can bring your hands behind your head, if you like, for some support. If you don't need to, that's fine, too. And then from here, you're going to lift one leg up in tabletop and the other one joins it. So right here, try to even your straps off and you're going to stretch the legs out. And pull it back in. So this works a lot of low abs, breathe in as you stretch out, breathe out as you come in.

Now, if you need the hands behind your head, that's great.  If you can take them away and reach and add a forward flexion to it, you're going to go deeper into those ab muscles.   If you're feeling any discomfort in the low back, kick the legs up to the ceiling more.

And it's a reverse ab crunch.  Two more.  One more.  Pull your bellybutton in and then to come out of this, just drop your feet down. I like to go ahead and lift myself up with my hands.  Carefully come up.  Slowly come on out.

And we're going to do one more on the box.   So this one, you are going to go ahead and roll on to your belly the other way.  You can hold on to this bar to help keep everything still. And then you're going to bring one foot into here and find the other strap and bring the other foot in.  So this is going to be a hamstring curl.

You're going to slide so you can bring your elbows onto the box here and you're just going to give a little hamstring curl. So as I curl, if you lift your hips up here when you're curling, that usually means you have very tight quads because they won't allow the hamstrings or the pelvis to relax. So try to pull this bone down into the box as you do this work. And it probably will feel very light at first, but it will work the more you do it.

And to make this a little bit harder, keep the heels together, take the knees out to the edge of the box and you go into a froggie and you'll go deeper into those glute muscles, especially where the hamstring attaches to the glutes, the sit bones. And really make sure you're pushing into the box with these bones so you're not in your back.   Draw your belly button in.  It's small amount of movement, but it really gets in there deep.

And then from here, the next one ---holding to the work --- and lift those thighs off the box, and you really feel it up into the hamstrings and into the glutes.  Make sure you don't arch your back, really be pushing down.  And one more.  Beautiful.  From here, just drop your straps, shake your legs out, point and flex and go ahead and slide on off the box.

Ok, so those hamstrings probably really got worked.  Again, if you are someone who has tight hamstrings, then you want to limit the amount of those, but that's a great one to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes.  Let's take our box away.

So since we worked them, we want to stretch them.  We're going to add the blue spring, so we have a red and blue.  So we're going to do elephant. This is a nice move.

It's a little advance, but it's a fun one to do. So, we will be standing on here. You want to bring your heels to the edge of the the shoulder rest, and you want to pull your way back almost like a downward facing dog, trying to aim your chest to the thigh. From here, you're going to push the carriage out and use your core to draw in.  It’s a great hamstring stretch, especially after the exercise we just did. So breathe in as you go out, breathe out as you come in.

So actually, use your core to pull this in. And if you cannot touch your heels to the carriage at the end, you can have them lifted, but you'll get a deeper stretch if you can pull the heels all the way down. So, you listen to your body and go where you can.  There's always a way to modify something if it's not quite right for you.

And use your core, think of a teepee as you come in.  It's like pulling your tailbone up to the heavens to really get into the core and get the hamstring stretch. Beautiful.

Come down onto your knees from here and from here keep your weight back. You don't want your chest over the bar.  If this happens----see how I'm only doing the work with my shoulders?  Pull your hips back into this position. We're going to push this carriage out into a plank and then use your core to pull it back in. So the quad muscles are really working to push it out and the glutes and hamstrings are controlling the coming back in. And of course, the core is all involved too.  Gig time, actually.  This is called knee stretch.

You can see has how I push out how my glutes really seem to fire and hamstrings. The last one. Oh, nice, good stretch and come all the way down.  Cool. Let's take the left foot on top of the bar. Your toes are on the bar wrapped around.   This is going to be a great stretch for the quad and the hip flexor on this side and the hamstring on the other side.

So you're going to start the movement by pushing with this leg, the knee that's on there. It kind of really stretches this all out. You can start feeling the stretch.   When you can't go any more, then you start pushing with this leg.  Try to pull this heel under the bar and if you can straighten it, you get into a deep hamstring stretch and you're still pushing with the other leg, the quad, hip flexor. Now, some people may not go that deep. Some people will only be here. That's OK.  Just keep trying to pull that heel under, getting in deeper and deeper so you can straighten that leg and you'll get into that deep hamstring stretch.  And then bend the knee to bring it back home and let’s switch.

So sometimes in this exercise, you start feeling something with your knees pushing against here.  Sometimes it's nice to get a towel and roll it up. If you ever have this in any knee exercises, if you feel discomfort and the knees in here, get a towel stacked that towel up and put it under here. FYI, I just wanted to share that with you. OK, let's do the other side.

Other leg up. Wrap those toes around, start pushing with the one that's with the knee on as far as you can go out when you can't go out anymore, push with the other leg, pull your heel under.

As you notice, this is my tighter side. It cannot go as straight as the other one. But that's OK, I keep trying. And we're all made like that. Some things are easier on one side than the other. I'm feeling it but that's why we do both.  Breathe into it, keep trying to go deeper and deeper and then release and bring it all the way home.  So that was a great stretch.

So that's basically our session today. We did quad work. We did hamstring, we did glutes. We worked into the back because that's always affected by these muscles. And then we, of course, did core work because anything you do in Pilates is core work. So I hope you enjoyed the session. Thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you, all.


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