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Sample Class: Center and Roll

Help students stabilize and release.

By Pamela Light, MA on Feb 16, 2018

This class is a mega movement multi­vitamin because it combines essential core training with restorative self-myofascial release techniques. Every movement recruits trunk muscles, creating a strong foundation for any physical challenge. The foam-rolling section helps attendees release fascial adhesions and, hopefully, prevent injuries. Participants will leave feeling strong, centered and relaxed.

Center and Roll Details

Goal/emphasis: core training and self-myofascial release

Total time: 1 hour

Equipment needed: mats and foam rollers

Music: 128 beats per minute or slower

Warmup (10 minutes)

Help participants engage and control the deep muscles of the core with the following preparatory routine. Perform the sets from a supine position, knees bent, feet on the floor. Tilt the pelvis slightly to engage those core muscles, and hold them tight as you move.

SET ONE

Knee lifts:

  • Keep knees at 90 degrees.
  • Lift knees above hips, then lower back to floor; 2 counts up, 2 counts down, 8 reps.
  • Be mindful of neutral spine.

Bridge:

  • Place feet on floor near buttocks.
  • Push through heels to lift hips.
  • Squeeze gluteals, 16 pulses.

SET TWO

Two-count crunch: With fingertips at temples, crunch ribs to hips; 2 counts up, 2 counts down, 8 reps.

Single-leg bridge:

  • Lift hips into bridge.
  • Extend right leg straight to ceiling.
  • Squeeze left hip up, using L glute and hamstring; 24 pulses.

SET THREE

Double 2-count crunch: Repeat 2-count crunch from above, adding knee lifts.

Single-leg bridge: Repeat same move as above, opposite side.

SET FOUR

Double 2-count crunch with optional extension:

  • Repeat double 2-count crunch. Add option of extending legs 45 degrees, arms overhead.
  • Keep head and shoulders lifted, 8 reps.

Bridge: Do traditional bridge, 16 pulses.

Floor-Work (10 minutes)

Tell participants they can rest in child’s pose between sets of planks and back extensions.

SET ONE

Plank:

  • Set up in structurally correct plank, either on forearms and toes or on forearms and knees.
  • Ensure elbows are directly beneath shoulders, spine is neutral, and deep core muscles are engaged.
  • Gaze at thumbnails, keeping neck neutral.
  • Hold for 45 seconds.

Back extension:

  • Lie prone, elbows at 90 degrees like goal posts.
  • Lift chest away from floor, engaging spinal extensors.
  • Pulse 3× up, then lower back down.down.
  • Do 8 triple-pulse reps.

SET TWO

Plank with leg hold:

  • Start in plank position.
  • Extend leg to hip level; hold.
  • Perform this alternating holding pattern: 15 seconds center, 15 seconds R-side hold, 15 seconds center, 15 seconds L-side hold.

Airplane back extension:

  • Lift both chest and thighs off floor.
  • “Anchor” through glutes.
  • Do 8 triple-pulse reps.

SET THREE

Plank with glute pulse:

  • Set up in plank.
  • Bend R knee so foot faces ceiling.
  • Pulse foot toward ceiling using gluteals, while holding plank; 24 pulses.
  • Repeat, L side.

Airplane back extension: 16 single-count reps.

Standing Glute Work and Balance (10 minutes)

Remind participants to keep spine neutral and engage deep core muscles.

SET ONE

Lunge combo, R:

  • Do stationary lunge, R foot forward; 16 pulses.
  • Do repeater lunge, 16 reps. From bottom of lunge, lift L leg through to a “balance knee” position. Modify by touching foot to floor.

Single-leg squat, R:

  • Balance on R leg.
  • Extend L leg back, touching toe to floor or allowing toe to hover.
  • Squat down and up through R leg only, letting L leg slide back and forth inches from floor, touching down only when needed, 16 reps.
  • Extend arms to sides if needed for balance.

Squat combo, R:

  • Do standard squat, 16 reps. Keep feet parallel and hip-width apart.
  • Transition to squat with kick-back/glute squeeze at top of movement, R; 16 reps.
  • Perform squat, triple kick-back, R; 8 reps.
  • Do single-leg kick-back, R; 24 reps.

SET TWO

  • Repeat set one, L side.

Chest and Side Work (10 minutes)

Pushup: Do standard pushup from full position or from knees; 16 reps.

Bent-knee triple-side crunch, R side:

  • Sit on mat in side-lying position, knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Extend bottom arm at shoulder level, palm up.
  • Crunch ribs to hips, lifting bottom shoulder off floor; 12 reps.
  • Repeat pushups, this time with 12 slow reps, 2 counts up, 2 counts down.
  • Repeat bent-knee triple-side crunch, L side; 12 reps.

Pushup with R-leg glute press: Add R-side glute press to pushup (bend knee and press foot to ceiling); 16 reps.

  • Repeat, L.

Long side crunch:

  • Set up in side-lying position, legs extended, lifted an inch off floor.
  • Crunch top knee toward top elbow, bringing ribs to hips, lifting bottom shoulder; 16 reps.
  • Repeat, opposite side.

Foam Rolling (20 minutes)

Stretch sequence: Set up lying lengthwise on foam roller from head to tailbone, feet on floor, knees bent. Spine is active and neutral.

  • Chest: Open arms at shoulder height, letting backs of hands rest on or just above ground, releasing pectorals. After 30 seconds, tip L and hold (30 seconds). Repeat, R.
  • Lats: With arms by hips, “backstroke” arms up and over, allowing them to rest extended as lat muscles release (30 seconds each side). Keep ribs knitted, lower back neutral against foam roller.

Roll sequence: Allow participants to “free roll” down length of desired muscles, 2–3 minutes. Stop at tight spots and roll back and forth with small, gentle ­movements.

  • Spine: Roll from tailbone to shoulders several times, shifting to place more pressure on R and L sides as needed.
  • Glutes: Cross R leg over L thigh in figure-­four stretch. Roll from top of hip to sit bone, along piriformis. Switch sides.
  • Hamstrings: Roll length of each hamstring several times, changing angles. Cross one leg over the other to increase pressure.
  • Iliotibial band: Roll down side of thigh, from hip to knee.

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