The Perfect Morning Workout, with Karen Lord


I have a little workout for you. It’s a gentle little workout. It’s pilates, so you’re gonna feel it, but
this is something that I want you to be able to kind of roll out of bed, do in the morning,
and feel good. It’ll massage your spine, it’ll get everything
kind of amped up, it’ll get your blood pumping, your heart going, give you a really nice life-force
to wake up to. Don’t stress on perfection, I just want you
to breathe and move with me. Okay, so I want you to stand on your mat,
heels together toes apart. Just kind of spread the toes, wiggle them. Feel where you’re planted. Lift the heels up, and activate the body. Pull your abdominals in and up, close the
ribcage just a little bit, and feel your butt working. Inhale lift the arms up, just adjust yourself,
feel nice, exhale. Inhale again, exhale and round yourself up
and over slowly with a slight bend in the knees. You want to keep your abdominals up here. And then walk yourself out into a plank position. You want your fingers spread really wide,
and then drop your butt so that it’s in line with your body, and bend your elbows just
slightly. Inhale here, on the exhale you’re gonna do
five tiny pilates pushups. You’re inhaling down, exhaling up. Three more. Two more. Last one, hold it here. So hold the plank for just another few seconds,
you’ll feel a little bit wobbly. That’s normal. Lift yourself up, hold. You’re gonna walk yourself back. You’ll start to feel a little stretch in the
hamstrings. Hold it here, plant your feet down. Really really root your feet. Put your hands down next to your feet. Give your wrists a little stretch. If you can’t do this—not everybody can touch
the mat this way—you just bend your knees, that’s fine. And then hold it here. Inhale. On exhale lift yourself back up, and inhale
round yourself up and over. This is called front support, and it’s just
a plank with a few little pushups. Now I want you to remember, these pushups,
I want your butt down, abs in and up, and your elbows straight back, not out to the
sides. Inhale down, just a little, and exhale up. Inhale, exhale up with the breath. Three more. Two more. Last one, you’re holding your core super super
tight here. Bend your knees, extend yourself long into
a child’s pose. You’re gonna take three deep breaths. You can walk one hand over to this side to
get a nice stretch, come back to the center, walk the other hand over to get a nice stretch
on the side of the body, come back to center. Stack it up—you want your spine to be really
tall, you want your shoulders wide, shoulder blades gliding down your back. Put your hands behind and just lift yourself
slightly. You don’t arch your neck way back, you just
want to lift your lower back, and then come back. Hands here, sit down on your butt, and we’ll
start a little bit of ab work. Sitting on your butt, you want to grab behind
your thighs. Elbows wide, and
you want to like not hunch your shoulders up, right. You want to glide the shoulder blades down
your back, make nice strong arms. So tuck right here, so you’re kind of scooping
out and you’re tucking your pelvis and tipping your pubic bone forward, and lowering yourself
down. If you feel safe, you can let go here. Lowering yourself down slow, slow, slow, slow,
slow. Good, arms up to the sky, arms behind, take
a nice inhale. On the exhale, pull your abs in, bring your
arms back up to the sky, hold it here. Bring one leg up, bring the other leg up. Inhale. On the exhale, you want to pull your ribs
in, and extend your arms long, so you’re going to work the abdominals a little bit here. You’re gonna tap to the floor, flex, and lift
up. Inhale to tap, exhale flex and lift, pulling
the abs in deeply. Tap, flex, and lift. For 10, 9, big exhales, 8, 7, long arms, 6,
5, good, 4, 3, 2, last one, hold it here. Pull everything in, pull up—it’s natural
for your neck to hurt a little bit in the beginning. If it does, just put it down—you can go
all the way down. But you’ll hold it here, and then I’m gonna
gently pull my knees in, giving them a little hug. So you’re already activating your ribcage—you
want to keep your ribs nice and closed, and your abs in. You want to not arch your back when you’re
doing these exercises, because that’s what’s gonna keep you safe. So, coming back up onto the mat, we’re gonna
do a little ab series. Put your hands over hands—you don’t want
to interlace, just put them, and elbows nice and wide. You’re gonna take your armpit to your knee. You’re gonna take your armpit to your knee. You’re gonna bring your right armpit to your
left knee—not the elbow—and pull it back in. Inhale to switch, exhale to pull it back in. Inhale to switch, exhale pull it in. Inhale to switch, and exhale, let’s do 5 more. 4 more, good, 3 more, 2 more, last one, bring
it in. Lower your neck and shoulders, lower your
feet down, bring your arms behind you. Now you can arch your back to take a nice
break. Inhale, exhale bring everything up and in,
give it a hug. You want to really open up your shoulders. Lowering it back down. Extend your legs nice and long, head, neck,
and shoulders come up. You want to make like an L-shape with your
body—and again, if this hurts too much you can keep your head down, but I want you to
think about lifting the neck up, and pulling from right here. So you’re not just like, hoisting it. You’re gonna lower one leg, give the other
leg a little pull-pull. And when you keep your butt anchored to the
mat, so give it a gentle pull-pull in, elbows are wide, pull-pull, shoulders are down. For 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Hold everything, give it another little inch
up, lower it down, hold. You want to grab behind your thighs and rock
yourself back up to seated. This one is called rolling like a ball. So we’re gonna work the abdominals, massage
the spine a little bit, rock out all of that ab work that we just did. You should be feeling it right now. So, heels together, toes apart, plant your
butt on the mat. So you’re gonna make yourself a ball shape. You want to think about a circle here, and
your elbows being really, really wide. You’re gonna kind of sit back on your sit
bones a little bit, and you’re gonna go back just to the tips of your shoulder blades. So, inhale back, and exhale up. Pulling in, so your abs are at the breaks. Inhale back, and exhale up. And you really want to balance, you don’t
want to put your feet down. Inhale back, exhale up, and you can focus
on your heels if that helps. Inhale back, exhale back just to a hover. Let’s do 3 more. Inhale back, exhale up, 2 more. Inhale back, exhale up, last one. Inhale back, exhale up, extend your legs out,
hold it here. Bring your arms to the front, you’re just
gonna inhale, and exhale pull everything back in. For 10, keep your abs nice and tight, your
back slightly tucked. 7, knees squeeze together, 6, 5 more, 4, 3,
2, 1, hold it out. Bring it back in, plant your feet down. Scoot yourself back, we’re gonna do some side
lying leg work. We’re gonna do a little bit of work on the
legs, so I want you to remember that the legs, butt, and abs are all attached. So this is a full-body exercise. So, I want your arm planted, you’re gonna
keep that arm activated. You’re gonna keep lifted a little bit here. You’re gonna point to lift, and flex to lower. You’ll start to feel it right here. Point to lift, and flex to lower. Point to lift, and flex to lower. For 8, 7, you can exhale on the downs, 6,
5, keep your abs activated, just keep on thinking, 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold it here for a little bit longer, and
do 10 little circles towards the front. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. And little circles the other way. For 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Hold it here. You’re gonna bring this to the front. You’re gonna make as much of an L-shape as
you can, but keep the body and the butt like, nice and long. You don’t want to tuck forward. So extend it nice and long. You’re just gonna do little taps for 10, 9,
8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold it here. You’re just gonna bend in, and extend, for
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, remember not to tuck your butt, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Holding at 1, we’re gonna do like 5 little
bicycles. 4 more. 3 more, keep breathing. 2 more, last one, let’s reverse the direction. For 5, nice and long, 4, keep the core really
stable here, 3, 2, and 1. Hold, bring it back in. You can smack it out, you’ll feel that in
your butt muscles. It’ll feel really good, but you should be
using your abs and your arms as well. Let’s do the other side. Again, abdominals are lifted, you want a nice
long line here. Hands down, fingertips spread wide. Why? Because we just want a good foundation, it
keeps us from wobbling. You’re gonna point to lift, and flex to lower. Point to lift, and flex to lower. Point to lift, and flex to lower. Lower the leg nice and long for 8, 7, 6, 5,
4, 3, 2, 1. Lower it down, keep that hip nice and long. Again, hands activated, don’t forget about
that. 10 little circles to the front, for 10, 9,
8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Reverse the circles for 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5,
4, 3, 2, 1. Hold it here. You’re gonna point the toe, bring it to the
front. You’re gonna just do little toe taps. 10, 9, 8, 7, remember not to tuck your butt
in, 6, 5, keep it nice and long, 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold. Now just bend the leg in, but again keep your
butt nice and long and almost arched instead of tucked. You’re gonna pull in, and extend long. 9, 8, just keep breathing, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3,
2, last one, hold it here. You can feel yourself get a little wobbly,
and bicycle back. The idea here is to keep stable while you’re
moving the leg in really an unstable way. Let’s do 6, 5, keep the abs tight, using your
arm. 3 more, 2 more, last one, hold. Let’s reverse for 10, 9, 8, smiling makes
it a little easier, 7, 6, you will be feeling it, 5, more, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Bring it in, lower it down. So, I’m grabbing weights—I’m using 3 pounds. If you don’t have weights at home, you can
grab 2 bottles and fill them with water. Just make sure they’re the same size. Or like anything, just two balls, anything. You can still do the moves, just be really
mindful of activating your muscles, and you can still follow along with me, and have pretty
much the same experience. It’s good for you. So you’re gonna take your weights, and we’re
gonna keep our fingertips long instead of grabbing them. Glide your shoulder blades down from the back
and really lift up from here. Hug your elbows in by your sides. You’re gonna inhale, just about shoulder height,
open up, same, and exhale back to center, pull back in. So you have 10 like this, 9 like this, 8 more,
7, just keep breathing, 6, because they start to get heavy, 5, 4, more, and breathe, 3 more,
2 more, last one, hold it in here, bring your elbows up, let your fingers touch. I’m just gonna go swimming. You’re gonna extend, open. You’re not moving your spine, you’re keeping
your spine in, and you’re using your core a lot here. Using your core to keep yourself stable. Let’s do 6 more like this, just like you’re
skimming the surface of the water. 5, 4 more, core support the whole time, 3
more, 2, last one, hold it here. And be sure you’re keeping your shoulders
down. If you start to feel it in your neck, just
give yourself a second, drop the weights, and gently bring the neck down, roll it to
the side, and back to center. Remember, we’re doing this pretty much right
when we wake up, this is to invigorate and energize the body, not to punish it. We’re gonna extend the arms to the side. You’re gonna drop your shoulders—and this
is really important, I want you to keep your shoulders down. Extend the arms out. You’re gonna inhale, one arm up, and exhale
it down. You’re gonna focus on the opposite ribs, so
really keep your ribs working to stay stable. For 7, 6 more, 5, and 4, 3, 2, last one. This side, hold it here, wiggle your fingers
it helps a little bit. Inhale, drop the shoulder, for 9, 8, exhale
on the down, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, last one. Hold, you can just extend your arms here and
hold for 10. This is the hardest part. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, drop. Let your neck hang heavy. And as you let your neck hang heavy, you don’t
want to just collapse. Keep the spine long, so you’re actually stretching
it back here. Grab your weights again, and gently roll your
neck back up. Extend the arms long, 10 little circles to
the front. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and reverse
the circles, for 10, don’t let it go into your neck, it’s not worth it, 7, 6, just keep
the shoulders down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold for 10, 9, 8, you’ll be a little shaky,
that’s good, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Drop it down. Now make sure the neck is released. The reason we go so slow with those, is I
don’t want you to hike up. Start with 2 pounds, because these get really
really intense, and it’s very normal to want to hike hem up here. That’s why I keep talking to you about dropping
the shoulders. Take it slow, and if it’s too many, start
with like 5 reps, or 3, or 4. Don’t go with me full on like 10 if you feel
like it’s compromising your body in any way. The goal is to wake up, invigorate yourself,
feel good. Again, no punishments, right? Okay, so let’s change the position slightly. All fours. So, you’re gonna grab your weights, and you
want to be—you want to keep your knees inner-hip distance apart. Like, 5 inches apart or so. You’re gonna bring yourself—you’re pitching
your body forward, you’re gonna bring your butt back, and you’ll extend your arms long
like this. So now you want—you want to make sure your
ponytail’s in the right place. [Laughs] Now you want to look forward. You don’t want to hike your neck up, and you
don’t want to have it down too much. You just kind of want to gaze to the edge
of your mat. And do 10 little lifts up, for 10, work your
triceps, 8, 7, 6, abs in and up, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, hold it here. You’re gonna turn the weights out slightly
and open out to the side, like a V. For 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Bring them back in, drop yourself down more
and bring your butt back slightly. We’re gonna go a little bit higher for 10
more. For 10, 9, 8, abs working, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3,
2, 1. Drop the weights, you can roll them forward. Bring your whole body forward into resting
position. Stretching your fingertips long, you feel
a nice stretch in the shoulders. You feel your glutes, your butt. Just rock it from side to side, whatever feels
good. If this feels nice to you, you can bring your
arms up behind, and get a nice big stretch here too, Just be gentle of the shoulders
always. When you’re ready, stack yourself back up. Okay, a little work. Everybody’s favorite, we’ll do a little butt
work. So you want to bring your knees hip-distance
apart. Flat feet. You don’t want them in too much like this,
you don’t want them out too much like this. You kind of want to make a box with your body,
and you can just like take a second and stretch around, like do what feels good. This always feels really good in the morning. Kind of like drop your shoulders back, bring
yourself up, it’s like cat-cow stuff, but I don’t want you to focus on this too much. I just want you to sort of feel the way that
your spine moves. Okay, fingertips are spread wide again, and
a word about elbows. We don’t want them extending like that, that
puts a lot of pressure on the joints and then on the muscles. So, we want to turn them so they rotate in. You want these little creases—I always these
say these little creases to kind of like, smile at each other. Like, hey! And that’s how you do it. Then you’re gonna give a slight bend. And take your right leg, start with your right
leg. First we pull our abdominals in and up—see
how I lifted? You’re gonna, with a pointed toe, just lift
for 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, hold it here. We’re gonna go a little bit higher, but you’re
still gonna just pull your abs in and up. And another set of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3,
2, 1. Bring it in. You will feel that, if you’re doing that correctly. It’s all about pulling the abs in. Okay, let’s do the other side. You’re gonna bring that left leg up. Make sure you’re even and you’re not kind
of like wobbling side to side. And 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, you’re working your
arms too, 3, 2, 1, hold it here, square yourself, pull your abs in deeper, and a little bit
higher. For 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Bring everything back in. Bring yourself back, make little fists, and
just lift yourself up. Gently look at the sky, and pull yourself
back down. Pull yourself into a child’s pose long, long
arms. I really want you to stretch forward, so you
can feel a nice pull in your armpit. Remember stretching is also working out. Like, you’re stretching your muscles, you’re
elongating your muscles. And that’s something that people forget. Okay, stack yourself up. We’re gonna end with another little standing
plank. So, coming back to the end of your mat, heels
together, toes apart. It’ll feel different now because you’ll feel
all those things I talked about in the beginning. Everything’s working. You’re gonna bend your legs slightly, and
just kind of pull your abdominals in and up. Glide your shoulder blades down your back. Inhale lift the arms up, exhale, remember,
round yourself down, walk yourself out into plank position. This time we’re just gonna hold. Drop the butt so you’re really long. We’re just gonna hold for 10, 9, abs in and
up, body’s long, neck’s long, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. You’re gonna hike it up. Let’s walk to the front of the mat, you’re
stretching your hamstrings a little bit here. And this part feels really nice. You can bend your knees, because you might
start to feel like you’re losing your balance. Bend your knees a little bit here, and just
bring your arms out behind you. You’re gonna stretch everything, you can pull
up like this, you can bring them up like this, it takes a tiny bit of balance. This is a really nice stretch. And if none of those sound fun, you can just
hold it right here. Let your head be heavy, and give it a little
nod yes, no, yes, that felt good and I’m ready to rock my day. Bend your knees, lift yourself up. And we got it! I want you to try to come to your workout
as a) a part of your daily routine, and b) an understanding that it’s full-body, and
it’s a movement of like the breath, your circulation. There’s tremendous benefits to working out
everything at the same time, versus just kind of like picking and choosing. I think you’ll start to feel it once you start
to understand it a little bit better, and then it’s something that you can do every
morning, and give yourself like, in, I don’t know, in 30 days. You’ll completely be like, toned, you’ll feel
your butt moving, you’ll walk better, you’ll feel more lifted. You will absolutely see the results. You don’t have to punish the body—again,
it’s about comforting yourself into the movement, instead of like punishing yourself through
something. It’s just, it’s like small and mighty.

50 thoughts on “The Perfect Morning Workout, with Karen Lord

  1. Thank you for this! I have a query though: When I’m in table top my stomach pops out into a little round pot and I can’t scoop it in no matter how hard I try. What do you suggest? Should I keep practising or do a modified version? Are there any beginners’ exercises to strengthen this muscle?

  2. I just woke up and I did this and I feel great!! I don't have a lot of strength in my body and this is manageable but suitably challenging without weights. Thank you!

  3. LOVED this workout!!!! I wish Karen had some DVDs out for those of us that live in Arizona. 😁 I will jus
    t have to keep doing her video workouts until I can visit a studio.

  4. Karen you are great to what you do and the most videos the only you need is one matte layer. I make them and don't bother

  5. I love that this video doesn't have music. Means I can play my own in the background. Too many workout videos have awful music. please make more!

  6. Best workout vids ever – her voice is so calming and she makes you smile even at the most challenging moments!! 💖

  7. Omg, I just finished this and i am in love with it! The perfect combo: challenging, relaxing and energizing at the same time! I feel so good and it's perfect for a quick morning workout, especially when i don't feel like sweating lots and tiring myself. I'm definitely going to incorporate this in my weekly workout routines, maybe in the morning. Thank you! ♡

  8. Karen, I love your instruction style! Your Weekend Workout Episode 3 is my absolute favorite online pilates routine. Glad to have this in the rotation. Would love it if you offered a subscription service or at least some more full length workouts to purchase 🙂

  9. Gah! That was SO good! Pleasant, soothing and energizing. Definitely feel more lifted already and love the lack of punishment on my body. Incorporating it into my week as my main workout (x3) + a challenging and long yoga class as well. Let's see what changes happen ^_^. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Thank you! I just did this workout and not only did the time fly, I also feel proud and happy and ready for whatever comes my way today. More please! And I agree with other comments that without music it’s even better.

  11. This workout is wonderful but watch out as Karen does 5 bicycles (&reverse) on one side, and 10 on the other!

  12. Good work and principles! I would have liked to warmed up the spine a little bit more before going into plank. Because this is a morning, roll out of bed onto your mat workout.

  13. I really enjoyed this workout but oh I need to strengthen my neck and back and improve balance and flexibility. Do you have any videos for "real" beginners?

  14. Even it challenged me I never felt I don’t get it because you just gave me the feeling it’s about quality not quantity! Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *