Class #1281

Fundamental Reformer 2

65 min - Class


Karen Sanzo is back with the second in a series of three fundamental Reformer workouts. She works at a deliberate pace in order to allow key connections to be made between the mind and the correct muscles to activate for each exercise. We hope you enjoy delving deeper into these basic reformer exercises.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

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This is number two in our three series reformer workouts that are focusing on fundamentals and basic reformer work. So I'm gonna remind you the abcs a is for activate versus aggravate. Breathe instead of bulge and connect instead of collapse. We're going to start this reformer workout with footwork and I have it on three red springs. Just a little note about the spring edge is that some times you, there'll be a tendency to put the springs on really heavy when you don't have control of the pelvis. And I caution you against that.

You can certainly make your springs heavier, but I want you to be sure that when you push out an in, you're maintaining the integrity, not overworking in the neck, keeping the neutralness of your spine and things like that. So I'm going to start with three red springs. In this workout, we will be progressing to a flection with resistance. Okay. Like the a hundred beats and short box and things like that.

So we'll start with foot work with our heels on the bar, inhaling, expand, and then exhaling scooping in the belly. Inhale. And then exhale. Recognize the neutralness of your pelvis. Recognize the neutralness of your neck. Arms are down by your side. The feet are pressing down to the floor as if you're taking mud off your feet. That makes the thigh connection right behind your buttocks. Inhale, prepare.

Exhale, press and bend 10 times two as you go through these next five, take the time to check in. Soft neck, Ab Dominion, thighs engaged, and two more. And then last one, let your feet slide down to the bird feet position or prehensile. Curl the toes, drop the heels, recognize the neutralness of the pelvis. And off we go again. This time we're going to inhale, prepare, exhale, press out. Okay, I'm just exaggerating the breath just so that you can see that I am breathing.

I'm not tensing my shoulders, I'm not tensing my neck. I've got five more three too. My feet are pressing down and then one and bring myself all the way in. Potties v, heels lifted. They're going to stay in this shape. Neutralness of my pelvis, heavy my ribs down. Engage my abdomen, give my pelvic floor a little lift. If my core needs a little extra support as I press out with my legs here.

You'll notice here that my thighs are not bulging. I'm not up like this. I'm taking my pelvis, lengthening out my legs, keeping these two pieces going in opposition. This is a really nice connection between your legs and your torso and we'll do eight more here, one and to connection back behind the thighs. Three squeezing inner groins together, four, five and six and seven and eight and bend the knees, heels apart on the bar, making an inner thigh connection. We've already done these in our previous workout, sort of going through these a little bit quicker with a little dynamic movement and now we'll go five more. No movement of the pelvis.

I don't often overly check myself, but I'm just making that point to beginners here that it's important to make the conscientious decision to check in. We'll go to the balls of our feet so the weight is equally distributed across the back of my pelvis. I'm attracting my thighs together as I work to straighten, straighten, straighten, straighten, straighten, and then bend and straighten, straighten straight, and keep the heels lifted. And then Ben, and then last time, and then Ben and rest right there. You know there's a paradox in Palladio's. There's a paradox of concentration. I think we like to focus on concentration a lot in the beginning so that your body can start to make those connections and that little by little you have to actually concentrate less because your body becomes used to the connections that it's making. So now I'm going to roll to my side and come up.

I'm going to change my springs here to two and I'm gonna lie down again and prepare for my arm work and hundred beats and trunk curling. So with my arms over my head and then making the connection right underneath my armpits here, two knees folded. Just recognize this as that fundamental. Sometimes we call it that dead bug position. Pull the arms down and let the arms float up.

So my arms are working on the way down and on the way up. They're decelerating the Movement for control. Three more times. Inhaling and then exhaling two more times. Inhaling and then exhaling, and then last time down and hold that down shape. Broaden your collar bone so you're not rounding your shoulders and then sway your legs to one side and then use that left leg to push it back to center and sway to the other side.

And now use that right leg to pull it back to center. Let your arms float up slowly. Lower one leg, lower the other leg, and then relax. We'll do that again. Inhale, big exhale. Arms start to pull under the armpit connection. As I pull my arms, I'm not using my neck, I'm not scrunching my shoulder blades together. I'm simply moving my arm bones in their socket.

Your shoulder is a ball and suck it. One more time up. And then one more time down holding the strap. It's down, adding tricep then and then press okay. King in the abdomen, two more times up and then down. If your legs and your shins are in the up position and that starting to bother you, just let them be heavy and that almost helps. Sync the thighs down.

Inhale up and then down. Arms out to the side, side. Reach long like a T. Exhale, pull. One more time out and then one more time in and take the arms out to the side. Put your feet down, restaurant there, arms circles. Inhale, prepare. Exhale. Assume the position hold member of the setup is so important. Inhale up open. Exhale down. Close. Even say it with me. Inhale up open.

Exhale down. Close, relax, neck. Inhale up open. Exhale down, closed, relaxed, neck pull belly. Last one. Inhale up. Open. Exhale, connect, reverse open. Come up, press down, open. Come up for us down. Last one, open. Come up, press down, feet, come down. Pause right there.

That is some good exercise. Tying your arms to the trunk, making those key connections there. Now we move on to our hundred beats. So let's do this. Let's put the straps down just for a second. Take the arms up in the air, let your chin nod and let your forehead come down. Lift your head, reach your arms long and curl your trunk up.

Just hold this position here. Inhale into your back ribs, and then exhale slowly, slowly, slowly roll yourself back down again. Arms Up. Inhale. Exhale like you're painting a line on the ceiling and you're going to curl the head nods. We curl the trunk, we're flexing the trunk, reaching long and then slowly roll yourself down. That's just to remind your trunk how to do that trunk curl because now we're going to add these straps. Legs come in, take some tension in the strap. It said that the arm connection helps you actually lift that second leg. The arms come down, the head nods like you're holding something under your chin, and then the arms push and your trunk curls hold, hold, and then you keep reaching as you lower the trunk and then the head and then the arms come up and then your feet rest. And we'll do that three times.

[inaudible] arms make a connection as the legs lift. Head nods, front ribs curl. As I reached my arms long and then I unroll all the way down. Last one, we do our hundred beats here. We'll do about 50 today. Head lifts, arms press, legs, float, trunk curls. Off you go. Ah, ah, you stop and rest whenever you need to. You could put your head down and keep pumping your arms and after you get that little rest, you can nod the Chin and curl up for 20 more.

One more set. Exhaling, hold that girl legs come down, arms come up and pause right there. Put the straps back, put your feet on the bar, press into your heels and then put your head rest down just for a sec and take time here to invite that pelvis up into a curl. And then once you get up, press the arms down, reaching long through the thighs, and then slowly roll your trunk down. Roll your trunk. Let's do that again. If that bridge was a little too high, you can put your feet down here on the platform and you can just do a little pelvic curl if your back got tight during those exercises. So it's always okay to take a little break and roll through the spine.

Well, now switched to the legs in the strap. I remember when you pushed that leg away to engage the back of the thigh. This is a very important piece to the exercise because you don't want to kind of wig out your Essai joint by not being in control of your leg straps. You want to be sure that all your straps are adjusted appropriately so that they don't get a kind of caught up in there. Okay, so press your thighs to this vertical position. Recognize neutral, heavier ribs down. Let's go ahead and put that head rest back up here and just pause right here. Squeezing the heels together. Frogs out an n five times. Here's two and in three and four and five.

If you had handles when they are irritating you, you could of course take them off and then inhale up open. Exhale, down close. We're doing leg circles here in turnout. I'm reaching very long through my legs to keep my entire leg active. If I just let my hamstrings take over and relaxed my legs. Can you see how this is like almost a hyperextended knee and I'm actually arching my back to think I'm in neutral. This is not a connected leg.

This is a wobbly leg. Okay, so we're going to bring ourselves back down. We're going to connect through the quadricep and the thighs, pressing the leg out. I don't know if you can see that difference, but it's a much more connected leg. Soft point of the toe. Inhale up open. Exhale down, close to more like this and turnout. And now we'll go to parallel. When I go to parallel, I actually feel my middle hamstring a little bit more cause I'm pressing down right here on my inner groin. One more time. And now I'm actually going to turn my toes in and my heels out and I'm going to do three more here.

Respecting the integrity of my pelvis position and my spine position. And now I'm going to reverse the direction of the circle first and turnout down, out, up there, engaged through the legs. If you are just moving quickly and haphazardly through the exercise, you're not getting the full benefit. Certainly doing something. But we want to get the full benefit and the full activation of everything we can parallel engaging, checking in, and then turned in. Ooh, and that is very interesting. All the hip muscles.

Now I'm going to invite my knees to come back. I'm going to invite my pelvis to curl to stretch my low back without collapsing, changing the position of my head and my chest. So I'm going to let my knees come in and allow the weight of this spring to stretch my lowest back. Almost like I'm doing a fundamental pelvic curl, but the straps are helping me. Okay? Then I'm going to engage the back of my thighs to pull the straps until my thighs can recognize that vertical position again, and we're going to add a little more variation here.

Press out open legs with control, close legs bend in. This will become another exercise pattern in our next workout. Lengthen open, close and bend. Lengthen control, close inner thighs. Then the last time, lengthen open close, and then take one leg out, put your foot down and take the other leg out and put your foot down and hang your straps up.

Okay, so in the reformer work we see that our spine changes position so that we can challenge our spine in the various positions. Going to now lower the headrest and turn around and we're going to change to a little rollback position here. And I'm going to go ahead and take this foot bar down. Okay. I'm going to change to one red spring and I'm going to turn it around here.

I'm going to put my legs in this direction. Yeah, some people might need to cross their legs. My leg seemed to fit through here. Fine. I'm actually going to push out. I'm going to take my straps and grabbed my handles here and I'm going to do a roll back. Kind of like the how we do in the Mat. Work with a roll up. I'm going to do the rollback portion here. Make sure all my straps are happy, I'm gonna pull my belly and start to pull my shoulder blades back and roll my trunk backwards. Inhaling, exhaling, pause, and now inhale through the back of the ribs as the straps help me come up. Stack. Inhale, exhale, start to roll back.

Now, one red spring is not very heavy here, so if you need a little more help and support, you certainly can add on another spring. One more time. Lengthen your torso up and then exhale. The belly pulls in. Rolling backwards. Trying not to grip your buttocks, but instead roll the spine like you're rolling back to that hundred beat position and then curling yourself up. So that's rolling back. Now we can introduce shape of the spine. You've seen it in other workouts. It's called the hinge.

So when I take my arms and bring them up into this bicep position right here, my elbows are parallel, my arms are parallel. Instead of rolling back, I'm now going to take my torso and I'm going to lean it back and then bring it up. Inhaling and then exhaling. One more time hindering back in one more time. Hindering up. Now I'm going to combine both of those movements with a rotation. The I'm going to give myself a little more tension so I can change the tension on the strap when I'm working, either by changing the spring or I can actually choke up on the straps, which is what I'm going to choose to do here. So from this shape here, I'm going to stack up my spine, kind of plug my shoulders in, and then length, front ribs and back ribs. I'm going to roll my spine down how I started, and now I'm going to bend my right elbow and twist towards you and then bring myself back to center.

I'm going to hold the curl and twist in the other direction as I bend my left elbow. My right arm really isn't doing anything and then bring myself back and come back to center. One more time. Holding the curl. Inhale, twist, exhale, release. Again. Inhale, twist, exhale, release. Last time. Inhale, twist, exhale, release. Come back to center. Other time other sides accuse me. Inhale and release. Holding the twist, pulling the arm. One more time coming back.

Sit yourself all the way up. Now we're going to add a twist with the hinge. As these exercises progress, you'll see a pattern with around in a hinge adding rotation. That sequence will repeat itself in other reformer exercises. Here's the hinge, here's the rotation, pulling that right arm.

Here's that rotation pulling the left arm. This is tough. Back to center. Sit yourself up again. Hinge, trying not to bold that abdomen as I twist to the right. That is my right lower internal lobe leak to all my students out there bringing shelf back to center and then twisting to the left is my left lower internal back to center. And then bring yourself all the way up. Hmm. Those are great exercises there.

So I'm going to turn myself around now and we're going to get on a little box. I'm going to get myself a little moon box. Okay, so don't hesitate to get something to sit on. This workout is actually designed that you can do the workout with me so you don't feel like we're so rushed that we're trying to make these connections appropriately. So I'm going to lower my spring from one red, one to one blue one. I'm going to actually make it a little bit lower. I'm going to sit facing front and I'm going to begin to add, yes, a little. It's called rowing, but this first exercise rowing front keeps my pelvis in this neutral position and I'm not really going to move my spine. The exercise looks like this.

Actually, let's program the exercise first just with your arms, recognizing neutrality in your trunk, reaching your legs long up, back and down with the shoulders. Checking in. The arms are by my side. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale, arms out, arms down, arms up and around. Say it with me. Arms out, down, up, up, up, around without changing the neck. Okay. Grab your handles and find that position here. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. No spine moving down. Inhale up. Here's the challenge. No neck change, no Trump change front and back. Ribs, arms in my peripheral vision.

Come down last one. Inhale and exhale, and up and around and down. Very good. Number two, looks like this. Now I'm going to press my arms forward and I'm going to spine stretch. I'm gonna step up, leaving my arms parallel to the floor and then finished like I did in the first one. Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale. One more time. Spine stretch forward. Forehead, nose, Chin nods. Inhale. Exhale, inhale, and exhale. You do not have to sit on a box. If your hamstrings and your back are loose enough, we're gonna repeat the exercise, not on the box.

Never hurts to repeat a good exercise a couple of times, not 10 sets of 10, mind you, but just a couple extra time. So here's number one. Yeah. [inaudible] here's number two. Now my hands can actually scrape the reformer. Ah, [inaudible]. Oh [inaudible]. Next exercise is hug a tree and salute and cross my legs.

Again, if you need to sit on the box and it helps you sit up taller, you certainly can. This exercise here, hug a tree is a very traditional exercise. Going to hug my arms together if I need to. As a beginner, I can actually pitch forward, but I don't want to pitch so far that my belly dumbs out in my head. Does this. So the cue is not just a simply pitch forward. The cue is actually to lean your body forward. A diagonal. It helps you make the connection a little bit more. Looks like this.

Here I am in vertical, I can take this entire shape and just lean it forward. Inhaling. Okay. And then I'm hugging a big tree. Have to check in here with your neck that it doesn't overwork. You may have to hug a little bit lower tree. You may have to hug down here so that you get the motion and get connected through your trunk. One more time. Open. And then one more time close.

And then release and relax. So now you asked the question, are my blades moving? Is My moving or are my arms moving? So many choices. So let's make the decision. Let's first say that the blades don't move and the spine doesn't move. But only the arms. It looks like this. Arms, arms.

So if you were behind me right now, my blades would not be coming away from each other, nor would they be squeezing together like cracking a walnut or anything. It's my arms only moving from a stable blade. And as long as my arms are just at 90 degrees or less, my blade doesn't really have to move at all. Now I'm going to do the arm movement and the Blade Movement as an exercise so that will look like this. Open my arms, squeeze my blades on purpose, pull my arms, protract my blades on purpose, open my arm, squeeze my blades, spine attempts to stay the same. Pull my arms, protract my blades, or pull them away from my spine. Close. One more time. Arms Open, blade, squeeze, and then go down.

So both types of that exercise is both types are good. You just have to make that differentiation when you're doing exercise, which part of your body or which bone you indeed want to move. So let's go ahead and put these straps down here. The next exercise will be short box. Okay.

So now we're going to take the short box and put it behind the shoulder rests. I'm going to put all my springs on for stability. Take my strap. I would put my feet underneath here. And this time I'm going to pull back just a little bit.

My feet are not resting on the wood anymore. They're actually pulling apart and up. I'm gonna check in with my neutralness of my pelvis lifting up my trunk. My head is in line over my chest and my chest is in line over my pelvis. Arms come out to the side. In the previous segment, we worked the arms up without moving the spine and arms down without moving the spine. Arms Up, and then arms down.

Now we're going to start the curling backwards. So I'm going to scoop in my belly, lengthened my tailbone underneath me and curl back as my eyes stay facing straight ahead, hold and hold, and then curl right up over the trunk and come up. And then my feet will actually fall to the board. Uh, the, the footboard there. As I round my forward, lengthening through the crown of my head stack up to vertical, my feet come away, I roll my trunk back. Okay.

Inhale up as I expand my back backwards. Exhale, come forward. Inhale, stand up or grow up. Exhale, leaning back like somebody threw me a rope and I'm crawling up this rope and then rounding forward, lengthening out the crown of my head, pulling my belly in, stacking my spine up, preparing now for the hinge back, I'm going to take my hands behind my head. See my elbows are my peripheral vision length in my front ribs and the back ribs equally or at least attempt to and then hinge the body back and then bring it forward three times. Hinge the body back, attempting to not arch the neck or arch the spine and then sit myself up my trunk working maximally and then return myself. If the hands behind your head became a little too difficult, you can take your hands to the chest or actually keep them here and that monitors your spine and also makes the exercise just a little bit easier. From here. Going to add a little trunk rotation. We did this in the when we were sitting on the reformer rolling backwards.

So now we're just going to add it here on the short box. I'm going to twist my body to the right attempt to roll down my sacral area and roll down my lowest back as I stay twisted to the right. Come up in that twist. Return Myself Center, twist my torso to the left, try to roll down the flat spiral my spine so I don't lean, but I'm rolling down and then curling up and then bring myself to center. Now I'm going to add it with the hinge. My hands are here to remind myself and of course to remind you that we're not changing there. So I'll try the hinge now with my hands behind my head, just so you can see the spine.

Now I'm going to rotate to the right and I'm going to hinge back. I'm not going to lean over or do. I'm the spearing thing. I'm just doing the rotation and if you don't know that exercise, don't worry. I learned it later and I'm going to hinge back and then sit myself up and come back to center. This is a really tough exercise. I'm going to rotate, hinge, hold that hinge, hold it, and then bring myself up. Come back to center. Last time. Twist, hinge, hold the hinge, relax the neck. Ease of breath, but big challenge here.

Bring myself up. Return to center. We'll advance the climate tree here a little bit. In our first series, we simply did stable spine. Just stretching the hamstring here. Now we're going to take a little rolling back if you will, and hold this shape. Let's start with the left leg coming up. So I'm not sitting up tall here on purpose.

I'm creating a shape of my spine and I'm not changing the shape of my spine just so I can get used to this exercise here. I don't want to focus. It's not that I don't want to focus on sitting up, I just want to focus on not moving my torso as I do this with each of my legs. So I'm maintaining the position of my trunk as I bend and straighten my leg. And then I bring myself forward and I stack up. Now I'm going to do the exercise again with one of my legs underneath the strap and I'm going to pull back and give it some tension.

And now I'm going to see how deep I can make this hip crease and pull my leg up. And now I'm going to try to sit up a little bit taller, take my whole arm and bring it right underneath my thigh and pull my shoulder back. And now you'll see this position is actually a little bit different as well. And my leg may not go as straight, but now the exercise becomes a little bit more challenging to maintain my spine in the upright position as I work the leg one more time and oppress it up and hold and I'm gonna fall, I hex and point and I'm quivering and point. And one more time. Flex. One more time. Point.

Bring the leg down and then return it. That exercise will also build lengthening up tall, pulling my right knee in, getting that hip crease nice and deep. Taking my right hand, bringing it under, lifting my chest, bringing the shoulder back, hanging onto my wrist. Here I'm nice and compact in here. Stretch and bend. I'm pressing my thigh away from me into my arm to lengthen the hamstring, activating my quadricep to stretch my hamstrings. So many great things going on here. And then Ben.

Inhale and then exhale. One more time. Inhale, hold. Flex foot, point, foot, flex and point. One more time. Flex. One more time. Point. Lower the leg down and return it. Okay. You No. Take your short box now and turn it to a long box.

So I'm going to leave one yellow spring on. Okay. I remember I'm starting to understand and create what it means to make successful exercise and sex successful connections through the exercise. This next exercise here, I'm going to do the pulling strap version of the spinal extension. Actually I changed my mind.

I'm going to put the foot bar back down and I'm going to go ahead and do the exercise I did in the previous workout we did overhead press. I'm going to go ahead and do that with one yellow and one blue, so join me for this. We've done it before. I'm going to lie down. Your forehead is on the bar. Your thighs are long and engaged, your hands are on the bar. You'll remember this as a press back and then forward. The elbows are pointing to the floor pressing and then reaching. You're working really hard to not share your neck and do this because that's not the exercise, so put your forehead on the bar.

I'm going to move up just a little bit, much like you're holding something kind of underneath your Chin here, a little bit and press and then return. We're going to build extension here, so I'm going to press and now as I lift my chest, the box moves closer to the bar and my heart reaches and then I lengthen myself down and then I bend my elbows in. My forehead should touch the bone. Inhale, prepare. Exhale, press inhale, come up into extension, not being in a hurry to throw the head back, but letting the heart come forward and then the eyes length and out and then lengthen yourself down and then the elbows to come in. Now that extension part of that exercise gives you what I like to call the feeling. So remember that feeling of extension that you had, especially in your chest. We've worked really hard through the fundamentals to create a connection through the buttocks and the thigh to support the pelvis. So the back can indeed extend, but not only from the lumbar region. So now I'm going to go back to the yellow. I'm gonna lie on my tummy.

The exercise now becomes a little more challenging first because I don't have a any place to rest my head. So now I have to come and understand the relationship in my torso. So my hands are going to come by my side and I'm going to reach for my arms to the ceiling, much like I did in the mat. Fundamental workout and lengthen the chest and then lower myself down. Arms, chest, head.

I lower myself down. Now I'm going to take my strap. I'm going to grab kind of far forward here first with my head looking down, which doesn't mean my head is falling down. It just means it's facing the floor. Make a connection through these thighs, arms long. I'm just going to pull my arms and then release.

I really want to lift up badly, but I'm going to make the connection first through the back of my arms. Last time the arms were pull. Now I'll keep the arms pulling. Then I'll pull more as my chest lifts up and then I'll lower myself all the way down and now I'll put that together. Inhale bones in place, arms lift, chest lifts, eyes look forward and then lower down. One more time. Inhaling, exhaling.

I'll take my arms and lower them down. Give my legs a little break. Incidentally, if I were to be further back on the box this way, it would make the exercise a little bit easier because I wouldn't have to lift my chest quite as much. If I wanted to make the exercise harder without changing the spring, I would move my body off of the box and then I'd have to use more back extensors. So I actually chose to move myself back just a little bit to support my chest just a little bit so that I can get my arms to come in first. You'll notice that my legs are not lifted a mile high. They're just engaged.

Now I'm gonna pull the arms and hold the arms, and now I'm gonna invite the chest boy, those legs sure. Want to lift really quickly, but I'm going to keep that connection through my thighs as I lift my chest and my heart. And then as I release down my arms, attempt to stay parallel to the floor three times in row. That's one. Here's two. Inhaling, exhaling. Last time. Inhale, and last time. Exhale. Very good. And now we'll take the long box away and prepare for elephant.

Put on to red springs, raise my foot bar. Okay. And a lock my foot bar into place to be sure it doesn't move. If you have a foot bar that is movable, you want to be sure and not pull up on it and you want to press down on it. I'm going to step carefully on the reformer and I'm going to put my feet at the shoulder rests and my head is down.

Okay, the back of my neck is long. My Tommy is pulled in. It's important in this exercise to just simply hold this and notice what wants to change on me. I kind of want to lift my head, but that's an old pattern, so I'm going to lengthen my skull as if I'm holding something underneath my Chin and engage my legs and I'm going to press back and then the belly scoops deeply as I pull my legs forward and lift my toes. It makes me push my legs, pull my belly as if I'm pulling the carriage all the way in five times in a row. Inhale, exhale. Okay, so I'm making a nice connection. I'm pressing down to the floor with my arms to make that downward connection.

As my arms connect to my core. You'll notice that the arm angle actually is not changing in the exercise elephant. When you're upside down, it's really important that you don't Tuck your bottom harshly underneath you because when you tuck the bottom, it actually occupies some of your hip extensors and it won't allow you actually to move your legs out and in freely with a lighter spring. It makes it harder to pull in. My arms have to pay careful attention to get that connection here with a heavier spring. I'm going to go ahead and add another spring and I'd like you to try it like this because sometimes in the reformer work, some people believe that heavier is better all the time, not necessarily the case. Sometimes with a heavier spring, it allows you to feel an exercise a little bit differently.

Sometimes with a lighter spring it allows you, so I encourage you to try it both ways. We're going to stand up again. My feet are on the shoulder. Rest of my head is down, my toes are lifted. Now look at my legs. This is my legs locked and that's me hanging in my hamstrings and my head lifted. This is not the exercise. So I'm going to nod my head called my abdomen. And I don't know if you can see that. If my shirts hanging down, but you're going to pull the abdomen in. My toes are lifted, my legs are engaged, my knees are certainly straight, but they're not locked.

They're engaged. And then press and then pull. So now I have to resist the spring coming back. It's a different kind of work. I feel a little bit more in the out phase, but I'm resisting it coming in. Let's do five, four, three, and two and one and bring it in. And now we'll lower ourself down and we'll get ready for knee stretches. So now at this level we can talk to the spine and we can vary the position of it. So in this knee stretch position, I'm gonna leave it on this heavy spring to start with. Well, it's here and I'm going to recognize my spine first in neutral.

And then I'm going to go ahead and nod my head as if I'm looking, came down to my knees, pulling my rib connection up and angling my tailbone down. Much like rolling like a ball if you will, in the mat work, and I'm going to maintain this depth of my belly and maintain this position of my arms as I push and pull. I'm not changing the shape of my spine. Notice right underneath my shoulder blade region right here, down to here, not changing. Sometimes what happens is this.

That's a seesaw. That's a Yoyo. That's a no, no, we don't want to do that. So now go ahead and take one of your red springs off. The exercise will become a little bit lighter. You'll have to control it in a different way. Looks like this. This is going to be a little bit tougher to maintain the curl. It's going to be really easy to push it out, but you really have to make the connection deeply into your buttocks as you keep the belly scoped. Three more, two more.

And then last one, it's kind of periodically to play with the spring tension. To see how you can use it to challenge you or to assist you. The next knee stretch exercise, I'm going to lengthen my tailbone out, lengthen up my chest. I'm in a more neutral position here. Same exercise, push pull. You're going to get that same deep hip crease as I push out and pull in, but I'm not going to change the position of my spine to get it.

So a lot of times people come in and they do this to try to get that deep hip crease, but that again, that's an accident waiting to happen in your back. So inhale, exhale, change. Excuse me, do not change the position of your spine. Three more, two more, and then one more. And then bring yourself all the way back up. Inhale here, go back to the bar again, getting ready for your plank, hands on the bar, and to take your toes right in between the head. Put head rest here. Recognize this right here as kind of a kneeling plank and just hold that.

I'm going to shift my body over my hands and lift my legs up and I'm going to hold here. Hold for five and four and three and two and one and drop myself down. In the last fundamental class that we did on the reformer, we had that on three red springs. I'm going to put it back on three red springs and that will keep the carriage a little more steady while I lift up into that plank. See if you can see the difference in my body.

This is with three red springs helping me up in holding and then bending my knees and coming down. This is with two red springs. Is it going to be harder or easier? Harder. Good answer. Okay, so now when I lift up, my body is going to want to change right about here. Oh goodness. And then I've got to hold it and hold it. And now when I go out, I can only go out an inch or two. Okay?

And then bring myself down. So the key connection you have to make there is how many springs do you need? Offer enough support that you can create a successful plank. And how many springs do you need to make it a challenge for you? So I encourage you to explore that as you travel along the planking series.

So now we'll put it on one red spring and the lower the foot bar down will turn around for chest expansion. We did this exercise in our fundamental workout, teaching our spine, how to stay long in vertical from a kneeling position, making a connection through the buttocks and the thigh, pulling the belly in. I choked up on the straps a little bit and I inhale, pull my arms. Exhale, release. I'd like you to take a special note to my risks and just notice that my wrist nice and long. Now the exercise looks like this. I inhale, pull, look right, look, center.

Exhale, release. Inhale, pull, look left. Look, center, release. Now we'll try to do one. Inhale, looking in both directions. Here we go. Ah, starting with the other direction. First, tough exercise. That exercise was really hard for me. You might've seen me get challenged in my neck a little bit so I can just turn to one side at a time. Really to feel more successful. So again, successful here, successful here, successful here. Inhale, look to the left success center and right, hold that pole back just two times.

Get that Nice verticalness in your trunk. As you pull you make the connection through your thighs in the back, your buttocks. And now we'll add the breath. One more time. Pull right center release, pull. Left center release seemed like a couple extra repetitions, but as you do that exercise, you become better at organizing the relationship between your thighs and your trunk and your arms. I'm going to put my left strap down. I'm actually going to change to a lighter spring.

Now I'm going to put on the lightest one I have, which is a yellow. I'm going to switch to one arm. You can see that this carriage is actually moving freely here. There is one spring on there, so now I know with one spring that it's going to be really light. I'm gonna put my left hand behind my back to maintain those ribs back there so they don't shorten. I'm going to pull my arm and hold the pole.

Now I'm going to invite my body to do a twist, hold, hold and hold, and then release the arm. Look back to center, make the invitation. Thigh connect belly in arm poles. I begin to twist, I begin to twist, I begin to twist and then come all the way back. Woo. One more time. Arm gets connected, trunk gets connected.

Thighs are engaged to support from below. Ease of breath, return yourself all the way back. Switch sides. Remember that with a light spring, if you pull that spring to our, excuse me, pull the strap too hard. You know that it can kind of give you a little ride and then it goes back slowly. Have to be really careful for safety reasons as well. Belly in shoulders. It's not that the shoulders are pulled back because that gives us a false sense of what posture is. Okay?

Posture is more than simply standing up straight. That's probably another workshop, but posture is really the relationship between your body parts and between your trunk and your extremities. Okay, so arm pulls on the left, I add a twist of the torso and then I untwist and release the arm and face center again. Inhale, twist and twist and twist. Straight elbow engaged, and then bring myself all the way back. Last one. Inhale. Inhale. Inhale. Connect through the buttocks without leaning or lurching, and then bring myself all the way back.

Okay, so when you're facing the back of the reformer and you pull your straps back, you're creating what I like to call an extension force in the spine. When we kneel front, I need a little bit heavier spring, so I'm going to add a blue one to that yellow. And now I'm going to do kneeling, arms facing front. We did this in the preview previous workout, but from here now when you pull the arms facing front, it's going to put a little flection force in your spine. So we have to resist flexing. So I'm going to grab the straps this time instead of the handles because it gives me a little different connection. Now my toes are really curled up into me. Lengthening the front of the hips, belly pulled in. Inhale, circle, exhale, inhale.

So now I actually want to do this. Okay. It's a flection force. I want to do that, but I'm going to resist that so I can create strength in the verticality here. So I'm just going to pull up and then release and pull up and then release. And one more time. Pull and hold and hold and hold and then release. And I put my left strap down.

I'm going to take off the yellow spring right now there's a blue spring. I'm going to take my right arm out in front, take my left on my tummy, and now I'm going to twist my torso and then I'm going to resist it. On the way back, I'm going to keep my head in line with my chest bone here so I don't twist too far with my neck and I get a little more in my trunk. And then one more time, a little more feedback down here. Reach, reach, and reach. And then bring myself all the way back. Again, not a fancy exercise, but a very good one to feed the trunk from the bottom up with the knees in this position. Vertical connections strap facing front.

Take my arm all the way out in front of me. Belly pulls in. I'm going to take a tool with in my trunk as I reach my left arm forward and bring myself back. I feel myself pitching a little bit. I don't really have a mirror, but I'm trying to do it from proprioception, which is tough enough. I'm twisting my trunk and then bringing it all the way back. And then one more time reaching tune with sting holding and then bring it all the way back and down.

I'm gonna put three red springs on. Starting to wind down. We do have a couple exercises left for do, do, running and bottom lift. And then today's workout we're going to add standing blitz. So I'm gonna lie down again. My head rest is up.

Okay. Balls of the feet on the bar, checking in, take your time. There's no rush here. And then without using my neck, engage my legs, tidy up the center, press out. Hold on I think here and then run one leg down and then switch [inaudible]. If you are looking above me, you would see that my knees would be like a puppet string pulling right up to the ceiling and we can go a little bit quicker as long as we don't wobble the pelvis and five lift four, press three, press two, press one and then bend the knees all the way in with your heels apart.

Pressing your thighs together or pulling them together if you will, but they're not moving. Just making that connection. And I do a bottom lift in neutral, just enough that I get a little fist position right underneath here. And then I'm going to press. And then Paul, I'm gonna work really hard not to change the position of my spine. There's a tendency here to press out and like push this whole piece up, but we don't want to do that. It's just a bottom lift. Just about a fifth distance, really working the back of the thighs, making a connection here. Two more and then one more and then drip the spine down all the way down, all the way down.

Okay. Bring yourself off and come all the way up. Lower the foot bar. Okay, we're going to prepare now for side splits. I'm going to leave three red springs on there. Seems kind of heavy, but remember when the springs are heavier and you're doing a particular type of exercise, especially split, you don't want it to be so light that when the carriage goes out, it gets away from you. I mean that is a concept, but maybe not quite yet.

As a beginner, I don't want you to injure anything between your thighs there, so we're going to step on the stable surface first. Get yourself set. If you can not stand up safely on the reformer, then this exercise really isn't for you and you need some help or somebody can help you do that, so you certainly have to be able to stand up on the reformer and put your leg at the front edge of the reformer. You can try that a couple of times. You can practice on steps. You can practice on the box, stepping up and down just to be safe. So in this position here now, how am I standing? If you were looking at me from the side, my head would be over the center of my chest and my chest would be over my pelvis. My pelvis is in neutral. I'm going to nod my head and just look down at my feet and make sure that they are both indeed parallel. And I'm going to bring my whole torso back up. Now I'm going to give you a little visual here.

I'm engaged in my legs by the way, because there's three springs on here and I'm trying to press it out and I can't, which is a good thing. I just creating that feeling. Okay, so my arms are going to come out to the side. I'm going to hold nice and strong. I'm just gonna Breathe. Inhale an exhale and right now I'm not going to try to use any of my extraneous muscles. I'm going to try to use all my local deep muscles, my diaphragm. Inhale an exhale. Your intercostals are also part of your local system. Inhale, expanding the intercostals and exhale. If you get up into the top of your neck and start to breathe like those become more global exercises, so even in exercise like side splits, you want to get all the breath from coming in here. Okay, I'm going to ship the weight back onto my right leg and I'm going to step down and step off. Now I'm going to change my springs to two red springs.

Don't change your springs while you're on your reformer as a beginner, just safety first. So I stepped off, I took a red spring off and now I have two red springs on. You need to adjust accordingly. When you practice with your reformer or practice with your teacher. The spring age that I've been giving you is really a ballpark figure and it's really as it relates to my size and shape, so it's a little bit different for everybody and that's the beauty of PyLadies as well is that the teacher will meet you where you are at any given point of the exercise, the step on the stable surface. First step up and bring my leg out, glanced down, make sure my legs are parallel. Build up from the bottom, the pelvic floor, the abdomen, relaxing the shoulders. And here we go. Here.

Inhale, exhale. It's work. Inhale, resist it. In two, three I'm going to give you another visual. Your thighbone at the top of your thighbone, there's two balls there. The heads of your femur.

As I press my two legs away, those balls of your femur actually come closer together. So sometimes if you, if you feel like you're really working hard in your feet, if you take the information and bring it more proximal, like more to the center of your trunk, when you push your legs out, you can actually imagine that the balls of your femur are pulling in and then resisted, resisted, resisted. So you wonder why I'm pressing right here or pushing my hand. Not Pushing, but why I'm pointing right here. This is your hip joint. Your hip joint. If you look on a skeleton is oh about a half of fingers, distance from your pubic bone. So you, our hip joints are here. So when we feel things back here, those are muscles.

The ball and socket occur right here. If I had a skeleton, I show it to you, but we don't need to have time to do that right now, so I encourage you to go back and look on your anatomy book and see that that's where your hip joint is. Okay? Five times in a row, the legs push out, the balls kind of pulled together. Inhale and then resist, resist, resist, inhale, and then resist. If you raise your eyebrows, sometimes it helps you. I feel like that's what I do here towards the end of the workout and then return yourself in one more time. Press out in hold, hold which leg is pressing harder? It doesn't really matter. They both are really working and then resist yourself all the way.

You put all the weight on your right leg. Step backwards and step all the way down. Bring yourself around to the other side. Take your leg on the stable surface first. We're just going to keep it on these two springs here.

We're not going to go and put it on the three red ones again cause we've already done that. So I'm going to step it carefully and safely on this non movable surface and put my leg on the reformer. Gonna make a connection back here through my buttocks. My shoulders are up in back, crown in my head, reaching long. All those different connections we've made through all our different segments. And here we go. Push two, three and then release two, three.

You know that this spring will be too heavy if your pelvis does this because you're trying to use something else to push out. So put your hands right here and feel those muscles work and resist your pelvis and your spine changing any possession two more times. Inhale, push, exhale, resisting. Last time, push last time. Resist in and then step down. And there you have it. Slow workout connected, making some additional key connections.


4 people like this.
One of the best level 1 classes!
4 people like this.
Karen you are the best! Such an amazing teacher/educator You are one of my favorites on Pilates Anytime because I learn so much from everyone of your classes. .
1 person likes this.
Thank you Karen- really enjoyed the exercise links between the kneeling chest expansion and one- arm trunk rotation- and then again from the facing- front position. Great transitions!
1 person likes this.
This really has helped w/my new clients, especially handy the first month introducing the fundamentals in such a clear, orderly, yet fun way.
2 people like this.
wonderful, thank you! I would like to underline what Karen Monteith said here before me: I love your way of teaching because there is always a lot to learn. You point at the little essentials that make clear where the focus of the movement lies, and what would work against that!
1 person likes this.
Love Karen's attention to detail and deliberate movement. I work with a lot of older adults and always find these fundamental classes to be of such benefit to myself and my clients.
1 person likes this.
I learned so much from this!
1 person likes this.
Curso muy interesante. Información y explicaciones muy valiosas. Didáctico y ameno. He aprendido mucho. Muchas gracias Karen y Pilates Anytime.
1 person likes this.
Always great to revisit fundamentals. I have a multilevel reformer class and my more advanced students can really check in on their form and push for even better alignment with your cues!
Karen Sanzo
Brenda, thanks for taking the time to comment. It was fun to create a series where the classes can build on each other.
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