Class #1301

Sculpting Reformer

55 min - Class


Courtney Miller returns with a Reformer workout that will make you sweat. She teaches a sculpting class that includes many different exercises and variations. She adds Hand Weights to increase the intensity and she reminds us how important it is to maintain the quality of movement.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Hand Weights

About This Video

Nov 18, 2013
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Hi, guys. Courtney Miller here. I've got a really fun workout planned for you today. It's a little cooler outside here today at Pilates Anytime, so this workout is definitely gonna warm you up, probably gonna make you sweat. It's a Pilates sculpt class and I'll be using weights.

That's totally up to you if you'd like to use weights or not for your workout. I have five pound weights. They're a little heavy but feels good to get that burn. You could use five pounds, two pounds, or none at all. So just listen to your body and remember you can always progress to a heavier resistance once you start to feel stronger.

We are going to begin today with some leg and foot work, one of my favorite things to start with. I have a pretty heavy spring tension on because of the Pilates sculpt nature of the workout, so I have three red springs and one blue. Again, please work up to that level if that's not appropriate for you to start at. Just take that blue off. I also have a high bar position.

It's gonna give me a little bit more of a crease when I go into hip flexion. And for me, I have the headrest up all the way, but set it up for yourself. Let's get started. So grabbing the weights, lying down on the back. Heels of the feet will begin onto the foot bar, head onto the head rest, shoulders snug against the shoulder blocks, and neutral pelvis here.

I'm gonna begin by taking my arms to goalie post position, feet are flexed. Breathe in to press all the way out, pressing the weights over your chest, navel in towards the spine. Exhale, resist to come in. Let's pick up the tempo a little bit here with an inhale and an exhale. Press out and resist in.

So don't let those springs boss you around, especially during this series where the tension is heavy. Make sure that you are in control, you are pulling your hips towards your heels, knees in line with the toes. About 10 to 12 of each variation here. Again, you can always build your endurance as you continue this video. We'll do two more here and one more variation.

Awesome. So from here, I'm gonna change so that my toes are on, angle my elbows in, take the hands back behind the head. As I press out, I also press up with my arms. In to come in and then all the way out. Really heavy that sacrum.

Be sure to extend the arms and legs completely, going for those long lean muscles. Keeping the chin away from the chest. So remember, we should have a curve in the cervical spine. Be mindful not to draw your chin in towards your chest, keeping the knees in line with the toes, and heels lifted nice and high. Use your breath to connect through your abdominal muscles.

Keep the shoulders anchored. So even though my shoulders are against the blocks, I still feel my lats keeping them in place. Last time like this. Keep the arms up, bend the knees to come in. Open the stance, second position.

As I press out, I open the arms. Be careful the ribs don't flare here. And then draw everything in. So it's an open and pull. Lift and squeeze.

Tailbone heavy. And again, encourage those vasti muscles to engage. You are pressing all the way out here. Don't sell yourself short. Legs are long.

Heels are high. And resist the arms and the legs as they come back into the starting position. Pull in. Again, 10 to 12 of each variation. We'll do two more here.

Stretch. Be mindful how low you send those arms because if they go too low, the ribs will pop. Bringing it all the way in, bringing the feet in, and the elbows in. Bicep curls with releve. As I lower my heels, I squeeze and then I lift.

Down and up. I'm hugging the midline. My abductors are engaged, the front of my thighs active, my legs are long. As I lower my heels down, I resist. I'm resisting my heels down and I'm resisting the bicep curl.

Last four. Three. Two. And one. Lower the weights and bring the carriage all the way in.

Alright, great. So come on up, let's place the weights down and we're gonna take some tension off for the next series. I'm gonna do mine with a single red. You could do a green spring as well. I still have high bar position.

Carefully step your feet onto the carriage with your hands onto the foot bar. Feet are together, toes are hanging off so you can wrap your toesies like a little bird on a perch. Heels of the hands shoulder width, wrap the fingers around, scoop the belly in and up, drop the head down. So I am pulling on the foot bar to get this stretch behind my scapula, navel in and up. Then I press down onto the foot bar to lift my sacrum.

I grow energy through the top of my head. Soften the knees here if you're feeling too much tension in the hamstrings, and let's flow. It's an exhale, pull on the foot bar, assisted flexion here, shoulders stretch. And then inhale. This is a really tough muscle group to stretch, those rhomboids, traps.

And we've got a lot of great upper body work coming up, so we're preparing them. Two more. Exhale, flex scoop. Again, I'm pulling the foot bar, I'm using it to assist on the elongations of my back body. Last time.

From here I hold the scoop. Now I'm gonna have to press onto the foot bar though and get some energy into those hands. Keeping my shoulders directly over my wrists, it's an exhale to press and hold. Inhale, resist to come back in. Now this is much harder than it looks.

Exhale, press and hold. And inhale, come in. So if your carriage is not moving very much yet, that's okay. You will get stronger. But this is working those abdominal muscles more in a eccentric capacity, less concentric, which typically they are fused.

So we exhale, press hold. I also feel my shoulders. Be careful yours don't end up by your ears. Press. Let's just do two more, working right around six to eight of this variation.

Navel still in and up. Exhale to press and resist. Inhale to lengthen into your flat back position. Walking the feet back, toes are gonna end up just about at the head rest, feet together. Shoulders are over wrists.

Breathe in to press the shape back. Again, we're gonna add a little hold. Navel in and up, squeeze those inner thighs. Exhale to pull shoulders over the foot bar. Breathe in to press out and exhale to pull.

So remember, our theme today is Pilates sculpt, so we are really working those deep core muscles, shoulders right over the wrists. Inhale. And exhale, pull. I want you to consider here you're almost doing a lat press. So what is pulling you forward are those strong back muscles, the ones that you were just stretching in our C curve.

Exhale to push. And all the way back. Last three. Slight posterior tilt here, guys, and don't be afraid to activate through your glutes a little bit, they are part of your stabilizers for your back body. On this next one, we come almost all the way forward but not quite.

Elbows into the body, eight push ups. One. One shape down, one shape up. Two. Three.

By hugging the elbows in, we activate more triceps. That's our halfway mark. Five. Six. Seven.

And eight. Hike the hips up to bring the carriage in, stand in the center for a quick little wrist stretch, lean back. Great job. From here, go ahead and grab one of your weights and place it down. You may or may not use this during the exercise, totally up to you.

Stepping the feet back against the shoulder blocks, pivot, and turn the feet over to one side. Take the hand to the center, grab ahold of the weight, and thread the needle. Stabilize your shoulder girdle, begin to press the carriage out. As you do, you sweep the arm up. Look up, squeeze the inner thighs, hold the position.

Exhale, thread the needle again. So the weight is what's leading here. Scoop the hips, flex the spine, weight is back. So in your home base position, there's not a lot of pressure onto that stabilizing rest. It's an inhale to sweep open and an exhale to scoop.

So the great thing about the weight here is it actually helps to facilitate the rotation through the center spine. Remembering that the majority of our rotation is through our middle thoracic spine. Inhale. Exhale, arm, breath. Using that sequence.

Inhale, pelvis forward, reach. Exhale, flex scoop. Let's do three more here. The safest place for the stabilizing shoulder is down and back. So check out yours, make sure that that shoulder that's holding you up is not lifted or forward.

Scoop. Last time like this, inhale. Now you could just hold here. You could intensify by taking the leg up or even still take a balance. Breathe and hold.

Hold and breathe. Four, three, two. Leg comes down. Finish the way you started, flexing the spine to bring the carriage in. Place the weight, take a stretch if you like.

It's gonna decompress the wrist, and let's do the other side. From this side, you'll be able to see what I mean about stabilization of the shoulder in the down and back position. Grab ahold of the weight, scoop the belly in and up. In my home base, I can let go. So my weight is over my legs.

On an inhale, the shoulder stays still in place, I press the carriage out, I hold. So my shoulder's down and back, hips are lifted. Exhale, the arm goes, the ribcage draws up. I use my breath to pull my feet in and under. Inhale, press reach.

Exhale. Now if your carriage is slamming into the stopper each time you come in, it's because you're pulling too much with your arm and not enough with your core. So see if you can press this way, check it out. Yes. Exhale, scoop.

And inhale, open. Remember, you can progress up to using the weight but it does give you that tactile reminder to rotate through your center spine. Last three. Inhale, open it up. Last two.

And open it up. Last one. Option to hold. Take the foot onto the thigh or to advance, take a star. Hold it.

Hips up high, use those obliques. Five, four, three, two. Place the foot and exhale, finish how you started. Turn the toes forward, enjoy a nice little decompression for those wrists, and let's move on. Very good.

I'm gonna keep the one red spring on, move the foot bar down to mid position in preparation for what's to come. One of the things I love about this workout is I did not program in a lot of loaded flexion, so we're not doing a ton of flexion or crunches with a lot of heavy weight from behind us. With that said though, you should be activating your core muscles with everything that we do. So feel those abs work. Come into a kneeling position with my feet hanging off.

One foot comes forward. Now I still have my red spring on. If you guys want to change to a blue, by all means. Remember, quality of movement over weights, always. Taking the arms out to the letter T, coming back to center.

Taking the arms straight up over head and back to center. And then taking the knuckles down, going on a V or upside down Y position. I call this exercise Cheer. So we go out to a T with your pom poms, close those ribs, up to the sky, and then lead with the knuckles backhand. And let's repeat.

Not only am I toning my shoulders but I feel a lot of work through my center body. It's quite challenging to balance in this proposal position. I would say five to eight sets here. Each set has three positions. At any time, if you need to take the weight down, please do.

Remembering that a blue spring, although it's lighter, will make the carriage less stable. So always be mindful of your balance. Last set here, to the T. To the I, all the way up. And to the upside down Y.

Now we're not done with those rotator cuff muscles yet. Place the hands onto the shoulder blocks to find your stability, feet hooked to help you with that. Grab ahold of the plastic part of the rope, angle the elbows in. 90 degree bend in the elbows, turn the palms up, abs in, external rotation. And in.

And in. Take your time. This is a smaller movement, it's more refined, so don't be in a rush. Exhale. Adding little pauses will help you to feel those muscles.

This is a smaller range of motion here so let's work up to 10 if you can. And come back. Last three. I love these for toning. Two.

Last one. I'll uncross the straps, hold onto the loops, getting ready to do the cheer series on the other side. I like to place my hands onto something stable as I come into that proposal position or lunge. Rise on up. Exhale, out to the T.

Inhale, back. Exhale, all the way up, biceps by the ears. And then knuckles lead. Now just because you did this on the other side doesn't mean that you've mastered it yet. So be prepared for one side to feel weaker or one side to feel more wobbly or less stable.

So always keep that awareness in presence. Exhale, up. Knuckles lead as I pull back. To the T. Notice that my wrists are staying long and straight.

To the I. Oh, the second side's a little harder. To the upside down Y. One more set. Straight out.

Straight up. And back. And because it's so important, especially for those of us who like the toning type of process to work those deeper level one, level twos, we are gonna do a second set of the external rotation. Hug the elbows into the body, turn the palms out, stabilize from the center, and press. What's so great about these two exercises, them together in combination is you can clearly feel the difference between working our fight or flight muscles, those larger muscles that move you through life, and those stabilizing level twos.

Little bit deeper. And like I said, a little bit more refined. Last five. Stay with it. Four.

Three. Two. And last one like this, one. Excellent. Go ahead and hook up those straps.

Roll the shoulders out, releasing any tension from the back. I'm gonna leave the bar in mid position, add a spring. I have a red and a blue for this series. I think that that will work well for you as well, but play with your tension. We're gonna work the glutes and some coordination and stability.

Kneeling, so my knees are right underneath my hips, placing the hands onto the headrest, taking one foot back behind you. Now I place the heel of my foot on the foot bar and my toes on the thinner gray bar, but again you can play with it. Do make sure that your heel makes contact. That'll help you get into your hip extensors. Bending the knee and exhale, pressing.

Now I want to show you something that can commonly go wrong here. So I can have the illusion that I'm working my glute but I'm actually into my hip flexor. So keep that knee right underneath your pelvis and focus on pushing away with your heel and glute. Last two like this. Might feel easy.

Don't worry, we're adding on. Grab ahold of the weight, opposite hand to leg, elbow hugs in, press out. Now I have my forearm gently pressing against the shoulder block. It helps to stabilize me. This exercise could also be done with your stabilizing arm on top of the shoulder block.

Gonna elevate the chest a little bit, so you pick what's best for your client or for your body. Now let's stay out here and pulse the arm. It's purely tricep, up, two, three, four. Energy through the crown of the head. Last two.

One. I scoop the arm under when I come in, I open to a T. Inhale. Remember, pressing through the heel will activate through the seat. So important here.

Press. Eight to 10 reps here works well. And press. Last two. Keep that head up.

Last one. And bring it in. Place the knee, shell stretch, regroup. We have to do it again. We want to be equally toned on both sides.

We'll start with both hands on. Again, I place the heel and my toes, play with it, press out. Sometimes I even take a second to settle into it, shoulders are down, breathe into bend, exhale to press. The energy is driving down through my heel. My leg is in external rotation, ribs are up, sternum lifted.

So think of all the great cues that we use during our planking or long stretch. In to come in. Exhale to press. Last two. And last one.

Let's go into the arm variations. Grab the weight. It's gotta be the opposite arm to leg, extend. And press. Remember, we're going to full length of the arm and the leg without locking the knee or the elbow.

So we encourage the muscles around the knee joint and elbow to engage, like an elastic band, but not to lock. Last three. Two. Last one. Hold it.

10 little pulses. Up, up, lift. Try to see if you can get that arm higher than your hip. Five, four, three, two, one. Bring it in and under.

And eight times, one. And two. Tons of obliques here. Three. Four.

Five. Three more, stay with it. Get your energy from your breath. Last two. And last one.

All the way out. Weight goes down. You've earned it, take a stretch. So in the last series, we talked so much about the fundamentals and the positioning of plank. Now we're really gonna put it into action.

I'm gonna take that blue spring off, hands onto the shoulder blocks. Set the shoulders down your back. I'm gonna give you two options here. First variation, place the toes onto the gray platform, press out. Once you find your stability, take the other foot to meet it.

I'm in a turn out, first position, heels together, abs are in. I press out and I pull back in. Not unlike the long stretch that we just did earlier facing the other direction. In to push, exhale to pull. Inhale to press forward, exhale to pull.

Last three. Go for the length here, guys, long spine. Two. Slight posterior tilt in the pelvis. One.

Lower the knees, take a little break. Now you can continue the next variation with the feet onto the gray platform or you can amp it up a little bit. Up to you. Take one foot onto the foot bar, press out. So again, before you just jump into the position, anticipate what's gonna happen.

I know the weakest link in my plank is my center so I'm gonna scoop it up knowing that I'm gonna need that support from underneath. The other foot goes back, I'm still in first position. Now we can repeat the pushing and the pulling. Or for a different variation, we can add a pike. Flex the spine to come in and lengthen out.

Now I'm pretty picky in my pikes. I don't want them to be hip flexor dominant. So check it out, guys, this is not what I'm doing. I'm trying to tuck my chin and sequentially articulate my spine. From neutral into a C curve.

Let's do two more. Last one. Be careful as you come off here, I know you're tired. One knee down first, control the carriage in, and then go ahead for that decompression, I pull my body back, scooping the belly in and out. Nice.

Great work, guys. Let's place the weight down. Change to a blue spring, nice and light. Doesn't mean the exercise is going to be easy though. So I call this one Lounging Glutes.

Normally we don't let you lounge in Pilates but you get to for this exercise. Place your elbow and your forearm onto the carriage. Knees are bent in, lift through those lower ribs. So think to yourself, you've probably done something like this in mat Pilates on the elbow and forearm. I grab the strap that's in front, place my top foot in.

Make sure that the strap is closer to the heel. Again, we're trying to engage the hip extensors. Press out long. Now let's just pause and set this up. So I am lifted.

I'm equally long through both sides. My ribs are closed and connected, shoulders down the back. It's as if I'm in a plank position. Light touch on the fingertips. Inhale, allow the leg to sweep forward.

Exhale, pull back. Might feel easy now but just give it a couple of reps. Exhale as you pull. So let's just keep the awareness that we've been talking so much about throughout this class so far. The chest is open, shoulder girdles connected.

I use my deep abdominals and pelvic floors to stabilize my trunk. Energy through the crown of the head. But now we get to add in how the femur is moving deep into the hip socket. As my leg comes forward, I increase the crease in my hip and I feel my femur sit deeper into the acetabulum. As I reach my leg long, I'm pushing towards that foot bar, so I'm certain that after this exercise I will be taller.

I'm opening, I'm decompressing. Exhale, pull. About 10 in each variation here, so this will be my last one. Now I'll bend the knee in towards me and exhale, press. I'm slightly angling the leg back behind me as I push back.

Again, if you want to work your behind, you gotta think about that leg going behind you. Press, squeeze. Energy through my heel and don't forget about that center. In to come in. It's funny, as we get tired, we sort of let the body just rest or release out of the position but that's the worst thing that we can do.

Because the stronger we stay in the middle, the stronger we're gonna be throughout our peripheral limbs. So we need those core muscles to be strong all the time. I'm really feeling it. One more like this. Take the leg forward, angle the toes down, and pulse.

10, nine. Slight internal rotation. Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Bend it in and take it out. Let's take a stretch before we do the other side.

So hooking the strap up, sitting nice and tall, flex the foot, place it above the knee, sit really tall, open the heart, hinge forward. You can grab ahold onto the bottom of the reformer frame, breathe into the back and sides. Wait for that hip to release and let's repeat on the other side. Great job. You'll be able to see from this side the stabilization in my back and shoulders.

So take a look. I come elbow and forearm on. My elbow is engaged to the back of the shoulder block here. Pressing down through my hand as well. I press out, it's my top foot that goes in.

It's seemingly light in the beginning. Energy out through my foot, energy out through the top of my head, abdominals, and stay lifted. Inhale, sweep the leg. Exhale as you pull. The leg only goes as far forward as the pelvis can stay in neutral, so if the shape of my body's changing, I know I've gone too far.

Alright? So everything's open and engaged. About 10 in each variation here. And press. So what's the difference between doing this series lying down on the carriage and propping yourself up?

This takes more awareness. I have to keep my shoulder down my back and engaged. I have to keep my ribs lifted, pelvic floor in. My pelvis is not on the mat as much as it would be if I was side lying, so it's so much more work through my stabilizers to hold the shape. Last two.

Last one. Bend and extend. The knee comes in, oh, it's a little bit of a break but we're not done. Press and squeeze. In to come in, exhale to press.

Bend in and push. I'm angling my heel slightly back so that I can really feel that squeeze in my seat. The more you feel it now, the more you feel that burn, the more you're gonna get the lift. Press. Keeping the foot about hip height, guys, don't let it droop.

Last three. And two. Neck is long. Last one. Sweep the leg, internally rotate.

10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Bring it in and rise up for your stretch again. Excellent. Plant the feet onto the ground, flex the foot, grow tall, lift up to go over. Grab ahold of the bottom of the carriage and breathe.

We are doing great. Now that our wrists have had a little bit of a break, I want to take it back to that plank. We can do it, stay with me. So one red, one green, whichever works best for you. Try the series out, you might need to adjust it midway.

I have a red on, it's gonna be kind of tough. Let's do high bar position. We have some knee stretches to do. So standing again carefully onto the carriage, heels of the hands on, walking the feet back. I'm gonna be in a high releve.

Now I'm not sure how well you can see this from here but just be careful of this, guys. I'm exaggerating it, but even weight onto your big toe and baby toe, it's so important. Breathe in to press out. I'm in a long line, I'm in a plank. I press the carriage out, bend my knees forward and underneath me, and press.

My breathing is exhale to pull, inhale to push. Exhale to pull, inhale to push. Elbows soft. Stay low. You could balance a lime on the low back.

It wouldn't spill off, it wouldn't spill side to side. Five here. Four. Three. Two.

And one. Hips up. Quick little break. Single leg variation. Bend the knee in towards you, press the carriage out, get low.

As one knee comes in, the other presses out. 10. Nine. Level the hips, exhale to pull. Six.

Five. Head is up. Four. Three. Now don't give up, we're not done.

Two. There's one more thing we're gonna do. One. Lift up, lean back, tap, and kick. Tap and kick.

It's like a three legged dog, tap and kick. Last five. Lean back. Four. Don't make it an arm exercise.

Three. Two. And one. Place the foot. Carriage goes back, hips go down.

Bring the knee in, bend and in. Bend and in. The heavier the resistance, the more supportive. Stay with it. Press.

Elbows are soft, abdominals engaged. Four. Three. Two. And one.

Carriage in, leg up. Tap and kick. Let that hip open up. Weight over the standing leg. Use your core to stabilize.

Last five. Four. Three. Two. One.

Take it down, and let's lean back, give it a nice little stretch. Well done. Before we move onto the next series, turn around, take a seat onto the foot bar. So this exercise, tendon stretch, could be done on a red or on a blue. Lighter is harder.

I'm keeping mine on a red. Feet together. Abs are in, carriage stays. Squeeze the foot bar from here, lift up. Alright, guys.

So we are gonna become a human boomerang. The axis of movement is right here so the only pivot point is right in my shoulder. I use my abdominals to press, hips forward. Exhale, hips up. So there's no momentum.

I'm using my core in both directions, not just the up. Inhale, exhale. Let me show you a common mistake. That. More is not better, so keep it controlled, maintain that C curve, push.

And lift. Now if this is scary, because it is a little intimidating, you can always abort the mission by taking a seat if you need to and then rejoining. Last three. Last two. Chin to chest.

And one. Take a seat. We're almost there. Roll those shoulders out, roll the wrists out, coming back to the glutes. Moving the bar down to mid position.

I'll be doing this on one red and one blue. Grab ahold of those weights, head rest is down. Lying onto your back. Heels of the feet are on, not unlike how we started today's session. Pressing down into the weights, heels of the hands on.

So this takes away my ability to stabilize using my arms and forearms. I have to stabilize through my core and back stabilizers. Neutral pelvis to begin, guys. Press down to the weights, lift up. Maintain neutral, breathe in.

And then exhale, lower the hips down. So I'm not articulating. Inhale. Exhale, press down to lift up. Inhale, hold.

And then exhale, release the hips down. Notice the carriage is staying to the stopper, so try that. Lift up, pull your hips, your sit bones, to your heels. Give it a squeeze and then release down. One more time.

Press down to lift up, exhale. Inhale. And exhale. Adding on, you knew that was coming, inhale. Exhale, lift up.

One leg comes to tabletop, leg extends to the sky. I lower almost all the way, press lift eight times. Two. Three. Pushing from my heel.

Four. Five. Pushing into the weights. Six. Seven.

And hold for eight. Place the heel. Other leg, take your time, feel that stretch up. Inhale. Exhale, up one.

Keeping the carriage in, two. Try to get that leg straight to the sky. Three. Chin away from the chest. Four.

Notice how I can clearly speak here. Five. My cervical spine is not compromised in any way. Six. Seven.

Triceps engaged. And eight. Place the foot. Let's articulate down one vertebra at a time. We're doing great.

Drawing the legs to tabletop one at a time, grabbing ahold of the weights, turning the palms down. Nod the chin to prepare, exhale scoop. Inhale as you extend one leg long, exhale to switch. And switch, switch. And switch.

Tailbone heavy. For five, four. Just keep reaching to those weights. Three. Two.

One. Turn the palms up. Extend the legs as you bicep curl, come back through center. There we go, guys, reach. Exhale.

Focus on those kneecaps, reaching the legs long and away from the body as you resist the arms in towards the earlobes. Last four. Three. Two. And one.

Hold it. Flip the palms, reach the arms up. Bring everything in, everything out. If you need a break, you take one. I'm gonna keep teaching.

Reach. Make it your own. Reach. To advance it, reach back. And reach.

Keep those abs in. Deep core engaged. Last three. Two. And one.

Hold it. Circle it around, reach to the ankles, repeat. Hold it, circle it around, reach the ankles, repeat. Hold it, and circle. You see how I scoop up higher?

Even if you physically are not lifting, flexing more here, visualize it. Breathe. And do your best to lift. One more. And scoop.

And take the whole thing down, awesome. Rock the knees from side to side. Okay, easy exercise done. Now we'll get to the hard stuff. I'm totally joking.

It's all hard. So now that we're really into our core, let's go back to some standing exercises. I'm gonna move the bar to its flat position and I'm gonna have one green spring on here. It's a little heavier than a single spring. You could do one red or you could do a spring and a half as well.

So weights in hands for this one. Standing work. Be careful when you come onto the reformer, guys. We always stand onto the most stable part first, gray platform, and then onto the moving surface second. I have my feet just towards the edges, toes point forward, parallel stance.

Hands down, chest is open. I push the outer edges of my feet here to get the carriage to press out. Holding it is not easy. Now nice flat back as you hinge forward. And then exhale, recruit those hamstrings, pull back up, and then resist to come back in, okay?

So I push to the knife edge, the outer edge of my foot, arches engaged, flat back. This is a great flexibility exercise for the hamstrings as well as concentric work to getting back up here and return. Press out. Arches alive, hinge. I want you to go back to that place in your head where we did all that plank work.

Keep those abs engaged. Stay aware. Hinge. I love doing standing work, it's so functional. And pull.

We'll do two more here, so nice flat back. The weights actually facilitate this stretch. I've gotta control it, then I use my hamstrings to pull myself back up and back in. Last time like this, press out. Nice flat back.

Bringing the carriage all the way in each time. From here, bend your elbows, get low. Press into the heels, roll the shoulders open, draw the abs in. Pressing the carriage, lifting the arms, resisting to come back in. Again, I could balance books on the top of my head here.

That's how steady I am. The lower you go, the harder it is. Do your best to go for length in that carriage leg. Press, pause, resist to come in. Press, pause.

I definitely feel that stabilizing leg too. Arches are alive, I can't say that enough. The arch of your foot is your key to your pelvic floor. So keep it active. Last three.

Energy through the heels. Two. And one. Now the carriage doesn't come all the way in, just 75% of the way. Take the arms back behind you, hinge forward, pulse the arms up.

Three, two, one. Don't move the carriage, lift, hold. Do that again. Arms higher than the hips. Three, two, one.

Lift, hold. Very good. Hinge, three, two, one. Stabilize that carriage, lift, hold. Last two.

Press, press, press. Power through the seat. Last one, this is a sculpt focus and now you're feeling it. Hold, circle the arms. Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one.

Take it down. Roll it out, let's do the other side. That was great. Careful as you come off, come around to the other side. The safest way to get on is the same way you got off, vice versa.

So pay attention to every move you do. Foot on, foot on, energy through the outer part of the foot. So I press out. So I'm going to where I can stabilize the carriage but also stabilize my pelvis. If I anteriorly tilt to go further, then I've lost the essence, okay?

So find that neutral. Hinge forward, flat back. Hinge back up, bring the carriage in. My legs are straight, my spine is straight, head in line with the spine, and up. So I'm using my outer thighs to press and hold.

I'm using my hamstrings eccentrically to lower, concentrically to lift, and I am using my abductors to pull myself back in, not the spring. Press, hold. Hinge. Hamstring stretch. Pull.

Use the glutes. And return. Last two. Press. Hinge.

Scoop. And lift. One more. Legs first. Torso hinge.

Pull it up, pull it in. Bend the elbows, bend the knees, get low. Slight diagonal hinge, press and pull. Apply all of your biomechanics, all of your Pilates principles. The more we are aware of alignment, the stronger we are.

Abs in. Facilitate with the breath. Exhale. And press. Last five.

And four. Starting to burn in those delts a little. Three. Definitely feeling the seat. Two.

Carriage almost all the way in, arms back. Hinge forward a little bit more. Three presses. One, two, three. Carriage stays as you lift.

Arms back, one, two, three. Awesome. Really open up the pecs here, reverse all that tension and tightness we had through the front of the body because of everything that we do, whether it's computer work, on our smartphone, on our tablet. Open it up, reverse it. And up.

Last time. One and a two, three. You're up to circle. Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Bring it in and take it down.

Well done. Just when you thought it couldn't get any harder, we've got snake. Weights go down. Now this exercise could be done in low bar position or a little bit higher, and I'm gonna tell you the difference and what's better for you. I've got one red spring on.

So if I were to put the bar in flat position, the angle of energy is gonna change here, making it either more difficult or less difficult as I execute this exercise. Hand on, hand on. Foot on, okay? So in the lower bar position, there won't be so much weight onto my arms, my hips are not as high. Inhale, press out on the diagonal, little thoracic extension.

Exhale, in. Let's do four like this. Press out. And scoop in. So this would be a good place to start, inhale, if this is a new exercise for you.

One more. Inhale. Exhale. Be careful as you dismount, guys. Or increasing the level of difficulty.

So as you see, now I have more of an angle, there's gonna be more movement, more support required for my shoulders. So if the first variation worked well for you, try that again. Otherwise, hand, hand, foot. Alright, it's gonna be a one, two, three, and you're up. Okay?

So now a lot more weight on my arms. Inhale. Now especially here I have to be careful. Don't let those hips go too low, guys. The extension is through the thoracic spine.

Inhale, chest open. Exhale. Last two. Last one. As you come off, be careful.

Awesome. It's a tough one. I told you that, no surprises. Alright, carefully come into a kneeling position, one weight in hand. Grab ahold of the rope.

Arms out, abs in. Interlace your fingers. Keeping the hands about chest height, rotate away from the foot bar. Exhale towards the foot bar. Inhale.

Now I still have a red spring on but remember, you're making it your own. Exhale. Less can certainly be more sometimes. Twist. Chin up, collar bones wide, twist.

Our rotation comes from our center body. Think about all the things you love to do. Tennis, golf. We have to rotate to do these things. So if you're getting tired, go to your happy place.

Inhale, exhale. Let's do two more. I definitely feel my delts. And one more. Well done.

Now just as the rotator cuff group is so important for the integrity of the shoulder joint, the abductor group is so important for the flexibility and strength of the pelvis. So let's do a little abductor work. Inch your way over to the shoulder blocks. One foot goes onto the rail. I like to have my lower calf against something.

If you have any knee concerns, you could always put a pillow or something underneath your knee. Make sure you feel stable here. Now the more this leg goes away from the carriage, the deeper the angle, the more I'm gonna have to work. So make it your own. Arms go out in front just as they were before.

Now watch what happens. I pull with my knee that's stabilizing, then I imagine a green apple resting right here. There's no more movement. The movement now comes from the knee pulling under me. And exhale.

And as the knee pulls under, it's amazing, I get this sense of lift or traction. My spine feels longer, pelvic floor certainly engaged. Exhale, pull. Choose the weight that's best for you. If this feels like a 10 out of 10 on level of difficulty, go to a blue.

Inhale. Exhale, pull. Last four. Three. Two.

And one. All the way in. Good, and release. Well done. Let's do the other side.

You may have blocked it out of your memory but we did start with snake. So here we go again. I'd like to do the low bar variation. This might be best for many of you, okay? So it's all the way down here.

I've got a red. You could do this on a green, absolutely. My hands, so I get those in position first. I like to place the webbing of my thumb against the shoulder block. Totally great to do it up here onto the actual shoulder block top as well.

Opposite hand is here, the foot comes on. Find this, okay? Then count in your head one, two, three. Commit to it. You're up.

Inhale, press out. Exhale, hips up. Inhale, press out. Hips up. Inhale, press out.

One more. And scoop. Foot comes off, regroup. Second set could be exactly the same or with the bar higher. Higher will be harder.

Four of them. We can do it. We can do anything four times. Arm, arm, foot. Okay, I'm gonna have to commit.

One, two, three. Leg is up. Inhale, press out. Scoop in. Inhale, press out.

Scoop in. Two more. Thoracic extension and mind that pelvis, guys. Press. And scoop.

Foot down. You've made it. Let's do that rotation. We'll need a weight for that. Kneel right in the center.

Grab ahold of the rope, abdominals are engaged, arms out to the sides. Interlace the fingers, rotate away from the foot bar. Exhale. And inhale. Go for the length here.

Pull those ribs down through the front of the body and twist. So you see, we've really come full circle here. We've worked a lot of (mumbles) movers, our fight and flight muscles. We've also taken the time to move our spine through all the ranges of motion, and worked the muscles that help to maintain strength and flexibility, and some of the joints that are weakest in the body like the shoulder. Inhale.

And twist. One more here. And twist. Go ahead and place the strap down. Take your time as you inch closer to the shoulder blocks, placing the foot onto the rail.

You might need something sticky for your foot here, so make sure you feel like you have a good connection. Go ahead and take those arms out in front. Remember, the more you bend into this knee, the further you are away from that foot bar, the harder it is. Abductor work, pull. Balance an apple on the top of your head and grow taller with each pull.

And squeeze. Keep those arms up, they're working too. And squeeze. Last five. Four.

Three. Two. One. Slide it away and come off. We're close.

This is the home stretch. Take a seat onto your foot bar. One red still, low bar position. Alright. So here we are, sitting onto the foot bar, placing the hands onto the shoulder blocks, and taking the arches of the feet onto the foot bar.

I'm in external rotation here. This will remind you of a mat exercise. Squeeze those shoulder blocks, open up the chest. We did so much pec work today, we need to counter it. So inhale in preparation.

Exhale, I press down into my arms, tuck the tail, lift the hips, eye line slightly up where the ceiling and the wall meet. Bring the carriage underneath you. Three times. And back. Great shoulder stretch, guys.

Take your time as you take a seat. Lift the arms. Exhale, flex forward. Maybe the hands reach the foot bar, maybe the gray platform, maybe the carriage. Alright, breathe it out.

Inhale, lateral posterior breath, exhale. We want to be strong but we want to be flexible. Pull the belly back and in. Roll back out two more sets. Hands on, chest open, pec opener, press down.

Strong legs, strong arms. Curl the hips under, push. And neutral pelvis. Scoop. And pull.

Scoop. And pull. Take the seat, take the stretch. Go for it. Forehead down, three breaths.

Let those shoulders melt. Pull the front of the thighs up, squeeze those inner thighs. Last set, roll on up. Hands back, chest open, stay strong. Lift up, curl the pelvis under, contract those abs.

Tailbone presses back, carriage in. Two. And in. One. And in.

Take the seat, lift the arms. This time, cross the wrists and stretch. Opposite hand on top. Take your time, roll on up. I told ya.

It was a cool day here in the studio but we really warmed up, didn't we? What a great workout, guys, you did awesome. Remember to progress as you go. This was a tough one, so add or delete exercises as you need to, add or delete weights, and play with the springs. Make sure that your quality of movement is the most important.

Thank you for watching.


15 people like this.
Oh My Goodness !! times 3 :)
this is by far and away THE best reformer workout with weights I have ever seen ~
perfect cueing, perfect progression, just well... Perfect
Thank You times 3
4 people like this.
All I can say is WOW! Looking forward to incorporating this workout with some of my advanced clients.
3 people like this.
Awesome pilates sculpt class! I have been waiting for a new class with Courtney Miller and I am not disappointed! Thank you and please keep them coming!!!
3 people like this.
Totally love this class.
The cuing and execution of exrcises is so amazing. Have been waiting for more classes from Courtney. Much Thanks !
1 person likes this.
Great class. Thank you Courtney!!!
Loved it. So fun, great flow!
3 people like this.
Have not taken the class yet but so happy Courtney has another one.
4 people like this.
Courtney incredible reformer workout! I absolutely love your creativity in all of your workouts and your attention to detail and form is so awesome. Thank you for sharing and hope to see more from you!!
Thank you for the challenge! Great ideas!
4 people like this.
Wow!! Other than the great reformer classes by PA regular instructors, Amy Havens and Merideth & Niedra that I so enjoy--Courtney is my favorite visiting instructor!!!! Always so clear in her cueing, fantastic flow and definitely challenging. Fantastic!!!
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