Class #2286

Challenging Reformer Flow

70 min - Class


Bring your body, mind, and spirit together in this challenging Reformer workout with Rael Isacowitz. He teaches a mindful class that uses precision to make it more intense. After completing exercises like Long Spine Stretch, Star Prep, and others, you will definitely feel like a champion!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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It's great to be back home at Pilates Anytime. A beautiful, gorgeous summer day in California. And I'm here with two of my dear friends, Sarah and Meredith. And what could be better? We're gonna have a great workout on the reformer.

So, ladies, if we could begin with some roll downs. This is a wonderful way to begin a session, to bring your body, mind, and spirit together. We inhale. And exhale as you roll down through the spine. Inhale.

And exhale. As you roll up. Setting yourselves up for the session. Inhale. And exhale as you roll down.

Always imagine the cascading waterfall. So you don't wanna get your chest too close to your legs. Allow space. Inhale and exhale as you roll up. Palms facing each other.

So the palms are facing the body. Inhale and exhale as you roll down. You can see the beautiful articulation of their spine. The softness in their bodies. And inhale and exhale as you roll up.

Three to five of those, and I'll ask them now to step in front of the reformers and they'll do a roll down with a little bit of resistance. Inhale as you roll down, place your hands on the box. And completely roll down and roll out. So you extend the back like a cat stretch. And then exhale as you roll up, pulling in.

We do the same movement on the wonder chair. And inhale. And exhale as you roll down. And inhale. Exhale as you pull in.

You can see from both of them that beautiful mobility of the spine. Inhale and exhale. You see that stretch emanating through the back, going all the way into the shoulders, no tension. And exhale as you draw in with the abdominals, getting that rounding of the spine. And inhale.

Filling this torso with air and exhaling as you reach out. Inhale and exhale. We'll do one more for Sarah so she can calm down. And get into that wonderful laid back California spirit. And exhale as we reach out.

Don't drop the head too low, Sarah. This is perfect. That's it, you're good, you're good. Head right between the arms and exhale as she draws in. Rolls up and complete the roll up as you roll through the upper spine to the head.

Beautiful. If you could take the box, put it around the back of the reformer. And now we sit up. I'm sorry. We're gonna bring the box back.

My lapse. Carrying the box back and forth is part of it. So if you could please set your springs up for footwork. The footwork should be a medium to heavy resistance. Medium to heavy resistance.

As long as you can hold the form, err on the side of a little heavier, rather than too light. If you could sit on the box, ladies, with your legs separated, shins up against the foot bar. Legs wide. We're starting with the spine stretch sitting. Hands behind the head.

And inhaling. And exhale as you roll down through the spine, allowing the elbows to soften here. So the elbows draw the head down. Inhale. And extend the back in that position.

And lift up to center. And inhale. And exhale as you roll down. Allowing the elbows to soften. Inhale, extend the back and lift up to center.

Inhale, prepare, and exhale as you roll down. Inhale as you extend. And exhale. Up to center. Inhale, prepare.

And exhale as you roll down. We're taking a very slow breath pattern here. It's a four breath pattern. Inhale. So you get that extension.

Exhale, lifting up to center. Inhale, prepare. And exhale as you roll down, softening the elbows so you get the rounding of the body. Inhale as you extend all the way out. Exhale, coming up.

Inhale, prepare. Last one, and exhale as you roll down. Inhale as you extend. Exhale as you come up. Inhale, prepare, reverse it.

And exhale. Inhale. And exhale as you roll up the spine. Inhale, prepare. And exhale, reach forward.

Inhale. Rounding, and exhale as you roll up through the spine. Inhale. And exhale, reach for it. Inhale, as you round, and exhale as you roll up through the spine.

Gaining that mobility and inhale, reaching forward. Here, you just have to watch that there's not that overactivity of the back and thrusting of the ribs. And rounding. And rolling up through the spine. Beautiful.

We reach over to the right. Inhale. Exhale, looking up toward the arm. Inhale, bring it back, and exhale to center. And inhale to the opposite side.

Keep the elbow still here as you then exhale. Inhale, bring it back to center. And exhale. Inhale. And exhale.

Keep this arm a little lower, Sarah, so it's more on a diagonal. And then inhale, bring the head to center, and exhale back. And inhale over and exhale looking up and inhale. And exhale. So both of you, when you're here, just watch that this arm doesn't reach too high.

Think of it more on a diagonal so the elbow was there. Simply keep the upper arm where it is. And over, inhale. And then exhale, yes! Right there. And then inhale, and exhale to center.

And inhale as you go over. And exhale, there. And inhale center with the head. And center with the body. One more to each side, looking great.

Inhale. And exhale. And inhale, back to center. And exhale. And inhale.

And exhale, doesn't that feel good? You've got the stability with the lower body, the upper body can really go over and center. Okay, we bring the legs together, keeping the shins up against the bar. So you really want to try and be on the forward part of the box, taking the arms out to the side, palms facing upward. So we slice the air as we roll back.

Exhale, rolling back. Rolling back, rolling back, 'till that lower back just touches the box. Inhale, exhale as you roll forward. When the shoulders are above the hips, we lift up. Take it around, and then slicing the air.

Slice the air, Sarah. So we're slicing the air. Inhale. And yes, I love the smile because you're enjoying the work. And lifting up and around and slicing the air.

And I know this is your favorite and inhale. And exhale. As we roll up. And then lifting up. And around.

And slice the air as you roll. So you're rolling as you're slicing, Meredith. And inhale. And exhale. And then lifting up.

So, Meredith, you've just scooted over a little bit on the box. If you could center yourself, that's gonna be very important. Let's do one more. Sitting on the front part of the box. Even though those shins are pressing against the foot bar.

And exhale. Slicing, slicing. And inhale. And exhale. And lifting up.

Last one, and we stay down there. And slice the air as you roll down. Draw your right leg to your chest. If you need to scoot down on the box a little, that's fine. Draw your left leg in toward the chest.

Take the legs to the ceiling. And we are going to do hamstring pull one. Starting with pulling the right leg toward your chest. The left leg touches the foot bar. I'm sorry.

Almost knocked her off the box. So the leg's on the foot bar. You've got something tangible to pull against. Cradle your leg, Sarah. Cradle your leg and go pull, pull.

And... Notice the stability of these ladies. The trunk is absolutely stable. The pelvis is stable. Not even a hair on the head is moving.

Just the legs are moving. And pull, pull. And pull, pull. And hands behind the head. And hands behind the head.

And pull, pull. Yes, we call this hamstring pull. Too, notice how stable, and it's just that hip flexor pulls the legs in, in and eyes forward. And eyes forward. And eyes forward, eyes forward, and with a rotation, and boom.

Boom, boom. Look at that beautiful rotation. I'm loving it. And pull, pull. And reach.

And legs straight, Sarah. And pause. Draw the knees to the chest. And you can either hold on top of your knees or behind the legs to do a little rocking and rolling up and up. And put the legs down on that little platform.

And roll up through the spine. Good. So we had our roll downs. We had our roll down with the box. Leaving the box on the reformer, we had our spine stretch sitting, either with a two breath pattern or a four breath pattern.

We did the four breath pattern and then of course our tilt and hamstring pull one two and three. Are you feeling a little warmed up? Lovely, if you can take the box behind, and we now set up for our footwork. The footwork is part of the warmup. It is really a transition from the warmup into the main body of the session, starting with the heels on the bar.

Headrest down if possible. And exhale as we push out. And controlling that contraction as they come in. Exhale. And inhale, and exhale, and resisting the spring and exhale.

And inhale. And exhale. And resisting as they come in. And exhale. And there's that resistance.

And exhale to amplify the e-centric contraction. And inhale, and exhale. And inhale, and Meredith is always counting for me. And inhale. And 10.

And reaching in. And let's move to our toes. Very important on the toes to keep the heels still. And exhale. See, if that's Meredith's maximum point of flexion, that is where the heels stay as she bends and exhale.

So you can see how the heels stay absolutely still and the movement is occurring around that ankle joint. Exhale. And inhale. And exhale. And inhale.

And exhale. And inhale. And exhale. And inhale. And nine.

And inhale. And 10. And all we have to do here is bring the heels together. The knees don't go too wide. And exhale as we reach.

And they're maintaining just a beautiful, neutral position of the body. And six, and seven, and eight. And nine. And on the last one, I want just holding it for a moment. To feel that isometric contraction.

Beautiful stability through the body and slowly down. We bring the heels out to the edge of the bar. Again, not opening too wide. But keeping those hip adductors engaged and exhale as you push out. Inhale, and exhale.

And... And I feel their back muscles to make sure that there's not too much tension and at the same time, not going into flexion of the spine. And seven, and eight, and nine. And reaching out. And drawing it in.

You see that stability of the feet? So beautiful. Again, here. Keeping those heels in a stable position as you push out. When the legs are straight, the feet should be in maximum plantar flexion.

Now keep the heels right there. And two, and three. Yes, beautiful. Co-contraction of the abdominals and the extensors of the spine. And six.

And... And eight. And this is just the perfect pace. I love it. And that was 10.

And coming all the way down. And it was lovely Sarah added that little bit of extra elasticity at the end. And our feet are now in a parallel position. We push all the way out. Now we lower for the dorsiflexion and exhale up.

It's not however just passive. It's actively drawing it into dorsiflexion and then up. And it's actively drawing it into dorsiflexion. To work this tibialas, anterior. Extensor digitorum longus.

We want to pull the feet into dorsiflexion. And reach your heels towards me ladies. And... up. How many was that, three?

I know we did more than three. I know how to count, okay. And ready down. Sarah, one more, one more, one more for good measure. Stay there, stay there, stay there.

To make sure. And at the same time, protecting from going into hyperextension using those hamstrings, using the gastrock, and pushing all the way up. And we're going into irenial prances. Staying up there in plonte inflection. Feeling the elegance of this position as you go.

Inhale, and inhale, and exhale, and exhale. And inhale, and inhale, and exhale, and exhale. And inhale, and inhale, and timing, and don't rush but don't go too slow. Inhale, and inhale, and exhale, and I think you're coming into the rhythm. And...

And stay up there, one more time. Okay, just bring your right leg down. Bend your left and bring the right down. Bend your left. No, no, no, stay there.

Take a little stretch. It's okay, yeah, I didn't know quite how to explain that. And... And this feels wonderful and I suggest that you do the stretch with a straight knee and a bent knee. When we have a straight knee, we're stretching the gastrock nemius.

When we bend the knee, we're stretching more the solis. And change legs. So again, we've got that straight knee. Stretching this gastrock. Reaching the heel, and then bending the knee.

And coming down. This is the perfect time to do the prehensile. We've worked so hard. Now we want to stretch the back of the legs, so the whole impetus in the prehensile is pushing the heel under the ball all the time. And exhale as you push and inhale to come down.

And exhale as you push and they do it so well, you can see how the heels are reaching under the ball all the time. In, and four... And five... And six... And you notice the joy in their movement.

They are enjoying this. They're loving it, there's a sense of smile and joy on their faces and I endeavor to say in their hearts. Reach. And one more so you get the stretch such a great position a complex position the prehensile but such a wonderful position. We put the heel of the right leg on the bar take the other one underneath.

I love this position, you could go lighter, at this point but I know neither of them need to. So we're going to leave it on the same setting and exhale as you're pushing out and inhale. And two, And inhale this gives that hip flexor an opportunity to stretch out and four. And five. And six.

And seven. And eight. And down and nine. And down, and ten. And down, and slowly change legs.

Putting it under. And reach out. And always thinking of anchoring the side that you're pushing from. So in Meredith's case, this side thinking of this side of the pelvis being well anchored. Reaching, and down.

And five, and down. And six, and down. Look how relaxed their hands are, that's what I love, check your hands every now and again to make sure that tension is not creeping into your fingers. And we've got nine, and down, and ten. Reach reach reach, don't cut me short.

And coming down, lovely. I'm going to lower by just half a spring if you can go onto your toes, same thing with a leg underneath. But what we're going to do now is as we straighten, the leg will bend and straighten out and then reaching out. And they reach, they straighten at the same time and then reach the bottom at the same. Ready ladies?

And exhale, and inhale. And exhale, and inhale. Well tuned machines. And well tuned instruments! Right here, and reaching up, and down. And five, and down.

And six, and down. And seven, you can feel they've done this before. It's hundreds, hundreds, thousands of hours of practice integrating the movement, integrating the mind and the body. This is not just up and down, this is moving together thank you let's change sides. Ready?

And pushing up, and down. And two, and down. And three, and down. And four, and down. Keeping the heel still, five.

And six. And seven, and eight. I'm going to make sure Meredith keeps her heel very stable. Nine, And reaching up, reach for the sky. And slowly down.

Wow what awesome work! That is our little footwork section. We're going to go into abdominal work. I'm shifting it to a light spring. In fact, I go to light to medium, today I'm going to actually err on the side of lighter, because we've got quite a challenging little surprise coming up. Today, we're going to start with the very typical coordination.

So scoot down just an inch or two from the shoulder rests. Or a centimeter or two for those that are metric. Lifting the legs into a tabletop position, notice there's already some tension in the spring. You are not, they are in the midst of the exercise already the mind is fully immerse, the body is stable. As they exhale to come up, open, close, on that same exhale, inhale, draw the knees in just beyond 90 degrees, continue to inhale.

And exhale, as you move. I saw a little bend in your elbows there Sarah. Inhale as the legs come in, arms go up and exhale. Boom boom! Draw in. I love the work, and exhale.

Look how high they are, look how stable they are as those legs come in, and down, and this is your fifth one go deep, dig deep dig deep. And we're going to do another one for good measure. And out, open close. Now stay there, stay there ladies. Stay there, stay there.

That was the sixth one, stay there. Lift the arms to the ceiling we do a single arm coordination. This is what we call it. The right arm, and the right leg goes out and put the hand up top of the thigh for now, that's a more stable position. And then come in.

Notice the other arm just stays still. Left arm look, absolutely still. And boom, and... Sarah eyes here, eyes here Sarah! Don't look to the heavens! This is where it's happening! And up, and go. Boom! You see how you bent that elbow, yes, caught yourself. Nice long lever, straight arm and keep this one still.

And boom, and lift. And now, lift that arm, lifting, lifting, stay there, stay there, lifting a little higher. A little higher, yes, yes! Sarah I'm coming to you, I'm coming to you Sarah! I'm coming to you, I'm coming to you Sarah! Draw the knees in a little closer, and slowly down. (sighs) They are awesome! Okay, put the feet in the straps ladies. So you push out with one leg, put the other in the strap, we'll keep the same tension, I'm going to work very light with their hip work today.

So the hip work can either be very light or light I'm erring on the side where right now, we're on one spring. We would do one to two. That is the range. One to two, one, one and a half, two. Going beyond two gets too heavy, lighter than one, a little too light.

So from here, and straightening the legs, we're going to start with the down circles as you go down and around. Legs together, and down. And around. And down. And around.

And down. And around. And down. And around. So Sarah you could slow it down just slightly and Meredith you could speed it up just slightly.

Two different personalities, two different internal rhythms. And this is your eighth one, and around. And nine. And around. And ten, but look how beautifully controlled their movement is, they come to that 90 degree angle, pause.

And we reverse it, so we go around one, And up. And two. And up. And three, absolutely perfect hip disassociation, meaning the pelvis is still, quiet in the pelvis, and the movement is occurring in that hip joint. And notice how they bring their heels together.

Even at the expense of keeping the knees slightly bent, bring the heels together. We're going around to the number eight. And around. And inhale, and exhale, nine. And inhale and ten.

Bending into the frog position, so the feet are dorsiflexed. We're going to do what we call the extended frog, very intricate exercise. Exhale as you push, stay in dorsiflexion. Taking the legs out, to the line of the hip joint if you can. Keeping the carriage still as you bring the heels across, and then exhale push.

And inhale taking the legs wide. Bending the knees and, yes. And pushing. I want you to notice how the feet stay on the same plane, as if they're touching water. You're lying underwater and they're touching the surface of the water, and push.

And there and then bending in, bending in, bending in, bending in, bending in bending, oh don't be shy, don't be shy, don't be shy, Sarah! And push, and yes there we go! And reaching and then bending. Yes, yes, I'm just leaning on the foot bar just to protect my own back, okay. And let's reverse it, so we bend. Holding that carried still mass Sarah as you reach out. I'm looking at her face for expression and right here, I'm going to ask you to engage the hamstrings.

Engage those hamstrings! Prior to now, using those hip adapters to squeeze. And I'm feeling if she's feeling if she's working evenly with both her legs and she is she's enjoying this tremendously. There, and then bend! And reaching out. And drawing in, I love that Meredith. You're keeping that hamstring engaged as if you're connecting the upper part of the leg with the lower part of the leg.

Maximizing that long lever of the legs, reaching out and... Bringing it in, (train honks) and bending. And I'm looking again at the expression to make sure it's not too much but that she's rejoicing in the sensation of her hip adapters working working working. And then bending, and reaching out, and oh you two ladies are exceptional. Bring them together, and into a frog position.

I'm going to now add a little spring for them, often you will have to get up and add that spring. But I've asked them to bring their legs up towards their chest, just to allow me to add a little spring. And today I will serve them. So they're in the frog position, this is the short spine, it's simply another extended frog. It's starting from the basic frog position, think of it as another extended frog.

The short spine, as you push out. Exhale. And inhaling as you go over and bring the carriage to a standstill on the stopper. So that as you roll up, you don't have the spring to help you you're keeping that carriage understop at inhale, as you bend, and then exhaling as you roll the back down you cannot go any further, flex the feet and bring the legs across back to that frog position, the spine here is in neutral and exhale as you push. And inhale, make sure your headrests are down, their headrests have been down from the beginning.

And exhale as you roll up. And bending the knees, inhale and exhale. They feel this wonderful stretch here, flexing the feet and taking the legs not, the heels not down, but across using the hip extensors. And exhale as you push, and inhale taking the legs over, bringing the carriage to a standstill, so it's not the spring lifting you, and now articulate the spine as you roll up. Inhale bending the knees, keeping this little bit of tension in those straps Sarah, just enough tension to know that you're on the edge of the spring.

Exhale as you roll down. Inhaling and bring the legs across. And exhale one last one as you push out, inhale bringing the legs across. And exhale, pushing up against my hand. Beautiful and inhale, look at the support here from the back muscles.

Don't think that this is just abdominals, the back is helping here, lifting. That core contraction to support and protect the spine and now, rolling down. And flexing and bringing the legs across. This is a beautiful version of the long spine. So, we push out.

We bring the legs to 90 degrees. From here on out, the carriage stays still as they roll straight up to the ceiling. Again they can not ride the spring here, they have to use their own bodies opening slightly, rolling down again keeping that carriage still. So a lot of control from the hip extensors. This is a very difficult and even precarious exercise so please practice it safely.

And inhale as you come up to 90 degrees. Exhale, they have one and a half springs to give a little bit of support with the springs. The lighter you go here, the more difficult it becomes. And rolling down, rolling down, rolling down. And simply taking the legs down and together keeping that external that Pilates V we commonly call it that Pilates V and inhale to 90.

And exhale as you roll up. Nice Sarah, I love that oh now you're feeling it! And inhale and exhale as you roll- notice that every repetition has become better and better. You need to feel it, this is an exercise where you are truly finding your center. We speak about finding your center, this is it. Finding that center one last one ladies.

I'm just enjoying it so much, watching it. And exhale as you roll up. Look at that height Sarah. And open, don't be shy. And rolling down.

She's using her hamstrings, eccentrically. She lays that pelvis down, anchors the pelvis and then takes the legs around. Beautiful job ladies, if you could bend your legs. Take the feet out of the strap. Put one foot on the ball, the other on the ball, and place the straps on the handles and if you could roll over sideways.

Exceptional work! Exceptional, we're going straight into the full lunge but as a little gift to you today, we're going to start the full lunge with a balance and then go into the full lunge. So, right there, good. Uh I would leave it on the one is that too, good. Okay, yes. We're on one spring, we want one spring here.

I would in the beginning, choose a heavier one spring. The lighter you go the more difficult it is, if you could stand on the carriage. Place your right foot on the shoulder rest. Halfway up. Bring the left foot up to there.

That's exactly how we should mount. And the knee, will be just above the ankle. Take the pelvis nice and low. In this position, it's so important to feel the hamstring of that supporting leg as you lift up into a balanced position. Sink just slightly deeper both of you.

Very nice. Take a couple of breaths here, lower this arm Meredith, yes. Putting the hands on the foot bar, don't change the position of the legs. Keep that back nice and extended and push out with your left leg. Always reaching back with the side that is stretching to maximize the hamstring stretch.

Notice how their pelvis traveled along the same horizontal plane. And bending the front leg, we won't take another balance but sense that chest is lifted Sarah, looking straight forward the knee is exactly above the ankle engaging the back muscles. And reaching forward. Little more back extension. Now bring it in.

Put that left foot on the shoulder rest, so you transition with a front support. Bring the other one up. Taking it slightly back Sarah, beautiful transition, beautiful transition! That transition itself is part of the exercise. It keeps the mind focused. It's so intense.

and if you could now take your balance please. I'm here if you need me. Sink a little lower Meredith, beautiful. Putting the hand on the bar, and reaching out the pelvis travels, it doesn't sink at this point, no. The control is to keep it on that same plane and at this point the pelvis is erring towards an anterior tilt.

They're breathing, deep, deep. And bending that front leg. Coming back into position. Opening the chest, feeling the clavicles separating. And pushing out.

You can see how the head is a continuation of the spine. I absolutely love their alignment, love their alignment! We now bend and go put that right foot against the shoulder rest and lift up into an upstretched position. We're staying on this light spring that makes it even more challenging. Staying here you need to be proficient at the work notice how the head is perfectly aligned between their arms, the back is flat, and both of them managed to keep the carriage on the stopper but if you're taller, not as flexible if the carriage isn't quite on the stopper, that's fine. What I want is for arms to be absolutely stable as they drop the pelvis into a front support and exhale as they lift up.

I've got her shoulders simply sitting in my hands. Inhale, I don't feel them pushing this way or pulling that way. And exhale. Lot of abdominal support yet, inhale, look how Sarah is thinking of those abdominals and exhale. And inhale as you reach down, little deeper, and exhale.

And inhale and stay there. Five pec push ups as you open the elbows and push up. And open, lower the pelvis slightly Meredith. And push up, keeping the carriage as still as possible. And one more, and up take the pelvis up to the ceiling put the feet flat and we do an elephant in the same position using those extensors, the co-contraction between the flexors of the spine and the extensors of the spine.

And exhale. Movement occurring around one joint and that is the hip joint. Exhale. I want it a little more dynamic ladies. I want it exhale and pull, and pull, and pull! And pull and pull and pull and pull.

And pull, hold it, hold it, hold it. Bending the knees and slowly dismount. If you could turn around and we're going to go into the long back stretch. Long back stretch is a beautiful exercise, I want you to truly see it as step up, a more advanced move, but you'll see how this brings the arm strength, the upper body strength the articulation of the spine all into play. The lower body, the extensor of the hip.

So we'll do three in one direction and then we'll reverse it. We'll start by going down, so putting the feet against the shoulder rest. If you're short, certainly put a foam roller or something a box so that you are close to the foot bar. As you inhale, the elbows travel directly back. And exhale as you scoop, lifting, keeping the gaze forward as they draw in like a tendon stretch it goes all the way in and then flatten into neutral.

Elbows come directly back inhale. And exhale as you scoot! Because the spine is inflection, they're looking forward not looking up, that's the biggest mistake. Flatten the spine into neutral and then down and exhale. And draw it all the way in, all the way, all the way in and sit for a moment on the foot bar and take a well deserved rest. Very nice beautiful work, what gorgeous work! Please remember if you throw the head back there's a contradiction happening in the spine.

The spine is inflection, so the head should look the eyes should look forward. Beautiful work ladies, let's do the other direction. Three in the other direction. Ready. And pushing out! Now bringing it in as the arms bend, this is the more difficult one, oh you release the back too soon Sarah and up, so hold that flexion and pushing out.

Now bend the arms, now keeping it bending, bending, bending nice and low and then flattening the back. And then pushing up, yes. And then pushing out and then drawing in notice how they're coming like a tendon stretch. Elbows are back, flatten the back into neutral. And then there's that perfect dip.

And let's sit down. I think we're going to give them a well deserved rest. But we'll do one more in that direction. This is the ultimate dip. We speak about dips, tricep dips, this this is the ultimate dip because it demands such intense work of the entire body it's functional because you have to support yourself.

Any questions from either of you? No let's go, for that one last one. Ready. Pushing out, and exhale, eyes forward yes Sarah. Now bend and go nice and deep, deep, deep Meredith look down a little more.

Now bring it in Meredith, now go into that neutral spine Sarah. And up. Oh, now that elevated it to a whole new level. A whole new level. Talking about arm work, let's do arm work.

Sitting, so. I'm going to leave it on one spring. If you choose to go on a heavy spring that's fine this is going to be nice arm work. I know we regard arm sitting as quite a basic arm series. I don't think it is.

It demands such incredible strength, flexibility, body awareness just to sit in this position. Make sure that you're sitting right at the back of the carriage or the front of the carriage however you would like to refer to it. Meredith you've got another two inches. There, perfect. Two inches of opportunity, that's what it is.

Two inches of opportunity! We'll start with a chest expansion. So my dear Sarah loves using her back extensors and now her abdominals also, lean forward just slightly. Good. Meredith keeping your arms very close to the side of the carriage, side of the reformer. A little more lower back work oh, she lifted another three inches.

And exhale as you pull, and inhale forward. And exhale that is the perfect range, about 20 degrees forward of the perpendicular two however far back you can go, while maintaining perfect alignment of the spine and four. And lean forward just slightly, five. And six. And seven, don't lean back Sarah.

And eight. Let's do eight today. This is very intense, the way, with that type of mindful movement. Mindful, that's what makes it so intense. And biceps! Notice the stability Sarah, I know you're very excited to get going, but let's just set you up, let's set you up, right.

And now, exhale as you bend, and forward. And two. And forward, it wouldn't be wrong to add a little weight for the biceps. It wouldn't be wrong but I know what's coming so I'm going to leave it quite light. But being that it's light work on absolute perfect form, keeping the upper arms still and we want to watch Sarah that you don't start internally rotating, use your external rotators of the shoulder to keep that perfect alignment.

And eight, and perfect. Good, so just watch that the arms don't start, this often happens as you get tired, the arms start internally rotating. Think of using those external rotators as synergists. They neutralize the internal rotation. We're going to do a very difficult move now.

We bring the arms to that goal post position, we externally rotate, bring it back and forward. And precision is key as you pull the elbows back, not into that bicep position but goalposts. Externally rotate back and forward. And goalpost external mmhmm! And we getting a little bit of wrist compensation Sarah, so I'm going to go a little lighter with Sarah just to avoid that wrist compensation and pull back now watch those wrists! I've got my eyes on your wrist Sarah, and back to center and forward and pull back. And now pivot around my hand, that's where we want to go.

And pivot back and forward. And pivot back. And around my hand, mmhmm! I'm going to do the last two with Meredith, I'm also going to go a little bit lighter, (laughs) and we go lighter with Meredith, that's super super human, and pull back. And... (grunts) There that right one is a little bit problematic.

And forward, I've got my eye on your left wrist Sarah. There. And pull back. And then go oh yes Sarah! A person that can do their best one on their last one for me is a champion! Yay! You're a champion! And forward and there, okay! Turn around ladies! Okay. (laughs) Sunny in Southern California, let's go! We're feeling good, okay! Now.

We're going to do five, four, and four haggotry. The first one we're just going to show how nice and long that haggotry can look. Again here just slight bicep work as we exhale and inhale out. And exhale and inhale out. And long hands Meredith, long hands long hands, even longer.

Aha, the energy is shooting out! Four. Now, we come out and we slice the air, like that first exercise we did on the box. And slice, one, and just come to opposite the shoulder so it's parallel, two. And, three. And, four.

Uh you came a bit too close! We'll add one for Meredith. Come out here come out here Sarah one for Meredith, and boom. Good, and out, salud. So the fingers are facing forward all the time. And what happens is you reach a straight line, and one, and then it's as if that line is bent in the middle but the hands are still facing forward.

And two. And... Close to your temples, and three. And... Four...

And... Five... Oh, it's in the simplicity that the depth comes. And six. And seven, keep those fingers together! And...

Eight, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching. (sighs) (claps) So! Well, well deserved, you now move into a beautiful exercise. So we'll sit we'll do what we call a star prep kneeling. So if you can start off by kneeling as if you're going to do the side arms kneeling. Your, the lower leg up against the shoulder wrists.

Side arms kneeling and wonderful to add to the side arms kneeling. Legs together Sarah, perfect. Now you take a little leap of faith. You can separate your legs while you take the leap of faith and then bring them together. So, reaching out, good.

And then... Note that the carriage stays on the stopper. One spring, notice that the leg that is closest to the shoulder rest actually lifts off. The body is stable. Now this is what we call trunk stability, spinal stability.

You're on the stopper. You inhale as you reach out, this is the breathing arm. Exhale as you arc the body and look down. To the stopper, inhale. And exhale as you come all the way in.

And inhale as you reach out. And exhale as you arc, arc, arc. Oh yes! And inhale as you reach out. And exhale, as you come in. And inhale as you reach out.

And over. And out. And up. And last one, out. And over.

And out. And up. And creep the leg in. And slowly dismount, beautiful, wow could not be better. Please turn around, do the other side.

Walking around to the other side, nice Sarah, and ready. So you can separate the legs to get into the position and then put them together. Reaching out. (laughs) I'm trying. And inhale, reaching out Sarah and exhale as you arc over, looking down at the hand.

And inhale as you reach out. And exhale coming in. And inhale as you reach out, and over the top, to create that beautiful shape. And inhale, and exhale as you come in. And inhale, and over the top that's three, on the other side did we do four or five?

I think we did five so we've got- and reaching out. And over. And reaching out, this will be our last one for good measure and reaching out stability and now over oh pulling up pulling up pulling up keep the carriage on the stopper and pushing out! And then up, up, yes! Okay! If you ladies could grab your boxes please. Last movement of the day. We keep this on a light spring.

We want it on one light spring. We're going to do three versions of what we call the breast stroke prep, the preparation for the breast stroke. Lie down, please. The first version is keeping the body absolutely still so we're engaging the back extensors only enough to keep the body still. As you press out, and it's actually an inhale, and an exhale as you come in.

And inhale, and we're inhaling because we're wanting to maximize that extension of the back. And in a moment we'll go into the extension we'll only do three of each. Now as you push out, elevate the body, articulating the spine as you push out so it's not very high. Right now we're just at the base of the ribs the sternum is pushing forward and then slowly lowering down. And inhale as you reach out, quite low and this is such a valuable exercise we're focusing right on that mid-back and slowly exhaling down and inhaling up again.

And stay there. Use this moment, practice each three. Build up, build up, give yourselves a month or two. From here, we'll go into the lower part of the back by lifting up and pushing out. And inhaling up, Sarah keep your eyes forward don't look up to the ceiling.

And exhaling as you go out. And reaching out for the tip of the head, articulating through that upper back through the mid-back, and all the way into that lower back. Only up to where it's comfortable, but if you can, as they are doing it, bringing it to the stopper, and then exhaling, pushing all the way out and bending the arms to bring it in. If you can get into a rest position on the box. Rest your arms over the foot bar and relaxing that back.

Allowing the back to relax, allowing the spine to relax after that very intense back work. And don't rush the back work. If you stay on the first version for a while that's perfect, slowly move into that second version where we work the upper and mid-back. Particularly the mid-back and that third version, only when you are ready. Don't skip the first two to go to that third version.

If you ladies could slowly get off the box, and we'll finish with three roll downs, but this time we will bend the knees to take any stress out of the back. So we are inhaling and exhale as you roll down bending the knees. And inhale. And exhale as you roll up. And inhale.

Exhale as you roll down, bending the knees, keeping the palms facing each other. And exhale as you roll up. Remember that image of cascading water, and inhale, and exhale as you roll down. Bending the knees, and building the spine leaving the pelvis where it is. And slowly coming up all the way.

And take a big inhale. And relax. Thank you my dear friends, awesome work. Thank you.


2 people like this.
It is a sweet surprise to have this today! I hope to meet you in person this afternoon in Bhosphorous:))
3 people like this.
Beautiful work!
I agree with Rael: "Sara and Meredith are "well-tuned instruments." Very impressive. That looked like a very challenging workout, and they both did it with such grace. Bravo Ladies! Thank you!!!
1 person likes this.
I love to watch you teach Rael! It was a great workout and as always, reinforces what I learned from you. Thank you!
4 people like this.
Thank you Rael - Your classes give me sooo much!
I wish we could watch a class with less trained people so we can see and learn how you work with that kind of customers.
Thanks for Sara and Meredith! I loved it!
I agree that it would help teachers to see less trained people, those who we often see who do Pilates once a week, usually don't remember the exercises, and need frequent correction. Thank you! Very much looking forward to finishing this workout (internet went down 15 mins in)- thanks Rael!
Dear Tamar and Robyn, I think your comments are very valid - thank you! I am sure Pilates Anytime will be open to this suggestion. I certainly would be more than happy to accommodate, and agree, teaching less trained people would be very valuable to observe the cueing, the exercises, and the structure of the session.
Dear ZA, I hope we met at Pilates Day on the Bospherous yesterday. It was such an incredible event and will certainly stand as one of the most impactful and meaningful of my career. Launching BASI Systems equipment at this amazing venue was a dream come true, and I could not have been prouder.
Rael unfortunately no I could not make it but I know the energy of your visit;) let me surprise you than by saying that I have been using Basi systems combo machine since May and it is exceptional, the ride, the quality and the design is unbeliavable!!! I am more than proud for Cengizhan and team as they have been unbeliavably supportive and still are...

Also, I have a copy of your book signed just for me and feel very lucky on that too;) i will catch you for sure in your next visit.
My deepest respects. Zeynep Armay
thank you Rael ,the class reminded me of the BASI teacher training i did . i was a refreshing moment , all of the details during the exercises.
looking forward for the next one
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