Class #2383

Energetic Reformer

55 min - Class


Give your body some love with this energetic Reformer workout by John Garey! He focuses on using breath to guide the movement so you can work from your center out to your periphery. His clear explanations make it easy to follow along as he builds on the choreography with variations to the Hundred, Long Stretch Series, and so much more!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Standing Platform

About This Video

Nov 16, 2015
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Welcome, I'm John Garey and I'm here today with Jake Robinson and Kelly Curtis, two instructors from my studio. We are about to do a reformer workout. So thanks for joining us. We're gonna be using the STOTT Pilates Reformer, and this reformer, in case you're not familiar with the spring settings, if you're using a different reformer, this has five springs. There's three full-tension springs, a 50% tension spring, and a 25% tension spring.

So I'll be talking about the springs that are specific to this reformer as we do the exercises. If you are using a different reformer, I'm also gonna tell you where you should be feeling the exercise. So if you're not using exactly the same springs, you can at least adjust them so you're getting the same feeling. All right, are you guys ready to go? So we're gonna start with footwork, and the setup for that is the footbar's all the way up.

These guys are using three full-tension springs, and we're gonna have the headrest up so that the neck is in a comfortable position. I'm gonna have these guys start with our traditional STOTT Pilates legwork. We're gonna have toes apart, heels together. We want the knees to be about shoulder distance apart to begin with, and we want a nice, neutral alignment in the spine. That means you're gonna have a small space between your lower back and the carriage, and your shoulders are gonna be nice and open.

Are you guys ready to go? Before you get started, let's breathe. So take a deep breath in through your nose and feel the air go into the deeper part of the lungs, so you oxygenate. Then when you blow out, you're gonna blow out like you're blowing through a straw. That's gonna help you activate the deep abdominals, and we want to get those active throughout the class.

So remind yourself throughout the class to breathe that way, even if I'm not saying it on every repetition. So let's do a couple more. Deep breath in through the nose, and then exhale like you're blowing through a straw. Perfect, all right, now you're gonna give me one more deep breath in, and on this exhale, I want you to press the carriage out. Keeping the heels together, lengthening the legs, and then come back in, good.

We can move a little more quickly, so press away, and come back in. Now I'm doing this breathing specifically because we're gonna be doing a different variation next and I want them to get used to that exhale out. So here if you're used to inhaling on the way out and exhaling on the way in, that's fine, you can breathe that way if you like. We're just getting prepped for the next exercise. Each of out variations, we're gonna do about eight to 10 reps, I hope you guys are counting.

Are you counting, yes? 12, then we're good. All right, come all the way in. We're gonna bring your legs together, we're gonna bring your feet together. Wrap your toes over the bar and keep that nice neutral alignment, give me a big breath in through your nose and then exhale like you're blowing through that straw, to press away, and come back in.

Good, so we're changing our foot position so that we work the deep, intricate muscles of the foot and ankle. You can see that as they're pressing out and coming back in, they're maintaining that neutral alignment. The abdominals stay connected. We can relax the shoulders a bit more, there you go. Keep the toes wrapped right over the bar.

Heels should stay still in space as you press down and come in. You guys are doing a great job here, where are we at? One more, all right, so go for one more. Come all the way in. Now let's put your heels on the bar.

So this is a pretty athletic pace we have going here. Legs are still together, give me that breath in, and then exhale, they're pressing away, and come back in, perfect. I'm looking to make sure, checking to make sure the alignment is good all the way up through the top of the head. It looks really good guys. Press out, come back in.

Now, when you press with your heels, you are getting more activation through the glutes and hamstrings. We want that, right, we want to see the back of the leg working. If it doesn't feel like it's working yet, it's gonna feel like it in a minute when we do our next set. So come all the way in, and let's go into the high half toe position here. So legs are still together, high half toe means you're at the end of the ball of the foot, and you're in plantar flexion, the heels are lifted.

Give me a big breath in, exhale, reach away, and come back in. Beautiful, we're keeping that beautiful alignment through the spine, we're keeping the pelvis in that neutral position, meaning it's not tipping forward or back. It's really important that you get the alignment correct on these exercises 'cause it helps you to connect those deeper muscles. Pressing out and coming back in, beautiful. Keep the breath pattern going, exhale, and then inhale through the nose and expand the lungs.

Give me one more of those, very nice. Now this time, we're gonna keep the foot position the same going to our lower end lift. So press out. From there, you're gonna slowly lower the heels under, and then pick them back up a little quicker. Exhale as you lower them under, inhale, come back up.

Stay out there, Jake. Exhale, lower them under, and pick them back up. You're gonna do three more. Lower, and I gotta keep my eye on him, and lift them back up. You're gonna do two more.

Lower, reach under, and come back up. You're gonna do one more. You feeling the calves working yet? Then come all the way back in. We're gonna do that again, you're gonna press out, and this time you're gonna go under and up for five.

So you guys count going under. If you notice, I'm doing a slow reach under, coming up a little bit quicker. That emphasizes the lengthening part of the exercise where the muscle is working as it lengthens. Good, that's it, and then come back up. So press out again.

Now as you go under and up, you're gonna do four this time, focus on not allowing the femurs, the thighs, to rotate in. So you gotta get the glute engagement here. Make sure the glutes are kind of hugging each other there, and the inner thighs are active throughout. Come back in, let's press out get, and reach under and come back up. Beautiful alignment through the ankle Kelly, it looks really good, nice control with the thighs, really beautiful.

She's relaxed through the shoulders. Press out again, use that exhale to reach under. I know these guys are feeling it. They don't look like it, but they're really feeling it. Then come back in.

We've got one more set of those. Reach out, come under, come up, and return. So that's our regular footwork. Now what I'm gonna have you do is do a second position here. It usually feels really good after that lower end lift.

So let's take the heels on the outside of the bar with the legs laterally rotated. Find your neutral, give me a big breath in. Then exhale, press away, lengthen away. Guide that carriage in with control. Make sure that you are using the spring resistance, not just on the way out but on the way back in.

You're controlling the return of the carriage. Do that a couple more times, lengthen away, draw it back in, beautiful guys. Reach out, pull it back in. Feel better now already, right? You ready for the really challenging work?

One more time. This is a great way to warm up your body. I love footwork because it works the major muscles of the body. It really gets your body warmed up and ready for the tougher stuff to come. So come all the way in, and I want you to lower your headrest down for the next part, that's it, because we're gonna be lifting the hips.

We're only lifting them slightly, but it will help keep the tension out of the neck if you lower the headrest. We're gonna do our same footwork, but we're gonna do it in a hip lifted position. So let's get you in the toes apart heels together position here, make sure the knees are only shoulder distance apart, and from there, you're gonna float the pelvis and the lumbar spine just off the carriage. So you can see, they're just a little bit above the carriage here. You can go a little bit more neutral, you're a little bit flexed, perfect.

We want to keep that hover right there. You're gonna press the carriage out, not allowing the pelvis to lift or lower, and then drag it back in. Good Jake, watch that you're not lifting. As you come back in, keep it hovering just above, good, and you've got that neutral alignment. Now, this is really gonna challenge the glutes and hamstrings like I talked about before.

So you should really be feeling it there. If not, you may need to adjust your resistance. I want you to feel the back of the thigh working on this, and the lower back muscles. So make sure that you're countering that with abdominal work as well. We're gonna take a break in a second, you're gonna do one more.

Come all the way in. That's a lot of work through the posterior side, so let's release it a little bit. Drop your hips down. I want you to put your heels on the bar for me. They're gonna be about hip distance apart.

From here, you're gonna articulate the spine up, so roll up. We're just letting those muscles lengthen, giving them a break. Then roll back down through, use your exhale, release all the way down to the bottom, beautiful. Just one, that's all you get. Now we're gonna move on to the second one.

So toes wrapped, legs together, breathe in, exhale, float the pelvis up, stay there, breathe in, exhale, press out. So you see how the exhale works really well in this exercise on the way out. That's where we really need to recruit the abdominals, and make sure we stay connected through the whole body, working from the center all the way out through the periphery. That's what we're looking for. This is gonna be a lot of calve work, hanging on there, a lot of footwork.

Come on in, and just do one more of those, 'cause these are really tough. Press out, come back in, lower your hips down. Let's do another hip roll. So put your heels on. How are you doing?

You okay, I heard a breath, they're working. Roll up, and then roll back down. All right, so from here, we're gonna skip ahead a little bit, we're gonna put your heels on the bar. So now we're talking major activation here. Let's keep the legs together, breathe in, exhale, float the hips and lower back up.

Make sure you maintain your neutral, make sure you're connected before you start the next part, breathe in. Jake, go a little lower with your hips, yes! Exhale, press out, guide the carriage back in. Good, just keep that going, pressing through, pressing away, coming back in. We're looking to make sure that we maintain pressing through the center of the heel. You see there's movement in the ankle joint here.

That's actually good. So if I put my forearms right here, Jake is just gonna barely touch my forearms throughout, that helps, yeah, to make sure we're mobilizing the ankle joint, we're not getting stuck. Come all the way in and hold it all the way against the stopper, and then relax the hips down, good. So let's do a hip row with your feet apart, one more, just to release. Roll all the way up, exhale, and come back down.

So if you are used to Cadillac or spring wall work, this is really like the Magician series where you have to lift up. It's a really good place to teach this exercise. All right, that's enough of a break. Go into the high half toe. Lift the heels up.

This is the toughest one. Now float the pelvis off, stay connected, breathe in, exhale, breath out, and come all the way back in. Beautifully done. Let's check this out here, let's make sure the arms are relaxed, no tension in the hands. Come back in, nice and level throughout, pressing away.

Really good, come back in. So the Magician series is footwork in straps, and you're keeping your hips elevated throughout. That's, the strap work is really, really, that's an advanced level exercise. This I would call intermediate 'cause your feet are against something solid, so it's a really good practice place for that. Let's do one more, how are you doing there?

Good, I see the toes starting to clench, so we know we're working all the way through the whole chain. Release all the way down. Beautiful work you guys. Let's do a hip roll, put your heels on, roll up through, and then roll all the way back down. All right, should we do finish with the super challenging lower end lift, sure.

Okay, so go into the, I have to, I'll answer for both of you. High half toe position, from here, breathe in, exhale, float up. I got my eyes on you, Kelly. Here we go, breathe in, press out, now exhale, lower the heels. Inhale, lift the heels, and exhale, come back in, really nice connection through the abs.

Beautiful, press out, lower the heels just one time. Lift the heels and come back in. Really nicely done you guys. We're gonna do three more. Press out, lower the heels, lift, come back in.

Watch you're not locking out the knees as you press out. Keep, don't hyper extend. Yes, beautiful, lift, and come back in. We're gonna do that one more time. One more time press out.

Perfect form here, reach the heels under, lift them back up, bend the knees, come in and set your hips down, beautiful job. Just go into your second position lateral rotation again, and I'm just gonna have you keep your hips down here, press out and come back in, just for a little break. Come back in with control. Good, a couple more times. Pressing away, and come back in.

Make sure you're breathing here. Now, if you can't do every repetition that these guys are doing, that's fine. Take your breaks when you need them. Form and execution is more important than the number of repetitions that you do. Let's do one more time here, pressing out, coming all the way back in.

All right, we're ready to get a little more core work in there. We're gonna go on to our hundreds next. So we're gonna do a different variant of hundreds today, the staple Pilates exercise, hundreds. So two springs on, two full-tension springs on, or adjust your springs for whatever you would normally use for hundreds with the reformer. Let's lower the footbars down 'cause we're gonna be doing a little bit more advanced legwork here.

I'm gonna be giving three variations. The first one is the easiest, and then we're gonna move on from there. If you want to stick with that first variation, just continue to do that throughout the whole series. So we're gonna do our 10 sets of 10 pulses. Scoot a little bit away from the shoulder rest, so you're not hitting it as you go up and down.

That's gonna allow you to come up into more flexion. Let's go into what we all an imprint. It's a slight tilt back in the pelvis. It's not jamming the lower back down, it's just that flexion bias here, and from there, draw your legs into tabletop for me, good. Now, let's get into the right position.

Super important that you start in the correct position. So you're gonna breathe in. As you exhale, keep your legs tabletop and curl up and lengthen the arms. Now, I wanna to see the softening of the elbow and the elbows pointed out to the side here. I actually want your shoulders to be rolled forward a little bit like Kelly's are so that you get more thoracic flexion.

Avoid jamming the arms down 'cause you'll lock your thoracic spine in place. Okay, we've held that long enough. Pulse the arms up and down and give me five inhales, five through the nose. Now as you exhale, reach those legs up, but only as low as you can go with your abs still flat. Now come back in, breathe in for five counts, and exhale, press out.

Now you can see different ways of pulsing here. What I'd like to see is a dynamic pulse but with control. Press out, is this number three, come back in. We're gonna do that one more time. You can continue to do it or you can move on to the next one.

Reach your legs out. Now I want you to hold your legs straight, lift them up as you inhale. Exhale, lower them down, beautiful. Keep that, and let's do that again. Reaching up, and exhale to lower back down.

We're gonna do one more of those, come on up, and exhale to lower back down. Now we're changing again. You don't have to advance if you want. Leg circles, bring them up, exhale, circle down and around. Bring them up, keep everything stable.

Exhale, circle down and around. Good, you've got one more to finish this set. Circle around, now hold it there, bend your knees, breathe in, stop pulsing, and exhale to lower back down onto the carriage. Beautifully done. Let's bring your footbars back up, and then we're gonna move on to our feet-in-straps series.

So again, on the STOTT Pilates Reformers, we're using two full-tension springs. You can adjust your springs to whatever are gonna work for you. Are you guys ready to move on? Yes. Yes, they're ready.

All right, let's put the straps onto your feet. We're gonna do a fun little series here. We're gonna kind of build the choreography, but all the while, I want you focused on what's happened in the center of your body. Keep the nice neutral alignment here. Your headrest probably came back up.

That's a good place to have it, to take the tension out of the neck. We're gonna start by bending and stretching. So bend your knees in. I want you to only bend in as far as you can, holding your neutral, and then exhale, press out, good. Let's do that a few more times.

Inhale to bend, and exhale to press away, nice. Inhale to bend and exhale to press away. So we have to keep an eye on Jake. If you can see, he has a tendency to start to grip or hold his tension in his arms. You want to keep those relaxed, and his arms are just long enough that he can wrap his fingers right around the end of the carriage, so we just wanna make sure that they stay relaxed.

One more time, and hold your legs straight. From here, you're gonna inhale, bring the legs up. Again, you may not be able to bring them as high as Kelly. She's a dancer, she's got beautiful mobility. Lower them back down.

I want you to only bring your legs up as high as you can without collapsing through that lower back, and then lower them back down. We're doing this all in parallel right now for a reason. Come on up, and then come back down. Good, one more time, these guys are so controlled, it's great. One more time, come up, and then lower back down.

Now we're gonna alternate. You're gonna do a bend and stretch first with both legs, so bend and breathe in. Exhale to press out. Now lift the legs on your inhale, and exhale to lower them down. So we're gonna learn this movement pattern.

Bend, and press away, then lift, and lower down. Let's do one more to really cement it in our brains, that movement pattern, and then I'm gonna make you go crazy. Lift your legs up and lower back down. You're gonna do that same thing, but the legs do opposite things. So one leg bends, the other one reaches up towards the ceiling, tension on both straps, press back out, and switch.

So it's really pas de chat, or stag, but it's in parallel. Come on up, and press away, good. So it's a little bit of that pat your head and rub your belly thing happening. So we want to do, when you're finessing this, is point the toe on the leg that's straight, flex the foot on the knee that's bending. Gonna add a lot of coordination to it, that's the last thing I want you to add.

Make sure everything else is happening first in purity of movement. Press back out. Let's do one, come on up and hold it there for me. So bend and straighten one leg, yep. Now reach up for that rope on the leg that's long and just gently draw that down.

I don't want you to pull it back, I just want you to pull it down so that you're kind of anchoring the hip here. Then release and go back out to the start position. Good, let's switch and do that on the other side. Breathe in as you come towards your body with your legs, exhale as you pull down gently, inhale as you come back up. You should feel a nice release in the hamstring here, and then press back out.

Should we do it one more time, yes. So come on in. Remember, we did all of that work with your hips lifted, you guys just keep going, reach up, pull down, yes. Come back up, so don't stop, just keep moving, and then press back out. We did all of that hip lifted work which is really working the back side, now we're giving it a little love here, we're giving it a little stretch.

Release, and then press all the way back out. Really good job. Now we're gonna really help mobilize your spine. So reach back, lower your headrest down into the flat position. You may be familiar with the short spine.

We're gonna kind of build up into it. This is one series that I really love, especially for newer clients, and athletic clients who are really tight in the hips. So you're gonna bend your knees, breathe in. Then as you exhale, you're gonna start to roll back. Then you're gonna keep your knees bent, and you're gonna roll back down.

Once you're down, you can find your neutral and press your legs back out. Now you guys continue to do that, nice and slow, I'm gonna talk for a second. As they're rolling back, what I'm looking for is for them to return the carriage to the stopper, dock the carriage. Then they're gonna maintain that shape and roll back down, and then they're gonna lengthen and press away, good. So this is a really good way, especially if you're not used to doing the short spine, it can be pretty scary to kind of lift yourself up off in this long level and try to find the stopper.

It sometimes feels like you're gonna go right over the the top. This is a really good starting place and it's also a beautiful stretch for your back. Now let's add to that. Bend your knees, breathe in. Exhale, roll back for me.

Find your stopper. Now from there, lengthen the legs and get that stretch, beautiful. Now just reverse that. Bend your knees, breathe in, exhale, roll down, bring your legs with you, and press away, good. Inhale, bend your knees.

Exhale, roll back. Inhale, stretch the legs. Now exhale, reverse the whole thing. Bend, roll, and press, all the way out, good. Now we're gonna take this into a parallel short spine.

So we're going to start in reverse. Bend your knees, breathe in, roll back, exhale, stretch the legs up, breathe in. Now without moving the carriage, start to roll down. This is gonna give you beautiful work on the hamstrings. Once you feel like you can't go any further, I want you to bend your knees just slightly and press the carriage out, just so you take the stress off of the back when you do that.

Let's do that again. Bend your knees, breathe in, exhale, roll back. Stretch the legs up. Now lengthen away, rolling down. Try to hold the carriage still at the stopper as you do this.

When you feel that you're at your limit, soften your knees a little bit, roll the carriage out, and press back to the start, yeah, good? Bend your knees, take the straps off your feet. We're gonna move on. The next thing we're gonna do is come on up, we're gonna change our equipment around a little bit. We're gonna use one full-tension spring or you can use a lighter spring if you want.

We're gonna do the half roll back into extension guys, so if you want to pick the springs that's best for you. Let's take the footbars down to the bottom. Let's get 'em out of the way. All right, okay, so the first thing we're gonna do is set them up on the equipment. For this particular exercise, this is mobility through the spine, I want to have the legs straddling the shoulder rests.

So take them to the outsides of the shoulder rests. Now you can keep them in the center, but this is gonna feel better on your hip joint. Then I want you to make sure that you've got a hand, scoot forward just a little bit, Kelly, you want to have a hands-width distance between your seat and the back of course carriage, perfect. Now, let's shorten your straps. If you have double straps and you have a shorter version of it, you're gonna use the shorter version.

That's it, just hook it over. On ours we just fold them in half, so just adjust it so that you get a little bit more range of motion out of those straps. Jake, you set up your equipment, you went in to our standard position for strap work on the STOTT Pilates Reformer, which is two and two. So that's where you want to be right now, kind of in that standard position. We're gonna start with flexion.

So sitting up, your arms are out in front of you, you're sitting nice and tall, right up on top off your sit bones. As you exhale, you're gonna use your glutes to help pull your pelvis under, you use your abs to flex the spine and just do a bicep curl. From here, you're gonna extend your spine, reaching the arms up towards the ceiling. They don't have to necessarily go behind your head, just reach them up. Now reverse that.

Flex the elbows, flex the spine, exhale, come forward over your legs, inhale, stack the spine up and reach the arms out. One more time slow and then we'll pick up the pace a little bit. Exhale, recruit your abs and your glutes, pulling your arms in. Inhale, open up through the chest, reach your arms up, now keep your abs connected and don't let your head drop back too far. Good, then bend your elbows, flex your spine.

You guys listen so well. Come right over your legs, and then stack the spine all the way back up. How we doing, okay? Yes, are you ready, this is what I love about teaching. They just do everything I tell them to do.

All right, so here we go. If everything in life was like this, it'd be perfect. So here we go, we're gonna move a little quicker here. So you're gonna roll down, exhale, flex your spine, inhale, reach the arms and extend your spine. Use that breath, exhale, flex your spine, Come forward over your legs and then inhale, stack all the way up to the top.

Last time, like somebody punches you in your belly, you pull back. Then you extend the spine and lift, good. Then you flex your spine, roll over your legs, and stack everything back up. We are gonna make this a little bit more challenging. So again, you can keep the one full-tension spring on or you can use a lighter spring, especially if you're new at this.

We're gonna do a teaser here. So this is a bit more tricky, right. You're gonna scoot forward, and we're gonna find our teaser balance position first. So shimmy forward, we're gonna find a much better transition for that one. Looked a little bit like my dog, Jake.

All right, so we're gonna come off of your sit bones. Oh, sorry about that. Okay, so you're gonna come off of your sit bones and find your balance position here, just find your balance. Yeah, beautiful. Now I want you to hang out there for a second, because this is working your core, right, this is working your abs.

We're gonna start with the legs tabletop and then I'm gonna advance it, but this is the best way to start it. If you don't feel comfortable here, put your feet down and keep 'em down as you do this. I want you to do that roll down with a bicep curl that we just did, roll back. I want you to feel where your back is, 'cause you both need to adjust a little bit. So what we're looking for is for the scapula, the shoulder blades to be about halfway off the end or a little bit more even, but halfway is perfect.

So roll up, and Kelly, I think you're in the right place now, but Jake, I want you to scoot forward, toward the shoulder rests. So get almost right up against them, yeah. It's really important for part two that we are in the right position in part one. So breathe in, now exhale, roll back and find that spot. Now go down a little further, sink into it so you can feel you're in the right spot, yeah, now come forward again, and come all the way back up.

So this time when you do it, you're not allowed to bring your legs with you. You have to leave your legs where they are. So exhale, roll away from your legs. So you're gonna feel like you're stretching your legs away from you. Good, and now come forward and up.

We're gonna advance this, you're gonna extend back over the end of the carriage. If you've got long hair, make sure you tuck it in and get it out of the way so it doesn't get caught in the springs. Here we go, exhale, flex the spine, roll back, and then go right into your extension off the back there, then flex your elbows, start rolling forward. So you see it's very similar to the last thing we did where we didn't go all the way down. This is just a little more advanced.

Let's try straight legs, here we go. If you need to bend them, you can. Exhale, roll down through, inhale, get that extension and reach, point your toes, Jake, there you go. Now come back into your flex and flex your elbows and then roll back up. Remember, you can do any variation of this that works for you.

Let's do that again. Exhale, rolling down through, inhale to extend, watch your head position, don't go too far back, yes, then flex your elbows, flex your spine, come all the way up, find your balance position for me, and relax. Put your feet down. All right, that was tough, slow and painful. All right, here we go with our next one.

Probably one full-tension spring will work for this. You can adjust it. I want you to lengthen your straps back out. We're gonna go into our traditional rowing, round back version. What I want to do is create the pictures that I want you to have throughout the exercise.

You'll see what I mean in a minute. So we're back to having a hands-width distance between your seat and back of the reformer. If your legs fit between the shoulder rests, over the head rests, that's perfectly fine. If you need to cross them, that's fine as well. Whatever feels comfortable.

If they are crossed after a couple repetitions, switch them and put the other leg on top. So starting nice and tall, breathe in. Ready guys, exhale, roll down, pull your hands into your chest. So this is the first picture that I want you to create. Now open the arms out to the side, reaching out.

That's the second picture I want you to create. Now push your arms back behind you and fold forward simultaneously, reaching your arms back. So nice curve forward with your arms reaching, reaching, reaching, toward the back. From there, you're gonna circle your arms around, you're gonna, the carriage is gonna dock, but keep your arms going till they line up with your head and now, from there, from that last picture, stack your spine up to the very final picture. So let's hit those again nice and slow.

Exhale, pull under, pull your hands right into your chest. Let me see those abs hollow out over there, there we go. Open the arms out to the side, this is an inhale, exhale, push your arms back, yes. Circle the arms around, gently dock the carriage, keep your arms moving forward, stack the spine up, bring your arms back into the rounded position. Now we'll go a little more fluidly for two repetitions.

Exhale, roll back, inhale to open, exhale, push straight back, don't push toward the floor with your hands, push straight back. Circle the arms around, lengthen them in line with your head, and then stack your spine up. You're gonna right into the next one. Exhale, roll down, inhale, open the arms, exhale, push yourself over your legs, circle the arms around, lengthen forward for me and then stack the spine all the way up to the top. Beautiful job you guys.

You can put the straps over your shoulder rests, and we're gonna move on to our side kneeling work. Now, if side kneeling isn't for you, 'cause it's a balance challenging, you can do this work seated. But these guys are gonna kneel. I would say anywhere from a 50 per 10, 50% tension spring, made up a new word, and 100% tension spring would work really well for this. So we're gonna come out onto the carriage here, and let's kneel facing in, yeah, so face the center here and come up onto your knees.

Be careful getting up on top. Side kneeling is the easiest of the kneeling series because you have the best balance there. I would start with your knees about hip distance to shoulder distance apart. The wider the base of the support, the easier it is going to be to balance. We're gonna grab the front strap and we're gonna start with side twist.

So hold your hands in a circle and you're already gonna be rotated toward the pulleys. From this position, try to square your hips off toward the front, keep them square to the front, breathe in, exhale, rotate toward the footbar side, yes, and then come back. These guys are doing an excellent job. What I am looking for is for the hands to line up with the sternum the entire time. So as they're doing the rotation, they're arms are never leading nor being left behind.

If they're looking forward, their hands are right below their eyes in that peripheral vision there, yeah, you got it, good. Then come back, how we doing, okay? Can we do one more? So go all the way and stop. Let's just squeeze a little bit more out of those abs.

Stay right there, breathe in. On your exhale, I want you to just squeeze a little bit more out of those abs three times, and a little further, three, so a little pulse. One more time, give it a good one, right there, squeeze, and then return it all the way back to the front. Really nice job you guys. All right, we're gonna move on to our next exercise, and the next one is called stir the pot.

I love this exercise. So you're gonna hold the strap in the hand closest to it and put your other hand on your hip for me, yeah, that's it. From here, it kind of starts like a punch. Don't worry about rotating your spine. So square yourself off to the front there, that's it, just do the arm part first.

Breathe in, and now exhale and just move the arm across your body, punch it across your body. Now open it out, and then just flex your elbow before it hits the stopper, and do that again. Exhale, press across, open out, and then come back in. Let's do it one more time like that. Press across, open out, and return.

Now we're gonna add the rotation. So as you punch, rotate. Exhale, punch across, and inhale, rotate all the way back. Beautiful job you guys. Exhale, look where you're going, that's it, and then let your eyes follow where you're going, yep.

One more time, one more time. Exhale, reach across, and then open all the way out. Let's switch the strap to your other hand, that's good. Now for this one, I like what I call the lockdown position. So your free hand is gonna press right against your thigh, 'cause this is a really balance challenge exercise.

So make sure you're focused on this. Let's just try an elbow lift. So just lift your elbow. That will help you identify which muscles you need to stabilize so you don't get pulled over. Come back down through, do that one more time, just the elbow.

We're gonna take this one right into our back hand. So reach across, exhale, pull up elbow first and then extend, strong wrist, beautiful. Then bend the elbow and reach across the front. Do that again: exhale, lift, and press, and then come across the front and rotate toward the pulley this time and do that again. Exhale, pull up, press out, nice, and inhale as you come across the front, and one more time.

Exhale, press up and out, nicely done, and then come all the way back across the front. We're gonna keep the strap in the same hand, you're gonna reach your free hand on top of the shoulder rests into our Semaphore. So this is a tricky one to get into, but it looks so cool, we have to do it. So you're gonna push your hips out a little bit and you're gonna try to get in one straight line from your knees out through your head in lateral flexion, and yet look down at your hand. From there, the other arm's above your head, your elbow bent.

Let's do this with palm facing the ceiling. Breathe in, exhale, reach to the ceiling, yep, and then come back down. Kelly is doing an awesome job of stabilizing her humerus here. So her upper arm is not moving. What that's doing is helping to make sure that the strap doesn't get in her way.

She's pressing right up to the ceiling and then coming back down. How many did we do, 25? Let's do one more, press up, and then come all the way back down to the start. Beautiful, and just finish there. Let's change over to the other side.

Jake, you wanna run over and grab a towel, looks like you're sweating a little bit there, buddy. Okay, and you can grab some water. Kelly, are you okay? Yeah. Yep, glowing, just beautiful, just perfect.

So we're gonna turn around and face the other direction. It's a good break for you there. That's it, we've got it. All right, so remember, when you're in this position, knees a little bit wider will help you with that base of support. The closer you bring the knees the more challenging it's gonna get to balance.

So from here, let's lock your fingers, lace your fingers together, rotate toward the pulley, breathe in, now keep your arms in that perfect circle and exhale, rotate around, there you go, looking good, and then come all the way back through, breathe in. Then use that exhale. Remember, we want to use that Pilate's breath, exhaling through pursed lips to get the deep abdominals working, inhale through the nose. Let's do that again, good, and come back around. Really nice you guys.

Again, reach through, and come back. All right, you know it's coming, but let's do one more regular one, pressing through, and then coming back around. Really nice job of stabilizing the pelvis, Kelly. Now let's rotate, hold this one here. Give me a nice deep breath in and then three exhales to pulse.

A little further, release, go a little further. One more time, really bringing out those abdominals, and then we're gonna turn it all the way back to the start. Really nicely done, and we're ready to stir the pot. So let's take your hand on your hip and square yourself off to the side of the room you're on. Bend your elbow with it kind of out to the side.

From here, you're gonna reach across your body. We're not rotating yet, and then you're gonna open the arm in front, and just before you hit the stopper, you're gonna flex your elbow again. So again, exhale, press across, and then come through. Let's try to keep the shoulders as level as possible on this. As you press across, try not to elevate too much, yeah, that's it, and then come back around.

Now add the rotation. So punch and rotate, moving from the center. So it's really tempting to keep moving from your hand, to have that be the starting position of movement, but I want you to move from the center of your body and carry through with the punch and then come back around. Really nice, all right, let's switch and go into the other hand. We're gonna test the waters so give me the lockdown, press your hand against your thigh and just lift your elbow up for me, just lifting it up and coming back down.

Good, a couple more times so you know what your stabilizers have to do to help you stay upright. Now let's do the back hand. So you're gonna reach up and press out, and then come all the way back down through. Now what I love is the last exercises really focuses on the muscles on the anterior side of the body. This exercise focuses on the muscles on the posterior side of the body, particularly throughout the shoulder girdle.

Let's add the rotation here, so rotate toward the pulley, and now exhale, reach up and away. Really nicely done. Let's do that again, reaching down. You want to feel this behind the shoulder primarily, where you should be feeling and focusing on the work here. Reach up and across, really good, and then come back down.

Strap on the same hand, reach for the shoulder rests. Lateral flex, and then make sure your glutes are engaged so that your hips aren't sticking back. Take the arm above your head, palm facing the ceiling, breathe in. Now exhale, reach right to the ceiling, holding your upper arm in place. If the rope starts hitting your head, you know that you're not going up to the ceiling, you know you're kind of going across the room.

So try to aim the hand up to the ceiling and keep the strap away from your head. Reach up, good, and come back down. Let's do two more. Exhale as you press up, everybody give me that ab connection, beautiful, and one more time. Exhale, press up and over, really nicely done.

Come all the way back down. All right you guys, put that strap over the shoulder rests and make sure that the carriage has docked. Now, the next part we're gonna do is pretty challenging. It's a balance challenge, it's reverse expansion. So again, if you're not ready to be on your knees here, just sit on the carriage, you don't want to fall forward.

So we're gonna have your feet against shoulder rests and put a strap in each hand. We're keeping the tension anywhere from a 50% tension to a full tension spring. The lighter the spring, the easier the carriage moves, the harder it is to stabilize, all right. So come on up here. This is one of my favorite new series.

You're gonna start with your elbows flexed and your palms up, and we're just gonna do a low chest press. So you just gotta bring your arms out in front of if you and come back. So we wanna really focus on staying tall and not leaning forward here. We want to stay right up on top, yes. So feet against the shoulder rests will really help you know where you are in space.

It's a good way to, yeah, flex the elbows and bring them back behind you, and then press forward. You've done enough of those, let me move on to the next one and not talk anymore. So you're gonna pronate, so you just gotta rotate down. The strap will wrap right over your arm. It actually feels really good.

Rotate down, good. Now we're gonna advance this. If you want to stay here, stay here. So come on back, and this time we're gonna go into our arm circles, all right guys, so connect with your abs, please, reach forward, pronate, now just lift the arms up, stabilize, open them out to the side and then you're gonna flex them and bring them right by your waistline again. Yes, reach out, lift up, open, control, control, control, and in.

They're doing a really good job of stabilizing the ribcage. That's the hardest part as your arms move up not to let your ribs poke out so the abs have to work super hard there. One more time. Reach and lift, and exhale and pull all the way around and come back into the start. That was beautifully done.

We're gonna put the straps off to the side here and we're gonna bring our short box on. So we're gonna use what we call the short box, long box, it's the reformer box, but we're gonna put it in the short box position. Sit right over the top. Now, this is a super challenging exercise. We're gonna slide it forward here, and we're gonna go into a lighter spring.

So we're gonna use the 50% tension spring. Let's use the platform extender for this one as well. So we're gonna use another piece of equipment. It's called a platform extender, and it goes right next to the wood platform. If you don't have one, you can use the wood platform, it's fine, but this is a lot more comfortable.

Put it right down on there, make sure it's right up against. Yeah, it's got a nice cushion to it. So be careful getting on because remember, it's a really light spring. We're gonna sit right on top of it. Hold on one second, I'm just gonna adjust this.

I want to take these and move them in front of the shoulder rests just to make sure that it doesn't move on them, slide back when they're doing this exercise. This I would call an advanced level exercise. So we're gonna have a seat on it. We're doing a reverse plank here. We're gonna start with just a little prep, and you can stick with the prep if you can't do the full thing.

So all we're gonna do, with your knees bent and legs together is, yeah, so just bring your feet together and your legs together there, Kelly. From there, we're just gonna go into a reverse bent knee plant. So just lift your pelvis up, try to hold the carriage relatively steady, just lift up there, yeah, and then come back down. Now you notice they're not lifting all the way up because it's gonna be harder to do the exercise. Can you show lifting all the way up, Kelly?

Just give an example of where we don't want to be. We don't want to be all the way up here. We want to be down here, right about there. That's gonna be hard enough. Then come all the way back down.

So it looks like this is gonna be really challenging on the glutes, on the hamstrings, on the quads. It's really challenging where? On the triceps. Okay, so here we go. Let's go into that low position there, breathe in.

So right up, pick your pelvis up, just off, and we want to stick with that neutral spine. Now exhale, straighten your legs and push back, but you're gonna really lock your arms in place here. Come back in, inhale, exhale, press away, beautiful. Come back in, now check your knees as you press out. Let's make sure they're not locking.

So you want to straighten the knees but don't hyperextend them. Yes, and come back in. Are we good for one more? Press out and exhale, press away, and come back in. They didn't really have a choice, but that's okay.

Now put your seat right back down and take a breather there, yes, good. Now what I want you to do is exactly what Kelly's doing. We're gonna put a little traction on that wrist joint to help stretch it out a little bit. So grab underneath it and then just sit tall. That helps to pull those bones back apart, 'cause this can be rough on your wrists, a little bit rough on your wrists.

So let's go back into that position, but we're gonna do something a bit differently here, we're gonna do our dips. So you're gonna come off just a little bit, push the carriage out just a tiny bit, and then show me five really perfect dips. That means you flex the elbow, you drop your seat toward the carriage and then press back up. Inhale, go down as low as you can stabilize the shoulder and the spine, and with the knees bent here, it does help a little bit, when you're done with five, you can just put yourself right back up on that box, and then come all the way in. Beautiful job you guys, you made that look really easy and you know it's not really easy.

Okay, we're gonna take the box off and from there, we're gonna go and we're gonna give your shoulders a little bit of mobility now. So let's take the box off and put it at home, and we can change our spring resistance here. We're gonna do an arm circle. This is a really cool, fun exercise that'll mobilize your spine a little bit and stretch out your shoulders. So it's a side-lying arm circle.

So you can go with, just use a light-tension spring. We're gonna use a 50% tension spring here, but we're gonna lay on the carriage in the opposite direction. So they're gonna lay on their side and they're gonna come down onto the carriage and they're actually gonna scoot their hips back as far as they can so that their bum is kind of right against the shoulder rests there, and the front of the legs are draped over the front and just resting. So this should be a nice comfortable position. You should be able to have your arm resting on the carriage here with your head in your hand.

Now, Jake's about six feet tall and he does fit on the carriage, so if you're in the right position, you should be able to fit on the carriage comfortably here. Again, make sure that your hair isn't sticking down into where the springs are. Tuck it in or get it out of the way if you have long hair. From here, you're just gonna reach that arm forward, so pull it in front of you, and then, as you start to reach the arm up over your head, you're gonna rotate your ribcage and support your head with your hand. Open all the way back and then circle right around to the front again, coming back to the start position, beautiful.

Come forward, let's do an exhale there. Now inhale as you open back, circle around, feel the ribs engage, and you can feel your bum against the shoulder rest. I want you to feel like it's not moving. Make sure your pelvis stays stabile and you're really rotating the spine here and coming all the way around. We're gonna do one more, and I want you to think about the focus of pushing the strap away as far as you can with your hand to get the really good stretch.

You see the peck stretch there, really nice anterior delt stretch, and come back around. Beautiful, let's go to the other side. So this is kind of your breather here. So be careful getting off, remember it's a nice, light spring there. Feels good, doesn't it, nice exercise.

So when you scoot down, you want to shimmy back. So scoot back as far as you can here on the carriage. Yeah, so you can come back toward the edge a little bit. Yeah, that's it. Hand right underneath your head, and arms straight.

Good, and from there, you can have your palm facing up or facing down as long as you rotate it through. So pull it up, and inhale as you open back, and circle around. So the pelvis stays nice and still and the ribcage rotates. Really nicely done you guys. Reach up, this is your exhale.

Now inhale as you open back. Turn your ribs a little bit more, get a little bit more rotation, that's it, and then come all the way back around. That's really good, don't fall off. You're good, you got it bro. Come all the forward, open back, and reach it down and away.

One more time here. Good, exhale, they're doing this so slowly, they want this break. Reach back, open up, press into that strap and get the stretch, and come all the way back around to the front. Beautiful, all right, so that was your break. Now we have to go back into the hard work part.

So you're gonna bring your footbars all the way up to the top for our long stretch series. So for this series, I recommend anywhere from one full-tension spring to two full-tension springs, or adjust it accordingly. You want to feel this work in the front of the body but still feel like you have enough support that you're not sinking down. So typically one spring is a good starter spring and then you can adjust it from there. These guys are gonna step up and we're actually not gonna put our feet in the headrest like you traditionally would.

We're gonna put them against the shoulder rests, because we're gonna do a little variation here. So press up into your long stretch position. You want your shoulders directly over your hands, yeah. Come back down a second guys, 'cause a lot of people complain or have wrist issues or it kind of bothers their wrists to do this, so I want to talk really quickly about getting up into this position. So what I want you to do is put your hands on there Kelly and Jake, yep, right there, and before you load this chain, I want you to think about hugging that.

Now, not a death grip, but just wrapping your hand around it and hugging it, and then making sure that your elbows aren't hyperextended to begin with, and you've got really good, stable shoulders to begin with. Then put the weight into your arms and you'll find that it can disperse that energy throughout the whole chain and not just end up in the wrist joint itself. So from there, let's have that really connected feeling, and then push back into your long stretch position, yes. Now, we're gonna start with just five traditional long stretches. So inhale back, pressing away, keeping the body in one straight line, hinging from the shoulder joint, and then exhale to come forward.

Open up through the chest just a hair, right there, perfect. Inhale, press through the feet, reach right through the heels as you go back, head in line with your spine, really nice, good. Let's do three more. Inhale back, good, and exhale to come forward. Really good, that's it, and just keep the abs connected here.

Press all the way back into the shoulder. Good you guys. Then come all the way forward. All right, what I want you to do here is just gently lower your knees down and sit back into a little shell stretch here to just give yourself a mini break before we do part two. So we're gonna end up doing a version of a mountain climber on this.

It's kind of really cool. But we're gonna learn mountain climber prep next. So connect first before you get up into your long stretch position. Push out into that position, nice plank position for me, good. Now, what we're gonna do is keep the upper body completely still.

You're gonna drop your knees close to the carriage, pulling the carriage as far in as you can, and then press back out. So it's kind of like knee stretches in a way. Inhale in, exhale, press out. Good, and come back in. So just used to that movement pattern of keeping all of this completely still and really having the movement happen from the hips and the knees.

Good, one more time. Pull in, press out, nice job you guys. Gently bring the knees down and then sit back and give me a little stretch there. Just a shell stretch, you're hollowing out through the abs, you're sitting back, you're just giving your arms a bit of a break before we get into the next part. Next part takes a little bit of coordination, so let's get into it.

You ready, you ready Jake? All right, so push back, connect first then load the arms and push back into your long stretch position. I love this version. All right, so you're gonna bring the carriage in, flexing your knees. Now from here, one knee comes off into your chest as you press the carriage out with the other leg.

You meet in the middle, and then you switch. Good, keeping the pelvis nice and stable, you guys go at your own pace here. Come in and switch. So lots of stabilization work through the upper body. We want to keep the shoulders directly over the hands and not out in front of them, and you see the work happening, movement happening in the legs, but the work is all up here.

One more time, pulling in. Now, bring the carriage in with both feet, set the knees down, and sit back into your shell stretch. That was really nice guys, super challenging. Really, really nice job. From there, we're gonna switch things up a little bit.

We're gonna bring the footbars down. Why don't you guys grab your platform extender again. Once again, you can do this with the wood platform, but I'm gonna give these guys a comfortable padded platform to put their hands on, and I would probably, you can decide what you want to do, a 50% tension spring or a lighter spring, up to one full tension spring would work. So this is our plank to pike to version of our down stretch, just kind of a finishing stretch and mobility through the whole body. So we're gonna come on to the carriage.

You can kneel to start with, and put your hands on the platform. Wood platform if you don't have the platform extender. What I'd like you to do is push back into your plank from here, that's it. Now from there, you're gonna pike. So you're gonna lift your hips and you're gonna hinge your body toward your feet, yes, and then come back into your plank.

Then gently lower your knees down and bring the carriage in just as far as you can, get your thighs right onto the carriage, open the shoulders back and get that full front body stretch. Now, strong core to do this, push back into your plank, good. Hinge back, pike back, send your weight back toward your feet here, good. Then push out, into your perfect plank, nice. Drop the knees down, go right through that, pull the shoulders back, lift the sternum up, and stretch.

Probably need to breath, right? So let's exhale, go back into your pike. Right there, good. Inhale, go into your plank, and then exhale, go right through and into your kind of down stretch position. One more time.

Exhale, go right back into your pike, yep, sending the hips up toward the ceiling. Then go through your plank. Lower the knees down, and then just draw the shoulders back and go into that beautiful stretch. Now from there, you just gotta keep your knees down, lift your hips, go back into your shell stretch here for our final cool down. I hope you enjoyed this workout, but let's give our body a little bit of love here.

You're gonna put your hands on the outside of the footbar or the platform, whatever you can reach, both hands on the same side, and you just gotta send your hips off to the opposite side, just to get a little lat stretch here, a little side stretch. Then come through the center, walk your hands over to the other corner of the reformer and send your hips off. Again, just a nice beautiful stretch there, just an easy stretch. Keep the breath flowing. You want to still feel that expansion of the ribcage.

Let's do that one more time to each side. Walk your hands over and send your hips off to the side, breathing, and let's go over to the other side. Easy stretch on that side. It should feel really good. Then you're gonna roll up and you just gotta have a seat with your feet on the floor, off the side of the reformer.

How we doing, how we feeling? Great. Good, yes, all right. So we're gonna start with just a simple stretch forward. So sitting nice and tall, you can just rest your hands on the side of the reformer there, breathe in.

Then just exhale, just articulate and flex forward, nice strong abs, nice easy stretch through the back. You guys did an awesome job. Take a big breath there, and then exhale, stack your spine back up. Now just slide your hands to the back edge of the carriage there and just pull your shoulders back, lift your sternum up, still keeping engagement in the abs and take a deep breath in for me. Just reverse that, release the hands and exhale, flex forward right over the side of your reformer.

Inhale, coming all the way up, through, take your hands behind you, lift up. Then just come back to a nice tall position for me, so seated tall. Let's take your right arm up toward the ceiling, and you're just gonna, you can place your hand on the carriage and just stretch over to the side, exhale. Good, come on back up. Let's switch sides, take your other hand up and reach over, feeling that beautiful length through the whole side of the body.

Come on back up. Now just stay tall there, and just fold your arms in front of you like this. You're gonna rotate to the right, and you're just gonna reach your arms out to the side, just stretch 'em open, reach 'em back a little bit, yep. Then come right through the center, genie arms, go to the other side, and reach out to that side. Just a little rotation stretch and stretch through the front of the shoulders.

Come back to the center, just relax your arms down by the side. Show me your great posture. Take a deep breath in and exhale out, and we are done. That was awesome, thank you so much for joining me and I hope to see you again.


1 person likes this.
Many thanks John.
5 people like this.
Great class! Interesting to see Stott equipment used. Thank you for explaining the difference in springs,and excellent teaching.
1 person likes this.
My first class with you! Great class! Thank you:)
6 people like this.
Great to see John Garey on Pilates Anytime! Excellent class.
3 people like this.
Love John Garey!! Great class!!
2 people like this.
Excellent instruction! Great class! Thank you.
9 people like this.
I was so excited when I checked in with PA this morning and saw that John now has a Reformer workout here!!!!! It was like having him with me in my home studio. And to have the workout done on the STOTT reformer really made it feel like home. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Namaste, I am on my way to a wonderful day after working out with John and his team.
3 people like this.
I love that John is on PA as he is one of my favorite instructors.
5 people like this.
Next time with the Stability Chair pleeeeeease. Love you John.
2 people like this.
Excellent teaching!! Love all the variations!! Great class
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