Class #2728

Turn Preps into Movements

55 min - Class


Make your whole body present in each movement during this Reformer workout with Benjamin Degenhardt. He continues where the previous class left off, turning the preparations you learned into full movements. He also introduces new exercises like Head Stand, Russian Squats, and much more.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Aug 30, 2016
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Hi, welcome back. We're in our fourth class of our reformer progression. I'm joined by Benny and Nicole is back with us. We are just continuing exactly where we left off and add a few more exercises in, take the progressions and the preparations that we worked on last time and turn them into full on movements today. So we begin again on our grads, we formers with our footwork just to get our bodies ready for the practice to see how we feel today about our feed, our bodies, our lower backs, our spines, our breath. When you're in your position on your toes, go ahead, extend out for 10 and come down, extend out for nine and come allow your rib cage to sink down right from the start again for you at home. This is really about noticing how your body feels today. It's such a reliable movement. It never changes pressing out, coming back in. Last one. Ouch. Come all the way home.

We change the position too. The arches go out for 10 here. All right, so at this point in your practice, this movement becomes almost soothing, right? Because it's so predictable as the springs pull through your body and that movement travels through all your joints. Really focus on decompressing your spine more and more with every single repetition. Give me one more switch all the way out. Come all the way home. Continue on your heels. Pull your toes back. Quickest set is on the heels. Go out for 10 it and go at four, nine. Yeah.

Really focus on having even weight on both feet here, right? Also checking in with your symmetry. How does that travel through the body of both shoulders? Find even resistance against the blocks. Is your breath traveling through. One more repetition. Extend all the way out. Come back in.

Return to your toes for your tendon stretch. Extend out all the way and then pause there for a second. Ease the shoulders. Heavy, low reds. Now push through all 10 toes. You're big, you're second, your third and fourth. You fifth. Try to push all 10 toe mounts into the foot bar to get a little bit more space on your springs and then keep that length you find in your body as you lower the heels down. So we use this one today to slow down a little bit. Lift the heels up and lowering back down. Increasingly, as you get better at your practice, start to think of every single movement involving the whole body, right?

So we call this the tendon stretch. We move at the ankles only, but how is your whole body present here? How can you arm support the opening of your chest? How can that support your breath? How can you lengthen your spine more just by moving your feet and letting the springs tell you where to link from from? Give me one more. Extend up. Bend your knees, come all the way back in. Moving into our hundred right away.

You lower your foot parts down. We stay on the same spring setting three to four. You take your handles, pick your arms up, find tension on your straps, lift yourself into position and begin right away. Inhaling for five, exhaling for five, even out the curve in your back. So it's not just the Nag, it's not just the upper back, but it travels through the middle and lower back as well. Exhale, all the air begin to think about each breath lifting you up a little bit higher into your spine. Each Xcel reaching the legs farther away from you. If the springs move at all, they move out, they move the carriage away from the foot bar halfway through. Breathing in, pick your arms up a little bit higher as well, especially if you're really familiar with the exercise. Breathing in, breathing out, how calm can your breath be against your frantic, frantic pumping and all the stuff that's happening inside your body? It's do one more. Inhale. Exhale all the air out. Transition onto your back. Again, lift your arms up, release the legs, and then we change our springs down to two to move into our overhead, right?

So the head piece comes down for the next exercise. Making sure that we don't compromise. The neck here begins the same way as hundred. You're a hundred was a warmup for this exercise. Press your arms down, lift your leg straight up, roll over right away. Then Jack, knife your legs up towards the ceiling. Pause here. Can you get longer in your back and then mount down with control.

Lower the legs. Lift the arms up just two more times. As you become more familiar with this movement, see if you can simultaneously lift your hips over your head as your arms are traveling down in the setup. Try that on this last one. Arms come down. Hips already lived so nice. Lift your leg straight up. Now keep pushing into the arms as you move the spine slowly down and then recover the arms. Lift the legs. Come down, knees bend into your chest. Elbows, Ben, head, neck and shoulders. Lift. Preparing your center to carry the way to view. Extend your arms and legs. Ouch.

Open. Close your legs as coordination. Exhale. Bend your knees back in. Elbows bend. You've got two more. You guys know the way by now. Open, close. Use your breath more and more to draw those knees in deeper than you thought you could. This is your last one. Stretch out. Open the legs, close the legs, knees go in, elbows bend, release your head down. Here's where we start adding to our sequence before we put the long box on, we'll go into our rowing back. It's the second portion of the sequence that we will explore more as we go.

You come up to a seated position, you change down to one spring. We're going to sit on the reformer facing the foot bar with the legs extended out to face the other direction. Face the other direction. Exactly. So we're going to face the foot part here. You sit yourself all the way back against your shoulder, blocks your legs along in front of you and your legs are tight together. So we're holding the handle so that the handle is underneath our thumb and the strap can pass underneath our forms here.

The elbows pulled back behind us like chicken wings. You open your chest nice and wide, you hug your elbows towards one another and you try to sit yourself up as tall as you can. I think that this exercise is really about maintaining that lift. In our spine and allowing our shoulders to fully mobilize, which will benefit us and our swan. After beginning from the chest, you reach your arms up on the high diagonal. I want you to pause there. Can you lift more out of your waist? Maybe even tilt your spine forward ever so slightly, compressing your legs together. Give you more of that lift.

Now keep all of that lower the arms down. Tap the Mat, lift your arms all the way up by your ears and then circle your arms out to the side in a big range of motion. That is one repetition. We'll do three more from here. Elvis pulled back. Stretch up, lift into your straps and lower lift the arms. Continue to get taller that your shoulders be completely free as the arms come around. Two more tax from the back to the front. You go down, you go up, so your shoulders get moved into all directions here. Big Circle at the end. Last one. Link your breath into the movement. Down and up. Open the chest.

Keep that sense of open as in your chest as you take your hands down. By your hips. Second variation here, you pull your toes back, flexing through the feed thing, footwork on your heels like you're standing on your heels. Roll your head down, keeping the chest open. Press your handles down beyond and underneath your heels. Pause right there. Can you push the springs out just a millimeter more? Oh, that was an itch. Stay right there. Keep the spring long. Roll your spine up.

Pick your arms up along with you. It's that same arm circle we just did. Big Circle at the top. Chest opens. Now we go three times a little quicker. Rolling down, pressing out. Lift yourself up. Open the chest, arm circle around and down. One more time. So this is a circle of the arms that we add into our swan dive next as well. Lift the arms up. Open your arms out to the side.

And here's a little nugget of an exercise from Jo and self. You point your toes, you change the grip of your handles. You take your thumbs next to you. He called it lifting in his own photography. You Al was out wide out to the side. Your shoulders are down. You imagine you're lifting a 300 pound barbell right above your head. From here, straight up, the spine stays straight up as well. Drop the ribs in, puff out your back ever so slightly. Pull your elbows out to the side. Come back down so it's a cap to shape of the arms that we're looking for here.

Go again, pressing up. Press your legs together. Lift your ways of your ribs off your hips. Bend the elbows out to the side two more times. These guys are very good at keeping their best poker face here. It's a lot of work keeping your spine, this upright. Let's do just one more.

Lifting up an arch, your lower back, so nice. Bend the elbows and then release your arms out to the side and down. Give your shoulders a little, lift up to your ears. Roll them back and down that one more time, up the back and down to that the other way as well, just to make sure that there's no residual tension left in the shoulders. Next up is our swan dye. If you can get rid of your handles here, step off to the side. We'll add more to that growing series next time around.

For now, we set up the long box on top of the carriage short wall against the blocks. We will add a spring here and we put a pad around the front edge of the box like we've done before. It doesn't really matter what springs you use. I typically recommend using the inner springs for this one just so that you need to have a space to open into without pushing down onto the springs. Your toes go against the frame. Your hips go against the edge of the box, so keeping in mind that we add onto this one, we're going to start the same way as before. Again, the setup is off in the trickiest part of the exercise. You got it. You'll drape torso over the box.

You let your arms come down by your sides or remind you of all the progressions we've done. The first one, extend your legs like footwork, pushing through all 10 toes, swing the arms forward. That's the next step. Lift your chest up at the top of that. Bend your knees. Continue to lean your head back towards the heels. It keeps space through the back of your neck. Nice. And then reverse all those steps. Straighten out the legs, which forward come all the way back down.

The first one is a little bit of your test drive all the time, right, to make sure that you are in a good position. You can change your mind right here. Move your position around. If you're in a good place, we'll continue straighten out your legs. Lengthen forward through the arms. Lift yourself up. Now as you bend your knees and you pick up your head or begin to open your arms out to the side like that circle we just did, and then reverse the circle.

Reach your arms up and over your head. We straighten the legs, lift through the abdominals, and then release back down. Turn that into one motion. Now two more types. Straighten out, lift up. Open the arms as you bend your knees, reverse the steps. Stretch forward through the arms, back through the toes. Take your last one really actively.

Use your feet down against the frame open and return. Lift through the abdominals. Get longer. Come all the way down. You're not all warmed up for pulling strap. Step off to the side. You can get rid of your pads here. We take one spring off. So we're left on one isolating into our old pub back again, right? So this is our first chest open. It's our first version of chest expansion. Really you bring your hands down, get a good grip with both your hands.

Find all those little adjustments here of your hips pressing down to start your legs, reaching back to activate your body and then begin to pull straight down, straight back, straight up. Use all that mobility you found in your shoulders, in rowing and in that swan dive and see if you can link it to this exercise and slowly return the arms. Come down and forward crown of your head. Reach a straight away from your toes. We'll do that twice. More pulling down, pulling back, pulling up, all the way traction, the lower back to be as long as you can reach back through the toes. We'll return with console. Just one more are yours. Good. You guys return. Think of keeping that opening in your chest for your teeth pool as well.

Your arms reach out to the left and the right three times arms pulled straight back. Remember that you can keep the box in place as you begin returning your arms out to the side. So good. And again, pulling back, remind yourself to an arch your back as you go. That's it. It's really the upper portion of a back that's arching up at a lower back should be nice and long here so we don't put all the strain into that portion of our back cause it's already back-bending. Release your head down. Release your legs. Don't release your arms down at everything. Hang heavy for just a second. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. You step off to the side.

We stay on one spring. We moved back into our teaser series. Last we added lowering and lifting the arms and legs separately. We now turned that into circles. If you are successful at doing the up and down from last time, grab your straps. Have a seat on the front edge of your box. Skipping backstroke for today, right?

That would be in place here. We'll add so many exercises at the end. We'll leave that out today. It'll come back next time. Extend your legs out long over the foot bar. Release your head back, your arms. Go out to the left and right. Remind yourself for a second of how you had your arms and t pole, right?

Stretching away from one another, creating maximum wingspan across your chest. That's it, and your legs were actively reaching out of your hips. See if you can find some of that here. Press your legs into one another and find your lift. Find your spring. Find your straps. Lift yourself up into your highest stretch.

Try to control the bend of your middle back. Lift out of it, and then lower all the way back down. Again, this is just your test drive here and see how that feels. Deep breath in. Lift yourself all the way back up. If you arms come up higher than your shoulders, begin to add a circle to those of the arms arm. Circle out to the side and down. Lift back up to circle them around and down. Play around with it one more time. That same mobility we're looking for from a rowing. Lift the arms back up.

Find the highest point that you can sustain. Keep reaching through arms and legs. Then roll the spine slowly down. Really find that opposition through the center and then release all the way down. Forget all about it. We'll do it again. Find the tension on your straps. You know rechecks chats. Lift yourself all the way up, up and up. Hold this time. It's not the arm circling. It's the legs.

They make the same circle. You open the legs. He lowered them down. He squeeze them together to lift them up. Each time your legs meet in the center, can they hold each other up? Can you make them lift each other up so high that now you start coming down, roll yourself all the way back. Release your head at the end. Release your legs. Take a deep breath and just to center things here. We'll just do one more lift.

No circles on this one. Lift yourself all the way up to the top so it's one thing to lift up into a teaser and then to decide coming back down. Can you instead, if your arms up so high that you must come down, can you lift your legs up so high that you must come down and then slam on the brakes? Slowly control it. Release your head all the way back. Teasers over officially over for this class, you can step off to the side. We now go into our full breaststroke. We stay on one spring. Again, we organize the straps in front of our body so both straps pass in front of us and the thumbs are on top or rather underneath the handle hands are on top of the handle.

You bring your hands to the front corners of your box so that you can step over your straps. Again, we reiterate shoulders and knees for the box right in between those two points. Press your hipbones down, stretch your legs back. Think a little bit of your leg hurts. We did last time, right where you have your feet in straps. As you kick your heels through your seat once, twice. Stretch your arms away from each other. To add on to what we did last time, lift your chest up that your arm circled back behind you.

There's that arm circle again. Take your hands to the front of the box. Kicked twice, one to stretch arms and legs apart and lift through the chest. Lift the spring tangent. Pull you into your backbend. We take one more keg, one's cake twice. Stretch the arms, legs away from each other. It's not the arms lifting, it's the chest coming up. Pull yourself all the way home.

Take your hands to the front corners of your box. So good. You guys have off to the side. Come all the way in with control. That's great. We add an arm circle to the next one as well. Horseback. Have a seat. Take those straps right away with you. Remind yourself you have options here.

You can do the same exact exercise with no straps as we found out last time. That's hard enough as it is. We also had the other prep where you use more spring tension. Don't move the arms, but for today, arm circles is our theme, right? So we add them in here for nice opening of the chest.

Flex through your feet to start right from the beginning. See if you can pick your heels up almost in line with the box. Let that be your start position and the position you seek to return to. From there, point your feet. Reach your arms out long in front of you, round your spine back. So find the tension here between the strap pulling into your arm and that giving you space to around your body back reaching your legs forward and down, squeezing the box. Bend the elbows, flex the feet, lift the legs, and just return back into your start position. We'll do that one more time, right? Stretch your arms out long in front of you.

It's a little bit like your spine. Stretch forward on the mat. He reaching into the arms. Pick your legs up just as smidge. That's it for the next, the feet and slide all the way back in. Super easy. Right now we add the arms. Circle to that same beginning. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Point down and forward through the toes.

Now simultaneously pick up your heels, your arms, and your spine. Let your arms be pulled behind your ears and shoulders. As you recover, we go again. Round in, press out. Try to pull yourself out of this rounded shape into a lifted spine. Pick up the arms, heels, and legs. Open the arms at the top. It's super hard to do the slow. We'll do it three times a little quicker.

Rounding it, press out, lift everything up. Flex the feet, open the arms at the top two more times. See if you can link your breath into this. Use the excel to open the arms, the breath flow out of your body as you come in. One more time pressing out so it's a tastic nasal. Lift yourself all the way up. Arms Open, wide to the side, and then we're done with that one too. Great job. Take the handles, store them away. You don't need them for the next one.

Going back to familiar movements. Now long stretch series is next. Get rid of your boxes. Come back with a path. All right, we're going to set ourselves up in our plank. Hands. Go on the foot bar. Set your toes right into the crease of the head rest and we're just going to hold that plank for a second. I had, one of the things I believe the series is about is to reveal how our spine feels when it's not supported by a box or by the carriage, right? This is the first time and our spine is fully unsupported in space. Make it as long as you possibly can. Pull the chest forward, give yourself a hint of that pulling strap action of your arms, and then go ahead and press the carriage. I will just take three here out.

Come all the way back in, close the carriage into the stopper twice more pressing, ouch. Coming all the way and you've done this one so many times. By now we can through adjust a little bit quicker. Come all the way in. Continue on your knees. Bring your feet against the blocks. Chest lifts forward, chest lifts up and go three times. Inhale, ouch. Xcel in. There's not that many places where it was super specific with the breath.

This is I think, one of them where it really helps us to Xcel as we bring the chest all the way through. Stay right here. Swing your arms up by you ese. Lift yourself unto your knees to take a little bit of a kneeling back. Bend here. Allow your chest to slide up your arms to reach back. Try to see your fingertips in your peripheral vision there and then slowly return. Take your hands back to the bar or lift yourself into your up stretch position.

We're going to add something here, right? We're going to take this into a backbend today. Begin your up stretch the same way. You know how push your arms and your legs away from each other. Lower the hips. Now stay here for a second.

Keep the springs out long and lift your eyes forward and up and begin to change your spine into a backbend. Allow the character come in ever so slightly. Stay strong. Then press back out. Unload the spring with your arms and legs. Give your spine space to curl all the way back into start position. Nice. Do that once more slow. Press your arms and legs away from each other. Hips curl down, lift your chest forward and up through the arms.

Think of the ends of your spine moving simultaneously. You press back out so head down and tail under happens at the same time you curl back in. We'll do one more pressing out. If that space behind your shoulder weights up, coming in, then press back out. Head and tail curl under simultaneously. Very nice. Come all the way in. Make your feet flat. Lift your backwards up. Go into your elephant.

You press out, you come in, you press out, you come and you don't even have to think about it anymore cause we've done it like what? 500 times I think. So Push, oh come in. You've got four and in as you see your feet down there, do you ever even weighed on them three, two and on. Step off to the side. Set up for your long back stretch. Now facing the other direction. Think of long back stretch almost as if it was the same exercise as elephant, right? Except that you're not loading weight into your arms here, but here what you try to have that same curl in your back, that same weight in your heels, pull your toes back if you use a little closer to the shoulder blocks there.

Yes, they can really connect you heels. Now press the arms back. Dip your torso slightly forward and down to begin giving yourself more space to move from. Then press your head out, lift them up, coming all the way back in. Think of your tendons stretch that we worked on last time. Sit on down. Press the carriage out. Back to the arms, out to the heels. Come all the way back in. Take one more. This way you dip down, you press out, you lift yourself up, you return back in. Now reverse that movement.

You stay up as you open through the chest and press out. Lift back up. Stay out of your shoulders there for to keep kicking through the heel and then lift yourself back up from the strength of your back. This is your last one. Lower. Come all the way in. Float back up. Can you stay there for just a second? Open the chest and then step off to the side. Oh yeah, that one doesn't get any easier.

I can tell you that with the sticky pads down to the front of your carriage, we'll just do a quick little stomach massage here. We're going to skip through a few variations. Last time we added a one legged one. I'm going to skip that one for today. Have a seat again as close to the front edge of your character as you possibly can. Sit feet up on the bar, heels together, toes apart, hands around the corner of the mat and go for it. Straighten out your legs, lower, lift the heels, come all the way back in. Nice and keep on moving. Just reminding ourselves what the body has done so far, right?

We've added a lot of varied movement in an environment where the spine is not fully supported. So can you find more space in your back here so you don't just collapse into the position but feel a sense of lift even though your low back is completely rounded and relaxed. One more time. Stretch lower lift. Come in, reach your arms back behind you with as little weight in your hands as possible. Use your arms to lift your spine up nice and tall. Look straight ahead. Lengthen your neck on top of the rest of your spine and then do the same movement there. Stretch lower lifting, come in so we are returning to the sequence as it was lower lifting company. Think of your ribcage lifting up and away from the hips and with your arms behind you here.

Think about all the arm circles we did and how open your shoulders can feel to give you a better open chest. More space to breathe into. Give me one more stretch. Lower lift, come all the way home and stay with your arms up and out on the high diagonal. Almost like somebody is pulling you up and forward. Would that be nice? Lift yourself out of your back, straighten your legs, skip the drop and lift of your heels. Push your legs out so much your spine automatically lifts more. Keep the lift, bend your knees, come back home and do that again.

Stretch the legs to lift the spine. Keep the lift, bend your knees, come back home. Just one more chance. Stretch to lift. Come all the way back in. Just one time. Each side we add a twist. Reach your right arm back. Reach your left arm, perhaps more importantly forward. And then come all the way back home. This is your last one left arm reaches back. Reach your right arm forward, but push evenly to both feet. Come back home. Take your hands next to your feet for a little monkey time.

You press out through your legs and aunts. You lower the heels. Yeah, you can really hold onto the foot bar here. Give yourself a moment of rest here. Let your head really drop our next exercises, the tendon stretch where we will be in that exact same position, right? So allow your heel to really kick under, strengthen your arches, pull with your arms enough to give your spine a little bit of stretch. Lift your heels back up, bend your knees, come back in. You're now ready for tendon stretch. We want to add onto that one as well.

Of course, today, turn the pad around so that it's lengthwise around the front edge of the carriage. Now this is where we probably want to change our springs to two outer springs so that our heels have space to drop so that we get the feedback from the cares that we're looking for as well as the stretch of our Achilles tendons and calves. Have a seat on your foot bar facing your shoulder blocks. Just remember, you want to sit slightly in front of the foot bar so that the second you extend your legs out, it actually pushes you into the foot bar. Rather than offer it, push the arms back, straighten out your legs, allow your heels to drop. Good, and then yes, you can go right away into it. Or from here, pull yourself into your start position. Try to align your hips right above your heels. Come all the way in, close the carriage, and then just a few times go ahead and push out.

Push back to the arms, push out through the legs and come back in. As you start to read, familiarize yourself with that movement. Allow the heels to really drop down. They often want to lift back up and then we're missing the tendon stretch of it, right? We need to let the heels drop. One more time. Press out, come all the way in. We add on, press back out and stay at your lowest point. Now push back through the arms and lift your chest forward and up like you.

Adding a little bit of Swan here like you up. Stretched down, search combination, round yourself back in. Lift your stomach through the arms to come all the way back home. Try it like that. Two more times. Push back out. Think long back. Stretch. Push back to the arms. Open through the chest. No puff. You're back up into my hand. Lift off the foot part.

Come back home one more time. Push down and out through the heels. Push the arms back behind your chest opens. Good you guys chin over, chest, come all the way back up again. Both ends of your spine. Move at the same time and then be done with that. Have a seat. Step off to the side. Here's the dessert. After that, we call it short spine. You can get rid of your pads. I'll move your foot parts down. Takes a village, right? You wrap your scraps and you lay down on your back.

We short now straps and we get ready for this one. We're gonna add any changes to this one here. Leather Luke comes through the handle. In a perfect world without moving the carrots, you set your feet up inside the straps, revisiting a lot of shapes that the body has already been in, right? There's a little hint of stomach massage in here.

If you've done your mat work today, you've done something like rolling like a ball, right? Which is all the same stuff from here. Extend your legs out on a high diagonal. Remind yourself of what you just did. Intended. Stretch. We begin the same way. Push up into your strap, lift the hips up and over. Press the arms down, lift the hips up high a long through the sides of your waist. Bend your knees back in. Keep your heels and your seat together.

As you roll down. Really take your time on these first few. Think that it's your stomach, pulling you down into the mat and then reach your legs out long. Go again, precedent to your straps. Fill it up and over. Bend your knees back in. Now, based on the exercise we've already done, the head piece is already down for these guys here, right? If that's not true for you at home, make sure that you had pieces down. You extend your legs down and out. Lift up and over. Bend your knees back in. Lift your hips a little higher on this last one.

Keep heels and seed together with your body is one whole. Roll yourself down. Stretch you a seat away from you. Press your legs out, lift up and over. One last time just to lose your straps overhead. So we finished with our roll over position like last time.

Slowly roll yourself all the way down from here. Bend your knees into your chest, give yourself a hug and maybe a little rock side to side. Ha. How are you doing? Are you guys ready to try a little head stand today? That'll be our next little challenge. Step after the side. Okay.

All right. So this is um, a preparation for the headstand front. There's a variety of headstands that we do in the traditional work. This is just one of them and it's just the first part of one of them, right? We're not actually trying to put a lot of weight into our heads, so the name is a little bit of misleading, at least not in this step. A lot of the weight will be in the arms and we try to keep a nick log throughout the exercise and make sure that we breathe right.

Actually resembles a lot of the shapes we've already been in, which is why we are putting it in right now. Um, the setup here is you stand off to the side of your reformer, sort of in the middle of your carriage here. Your eyes are going to go right to the center of your foot bar. As you bring your hands to either side of the shoulder blocks, you try to get the crown of your head right into the crease of the head rest. You said one foot at a time up on the foot bar and you just try to lift yourself into a position where your arms and your hands carry the weight of you. That could be with your forearms down by on your hands, wrapping around your shoulder blocks. It could be with your hands down, flat, flat, wherever your body's comfortable.

We're using a towel on top of a sticky pad here to make sure that the head has something squishy to sink into. And even just holding this position is a good enough exercise. So that's where we're going to do. Take a deep breath in. Try to make your spine a little bit longer. Straighten out your legs, try to get out of the joints. Then XL flex back through the heels. Maybe give yourself a little tendon stretch in this position, pointing and flexing the feet as you play with your breath and play around with how much weight you can take into the arms here.

All the while taking wrinkles out of the back of the neck. We take one more lift and flex back. Then keep your eyes on your toes as you step one foot after the site. Then the other, you come all the way off to the side. You stand yourself back up, you undeserved your body for her breath.

How are we doing? Right? So what we're looking for in that exercise is traction through the neck, similar to what we do in the neck. Pull on the Mat, right? And that's really all there is to the exercise. All right, you get your foot bars. Now moving back into more familiar repertoire now, chest expansion and our thighs stretch. And then we add on from there. A theme today has been somewhat about arms circles, right? So we'll get those in here as well. Today both handles are in your hands.

You set yourself up. We're on two springs. Your feet are hooked around the front of the carriage so that you have something to hold on to. Let's try this for today. Go ahead and push your head so far forward. It feels like your feet are about to fling up behind to a place where you automatically feel that you've seen kicks in. You've Donald's kick in, your body is holding itself up so that you don't fall flat down. Hold that place and then begin your pole.

Press your hands back behind you on an inhale. Turn your head one way than the other. Holding the breath. Exhale, return with control. We'll do that. Three more taps in our port. Keep pressing your hips forward to turn your head one way. Then the other straight ahead. Come in with control. Last two times pole on back.

Allow your chest to open more and more with each one straight ahead. Come back in. What if your chest opens before you begin pulling and the pull is just a result of you opening your chest so good. You guys come all the way in at a spring. We go right into our thighs. Stretch from here. We're now in three springs. The knees move all the way against the blocks.

Your hands walk out farther on the strap as opposed to pulling on the strap. We're now hanging off of it. Keep your eyes straight forward, tailbone down, pull your body back, stay there for a second. We added a lot of surprising back Benz into the session as well. Right? So from here, don't let your head hang back, but can you pull your chest ever so slightly away from your hips and then lift yourself back up in one motion. We'll just add that in here. Take your body back.

Your tail is still curling down forward towards that spot between your knees. Your chest pulls through like a hint of pulling straps. Nice. Lift yourself back up just one more time. This will eventually become a full back Ben. We're not quite there yet. Curling the tail down and forward, opening through the chest, allowing more breath to pass. Nice.

And then you've got all the way up from there and here's our arm circles. Take the handles with you. Step off to the side. It seems tempting to try and move yourself around while still on the carriage. I like to step off here and then change our springs first. We're down to one spring. Now you'll set yourself up on your knees facing the other direction this time, and just like all the arm circles we worked on, right?

I want you to think about liberating your shoulders, so if your shoulders lift up at the end of your circle, as long as that's not the first thing that happens, I'm completely cool with that, right? We are going for big movement range. Maybe even your arms end up behind your body. Let's see what happens, right? It's all begin like this. You press your hips forward, you open your chest, and you bring your arms down and forward as if you're reaching for the foot bar and no higher yet just down and forward. That's it. Now Lean your whole body into the spring tension and slowly return. Just do that again.

Just understanding how heavy that one spring can be in this position, right? Your heels kick back, your chest widens, but your upper back stays wide to slowly come all the way in. That's lift up to the height of our shoulders. On this next one, lifting up right about. Here's when their shoulders want to muscle through. Hold themselves in place and get really tight. See if you can let your back carry the work and your shoulders be completely loose. Nice.

Now let the arms come down by your sides and we'll take that into a full circle. Lift the arms up next to you, yours maybe behind them. Open them out to the side, come back down two more times. This is a little easier if you do it with a sense of flow, a sense of breath. One more time, lifting up, arms come around. Now as the real fun part, you reverse the circles and somehow that feels three times as hard.

You take the arms forward and now there's a really good reason for that, but try to keep your shoulders just as loose, so nice and down. What helps the shoulders get loses? A super strong back. We've been working on that all class. Now here stay. Take the arms out to the side. We finish this sequence with a little hug. Bring your arms out in front of you.

Why in the space between your shoulder blades and then open the arms out nice and wide. Same idea. Strong backs, strong hips, because that's what holds you in balance. But loose shoulders. Just one more time. Pull the hands together, far away from the chest. Slowly return that your arms come down and let it go. Step off to the side. Get rid of your handles here and then we go into our snake. Last time we just worked on holding that first position.

Right now we start to add some movement into this. Remind yourself of your up-down stretch combination that we worked on today, right? How you use your arms and your legs to hold the spring out to give you a spine space to go from a forward bend into a Backman. That's essentially what's going to happen here in a twist. We add a spring, so we're on two springs now. Then you walk over to the side here. So during the same side, your right foot will be on the horizontal part of the foot bar.

Your left hand finds the opposite shoulder block, the one that's farthest away from you. Your right hand around the carriage or under your shoulder. Your choice. Lift yourself up. Thread your left foot in front of the right. Lift your left hip crease up to the ceiling as far as you can. Take a full breath here before doing anything else, try to untwist that hip a little bit more as you exhale. Now from here, like up, stretch. Push the arms and legs away from each other.

Curl the hips down and allow your spine to translate into a lift a back bend here. Keep the carriage out as you begin returning. Lift your left hip crease up to come all the way back in and do that twice more. Press on out. Find a breath that supports the movement. Lift your chest through the arms. Keep the carriage out as you lift your left hip up.

Get really long through your entire left side and take one more pressing out. That'd be one motion. Let them spring tension travel through your body. Keep your neck long, lift the left hip up and without moving the carriage. Unravel your left foot to the ground. Walk over to the other side and then we'll do that second side.

Thankfully, there's only two. You have your left foot on the horizontal part of the foot bar. Again, just a word on alignment here. Make sure that your heel is a little bit forward on that bar so that the flood can swivel inside. That horizontal part of your foot by it doesn't get stuck in the corner, right hand on the far shoulder block left-hand across from it. Set yourself up right hip crease lives on this side. Press the carriage out. Your arms and legs. Carry a lot of that spring tension so that your spine is freedom.

Move from a forward men into a back then and have that hint of a twist building. We take two more. Four acid apps. Lift through the chest. Let your shoulders be light and open so that your body can travel through that one more time. So just like in all of our arms circles, you don't want the shoulders to muscle through this cause then you don't want to have a hard time keeping your chest open throughout. Lift that right up, up, up, up. [inaudible] get ready to do the stop and take your right foot down and that is all snake. We're going to add on more to this next time around or right now, just go ahead and lie down on your backs with your headpiece flat. Going back into our corkscrew and our ticktock when I had a little lift of the hips here. All right, go ahead and lie down on your backs.

Remember there's those little pegs behind your shoulder blocks. You want to hold on to those and then create the illusion that you're pulling them apart your heads, right? So yeah, use that back portion of the shoulder block here. Your legs go straight up to the ceiling. Then lift your hips up and over your head. Find your overhead, your rollover position here. Perhaps lift your legs up a little bit high on a high diagonal to make your spine a little longer too. This is where we begin our corkscrew.

Come down on the right side of your back. Swing your legs away from you, down around and up on your left side. Use Your Xcel for that last portion and then begin the same movement on your left side. We alternate directions here down around and up. Finding our breath in. How come down. Exhale, lift back up. Nice. You have three more repetitions here. Take the left side down, swing it over to the right, lift back up. This is your final set right side down, around and up. And one more time.

Think about the snake and the rotation that we just found in no spine that'd be supported here. Also remind yourself that you have the option to keep your hips down. Throughout that whole exercise we finished with the hips down the leg, straight up to the ceiling. We activate your arms, burst that chest open. We'll take our tic talk legs, go to the right, left it pulls back down. You come through center, take it to the left pole, the shoulder blocks apart.

Come back through center. Just one more time. You decide going into a deepest rotation yet so that next time around we can add the twist into our snake. Even take it to the left, come back through center. Bend your knees into your chest, give yourself a squeeze, give yourself a hug, and then we're going to step off to our sides. We go back into our long box sequence from last time. Our leg curls are rocking in our swimming.

Okay. Have a seat on your long box facing your pulley and on the reformer. Get your straps into your hands. Remember, we're going to shorten them here, right? Either in the short spine kind of way where you thread the nether loop through the handle. You can also just let the handle fall. You Cross your straps, places, loops around your feet, and then cross your feet to uncross your straps. Flip over into your stomach.

Bring your arms around the short end of your long box here so that you can pull yourself forward and up. Your knees are slightly apart. You hear that together. Your bones pressing down. Now, this is the simplest or easiest version of this. If you want more of a challenge, you can take your hands to your lower back as well. Placing one high end on top of the other so that you actively have to find your upper back muscles to give yourself that middle lift of the chest. All right, from here, the same stuff happens. You draw your heels to your seat, you keep pressing your hipbones down. At the end of that, try to unweight your thighs ever so slightly without moving your heels away from you and then slowly extend the legs to let the spring come in. Pull in again, heels in, hipbones pressing down thighs. Lift up ever so slightly. Continue to lift your chest forward and up and then slowly return.

We'll just take one more. Press the hips down to pull your heels to your seat. When I say press your heads down, I really just mean finding an activation of our seat right without having to clench the bottom. Extend the legs until you lose tension on the straps. Remember, you're rocking here. You bring your heels to your seat. One more time, but this time your legs are parallel. Your knees are a little closer together. Your heels are farther apart. Reach your hands back towards your feet. Grab onto them. Yes, you got 'em hands are above the straps.

Same ideas. Aim as your leg curls. You start by pressing, it's down. Then you let the spring tension carry you up. See how that feels today. See if you can liberate your shoulders here as well so that really the strap pulls you into your back. Then see if you can stay there just by checking in with your breath. Take a deep breath in. Take a deep breath out. If you can do that, you're fine.

You come back down, pull your heels to your seat, release back down and say that one more time. Kick into your feet. Lift yourself up. Lengthen your thighs back and out. Now from here, this is going to be a tiny little movement. Can you lift your thighs up so much that your body starts to roll forward and down and then let the spring tension carry your back like a slow motion rocking and exercise. We'd know from the Mat. Keep your heels at about hip distance here. Go ahead one more time.

Rocking forward, rocking back. Now in transition into swimming, can you let your feet go with control? Reach your legs back behind. You, lose the scraps while you swing your arms out in front of you, and then go right into it without the straps on your one arm, opposite leg, and switch ten nine, eight seven. What did the spring tension just teach you about your back then that you can use in this exercise about the lift of your thighs. Three to lift everything up on one and beautifully collapsed so that your head hanged down at your legs, fall down and off to the side, and just give yourself that toe touch again, right? Bend your knees as much as you must. Place your hands flat down on the ground. Give yourself a moment of counter stretching here.

Then we move the spine in both directions. Again, in this next sequence, we turn the box around and we'll do our whole shoulder short box today. Alright. So move the short box in between your shoulder blocks and those little screws. We take the outer springs on our reformers here. We're not gonna use any props for this sequence. You take your feet under both of your scraps.

Why are a traditional reformer typically has two straps of that in case one tares, you still can back bend without having to worry about your body falling backwards. Bring your arms around your waist, remind ourselves of that Short, um, short box position that we take in the first exercise around back. It's like your stomach massage and that there is a lift, but also a rounding happening all at the same time. Set it up. Make sure that the strap holds you right from the start. You pull your legs apart and then begin to roll yourself down. Pretend there's a map behind you and you just lie down on your back.

If you want to take it into a full back bend, you can unrolling the spine, opening the chest, releasing the head back. You have the option to use your elbows against the back of the box. You have the option to take your arms over your head. Come back up from here. You get to take two more in your own timing and your own variation. One that serves your body best. At this point, we already have worked the body pretty much all directions, so they should feel like a treat in a way of releasing your spine into a full on inversion. Come all the way back up. Use your legs actively. Last one, rolling back and round the spine into a full on arch and coming all the way back up. We've done many backbones already, but now a spine as completely free to express itself. Hanging backwards.

Now lift yourself up. Set it up super tall. Take your hands behind your head. Go ahead and make your hands pull forward into the head. Your head presses back into your hands and our position that that makes you a little taller. Pull your legs up into the strap. Try to lift out of your seat and then take your body back in one long line, one inch, maybe two, maybe 10. Then lifters out back up and do it again. Lift up, Tyler. For every inch you lean back, you get a little taller open through the chest and then pick yourself back up.

You've got two more up to go back. Pull up into your straps, lift the spine. Last one. Use the strap also to pull your feet away from one another. Working the outer hips. Now lift your arms over your head, Hook your thumbs together. Allow your spine to come ever so slightly forward. I'm going to take a stretch side to side from here. Go over towards your right side first. Reach out through both heels, especially your left one on this side and then come back through center.

Take it forward and to the left. At this point in your practice, go less by what it looks like and more by what it should feel like. You want to get a stretch down to side seam of your shirt here. Really find a new space with stretch into with every repetition you take over left and center. Let's do one more each way just because it feels good and because we don't nearly move enough side to side. Yes, God and come back to the center the last time. Left side all the way back through center. Release your arms out to the side and down another arm. Circle.

You Bend your right knee into your chest and we get ready for our treat. Supple the right knee up into your chest. Remind yourself that you're allowed to let your low back. Relax into that a little bit, right? So the more your knee comes in, the more your lower back starts to perhaps round little bit long with it. Just one time on this side. Stretch your leg out. Once it's straight, lift your spine. Walk your hands up into the top of your leg, and then actively bend your spine in towards the leg.

Take the whole shape back with you. And the second the strap catches you begin to walk down. Find your expression of a backbend could be supported with your elbows. Digging into the back of the box. You can reach your arms over your head. Find something that sue this you that now's your head to completely drop and your breath to freely flow and then keep reaching through the leg as you return.

Just one time on this side, you walk yourself all the way up to the top. Hold onto the ankle, try to lift your spine back up nice and free in the shoulders. We're going to take our figure four stretch here. Crossing the right ankle over the left hip. Hands up behind us on the box. You take a stretch forward over the legs, releasing the head all the way down.

Take one full breath in. See if you can get deeper into the stretch with your XL. Then lift yourself all the way back up. We'll do our second side. Take the right leg under left knee comes in. Draw the left knee up high into you, even weight on both your sits bones.

Extend your leg out, lift your spine. Walk your hands up into the top of your leg. Find extra lift in your back. Round forward. Actively take the shape back in space at the strap. Hold you and then take your body all the way down, actively reaching through the leg. Again, finding your expression of a backbend. The side might feel different than the first.

Just observe that as well and then shouldn't over chest. Find your way back up all the way into the top of your tree. Holding onto the foot at the top, lifting the spine, maybe rolling your sitz bones right back down into the box. Bend your knee. Find the opposite hip with your ankle. Hands behind you. Allow your head to stretch forward and down. Take a full breath with the XL.

Get heavier. Yes. All right, and then step off to the side. Picking up the speed a little bit. Going back into somewhat more dynamic movements. We go right into our, the knee stretches next. Right now, especially after we just find that relaxed rounding in our back that see if we can translate that into this very vigorous exercise. We on two springs, hands on the bar, feet against the blocks, hits back towards the heels. Make your spine round from head to tail. Now think that from start to finish your arms and your legs already work.

You hear that already pushing back. Your arms are already pushing the football away from you. Make that an exercise in and of itself. Now go 10 times fast. Push, pull, push, pull eight in, seven in six. Feel that you're hugging your arms into one another in and in. Last one. Hold it in and then arch your back. Sit your hips back.

Chest pulls through the arms that it'd be an active back bend here. Can you find that little bit of breaststroke in here? Then go again out to 10 no, eight keep the sides of your way super duper long and try to have a little bit of a stopper on the way in that the carriage doesn't collapse. Last one. Hold it. Bring your tail and your nose towards one another. So much though. The nice lift on up. Pull the shape you're in.

Can you make your neck longer? Can you make your arms stronger? Can you make your breath a little deeper? Wow. And then lower the knees back down. Wow, that was great. Now. Let's do that one more time and then add 10 movements, stretching the legs all the way out. Good luck. Lift your knees that pushed out for ten eight.

Push out from that and try to keep contact with you. A heels to the shoulder blocks. All throughout. Think of your horseback spine. Think of that space behind your heart, lifting up, puffing up, push and pull. Last one, hold it in. Stay and lower the knees down. Add your springs. Same setting as your foot work today. So three or four.

I'm going to lie down on our backs and finally do running. Ooh. Alright. Heart rate significantly increase at this point. I hope. Press on out and go for it. Alright, this could easily become a zoning out type moment, right? I want you to actually use it to tune in, right? To really get into your body, to notice what happened. Even if it's just, wow, I'm so exhausted right now.

Wow, I'm so heated right now. Wow, there's a lot of openness happening in my body or my breath. Just seem shallow. Give yourself some time to normalize things. Again, give yourself time to find space in your back again and then come all the way home. Bend your knees, place your feet in the corners of the foot bar for a pelvic lift. Think that your tail reaches so far forward that it begins to curl up until your hips are lifted as high as your head pieces. Stay right there, straight in your legs, all the way out. Let that movement travel through your knees, hips into your spine and head. Bend your knees. Come all the way back in. Press back out.

We'll just do two more here. Take them nice and slow here. Curl the tail under as you come in. One more time. Stretch out. Bend your knees. Come all the way back in. Very slowly. Lower your spine down. Give your knees a hug into your chest. Sit yourself up. Spin off to one side and come to standing and then come to an end.

Now we're gonna do a combination of splits. Let me get ready for our squats and then do a pushup at the end for splits. We'll do the Russian splits. Today we are on two springs. So, um, change your springs accordingly. We're not going to need a sticky pad for this variation. I want to stand on the carriage facing the shoulder blocks. All right, so go ahead and step up. Hold onto your shoulder blocks with your hands.

Now take your right foot and place it against both the vertical and horizontal part of the foot bar. And then jump your left foot forward into the headrest. The toes are just above the crease of the head. Rest here, and then you learned your front leg, bending it in, and then find your stance. Those springs will open a little bit. Use that to square your hips off. So your left, it pulls back a little bit. Your right hip lifts up a little bit and your back leg is stretching back into the foot bar. From here, using both your arms and your front leg, go ahead and straighten your front leg out so you can use your arms here.

In fact, I recommend using the RMC and then you bend your knee back in. Do that a couple more times just to get used to that. Your back leg doesn't change. It keeps digging back into that foot bar. One more time. Stretch and bend in. Stay. Keep your heel underneath the knee and then upright your spine as far as you're able to, right? If you don't come up to an upright position, make sure that you're not putting a dent into your low back.

Perhaps you just end up in a shape where your back leg and your spine are in line. Now straighten out your front leg from here. Push and bend back in with control. Make sure that the heel stops under the knee and doesn't go past right, cause then things get a little messy. Stretch out. One more time. Bend your knee back in. That'll be enough for this time. Take your hands through the shoulder blocks. Bring the carriage to a close.

Step your right foot in and then readjust your feet so that we can read. Ready for the other side. Your left foot now steps back against your foot bar. Your right foot jumps forward into your head rest, and then you set yourself up in a strong lunge stance. Front knee bend, using your arms on the first three. This is really about strength and also clearing how well your friendly can extend against your back leg pushing. Go ahead and do that three times.

Stretching out, bending back and harassing out strong back leg. Come back in. One more time. Stretch and bend in. Upgrade your spine as much as you can. See how it feels on this side, right? Don't expect it to feel the same as on the first square. The hips have nice adjustment and then straighten the front leg.

Three bend back in with control. Press out to bend back in. Send that tailbone down. Start to finish one. Come all the way back enhanced to the blocks. Find your way out. Bring the carriage to a close, jump your foot back, bring your left foot forward and then you can step off to the side. Next up, we'll take a little preparation for our Russian squats. First we want to make sure that our body's comfortable with that.

Just to clear how flexible our hips, knees, and ankles are in terms of squatting and our level of comfort, as well as teaching our body the opposition that comes through the back and that exercise. I'm just going to do a little preparation here. You hold onto your foot bars and you step your feet about a good foot length away from your reformer here. All right, so this is just a clearing test. You keep holding onto your foot bar. You open your legs at least as wide as your hips to start, perhaps even a little bit turned out, and then you just bend your knees and sit yourself down into a squat holding onto your foot bar with straight arms and letting the foot bar support you here. Almost feel like you're pulling your chest in between your shoulders by using your arms, letting your spine lift up, letting your hips though sink down, and then stand yourself back up.

I'm just going to do that a couple of more times. If that was really comfortable, you can start to walk your legs a little bit closer together. Maybe exact hip distance in parallel. Just to see how your body feels. Hands back into the same position. We repeat that same movement. Bend your knees, sit yourself down, and then look for the sensation that from the ribs down.

Your body is fully relaxed, but from the ribs up, your chest is pulling forward, lifting up. There's a little bit of pulling straps in here as well. It comes back and almost everything we do, straighten your legs back up. We'll just take one more trial. Last one ad, exact hip distance, maybe a little narrow and perfectly parallel because if we take this exercise on top of the reformer, which we will next time, we want to make sure that this is comfortable in the body. Take your hands to the bar, sit yourself down. I'm gonna add one layer here. Once your hips are down, you have your chest between the shoulders and lift through your spine. Can you, without actually lifting the bar, feel like you're about to pull it up like you're about to lift the kickstand out of the reformer without losing your squat and stand back up.

Excellent. And then release your arms down by your sides. You will see that upward motion of the arms is exactly what happens with the handles in the full exercise, which you guys are lucky. We're not going to do today. We're going to do that next time. We will finish strong. However, with a push up for that, just come over to this side facing out. Bring your heels together and your toes apart.

This will be a precursor to our balance control, which we will do on the reform. And next time just take your arms up by your ears. Press your heels down into the ground and just feel the length through your body, out through the heels, out through the fingers, and then curl your chin into your chest. Begin to roll yourself down and walk your hands out in front of you. Take about four steps with your hands here. Just find your plank position.

We mind yourself of the Times that you had weighed in your hands on the reformer and how you were working on liberating your shoulders, how you were working on pulling your chest through your arms and kicking your heels back in so many exercise so that that serves you here. Let's try one push up and the elbows back. Pull your body forward and then press the floor away with the arms to come back up. Stay lift your hip creases. Walk your hands back towards your feet. Place your hands flat down in front of your big toes and then slowly roll yourself all the way back up. Lift your arms up by your ears. Heels touched, toes apart. We'll take one more chin over. Chest. Roll yourself all the way down. Walk it out. Think one.

Push up a dude really, really well. Pull your chest through your arms. Lower yourself down to the ground in one long line. Push the floor away. Lift back up. Lift your hip creases. Make space for your back. Walk your hands back towards you feet. Rounding your spine. When it's time for it, soft through the knees.

You roll yourself all the way back up. Lift your arms up by your ears. Take a deep breath in. Think of your arms circles as you bring the arms back behind you and down. Do that again. Deep breath in. Inhale, lift the arms up her to touch the ceiling. Xcel circle, arms back and down. Just one more time. Allow your chest to be as open as possible.

XL arms come down. Ah, and that's it for today. Great job you guys. We have one more in the series. See you that.

Related Content


1 person likes this.
Hi Benjamin, Thank you for another wonderful class. Would you tell me if there are other books by Joseph Pilates that contain photos and descriptions of the apparatus exercises like "Return to Life Through Contrology" explains the mat work? Thank you.
Lisa V
1 person likes this.
LOVED this class xx
Benjamin Degenhardt
Thank you both so much, glad you enjoyed this class! Christine—I wish there was such a book by Joseph Pilates. He did assemble a couple of brochures that advertised the Reformer, and he documented his exercise sequences with photography and wall charts. These decorated his studio walls and were used in pamphlets, as well (a lot of those can be found at the NY Public Library). However, there is no comprehensive book on the Reformer written by Joseph. If you have any specific questions I'll do my best to answer them here—thanks for watching!
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much for your reply.
1 person likes this.
Let's see some archival MAT work videos from Benjamin Degenhardt please!
Thank you in anticipation.
Yab-a-dab-a-doo Benjamin! Great class. Thank you!
Benjamin Degenhardt
David—yabadabadoo is exactly how I feel after a good Pilates practice ;) Thanks for watching, so glad you enjoyed it!
2 people like this.
Woohoo! I got my Saturday morning workout on with YOU ?? Fabulous job as always.
1 person likes this.
I am amazed by this wonderful class, thank you Benjamin! Never tired of everything that I learn with you!
This was wonderful. Thank you!
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