Class #2788

Full-Body Strength

60 min - Class


Work on creating more mobility and strength in the thoracic spine with this Mixed Equipment workout by Carrie Macy. She teaches Jo, whom she just met, on different pieces of equipment to show how the Pilates method will work for Jo's body. After a few exercises to assess Jo's body, Carrie focuses on opening her chest while strengthening the upper back and shoulder girdle.
What You'll Need: Wunda Chair, Reformer w/Box, Cadillac, Mixed Equipment, Pilates Pole

About This Video

Oct 02, 2016
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Hello everyone, I am Carrie Macy Samper and I'm excited to be here again at Pilates Anytime. And today I'm with Jo. And Jo, what's your last name? Shields. Jo Shields.

And we have just met so this is the first time that I will be teaching Jo a session and so I will ask her some questions, a little bit about her and then we'll get started and I will make some points of why I am choosing certain exercises for her as we go along to show how the Pilates method fits into Jo's body today. So Jo, tell me a little bit about what you do in your life. I am the business manager at a Pilates studio called La Playa Pilates in Santa Barbara, but I sit at a desk all day, that's what I do and I occasionally take a break for a mat class a few times a week. And once in awhile, every former class, I have a lot more mat experience than experience on the apparatus. Okay, so Jo works at a Pilates studio, that's very cool, and has taken mat classes for many years and is actually in the teacher training program now, right?

I am mm-hmm, with-- For Pilates, and is newer to using equipments. Yeah, for sure. Okay, very good. And what else do you do physically? Do you do any other sports or activities?

A little limited with the back and knees. I've gotten 50 so I have a little tight lower back, a little pre-arthritis going on there, a little bit arthritic knees, injury to this one which is pretty fine, the right one. And so I hike and do Pilates. Do a little weight training. Not very much more, I should probably do more.

(chuckles) Okay, so she let me know that she hikes, she love to hike and do Pilates and maybe would like to add more weight training to her life. And she also mentioned a couple of injuries that she's dealing with, which I would have asked as well just after this, and I'll probably dig a little bit more to find out. Her lower back, so it gives you some issues. And she had some stuff going on in her right knee. So I will ask you a little bit more about that.

So with your right knee, can you tell me what happened? Did you have surgery, what was going on there? I was at the park with my big dog and he and his other big dog friends were running around crazy and one of them decided to run between my knees and I wasn't ready. So I went off my feet and my MCL was torn. A little meniscus, which they took out, and they cleaned out my existing arthritis, which was great.

Okay, great. So it's really good. And when was that surgery? A year and a half ago. All right, so a year and a half ago she tore her MCL, which is a ligament in her knee, and also had some meniscus stuff because her dogs ran between her legs.

(laughs) Excellent! They say bend your knees. I did bend my knees. And you say now it's better than it was before? It's better than ever. Great, great! Not than ever, but in the last 10 years maybe, yeah.

The wonders of modern medicine, right? And then what about your back? Is there anything specific that's going on there or does it just sort of bother you hear and there? I think it's a little tight. There's a little pre-arthritis L5 I think, if I remember.

I used to do a lot of chiropractics but now that I do Pilates I don't really need to. If I skip the Pilates for more than a few days, it starts to get a little sore. Okay, so Pilates really helps your back feel better? A lot, a lot, yeah. And is there anything in Pilates or in any of the things you're learning now in your training program that bother your back or hurt it?

Not at all. No, it all feels great? Yeah. Okay, fabulous! So I think we'll get started. We'll start on the Cadillac, okay?

I'm gonna have you turn around this way and place your feet here on the bars. I'm gonna have Jo start with the roll back so I can watch how she moves, how her spine articulates, how even she is on either side. So bend your knees a little bit, just scooch forward and hold on to the outer edges here of the bar. Very nice. Inhale, sit very tall.

And as you exhale, just start to tip your tailbone under you toward your heels and start to roll down. Pause there. Pause for a minute, squeeze your glutes a little bit more and slide your hips under you even more. Good, and continue to roll into the mat. Once you're all the way down on the mat, press your feet firmly into the pulls.

Open your chest, feel your ribs down into the mat. So pull in your ribs, there you go. And then keep your pelvis pressing to the mat. From here, press the bar down towards your hips and then lift the bar up. Good, and as you press the bar down again, I want you to open through your chest and use the back of the body there.

And one more time, pull your ribs into the mat even more. Pull your ribs in even more, pull them in, there you go. Hold, uh-huh, and then let the arms lift up. Lift your head and start to peel your spine up off of the mat. Very good, nice and even, take a big breath in, roll yourself down again.

Relax your shoulders out of your ears. Right about here, really curl your tailbone under towards your feet. Stretch through your feet into the poles, lengthening your legs, mm-hmm. Good, and this time, just roll your shoulders up to your ears and around. So you're making circles with the shoulders.

It's a little bit of traction in the shoulder joint and mobility opening into the shoulders. One more circle, reverse the direction going the other way. Good. And last one. And then lift your head and start to peel up, let your sternum melt down and your spine round forward.

Good, and then lift up tall through your spine as high as you can get. Very nice, one more time. Roll back. So Jo, you look very, very even as you're rolling down, very symmetrical in your pelvis and your legs. Good, from here I want you to bend your elbows and bring the bar right in toward your sternum.

So pull it right into the sternum and then straighten the arms back out. And again, pull into the sternum, let your ribs deepen down into the mat. So pull into my hand even more. That's it, and then again. Good, keep the arms straight, lift the head and allow yourself to round and roll up.

Nice, and then lift up nice and tall through your back and you can release the bar and lie all the way down onto your back. Good, so I did notice in your upper body a little bit, here when you wanna open your chest, all of this goes with you, yeah? So we're gonna work a little bit today for sure on trying to stabilize and strengthen through the shoulder girdle a bit, kind of soften in here a little bit more and that will help your upper thoracic spine get some movement in it too. So the more evenly your spine bends also will help some of that stuff in your lower back, okay? So let's bring your knees in toward your chest.

We'll do an exercise you're probably very familiar with, the hundred. Bring your knees all the way in towards your chest, right. Now interlace your fingers first behind your head. You can go all the way across like that, that's it. Put your head on the mat and take an inhale.

Exhale, curl your head and shoulders up off of the mat as high as you can. So bring your head towards your needs as much as possible. And then inhale, lie back down. So I'm just getting her into this high curl in her upper back. Exhale as you curl up, bring your head towards your knees and then inhale, lie down.

I'm getting her to work the upper abs. Exhale, round forward. Very nice. And then one more time, inhale as you lower, exhale as you curl all the way up, bringing your head towards your knees, hold. Stretch your arms along by your side, reaching them forward.

Send your legs out towards this wooden pole and press your legs together. Now pump your arms vigorously by your side. Good, take a big breath in and a big breath out. That's right, keep going. I love how high you're curled.

Inhale, but I want you to open your chest. And exhale, reach your arms long by your side. Good job, Jo. Inhale again. And exhale, press your legs tightly together here and keep going, breathe in.

You can go even a little more vigorous. And exhale, let your sternum sink down, breathe in. Breathe out, wonderful. Stretch through your legs, lower your legs a couple more inches and do three more breaths. Inhale.

Exhale, widen your collar bones even more. I know it's hard, inhale. And exhale, think again, wide in the collar bones. Beautiful, last one, go nice and vigorous and strong. And bend your knees all the way in and rest your head down.

Lovely. Stretch your legs out onto the mat. How do you feel? Great. Warming up a little bit?

Slide back just a couple of inches. All right, stretch your legs out long onto the mat, flex your feet towards the ceiling. Press your legs tightly together and then lift your arms just straight up towards the ceiling, okay? This is the roll up so pick your head up off of the mat and start to peel up off of the mat just like you did with the roll back. But stay rounded over and reach forward toward your toes.

Hold. So here I want you to really pull your ribs back even more, even more, even more, even more. Right, squeeze your hips and slide your tailbone under you as you roll back down. Pull your waist into my hand, press each vertebra down. Lift your arms up to the ceiling and pause.

Okay, let's face your palms this way. And I want you right here with your arms straight up to try to sink your sternum a little bit more into the mat. Yes, so feel the ribs here pressing down a little more. Yes, lift your head and as you roll up, press your rib into my hand as you peel up off the mat. Yes.

Now keep that. As you reach forward, push my hand back with your ribs. Push my hand back with your ribs. That's right, hold that position, squeeze your hips, slide your hips forward and then roll back down. Push into my hand as you roll down.

More, more, good. Good, now keep that pressure in the mat as you lift your arms to the ceiling. See if you can keep the ribs in. Right, lift your head and roll up again. Press down through the ribs as you roll up.

Flex your feet, ankles draw back as you reach forward. Keep pulling your ribs back and your sternum back and then roll into the mat. Articulate deeply one bone at a time. Good, and then lift your arms up. And this time, take them back a little bit more behind you but keep drawing this part down onto the mat.

And we roll up again. Round through your back. Great, and reach forward. So Jo has really nice, keep going, articulation. And as you roll back, so I'm just starting to wonder is the stiffness she feels in the lower back related to some of the tightness she has in that upper back?

Reach the arms up and over your head. So that's why I'm paying so much attention to that area. And one more time, there we go, roll yourself right up. Flex your ankles a lot, reach forward. So the ribs draw back, the heels reach forward.

Good, and then roll down into the mat. Pull your sternum towards the back of the Cadillac, tailbone under you, good, lift your arms up and back. Nice, and then lower your arms down by your side. Okay, very nice. I want you to bend your knees in toward your chest.

Hold on to your right shin with both hands, both hands, and stretch that one back onto the mat. Flex through this foot. So we're gonna go into your single leg circles. Take your legs straight up to the ceiling, hold onto your leg and give it a nice stretch towards you, circle your ankle around a few times. That's it, and then reverse the direction.

Good, and then keep your leg where it is, place your hands and arms down by your side. Nice. Bring your arms close to your body, press them into the mat, hard flex your foot. I want you to press your whole back of your leg into the mat and wrap and round your hips together. Beautiful.

Now cross your legs over towards the window, bring it down around and right back up. Cross it over towards me, reach it down around and back up and keep thinking about your ribs pulling down into the mat. Now we'll also make her connect more to her core, and use the ribs pulling down to bring the leg right back up as I hit your foot. And reverse, do the right. That was just a test.

And again, big circle. And lift, beautiful. And around and up one more time. And all the way up, hold it there, bend your knee into your chest, give it a nice little hug. Good, and then switch sides.

So her form is quite nice. You said you've done about 200 mat classes you told me earlier in your life. I can see. Stretch your leg up to the ceiling. Good.

So flex, press down, let's hog your hips in towards each other, cross over your body, make a big circle around and all the way up and just keep thinking of your ribs pulling down into the mat to engage your abdominals to bring up the leg. And let's cross and come right in the middle. Cross right to the middle, one more. Big circle, reverse it. Go to the left, cross over and up.

Can you keep your right hip stable? There it is, good. Big circle of the leg and up one more. And bend your knee in towards your chest, give it a little hug. Stretch it out onto the mat and roll up to seated rolling like a ball.

Good, put your hands by your hips. Lift your bottom a little bit forward towards your feet. Okay, hold on to your ankles and assume you're rolling like a ball position. Take your feet off the mat. Open your knees wider and try to bring your ears between your knees.

So get nice and tight in toward your knees, there you go. Can you pull your heels in a little bit more? Now I want you to tip back behind your sit bones just a couple of inches without falling off balance. Right there, okay? That's where I want you to come back up to each time.

So she's gonna roll back right to your shoulders and come right up to that balanced spot, hold with your abs and stay. Good, inhale again, roll back, hips lift, exhale, return to the top and hold. Good, inhale, roll back, hips lift. Exhale, return to the top and stay. Aha, two more times.

Try to stay back and not come to seated. So hold in your belly more. Uh-huh one more time, back. And good, place your feet down onto the mat. Beautiful, all right, I want you to actually flip to your stomach now and we'll do two versions of the swan.

Place one hand on top of the other, place your forehead down on your hands. Perfect, center yourself in the middle of the mat. So I noticed that she centers herself slightly off to the left with her legs, which is very common. None of us really quite know exactly where our center is generally. Your hips look good now, I'm just give you a little more security.

Press your pelvis into the mat. So your hip bones and your pubic bone. Press your legs together completely and see if you can pick your abdominals up off of the mat and then draw your shoulders out of your ears. Raise your arms, chest and head off of the mat without changing anything else. Good, hold your position.

And then lower yourself down. Keep all 10 toes pressing firmly into the mat as you lift your arms, chest and head off of the mat. And lower yourself down, very nice. Keep the engagement in the abs. So pull your belly up as you lift and lower.

Can you do that even more? Can you lift your stomach up first? Yes, now try to stay off my hands as you lift your arms, chest and head. Aha, much better. Do that one more time.

Hold there, can you pick up your stomach more? Good, and lower. Where do you feel it more when you keep your abs pulled in as you lift that up? My abs. (laughs) Do you feel any more work going on in your back?

Or it's just your stomach? It's just my stomach. Okay, I'll take it. See this? That's really cushy, that's why you didn't feel my stomach coming up-- Oh I see.

(laughs) She said that, that is really cushy and that's why we couldn't feel her stomach coming up. No, but you got it off there that last time. So when you really keep the abdominals engaged off and the hips very stable, it's much more focused into the upper thoracic. So go ahead and lift again, she's gonna be using these muscles here a lot more and less down here if she keeps that lift from underneath. Better, Jo.

And lower down, do one more. And that's what I'm looking for, right? I want this part to work a little bit more on her. And lower yourself down, great. All right, now we're going to use this push through bar like this for the swan.

So when the heels of the hands are on the push through bar, I want you to have straight arms. So you'll have to move yourself back a bit. Mm-hmm, and then let your head come down onto the mat. Now using the same techniques we did in that little baby swan, so the legs are together, your hips are planted, your abdominals have to lift off the cushy mat, there you go, perfect, you are going to draw your shoulders down. Don't lift up yet.

And externally rotate the arms. So her shoulders are really fitted into the socket. Now start to lift your chest, keeping your arms straight. Start to lift your chest, pull the bar towards you, hold there, let your shoulders come down and out of your ears. That's right.

And then as you lower down, keep the abdominals pulling in and let the bar reach, yes, she really lifted under here, that was awesome, such a good job. Go again. So I want you to lift under here and then lift your chest. Then suck your arm bones in and down to connect even more down, there you go. And then lengthen and lower back to the mat.

Good. And then again. So by focusing on this strength underneath, we're getting more into her upper back and protecting that lower back. Everything feel okay? And lower yourself back down.

She did nod yes. And bring your legs both together, do one more. And as you lift up, the belly, the pubic bone presses down. Good, and then lower yourself back onto the mat. Release that bar and sit back to a child's pose.

Just to release your back, excellent. Feeling okay so far? Mm-hmm, great. Good, all right. We're going to do the sidekicks front and back just to get a little bit of lateral work going on.

So lie on your right side, face towards the camera and prop your head on your hand unless that hurts your neck, yep. And can you come all the way back to the edge of the Cadillac? I find it's very motivating if I put my clients right at the edge. Keep coming. That way they don't fall off and they have to use their core.

Come back even more, you have about three or four inches. Keep going, there you go. All right, now bring your legs to the front edge. A little bit farther and place your hand right in front of your stomach. So pull your ribs back into my hand and reach this hip forward.

Get your ribs even more into my hand. Aha, good Jo. Now flex your feet, lift your top leg up just a hip level. Okay, so as I look at her from the side I noticed the same kind of thing where essentially the bottom ribs are really pushing forward there. So I'm gonna focus a lot on making sure that's gorgeous, that my hand is back here to keep her from moving that area.

And then I want you to reach your leg long. The more she reaches, so her hips stays stacked, I think the more that's gonna work to stabilize that. Now bring your leg forward towards your nose, try not to change any of this and kick it again. And then reach it back, back. So you're gonna do two kicks and two back.

And two kicks and two, when you come front don't let this hip lift very much. Bring your ribs into my hand. Kick, kick and reach, good, hold it there. Pause for just a moment. I want this hip to drop a little bit more so you can actually turn your knee to the ceiling, other way, yeah, and then reach out to the back.

And as you come forward, keep the knee a little bit to the ceiling and then reach it back. And as you come forward, good, reach back. Hold here, see how your knee is going down? There, now go back. Do two more and watch your knee.

Keep it smiling to the ceiling. Very good on the return your leg to the center and let it rest, okay? Roll onto your stomach and to the other side. Did that make sense? Yeah, did you want a point and a flex?

I don't care, it doesn't matter, whatever you do with your foot. You know what, actually I'm gonna have you put your head this way so everyone can see your face still. Oh okay. (chuckles) So make sure you're smiling. Just kidding.

Prop your head up on your hand. (indistinct muttering) You're doing great. Lift your legs forward to the front edge of the mat. Okay, so why I'm so nitpicky about that leg, yeah, is because when your leg comes forward and the knee is turned down, it took all the work out of the side of your hip and kind of makes the leg, the pelvis tilts and the leg gets a little bit more passive. This way, if the leg, and you can think rotate knee to the ceiling even though it doesn't have to be turned out, but it does have to be at least parallel.

Her hip comes into more alignment and her hips really start to work a lot harder. And that's gonna be important too in just keeping your back happy and your knee happy. All right, can you prop your head on your hand? Yep, and the other arm right in front of your stomach. Okay, so again you set up really nicely on this side, your ribs are beautiful, your hips are pretty level.

Lift the top leg hip level. Okay, a little bit lower. Now reach out like you're trying to shoot your leg past the end of the Cadillac. Great. Bring it forward and go slow on this side, just pause.

Okay, so look at your knee, let's go. Yes, and then reach your leg long behind you. And then bring it forward again, your knee toward the ceiling even more. (imitates swooshing sound) Yeah, and reach it behind you. So your leg might not come as close to your face as you're used to.

Yeah, but hopefully you're gonna work more in your core and in your hip. That's right, reach back, kick front, front and reach back. Nice, Jo, good job with your ribs. And reach back, shoulder down and back. Try to keep your leg parallel with the mat.

Yes, two more. That's right, last time. Very nice. Good, and then return your leg. Did you feel any difference in your hips?

It was easier on this side to do it. To do the rotation. And I'm wondering if that's something to do with how this is feeling so good now. You must have rehabed your knee very well. (chuckles) Lots of Pilates.

Lots of Pilates. Well, let's do a teaser to finish this section because what would be a mat class without a teaser, right? Lie onto your back. This way? Yes, sure.

And lie all the way down. All right, bring your knees in toward your chest. And they can come all the way into your chest. Lift your head and I want you to reach your arms forward on a diagonal. Yes, lift your head, yup, stretch your legs out to a 45-degree angle, so come a little bit lower.

A little bit lower, there. Now roll up and reach your toes and try not to move your legs at all. Very nice, can you open your chest? And then lower into the mat, deep in through your belly as you lower down. Fantastic.

And roll again, lift your head, push down through the sternum as you bend the body to come all the way up. Lift your arms a little bit higher so they're parallel with your legs. Open your chest and lower yourself with control, leaving the legs still. Pretty nice teaser. And two more, roll up and reach your toes, keeping your arms parallel with your legs.

Hold, squeeze the backs of the legs together and lower down, pull your waist away from your thighs and squeeze the back of the legs as you lower. There you go, one more time. And roll all the way up. Great, lift your arms up to the ceiling, try to get taller, lift your chest taller, lift your head taller, lift your toes taller and then roll everything down to the mat. The arms can reach back, the legs reach forward and you lie it all the way down.

Beautiful. Bring your knees into your chest, excellent. And we're gonna go to the Reformer. All right, we're moving to the Reformer now to see how Jo works on this piece of apparatus. So it's the first time she's been on GRATZ Reformer.

Yes, with the different straps and springs so I will verbalize anything that I do that's different and make you feel as comfortable as possible. So go ahead and lie on your back. Just like any old Reformer, your head on the headrest and your feet up on the foot bar. And we will start with our foot work. So come down onto your toes.

You'll separate your feet about a fist distance apart, heels together and lifted. In this position, does this bother your knee to have this rotation? Okay, great. Let's make sure that both knees are even so bring that left one in. The right one was okay.

And push yourself back so you feel those shoulder blocks in your, yeah. And I'm gonna lower, oh the headrest is as low as it can get. All right, no worries. Okay, so remember what we felt on the mat, how I want your ribs to be pulling down into the mat at the same time that your collar bones are broadening. Push the carriage all the way out and stay out there for a moment.

Does that feel nice and heavy? Mm-hmm, heavy. All right, so I want you to push yourself into the shoulder blocks. So you really feel almost like you're doing a chest expansion, but then (imitates swooping sound yes, and then bend your knees and come in. And I think I'm gonna drop one spring.

Does that feel very heavy or... That depends on how many reps you're gonna have me do. 10 of this one. Oh okay, fine. Okay, perfect, so go ahead and press up.

So we want it to be as heavy as possible but we don't wanna kill somebody. So pull the ribs down a little more but widen the chest, that's right. Go again, press all the way out, your heels stay even and pressed and draw in. Press the feet in as you extend and bend. Good, give me a little bit of pubic bone towards your belly button, just a touch, yes.

Because she was a little bit anteriorly tilted in her pelvis, we want her to be right neutral. Let the ribs soften into the mat. Good, come in and do three more, a little quicker tempo. Three and in, press; two and in; one more, and stay. Your knees are good?

Mm-hmm. Okay, comes to your arches. Legs together, everything together. Curl your feet around the foot bar literally like you're going with your toes in your heels. Push the carriage away, pause on that first one and do that same chest open but sternum softened.

Bend your knees and come all the way. The train is happy with your performance. Press all the way in and press all the way in. Can you get more ribs down? Aha, and see when your ribs come down, your stomach turns on more.

Did you feel that? There we go, so keep focusing on that as you curl the feet and reach the toes. That's it. Mm-hmm, do two more, press and in and one more. Press and come in, slide to your heels and flex your feet.

You're doing all right on the... Great. Yeah, flex all the way back. Good, push the carriage away. So through the heels and away and come in.

And think again a little bit pubic bone to belly button and tense in the core so the ribs are drawing into the mat. Good, a little more pubic bone to belly button. And just to clarify guys, I'm not trying to get her to posteriorly tuck. She's going the other way so I'm trying to bring her back to a neutral place and connect her abdominals in the front. So bring your ribs and your hips together.

That's right, and two more. Keep that connection. Right, like you have little suspenders. There you go, perfect. Hold it in, okay.

Come to your toes, let's stay parallel but a little bit apart with your feet. All right, tendon stretch, heels are up. Move the carriage out, hold there. Can you get those suspenders back? Yes, lower your heels or reach the heels to me and then lift your heels up.

Keep your suspenders on. That's right, keep going. Lift through the backs of the legs, hold there for a minute, really lift the quads up. Yes. Now as you lower your heels, I want your knees to stay lifting like this.

Go ahead, lower your heels and lift up. Lift even more. Hold at the top for just a second. Come in. All right, I'm gonna do a little bit of work with what your legs are doing, but I want you to be on lighter springs because it's a lot to hang out there.

So I'm just taking her down to two springs. I'm gonna get a little nitpicky with this and I didn't want her to hang out there in the tension. All right, so what's happening when your heel is lower, you're turning off your quads and you're kind of letting your knees hyperextend a little bit. The reason that we don't want that to happen is just that you're not using the muscles that are around your joint when you're doing it, and that's not what we want in Pilates or in life. So go ahead and push the carriage all the way out.

Hold it there. This is perfect. So if you feel right now, do you feel how your quads are turned on? Mm-hmm. Yeah, and your knees are straight and long in a good position.

So I want you in here to push into my thumbs, yeah. So I just had her push her shins into my thumbs a little bit, so she's really engaged in the fronts of her legs. Now as you lower your heels, keep pushing your shins into my thumbs. Yes, and then lift your heels. Good, keep doing that.

Push, perfect. Yes. Now I'm gonna let go, but I want you to keep that feeling. Do you feel the difference in your legs? Is it harder? It's harder.

In the muscles. Mm-hmm. Good. I hope you guys can see that too. Perfect, two more.

And that connects her to her core automatically. And then lift your heels and come all the way in. Very nice, all right. Bring your knees into your chest, A plus. Okay, we already did the hundreds, you don't have to do it again but let's do your short spine massage.

Have you done short spine on the, in your course already? Yeah, yeah, I love it. Okay, great. So I will lower your headrest. And I'm going to thread the leather through the handles.

Okay, then I want you to take these and bring your feet into the leather straps. Right. And I want the leather straps to be down right by her heel. And we're on two springs so because I ended that last foot work on two, I just left it on two springs. GRATZ has all even spring tensions, so it's just the two outer springs.

Bend your knees in toward your shoulders. Come all the way in, yes, good. All right, so how far in do you start? You want your tailbone to be down. So we're right about there, okay?

Keep the suspenders right here on as you press your legs out to a 45-degree angle. Okay, so bend back in, come a little bit higher with your legs so we're gonna, aha. Good, now push more into the straps as you lift your hips and your feet up and over your head. Go ahead, all the way up and over. So I wanted your hips to lift too.

So from here push up. Good, now bend your knees around your ears, keeping your heels together. And then pause, roll your spine down into the mat, leave your feet and roll your hips down and bring your heels in. Okay, so I'm gonna come back in, we're gonna do this a little differently. (crosstalk) Yes, and I'm gonna teach it to you differently too, so bend your knees in for a second.

There's a million ways to do short spine. And so today we're gonna do it the way that I normally teach it. So let's press your legs out to 45 degrees. All right, now what lifts your legs up is actually your booty and your stomach, so your power house, rather than letting the straps sort of pull you up, okay? So I want you to push into the straps that way as you lift your bottom off of the mat an inch.

So lift your bottom up, yep. Keep lifting your bottom and then also lift the straps, lift your bottom, lift your bottom, there we go. Keep lifting your bottom. Keep lifting your bottom, there you go. Keep going and you'll just magically get to the end of the Reformer and you're in the right position, perfect! Keep your hips here, bend your knees into your ears.

Gorgeous. Now the feet stay. I want you to pull, not your hips down, I want you to pull your sternum down to the mat. Sternum, so we're working that upper thoracic part of her spine again. Good, keep reaching your hips, your feet haven't moved yet.

When you can't get your hips down anymore, pull your heels to your bottom and back to start position, which is in, so bend your knees. That's where you hang for a second. Good! Okay let's go again. Press your legs out, so that's step one. Step two is to lift your hips, yes, to take the straps over your head.

Gorgeous. You put your power house to use there. Keep going all the way overhead till the carriage comes in, right? Bend your knees around your ears. Beautiful, beautiful.

And now remember, your sternum does down first. Then your ribs, then your waist, then your hips. And then pull your feet in. All right, two more, press up. Lift your hips to go over.

That's right. Once you're in, bend your knees towards your ears. Keep your feet there, roll your sternum down, your ribs down, your waist down, your tailbone far forward and pull your feet to your seat one last time. Open through the chest, press the arms in as you reach out. Lift your hips, use your glutes, use your abdominals to pull yourself overhead, very nice.

Bend your knees then roll your spine down into the mat. And bring your feet in. Okay, pause there. Now hold on to the handle, we transition to coordination. So hold the handles and then grab the leather straps with your pointer and your thumb and slip the leather straps off your feet, yeah, and then pull the handles down to the end.

Yup, mm-hmm. It should just slip right down, beautiful. Elbows down by your side. Okay, pick up your head and shoulders and your knees are into your chest. Elbows are here, elbows in.

Chest up nice and high. Now extend your arms to the mat and your legs towards my legs, good. Open your legs this wide, close them. Bend your knees all the way into your nose, all the way in. Yeah, and then bend your elbows.

And you have to keep your head up. Stretch out your arms, (crosstalk) that's okay, I know, I know. And open close. When you teach me maybe next week, I will do the same thing. What? What?

Bend your elbows. And it stays up? Uh-huh, reach out. I'll tell you why in a second. So bend your knees and bend your elbows.

Pause, let your legs fold a little more. Bring your head toward your knees and your knees toward your head. This one is rolling like a ball, right? So then as you extend out, you get into your hundred position. Open and close the legs and then she goes back to rolling like a ball and bend the arms.

Inhale, hold the breath. Open, close, exhale, bend the knees. Bend the arms. Good, do one more. Inhale.

Hold the breath, open, close, exhale, bend the knees. Exhale, bend the elbows. All right, relax. Yes, so the reason mostly for positions in exercises is just because they thread through the whole method so you'll revisit them lots of times. Okay, so hook the handles on the little pegs and you can step off to the side and we all got the box for pulling straps.

Okay, we'll work a little bit more in your upper back. Let's get some more strength building there. Okay, we go down to one spring and I like to use one of the springs toward the center on the GRATZ. Okay, lie on your stomach. Your shoulders will be right at the edge of the box and your legs will be off the back.

Great, grab ahold of the leather straps and you can put your hand through the handle and then hold on as high as you can. And then your arms go on the side of the frame. Mm-hmm, good. Actually, you're fine. Bring your legs together.

So I noticed again, just like on the Cadillac, she's a little bit crooked towards one side so I'm just gonna move her legs back to the center gently. Right? And same thing that we did on the swan, your hips stay heavy on the mat and your abdominals have to pick up off the squishy box. Yes, all right. Now look down at the black pad on the floor and pull your shoulders out of your ears before you do anything.

Great. Now put your hands on the side of the frames, you're not holding it. Hold the strap. There you go, pull the strap all the way back towards your hips, hold. Return your arms right back where you came from.

Go all the way till the carriage is in. So return the straps, let the carriage come all the way in. So you have to keep going, keep going, keep going and keep going and keep going and keep going. Okay, pause for a sec. Stomach up.

Pull your shoulders out of, don't pull the straps, just pull these muscles down, yes. Now from here, move your arms back, pulling the straps to your hips. Much better, hold. Much better. As you return your arms where you came from, keep these guys drawing down.

So we wanna stabilize her shoulders. Go again. And get her to work in this upper part of her back and not in her upper traps. So come out of there. There we go, and draw back, hold.

Can you pick up your belly? Yes, and return, let's do two more of these. Squeeze your thighs together and then draw the arms down and back, reach your head out the window to the beach and return the arms forward. Last one, especially on this side. Draw back.

Okay, and return the arms forward. Very good. You can put your straps in the well and step off to the side and we'll move on to the short box. Great job. All right.

So turning the box sideways. How's it feeling? Great. (chuckles) Go ahead and sit here facing that way. And I'm gonna add one more spring so we have at least two springs on holding the carriage still, and her feet go underneath the foot straps.

She flexes her feet and then push your feet wide to the side and give yourself a hug. Good, now round forward, looking into your abdominals and start to roll backwards, your tailbone. So stay in your curl, curl, curl, curl. Yes. So the thing that rolls back is not any of this.

We're gonna start rolling back from here, okay? So just start to tuck your tailbone under you. This part stays curved. Your hips scoot under you, right. Perfect.

Pause about there, leave your low belly down and curl into yourself as you round your head toward your knees. Yes, excellent. Going again, roll back, tailbone under you as you lower back. Push your legs wide apart as you curl into yourself and round back up. Do one more time.

Roll back. You're nice and strong in this movement and then round and curl forward. Excellent, go ahead and grab your bar and reach your arms up to the ceiling. I want you to lift as tall as you can. Your shoulders can come up, everything can come up just like you're trying to touch the fan above you.

Can you lift even more? Even more, even more. Yes! That's it. Now let your shoulders come out of your ears but keep that lovely lift in your waist. Good, now start to hinge back from your hips, take your hips with you, everything lifts and lengthens and then return back up to the top.

Okay, rest for just a second, move back a little bit more on the box and I want you to push your legs really wide to the side so your outer hips and straighten your knees. Yes, all right. Now grab this bar firmly with your hands. I'm gonna push up on it. Yeah, I want you to lift now above where I'm pushing you.

Can you lift taller? Can you lift taller? No. Yes. Now start to hinge back, but stay that tall.

Push your legs wide, push your heels wide, push your heels wide and then return all the way up to the top. And then again, lift as you hinge back. And come all the way up to the top. Okay, hang on there. Now bring your suspenders together and I want you to take this part of you with you as you hinge.

So stay there, take this with you. Yes, take this with you. Hold, return to the top. And then do one more. Better.

Do you feel the difference? Yes? Last time. Yeah! Now you're moving from your hips and not just your back. Rest your arms.

So I wanna make this point for you because of the back pain sometimes you get. Make sure when you're doing short box, right where this part of my pants is, the silver part, that's where you're hinging from. So all of this goes rather than hinging from your waist. So only that part goes, that make sense? So now we're gonna do the twist and the reach with the same philosophy, there's just a twist first.

Take your arms all the way up. If your legs are straight and pushed out to the side, it'll be easier to think about that. Lift really tall, twist towards the window. Great, now as you hinge back, take your hips with you. And come back up.

Lift tall, twist towards the left. Pause, bring your ribs into my hand more, more. Yup, now hinge back. And come back up. So there's a little bit of an arch here, just breathe into my hand with your ribs.

Even more, pull these back. There, now twist towards me, correct. Hinge back, take that with you. Yes, come up, excellent. Twist towards the left.

Hinge back. Uh-huh and return, good job. One more each direction. Nice, beautiful! Come back up to the top, last one to the left. Yey Jo! Good, and rest your arms.

Yeah, did you feel any difference when you first started doing that twist to the last two? Yeah, there was a lot more stabilization in my leg since I felt it more in the obliques. Uh-huh, yeah. A lot more stabilization in her legs so she felt it more in her obliques. The other thing that you did to feel it more in your obliques is you took this out of it so that (puffs) we were a one thing.

So your obliques could actually be the focus. Good job! All right, I'm gonna take your bar and let's step off to the side, yes. And we will move on to the long stretch. Okay. I'm gonna use this bar for a guide when you do the long stretch.

And I have to give a shout out to Benjamin Degenhardt because he taught me this a couple weeks ago and I was like, that's brilliant, I'm gonna use it all the time. So place your hands, one hand on, yep, each edge of the foot bar. Place your toes right in between the shoulder blocks and you're gonna come right on your toes actually. Yes, and then lift up into a plank position. And keep the carriage in.

Mm-hmm, there you go. Can you walk your toes a little bit more forward? Perfection, heels together. Okay, so this pole, oh it's kind of a short pole but it'll work. I need it to feel, you should feel it on your sacrum, you should feel it on your midback and on the back of your head.

So pull this up a little bit. There we are. And now can you bring your head to touch the pole? Lower your chin, aha, yes! Now do you feel those three points with the pole? Mm-hmm.

Move the carriage out in a plank and don't lose the pole and any of those three points. And then come back in. Give me a little bit more lift right there and then move it up. Yup, and come back in. The magic pull.

If you keep connected with all those points, you feel it everywhere. One more time. Great, Jo, kneel down. Nice, all right. (Jo sighs heavily) Yes! That's a good tool.

It's a good tool. All right, come into your down stretch. So your hands are on the foot bar, you're kneeling. Your feet are on the shoulder blocks, toes curled. Bring your hips forward and open your chest.

Don't move the carriage yet. So come all the way in. Keeping the carriage completely in, I want you to lift your chest way up towards the ceiling. Mm-hmm, press your thighs toward each other, just engage your inner thighs and also put these suspenders back on, right. Now take an inhale as you push the carriage out with your heels and the heels of your hands.

Keep going, keep going, good. Now exhale as you come up to the ceiling with your chest. Lift up, up, up, up, good. Inhale, push with the heels and the heels of your hands. Exhale, come forward and up with your chest.

Lift, lift, lift, lift, lift. Good, keep your suspenders on, push with your heels. And come forward. I do want you to keep this as you go out. So don't come out of it, just don't let your butt stick out, right?

Keep the suspenders then keep the extension. And that's working this part of your back. So hang on, push your chest through that way. Open your chest, aha. Now don't change that.

Bring your pubic bone to your belly button. There we go. Now go ahead and move the carriage by pushing your heels back. Yes, and then come forward, pull your sternum more forward and more up. Aha, one more time, very nice.

And pull everything forward and up. Good, stand up before elephant. So you just stand right up on the carriage, put your feet right down in front of the shoulder blocks, lift your toes up. No, your heels are down, toes up. There you go.

Now relax your head. So I'm gonna have you round your back for elephant. This is another exercise, there's a million ways to do it. So round your back and what I'm looking for is that she has an even round in her spine and that her arms are coming out, her legs are coming out. Good, I want this to really lift up and work and your head to relax, okay?

Push down with your heels and move the carriage out a couple of inches. Then drag your heels back in, hold the carriage in and really squeeze the carriage into the stopper. Yes, move the carriage out. That was good, push with your legs. Then drag the carriage in, lift your ribs and squeeze it in with the stopper and then move it out again, let your head relax.

And then even more, relax, relax, relax the head. Ah, not the ribs! And then drag it in and one more time. Hold it in, good. And kneel down for knee stretches, okay? Place your feet back against the shoulder blocks again.

Round your back and sit towards your heels. That's it. Now try to make you're rolling like a ball shape. So as round as you possibly can muster. That's exactly right.

So now this part of your body shouldn't change at all, just push the carriage out with your heels till your knees are under your hips and bring it back in, bring your knees all the way in. Gorgeous, do that again nine more times. Pull it in, press, pull it in. Press, pull it in. Lift your ribs up, draw it in, keep going, tailbone under.

Nice, watching the shoulders, open the shoulder girdle, round the back, keep it rounding. Yes, three more, three, all the way in. Two, hold it in on one, stay. Good, arch your back, so look forward that way. But stay seated back where you were.

Mm-hmm, lift up off your heels just a couple inches, chest is open, move the carriage out and come right back in 10 times. 10, this stays firm. Nine, keep drawing down the shoulders. Seven, chest opening, six, good Jo. Five, gorgeous, four and three, accent the end, two, and hold it in one, hold.

Round your back again. And I'm gonna have you stay back just a little bit behind your knees, okay? Curl, look at your stomach. Pick yourself up from this and pick your knees up a couple of inches. Mm-hmm, move the carriage out all the way to straight legs, bring it in all the way.

Move it out, bring it in. Come in for a second. So I want you to keep the curl. Wait, wait, go down, go down. Oh sorry. It's all right.

Shift back slightly. I'm gonna give you a big bear hug here. That shape, that curl is what I want you to hold. Pick your knees up, don't change the shape. Yes, push your legs out, don't change the shape.

Come in, keep the shape. Out and in, that's right. Now I'm gonna let go and you keep that gorgeous. That's much better. Look at your stomach.

Round as much as you can. Mm-hmm, three and two, stay all the way in on one and kneel down with control. Aha. That's hard. (chuckles) Step off to the side.

That's when you know you did it right. (laughs) Good job! You get to do your running and I'm gonna put you onto three springs so you have a little break. So put your head there, lie down, toes on the foot bar. Okay. And bring your legs together on your toes.

Lift your heels, push the carriage all the way out. Sorry, cramps. No worries. Yeah, let that cramp go. Press the carriage back.

Okay, can you find your suspenders? Oh, yes your pelvis is in a much better position. Go for your running, lower one heel, bend the other knee. Now think about right what we did at the beginning with my thumbs on your shins when your heel is lowering, can you push a little bit into the shin? Do you remember that sensation?

Yes. The right leg's got it. See if the left leg can do it a little bit more. So push into my hand. Right there, hold.

So keep that heel down. Push into my hand, yeah. Oh okay, so (mumbles). It's gonna feel like you're bending initially. You don't necessarily want it to be bent.

You just want the work in the muscle. Yeah! Doing that will really help with protecting your knees from that arthritis. Good, lift both heels together. Now I don't know if you feel how much more connected and strong you are through here. Bend your knees and come in.

Pelvic lift, feet to the corners, this is our last exercise on the Reformer. Curl your tailbone up a couple of inches. Yes, your ribs stay down but your hips are up. Push the carriage out to straight legs and then bring it in. So this is your knee stretches, the one you were just doing with the knees off.

It's almost the same position, you're just not quite so curved with the upper body. But you're right in here, stabilize your hips, try not to let them teeter. Last one. Stay in and lower your hips all the way down. All right, let's step off and we'll head actually to the wunda chair.

Okay, so the final two exercises we have today for Jo, I'm gonna have her do the backward arms on the wunda chair and also the pull up, just to keep reworking some of the things we've been focusing on. So Jo, go ahead and sit down with your back to the chair and your legs out towards the window. Give yourself a couple of inches actually in front of the chair. I'm gonna sit on the chair and actually push the pedal down for you, and then I want you to bring your hands back and place them on to the pedal. Move yourself to your right just a teeny bit, yeah.

Okay, so open through your chest, we're really working in the opening through the chest. We're working your upper back, but at the same time I want you to keep this connection, your little suspenders, okay? So sitting very tall, push your head into my hand. Bend your elbows and allow the pedal to come up. But try to change nothing in your torso or your shoulders.

So bend your elbows and allow the pedal to lift, lift, lift, hold. Now as you push the pedal down, make it come from these back muscles, press into the floor. Now once it's down on the floor, push it into the floor and grow a little taller out of it without losing your rib connection. Uh-huh, bend your elbows, allow the pedal to come up and then press down with a back body, grow taller through the front body. Mm-hmm, and then bend.

And I just like to sit here so I can spot the pedal with my feet. And then bend up, it's more ergonomic for me. And press down. And I get a great view of her back. Pull this shoulder back, bend the elbows, lift up.

And press it down and hold. Now I want you to keep your left hand and arm. I'm gonna help you on the pedal. Take your right arm off to the side over here and you can just do this with your fingers and put them on the ground, yeah. So we wanna keep your shoulder girdle balanced.

Bend your left elbow and then press down with the back of the body. Mm-hmm, four times. Grow taller each time. Good, last one. Hold it, switch your hands.

Wrap the shoulder down and then bend the elbow and press as you grow tall. Press as you grow tall. That's right, two more. Nice, I have the pedal, you can remove your hands. Wonderful, and then come on up to standing.

All right, moving on to your final exercise, the pull up. So the backwards arms was done with one middle spring on this GRATZ chair. The pull up is going to be done on one top and one bottom spring, okay? Place your hands on top of the chair. Push the pedal down to the floor with one foot and then step onto it with both feet.

Put your toes apart and your heels together and your hands here at the back edge, shoulder width apart. Tuck your chin and round your backs. We're going back to that same really round position we were working in. Shift forwards so your shoulders are over your wrists. Right, okay.

Now can you make this even more round? Excellent! Can you squeeze the backs of your legs together? Gorgeous. Now start to lift the pedal up towards the ceiling. Mm-hmm, go all the way up, bring the pedal completely to the top of the chair.

Oops, sorry. That's all right, you can adjust your feet. And now as you lower the pedal, tuck your tailbone down and drive the pedal down with your hips rather than just letting it go down. Very good, come up again. Roll up through your upper back through your middle back and then lift the hips, bring the pedal all the way to the top.

Good, and now drive the pedal down with your tailbone, mm-hmm, keeping the ribs up, drive the tailbone down, down, down, down, down to there, come back up again, lift right where my hand is right under your ribs. Nice, Jo. And then drive the pedal down. Beautiful control. And one more, bring it all the way up.

(laughs) I guess I should warn you before that. And then lower the pedal, driving the tailbone to the feet, lifting the waist, lifting the ribs, reach through those toes all the way to the ground and then let your heels stretch towards the floor. Good, and you can stop off one foot, carefully lift the pedal. All right. You are done! That was so good! Thank you.

Oh you did fabulous, give me five! Thank you. (laughs)


4 people like this.
wonderful workout, Carrie! I loved your cues and your hands-on moves! It is always so enriching to listen to great teachers and be inspired! I also like when there are "real" persons,...although Jo was looking pretty remarkable advanced!
Thank you, Silke. Yes I agree that Jo did a great job! She was not unfamiliar to Pilates, just unfamiliar to me and my teaching.
2 people like this.
I enjoyed this very much.. you have a trained eye and really focused on what she needed. Great cueing and fun to watch the different methods on various pieces of equipment.. hope you come back and teach more classes here on PA!
Thank you, Jamie! Glad you enjoyed it :)
1 person likes this.
Really great detailed cueing! You could see the little changes and how they applied. I think this will be very helpful to me in my practice. Thanks!
1 person likes this.
Hey Carrie, great to see you teach!! I agree your cues were so spot on, I love to see exercises taught in the same way i teach them👏👏
2 people like this.
Very nice format for an instructor teaching group classes
I very much enjoyed Carrie eye expertise and clarity in her instructions
Thank you
Thank you for watching, everyone!
2 people like this.
Amazing! 👏🏻 Love being able to watch you teach from NY!
Glad you enjoyed, Mika!
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