Class #2828

Dynamic Pelvic Stability

60 min - Class


Take a look at the wheels of the pelvis in this Reformer workout with Tom McCook. He focuses on the feet, legs, and pelvis, making sure everything is aligned and mobile. He also adds the Jump Board so you can feel how to create dynamic stability.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Jump Board

About This Video

Nov 02, 2016
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Hi, I'm Tom McCook, I'm here at Pilates Anytime with Erin and Kristi and we're going to do a class on the reformer, with a little bit of focus on the foot and the pelvis and legs. We'll include the whole body, but there will be a focus on the lower half. So we're gonna start with twisting the foot. So here's the foot. And I want you to imagine that you have this joint right in front of your ankle called your transverse tarsal.

And then you have a joint right under where your heel meets your talus. The talus is right under your tibia. And that's called your subtalar joint. And those two joints are the primary joints for force absorption and transfer. And we want to get them to move.

So we're gonna have these guys cross one foot over their knee, and then hold their heel with the opposite hand, and hold their forefoot with the same-side hand. And all they're gonna do is take the forefoot and twist it down, and then twist it up, and go back and forth like that. Imagine where that's happening, you're getting the whole foot, but you're really getting that transverse tarsal joint to move. You're putting the spring back into your foot. You're gonna do that about six more times.

And when you're doing it at home, you're doing it on your own, you don't really need to be gentle with your foot because the floor certainly isn't with your body weight. (giggles) You know? And now think of the heel. Now take the heel, leave the forefoot still. Now twist the heel back and forth. Won't have as much movement, but you wanna get some movement in your heel.

And that's the joint between the heel-- Back and forth like that? Yeah, you can just pull it towards you and push it away. There we go. Yours moves a lot. I do this a lot.

(laughing and muttering) So now we're gonna combine. So now as you pull the heel towards you, push the forefoot away, so you countertwist, and then reverse. It's like you're wringing out your foot. There we go. We do that about 12 times.

There we go. There we go, and this is what your foot's doing on a smaller scale every step you take. We wanna put that spring back in there. There we go. That's it, now let that go.

Just come to standing just for a moment, just so you can see, get a sense of what we just did, and stand on the leg that you did, and just do a little bend and stretch, and compare it with the leg you haven't done yet. And even do a little hop on the one you did and compare it with the side you haven't done yet. It might feel a little more dense and wobbly. So that releases your power and your strength. So let's take side two.

So if you're a runner, or anything, hiking, twisting your foot before you go would be a really good idea. 'Cause that brings it back alive. So first thing, just twist the forefoot. I mean, you're just gonna twist it down and up, and have that image that you're moving the joints in the whole forefoot. But you're getting that transverse tarsal joint, that joint across the front of the ankle, right in front of your talas and heel to move.

That's it. Your feet will love you for it. There we go. Then just do a few more. And now leave the forefoot still, and now just bring the heel back and forth.

So now you're working more on your subtalar joint. And just feel you wanna get a little bit of movement, because you wanna get that glide underneath, 'cause these bones move in relationship to each other, so the foot can be more of a trampoline and absorb force and transfer more elastic. That's kinda cool (laughing). There we go. And now we're gonna do the countering.

So now as you turn the forefoot down, pull the heel towards you and go back and forth. That's it. You might get some adjustments in there. There we go. Does it matter if your foot's flexed or not?

I would keep it just more like the ankle is relatively straight, but you don't need to be overflexed or pointed, more like neutral. There we go. And then just take our Consumer Report comparison again, stand up just for a sec. And notice when you bend how that feels. Maybe even give a little hop on that side.

A little more prepared, huh? Yeah. Awesome, so now we're gonna come down onto the jump board. We're gonna put on two reds and have your headrest up. And they're gonna come onto their back.

And then put your feet on the board. Now typically we do jump, where we put our feet high, I want you to put your feet low. So again, straighten out your legs. So this movement is to get the joints to move a little better, so immobilizing the ankle. So what these guys are gonna do, they're gonna do a movement where they go to the ball of the foot, the heel will just lift slightly.

Then actually, you're gonna step and it's gonna be a stepping movement where they'll go, onto one foot you'll go ball of your foot, ball, ball, outside, outside, heel, heel, inside, inside. Ball, ball, outside, outside, that's it, outside, outside. Imagine that you're walking as you do it, like you're stepping. You're going ball, ball, outside, outside, heel, heel, inside, inside. That's it.

You can keep your knees a little bent. It's fine to let the knees bend. Imagine if you were on the ground. So you're letting your foot adapt, because the ground, you know, is predictable and flat for us now, but in most of history, that's not been the case. So this way it's just activating the design of the foot.

Ball, ball, outside, outside, heel, heel, inside, inside. That's it, let's just do one more round. There we go. That's it, now come back to neutral. I want you to imagine that twisting action.

So when you go to bend your legs slightly, without lifting your tail at all, just do a very small bend and imagine that your feet are widening and swiping out. As you straighten, they swipe in. Just do that several times. That's it, only bend to the degree that the heels stay down. That's it.

And start to feel that when you bend your legs, the back of the pelvis is widening, the bottom of the pelvis, like the pelvic floor, and the feet are widening at the same time. That's a lot of work, huh? Now fully straighten, and now flick one foot away like your prancing and let yourself go into a knee fold. And just feel like you're rolling into the ball of the foot to float the knee. But you're keeping the pelvis neutral.

And the pelvic half is like a wheel that rolls back on the lifting leg. The standing leg, that hip gets a little heavier on the jump board. That's it, just notice you're working on alignment. You're still working through the ground of the feet. Nice.

And then come back. And now we're just gonna do roll-throughs. So for roll-throughs, just bend to the degree that you can keep the heel down. Now roll onto the ball of the foot and feel the weight go a little more into the big toe side of the foot. Lengthen your legs and lower the heels.

And again, bend, roll up, extend, and lower. And again, roll up, extend, and lower. Feel the widening of the feet as you bend. Feel the foot becomes more rigid as you roll up. That's it and do two more.

Fluid. And one. Now with straight legs, we're gonna reverse. Lower the heels, now lift the heels. Lower with the heels lifted.

Lower the heels and straighten. And feel a nice, fluid action in the ankles and the hip joints. See the relationship between the hip joint and the ankle. They're both like wheels. There we go, it's working.

Two more, so you're just preparing yourself for jumping. That's it, one more. Now imagine when you jump, the jump is more about the landing than the jump. So you're just gonna bend only the degree that the heels don't lift. Now at the end of straightening, throw the board away.

And then, that's it, there you go. And just get the sense that your landing as light, light like a cat. And figure the foot is twisting when you jump, just you did with your foot. You're twisting, the forefoot is twisting down. And the inner heel is coming a little closer to the big toe.

'Cause the foot is twisting like that. There you go. And as you lower, it's widening and spreading. Just like the pelvis. The pelvic floor, there we go.

Let's do five more. There we go. Good, fluid, trampoline, feet and pelvis. One more. And then rest just for a sec.

Now come in, and we're gonna make it lighter for you. We're gonna go down to one red spring. There we go. Now you're gonna start straight again. Interlace the fingers behind your head.

And do an abdominal curl. And as you do the abdominal curl, think of your back of your waist going in to the platform and sliding up your back. That's it, now do a small bend again, only to the degree that the heels don't come up. And then throw it away. That's it, land as lightly as you took off.

That's it. Feel it as you jump, the sit bones narrow slightly, and the arches lift. There we go. Good. Still jumping, go right into turnout.

And as you bend, get that sense that the feet widen and swipe out. And they swipe in as you jump. Good. Two more. One more.

Still jumping, on the next one, land on one, and then jump and land on the other. And do four each side. Feel the absorptions, then throw it away. Feel that spring of the foot, the leg, and the pelvis. Good, there we go.

Two more each side. One more each side. Awesome, and bring it all the way in, beautiful work. We're working, nice job. From there, you guys are gonna come on up, and we're gonna put the long box in the short position across the cart.

We're gonna do something, still using the jump board in a prone position. And for this one, we'll go, we'll go with a, a red, and a, let's keep with the red. Let's stay with the red for now, let's see how this goes. Should we put that? Yeah, what I would do is put the box in between the steel bars and shoulder pads and push it against the steel bars so it's stable.

And now you guys are gonna come into a forearm position this way, kneeling on the cart with one foot against the jump board. That's it. Now come into a flat back and put one foot up fairly high on the board. The toes will, the heel will be off in the beginning. That's it.

Now in that position, imagine what you're working on now is hip extension from the bottom of the butt. And as you press the leg long, sense that the leg is spiraling in, that the inseam is going up towards the ceiling. So go ahead, try that out. You can go a little slower, that's it. You're not gonna jump, you're just gonna push.

Now as you straighten, press, let the heel come down. That's it. Now at the end of straightening, I want you to releve. As you releve, feel like the weight is going more to the big toe side of the foot, even though the foot is staying in parallel. And then come back in.

And again, press out, let the heel come down. Now releve and feel it up the whole back chain of the leg. And again. So feel that sequence, as you straighten, the heel reaches into the platform, and then rise up. On the rising up, the forefoot is twisting down as the heel is twisting in.

Notice how that pressure into the big toe side of the foot gives you better activation in the glute. That's it, do two more before we add to it. There you go. And one more. Now just for four more, whatever's your back leg, open the other arm to the side like a T.

And then bend and come in. And exhale to reach out. Inseam goes up and then releve, that's it. Start to feel that relationship between the back of your leg back of your hips, and the opposite lap across the back. So you're feeling that line of the posterior chain at the body.

And we'll do two more. And one more. Beautiful. And we'll come in and we'll switch legs. (laughing) One spring-- one spring works, huh?

Yes. It's plenty. That's it, so now we gotta take side two. So make sure you get yourself set up in neutral, forearms on the bar, or on the box. Now as you press out, let the heel come to the platform right away, then fully extend, then releve.

That's it, feel that sequence, similar to jumping. You anchor through the leg and then rise up. So you feel that back chain of the leg, then you're feeling the foot-to-pelvic relationship. There you go. As you straighten, feel like you're lifting from the phone that's right at the top of your foot.

Your talas, which is right under your tibia, that's what pressing your leg bone into your pelvis, your femur head, to lift the heel. That's it, do one more. And as you return in, now open the other arm, the outside arm to the side like a T, opposite arm of the pressing leg. And now do four more. That's it.

Image that as you go out, your sit bone is coming in close to the midline, but your thigh is spiraling in. So your inseam is going up. Your foot is swiping in. And the weight is going into the big toe, one more. And all the way down and in, beautiful.

Nice work. Now we're gonna jump from the upper body, apply a little plyometrics to your upper body. So we're gonna take the boxes off and go down to one blue spring. So now we're at one blue spring. They're in a kneeling position.

So this is jumping from your mid-back. So they're gonna sit back on the balls of the feet so the toes are tucked. If that's uncomfortable for the feet, you don't have to tuck them. But it's a little bit more stable. And hips will be close to the back of your heels.

And now put your hands on the middle on the platform about shoulder-width. And just think of your shoulder blades are wide and low and connected to your mid-back. And just do a couple presses before you jump. Notice you can press from your mid-back. So you're feeling that the shoulders stay back and down, and the reach is out of the mid-back.

Imagine this is just like jumping from your legs where you're focusing on the landing. So on the next one, on the exit, just throw it away. Let the arms fully extend, then land light. Feel that connection to your mid-back. That's it, start to tie it into your lower belly and your inner thighs.

That's it, nice and smooth. So they're keeping the head in line with the spine, shoulder blades are wrapped open, and the reach is out of the mid-back. Now the next one, as you jump, rotate to one side looking toward the reaching arm, and then land light. There you go, four each side. Alternating? Yeah, alternating sides,

beautiful, that's it. There you go. Good. That'll wake you up, there we go. One more each side.

And last one. Beautiful, now we're gonna come to a seated position and jump from a seated position. So you'll sit to the side with crossed legs. There we go, and if you need to, say it was hard for you to sit up on your sit bones, you could put a moon box under you or something to lift your hips a little bit. Now sit pretty close to the cart, to the platform, so that you have a little bit more bend in your arm.

And have your hands slightly in front of your shoulder, and wrap the elbow down. And notice that you can connect to your mid-back and just press the arm straight. And notice when you do this, you don't wanna sheer the ribcage at all. And just do a couple presses like that. Feel like the reach again is out of the mid-back.

And now take your other arm and reach it straight out to the side. That's it, and now the next one, on the exhale, throw it away, and land as lightly as you took off. You feel that again, you're decelerating on the catch, on the return. You're connecting to your mid-back, that's it. There we go.

Feel that connection to your low scapula, your serratus, your mid traps, mid-low traps, waistline. Three more. Bringing in the day with a little jumping. Two more. Last one.

Awesome, good bone building for your upper body. And we'll take side-- (women mumblings off-mic) And it'll give you that good feedback of what stability, dynamic stability is. Now we'll take side two, turn to side two. Feel your setup. Sitting pretty close to the jump board, shoulders are low, and just do a couple presses, just to make the connection to the muscles on the underside of the scapula and the mid-back.

And watch the tendency for the shoulder to elevate as you press. That's it, and when you're ready, let that extending of the arm, extend the other arm out to the side, and at the end of straightening, you throw it away, just like your foot. That's it. Nice and fluid, there we go. Feel how you're absorbing it as you bend, and you're throwing it away.

That's it. Add three more. There we go. Little dynamic jumping with the upper body. One more.

And in, very nice. Now from there, we're gonna take the jump boards off and we're gonna do what's called reverse abdominals. Okay, so we're doing reverse abdominals. So actually, we're gonna make it a little lighter. We're gonna go with blue for today, just to be kind.

You can always go heavier after you get the rhythm of it. You're gonna be facing the shoulder blocks in a seated position, eventually on your forearms, and put both straps above your knees, and then put your feet on the headrest. And then once you've got the straps there, slide your butt pretty close to the shoulder blocks, and then come on to your forearms. That's it. That's it, now just do a slight, very slight pelvic tuck, very slight.

And then push the floor away with the elbows and bring the right knee up in the air. Now I want you to image that the pelvic half is a wheel. And on the X as the wheel rolls back, pull the knee to the armpit as deep as you can. Then control the return. So on the exhale it rolls in.

And what you're monitoring is the hip doesn't hike the wheel rolls back. And the knee can go a little wider, so you get a little more range, there you go. That's it, and with the standing foot, the down leg, you can add a little pressure into the headrest for stability and strength. That's it. There we go.

Let's do three more. So we tend to, most of us tend to be weak from 90 degrees and up in our hip flexors. This is getting into those upper ranges of hip flexors, which is great for functional strength. One more. And then we'll place that down, we'll take side two.

And again, think of the wheel on the left as a wheel rolling back, as the knee comes rolling towards the armpit. So it can go a little wider, so you might get a little deeper range that way. That's it. There we go. Think of reaching out of the sit bone as the femur head rolls back, and the wheel rolls back.

And we'll do three more. And two. And one. Now from there, come down onto your back and slide your butt even closer to the shoulder blocks. Bring your knees up to table top and interlace the fingers behind the head.

That's it, now imagine as you do an abdominal curl, you start in a slight curl. But as you do a deeper abdominal curl, you're gonna draw both knees towards the chest as you imprint the back of your waistline. So on the exhale, curl and draw in. As you inhale back to the start, just let the knees go to tabletop without losing the length of your lower back. Exhale, draw in.

That's it, just do three more. Exhale in, beautiful. Feel like you're wrapping and lowering the shoulder blades as you draw the knees in, as you deepen in your abdomen. One more. Very nice, now place both feet on the shoulder block for a moment, on the headrest for a moment.

Shift your whole body and your hips about three inches to your left. That's it, now come back down and just put your left hand behind your head, but put your right hand like it's gonna be reaching towards the block. That's it, now bring the knees up. This is an oblique twist. So on the exhale, as you curl up, you're gonna turn towards the right and press your right hand into the block as you pull the knees in.

Inhale back to center. Just do three, short and sweet. Exhale across as you pull the knees in, good. Press into the block to feel your shoulder blade depressors and your waistline, beautiful. And then down, we'll take side two.

That's it, just shift over. It's just you expose your shoulder block. Bring your right hand behind the head. Bring the knees up. Take a breath.

Exhale, turn, pull in, and press into the block with the left hand. And again, on the exhale. There we go, beautiful you guys, one more. Exhale and (blows). And down, nice.

Now gently help yourself out of the straps. Now we're gonna turn around and go into a bridge, bridge with a leg reach. And for this I recommend two outside reds, with the headrest staying down. Two outside reds? Two outside reds.

The foot bar is in the middle bar position. And we'll come onto the back on your heels with your feet in line with your sit bones. That's it, now arms are long. Shoulders are dropped and back. Now imagine you're gonna initiate the movement from your tail.

So on the exhale, as you sink in your abdomen, curl the tail towards the knees, and come into a bridge. Now at the top of the bridge, feel the sit bones are narrow, the top of the hips are wide. Take a breath now, from your abdomen, roll back down. That's it. And again, on the exhale, curl and bridge.

Now this time, hold the bridge. And instead of thinking, just using your hamstrings, feel that you're using your inner thighs, too. Now just go into marching, lift one knee, and place it back to the bar. Feel the support of the standing leg. And your waist.

And imagine the down hip is staying dropped, opposed to going higher than the one that's lifting. That's it, there we go. One more each side. Last one. Take a breath, now exhale sequence down.

We just have one more series to this. On the next one, once you're up, you'll reach one leg straight out. And then as you lift it towards your head, you're gonna press the bar away. So take a breath, exhale, curl into a bridge. Now feel the inner thigh, glute, and hamstring.

Now reach one leg straight out with the other knee. As you press the bar away, lift the leg towards your head. As you come in, reach it back out over the knee. Just do four. The wheel of the pelvis rolls back on the lifting leg.

It rolls forward on the pressing leg, one more. Back to the bar, take a breath. Exhale, reach side two. As you press, lift. As you come in, reach back out over the knee.

The wheel rolls back on the lifting leg, rolls forward on the pressing leg, one more. Back to the bar, take a breath. Now use your abdomen to sequence down. Very nice. Take your knees into your hands.

Just rock around your lower back just for a moment. Those hammies are working. (laughing) Now reach back and put your headrest up. We're gonna take it into a little bit of arm work. We're gonna keep it on two reds.

If you need to make it lighter, feel free to do that. Now take the straps in your hands. That's it. Now take the arms, just pull them down just slightly so they're a little bit below the shoulders. Imprint the back of the waist and float the legs.

That's it, now on the exhale, just draw the arms straight down to the sides and go right into circles. Inhale, open, up and exhale down. And all the way through, keep the head of the arm bones back close to the neck, the top of the chest open, the breathing fluid. There we go. One more in that direction.

And now reverse, inhale up the middle, exhale, open, and down. Feel how you're using your side body and you're tying it all the way down into your inner thighs. Two more. One more. Now arrive where your arms started, but bring your heels together, knees a little bit apart.

And this is just a hundred prep. So on the exhale, roll up with your upper body as you stand into the straps. Inhale back down. That's it, and you can add sliding the legs long. Inhale back down, just do three more, nice and fluid.

Inhale back down, good, two more. And one. As you lower, turn back to parallel, bend your legs in close for coordination. Bend your arms in close for coordination. Now your lower arms are 90 degrees and your hands are right above the elbows.

In tight, inhale to prepare. Exhale, curl up, and slide legs and arms long. Inhale, open, close. Exhale, bend the knees, inhale, bend the arms, and we'll do four more. Nice and smooth, that's it.

That's it, as you're reaching out, feel the sit bones narrow. As you bend, they widen a little bit. The upper body position stays the same. One more. And sequence all the way down.

As you put your feet on the bar, press the bar away and put the straps on your feet. Now we still have two reds. And we're just gonna start with a few hamstring arcs. So in parallel, just let the legs come up as far as they can but imagine the tail is going the other way. The tail is going towards the mat and then reach away, that's it.

And then pull the legs down. Really get a sense that the primary hinge now is your hip joint, which is at the level of your pubic bone. Back of your shoulders is on the mat. The sit bones widen slightly as the legs come up. The sit bones narrow slightly as the legs go down.

There we go, just do two more. And one. And at the bottom of the next one, go into turnout, we'll take it right into frog. So as you inhale, but then think of when we jumped. As you bend, the feet are flexing and widening.

As you straighten, they're gonna pointen and rotate in a little bit. Really sense how the pelvic floor widens, then it narrows as you press. The thighs spiral out as you bend. The thighs spiral in as you straighten. Three more.

Primary hinge is still the hip joints, but you have a little bit of movement in the pelvic bones, too. The sit bones widen, the sit bones narrow. One more. When you get to straight, reach back and put your headrest down for short spine. Now coming back to parallel, as you inhale, let the legs come up as far as they can.

On the exhale, let your tail chase your feet. Feel the sit bones narrow as the legs go back and the lower back flexes. Inhale, plie, knees open, heels stay together. Exhale, so use your abdominal wall to roll down with long, heavy arms. As you get towards the bottom, pull the heels down to get your tail down.

And then slide the legs long. And again, inhale, exhale, tail chases the feet. Inhale the plie. Exhale, articulate down, nice and fluid. Inhale to pull down, exhale long.

We're just gonna do two more, fluid. There you go. Think of a nice even quality through the lower back. Long in the neck, top of the chest is open. And one more.

Fluid motion, that's it. Inhale to bend. Exhale, articulate down. As you get to the bottom, slide your hands into the straps to take the straps off of your feet. Put them back on the poles.

And you're gonna help yourself up for stomach massage. So for stomach massage, let's put the bar down to low bar. And we'll add a blue spring, so you'll have two reds and a blue. And have a seat about 10 inches away from the edge and put your feet in turnout on the footbar and hold the front edge of the carriage. That's it, now as you think from the pelvis, the wheels of the pelvis rolled back, the sit bones narrow.

But imagine your rib cage is rotating up and over your pelvis to the front. Now set your shoulders low and wide. On the inhale, pull the legs long. Exhale, lower and lift. Inhale back in.

That's it, now just let the breath flow. Breathe whatever way you like, just keep it flowing. And get that sense that you're zipping up the inner thighs and you're feeling that nice glide in the ankle. The foot stretches and then it domes into the big toe side as you rise. One more.

And now as you come in, take your hands either back in onto the mat, or onto the box, whatever you can comfortably find without having to lean back too much. Pull the shoulder blades back and grow tall. That's it, and again inhale out, lower and lift, grow tall to come in. That's it, fluid motion, there we go. Feel the glide of your ankle as you lower and lift.

The toes stay nice and long. There we go, two more. And one more. As you come in, reach down, take off your blue. Now we're gonna take it into the twist.

So start up tall with your arms forward. And on the exhale, press out and twist. Inhale to return. No heel lowers on the twisting. That's it, feel how you're zipping up the legs.

And imagine the wheel of your pelvis on the side you're turning towards is rolling back. That's it, nice and fluid. One more each side. Actually, one more side now, because I was a little behind there. Exhale out, inhale center, exhale out.

Very nice, as we come in, you're gonna gently come off and we're gonna put the long box on for pulling straps. We're gonna take the foot bars down so they're out of the way. And we'll go down to one red spring. And with one red, you'll lie on the box facing the straps. If one red feels too heavy, you can go to a blue.

Now take hold of the straps and reach your hands through the straps so you can hold the bottom of the rope so you have a little more range. That's it, now think of the hip extension we did when you were kneeling today. Lift your legs a little bit and feel like your thighs are spiraling in, like your inseam is going up towards the ceiling. And now set the shoulders back and down. And on the exhale, just drag the arms to your side.

No extension, actually, in the beginning, just straight. And inhale to lower. Just feel how your thighs are spiraling up. And as you draw back, the whole line gets longer. That's it, do two more.

Exhale back. There you go. One more. And now we're gonna add. So we're gonna add a little extension.

So when you do the extension, imagine the bottom of your neck, your cervical spine, retracts towards the ceiling after you pull. That's it. And then lengthen all the way down. So again, do the first part where you pull back without extension, so exhale back. Now inhale, feel that retraction, and extend.

And then lead with the spine all the way down. And again, exhale to pull straight line. Inhale to extend and open. Exhale all the way down. Inhale to repair, just one more.

Exhale back. Inhale to lift. Exhale all the way down. Now slide your hands to the lightest part of the strap, all the way to the back end of it. Go for the T-press and open your arms out to the side like a T, and you can hold your hands inside if you like.

And now your arms out at a T, wrap your palms down to face the floor, your upper arms externally rotate. That's it, set the shoulders low. And again, lift the legs like you did earlier. Now from the bottom of your scapula, pull your hands to your back pockets. Inhale to open.

And again, exhale to pull. Inhale to open. Feel the relationship between back, your side body, but also your legs, the lower abdomen. Now the next three, after you pull back that extension again, exhale back, now inhale, lift, and open. Exhale back to the T.

Inhale, prepare, exhale back. Inhale to lift, exhale down, one more. On the exhale, pull. Inhale to lift. And exhale all the way down, beautiful work.

Put the straps back on the poles. Help yourself up from there when you're ready. We'll take the boxes off. That is working. Now we're gonna go to low bar.

And low bar, this is a variation of controlled front. So the low bar will have one red. And the setup is you'll be like this. You'll have your forearms down here. Your feet on the bar, and you're gonna go like this.

(heavy exhaling) Now after you get a feel for that, you're gonna add reaching the arms forward. I'll talk you through that. It's actually really fun. (giggling) We'll let you know. (laughing) So forearms on the cart with your hands against the shoulder blocks. Come onto the balls of your feet and press your legs straight. There we go.

Now just feel the line in your body. Now imagine that same feeling with the hips low, that the thighs are spiraling up. Let your pelvis go a little bit more neutral. That's it, now see if you can keep your knees flush. And on the exhale, pull one heel to your butt.

Inhale back to the bar, and again. Alternate sides, do three each side. That's it. One more each side. Now do two each side as you do an arm slide.

Small arm slide, that's it. There you go, good. One more each side. And bring it all the way in. Gently let yourself arrive back on the cart.

Help yourself up, beautiful work. Not so bad, huh, that's good, huh? Now we're gonna turn around and we're gonna do a kneeling pushup. So the kneeling pushup, we're gonna bring the bar up to middle bar, stay with one red, and the setup will be like this. I'll just show you really quick.

You'll start in like a flat back knee stretch position. You'll extend your hips out. And you're just gonna hold it there and bend and straighten. Your goal is to keep the line from your head to your knees. And I'll talk you through that.

So start in like a flat back knee stretch position. Toes are tucked, shoulders are set low. And first, before you go out, feel like your sit bones are wide and your thighs are spiraled out. When you go to push out, your thighs spiral in and your sit bones narrow. They don't tuck, they just narrow.

Now fully extend the hips so the front is open. Push your knees back a little further. Set the shoulders low. Now imagine a line now from your head to your knees doesn't break. Just bend the elbows wide and press out.

And keep that line, keep that strength. Keep that tone in the abdomen, the back of the legs, the shoulders are low. There we go, nice and smooth. Let's do four more. Feel how you can keep that line.

We'll open you little further forward with your hips. Now open the top of your chest a little more. There you go. Beautiful, one more. Very nice, as you come up and in, we're gonna transition right in to the down stretch.

So start in flat back knee stretch position again. As you inhale, slide your legs back to a straight line, from your knees to your shoulders. Now as you open the chest, pull down on the bar and bring yourself all the way up and in to upper back extension. Hold the shape and press out. Inhale up and in, that's it.

Exhale out. Notice that you can keep the whole body where it is now. The back chain, the middle of your back, your low belly, your breath is smooth. Three more. That's it, I know it's light.

This is good you guys, two more. Awesome, one more. As you come up, reach down and put on a blue, so you have a blue and a red for the up stretch. Come up to standing and put your heels right up against the shoulder blocks, about halfway up. Round the spine and look back towards your legs and set your shoulders low and wide.

Now sense that the initial movement is your legs in the hip joint. So as you inhale, slide the legs out and arrive in a plank. From the plank, reaching through the legs, come all the way in. Tuck your chin and round back and swing the hips back over the ankles. Inhale the legs, exhale in, in a strong line.

Round back up. That's it, nice and smooth, do four more. Move with your breath. And round, feel that fluid motion, nice clear awareness of your legs, your shoulder girdle, your middle. Organized movement, two more.

And one more. And in, very nice. As you come all the way in, come to standing on the cart with your feet about six inches forward of the shoulder blocks and bring your feet right together, and come into a flat back hinge. Bend your knees slightly so you can come out of a rounded lower back and bring the chest up a little higher. Very good, now feel that what you've done is you've rolled your pelvis over the top of your legs, and you have a deep hip crease.

With your legs a little bent, reach one leg straight back in line with your body. So now imagine that the wheels of the pelvis, the up leg is rolled forward, the down leg is rolled back. Now lift that back leg a little higher. That's it, now just push the standing leg back about a foot, then draw back in. And get that sense.

Now the main hinge is the hip joint on the moving leg. The femur head rolls back in the socket to deepen the crease. Two more. There you go. Place the foot down, we'll take side two.

First sense the pelvis, get a nice deep crease. It's fine to bend your knees a little bit. Reach the second leg back. Think of the wheels, the wheel rolls back on the standing leg, forward on the up leg. And now push out and draw in, nice and smooth.

Three more. And two. And one. Beautiful, gently step off. Go down to one blue for kneeling rotation.

And for kneeling rotation, we'll face in and you're gonna kneel with your legs close to the shoulder blocks and take the strap that's in front of you. And you'll put that in your hand. Actually, you'll face, there you go, perfecto. Now take the strap in your hand, and then put the other hand behind it, and brings your hands to about mid-chest level. Now think of the pelvic here.

The wheels of the pelvis, the sit bones are narrowing slightly, but you're not tucking. It's just that your tail is going slightly forward and you're open in the front of your hips. Connect to the bottom of your shoulder blades. On the exhale, turn towards the bar. Inhale back.

And feel that rotation is from the bellybutton up, but the hips are not turning with you. Imagine the wheel on the hip you're turning towards is rolling back slightly. And that's like an internal feeling, it's not visible. Two more, there we go. (laughing) That's it, one more.

Awesome, short and sweet. We're gonna turn right to side two. There we go. That's it, take a look at your tall kneeling posture. Your sit bones are narrow, your thighs are spiraling in because you're in hip extension.

Take hold of the strap of the hand that's close by, and then put your other hand behind it. Set the shoulders low and wide. And now turn from the rib cage and spine. That's it. Nice and fluid.

Feel like the rotation is coming from the bottom of the shoulder blades. You're feeling that wrap. Now let's do three more, there we go. Fluid (exhales) and one more everybody. Awesome.

Gently step off, we're gonna go into standing single leg hip extension. So we're gonna put on two springs, a red and a blue. Go to high bar. There we go. And you'll be outside of the machine with one foot against the shoulder block.

The other foot will be all the way up to the foot bar. So you'll be kind of like this with the standing leg bent. And you wanna push out a little bit so your arms are straight and the focus is on your back glute and the line of your body. I'll talk you through. Come on in.

There we go. Now your back knee will be off the cart. Now straighten your arms and bend your standing leg. And imagine you're on a little diagonal with your torso and the standing leg is growing roots into the floor. Now exhale, just slowly straighten the back leg.

But think of it you're straightening it from the bottom of your butt, not so much from your foot. And then bend. That's it. And get that feeling that as you're pushing out, the wheel on the standing leg is rolling back. That's it.

And now add the outside arm to the side like you did earlier. That's it. Now give it a little more lift right there. There you go, that's it, now we're talking. There you go, three more.

And as you get used to this, you can go even heavier. You can go up to two, three springs, one more. And then bring it in and we'll take side two. Very nice. Standing foot is up close to the foot bar.

Your knees are bent and your free knee, the moving leg knee is off the cart. Arms are straight and you're tipped a little forward on a diagonal. And now press out and feel that the thigh is, the femur head is rolling forward in the socket. And the inseam goes up. That's it.

Nice and smooth. There we go, feel a full hip extension. Think of the wheels are countering. So the wheel on the reaching leg is rolling forward, which gives you more range in the reaching leg. The other one is rolling back for stability and strength.

Now add the outside arm to the side. Smooth and fluid. The foot on the floor is swiping out and widening for stability. One more. Very nice.

And gently help yourself up. So now we have a new fun one. One blue spring. Probably haven't seen this one before. Today's the day.

So you're gonna put the box right up against the cart so you're in line. You have most of the box is close to the shoulder block. You'll stand up where your foot is a little bit forward of the shoulder block. Then your free foot will be halfway up on the block. Now the first thing you wanna feel is your pelvis stays stable and you're gonna pull the heel back, using your glute and hamstring.

And then you can start here, and then you go into a lunge. But you wanna keep the back knee under your shoulder when you go into the lunge. When you're ready, you'll bring your hands behind your head. And then for the last three, we'll add rotation. (woman speaks off mic) (laughing) Come on down.

So have the standing foot a little forward of the shoulder block. The heel will be a little bit forward. And then put the heel on the block about halfway up. There you go, perfecto. That's it, now first just feel where that, that's it, with the, um, with the heel that's up, standing up tall, just feel how you can pull the leg back until the knees are flush with each other using your hamstring.

And then let it go. So feel how that's glute and hamstring. That's it, now the wheels are countering. The standing wheel's rolling back. The other one's rolling forward.

Now after you get it the next time, go straight down into a lunge, the back knee will be right under your shoulder. There you go, and then back up. Now see if you can keep the glute and hamstring on, on the lowering leg throughout the lowering. That's it, now bring the hands behind the head and lightly press the head back into your hand for length. That's it, now slowly go down.

That's it. Do two more before we do three with a rotation. There you go. One more, nice and smooth. There we go.

Now start and go about halfway. And when you rotate, think it's from your bellybutton up. It's not the pelvis. Think of the pelvis as turning the other way. That's it.

Notice you can keep the glute on the back leg to counter the twist. There we go. Beautiful, one more. And twist. And lengthen up.

Very nice, and we'll take side two. We'll take the box with you and travel. (giggling) There we go. There you go. That's it, then have your standing foot a little forward, just a few inches forward of shoulder block.

You can come back a little further, even, that way. There you go. And now feel the initial movement is hip extension of taking the femur bone back, using your hamstring and glute. And then do that a couple times, just get a feel for that. And feel like as you're pressing back, the sit bone is narrowing more, and the thigh is rolling in.

You're not tucking the sit bone. It's just coming close to the midline. The wheel is actually rolling forward. Now the next one, as you push back, take it slowly into a lunge. You can keep your arms down for a few, just to get the feeling and the control.

That's it. One more. Now try three with your hands behind the head, lightly press the head back. There you go. Good.

As you go down, see if you can keep the lower back long. That's it. There you go. Give it a little bit of back, there you go. One more.

And now add three where you slowly twist towards the front knee. Think of the pelvis as rotating towards the back leg side. There we go. And two more. There you go, and one.

Very nice. Beautiful work. Now lengthen up and we'll take the boxes away and we're gonna finish with just two more, mermaid and a hip stretch. So for mermaid, we'll go to middle bar, one red spring. And you can have a seat in the z-seat position.

But if the z-seat isn't workable for you, you can sit cross-legged. Now as you put your hand on the bar, think of the jumping feeling of the connection to your mid-back. And you press out, press out with those same muscle feeling and then side in towards the foot bar and you reach up and over. Then lengthen back up and in. Just do three pure side bends before we add a rotation.

Lengthen up and over. And then lift to return. And one more. Now this time, as you go over, now wrap down to the bar. Bring your hand to the bar, and open up the weight-bearing bar little further.

Now from your spine, as you inhale, lift your chest through your arms to come up and in. Exhale, pull the waistline away to flex and go down. Do that two more times. Inhale forward and up, the chest opens. Exhale, pull your waistline away.

And do one more, very fluid. Inhale to open, exhale to flex. From the flex position, hold it and bring your awareness to the bottom of your shoulder blades. As you inhale, bend the elbows wide. Exhale, press from the bottom of the shoulder blades as you pull the abdomen away from the springs.

Two more times. Feel that press from the bottom of the scapula. One more. Slide the hand back to the midline of the bar. Come back to the side bend.

Lengthen all the way up and in and do a counter stretch the other way. And lengthen all the way up. And we'll switch sides, nice work. There we go. That's it, just take it nice and slow.

First feel that connection to your mid-back on the pressing arm. And then add a side bend and a reach. And lengthen right back up. Do two more before we add a rotation. Fluid motion all the way through.

On the next one, go over and stay over. Wrap down to the bar with the free arm. Open up the weight-bearing arm a little more. Now from your spine, inhale, lift your chest through your arms. From your waistline and abdomen, pull away the flex and come down.

Do that two more times. Notice as you're coming up, your shoulder blades come in slightly. As you're going down, they widen and lower. One more. That's it.

At the bottom of the next one, stay. Inhale, bend the elbows wide. From the bottom of your scapula, press long. Do that two more times, fluid, connected. Easy neck and jaw, one more.

Back to the midline. Back to the side stretch. Lengthen all the way up, and do a counter stretch the other way. And lengthen all the way up. Okay, from there we're gonna step off the machine, take the springs off, and push the cart to the very end for a hip stretch.

These guys are gonna step inside the reformer. And facing the shoulder blocks, they're gonna cross one leg into a pigeon pose on the cart. So you'll go (laughing). And then you can slide the cart all the way forward so it's stable. There you go.

Now in that position, put your hands on the shoulder blocks. Or the cart, whatever's easier for you to find. Now think of the wheels right now. The wheel on your back leg is rolling forward and the front leg is rolling back. With your front foot, see if you can flex it and draw the toes back.

That'll help your knee. And now from there, just start to resist your front shin down like you're attempting to straighten your leg and push the cart away. And on the exhale as you do that, fold the torso down, exhale down. And inhale back up without resistance. Now exhale, resist down and fold.

So you feel the glute and hip rotator stretching. Do two more, inhale up. Exhale, resist, and fold. That's it. You can image your outer thigh is wrapping out.

So you give a little bit of, that's it. Now as you come up, if you have your right knee forward, put your left hand in the middle of the cart. Put your right hand on your right hip. Now turn to your right. And on the exhale, fold towards the knee as you kick down.

Inhale back up. Just do that two more times. That's it, there you go. Now imagine you're drawing back into the right hip. There we go. (giggles) That's it.

Beautiful. Now lengthen right back up. We'll slowly come off and switch sides, nice job. Take your time getting in and out. Make sure you take care of your knees.

If this doesn't feel comfortable for your knees, you might be better doing a figure four stretch on your back. So just take your time getting in and out. So square the pelvis. That's it, flex the front foot. The wheel on the front tip is rolling back and the back one is rolling forward.

Now start to resist the front shin and front knee down. And on the exhale, fold the torso forward towards the hands. Inhale back up. And again, resist and fold. So in the fold, your ecentrically contracting, your hip rotators and your glutes.

So they're lengthening actively. That's it, two more. That's it. And one. As you come up, put the right hand, which is opposite the front knee, in the middle of the cart.

Put the other hand on your hip. Now as you turn the torso towards your left knee, press down with the left shin and knee and exhale, fold towards the knee. Drawing back into that left hip as you fold. And again, there we go. So just image that that thigh continues to rotate out.

There we go, and inhale up, we'll do one more. And then lengthen right back up, very nice. Gently help yourself off. We'll come up to standing. Take a moment to collect.

And that's our workout for today on the reformer. I hope you enjoyed. Hope to see you again on Pilates Anytime, thank you. (applauding)

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Paola Maruca
It is always such a nice feeling when Tom McCook is in the house. Body feels super. Impeccable cues. Loved it. Hope to see more of him on PA in the next few days.
1 person likes this.
That was such a calm and effective workout. It is always a pleasure and delight. Thank you Tom.
3 people like this.
What a treat! I had one hour only for "ME" and it was so rewarding! Thank you Tom! Lucky are the people who get to take daily classes with you!
1 person likes this.
That was fun and very challenging.. there are a few of those i have to work up to for sure. I love when Tom is here! his cueing is spot on. Great workout!

3 people like this.
Thank you all for your wonderful feedback! Really happy to hear you enjoyed this new class. I've included several corrective exercises from the mat onto the Reformer for functional strength.. Thank you Pilates Anytime, it's always a great pleasure!
Great class. Great instruction. It's the day after, and I am SORE!
3 people like this.
This is one to savor and repeat often. I love the detailed cues for the pelvis, femur, and feet. fantastic class
Thank you, Tom. I like your peaceful and calm mood when you teach. I am waiting for your next class.
1 person likes this.
Love, love, love your classes, Tom! Thank you for a mindful and challenging flow. :)
1 person likes this.
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