Class #2850

Reformer Workout

55 min - Class


Work on precision of movement in this Reformer workout with Maria Leone. She reminds you to pay attention to the concentric and eccentric movements in every exercise so you don't let the equipment do the work for you. This class follows the Balanced Body teacher training curriculum which includes many wonderful variations and preparations for exercises like Breast Stroke, Arabesque, and much more!
What You'll Need: Reformer

About This Video

Nov 22, 2016
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Hi, Maria Leone and welcome to this reformer workout. Go ahead and set the reformer up for your height. The foot bar, this machine is going into the center position, but the foot bar should be on your footwork position, at least three springs to begin with. I'm gonna put my machine on three heavies and one light spring. You can work with your headrest up or down.

I prefer my headrest up. Come onto your backs. Bring your feet wide on the bar. Close your eyes and then just take a couple of grounding breaths and use those breaths just to be aware of where you are in space. And bring your focus into your body.

And be aware of the natural curves of your spine. Go ahead and open your eyes and let's place the feet into second position. I'd like a little bit more weight on the outside edges of the heels and the knees are pointed out to the high diagonal. Draw the heels together on the foot bar. You haven't even moved yet, but you're just engaging from the inner thigh and the sit bones.

And on an exhale, press the carriage out and resist in. And pressing out and resisting in. Go ahead and continue to integrate your breath in a way that makes sense on your body. In particular, be aware of the way in. So we want to focus concentrically and the eccentrically.

And, in fact, make the way in even more important than the way out. Last one like that, come in halfway and pause, draw the heels towards each other and from a scissoring action of the inner thigh, draw the inner thighs towards each other. As a result the carriage moves. The ribs are tight to the mat. The pelvis is neutral.

The belly button is pulled in and up. Keep pulling the heels in, three, press two, press one, all the way in and into Pilates V-stance, also known as first position. Fist distance between the toes, heels, glute and lifted, knee shoulder distance. And from the inner thigh scissor the legs together. And resist in and back out two and with each rep, creating more and more length in the spine.

So the legs are moving us, but the whole body should be integrated into the action. Feel a sense of pulling the trunk right out of the legs, spinning the inner thighs up to the sky, moving from the sit bones and the hips, not a kick from the knees. The knees move last. Two more like that, lengthen the spine. And last time, come in halfway and pause again with the awareness of the hip.

Press the carriage out and out. The heels are glued tight. The spine is long, the shoulders are relaxed. Make sure you're not pushing up against the shoulder rest. Create length in the upper back.

Integrate your breath. Press all the way out. Stay here, see if you can create even a little bit more length. Wrap the legs a little bit more. Resist to come in.

Two heels up on the bar, fist distance between the heels. Heels are pretty high on the foot bar. Moving from here, press the carriage out and in. So there's a sense that the thigh bone pushes down and that action of the thigh bone pushing down pulls you out. And press, so each time we think about moving the spine, the hip and the knee is the last thing to move, not the first.

Find that eccentric work, concentric work, eccentric work, concentric, eccentric, last time. Halfway in, pause from the sit bones. Little presses up, so the thigh bone pushes down into the well and that's why the carriage moves. Keep your hands by your side. Resist the temptation to always hold yourself.

That really bothers me. Hands by the side. Two, one, press out all the way and come out all the way back into your toe position, all 10 toes on the bar. Heels slightly lifted, the heels are gonna stay here. Pull the carriage all the way out, resist in.

Now I like to keep the heels still as we come in. And the reason for that is that we get that little glide at the ankle. Right, so it's different than a four-star position, which you may have learned somewhere else. So this is just a little different. Resisting in.

You have to make that eccentric contraction happen, not the machine. Resist in. Resist, last time, pull out, stay here, create more length. Pull the trunk right out of the legs with control. The heels lower and lift.

And there's a sense that your feet are wrapped over that foot bar. The toes have contact and the press up goes right up over the big toes. And lift. Lower and lift, making sure the knees are soft as the heels go down. Two more here.

And last one. One heel, then the other, known as walking or running, depending on your speed. Feel where the knee is going. Make sure the pelvis is not shifting side to side or tilting forward and back. Let's pick up the tempo and change and change and change and change and five, four, three, two, one.

Come all the way in and we're gonna move to devlapes, which requires a spring change. Take one heavy spring off your machine and come back to your backs. We're gonna work from the ball of the foot, extend one leg out over the bar. From here, that leg draws into the body and it extends up, pause here for a minute. Make sure your hips are square.

Recoil that leg in tight and then right back over the bar. And in and this is a stretch more than a kick. Pull the knee in and back to the start. And in and stretch. Feel that left hamstring firing down to the springs.

Two more here, in and stretch. Recoil in, feel the tracking of the leg. Last time and stay here. From here, both feet flex, both feet point, and flex. And point.

Do not lift that right hip and point, two more. And point, last time. Flex both feet, catch that top leg, give yourself a little stretch. Continue to feel that sit bone drop down as the leg comes into the body. Come all the way in, right foot on the bar, left leg extends out and a beautiful devlape in and out, and in and back through.

So I'd like both legs to move at the same rate. And in and through. And the top leg really reaches and in and through. And the spine is saying long. And in and through, last time.

Devlape in and up and pause both feet flex and point. Now watch your top foot. Really make sure the Achilles tendon goes all the way through. Watch how you're tracking that foot. Last one like that.

Flex both feet. Grab that leg and draw the leg into you. That left sit bone must lengthen down towards the foot bar. Relax the shoulders, drop the bottom heel. Come all the way in and we're gonna move to bridging.

Reach behind you, bring your headrest down. Hands are by your side, set yourself up towards the cup of your heel, carriage does not move. Tuck the tailbone under, articulate the hips up with a sense of openness here in the front of the hips. Inhale, exhale, peel yourself back down to the machine. Take a breath in, start at the base of the spine, curl, peel yourself up, slide the knees forward over the big toes and then pull yourself back to the mat.

And returning all the way neutral, take a breath in. Exhale, tuck and peel up, slide the knees forward, draw the heels to the sit bones. And peel down. You should be feeling the back of your leg. Tuck and peel up.

Draw those heels in and stay here. Be absolutely quite, extend one leg to the ceiling. And hold it here. Little pulses up. From that opposite hip socket.

Try not to press too much with the arms. Bring the right foot down, hold the hips up. The other leg extends up and little pulses straight up. Keep the hips level, keep the collarbones wide. Put that foot down.

Roll down. Pull the knees down into the armpits for a moment to give that hamstring a little stretch. Bring the feet back to the foot bar. Tuck and bridge yourself up. Take one leg to the ceiling, stay here.

Now the hips stay as high as possible. Press the carriage out and pull the carriage in. Press the carriage out. So there's a natural lowering and lifting, but the feeling in the body is that you're constantly lifting up. Keep that gesture leg really reaching to the sky and very straight.

Try not to brace with the arms and the neck. Last one like that. Squeeze the carriage in all the way tight, put that foot down. No shifting as the other leg comes up. Press the carriage out and in.

And those hamstrings should be on fire by now. If they're not, next time make your machine a little lighter. All the way in. Oftentimes it's that last little quarter of an inch that makes the difference. Hips are level.

Last one. Stay here, put that foot down and roll down through the spine. A little stretch in, knees to the shoulders, lift yourself up. And go a little bit light for the turn out variation, so I'm gonna take myself down to just two heavy springs, back on your back quickly. Back to Pilates V-stance.

The machine is really light now. Press the carriage out. Spiral the inner thighs up. Maintain straight legs and hove the hips up off the mat. Notice I barely clear here.

Pull the carriage in, now lift the hips up all the way, the knees slide forward over the big toes. Press back out and you'll almost touch the mat. Be very open here through the front of the hips. Lift yourself up, pull your heels to the sit bones, hold it there. Press back out.

You're almost touching, squeeze the inner thighs. Pull yourself in and up and press out. Two more here, lift, knees go over the big toes. And press out. And last time, pull in and lift.

Now keep the carriage still. Roll down through the spine quietly, quietly, quietly. And sit yourself up. Okay, we're moving to hundred series. I recommend either two heavy springs or heavy spring and a medium spring.

We're gonna keep the foot bar up, but if you'd like to take it down you can. I prefer the head rest up and onto your back. We're gonna start classically, five breaths in, five breaths out. So the legs come to tabletop. Start with the hands to the ceiling.

We're gonna lift from the sternum, not the head. Take a breath in. Exhale to perfect hundred position. Hold it here, pelvis is neutral. Squeeze the legs, breathing in for five and out two, three, four, five.

Continue lengthening. Continue your breathing pattern. The legs are tight and if you'd like to be slightly turned out here, that would be fine, too. It's just a little different. Reach through the fingertips.

Reach through the legs. Make sure the wrist is really straight, inhaling and exhaling and the shoulder girdle is beautifully down on the back side of your body. We're almost done, I think, but I'm not sure. And come all the way back down. Take a breath in, exhale, come back to hundred.

We're moving to single leg. From here, inhale, open one leg. Exhale tight. Inhale open, stay lifted. Exhale, squeeze tight.

Inhale open and long legs. And exhale close. Last time, inhale. And exhale close. And lower down.

So you get another chance at that. And the emphasis is how still you are, not where you're legs are going. Legs to tabletop, take a breath in, exhale back to hundred. Now think stability. Inhale.

Exhale, close. Inhale, quick close. Inhale, stay lifted and close. Inhale, exhale, lower down. Two feet to the bar, a little spiral stretch.

Open the arms, rotate the knees to one side. That feels good. Other side. And back center. So we're moving to iron cross.

Legs to tabletop. Hands to the ceiling, lift to your hundred position. Your hundred position might be here, it might be here, it might be here, mine is there. Inhale, open the arms. Exhale, close from the armpit.

Inhale, open, pause. Exhale, close. Maintain the height of the head and shoulders. Inhale, big exhale. Last time, inhale.

Big exhale and lower down. So we're gonna put all that together. So the single leg with the iron cross arms, lets to tabletop. Take a breath in, exhale to hundred. Hundred, turn the palms in.

Inhale, two arms, one leg. Exhale, close, think stability, inhale and exhale. Lift a little higher. Inhale and exhale, last one, inhale and exhale. Oh, my goodness, all the way down.

Okay, come on up everybody. And we're gonna move to the back of the machine. Bring your machine on one spring, one heavy spring is what I recommend. And we're setting up for cat cow, so knees against the shoulder rest. Hands forward underneath the shoulders.

Thumbs with your fingers and the spine is neutral and the feet are relaxed. Go ahead and come into cat position. Draw the tailbone under. Have a sense here that you're spinning the biceps forward so the shoulders are out of the ears. Inhale, open the chest.

The breastbone goes forward, the tailbone reaches behind you. And again, round the back, the pubic bone points under, the tail points down. Inhale, open the chest. Take the sternum forward, abdominals are still engaged. Last time round the back.

And now find neutral position. Head in line with the back, the front of the ribs are closed. Pulling just from the hip socket. On an exhale, slide the carriage in and then slide it out. And drawing in and out.

Keep flowing for me. And as you're moving, feel the arms as your anchor, but they're not going the action. The action is coming from the hip socket. And the front of the rib cage stays tight. Two more there.

Exhale in. Control the return, last time. Back is flat. Reach one arm to the ceiling, opening the chest. Turn down through the bottom hand and put that hand down.

Rotate the other way. The bottom hand pushes away. The chest lifts, the head turns. And come back. Okay, repeating the same action one leg at a time.

So from here, pull just with one leg in and out and then the opposite leg. So the hips don't move and, in fact, to my eye it should look exactly the same. But you should feel more work on one side of your trunk and then the work shift to the other side of the trunk. Also opposite peck is gonna fire a little bit more as you change side to side. Last time like that.

Come all the way up, grab your ropes. Carefully from the kneeling because this is always a little precarious, back yourself up. And again, always a little precarious. Push your shin bones down, engage your glutes. Be very, very tall from the crown of the head to your knee.

From here pull the arms straight back behind you and pause and the arm comes just in front of the thigh bone. Pull the upper arm back, hold it, get tall. Control the carriage on the way in. One more there. Press the arms back, opening the chest.

And back forward. Moving into chest expansion, so now the head moves. Pres the arms back in pause. The head turns one way, the other way, come center, the arm goes forward. Pull the arms back and get tall.

Other direction. Change the head, come center. The arms come forward. Again, get tall as you move. One side, the other side, come center, the arm comes forward.

Last time. Feel where your tail is pointed. Turn the head, turn the head, come center and forward. Bring your hand into your loop. Lengthen the arms straight down.

Take the arms back behind you again and stay here. From here, reach through the fingertips and create little circles with your upper arm. The carriage is gonna move. I really want the arm to stay behind you the whole time. The shoulder blades stay open.

The arms stay long. The crown of the head pushes the ceiling away. And release. Okay, so you should have a little fire feeling right there right now, right? Come onto your back.

We're going into feet and straps, also known as frog series. Two heavy springs is what I recommend. I'm gonna keep my headrest up, but if you want your headrest down, that's okay. Onto your back. Let's use the foot bar to get into it, just because it's more graceful.

So one foot in, take the tension, the other foot comes in. Extend the legs out to your Pilates V-stance. Pelvis is neutral. Heels are glued. Resist as you come in and squeeze out and again in this, I want you to really focus on that eccentric contraction.

Okay, so it should not look like this and kick. We want to resist and squeeze out. The knees head towards the shoulders. There's that scissoring action we talked about in foot work, coming from the inner thigh and the wrap of the sit bones. Last one, inhaling in ideally, exhale out.

Come in halfway only and establish your diamond position. From here, moving just from the hip, the diamond shape goes up to 90 degrees, moving from the back of the leg. Press the diamond shape down. Back up. And press down.

Keep flowing for me, keep squeezing the heels. And you might be thinking, well how far should the legs go and the answer to that is always it depends on the stability of the pelvis. So it might be something quite small or it might be a very large range of motion. Again, your tension is here and here. The ribs are tight to the mat and the spine is absolutely stable.

Two more here. Pushing from the back of the leg, but your inner thigh is probably feeling a little heated right now as well. Press down, come back center and squeeze the legs out straight. Keep the legs rotated. We're going into breast stroke.

Come in halfway, pause. From here, extend the legs out without moving the carriage, I like a pointed foot. From the inseam of your pants, pull closed. Let's try that again, flex control the carriage in. Extend the legs out really wide, east and west and then pull the carriage in.

One more slow, flexing in, controlling. Reach the legs out. And pull closed. Now let's flow that, so we go in, open, close. In, open, close.

Make sure the knees don't hyperextend, close. And think about that length in the spine, as well, so it's not just legs. Integrate the whole body into the action. Do that with your awareness, pull long, in, open, close, last one. In, open, pull closed.

Pull the knees into your chest. Use the foot bar to come out and come all the way up. And we are going to move to long box. Go ahead and grab your boxes. Make sure you place your box in the center of the machine.

And take your foot bars down. And bring your machine to a medium spring. And we're gonna start going through breaststroke. It's pretty challenging upper back exercise. We're gonna start without any machines.

Lay down on your machine and have your shoulders just off the edge of the box. Okay, your star position. The belly button is not touching the box. The feet are reaching to the back wall. The head is in line with the back, the elbows are tucked in by your side, sort of in a W position.

So the legs aren't popped up like that, they're just reaching back behind you. From here, shoot the arms out over your head and stay here for a minute and just notice that's a pretty good amount of work just holding this. Feel where your head is. Keep the belly button up. Reach the arms to a T now and really reach out from your trunk.

Now reach the arms back behind you to the toes. Feel where your shoulders are. Bend the elbows back to the W. Legs are still working. The upper back is still working.

Shoot the arms back out over the head. Stay here. Open the arms to the T, stay here. Reach the arms back behind you. This time lift the breastbone up.

Okay, so you're in thoracic extension. You're also in the pulling straps position. Bend the elbows and go back neutral. Putting that all together. The arms shoot out.

Circle the arms all the way back and lift the chest. The belly button is in, the legs have not changed. Come back neutral. Now lifting a little sooner. Take the arms out and from here, lift the upper back.

It's not gonna be big. Circle all the way back, take the chest forward. Bend the elbows back neutral and come off your machine. So if that was enough work, you might repeat that, just like that again without the springs. Or you can try adding the springs.

So grab the ropes. A little tricky getting on. The hands are here in front of you. Bring your hands forward and lay yourself down. We're gonna go pretty much through all those same sequences.

So starting in that beautiful neutral position, feel where your heads are, feel where the belly button is. You hip bones and pubic bone on the box. Shoot just the arms out over your head. Feel the back of your shoulder working. Open the arms to a T.

Take the arms all the way back behind you and bend the elbows in and maybe that's all you do today. Shoot the arms out, the shoulder blades go down. Reach wide to a T. Reach the arms behind you. If you'd like, lift the upper back into that long beautiful thoracic extension.

Then the elbows go back neutral. Now lifting a little sooner, the arms shoot out. The legs don't move, lift the upper back. Circle the arms all the way back, chest goes forward and lower back to neutral. Last one, shoot the arms out.

Lift the upper back, circle the arms all the way back, stay here, surprise, little swimming. Breathing in for five and out for five. I love swimming because it cross trains the hundred position. Use your breath, breathing in for five and out for five. Quicken the tempo.

Last time like that. Lower down and let's come off the box. Okay, I'm hot, I'm sweaty. Put your hopes down. Change your machine to a heavy spring.

And we're going to go to roll back. Head rest goes down. Have a seat at the edge of your spine and I know you're dying to stretch out the lower back, it's gonna do it right now in this exercise. Sit up beautifully tall. First action comes from the base of the spine.

See that curl, that's what you want. Roll down to the bra line. And stop. And peel yourself right back up, coming through that cat position. There's cat and then sequence all the way up.

Take a breath in, pull the tail under and then sequence back, so there's always length through the thoracic spine. Take a breath in here and exhale. Peel in and up. I'm gonna do it one time wrong for you. Take a breath in, exhale, round, see how ugly that is, don't do that.

Roll back and as you come up, this is what you don't what to do is this with your chin. Lift with your chest, not your chin and stay here. Go ahead and put your ropes down. And we're gonna practice teaser. So I reach the arms out on the diagonal.

The shoulders are down. Tuck and roll back, but again, notice, right, I stay tall, I didn't slump into my position. Draw the tailbone under and roll back just a bit. Bring one leg to tabletop. Bring the other leg to tabletop, stay here and breathe.

Now if you're able without changing your thigh bones, begin to take the legs up towards straight, maybe all the way straight, maybe not, keep lengthening the spine. Continue doing your rib cage breathing. Shoulders are dropped and the two feet come down. Okay, up we go to short box. So, you need to figure out where you need to be for short box.

So I'm a little petite. I'm taking the box just over the shoulder rest. We want at least two springs on the machine, so the machine does not bounce around. Have a seat in the middle of your box. So what you're looking for is that you're anchored into the strap and there's different ways of doing this and I really want you to have a sense that you're holding on with your feet.

I also want at least five distance behind you because we're gonna roll back to the sacrum. Reach the arms straight up. We're gonna begin with exactly we did during rollback, so sit beautifully tall, take a breath in, pull the tailbone under. Begin that same sequencing, rolling back as if you could get the lower back to the box. Take a breath in here.

Exhale, peel yourself back in and up, come back into that round shape. Sequence all the way up, beautifully tall. Inhale here. Exhale, the exercise begins with your tail pulling under. Roll yourself down, but you're trying to keep energy up through the crown of the head.

Take a breath. Exhale, pull yourself in from your waistline, inhale, let's lift the arms all the way up. Really up, ribs up, off the pelvis. Take a breath in. Exhale, peel back.

Bring the arms in front of you. Inhale, take the arms up by the ears. Exhale, bring the arms back down. Inhale peel up. And exhale sit tall.

Stay here, stay beautifully tall. Rotate to the right. Notice what happens to the legs and the hips and come back center. So a true rotation, spinning on your axis, feeling half of your body coming forward, the other half back, come back center. Do that again with the arms up.

Get tall, though. Not tall with your shoulders, tall by pulling the ribs off the pelvis. Sit bones are tight. Twist to the right. And come back center.

And twist to the left. And come back center. Bring the arms back in front of you. We're gonna add that same rotation to our flexed position. Draw the tailbone under, roll back, without sinking, pulling the pubic bone up and pause.

It's not gonna be that big. Inhale, rotate to the right. Exhale deep in the C-curve center. Inhale, rotate left. Exhale deep in the center.

Peel all the way up. Get tall, tall, tall. Take a breath in. Exhale, roll back. Inhale, rotate to the right.

Exhale, come back center. Inhale to the left. Exhale back center. And all the way up, adding on. Roll yourself back, drop the shoulders.

We're going around the world, so twist to the right. From there, come up and over to the left. Come back center, come all the way in, take the arms up. Lengthen. This isn't tall, this is.

Take a breath in. Draw the tail under, the arms come in front of you. Other direction. Rotate up and over the top. Twist to the other side.

Come back center, peel all the way in. All the way up, press the arms down. Okay, we're moving to mermaid. Set up is a little tricky. Have a seat on your box like so, okay.

On two sit bones and this leg is gonna be flexed kind of doing nothing in the beginning. Turned out and a little bit in front of your body. Reach your arms to a T and sit tall, not forward. Feel the back of your sit bone on the box. From here, we're gonna cartwheel over into the well.

So begin a cartwheel, notice your hip lifts, see that transition in my foot. Take the arm all the way over the head, go all the way down into the well. Lift yourself all the way back up, the hip goes down, the leg goes back to its start. And now we side bend the other way, getting long, so none of this, right. Reach long through the crown of the head.

And then open the arms to here. Here we go, cartwheel over. The leg pulls back. Go all the way down. Come all the way up, put the hip down, open the arms.

Side bend. And open the arms, be beautifully tall and again. Up and over. And up. And side bend.

Do not round arm pit to the sky. And open, last one. All the way down, ooh, this is kind of awkward, all the way up. And side bend. And all the way up, let's go to the other side.

Okay, so the set up again. Different than side over, different. So, you're really seated on two hips pretty comfortably. This foot's really kind of doing nothing right now. Make sure you're not here with your booty out.

The tail is down, arms to a T. Cartwheel up and over, you're rocking to that hip, all the way into the well. All the way up, put the hip down. And side bend. And open.

So that leg goes parallel as you go all the way into the well. Come all the way, it turns out here. And side bend, two sit bones grounded, arms all the way to the sky and open. And side bend way far over. And lift, put the hip down.

Get very long to the other direction. And open. Keep integrating your breath, way far over. And lift. And way far over and open to a T.

Let's come off of there, taking the boxes off. Okay, so we're going to kneeling abdominals facing front. For this exercise the machine is assistance, not resistance. So the lighter you go the more challenging the exercise will be. Start with a light spring or a medium spring.

As you get stronger, you can even do this without any spring at all. I'm going to the lightest spring. And then clear your frame. Any foot bars or anything, get them out of the way. The hands come on the frame, the shoulders go right over the wrist and the knees under the hips to begin.

And we're gonna work just in the plank position, okay, the hips slide out, the hips come forward, and just establish half of a plank. Head is in line. Most people kind of keep their head dumped here. Lift it up, wrap the ribs, belly button is in, pause. And if you're in the right position, you should feel a little work in your center and bring the carriage in.

So that's the position we're working with, okay. Come back to that position, shoulders over the hands. I'm gonna give you a very specific breathing pattern on this. Inhale, push the carriage out. The body goes downhill.

Stay here and pause. Exhale, come back in, stop when the shoulders are over the hands and pause. Inhale, open the elbows, lower yourself down. I snuck in that pushup, I know. Exhale up.

And inhale, take the carriage out and pause. Head is still in line with the body. Exhale, pull the carriage in. And pause. Inhale, lower down, one straight piece.

And exhale up. And inhale back. And exhale in, now check your ego. Make it good, I'm gonna show you a small one. That is a beautiful pushup.

And up. And one more time, take it out. Don't sag in the back. Pull the carriage in, get tall through the crown of the head. Inhale down, pause.

And exhale up. Bend the knees, sit back into child's pose for a moment. And come off to one side of the machine and bring your foot bar back up for knee stretch series. We're gonna do it pretty traditionally. Two heavy springs.

We're gonna go from round to flat and we're gonna do four sets of eight. Okay, so let's find your start position. The toes are curled under, the heals are reaching back. Round your back, bring your tailbone fairly close to your heels. Okay, but not so close that you can't touch the foot bar.

The hands are here. The head is in line with the spine, the biceps are spinning up. The pubic bone stays pointed to the foot bar, it's a short fast motion, here we go, pressing the carriage out in and that's the tempo. Out in, out in. Out in, keep rounding.

And in, all the way in, in, stay here. Change the position of the spine, the tail goes back. The heart opens, same thing, short and fast, in and two and three and four, ribs tight and six and seven. Stay in eight, from here into jackrabbit. Lift the knees up two inches and go out in, and in, oh, I'm making a lot of noise.

In and in, all the way in, in and in. We're noisy today. Last one, hold it in. Pause. And lower down.

Okay, a little different now. Round the back, bring the hips over the knees and stay here. So you're pretty straight here. Very rounded in the upper back. Without moving the carriage at all, spin the biceps up, lift the knees and hold it.

So the weight is really heavy on the arms and lower down. And again. Lift, hover with the knees. And lower down. Last time and lift.

You notice I adjusted my feet in a bit. Move the carriage now, out in, out in, out in, all the way in, tail is under and in and in, two more, don't move the tail like I just did. Hold and lower down. Okay, I think we need elephant. Stand up, let's got for flat back elephant, so shoulder blades are down, the tail is lifting up.

Again, not here. All right, so the ribs are tight, the arms are in line with your ears, press the carriage out and in. Use this as your rest. And focus on the stability of your scapula, digging the heels into the mat as we go. And last time like that.

Okay, walk your hand towards the center a little bit. Pull the right knee in tight to your chest. Take that right leg straight back behind you and now turn that leg out. Do not come forward on the hands. The weight is back on the standing leg.

Now with your pinky toe, pulse it up to the ceiling. And again that back leg is on external rotation. We're slowly building all this up to arabesque. Hold the leg up, pause. Now lower that foot down, tap the headrest with the big toes.

Pinky toe goes up. And lower and tap. And the pinky toe goes up. And the pelvis is still. And notice the leg doesn't really get that high, right, because the hips are more or less square to the ground.

Notice is said more or less. Not exactly square, not exactly open. Somewhere in between, last time. Hold the leg up, stay here. Carry the leg side, all the way side without leaning to the left.

Lower the leg down. Walk the hands to the other side. Pull the knee into your chest. Get off your hands, don't be here, that's no good. Take the leg straight back behind you.

Now turn that leg out. You'll notice that the hip does open up a little bit. With the pinky toe, pulse up, up, up. Keep breathing. Arms straight, legs straight.

Feel where your scapulas are. From here the leg lowers to the headrest and up. Tap and lift. Just nice and clean from the hip socket. Amazing how much work that is when you fight to be still and focus on your form.

Last one. Stay here. Carry the leg to the side and lower down. Step off to one side. So Pilates is not about the springs.

It's about what you're doing in your body, okay. Let's change spring setting to one heavy, one light spring. And we're gonna start moving the carriage now. So we're gonna kind of start in an up stretch position. Come back to the machine.

This time be on the balls of your foot, so it's like the flat back elephant, but we're on the ball of the foot this time. Ears are by your upper arm. Okay, the arms stay here, the shoulders stay right where they are. Push open to your plank position. So the head and shoulders are gonna extend open.

Notice the shoulders are back of the wrists. Lift the wrist and dive through. Pull the carriage in all the way with your big toes. Squeeze the carriage. Again, just like that.

The head and shoulders come up. So we're rotating right around our shoulder joint. Ribs are closed. Lift the hips and bring the carriage in. Now you can repeat that just like that if you're new to this or at arabesque.

So the right hand's gonna come over just a smidge to the center. The right knee comes into the chest, the right leg goes back, the right leg turns out. And stay here. From here, come into plank, lower the foot to the headrest. That part of it's a little easier.

And lift up. Reach the big toe to the sky. Get the carriage in all the way. And find perfect plank and pinky to the sky, pull the carriage in tight, tight, tight, let's do one more. Poor Amy didn't know what she was getting herself into.

And lift. Stay here, don't let the machine bounce like that. Open the leg to the side, try to maintain the height of the leg beautifully down. And lock the hands to the other side. Okay, pull the knee in.

Take the leg out and up, turn it out, shoulders down. Press the carriage out, lower the leg, open the chest. And lift up, pinky to the sky, carriage in all the way. And again, yes, I am shaking like a leaf. Lift the pinky to the ceiling.

One more. Open the chest. And lift the leg up. Stay here, carry the leg side. And beautifully down.

Bring your foot bar down and step off your machine. Bring your foot bar down and set your machine so that you can stand on the ledge and I recommend one heavy spring. So we're doing standing outer thigh moving into skater. Very important how you mount the machine. That's a funny word, mount.

So step to the frame in the machine. Come all the way up and put that foot, I don't know why that foot bar is like that, but I'll move now. Okay, big toes kind of hugging the edges of the machine. Toe socks are useful here. Put the tail straight down, arms east and west.

Be beautifully tall. From here press the carriage open and pause and control the carriage coming in and again, pushing with this leg as much as this one. Pause and slowly and get tall and again, always working and integrating the whole body, not just the legs right now and slowly in. Remember you have to find the work on the way in. Press out, so don't ride the machine, control the machine in.

And again, push out. And slowly in. Bring your hands behind your back. Bend your knees, come into a deep squat. Okay, so focus on getting your thigh bones parallel to the ground, which is gonna shift your weight a little bit more towards the heels.

The upper back is very, very flat, belly button is in. Shift your weight imperceptively onto the standing leg. That's the foot on the frame. Now the other leg presses out and in and out and in. Remember you're controlling that carriage on the way in.

If not, half your exercise is wasted. All right, so the beauty of Pilates is that we get the concentric work and the eccentric work. Unfortunately you need to do that. Machine's not gonna do it, so it's all about where you are in your body, where you are with your awareness. Feel those knees are pointed, straightforward the whole time.

Last time like that. Push and control it in. Let's stand all the way up. Now to come off, the foot that's on the carriage, step it back behind you. Come around to your other side.

Okay, and again, stepping to the frame and people do fall down here, all the way up, feet to the edges, arms east and west and the tail is pointed down, not forward, but just down. From here, pushing with both legs, push the carriage open and slowly in and you'll notice the center of your body shifts out. Resist in. And push out. For a little bit more challenge, don't come in all the way.

Come in just part of the way and pause and right back open. And in. Crown of the head floats to the ceiling. Push open, pause. And slowly in, into skater, hands behind the back, set up your position.

Bend the knees, the tail goes back. Bend a little deeper, upper back flatter. Now stand on the foot that's on the frame. From here, press out and in. Do not shift out.

Hold your body steady. So what you'll begin to notice is the leg that is not moving has more work, that's correct. So it's deceiving. There's more work on the stabilizing leg than the working leg. Feel how you're tracking that knee.

The push must come from the hip, not the knee, not the foot. Control it in. Where's your neck, where's your head, where are your collar bones. Where are the shoulder blades, where are the sit bones. Still doing Pilates everybody.

Last one. And come carefully up. Step carefully back to the mat. Have a seat on your machine and the foot bar comes up to where it was for footwork. Let's come down to one spring.

And simple lunge. So one foot forward. You all know this, you've done it a zillion times. Come straight down. So I particularly like this because it does tend to be a lot of flexion in what we do.

So it's really nice to open the hip socket and this is extension. And it's extension that's pretty doable for just about everybody. And if you feel this too much here, just lean forward a tiny bit, okay. But keep that sense of opening in the front of the hips, shoulders are down. Come on up, the second side.

And sink straight down. This knee is going forward, so from knee cap to knee cap, you'd be in an absolute perfect split, right. You might even feel like you're turning in on that back leg slightly to be in the right really perfect position. Okay, come on in. You might repeat that if you're very tight in your hamstrings, okay, we're moving on to splits, much more challenging.

So a heavy spring and a medium spring or a heavy spring and a light spring, okay. Come up into the middle of your machine. Awkward getting into and in fact, you might need to do something like this to pick up your foot to get it on the foot bar. Let's start with the left foot on the foot bar. Ball of the foot and then swivel this foot back until your heel is against the shoulder rest, the heel is lifted slightly and now bend your front knee.

The carriage will adjust out and find a position with your knee somewhat over your heel. Light with your fingertips, back flat and a lot of energy through this back leg. So like someone's pulling that leg right out of your trunk and just stay here for a moment. One more breath here. Okay, now the back leg is gonna propel us.

Push through that back leg so much that the front leg begins to straighten. It may or make not make it straight, not important. Upper back flat, so I don't want this, right, not impressive, back flat. Hips square. Slowly bring the carriage in.

Stop when the knee gets about in line with your heel. Upper back is flat. And again, the back leg pushes back. And the hips go straight back not down. Hold it.

Bend that front knee to come in. And last time the back leg pushes back. And the front leg bends to come in. This time lift the hips up all the way and drop your head to your front foot. Get absolutely square with your hips.

And slight softness in the knees, so we don't want to lock out in the knee joints. One time only a big split. The hips go straight down this time. And bring the carriage in all the way and take the front foot down. Okay, moving to the other side, here's that weird transition.

The foot comes up, I know that's hard for some of you. Swivel that back foot back. The heel is against the shoulder rest. Right knee in line with the right heel, light with the fingertips. And upper back long.

Okay, and really open through here. Really, really open here. Now this leg pushes so much, it reaches so much out of my trunk that it propels me backwards in space. And then bend that front knee to come in, but I'm still reaching through that back leg. Stop when the knee gets in line with the heel, light with the fingertips.

And push the back leg back. Breathe. Control the carriage as it comes in, working the carriage both directions and last time. And push out. Then bend the knee to come in.

Lift the hips up, drop your head to your foot. So the legs are straight but there's a sense of movement at the joints, right, so we're not locking back into the knees just to get the legs straight. The head is coming down to your front foot and now the back leg pushes straight back. And come all the way in and step down. And we're gonna move into a pretty classical or traditional I should say mermaid.

Have your machine on at least one heavy spring or perhaps a heavy and a light. Take one leg behind you and line up that shin in line with your shoulder rest. The other hand is gonna be just a little in front of your shoulder joint and the opposite hand is up. Now this hip, wherever it is, it might be on the mat, it might be slightly lifted like mine. This hip doesn't move.

From here, side bend up and over towards the foot bar. And this shoulder is away from the ear and come all the way up, reach to the shoulder rest, take that other hand straight up first. Go for length first and then side bend up and over. Again, spinning the arm pit to the sky and back to your start position. This time instead of pushing from the arm, think about moving your trunk.

So your trunk moves away from the arm and the arm goes straight. Armpit to the ceiling. Come all the way up. Get long first and then side bend up and over. It's probably gonna be pretty small.

And arms back. Think about that cue again. The trunk moves away from the arm. And come all the way up. And the other hand comes to the sky, get tall first and then side bend.

And all the way up. Come to your sunken side. If this is too much for your knee, work with your two feet on the ground, okay. So, hand is just a little in front of the shoulder, this hand is up. See if you can move from your trunk.

It's a little bit more advanced way of thinking about the exercise, so from here, my obliques contract and move my trunk away from my arm. And all the way up, the other hand comes up, get tall first and then side bend up and over. Head in line with the body always. Open the arms and side bend up and over, so this is what I typically see a lot of. Don't do that, come all the way up and the hand comes up, side bend up, notice I'm not moving that much because I don't want to slump on that bottom side.

Come all the way up and last time, side bend up and over. Here's the other thing I see. You don't need to watch it, come all the way up. And this hand comes straight up and side bend up and over and lengthen all the way up. Bring your two feet down to the mat, sit at the edge of your carriage.

Sit beautifully tall. Bring the palms up on your knees. Close your eyes and again just focus on your breath, ground your feet into the mat, ground your sit bones into the carriage. Feel the crown of the head floating to the ceiling. And let's take one deep breath in through the nose and hold that breath.

And a slow exhale out through the mouth. And gently open your eyes. And thank you for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed your workout.

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Loved your cuing, and your flow! Excellent!
7 people like this.
You are s great addition to Pilates Anytime!
2 people like this.
I sure did enjoy this fast paced and excellently cued dance;) thank you very much.
Excellent class, your cueing is concise and clear.
Excellent cueing, so precise and clear! Strong challenging class, loved it! I would love to see a mat class like that please?!
1 person likes this.
Wow just loved this class :)
Beautiful workout Marie, this will be in my favorites. Not able to get to your studio as much but happy to see you here. Rochelle Ludovisi :)
This video is one of the things I am particularly grateful for today. Maria Leone is a wonderful addition and I look forward to more of her classes in the future!
Wonderful flow and cueing!
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