Class #2861

Back Body Reformer

65 min - Class


Use the back side of your body to combat "tech posture" in this Reformer workout with Sally Anderson. She starts at the wall with movements that will open your chest and activate the back of your shoulders. She then moves on to the Reformer with creative variations that will engage your back extensors like High Bar Cobra, a Kathy Grant Swan, and much more!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Wall, Fitness Ball, Foam Roller

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Hi, I'm Sally Anderson, and thank you for joining me for a workout to address tech syndrome or tech posture that is coming up so frequently these days. So, I have the lovely Daria and Ruth with me who are going to demonstrate the workout today. It will be primarily on the Reformer, with a little bit of small apparatus integration. So let's get started up against the wall. So I want you against the wall with your feet slightly out.

So a little bit of bend in the knees, just be comfortable with your back resting against the wall. I want to start just with one roll down. Peeling the spine off the wall, tucking the chin to the chest, roll through, allow your arms to be relaxed, allow the neck to be relaxed. So go forward as far as you're happy to hang in flexion. Let your neck just release a little.

Shoulders release a little. Take a breath into the back, and then exhale, slide the sacrum down the wall as you stack the pelvis back into the wall, finding a very tall, distracted spine going up the wall as you place it as long and tall as you can, growing all the way back into your upright position. Good. Now, take your arms into a W position. And the girls will demonstrate.

A little bit more elbows in to the sides, and hands facing up on a diagonal. So there's our lovely W's. From here exhale and slide the hands out into a wide W position. Dropping the humeral heads down, or the upper arm bone down into the shoulder as you stretch away. Then inhale, bend back down.

And the important thing to do is to find the connection to the wall that you just set up as you stacked your spine. So you stay connected. Exhale, stretch the arms away and up the wall. As you draw in, find the back of the rib cage into the wall. Inhale, back down.

And you're allowed to make faces, the girls are being very focused. It's quite strong. I hope it is, because it should be opening the shoulder joint. Exhale, drawing the ribs in. Setting up this nice breadth across the front of the chest that we want, and activating the back of the shoulders.

Bring the arms back in, we'll have one more. Exhale. Ribs in, shoulders down, nice breath. Reaching away to wherever your range goes. And come back in.

Give the arms a little shake. Good. And then stay back at the wall, now your arms will be in a scarecrow position. So elbows in line with the shoulders, hands above the elbows. You're going to press the arms back into the wall, enough to press your body off the wall.

So we're really firing up, activating, the back of the shoulders, back of the upper arms, and settle back to the wall. Good, we'll have three more. This is where the faces really get good. Exhale, press away. So finding the back of the arms, back of the shoulders.

Really lovely job here. I hope you're feeling it just as well. It doesn't have to be a big movement off the wall. Small, even if you don't get off the wall, find or feel the activation behind the shoulder joint. And back in, we'll have one more.

I've got two lovely demonstrators here. And, good. So keeping the shoulders and pelvis stacked as you come off the wall, but I think we've got a good demonstration to show you. Lovely, ladies, relax your arms down. Give them a shake.

We should be a little more open. If I could have you take your ball into the center of the floor. Good, so if you have your large fit ball with you, sitting on the top, what I would like you to do is roll down 'til your shoulders are on the top of the ball. And just find a position where you're reasonably comfortable, head is on the ball. Good, reach your arms overhead.

So stretch back, all I want is a little rolling on the ball, you're going to reach back to wherever you can, using the legs to press you back, and then come back into your forward position, dropping the hips down, bending the knees. So be easy on your back. If you need to keep your lumbar lengthened and supported a little more that's fine. It's the upper back I particularly want to wrap around the ball. Use the legs to stretch you back, and aim your hands towards the floor.

They can be wide, wherever they sit well in your shoulder, just use the nice soft arc of the ball to get you into some extension in the upper back primarily, but wherever it works for you and your back. So this can be a nice place to also work people with quite a kyphotic curve or Scheurermann's disease because it's not as hard a surface. But for tech posture, it's a really nice opening of the front of the body. Over a few repetitions you'll feel the body just release into the ball and extend a little more. But do it at your pace, at your range.

Good, and we'll do one more after this extension, so everyone's extended, and bring it back, drop the hips down, and, good. One more. And just reaching back, nice, exhale as you go, stretch through the front of the hips. So you can take the pelvis up, lengthen the legs, but use the legs, that's what will help you stabilize. And then come back to where your pelvis is a little dropped, and the hands can come behind your head with your head and shoulders still back over the ball.

Good, that's a beautiful adjustment for Daria. So from here we're going into a chest lift of the upper body, but I want you to go from the extended position into just a neutral lift. So sliding the ribs to the pelvis, come up with the upper body. That's high enough. And then lengthen back.

Again with the lower body, or the pelvis, keep it slightly scooped to stay out of the lumbar spine is probably what most people want, but if you're happy to leave it wrapped around the ball then you can have that little bit of extension at the base of the spine as well. And we exhale as you slide the ribs to the pelvis. Inhale as you lengthen the sternum back all the way over the ball. Good, so think about the sternum as a point of operation. Exhale, slide it to the pelvis, good.

Doesn't have to come too far into flexion, I'm more interested in the lengthening of the abdominals and the extension of the upper back. And two more. Exhale, bring the chest lift up. Good. Inhale, lengthen back.

Good, and take the head shoulders to where you're comfortable. And last one, exhale draw the sternum to the pelvis. And then lengthen back, one last lengthen back, try and let the elbows drop wide, open up the chest, release the shoulders. And then you can use your legs to press you up into a sitting position, walk them back to the ball as you come upright with the body. Very nicely done here, I hope you enjoyed that little extension.

We will take the balls away and come onto the Reformers now. So pop your ball to the side, we don't need that anymore. What I would like you to do is come to the Reformer with the long box set on, and one to one and a half springs. If you're a larger person, maybe use the one and a half to have a little bit of extra resistance. I have my two lovely ladies on one spring each.

Lying prone on the box with your hands on the foot bar please. So stretch yourself along the box, with the box, the carriage in, and just shuffle back with the body to where, kind of the breastbone is just on the edge of the box. Good. I like my hands long, and the base of the palms, good, you only really need the connection of the base of the palms here. Legs gently adducted, they don't have to be jammed together, but just keeping a nice long, active line through the back of the body.

Now starting from the base of the shoulders, press out, stretching out in one long line, just taking the arms overhead, the body's not lifting as yet, the tummy pulls up underneath. And then bend back in, drawing the elbows wide as you come in. So just three more. Press away, setting the shoulder position, activating the whole back line of the body. Inhale, coming back long.

And two more, pressing away. Good. Elbows can be gentle, in whatever range allows you to keep the shoulder joint honest. Yeah, so that we're not disturbing the scapula, not disturbing the position of the back. Good.

And Daria, stay back there, from here we're adding. Just allow the arms to be fully stretched, and the weight or the resistance from the springs presses you back into the shoulders, send the sternum forward and come up into a little thoracic extension. Just small. And then from the base of the shoulders press back, bend back in like we did with the first sequence. So bend the arms to come back each time.

That's alright. And exhale, press back out to straight arms. Now the arms stay straight, the sternum slides forward toward the foot bar, and you allows the foot bar to press the humeral heads back in to give you activation and connection to the upper back. And then press back out with straight arms, bend the elbows to bring you back in over the bar. Good.

Very nice, two more. Pressing back, so keeping everything active, and then just initiating a little more thoracic extension, trying to find the mid-low trapezius engaging. And press back down, nice job. Neck follows through with the spine like these two beautiful demonstrators here. One more.

Good. Send the sternum forward, eye line forward as you come into your lift. And press back out from the base of the shoulders to a long position. And bend back in. Excellent, good.

Coming up to a sitting position on the side of the box, I want a little side reach, and then a side arm pull. I'll take the spring down to a half, simply because the side arm pull we'll want a little less tension. And the side stretch is just a very simple, sitting position with your heels on the carriage, just on the inside of the, yes, right close to the box. Good, and I will have you sit right to the foot bar edge of the box. The hand onto the foot bar, and the opposite hand is going to do your side reach.

So inhale, reach up, exhale press out, and take the ribs into an open position. Bring it back up, and all the way down. So just pop your heels on the carriage, and then they go with you. Well done, inhale, now what I want to see here, is that as you lift with the arm and go into the side bend, that you lift tall, and stay connected back into the low back. And opening the ribs as you go over, just a little mobilization, get the sides releasing, get the ribs opening, and bring it back up.

We'll try to keep the neck lined up over the spine, or the head on the neck over the spine. And even think of opening the armpit to the ceiling, taking a little look to the ceiling as you go over, yes, so we get a little external obliques opening up there as well. And come back up, one more. And ideally the inhale to come up, exhale as you press into your side bend. Good.

And up to your seated position, very nice. So now we'll take the hand spring, or the strap, into the hand that has been on the foot bar. So then you'll bring that hand to your sternum, and your starting position is with the fist holding at the sternum. Find your upright position. So this is why we only wanted to have half a spring, it's quite strong, but now from the back of the shoulder that's holding the strap, take the elbow out and then follow through with the wrist.

So it's a side arm pull. Fold it back in, wrist comes back to your sternum. So from the sternum it goes shoulder, elbow, fist, and then wrap it all back in, hold. Good, two more. And really here we're just wanting to find, yes if that's as far as you go that's fine, but you can feel the back of the shoulder.

Set the scapula so that it doesn't retract. You want to keep the scapula wide, find the back of the shoulder, nicely done. And, good, hold that there. Let's do the other side. So we'll have side reach and then side arm pulls on the other side.

Good. Swing those legs around, being the same position, being with the same spring. So again, be, yes, close to the foot bar. Which gives you a little more tension with the arm pull but gives you a little more connection through the underneath side as you do the side over. So, breathing in to go up, and take your side bend staying back, spine nice and long.

Good, and that's very nice to have the armpit to the ceiling straight away. And come back up. And stack the spine, good. And inhale to lift, exhale open the ribcage, open up the armpit, keep the head in line with the spine, so maybe a little more back to find your line up with the spine. And, center.

Good. Three more. I do believe we did five on the other side. And, good, ribs open, anchor through the opposite side sitting bone down onto the box as you go over, that gives you a point of anchor to move away from with that upper body movement. And up and over, and really feel the breath into the sides.

Good, and back, we'll have one more. Very nice job here. Good. And bring that one back to upright, and then we'll go into our side arm pull. So again taking that strap, you can adjust in.

I'm very happy for you to find the position that allows you to get the most out of the exercise. So start by stacking the spine so the rib cage over the pelvis, and bring the hand to your sternum. So from the sternum we go, elbow pulls out, hand follows through. Bring it back through the hand, elbow, sternum. Very nice, scapula stays wide, yes.

It's a tough exercise even on a half a spring, but hopefully you can feel the work that it's doing to set up the back of the shoulder joint, holding us up through the upper back. Holding the shoulder in a good position so that all that iPhone movement, laptop work, can be redressed. And we'll have one more. Good, very nicely done. Now, we're going into some abdominals, just to switch on the abdominals again, but I want to stay with the extended to neutral focus.

So we'll take our shoulder blades back off the back edge of the box, so lying on your back. Find your shoulder blades just off the box. Your feet will come into tabletop when you're ready. But I suggest finding the shoulder blades off the box first, then set the tabletop position where you're comfortable holding that through abdominals and the low abdominals. Supporting your head with your hands.

So that's really important, I want the head to be able to be in the hands. And then it's like the ball, sternum going back off the back edge of the box with lengthening, taking the head with you. And then slide the ribs to the pelvis to come back up. And it doesn't have to be a big movement again, I just want lengthen out, think about lengthening the upper fibers of the rectus abdominis, and the external obliques back, and then come back up bringing them back in to the center of the body. It doesn't have to be a high flexion position.

Two more. Supporting the head, and really finding the upper abdominals doing the work. Exhale up, very nice, use that breath, really empty the lungs as you come up. Last one. And exhale, deepen into the abdominals.

Slide the ribs, sternum up, now hold that position, keep supporting your head. If anyone needs a hand let me know. Single leg lowers. So the right leg will lower onto the foot bar and come back up, activating low abdominals. Left leg will drop, and up.

Good, exhale as you lower is ideal. Yes, because I can feel lovely abdominals. Last one each side. Now hold that there, we want to add the chest lift with the leg lower. So one leg lowers as the chest goes back slightly, bring it all back to center, deepen deepen deepen, we don't have too many more on the other side.

We'll just do two each side, because it's quite strong. And one more each side. But it will have you working the upper abdominals and finding your abdominal connection. And hold, now last thing, maintain that upper body, and single leg stretch through each side. Reach one leg away, good.

And two. And three, use the breath, four, last two, good. And both knees back in, and you can use your hands and come up. Sitting tall on the box, well done. Can we feel abdominals?

Yes! Excellent. Good, I hope you feel abdominals as well. Alright, so coming off the box, we'll take the boxes to the back of the Reformer, so you can clear your box off the Reformer, and set up for pelvic curls, followed by leg and foot work. So I like, I think good three red springs, or three strong springs, at least. So you might want to add another half to that.

I do tend to like a little bit of load to get into the back of the legs. But we'll start with three red springs today, I think that will be plenty. Headrests down. And lying on your back with your heels on the foot bar to go into the pelvic curl, please. Good, so, I might just take you across a little to the right.

Heels slightly apart. So I want just that neutral kind of, soft feet, heel connection position. Going into your bridging or your pelvic curls. Now find the shoulders connecting to the carriage. Stretching your elbows, they should be nice and open in the front, engaged triceps, and feel like when you roll up you have a shoulder stand.

So exhale, scoop the tummy in. Roll up, peeling the spine off the carriage, knees coming over toes, now here's your shoulder stand. So take a moment here for me, to think of the pelvis posteriorly tilting, so you press up through the glutes, through the hips. Spread the humeral heads wide. And be resting on your shoulders.

Now exhale, roll back down, articulating the spine back into the carriage. Still keeping that width of the shoulders. So I want you to feel like humeral heads press out. And exhale, scoop the belly, roll up. Find that shoulder stand at the end of your exhale, so that exhale lasts the whole way up.

As you inhale, you increase the work of the glutes, shoulders wide, we're ready for the exhale, sternum between the scapula, laying the spine back out, nice and long along the carriage. Very nice, we'll have four more please. Each one, deep exhale lasts the duration of the movement. Good, so you're still exhaling, still exhaling. Inhale, work on the breadth of the shoulders, the glutes activating high, exhale all the way back down as you lay the spine into the carriage.

Very nice. Good. Three more. Just watch that the knees stay parallel, feet stay parallel. Roll into that shoulder stand, find, try and enjoy the feeling of the back of the shoulder being really active on the carriage.

Inhale at the top, and exhale, sternum comes between the scapula and you lengthen all the way to me. Placing the pelvis back down in a long position. Breathing in. Exhale, scoop. Articulate, you're doing, we're doing lovely work here, I'm sure you're doing lovely work there.

Keep the breath flowing. And even if I could hear it, all the way from you to me, exhale deeply. Good. Do we have two more? Exhale, rolling up.

So I'm quite fond of bridging or pelvic curls every day, they're actually my everyday exercise, it articulates the spine, opens the hips, engages the hip extensors, sets up this shoulder stand. Gives you the opportunity to really increase the breath flow in and out, I think they're kind of perfect. And I'm still working on them. So we have one more here, so I do, with my workouts, I do like to really set up with a decent amount of bridging. Good.

And that last exhale takes you all the way back down. Nice and long position, stay with your heels where they are on the bar. So once you've come down from the pelvic curl don't change, just flip your headrest up. I want just a little bit of support for the head as we go into the leg and foot work. If it feels too high, I might take yours down actually Ruth.

So just find the position, you can keep your headrest flat, find the position that best serves your upper body neck alignment. So flat is great for what we're talking about with tech posture, because you will be working into that extended position. However, with leg and foot work sometimes it's good to take a little pressure off having to hold that back, and allow the ribs, because I want the ribcage to be connected to the pelvis. We're going into our leg extensions, through the heels first, pressing out. I'll have inhale to extend, exhale pull back in, good.

Inhale, extend, get long through the torso, exhale, hinge the hips, pull from the heels, pulling into the foot bar. Nice deep inhale, exhale, draw back in using the back of the legs. And four. Exhale, pull back, very nice. Keeping long, so ischial tuberosities, or sitting bones, are lengthening out over the foot plate as you come back in.

Inhale to extend, exhale draw back. Good, we'll have two more. And ahhh. Good. Last one.

Good, the next position we're going to is arches. I do like to pick up both feet at the same time, and place them onto the bar in the arches position, wrapping the forefoot around, wrapping the heels under. Same breath pattern, inhale through the extend, I'll just have the feet together, yep, perfect. And exhale back in, good. Inhale extend, now stay there for me in the extension Daria, and then exhale pull under with the heels as you pull the bar back in, so you're trying to wrap the heels under the bar as you pull back, and you should feel that connect to the hip extensors a little more.

Inhale lengthen. Exhale scoop and pull back in. Good, a little more pace. And inhale, nice deep inhale. Exhale, pull through the back of the legs.

And inhale. Alright, stay there, good. Now, from the arches position we're going into V position. Again pick up both feet and place it onto the balls of the feet. And squeezing the heels in a slight lift of the heels is perfect, inhale as you press out.

So squeeze the heels, inhale. And draw back in pulling back to the bar, very nice. And inhale, and pull back in. Inhale lengthen. Exhale come back.

We have five more. Work on the breath for this now, and feel like the junction between the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine is opening and weighted into the bed. So inhale, try and think about where that spine meets between thoracic and lumbar. That it inhale opens, exhale just stays open. Three more, thinking about focus.

Inhale with the breath, exhale, pull back in. Good. I'll have a lovely picture of this work here. And hold. Good, that's okay, we can do one more if we need to.

Just turn your feet to parallel. Still on the toes, or on the metatarsal heads, stretch out to long leg position, holding the heels slightly high now, we're just going to hold this position for a moment. Allow the ribs just to settle, allow the pelvis to settle, and we're going into our raises for eight. So inhale, lower the heels all the way under the bar. Exhale, drawing up, abdominals pull up, back of the legs pull up.

Inhale, reach. And exhale, press into the forefoot to rise. Inhale, reach. Exhale lift. Good.

And four. Nice, four more. And we're just looking for that alignment through hip bones, knee bones, knee caps, to the feet, and keeping the alignment of the leg nice and steady as we rise. Working all the way across the metatarsal heads evenly. I had this very nicely here.

And two more. They're burning? Sorry. Sorry not sorry. Good.

Alright, and stay there. Bend one knee and allow the other heel to come under the bar, and we'll do nice controlled prancing. But I don't want it too fast, just feel like you reach the heel under the bar, and that you see the kneecap go to the ceiling. So just lengthening the back of the leg, the back of the calf. Working through the feet, stabilizing through the pelvis.

And just do four more for me. And one. Two. Three. And number four hold it for a little bit of a stretch, so one leg, one heel under.

Take two breaths holding that inhale. Exhale, allow the heel to drop under a little further. Good. One more breath. Heel drops under a little further, good, change sides.

And. That first breath allows it to drop under, breathing in again. Exhale, let it drop under a little further, we'll do one more breath. Ahhh, good. And you can bend the knees and come back in.

Good. We're going into our hundred, I still want to do the hundred with a slightly more lengthened upper body. We're going to do it two ways. Daria will slide up onto the shoulder rests, so if you're doing Daria's version, we're going shoulder blades on top of the shoulder rests. Take the spring down to one or one and a half.

And I'm going to find a roller, I'll be right back with you. And Ruth will have the roller behind her, up against the shoulder rests, nice position, good. So, two different variations of supporting the upper body, so that we can do the hundred with a little bit more length in the abdominals, but still maintain the work through the abdominal wall. So again, you could have two variations. The legs resting on the foot bar, which for Ruth I think we'll take the foot bar down for that.

So either resting on the foot bar to find your position, arms long, or Daria is going to be supported and with her legs fully extended. So you can choose. Now we're doing the hundred. And inhale, two, three, four, five, exhale two three four five, good. Now, as you're working through the hundred, and we'll try and keep count, what I'm looking for is the length in the abdominals.

So we can even go back a little more, yes, and hold the work from the upper abdominals, so long as you're not feeling it going into the throat, but with the upper body supported you should be able to feel more work coming through your abdominals. A little bit more length in the torso, and then still really work the back of the shoulders and the triceps to get a good beat. Very nice. Three more sets? Let's hope.

Two more sets, I'm getting cues. Now what is it, the hundred-ish. We'll do the hundred-ish. Alright, hold our hundred-ish there, bend your knees to your chest, and place them back onto the foot bar, that you'll find there Ruth, and we'll take you up and slide back down. Good, take your roller out.

And slide you back onto the bed for legs and straps. So we're going feet into the straps. I took Daria's spring down already, actually, so. You're on one and a half, yes. Because I was thinking straps for hundreds, but we weren't doing straps for hundreds today.

Good, we're all sorted. Good, so now, I do have these two ladies on one and a half springs, again I like a little bit of load, so you could go two red springs if you'd like to. Now feet in straps, bend the knees back in. Good, starting with the little frog position. So the little frog, I'd like heels together, toes turned out, and exactly what Ruth's got, knees just grazing the straps as they come in.

So once you're in your inward position, just allow the pelvis to be nice and settled, yes, nice job. Good. Through the back of the legs, exhale, extend out, I'll have six little frogs. Press away. And inhale, come back in.

And exhale, draw into the abdominals, keep the pelvis flat, inhale return. Exhale away. And back, good, three more. Good, nice release of the hips on the way back in. Excellent, two more, and then we're looking for leg circles following the little frog.

Good. So, bend the knees back in and then stretch them straight up to the ceiling for our starting position for our circles. What I'd like here is that the tailbone is down, so let's just push, I don't want to put my shoes on the beautiful white carriage. Little bit turned out, nice. So starting from feet right above the tailbone, and we've got that sink of the legs down into the bed.

So from there press down the middle of your circle. And then circle around with the inhale. Exhale press down. And around. Yes, nice.

So find the back of the legs to press down, release the front of the hips as you come around, very nicely put together here, four. Good. Two more this direction, then we will reverse. Good, very nice, exhale press down. And around.

Excellent, we will reverse this exhale around with the circle, inhale coming up the center. Now make sure while this work is happening that you're feeling the mobilization in the hip joint, but that you're also kind of working on your shoulder stand, even though you're not in a raise stand position, but find the connection of the shoulders, the base of the ribcage, just settled into the carriage. That you can feel the carriage at the back of the upper body. Two more. Exhale around, inhale up, and last one.

Good. Now, open the legs out wide. Take a moment and a breath just to allow them to stretch a little. Yeah, good. That's Pilates teachers, we all love a breath when we open up.

Alright, on the next exhale, squeeze your heels around towards the foot bar, coming together, working the adductors to bring the heels in, keep that in slightly turned out position, we'll do six. Inhale to open, legs stay straight, exhale work adductors and hamstring coming around. Inhale open. We can have soft feet or you could flex the feet, I'm happy for you to work the length of the legs as best you feel. I do like the heels to connect when you come back together, so come back together and even if the knees soften, the heels touch.

Inhale, open. Two more. Exhale, pulling around. And connect, then open, and one last one. And bend back in.

Good, you can bend straight back in, you can come back out and bend back in, it's fine. So from here we're doing what I call, it's preparation for short spinal. Headrests go down. Good. So, we're not rolling onto the head and shoulders, but in preparation for the short spine, I always want to make sure that the neck is flattened or able to be in a shoulder stand position.

So this exercise I want you to press out like a little frog where you stay in that little frog position. Then hinge at the hips to bring the legs overhead. Now you're trying to keep the tailbone down as long as you can and bring the bed in as far as you can. The pelvis will start to lift, that's fine. Once it starts to lift, pause, and pull the heels to your tailbone.

But have your abdominals place the pelvis back down as you come back through to the start position. Good. Exhale out. Inhale, as the hips hinge, bringing the bed in. As far as you can, when the pelvis starts to lift, that's you're point of in, you stop, and then pull back with the hamstrings and the low abdominals, place the pelvis.

So it's the final stage of the short spine movement, I want to train the hip extensors and lower abdominals to work the pelvis, and engage the legs. And low abdominals press you down as the heels come through. Good, and let's do two more. All the way in, feet come overhead. Now feel like the legs do the work, at the same time the low abdominals place the pelvis and you finish in that little frog position.

One last one. Press away. Release the front of the hips and reach the legs up, you should have a lovely stretch as you come into this position. And then the active work of the hamstrings, low abdominals, very nicely done, pressing down and pause, you can come back in. Bend the knees back in and take your feet out of the straps.

So one at a time back onto the foot bar. Good. Pop the straps back onto your hooks and come up to sitting. We will bring your foot bar back up, Ruth. Go into, we're going into a shoulder press.

So coming to kneel at the very front edge of the Reformer for me. So kneecaps just over the front edge of the Reformer. The foot bar is at its regular foot, leg and foot work height. We're on one and a half springs, ideally one and a half springs. We could again load it, two red springs is quite common for me.

If somebody smaller or not dealing with the resistance, take it down, that's fine. Good, so from this position you're sitting back on your heels, you're going to have straight arms, and press yourself out to a long back, chest to the knees. Good, in this position let's take a moment just to see the shoulders, yes, broaden, sit wide, activate the back so you're sending the tailbone out behind you. Now we bend the elbows. They can go slightly down to the floor, I want to see more of the shoulder staying stable.

The elbows can go where they need to, and exhale, press out. So inhale brings your head in to touch the foot bar, the crown of the head. Exhale from the base of the shoulders presses you out. Now I like long hands, base of the palm on the foot bar. So ideally that will be your press position.

And initiate from under the shoulders to lengthen you back. Going to straight arms, bending in, elbows angle out and down. And exhale press back long through the back, and supported from the front of the body. Last two. And exhale extend.

Good, and this last one we will stay out, so stay with straight arms. Now we are going to keep straight arms for the next few repetitions of what I call a down stretch preparation. So you'll come forward with straight arms, lifting the sternum to the ceiling like you would in a down stretch, but you're leaving the pelvis on your heels. And all the way forward, pause for me there Daria, so in that forward position now, once you've found your forward position with straight arms, I want you to maintain this torso position as you press back. So the torso will stay the same, the sternum will be lifted as you press back onto your knees, yes.

And, inhale coming forward like you would in a down stretch, sending the sternum to the ceiling. And then on the way back, support with the abdominals, and press with the head shoulders still staying up, so I still want to see that thoracic extension as you lower to the knees. And inhale coming forward. And exhale, maintain that extended spine as you press back. Simply hinge from the shoulders, keep the extension, keep the sternum forward and up, yes.

I'll have one more please. Inhale coming forward, keeping the head up, keeping the sternum up. And then exhale press it back. Ahhh. Good, you can of course reverse that breath as well.

Good. Bend your elbows to come back in, and we'll sit you back on the bed, heels up against the shoulder rest for the high bar cobra. So these ladies learnt the high bar cobra with me a little while ago. And we'll see how we roll. Good.

So, heels right up against the shoulder rest is very important to me. You can be in a little on the shoulder rests so that your knees, heels, are under your hip bones, which is perfect, now start with a rounded back, almost sitting to your heels. So it's not quite that you're rounded straight arms, the first direction lowers the chest as you push the bed out. So the chest presses down, bed goes out, inhale, come forward with that same down stretch lift position, then exhale, scoop the pelvis back, and sit to your heels. Beautiful.

Two more. (laughs) Good, no shame, Daria! It's the first time you've done it. Now press back with your heels, good. Everyone will be doing the same thing. Inhale, lifting the sternum to the ceiling, all the way to the stopper, perfect, and exhale, scoop and, sit back.

Perfect. Chest lowers as the hips press back. Sternum lifts forward. Daria, perfect. Scoop and sit back, just in time to reverse it.

Well let's do one more because the ladies are enjoying it. And forward with the sternum. And scoop and sit back, so use that exhale to sit you back the knees, pull the bed under. Now, to reverse this. Come forward, up and over the foot bar, lifting to look forward.

Now, the shoulders press you back. Once you're back, you send the tailbone up first, yes, like a string to the ceiling, then wrap the hips around. Tractions the low back beautifully. Lift up and forward, so pelvis comes forward to a down stretch position. Exhale, press back.

Inhale, send the sacrum up, and then wrap it around. Beautiful, two more. And forward. And press. Tailbone goes up, you feel this lovely wrap as the lumbar spine tractions, and one last one.

Now I can't stop you. And press. Good. And send it up. Wrap it around, very nice.

So it's a lovely lengthening of the spine, good. Let's take that up into the elephant with an extended spine. So, I'm happy for you to find wherever your foot position is best on the Reformer. But try it first at the shoulder rests, heels down. With the extended spine, I still want you in to your arms, so that you're not pulling back and into too much, yes, extension, but I want a long position, extending the low back and the sacrum up, and if you need to bring your chest up to line that, then that's what I want.

So I want the long flat back, and really working the extensors. And now we'll go into the elephant, hinging the hips. So stay in as much range as you can, stay into that a little more Ruth. Much range as you can, just working the extensors of the back. So you can have a little, a kind of lengthen of the sternum forward.

Whatever works in your shoulder and hip range, your hamstring range, think of pivoting the pelvis up. So sitting bones are going up to the ceiling. The back is actively working through the extensors, supporting with the abdominals. Ribs drawing up, and then you're working on the shoulder joint position. These look good.

So just keep mindful of working both the torso and the hips up and long through the extensors. And let's do six more, under. And under. So you're exhaling, working the hinge or the disassociation of the hip joint. Good, and holding that back actively extended.

And last two, and, beautifully done. Good, come to kneeling on the carriage. We're going into a hip flexor variation. Hip flexor stretch variation with a hamstring stretch at the end, joy oh joy. So, feet still stay right up against the shoulder rest, so I want your heels very connected to the shoulder rests.

And let's start with our right leg up onto the foot bar. So the forefoot on the foot bar, underneath your hip line. Now upright with the body. Pelvis is forward, and I want you to push back into the heel one inch, but without letting the pelvis go back, so it just opens up the front of the hip. So pelvis stays here, carriage presses back one inch.

That's it, so that should put a little more stretch on here. If it's too strong, just back it off a little, but from there, I want you to take six repetitions, pushing back through that heel and then forward, up, and into the stopper leading through the pelvis. And the heel presses you back. Pelvis presses you forward. And it's like a little massage for the hip.

Good, and three more. So it's, if you just think heel to press back, sternum pelvis forward, you will have a lovely opening of the hip. Good. Last two. And up, now this last one, press the heel back, and now stretch the front leg, to wherever you're comfortably stretching this hamstring.

Ideally, bringing the pelvis, yes, so bring the bed back in underneath you if you want to just bring the pressure off a little, and then we're going to look to line up the pelvis as best we can. So we're all a work in progress. Good, and now you can probably take that back leg out a fraction, yes, so now it's active while you're doing the stretch. Two more breaths. And breathing out, try to let that tension just soften a little, good.

And when you're ready, bring the bed back in, we'll do that on the other side. Still with me? Good. Pop that foot back, right against the shoulder rest, so it's that connection of heel to the shoulder rest that I really want you working on. Front leg forward onto the ball of the foot so you've got a little bit of leverage there through the ankle.

Good. Upright through the body. Now start by getting that back foot just pressing back a little through the heel. Yes, and then, keep the pelvis forward. Now, six repetitions.

Push back through the back heel, and then forward through the hip. It doesn't have to be a big movement, you should feel it straight away. The heel really plays its part in getting the pelvis opened up. Are you struggling with your knee? (Ruth speaking inaudibly) Uh-huh.

You know what, do the best you can, because that's quite a lot of flexion, but yes, so, the heel is a really active point of the movement. But again we all have different feet and different amounts of dorsiflexion in the ankle, so find the best position you can, and we keep working towards perfection. One day we'll all be perfect. (Daria laughing) Good, are we up to five? Six?

I think this next one's five. Good. One more and then we'll go into the stretch. 35. 35! Good.

So on this one exhale, take it back, and then stretch that front leg into the hamstring stretch. Good, leap back through that left hip. Good. And, so don't try and force the stretch either, just find it where it's, you know, reasonably comfortable, shall we say? But where you can manage it, where you can breathe into it and try and allow it to release a little.

And I don't do a lot of just passive stretching, not that this is so passive, right, it's active. But often times, it's more active lengthening that I want than releasing. So two more breaths. So just don't force it. Allow it.

Allow the body to adapt. Good, and then let's come back in. Good, so, now we're going to get our boxes, and set up for side over, or side over variation on the box. I'll take your foot bars down. So foot bar down out of the way.

And two red springs please, with the foot strap for hooking. Good two red springs, and we have a foot strap. Right, so, we will start, Daria facing to the center as well, so on your side, seated on the side as Ruth is, the underneath leg bent up. And sitting sort of just off center towards the back on the box for me. So top leg is extended, slightly turned out, and hooked under the foot strap.

Use your hands to take you down towards the headrest, so we're going over the box into a side reach position. Now, sides can be tricky, and I want you only to go in your range. Lower yourself down to where that range is happy for you, and the top arm will stay reaching, and guiding the shoulder to the ceiling. Well, on an angle to the ceiling. So then lower yourself down and put the underneath hand behind your head, keeping this hand here.

Good. So if that's where your range is, that's where we'll work. Now, you're gonna lower slightly, and then reach up into those fingertips. Good, working the side. The thing I want the most here is the head, lengthening back into that hand.

Inhale to lengthen. Good, you can breathe either way. So I like inhale as you lengthen, exhale come back. Keep the head pressing back, one more. And up, now place the underneath hand down onto the headrest.

Good, that underneath hand is gonna bend, and allow you down, bringing the top hand behind your head. Good. Now here I want a little rotation, I want you to think of the, now head back into your hands, let's not go anywhere just yet. So think of the external obliques opening back through that elbow and the head comes with you. Then use the underneath arm to help you come up to a long flat line, head back.

And then lower down in your side line position. When you're down you open up. The upper torso, external obliques open out. Use the underneath arm to assist you coming up into a long side line. Then take that long line down.

Good, keep the work into the hand, open the upper body, lift the elbow up straight above your hip, and lower down, we have just one more. Good. So it's rotating back to open up the upper torso, good, and then the underneath hand assists you into your long line, your head back into the top hand, and lower down. We're finished, use the underneath arm and the top arm to bring you up so that you don't sit too hard up out of that side line. Good, shall we do the other side?

So it is important to find your range. If you can go all the way over the box, you're welcome to do that work. If you can take the underneath arm off for your upward rotation exercise, then work towards that, make sure your pattern is good, that you have the length in the spine. Let's go into the first variation. Good, so.

The top hand is reaching on an angle towards the ceiling, the bottom hand, when you release it, will come behind your head and be your reference for where the head presses back. Good, this top arm reaching. Now let's lower a little. And use the fingertips reaching to guide you up, good. And each time you go down, just take a little more length.

So long obliques are good obliques. And up. Good, let's do three more. And the fingertips just reach and guide you up. And the head is pressing, and yes, lovely Ruth.

Pressing into that top hand. Good. And come back into that hand as you, yes, well demonstrated, Daria. Good, we have one more. Nice.

And then lower down, take the underneath hand to the headrest. Top hand behind your head. Now that hand becomes your guide for the head position. And open up the upper torso. So now, and sides are always different, one will be tighter than the other.

So open up where you can, then use the underneath arm to help guide you up. And then go over the box, good. Lead the ribcage wraps back, the elbow follows through, the head goes with it. And then come up into your side line, yep. Stacked position.

All the way down, good. Just from the upper abdominals, yes, take the ribs back, that's it. Up to the side position. Lower it down, I'll have two more. Good.

And nice, because what I see is that it just increases with each repetition. Four to five is plenty, but you should feel like you get a little more out of the rotation in the last three, four, five. And good. And when you've finished, you've got one more there. When you're finishing, use both hands to help you up.

Lovely. We're turning the boxes to the long box position for a swan variation. It's a little bit based on Kathy Grant's swan. So I'm stealing a little. Or borrowing, lending?

Let's take these out of the way. Good. Now I want V position feet on the foot platform, not the foot bar but the foot platform. V position with the thighs against the front edge of the box, so be up around mid-thigh probably is where I want you. Start with your hands on the box.

Good, and support yourself, good. Come down a little, yeah. Good. So find a position where your back feels safe. And then be as upright as you can.

So let's just do a couple of repetitions with the hands on the box supporting you. The work will happen through the ankles, so press out, and as you pull the heels back into dorsiflexion come in further with the box box box box, yes. Oh I'm hopping out of the way of that demonstration, it's good. And pull back in, yes Daria, good. And press through the ankles, and then on the way back in, feel the pelvis come back to the heels, heels to the foot bar.

Good, now. The variation I would like is with hands behind the head. Good, lifting up through the abdominals, but head back into the hands, and now work the ankles. Pull back, good. From here, yes.

And pull the pelvis back over your heels, nice Ruth. Daria, stay with your hands down. So we're still working the shoulders, here you've got good support, you've got good extension, and we're working on the extensors perfectly. So that's better for where your back feels happy. Good, and the head pressing back into the hands there is perfect, one more.

Nice. And to come out of that, hands back on the box. You can lift up with the hips, bring the box back in, and step off. Beautiful. Let's put the boxes back to the end of the Reformer.

We're going to do a little skating variation, and then a scooter variation. You're nearly done. So for the skating variation, I'm going to put Ruth onto a half spring, and Daria's going to try a one spring, so a red spring and we have a blue spring for Ruth. The ladies will come and stand, so stand on the stable platform first with one foot, and then place the other foot onto the carriage right at the edge. Let's give you a little bit of a.

Thank you, for my bare foot. Slippy foot. Thank you. Because, good. So once we're in position, hands will be crossed across the sacrum.

And then tip forward from the hips, really hinging in the hips, bending the knees. So we've got a little squat position, and then I want you to pitch forward so that the glutes switch on to hold you. Extend the upper back, pull the elbows back a little to really give you that connection through the upper back. Now the pelvis will stay on the same plane and both legs stretch at the same time. And control back in.

Now it's a smallish movement, it doesn't have to go too far, just stretch the knees, bend the knees, good. And stretch both knees, good, nice. And bend them. So you should feel all the glutes holding, and then a little more glute, may, abductors working as you open out. Oh, slippery.

We're having slippery foot issues. Good. Can we do two more? (laughs) Just don't go too far, Daria. Yeah. Good, so the more you rein this exercise in, the more you'll feel the contractions around the pelvis, the glutes, working as opposed to kinda surfing.

So we're all about the muscles, not so much about the surfing. They might be thinking differently. (all laughing) And come back in. Good, step back off the Reformer and let's go round to the other side. Do you want a non-slip mat?

No, I'm slipping in my socks. In your socks. So I just grab the edge here. Sure, okay. So long as we're not gonna lose you off the end.

I'd be happier that way. (laughing) Good, so again, stepping onto the stable platform first, then the other foot goes onto the edge of the carriage. Hands crossed across the sacrum, pitch forward into your extended spine, hinged hips. Come out with the crown of the head forward so that your glutes hold on for you, and then we extend both legs. But rein it in remember, keep it under control. And bend.

And stretch, now we are looking good. And in, yes. So now feel like the body is holding through the extensors, and it's floating in space while your legs operate independently under. Good. And over time we can build the pace of that to get a real skating effect.

But not too soon, we don't need to race into it, but you can work on that to get, like, feel like you're Torville and Dean. I'm showing my age again, I'm sure there's more recent skaters. Good. Good, let's do two more. And extend.

And back. Good, last one. And bring the carriage all the way home, standing up, and step off towards the back, with the foot that's on the carriage. And snavvle around. Beautiful, good.

Alright, bring the foot bars back up. We are on the homeward stretch. So I would like a standing scooter position. Let me give you one red spring. So everybody working with one red spring, standing beside the carriage.

I'll bring your foot bar, so foot bars up to regular leg and foot work height. Good. So, in the middle of the carriage with the standing leg. The other foot will be up against the shoulder rest. Good, and once you're in that position, so the knees off the bed.

Now hands behind your head again and lift up tall. So I want to see the posture position here. Just standing on a straight leg, give me upright torso, lifted, shoulders are open, and the head is pressing into your hands again. So you can even think of a little more lift through the upper back. Now from here, it's a little bit of a balance exercise as well as glutes operating.

So press through the heel to push back. Only wherever it goes to. And come back in. But I want you to maintain the abdominals drawn up, the hip extensors press, and you work on your balance, growing taller. Even think of bringing thumbs under the occipital, lengthening the skull up and back into those hands to work on that upper body position.

And then we've got glutes firing, hinging at the hips. And exhale as you press, staying tall. If you feel like you want to soften the standing leg, the standing knee a little, you can. Just be very lifted through the torso. And two more.

Good. And last one. Excellent, and we'll do the other side. Coming around, I'll join you. Look, it's like choreography, it's Swan Lake here.

So standing lined up in the middle of the carriage, the first foot goes against the shoulder rest. Good, stand tall, hands behind the head, find the upper body set position. Abdominals drawing up. We're in a perfect position. Soften the standing knee a little if you want, in the perfect position to find that glute, the heel connecting to the shoulder rest to press the carriage back.

And in. Good. Good, so each repetition, keep thinking of up and back. Ribs and pelvis connected. Finding the glute to do the press back, and finding your balance out the crown of your head, growing taller.

Very very nice though. Good, very nice movement. Let's do two more. Good. Alright, standing off the Reformer, just come upright and, we would love to do the beanbag finish for you.

We're going to fake it. Arms forward. (laughing) Yes, so the beanbag, what I would want, and I've worked with the beanbag a lot, is being able to go forward so that you're up and over your stance position, but slide the shoulders back so you meet in the middle. Straight arms, the bag will go over, over, we will just keep going over, but the elbows don't bend. So even in that movement without the weight of the bag, it's extending the forearm. So we're just lengthening forearm extensors.

And we've done, I'd say we've got the beanbag to the ground now. Bringing it back up, same direction. So I want it to keep going through the forearm extensors, straight elbows, shoulders drawing back, but abdominals in, because what happens, particularly as we get through a couple of rounds is the body starts to counterbalance back, and I want to really keep it forward. So we would do, I would start with two rounds of the beanbag work. I bet we look really silly.

And then build up to three, four, five rounds of the beanbag work. This is directly lengthening, actively lengthening, the muscles that are doing all our iPhone, tippy-tap typing, texting, emoji-ing. So if we can finish with beanbags, or other variations of lengthening these forearm flexors and extensors, then ideally that's going to help balance out all that technology work. Let's put our beanbag down, or just float it away, and just do a little roll down for me. Soft knees, just curling forward.

Good, and again, just letting the neck relax, lengthen, shoulders lengthen. Breathe in, fill up the lungs into the base of the ribs, beautiful. And then exhale, stack the pelvis back upright. Good. So you feel like the hamstrings draw the pelvis upright.

Stack the spine on top of that. All the way to the ceiling, find your upright position, find the head on top of the shoulders, yes, and set back over the shoulder girdle. You have done such a lovely job, thank you so much. Thank you for joining me. Let's all fight our technology posture together.

Thank you.


1 person likes this.
Thank you Sally! Such a wonderful, therapeutic class. Hope to get my teens to practice this work. One question, on the extended, flat back elephant position how do you cue the cervical spine and head position? The models (who did great!) seem to be shortening a bit through the cervical spine. Just curious as I know it relates a lot to our IT/keyboarding posture. Thank you!
Sally Anderson
Thanks Tiffany Larson! So pleased it was a good class for you. With the neck, the aim is to keep it in line with the spine and as lengthened as possible, so that we're finding active alignment. Try pragmatic cues like "lengthen the crown of your head to the footbar/wall (depending on spine position), or imagery/reference cues like "a turtles head coming out of it's shell". Shoulders broad and actively engaged is important to the neck position. I'm sure any appearance of neck shortening in the video was in an effort to rapidly process a whole new class of instructions! I'd prefer slight cervical extension rather than any flexion or added load to cx/thx joint, so that it's reversing the pull of gravity. Hope this helps, but please let me know if you'd like any elaboration :)
2 people like this.
Beautiful! Thank you for your response. So helpful. Grateful for you and Pilates Anytime for your dedication to the method and healthy living. Cheers to 2017!
1 person likes this.
This was a really lovely class to ease back into after a back spasm a few weeks ago. Felt wonderful and loved the deliberate cueing and movement. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Excellent class. Thanks Sally for treating this highly relevant problem. Will be doing this class frequently!
1 person likes this.
Awesome, awesome, awesome! Loved this class. Beanbag work at the end is an interesting addition.
1 person likes this.
I took a few of these exercises and introduced to my clients today. They LOVED them. Thank you! Always good to have fun new material to show my lovely clients.
1 person likes this.
Thanks Sally, great start to the New Year, ideal work out having just done a fell walk with a rucksack on, feel lengthened out again from top to toe!! Happy New Year to all at Anytime
I agree with Jill Cooper (minus the walking with the rucksack part)! Happy New Year to all and Thank you Sally!
Sally Anderson
Thank you all for your lovely comments, and very happy new year to everyone! I love being a part of Pilates Anytime and it's amazing connection with you all from the far corners of the world. Here's to a happy, healthy and safe 2017 to all.
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