Class #2871

Reformer Workout

65 min - Class


Strengthen and condition your upper body in this sculpting Reformer workout with Sara Colquhoun. She focuses on isolating your lower body while stabilizing with the strength of your upper body. She starts by working the arms and shoulders, then begins to integrate pelvic stability and leg work to give you a full body experience.
What You'll Need: Reformer

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Hi, I'm Sara from Australia. I'm so excited to be back here at Pilates Anytime Today teaching another reformer class. Today's class is really gonna be focused on the upper body and torso. So we're gonna look at a lot of exercises that start with strengthening and conditioning for the upper body. And then as we go through we're really gonna be integrating that down into pelvic stability and strengthening, all the way down to integrating that in through our foot work.

So I'm really excited to get started today. I've got the reformer already set up with the foot bar on the middle setting. I do have a sticky mat on because I do have a slightly stronger spring on to start with. It's really to ground the shoulders for this first exercise. So we're gonna start on the carriage.

Knees right at the front. And the hands onto the foot bar. Spine nice and long, we're taking a breath in and we press the carriage away. Lengthening the spine. And we're gonna bend at the elbows.

Press it back out. And then as we come up, think of extending the spine opening the heart and chest and again, we're gonna press away from the foot bar, and I'm deepening the abdominal. Bending at the elbows. Press away from the foot bar and then think of extending the spine to come up. And we're gonna do four more of these.

Reaching away. Bending at the elbows, and now feel the shoulders draw away from the ears as you press away. Lengthen and extend the spine and chest to come up. And reach. Bend.

As the shoulders draw away from the ears, think of that wrapping all the way down to the bottom ribs. Keep that connection as you lift. Lengthen it away. And bend. Last two.

Keep the depth in the abdominals as we extend the spine up, so you feel the backs of shoulders and abdominals do the press away. And bend. Reach it away. Lift up tall, last one, inhale to reach away. Exhale to bend the elbows towards the bar.

Breathe in, lengthen, exhale deepen the abdominals as we come all the way up. Good, from there, we're gonna flip onto our side, and we're gonna go into a side reach, just to mobilize the upper torso before we do some more of the strengthening work. So we inhale, reach away. Exhale, go over into the side reach. Breath in to come back, exhale, bend the elbow, come back in.

So I've kept that red and a blue spring on. So I do have quite a bit of load going down through my right arm and shoulder that's on the foot bar. This is our last one, going over into the side reach. And then from there, we take the hand over, find the foot bar, and space that right hand out. As we breathe out, we rotate and press away from the foot bar, and as we breathe in, lifting the chest up.

Exhale, press away from the foot bar, rotating the upper spine. And then breathe in, think of lengthening the chest, as we come up. Exhale, press away, and really feeling my left hip is reaching away from my shoulders. Inhale, extend, last one, exhale, reach it away, and stay out, away from the foot bar. Bring that right hand back in, feel that shoulder connection, flip it into the side reach, and then come all the way back up to sitting.

And then we're gonna flip round to the other side. So setting that left hand up, just slightly in front of that shoulder, so you've got that wrap around from behind the shoulder, and we reach away as we breath in. Exhale to go into the side bend. Breath in. And exhale.

Feel the shoulder connection down through that left side as you lengthen. Exhale, keep it as you reach. Breathe in, and breathe out. One more of those. We stay, rotate around to find the foot bar, space that left hand out, and exhale, press away from the foot bar, and then breathe in, lengthen the spine as we come up.

Exhale, pressing away, and think of squeezing all the air out of the body. Breathe in, lengthen as we come up. Exhale. Spiraling through the rotation. Breathe in, energy out through the crown of the head.

Last one, exhale, press away. Space that left hand back in, really find that wrap coming from underneath this shoulder as you spiral round into that side reach. And then coming all the way up to sitting. From there, we're gonna pop the foot bar down next. So I'm gonna pop that down flat.

And we're gonna take it down to one red spring. Okay, so my knees, again, are right at the front of the carriage, and my hands are onto the platform there. So from there, I'm gonna press the carriage out just so that my knees are underneath the pelvis. And I can feel the load of that spring, really coming through the outside of my arms, backs of shoulders, and abdominals. We're gonna keep the carriage still as we start a cat stretch, so we exhale to round the spine.

And then breathe in, lengthen the spine, open the chest. Exhale, round. We're really trying to isolate the movement of the spine from the stability at the shoulders and the hip joints. One more of those, round. And then inhale back through to opening the chest.

Coming back to a neutral spine, and then from here, on the next exhale, we're gonna extend opposite arm, opposite leg, reaching out. Breathing come back, find the reformer. Exhale, reach. Breathe in to come back. So you should really feel that load start to go, up through the outside of the arm.

Think of it crossing all the way over through the obliques, to that opposite hip. Bringing it back, find the reformer. Exhale. That energy goes all the way from opposite shoulder, to opposite hip. Last one, we're gonna hold it out there, keeping that carriage still, we round the spine, into the cat, breathe in, lengthen it back out.

Exhale, round the spine, elbow and knee come together. Breathe in, lengthen. One more, exhale, round. Breathe in, lengthen, and then bring it back. Other side.

So we're gonna reach it out, into that kneeling swim. On the exhale, pull the elbow and knee together, on the breath in, reach. This one's a lot more challenging that what it looks to keep that carriage still. So do your best, if that feels too strong on the one red, take it down to a blue. Inhale, lengthen and hold.

Bring the hand and knee back. And then just press it all the way back into a little rest position away from that foot bar. Bring the carriage in. Bring in the spine up. And then we're gonna flip it around.

So we're gonna sit onto our reformer, you can get rid of your sticky mat now. And we're gonna grab a hold of the ropes, just like you would for pulling straps. So we'll go all the way through. And bringing those arms up in line with the shoulders, if you need to, you can cross the legs over here, otherwise, just have the legs together. So sitting tall, through the spine, we breathe out and begin our roll back.

Think of rolling the sacrum towards the mat. Roll it forward through the spine, just until you're over the pelvis. Stack it up tall. Pull the elbows out to the side, back out in line with the shoulders. Exhale, we roll it back.

And breathing in, we're gonna roll it forward, stack the spine up tall. Exhale to pull. Breathing back out in front. We're gonna do four more of these, exhale, roll it back, and really feel that lower belly draw to your lower spine. Rolling it forward until you're just over the pelvis, stack it up tall, use the breath out to pull.

Inhale, return. And exhale. The breath in keeps the length in the C curve as we come forward. Stacking tall, the exhale, feel the pull from the back of the shoulders, and not those hands, exhale, roll it back. And now think of the shoulders staying grounded in the sockets as we come forward.

Stack it up tall, pull, and return, alright, this is our last one. Exhale, roll it back, see if you can get that little bit further with the sacrum and the lower back, all the way down towards the reformer bed. Keep that deep scoop of the abs as we come forward. Stack it up tall, last pull out with those elbows. And back.

Now from there, we're gonna reach the hands through, and just holding on to your strap, unless you're super adventurous and you wanna stay in that position, you can. So we pull the elbows out to the side, and on the exhale, we're gonna flip the shape of the arms, breathing in to return. Exhale. Inhale, return, we're gonna do six of these. Breath out.

Think of that exhale, really starting right down at the abdominals. To pull from the back of the shoulders. Rotating around. Last two. The breath in really feels through the back.

And then return, let the arms lower. So you should really be feeling the backs and shoulders now. We're gonna finish that off with a lap pull here. So, we exhale to pull, turn the head to one side. Breathe in back to center.

Head turns the other side. And back to center. Really seeing if you can keep the head and neck nice and free as we pull from the backs of the shoulders. And again, I just encourage you not to feel the press come from those hands. See if you can feel the movement really organic from the shoulder joint.

Last one. And return, and you can rest the arms for a moment. Yeah? From here, we're gonna scoot the pelvis a little bit further forward. I'm gonna stay on the one red spring.

And I grab the straps, I'm pulling them all the way up over my knees for some abdominals. Okay, so we scoot the pelvis as close as you can to the shoulder rest. You can use those shoulder rests just to help lower the spine down to the mat. Nice and smoothly. From there, we're gonna circle the hands around behind the head, and really feeling that length, come out through the crown of the head, as we exhale, pull one leg up to the table top.

Next breath out, bring the other leg up to the table top as well. On the inhale, we lengthen the chest back. Exhale, coming up into the chest lift. Inhale. Exhale.

We're gonna do two more of these. Really keeping that stability through the pelvis and the hands and femurs. Last one. I'm gonna hold that chest lift. Thinking of that breastbone sliding down, so that we can stretch the spine away from the mat, legs go out as we breathe in.

Exhale, they pull back towards you. Inhale to reach. Exhale, pull the legs back in. Legs reach, try not to pull from your knees to come in, feel that zip come from the abdominals, to pull those knees back in towards you. Two more of those.

Last one. And pull it in and hold. From there, we're gonna lower one leg down, and we're gonna start alternating the legs mid-air. So we breathe out to change. Trying to change the knees down about that halfway mark.

And still keep that ball of pelvis nice and still. To that, we're gonna add in a little hoola. So we twist towards the knee that comes up, and change. Really thinking of that rib, reaching up and across, towards the inside of that knee. One more each side, you should be feeling those abdominals burning by now.

And last one. And then we're gonna lower that leg down. Reach the hands out in front, if you can reach those shoulder rests, use them to roll yourself back up to sitting. Well done. We're gonna take those straps off.

Pop them back onto your hooks. And we're gonna add on a blue spring. And we'll bring the foot bar up at the same time. Okay. So we come back around facing away from the foot bar.

And I'm gonna wrap my hands around the head rest, yeah? The other option you could use is hands around the shoulder rest as well, if you need a bit more support for the wrists. So from here, I'm in my quadriped position, and I'm going to take one foot back on to the foot bar behind me. Try to line that leg up in parallel to start. So from here, we use the breath out, and we're gonna push that right leg out to straighten.

Inhale to bend. Exhale, push. And inhale to bend. So, although we're really working on the back of the legs strengthening, at the same time, I've really kept that strength in for the upper torso and the pelvis. We're gonna do eight of these, and just try to feel that you don't push the carriage away with your arms and hands, that you're really starting the press from the back of the leg, forcing that upper torso to stabilize.

One more. Controlling the carriage to come back in, and now we're gonna do a slight external rotation on that leg. You don't want that knee too high, keep it quite low so it's just a baby external rotation. Using those external rotaters, we've got eight presses, inhale to bend. Exhale, press.

You should also feel the glute main on the opposing hip really having to work hard to stabilize. Four more. Using that breath, to encourage the deepening through your center, to press the carriage away. Last two. And last one, we press out and stay.

Come halfway in and hold, and we've got eight little pulses in that external rotation. Really feeling that wrap, going all the way around into your sit bone from the deep external rotaters. Six, seven, eight, press out to straighten one more time, hold. And then pull the carriage all the way back in. And swap sides.

Good. If you need a breather for those shoulders, just sit back into a rest position in between and start again. On the exhale, we press the left leg out to straighten. Inhale, bend. This is a great one to really teach the back of the hip how to get that resistance on the way back in with the carriage.

You will feel and hear if the back of the leg switches off, 'cause that carriage is really gonna clunk straight back in. To that start position. We want it to feel nice and smooth. Two more to go. Exhale.

Inhale to come back. Exhale, press. Inhale, come back in. So now, we take that leg into the baby external rotation, knee not too high, and we exhale, press out from there. So you should really start to feel that upper torso stabilizing muscles, starting to get quite a big workout now as well as that hip.

Five more here. And just remembering that that opposing leg should also be really working to stabilize the pelvis and the spine. Last two, breath out to reach, inhale, control the carriage. Last one, press and hold. Carriage halfway.

And eight little pulses. Really feeling that heat through the back of the hip, energy out through the crown of the head, six, seven, and eight. One breath in, reach it out. Slowly pull it all the way in. And then rest.

And give the arms a shake out. We're gonna jump you onto your back now. And I'm gonna pop two red and a blue springs on for our leg and foot work, which might seem quite light, but we are gonna be in a little hover of the pelvis. So I purposely popped it light so it's gonna challenge the stabilizers in the torso and in the pelvis as well, and we have to keep that heat from the back of the hips that we've just worked in that last exercise. So we're gonna lie down onto our back, and pop our heels up onto the foot bar to begin with.

So making sure you feel those shoulders, press right up against the shoulder rest. If you need to have a little look up at your feet to check that you're in parallel, in line with those two sit bones, go for it. We're gonna start with a pelvic curl here. So we breathe out, and we're gonna roll the spine all the way up. Take a breath in, and then exhale, roll the spine down.

And just enjoying this movement through the spine, and using it as a chance just to get that heat again in the back of the legs, in this supine position. And then roll it down, joint by joint, through the spine. Alright, last one, so we're gonna roll up, and we're gonna stay at the top. Take a breath in. So, before we roll down, I want you to imagine that you've got another little reformer bed that sits just above this one, so it's that little bit higher.

We're gonna roll down to that imaginary reformer bed. So you start to roll the spine, and then you've gotta start to unravel the spine, into a long lengthen neutral in that hover. Just making sure you're not too high, it's quite low, so the pelvis is just skimming the bed, and I've got length from the abdominals and length from my spine, so the back of the hips is really taking that heat. We're gonna use the breath in to reach out. And the exhale, pull the carriage in.

Breath in to reach. Breathe out, pull the carriage in. So you'll feel the light spring here is quite challenging on that stability, through the pelvis as you push and pull. And you're aiming, not to feel the pelvis start to rock forward or back. Really keeping that length from ribs to hips.

Breathing in, and breath out. I'm gonna do five more in this position. And seeing if we can move the reformer with the pace of the breath. Three more. Really feel the heels, grounding into the foot bar as you pull the carriage in, keep that as you press.

Last one. Stay floating on your little imaginary reformer. From there, roll the hips back up so you go through that tuck of the tail. Lift, we're gonna adjust onto the arches of the feet, so you just do a little slide down. Little warp of the feet, and now roll it back down through the spine, find your imaginary mat again.

Just check you're in that slight hover. Keep that now as we reach. And pull the carriage home. Challenging that pace a little bit more. Breathing in, and exhale.

So the upper torso should still be working quite strongly through this one, to keep the backs of shoulders engaged, and to feel the vertebrae between those scapula stay resting onto the reformer, that they're not coming up into extension. Four more. Don't forget about that little wrap through the feet, so we want heels and toes wrapping around that foot bar. Last two. Last one.

And if you can, keep your hover. If lower back needs a rest, come down to flat for the rest of the foot work. Otherwise, we roll it back up. Feel that heat in the back of the hips. Come down onto the toes.

From there, really feel all ten toes spread out along that foot bar as you roll it back down through the spine. It's gonna be even more challenging on the toes. To be able to keep that little hover. Double check you've got that length in the spine, and we inhale, reach away. Exhale.

Breath in. I really like to think of the breath in giving my body as much length as possible as I push out with the reformer. And I really use the exhale to assist this really clean fold feeling in the hips. So it should feel really crisp through here, as you pull the carriage in. Just like those femurs are dropping into the back of the socket as we bring the carriage back to the foot bar each time.

Three more to go. Keeping that upper torso nice and active. Last one. From here, we're just gonna stay on the toes. We squeeze the heels together and we've got eight more presses from there.

So really using that feeling from the quadriped exercise, in the external rotation, to keep that wrap at the very base of the buttocks. Feel that pull the carriage in. Use that to start the press out. As you reach out on that inhale, almost imagine that you've got two really big toothpicks, and they're sitting between your hips and your ribcage, and you don't want them to stab you, yeah? So you've gotta keep that length in the body to keep those toothpicks sitting in there nice and comfortably.

Last two. Breath in to reach. Keep the length as you come back in. Last one. Okay.

From there if we can, we keep the hover. We swivel the heels back to parallel. You have the option to come down to rest the pelvis here if you need. And we push our legs out to straighten. We go heels, go under the bar breathing in, exhale, rise up.

Inhale, under. Exhale, rise. This one in the hover is really challenging to keep that length through the lower back. So continually think of your tail bone reaching to the back of your heels, and that subtle feeling of the pubic bone coming up to that breastbone. You should really feel that heat go through that whole posterior chain of the body right now.

We've got five more, and just remember that breath is your friend, yeah? Use that exhale to help you get that rise. The inhale helps you keep the length. Last two. Feeling the burn.

Last one, hold it up there, keep the hover if you can. Bring it all the way back in. Finish it off with one more pelvic curl, roll it back up with the hips, take a breath in, exhale, articulate that spine, and enjoy the release down of the pelvis. Good? Okay, we're gonna take the heels out wide, and now we really get to open the adductors out.

Let the pelvis rest flat into your neutral, and we're pressing the carriage away. And pulling back in. So this one, we're just really going to focus on actually letting the legs get a nice sort of big adductor stretch after all that work, and still feeling that wrap around through the back of the hips. So gonna do five more here. And thinking of that carriage moving like a full circle, so there's no stops and starts, it continually moves with the breath, reaches out, pulls all the way in, reaches out, and it just gets to that stopper before you take off again.

Last two, enjoy that stretch of the inner thighs. And pull all the way in, and rest. Good. Walking the legs back in, we're gonna come back onto the toes in parallel, and I'm gonna stay on the two red and a blue spring. If you need to for single, you can take that spring down.

Gonna push your legs out to straighten, and we float one leg up to the table top. Single calf raises, the heel goes under. And pull up. Really feel heavy through that right hip. So you feel the whole back of that right leg is really drawing up to meet the back of the pelvis there.

Again, we're using that breath out to support the calf raise. Aiming for ten if you can, if you fatigue before the ten, then just change sides. And you can take a little extra calf stretch then instead. Last one. Press it up, hold.

We're gonna lower the heel slowly all the way under as far as you can, so it's in that calf stretch. I want you to try and keep the heel reaching under the foot bar as you slowly bring the knee all the way in to a flex. Lengthening out the back of that heel. Place two feet back on. Press all the way out.

Float the other leg up to table top. And we start the single leg half raise here. So I'm feeling that this hip is nice and heavy, into the mat, so I can get that connection all the way up, from my metatarsals on that left foot, up to the back of the hip. Using that breath out to support the calf raise up. And again, that upper body's nice and active to help take some of the load away from that lower leg.

Four more. And just double check you've got all five toes and metatarsals reaching around that bar. Last one. And then lower the heel under, really feel that heel reach under that foot bar. Keep it reaching under as you gradually bend from the knee, lengthening the Achilles as you pull all the way back in.

Awesome work. We're gonna place both heels back onto the bar, and go into a little single heel series. So we're gonna roll the pelvis up into the pelvic curl. From there, I'm gonna float that left leg up to table top. So really working on that pelvic stability, and that upper torso stability now, as we've got six presses out on this right leg.

Again, using that back of the hip to press. Try and keep the pelvis at that same height as you pull in. If anything, think of tucking that tail bone under, as you pull the carriage in. Last one. Press it out.

Pull the carriage all the way in. Now, we're gonna keep this left leg up in the air. We're gonna roll it down through the spine. Keeping that left leg at table top, we push the right leg to straighten eight times. So nice and simple.

But you should really feel that connection now, from the heel to the back of that hip. Keep anchoring down through that right hip, just like we did with the single leg calf raises. Last one, we're gonna press it out, hold. Bring the carriage halfway in. Ten little pulses in that position.

So it should really start to cook that single leg. Through the quadricep and through the back of the hips, so we're getting that equal work. I think I lied, I did ten, yeah? And then reach it all the way out, you should do ten too. And then come all the way back in, two heels back onto the bar, and let's do it on the other side.

So we roll it up. Keeping that scoop under the pelvis. Find the back of this hip as you float this leg off, so there's no change through the pelvis. And we've got six presses out here, we reach, pull it in. And reach.

Feeling that back of the leg starts the press, rather than the foot. Breath out to push. Pull it in, tuck the tail. Last one. Pull it in and hold.

Roll it down through the spine. Keeping this leg at the table top, try not to drop it in towards you. All the way till you feel that tail bone lengthen, and then we press out. And in. See if you can keep that same feeling, that the push starts from the back of the leg, and the energy comes all the way up through the body, out through the crown of the head.

Thinking of that full circle motion of the carriage. Two more. And last one, push out and hold. Come halfway in. And we pulse it for ten.

Four, five, six, keep that heat at the back of the leg, even though that quadricep will be working, eight, nine, ten, reach the carriage all the way out through that length through the body, and then pull the carriage slowly all the way back in and rest. Alright, from there, we're gonna bring you up to sitting, so that we can change the springs. So, I'm gonna take it down to one blue spring, so it'll be quite light, but we are gonna be using single strap for the start of this abdominal sequence. So, I'm sitting towards the shoulder rest, but I've got a good hand space between my pelvis and the actual shoulder rest. I grab that strap that's closest to me, I'm gonna pull it towards me, so I'm using my body weight to help hold that reformer there.

And it slides over my outside leg, all the way up over my knee. Scoop the hips forward, and again, use those hands on the edge of the reformer bed, to roll your spine back. Pull the other leg up to meet it at the same time, and bring the two hands around behind the head. So, from there, if you need a little help stabilizing that right leg, then we bring the hand onto the shoulder rest, to help anchor that down, and you can see how my knees shifted into place then, rather than being in that position. So I want you to try and get that right hip down, right hand can go behind the head, and we can keep this hand here if we need to help that torso stability.

Both legs go across towards the shoulder rest, and then on the exhale, I roll it back. Breathe in to go across. And then on the exhale, roll it back. So I'm really targeting the obliques, down through this side. And that's going all the way through to working my external oblique and left shoulder on the opposing side of the body.

Two more. Deep exhale. Last one. And exhale. Bring that left leg back down, bring the two hands back onto the reformer bed, roll yourself up, and we're gonna take that strap off, just use your arms to control that carriage, popping down, and we'll do the other side.

So gonna spin it around. Remember to line up your hand space here. Grab a hold of your strap, use your arms to pull the carriage in. Now, I'm stabilizing with my right leg. And then I pop that strap all the way over my left knee.

Scoot your pelvis forward, use the arms, roll it back, and I bring that leg up to table top, squeeze the other leg back up with it, use this hand to help you anchor that leg down so that you see the knees are nice and flush, and now this hand comes around behind the head. We inhale, both legs go over. Exhale, pull back. Breathing in. And really think of the inner thighs, doing the work to take me over, and then the oblique on this left side, pulls me back.

The challenge is with the upper torso, that you don't wanna see that sway with you, I want you keep that upper torso really square. Three more. If you're a superstar at this one, then take this right hand behind your head as well, and see if you can keep that upper torso still. Exhale. Last one, breath into the back, big breath out and squeeze all the air out of the waist.

Now, bringing that right leg down, bring the hands onto the reformer carriage, roll the spine up, and then take the weight of the reformer bed into the arms as you bring that strap back down. Alright, we're gonna take the foot bar down now flat. And I'm actually going to stop that the other way. I'm gonna add on two red springs, and take off the blue spring, so it's gonna be quite strong to start out, arm circles here. So we lie back down onto our back.

Grabbing ahold of your straps, and if you know you need your head rest, up at this point, absolutely go for it, if that supports your neck and spine better. Little bit of tension onto those straps so that you can feel that energy coming into the backs of the shoulders. Let's take a breath in here, and then exhale, squeeze the legs, bring them up to that table top. We breathe out to press down. Inhale, circle around.

Such a simple exercise, this one, but it's really effective when done on quite a nice, strong spring. To find that range of movement in the shoulder girdle. Coupled with the strength. When we get to the top, we're gonna reverse it. Start the breath in, exhale to pull the straps in towards you.

Breath in to open, exhale, pull around. Again, I like to imagine this one coming from the shoulder joint during the movement with the straps, and not the hands. You don't wanna see them take over the action of the pulley system. Two more. Feel that depth through the waist.

Last one. And then bring the arms back up. From there, we're gonna press the arms down into a little hover. Make a fist, and we do the triceps. So I've got the elbows just hovering off the mat, so that they line up with the head of the humerus, rather than having them press down into the mat where they're dropped below, keep that little hover.

Really engage the tricep to press. And resist from the tricep as you come back up. Strong breath out so you feel the breastbone soften into the spine. And the scapulars sit nice and flush back on the mat. Last two.

You should be feeling those triceps burn. I definitely am. Last one, let's keep those arms down. Turn the palms to facing towards you. Breathe out, lift the head and chest, and again, I want you to go for that stretching feeling through the spine.

We extend one leg to straighten, on leg out long. We start the bicycle. Imagine that you could take a photograph at each end, so I see the stretch. Stretch, and stretch. Reach the leg out, as long as you can, towards that foot bar.

One more each side. And hold. Really set the shoulders in as we go for the reverse. And push. Think of those legs being pushed through thick mud.

So you really have to reach them away from the hip joint each time. One more, each side, to go. And then pull the legs back into you, good work, lower it all the way back down. We're gonna take both feet into the straps from here, so bring the feet in. If you need the foot bar up to get the feet in, absolutely go for it.

And we're gonna extend the legs straight up to the ceiling to start. So, aiming for that 90 degree angle or just below if the hamstrings won't allow you to get there, that's absolutely fine. And we're gonna start with a high opening, keeping the carriage still. On the exhale, we move the carriage closed low. Let the carriage move open low.

Keep the carriage still. Close high. And open. And close low. Open it out.

And close high. This one's really good for the brain, having to move the carriage, and then having to keep it still, gets quite confusing. Great for the adductors though, to have to work in two different ranges of motion. You can see my inner thighs are shaking away there. They're still sore from the other day, I did the Runyon Canyon for the first time.

(laughs) Lesson learned, don't do that before pilates anytime filming. And up. We got one more to go. Press the legs together. And back out, and then take the legs up to the sky, keeping that pelvis anchoring down.

We're gonna start with the circles, but I want the smallest circle you can do. So tiny little circle, and back up. Each time we press, we're gonna gradually get bigger with the circle. So we slowly start to challenge the range of the lower body, giving ourselves time to think about the stability through the upper torso. Two more to go.

Starting to reach towards your biggest circle, without changing that upper body. Last one, all the way around. And then we're gonna reverse it, so again, we start off small. Using that breath out to press. And really finding those key muscle groups in the legs that we need to control the circle.

Four more to go. And gradually start to build it up to your biggest circle. Remember, we're all gonna feel really different with our range. Three more. Challenging that bottom range, keeping this upper torso nice and still.

Last one. And then bringing the legs back up. We're gonna go parallel with the legs now, and press them down to a 45 degree. Have a little bit of space between the feet, almost imagining like there was a block between the ankles right now, and we're gonna take it into a walking, so we bend one knee towards you, one leg goes to the sky. And then we press back out from the back of this hip, reach to the 45.

And bend. And then exhale, reach back out to the 45. So this is a really good one to challenge the stability in the upper torso, 'cause the legs are doing alternating actions. And the most common thing that you're going to find is as the knee bends in, that hip's really gonna wanna hike up with you, so I want you to keep the length down through that side of the body, and instead, really use that resistance from the back of the hip, that we've been working with from the start. And bend.

And back, once you've got that action, you should be able to build it up to a nice, fluid swing. Kind of like a Peter Pan, for those of you who know that exercise. I'm keeping a little flex on my feet to replica a standing up position. Last one. Reach it back out.

And then bend both legs back into you. Good, we're gonna bring the straps off from the feet now, and we'll pop those back onto our hooks, and then we're gonna come back to sitting. And taking the springs onto the outside settings. So, I want the two outside springs on, and everything in between off. On this reformer, that gives me a red and a yellow, but that could be anywhere from a red to a blue if your outside one is a blue, or even two red springs.

It'll just make it stronger on the upper torso is all. We're gonna keep the foot bar down flat, and we lie back onto your back. And you'll see why we are gonna use those outside springs. Feet are in the little V, and we're gonna shimmy all the way down, which can always be easier said than done. And we're gonna make a fist, so we're pushing away with the arms, and I want you to think of that connection, spiraling down through the arm and the shoulder, all the way back into the bottom ribs, like we started with with the shoulder press.

We roll it up through the hips. And we're pressing out for the semi-circle. Almost to straighten, but not quite. Roll it down, and try and lengthen your tail bone away from the breastbone. Two more.

Breath out to roll it up. Keep the back of the shoulder connection as you push from the back of the hips. Roll the spine down, and really get those back of ribs melting around the reformer. Lengthen, pull all the way in. One more, roll it up.

Reach. Exhale. Roll. See how far you can stretch the tail bone down between the springs, pull it all the way back in, and then let's reverse it. So we press out.

Roll it up. Pull it in. As far as you can, and then articulate the spine down. Good, when I press, I'm keeping that little bend on my knees, that's actually more for my body more than anything, I've got quite a lordotic posture, so if I go to straight legs, it's really hard for me to get that articulation in my lumbar spine. By all means, if you can get to the straight legs and keep that, go for it.

If you're a little like me and need to focus a bit harder on that, keep that slight bend and it will help with that lower spine. Stretch it all the way down and through, reaching away from the breast bone. Use the hands back onto the shoulder rest. And then shimmy yourself back onto the reformer. So, we're gonna bring the foot bar back up now.

Into that middle setting. And we're gonna pop it on a red and a blue spring. If you want to be adventurous, you could go with two red springs, if you really wanna challenge those shoulders, and we're coming up to start in a standing position, with those heels halfway up against the shoulder rest. From here, I want you to keep the carriage still. Bring the body weight slightly forward with a really lengthened spine, keep those heels pressing back into the shoulder rest.

Baby bend of those knees, so it's a really long lengthened spine position, and it's like a high knee stretch. So we just press the legs out to straighten, exhale, bend. And press. And bend. So again, we're really working on isolating that lower half of the body, while we keep the strength through the upper torso.

We're gonna do six of these. I'm using that breath out to push. Inhale, resist back in. And pull the carriage in, hold, from there, we're gonna float one leg up, keep the knee there. Five presses on that single leg.

Really hard, but I want you to keep that back of hip to heel connection as you push. Last one. Press, pull the carriage in, hold, and changing sides. Find the heel, lift the leg, and press. And you'll notice my shoulders are staying nice and still, so I'm not pushing the carriage out from the upper body.

Two more. Last one. Pull the carriage in, hold, take the leg back, and now from here, we lift the leg, we straighten it out, and we push, and pull. So my back leg is really parallel still. So both legs working in a complete parallel.

Deepening that lower belly to spine. Last one. Pull the carriage in, hold. And bring the leg back down. Find the heel placement.

Push the right leg out. Press and pull in. Really think of all five metatarsals again on that left foot, pushing into the reformer. Last one. Bring it in, place the heel down, and extend the body up into your up stretch, it'll feel like a breather after that last one.

From there, we're keeping a nice lengthened spine. My shoulders are gonna stay where they are, and I press the carriage out. Down into my plank. Take it back up. And I press it down into the plank, lengthen the body, opening the hip flexors, but I'm not sinking through into that position, so I want you to keep that lift.

Pull back up. Breathe in. And breathe out. We've got three more of these. Now that we've got that upper body set, I want you to take the focus into tying that in with the feet and the lower body.

So keep all ten toes pressing into the bed. Keep it as you pull up and push into those heels. Last one, press it down. And then pull up all the way in. Okay, now, we're gonna combine that with a down stretch.

So we press it all the way out exactly the same, here's the tricky part. So, you gotta keep that carriage still. You notice my feet will start to slide as I lower the knees down to the bed. Press the feet in, start to open the chest, this is exactly the same as how we started with that shoulder press. Push back away.

Reach, reach, reach. Now, from here, I'm sticking my tail bone out, to keep the carriage still, pike it up, and then I adjust the feet as I get into the start. Press it back out, through the plank. Lower the knees. Feet slide.

Lift and open the chest. Press back. Lift from the buttocks up. Pull the carriage in. Lower the heels as you get all the way in.

One more time, we go out through the plank, lengthen, lower the knees, press the heels back to those shoulder rests, lift, lift, lift. Push all the way back out. And now lift from the pelvis. Up, stretch through the spine, and adjust the heels down. Alright, good work.

From there, we're gonna take it to one red spring. If you feel like your sides are put through a little challenge with our shoulder control, you might wanna try red and yellow to give yourself that extra bit of support for this one. I'm gonna bring the foot bar up. It just puts my body into a better position. And we're gonna come into our elephant position.

Don't be mistaken, you're not really gonna get a breather. So we start in that elephant position, just to set the body. And finding that engaging back through the shoulders. I'm gonna pop my right hand into the middle of the foot bar, find that connection, swivel my feet all the way around, so they're completely flat up against the shoulder rest. You gotta keep that carriage still, as we thread this hand through, so if hamstring flexibility's a little tight, this will be challenged.

So an extra spring will help you out with that start position. We inhale, opening to the sides apart, and then exhale, thread it back through, all the way to that back foot. Breathe in, open, and then exhale, thread it all the way through, press through the back foot. Breath in to open, and you can do it with a smile on your face if you want. And exhale.

And inhale. I'm sure it helps. And exhale. Last one. Really focus that connection from the upper torso all the way through to the feet.

And hold, two, three, exhale, thread it back through. Try and keep that carriage as still as you can as we swivel around. Find your elephant position. Bring that left hand in. Use this transition as your little breather.

Swivel those feet. Keep the carriage still. Bring the hand to that back leg, and you can see I'm getting that stretch all the way up through that back chain, which is really lovely. We open it out. And exhale.

And when I say lovely, you know that I mean it's probably painful for my students. Inhale. But it's good for you. Exhale, thread it through. Inhale.

Use that breath out to start from the abdominals, and you can see I'm keeping that wrap with the shoulder as I spiral the body through to open. Exhale. Two more to go. Connect it all the way through to the feet. And all the way back up.

Last one, open it all the way through. Hold it for three. Soak up the beautiful view. And then thread it all the way back through. Awesome.

Good work. Okay, we're gonna stay on that one red spring to start, and we're gonna take the foot bar down flat for some kneeling arms. So we want that down out of our way. And we're gonna wriggle those feet right back up against the shoulder rest. Again, that foot position is really important in order to get the pelvis in the right position.

So, if you feel like you can't get those heels squeezed into the shoulder rest, go grab something now and pop that in between the heel and the shoulder rest, so that you've got some feedback for the feet, to give the hips and the upper torso a better connection. So I've got a hold on my straps. I'm gonna bring my body forward, so that I'm right up in that upright stance. Pushing the heels back into the shoulder rest, we exhale, scoop the arms. Breathing in to come back.

Deep breath out. Breath in to come back. For this one, we're really gonna use the power of that breath to press those arms forward. Like you were squeezing all the air out of the body. Alright, we've got one more.

Exhale. Breathe in, resist the pull back down, and we're gonna pop the right strap back down. I'm gonna swap my springs to a blue spring now for the single arm. If you're super strong, then you could stay on that red spring. But I'm definitely going down to the blue.

We're gonna take the right arm out in front, almost think of this as your stabilizing arm, as we exhale. Scoop the left arm. You'll really feel, you have to work into that opposing side of the body as you slowly resist. Exhale, press. Breathe in.

Slowly resist. One more, exhale, press and hold. Turn the palm flat. Inhale, we rotate and open the body, exhale, push back out. Inhale.

Exhale. Breathing in, feel that spiral come from the upper body, but push forward, with the back of the hips, and exhale press. One more. And exhale, reach it out and hold. Slowly lower that arm all the way down, pop that back down.

Grab the other side. I'm glad I've got my weaker side out of the way first. And now we're gonna take that left arm forward. Exhale. I say that now, but they're both equally challenging.

Think of pressing down on something with this arm, almost like you had a spring that you could push against. Hold this right arm out. Turn the palm flat, think of pushing the hips forward to open up the hip flexors. Rotate and spiral the spine. Exhale, push back out.

Breathe in, spiral, but try not to let those hips drop back here. Keep them forward. Exhale, push. Two more to go. Last one.

Hold, and then slowly lower that arm back down again. Good work. We're gonna grab the other strap to finish it off with circles, and we're gonna start in a little scoop of the spine, in that little hover, with tension onto those straps, and I just realized I'm gonna change my spring first, back to that red spring. Just to give us a little bit more tension for both arms. So find that scoop, and on the exhale, we press the hips forward.

Lengthen the chest, keep the arms in your peripheral as we come back around. The breath out scoops, lifts you up, breathe in, all the way back around. Exhale. And breath in, now we're gonna reverse it. Keep the arms in the peripheral.

Press from the feet through the hips, through to arms, scoop, bring it back in. Exhale. Keep the length in the body as you scoop, pull back in. Last one. And scoop it all the way back.

And rest towards those heels. Good work. Alright, we're gonna pop the straps down. We're gonna grab the box, pop that on longways. And we're gonna keep it on the one red spring.

Okay. So box goes on. And we're gonna come on for a swan, so if you need a pad for the pelvis here, grab one now to pop that underneath. Otherwise, we're gonna jump you onto your tummy, and our feet are gonna be onto the foot bar in a little V. Lowering it down, and we're gonna rest the upper torso onto the box.

Okay, so finding that squeeze together of the heels. And the head is in a baby, baby hover. And I want you to really find that wrap from the back of the legs, to support the work in the upper torso. We're gonna reach the legs and the arms out to straighten, stretch. We're gonna lift up with the upper chest.

Exhale, lower and hover. Breathe in, lift. Exhale, reach. Breathe in, bend it back, all the way in. And reach it out.

Inhale. Exhale. Scoop those abs. Breathe in. Exhale, reaching out long.

Breathe in, bend, keep the length out this way. Exhale, push from the back of the legs. Inhale, open to a wide V. Exhale, scoop those abs. Inhale, lift, work that upper torso.

Exhale, reach. Inhale, bend. We've got two more to go. Breath in, breath out. Breath in, exhale, reach, reach, reach.

Inhale, bend. Last one. Inhale, lift. Exhale, lower. And bend it all the way back in, and rest.

Use your hands onto the box, push yourself all the way up to standing, lower one leg down at a time. Alright, we're gonna pop the box shortways. Right up against those shoulder rests, if you need to, pop it over the shoulder rest. And we're gonna add on a few extra springs. For your side overs.

Just to keep that carriage nice and still. Grab your strap. And we're gonna jump onto your side. So, top leg's gonna go through. And we want, again, just a good hand space here between the end of the box and your pelvis.

So we're gonna take it all the way over. If you can, reach into the floor. And side stretch it over. Now, if you can't reach the floor, you've got the option to go hand on head rest, or grab a little box to prop yourself up on. And we're just gonna breathe into that top side.

Really lengthening out. If you wish, you could grab a hold of the ropes. From there, we're gonna bring that hand back onto the shoulder rest. This one onto the head rest. And use this hand around behind the head.

We breathe in to side bend over. Exhale. Coming up. Using that bottom arm, just to help support you, only for the first three. Inhale.

Exhale, and hold. Let's bring this hand off. Breathe in. Go for that left, and then reach. Two more.

Lengthening out through the crown of the head. This last one, come all the way up. Stretch it over to this side, and we're gonna go back over, into that lengthen position that we started with. Rotate it around. Breathe in, lengthen at the bottom arm.

Come all the way up, so that arm is stretching and then take it back out, arms out to this side. We side bend over, this arm tucks in, we rotate and extend the arms. Really feel that length out through here. Come back, underneath arm lengthens, all the way up, and arms go back out to this side. Last one, and we go over.

Rotate. Come back in, and lengthen that underneath arm. All the way up. Side bend. Now we get to go over one more time.

I promise I'm not lying, I'm not gonna make you do one more. And then we get to just rotate it around, and you get to stretch, yeah? So breathe into that full spiral of the body. Really use this to lengthen out after all the upper torso work we've done. Bring the hands back onto the head rest.

Pull it all the way up. And we're gonna swap around and do the other side. Okay. So taking it all the way down and over first, lengthening out, that top side. And remember, if you can't reach the ground, grab something to support yourself up, if you want that extra length, grab a hold of the ropes and reach.

Then from there, bring this hand around onto the shoulder rest, this one onto the head rest, and this hand behind the head. I really love this position to start, because it gives me a chance to align the spine in this position. As I go down and up. Last one with the hand. And then we lengthen the hand away.

Three without. Still think of that shoulder connection that we've had from the very start. Last one, coming all the way up, side bend it over, and our arms go out to the side to start, reach, tuck this right arm in and lengthen. Rotate the body. Right arm or the underneath arm lengthens out.

Lift, side bend. Arms come around, out to the side. Reach, top arm stretches over. Now, use the breath out as you spiral to pick those abs up away from the floor. Lengthen at the underneath arm.

Lift out through that underneath arm as you side bend, and out, alright, this is our last full one. Lengthen. Big breath out. Breathe in. Reach.

Exhale. Up and over, and our last one, we get to go all the way over. And rotate around, stretch, reach out through those arms, still feel the pull back of the waist, so you're not completely collapsed. And then using the hand onto the head rest, and then coming all the way up to sitting. And then, we are all cooked.

Thank you so much for doing my reformer class, I hope your upper body feels as cooked as mine does right now, enjoy, bye!


2 people like this.
just did your class before my client arrives and also before breakfast,feeling so good,refreshed,now i need some protein:)) loved it.
love, love, love this!!!!
1 person likes this.
Fantastic class! Very challenging, great instruction!
1 person likes this.
Great class Sara , loved it !! Thank you
1 person likes this.
Very creative and challanging. A blast for the last day of 2016. Thank you Sara and happy new years.
1 person likes this.
Love it !
Tnx ??
1 person likes this.
I really enjoyed this class - great workout, thank you.
1 person likes this.
LOVED this class!!!! Happy New Year!
Thank you
2 people like this.
Great class. Would love to know where you got your leggings from Sara :)
1 person likes this.
What a beautiful way to start the New Year! My husband joined me for this today and I am so happy and encouraged for our life in 2017. Thank you for the great start Sara, Happy New Year.
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