Class #2905

Short and Sweet Reformer

30 min - Class


Get ready for a short, sweet, and effective Reformer workout with Sarah Bertucelli! She teaches a class for the new year designed to get you moving and breathing. She encourages you to do what feels right for your body rather than worrying about how many repetitions you are doing.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box)

About This Video

Jan 15, 2017
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Happy New Year! I'm so happy to be here at Pilates Anytime, filming a new year's workout. Basically I'm gonna be short, sweet, and effective, and let's get started. So I've got my footwork springs, I'm on three reds and a blue. Okay, my bar is up, my headrest is down. So just settle in for a moment on your Reformer and try to feel your pelvis soft and heavy, your chest open.

And let's get right started with some pelvic curls. Engage your abdominals, feeling your low back soften to the mat, and lift up. Inhale. And exhale to peel down. I like it when the middle of my foot is on the bar so that I can just kind of relax a little bit my feet and not work too hard.

It also gives me a little more zest in my hamstrings, I always feel them just a bit more here. Inhaling through your nose. Exhale, engage the abs, we lift up, feel that openness through your hips, feel a little inner thigh work. And exhale to peel down. And let's just do two more pelvic curls here.

Trying to press the pelvis a little higher. Also keeping the arms nice and weighted. I don't think a single workout goes by that I don't do at least a couple pelvic curls. They really help me to get started, and set, and ready to move. So you can either hold the pegs by your ears, or you can hold the frame of the Reformer for a little more shoulder stretch.

Allow the legs just to soften to one side, and oh that feels so good. And then pull back to center. And then the legs just soften, and I'm just relaxing, I'm not shaping this yet with my abs, but I am using my abs a little to pull back. But really giving in to the stretch here. Often times, if I just give myself permission to lie down on the Reformer and stretch, I start really working out. (laughs) Good, come back through to center.

You can keep your hands there if you like, lift the legs up to tabletop. Squeeze those legs together and let's inhale to twist. And exhale, really engaging those abdominals. Really go for a little deeper twist if that suits you. Adding leg straightening, inhale.

Straighten both legs, pull those straight legs back, and then bend the knees. So work on really trying to keep the inner thighs engaged, so I really squeeze my knees together and my feet together here. One more time each direction. Bend the knees and then put the feet on the bar. So I just sort of pull down with my heels a little bit.

Arms to the ceiling. Exhale to lift the head and chest, waking up the abs. Boy that first one felt a little sticky. Let's see if I can soften into it a little bit more. Now I'd like you to think just a little bit about your hamstrings, I kind of pull down on my feet or bend my knees a little bit more, just to help me find the ease of the lift.

Exhale to lift and hold. Draw the right leg in, stretch the other leg out, single leg stretch. Try to keep the chest open, the legs very active, and breathe please. Whatever breath makes sense to you today. One more time each side for me.

Both legs in, hands to the backs of the legs, we lift just a little higher. Slip the hands behind the head, criss-cross. Let's twist right first. Focus on keeping lifted as you pass through center, and deepening the twist with the lift. One more time each side.

Both legs in, hands to the backs of the legs one more time, bring the knees toward the forehead, the forehead toward the knees. And lower down. Alright, moving into our footwork, heels first. Neutral spine. Try to feel the backs of the legs initiating, and out we go.

Woops. I guess I'm a little more flexible in 2017, bonking the stopper like that. Try not to do that. Nice active feet. But stable feet helps to get more mobility through the ankles.

I always feel like the footwork just sets me. Hold out this last time, lengthening your body just a little more. And then gently in, shifting to the toes. So today I want to put a little more weight really on my metatarsals, and I'm actually gonna pull my toes back just a little bit. I've been working on bending better and getting a little bit more strength through my feet.

So I've actually pulled my toes back, just as a variety, a variation today. And inner thighs nice and active, pulling up through my kneecaps at the top. Arms energized, and just make sure you're breathing. Honestly I'm not counting today, I'm just working out. I hope you're working out too.

My guess is I'm gonna do about 10 repetitions of each here, but who knows, maybe I'll do 12, maybe I'll do 15. I generally when I'm working out on my own just go, until I feel like it's time to switch. And some days I like to do a few more. Gently come on in, slide those heels together. Pressing through the ball of the big toe, think of spreading the weight to the pinky toe and the big toe.

Not actually the toe, not the digit, but the metatarsals. So squeeze those thighs together and pull in. And squeeze and pull in. Again find the breath that suits you. It really doesn't totally matter if you're inhaling or exhaling, the most important thing is that you are, in fact, breathing.

And as we move a little faster sometimes you might use a full inhale for the up and the down, and a full exhale for the up and the down. Open V from the heels. So placing the heels on that bar, I like to first open my thighs and relax a little bit, feel that ease in my hips, and then pull my legs back into socket if you will. So I pull my legs up and really try to root my thigh bones in my pelvis, and then exhale, we press out. Work on the idea of lengthening the spine at the top, and then keeping that length as you travel in.

Think about that. Both legs equally working. And this position, let's pulse at the bottom a little bit here. Just little pulses, I like to try to really find just a little bit more equality between my two sides in this position. Because I find that I don't, often times I don't bear enough weight on my left foot.

So sometimes I'll even kind of go back and forth between the two sides and try to even it out. All the way to straight. And come on in. Whoo, my legs are getting warm. So toes are on the bar once again, the ball of the big toe and the ball of the pinky toe.

Try to almost unweight the three middle toes. It's kind of an interesting idea. But it actually helps to spread out a little bit the pressure along the bottom of the foot. Sometimes we put too much pressure on the first metatarsal or the third or the fourth, or whatever it may be, and really the weight should be even across all five, in theory. Exhaling, breathing.

And then controlling, and I caught myself letting the spring pull me in. Try to feel, again, equality between the two legs. Last one, and we'll come on in. So bring the feet close together. I often first bring them together, so I can feel that I'm centered.

And then separate just a little. And again, find that connection through all five metatarsals and press out. Calf raises, we're gonna lower down, and press up. And here, soften the toes over the bar, so you go almost a little prehensile, although not quite totally, and then press through all five metatarsals as you go up. Soften the toes, and press up.

And just two more like that. And press up. And one more please. And press up. So now I'm just gonna stretch for a moment.

Ahh. Switch legs, and stretch. Second time around I'm gonna take my foot up a little higher on the bar so that the bar is underneath the pad of my foot at the top of the arch. And then I'm gonna let my whole foot kinda sink into the bar there. I'm really driving my heel under the bar.

Softening, letting the bar and the spring into my foot, really. And a little shifting around feels nice. And then the same thing on the other side. There's a sweet spot for me that I have to find, I often like to use my other foot as well, especially on this side, to just get a little more stretch. I don't know if you can see that at home, but boy, that feels good to me.

Let's take one more breath here and then move on. Okay. So let's come up. And change the springs so you're on just one blue spring. I'm gonna do the blue, yeah, one blue spring.

You know, there's hooks and buttons on some of these, so I put it on a hook, in case you have that option. Otherwise, just one blue spring is probably fine. Before I go into the exercise I want to feel that my legs are aligned. So my heels are underneath my tush, my knees are in alignment with my hips, and then I come forward onto my hands and knees here. Nice little reverse knee stretch to juice up those abs.

So rounding the back first, and we pull in. So try to push down through the tops of the feet and also the shins, to the point where you could almost actually unweight the knees. Perhaps you are. Focusing on flexion of the spine. Hold here.

Right leg comes right next to the left leg, so I don't have my right leg touching anything, and continue to pull in and out. So I'm leaning into my right arm. And the right side of my body is working a lot more. I don't know if leaning into the right arm is the right cue, but I'm taking my pelvis, now I've switched sides, I'm taking my pelvis over to the left as I pull in and out. Both knees down.

Then bring the carriage to rest. Sit in a little child's pose or rest pose for just a moment. Come to your hands and knees again, and actually keep your bottom down, it's a little easier to walk out. And walk out until you can hold on to the two risers. If you don't have risers, you could hold onto the frame as well.

And then I like to sit back here with my hips just really grounded on my pelvis, I'm sorry, my hips grounded on my pelvis? My pelvis grounded on my heels, and enjoy the stretch. I really like rest my chest a little bit on the, the shoulder rest here. Nice if I knew the parts of my Reformer and my body, huh? So here, my head is about in alignment with my spine rather than hanging too low.

And then we're gonna pull forward, good, and inhale, all the way to straight. Now if you were to put your headrest up, it would be out of the way and you could actually pull all the way in. I'm going to do that, just so that I have a little bit more space. And I can pull until the carriage actually touches the end there, I like that. Nice range, pulling the elbows close to the body, it really wakes up my upper back.

Good, we'll do two more like that, with both arms. And one more time please. And then, hold here. Go ahead and put your right hand down right next to the shoulder rest and see if you feel comfortable doing this just one arm. Feel free to put the other arm back up if it doesn't work for you.

Just three. Just to kinda check it out and feel the difference between the two sides. And then the other side. This has given me a really nice opening through my chest over time, opening through my shoulders. Go ahead and walk back nice and carefully.

Gotta be careful so you don't slide your hands on the wood and create a burn. So once again I'm gonna sit with my heels right up on my glutes, hold the ropes above the buckles. Sit up straight, chest open. And go into a little chest expansion here. Now if for some reason you're not comfortable on your knees this way, feel free to sit in a different way.

I just have really been working on the idea of just kind of being on my knees and being on the ground a little bit more, and I've come to really enjoy this position. And my knees are quite happy here for a while. But certainly if it doesn't work for you, you should adjust accordingly. You could sit on a small box, or you could sit with your legs out in front of you, or whatever it may be. One more time here.

Now let's do a little bit of rotation, so we're gonna pull 'til the arms are right by your body, and then bear the weight of the spring in just the right hand and rotate all the way around. And then we do the same thing on the other side, rotate all the way around. Again I always like to separate the two sides when I can so I can really feel the difference between my two sides. Because there truly is a difference. And no matter how balanced we think we are, there's always something that's different.

And this is the last one. Beautiful. So let's put the straps away for a moment. I'm gonna put my headrest back down because I'm moving into hip work now. And eventually short spine, so I would like the headrest to be flat for that.

Two springs for that, I like a red and a blue spring for my hip work and my short spine. So lie down again. Settle yourself in and put your feet in your straps. So just basic frogs to begin with here. I feel like no matter where I want to go with my hip work, I really like to do a couple frogs first because they really kinda ground me, and straighten me out.

I don't know if that's possible, really, to straighten me out, but I'll try. One more time, keep your legs straight. Lift up and circle around. So some nice yummy circles, lifting up, and circling around. Keeping the legs nice and straight.

And I'm using external rotation here, or I'm keeping my hips in external rotation. And reverse the circles. And I'm looking for range here, I'm trying to get a nice looseness in my hips and equality between the two sides as well. And now here, let's change it up a little bit. Take your legs to parallel, and if it's comfortable for your back, take your legs all the way down.

So it's like I'm standing. You know, I actually want to shift the straps a little bit, so they're just a little bit higher on my foot. And then come down, so it's like as if you're standing flat. Use your inner thighs to hold your legs together, and feel this openness through your hips, the front of your hips, your psoas. And then we're just gonna open the legs about the width of the Reformer.

And pull back together. Over the years I've realized that I have some imbalance in my hip flexors, and difficult for me to access them sometimes, so I've found that this little exercise is a really safe way for me to have to hold my straight leg up. And you'll see what I mean by that in a moment. First the opening and closing. The carriage moves a bit, and then I use my inner thighs to pull back together, hold here.

Now, keep the left leg down, grounded on the Reformer. So I'm using my hamstring, and then lift the other leg up. And just before you catch the spring tension, up and down, so I'm going, I'm keeping all the spring on my left leg and just lifting my other leg up and down. And then I'd like to switch sides. Surprisingly that is so much more challenging for me than I expected it to be.

And we lift up. And down, and keeping my ankles flexed because it's slightly more functional, really, like for standing and whatnot, but certainly you could point your foot if you wanted to. It's a prettier line. (laughs) One more time here, take the spring with both feet, bend your knees and come into a frog, moving into our short spine here. Exhale to press out, and nice yummy stretch. Oh. (chuckles) So a couple things to pay attention to in your short spine is really keeping the length.

Maybe not bonking the carriage at the stopper too, that would be good. And as you roll down here, really keeping the length of the back. That's about where the feet flex, allowing you to use those hip rotators and inner thighs a little more. And just one more for me here. Okay, taking the feet out of the straps.

And we'll come up to standing. So let's change the springs to just one red spring. And move into the pyramid position, or up stretch. So the heels are a little lifted up against the shoulder rest. Nice straight strong arms and a straight strong body.

I have my arms purposefully a little wider, because where I intend to go, so I'm about the width of the bar. Inhale to slide the carriage back, and exhale in. Woops, boy I am just noisy today. What is that all about? Alright, second one, didn't bang the stopper, that's good.

Just one more here please. And then we come down to our plank position and hold that for a little bit of time. Chest is open. Pulling forward and back. Just breathing when it makes sense.

So I like to linger in about the middle range of motion, so my chest is just above the bar, and we're gonna do some pec pushups here, how about five. Hips high. Carriage in, lower your feet flat. Now bring your hands very narrow so your thumbs are touching and your head kinda rests between your arms. Trying to straighten out the back here, so a flat back elephant.

Slide the carriage back, and slide the carriage in. So here for me, this is really about stretching my hamstrings. Of course I'm working them as I push back, and then working my hip flexors when I pull in. Stabilizing with the abs, but I also really enjoy the shoulder stretch here, it feels really good to me. Hold in.

I'm gonna bring my left hand open to the end of the bar. Keep the right hand in the middle where it was. And then I'm gonna take my weight to my left foot, and take my right leg back. I'm looking for parallel with the horizon, rather than a huge arabesque. I'm purposefully looking for like a 90 degree.

So I can focus just on my left leg here moving out and in. Again, for me, this is about standing on the left leg and being able to support this position. And at this point what I'm now doing is kind of unweighting my hands a little bit. I'm not asking you to take them off, I'm just trying to feel that the majority of the work is really me standing on my left leg, versus me holding myself up with my arms. Good.

Now hold here, bend the back knee, big deep knee bend. Open the hip for a little bit more stretch. And then we'll switch sides. So the right side goes down, move both legs out, sorry, move the left hand to the center, and the right hand out. And then extend the other leg straight back.

So again I'm flexing my foot, just so I can really reach through, sort of a long back heel position if you will, as if I were standing. Trying to feel myself, again, standing more on my right leg at this moment. And separating my right leg from my left leg. And then one more here. Bend the knee.

And open, open, open. Nice little stretch for my right leg and also a little bit of work in my glute. Take the leg down. Walk into a nice forward fold, let the head dangle. I like to reach around and hold on to the frame here, give myself a little shoulder stretch, a little head release.

Oh, feels good. Now come down onto your knees, okay, woops. I am just bouncing around. I'm gonna change to a green spring today for this one. So my knees are all the way up toward the edge of the Reformer here, and I'm sitting once again on my heels.

And then press out for a little shoulder push. A green or a red, I would say one spring is good here. And we're just gonna keep the head in about alignment with the bar, and press out and in. Okay, so that's option one. I actually like to do three options here, so you can choose to stay there, I think that's the most mild for people.

Option two is to go with a little more shoulder stretch, let the head kind of, not letting the head hang, but I'm bringing my chest through a little bit. So my chest is sort of forward of my arms here, and I'm getting a bigger stretch. You can try that. If that doesn't suit you, don't do it. Let's come back up to the more middle range where the head is just in alignment with the bar.

Bend the elbows and stay there. Put your right hand down next to your right knee and press out and in three times with just one arm. Other side. And then one final thing here. We're gonna open the chest, keeping the hips low, but I'm gonna open the chest, letting the spring kinda push my shoulders back to my back body.

And I'm looking just above the bar and I'm gonna bend, thinking of opening through the chest here, and press out. Purposefully looking for just a little bit of thoracic extension. For me this is a lot less of an arm exercise, it's more of a back exercise. Just one more. My left arm is shaking over here.

And then come all the way in. And up. So, another arm exercise that I am really enjoying these days, just simple external rotation. One blue spring. I am gonna choose to stay on my knees for this, which makes it a lot of knee work, so I'm gonna also offer up the idea of just sitting cross-legged for anyone who prefers not to be on their knees.

Because I would hate for you to feel like it's too much knee work today. But this works for me. So here we are, just on a blue spring. I'm pulling my chest open, my elbow back, and my shoulder back, and we're just gonna go into external rotation, probably about, let's aim for eight times, that's two. And what I'm looking for is full range of motion.

All the way across, and all the way open, opening the chest as much as I'm opening the arm, or as much as I'm going into external rotation, I'm also staying open through the chest. Good, I'm starting to get tired, I think I have one more to go here. Oh, nice. And release that. So I'm gonna do the other side.

Notice I took the forward strap. Once again, if you prefer to be in a cross-legged position don't hesitate to do that. Or you could just sit up actually on your long box as well, that's another way to do this, so you don't have to be on your knees. I find this to be effective, though, and quick. So here, also, if it's too much spring, if you don't have a light enough spring, you can always use your hand to help a little bit.

Again, really focusing on keeping the chest open, and full range of motion. And I have one more to go I believe. And we can rest now. Put that strap away. Let's take a nice little stretch for those hip flexors.

I'm gonna put a red spring on, take that blue spring off. And I'm just gonna go easy peasy on the side of the Reformer. Okay, notice I've got a good foot tuck here. My other foot is up near the front foot of the Reformer, and I'm actually gonna start with this back leg pretty straight. And bend into a position that suits me here.

Okay, so my abdominals are active here, my chest is open, and then what I'm looking for is just like a soft knee bend. And then I want to use my hamstring to lengthen. So a soft knee bend, and my hamstring to lengthen. Again my arms are not holding me up, but I'm gonna keep them there just for balance. And for comfort.

And then I'm gonna soften the knee, rest down. Lift the same arm as leg is behind, and open for a nice little side body stretch, as I go deeper. And gently rest that. So because we already did a little bit of a hamstring stretch, in the elephant position, I'm going to skip that at this moment. But, enjoy hip flexor stretch on a second side.

So my back leg is straight. Nice and active through the foot, my front knee is bent. Again I've got both hands on the bar but I'm not really relying on them, okay? And that's important to me, so just a little soft knee bend, and reach up. Now I call this a knee bend because that is happening, but I really want you to think about the hamstring, that's what I'm thinking about.

So it's more about my thigh bone lifting, and my thigh bone lowering. And my thigh bone lifting, and my thigh bone lowering, just to create more range there. And then soften the knee down. Perhaps go a little deeper in the stretch. Take the same arm as leg is back up, and reach up and over.

Mmm. Ahhh. And my final and favorite thing. We're gonna do a nice little deep squat stretch, and what's nice is when you have the Reformer, you can kind of do it however it suits you. My feet are about hip distance apart.

I sit back, I relax, and I use the bar to help me get what I need here, which at this moment is my head relaxing between my knees. A few breaths here really enjoying that stretch and that ease through my low back. Then I'm gonna hold on with one hand, it doesn't matter which, and just kind of lean a little bit, and enjoy the stretch in the shoulders and the back. Explore. I have to say, after practicing these squats for probably about a year now, I've gotten to the point where it's just, it's very necessary for me, it feels so good on my body.

It used to be a little uncomfortable in certain areas, but now it just feels necessary, assuming I kinda set myself up in a way that feels good. One last moment here, letting your head relax. And then feel free to use the bar as much as you need to, but probably as little as possible is ideal, to take your gaze forward. And just bring yourself back up to a standing position. Ahhh.

And thanks for playing.


2 people like this.
Fun!!! Looks just like my workout! Down to the "practicing deeper squats!" Im late in adding these to my repetroire, but have been really trying to sit low and get up - without hands! As im a good bit older, its going to be a long time... Thanks for a fun workout!
Gerri M
1 person likes this.
Fast Fun Effective workout. Thanks Sarah!
1 person likes this.
Sarah, really loved the way you started the practice with spine articulation, etc. The flow was really smooth and innovative.
Thanks so much! So happy you are enjoying the workout.
1 person likes this.
Such a nice,flowing class! Thank you! Deborah
Thanks Deborah!
Lucie Bécus
Also a nice start to MLK day ;) Thanks!
Gerri M
2 people like this.
Fast Fun Effective workout. Thanks Sarah!
1 person likes this.
This was cool. I like the reverse knee stretches trying to hover the knees and also only one knee weighted was something I've never seen before . The external rotation sitting on heels felt great - the chest expansion with the turn felt great and challenging! I also liked the flow into holding the uprights and doing hat nice stretch there that got revisited in the squat at the end- well done!
2 people like this.
Fab all over class thank you Sarah! And special mention to the 30 minute class. LOVE the short & sweet class options! :)
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