Class #2934

Reformer Workout

50 min - Class


Reverse the "slouch on the couch" position with this advanced Reformer workout by Mariska Breland. She focuses on hip extension and back extension to connect you to the back side of your body. She includes challenging variations to exercises like Grasshopper, Jack Knife, and much more!
What You'll Need: Reformer

About This Video


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Hello, I'm Mariska, here from Washington, D.C. My studio's called Fuse Pilates if you wanna find us on Facebook or Instagram. I'm gonna do a reformer workout today that is focused on extension. My personal, normal, favorite position to be in is slouch on the couch. I like to slouch on my couch, and sink my shoulders forward, and have my neck forward while I'm simultaneously watching Netflix and checking my phone, so if that is also you, this might be the right workout for you.

I'm gonna start with my headrest down, 'cause I'm gonna be doing a lot of hip extension and a lot of back extension. I have two red springs, and I'm gonna stay on that for kind of a while, so... And I have it geared all the way in, because for me that's fine. If you need to gear it out, based on your height, you can do that. The only thing we're gonna use that's a prop of any sort is the long box.

I'm gonna go ahead and start seated, and I'm gonna come to lying down, and I'm gonna adjust my feet, and make sure I'm kind of in the middle, and I'm gonna be in a Pilates V to start, and then I'm just gonna start by pressing out, finding that squeeze in my inner thighs, and bend to come back in. Press out, and bend to come in. My mentor was Julian Littleford, and he, a lot of times, would have us work with our arms kind of supinated, so our palms are facing up, because that does help you, a lot of times, if you tend to be like me, and your shoulders like to roll forward, to help your shoulders go back some. I'm just doing a little, tiny warmup here. Do a couple more, and then I'm gonna come in.

I'm gonna integrate a little bit of ab warmup into here, so I'm gonna grab onto the post, bring my legs into tabletop, let my legs go towards the right, not too far, mainly 'cause there's a microphone in the way, and then go towards the left. You wanna make sure that your hips can lift off, or one hip lifts off, but that your shoulder blades are staying glued to the mat. I'm gonna do one more each side. To the right, and to the left, and then I'm gonna lower my feet back down. This time, I'm gonna be on flexed feet.

My legs are all the way zipped together, my arms are down. Again, I'm flipping palms up, making sure I feel like my heels aren't gonna slip, and I'll press out, and in, press out. Even though my legs are parallel, I'm still trying to find that wrap of my legs, where I feel a little engagement in my outer hips. We'll do, let's see, four more like this. Two, three, and four, and then I'm gonna come all the way in, and I'm just going to, for me, slide down a little bit, so that I'm on, more where my heel and arch come together, and I'm gonna separate my legs hip-distance apart.

We're gonna do a little bridging, so from here, go ahead and press into your feet. Gonna find that tilt of your pelvis, so your low back imprints into the mat, and then peel your back up, bone-by-bone, and then slowly lay your spine back down into the mat, and then the last thing you do is untuck your pelvis. You tilt your pelvis, lift your hips up, and then you slowly pull your abs in as you lay your spine all the way back down. I pushed out from the stopper a little bit, 'cause it was getting a little crampy in my hamstrings. It was a little too close, so I moved away a smidge.

Now, in this next one we'll come up, and I'm gonna do shoulder bridge like you would do it in the classical Pilates world, where you prop your hips up. From here, I'm gonna take one leg up, I'm gonna take my right leg up, it goes over the foot bar, press out, extend my leg, lower, press out, lower. I'll do three more. Two, and I actually like my hands here, because my hips tend to love to go uneven. Send the other leg out.

Go out, and in, out, and in, trying not to crash. I'll do two more here. Out, and in, and out, and in. Foot comes back down. Hands release.

Gonna lay my spine down. Take it so it comes all the way back into the stopper, and then I'm just gonna do a little kind of 100 prep. Arms reach up, tabletop legs, extend out, pull to come back in, extend out, and in, we'll do three, two. You can lay your head down in between each. I'm choosing not to, and last one, and then lower back down.

We're gonna come back to the Pilates V. This time, though, we're gonna press out, and I'm gonna drop my left leg under the bar and press with just my right leg eight times. Here's two. I'm gonna make sure my hips are level, so I'm bringing my hands to my hip bones. Here's four, five, six, seven, and eight.

I'll come in about halfway, and I'm just gonna lift my left leg up to tap the bar. Lift, tap, tap, tap. Going for about eight. Let's do four more. Two, three, and four.

Now I'm gonna go out to the side, trying not to touch the bar. Imagine it's made of lava, or quicksand, or whatever the horror of your youth was that you tried to avoid, and do a couple more, and then combine them. Up and out, two and out, three, four, and I'll just do two more. Last one, and I'll bring my leg back to come back in. Now, I have to make a little adjustment for my own body, so my left leg is my MS-affected leg, and it goes into spasm if I'm in plantar flexion on my left foot for too long, so I'm coming to a turnout position, but I'm on my mid-foot.

Press out, take my right leg under, bend in, and push. I'm going for eight. Here's two, three. Again, hands on my hip bones to make sure they're behaving. Five, six, seven, and eight.

Come in about halfway, and I'm gonna do the up taps for eight. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Slide it out for eight. Two. Trying to keep the carriage completely still.

Four, five, six, seven, eight. Combine it up, out, two, out. I think we did six on the other side, so I'm gonna do three more. One, and two, and three, and maybe one more for good measure, and then I'm gonna come all the way in. Gonna do another little set of abs here.

Arms reach up, make sure you're not being stuck by the shoulder rest, head and chest lift, extend your legs out, and then pull one leg in, and switch, and switch, and switch, for four, two, three, and four. Go ahead and lower your feet back down. You just wanna basically be the same distance away from the shoulder rest so you're not jammed up into the shoulder rest, and you're gonna grab hold of the straps with your arms, tabletop legs. If the double reds is too heavy, you can always adjust. Just gonna start by pressing my arms down to my sides, and then letting them lift up.

Press down, and lift. I'll do two more, and then on the third one, I'm gonna add a chest lift, so I'm lifting up, I'm gonna extend my leg, so one leg goes over the foot bar, one leg goes under the foot bar, and I'm going to pinch the foot bar, and bend in, extend out, pinch, and in, reach pinch, and in, and I'm taking my legs into slight external rotation, reach pinch, and in, one more time, and then I'll lower all the way back down. Where the straps are, I'm gonna push them forward a little bit, and then bend my elbows till it lands into the stopper. This is my start position. I'm gonna start by pressing my arms straight, and bend.

It's a little tricep extension, and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start lowering my elbows each time I press my arms straight, and you're trying to keep your wrists straight here, so we're gonna say extension of everything, extension of the wrists as well. I think in the next one after this, after this one, my elbows are gonna be down to the mat. I'm gonna add a chest lift, hold it there, lower my legs, tap the bar, and lift, lower, tap, and lift, lower, tap, and lift, two more, and one more, and I'll lower all the way down, let my arms lift up, feet find the foot bar, and we're gonna press back, and step my feet in. There's all sorts of ways to step into the straps. I like the lazy way.

This is the lazy way. Where's my foot? I'm like, I have a foot. I cannot find it. Okay, so you wanna have the straps be relatively on where your arch and heel come together.

We're gonna start with just some frogs. Bend in, and press, bend in, and press. You can have your legs go as wide as your shoulders, and your knees can come in as long as you can keep your back neutral. We'll do a couple more here. Bend in, reach out, bend in, reach out.

We're gonna turn this into an extended frog, so you bend your knees, and maybe not as far as you could, extend your legs out to the side, squeeze, legs come back together. There are some beams in this room, which is actually super-convenient, because you can travel your legs along the beams. I generally look for where the ceiling and wall come together so that I know I'm pulling along a horizon line. Then we'll do a reverse of that, so you go out, bend, carriage doesn't move, push, go out, bend, carriage doesn't move, and push, moves, doesn't move, and it's not moving 'cause you're keeping the tension the same the entire time. Now, we're gonna do the same thing, we're just gonna do it with hips up, so go ahead and do a little rollover, push your legs out, open your legs, carriage doesn't move, heels together, push out, open, bend heels together, push out and forward, open, bend heels together, was a little rough on that one, open, heels together, one more time, open, heels together.

This way is harder. You're going to go out, push forward, bend, go out, push forward, and bend, three more, out, push forward, and bend, out, push forward, and bend one more time, push forward. Now push towards a plank and lay your spine slowly down, bone-by-bone. From there, we're just gonna go for a little hamstring stretch. We're gonna begin to lift the straps up till you feel the stretch in the back of your legs.

I always say, everyone's 90 degrees is gonna be different based on their leg flexibility, but I wanna try to hit kind of a true 90 if you have that flexibility. Going up, and down, up, and down. I have the slightest turnout in my legs, but you could be doing this in parallel. Now, I'm gonna stop with my legs at 90 degrees. My goal is that the straps aren't going to move, and I'm gonna do a pelvic curl till my knees touch here.

Begin to lift up, touch your knees to the straps, and then lay your spine down, carriage stays still, lift up, knees touch, and lower down, lift up, knees touch, and lower down, got two more, lift up, and lower, last one, lift up, now we're gonna fold your knees in more so we can do high frogs, bend in, and press, bend in, and press, bend in, and press, one more time, press it out, same deal, try to lay your spine down slowly, and we're just gonna finish with some leg circles because I always feel cheated if I do a workout without leg circles, and I asked my classical Romana teacher once what happens to leg circles when you get to like the intermediate work 'cause they go away, and she says the leg circles are in backstroke, which I think is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, because it's not enjoyable in any way, and this is. We're gonna do one more rep, and then we'll switch directions. You go out, down, exhale as you lift up. Think for your abs are pulling your legs in, out, down, and lift, out, down, and lift, out, and lift, last one, and then we're gonna take it into a little stretch. I'm gonna bend my left knee, and push my left leg to the floor, and let my right leg lift up, and I can pull my leg in for a little more stretch.

I'm getting hip flexor on left, hamstring on right. If this does not feel okay in your back, don't do this one, but you can just do like a wide-leg straddle. Pushing forward with your knee at this angle is not necessarily a great idea, so I'm gonna push with my right leg a little bit to get this leg up, and then I'll switch. This is my tighter side again, so it's not gonna be coming in as far, and you can lift your leg. I have the one leg reaching down to the the floor, and then, because my back is completely happy doing this, I'm gonna push both legs down, and my back is arching away from the floor, and it's actually very similar to a yoga exercise, the name of which I can't remember, where you sit between your knees and kind of hang back, and I feel like it's a really nice stretch, at least for me, for my quads and hip flexors, but you definitely want to pull yourself out of it.

You're gonna pull forward, bring your legs together, bend you knees, take the straps off, and go ahead and just hang the straps on the posts. We're gonna make your way up to seated, and we're going to start by losing one red spring. We're coming down to one red spring, and then we're gonna grab the box, and I wanna take the foot bar down, because we're gonna do some extension, and the foot bar's just gonna get in my way, so we're moving the foot bar, grabbing the box, and it's going on the long way. One box, and I get super-OCD about making sure it's exactly in the middle. It's right up against the shoulder rests, and then I'm gonna go ahead and have a seat.

It's not right up against the shoulder rests evenly. Now it is. Okay, so I'm go ahead and have a seat, and I can be pretty close to the front for this first one. Again, it's on one red spring, so it's moving pretty easily. Gonna grab the straps, and I don't want to bend my elbows to move it.

I'm just gonna keep my arms reaching forward. It's a little roll back. You roll down, let your low back kiss the mat, lift your arms as you're coming back up, so there's no tension here, it's just gonna depend on how tight your straps are. Roll back, and then lift to come back up, roll back, and lift to come back up. On this next one, roll back to a point where it's uncomfortable to stay there for a while, and then we'll stay there for a while.

You're gonna go back a little bit further, make sure your shoulders are back. We're gonna do little baby lifts, up and down, up and down, pull up, and up, and up. I feel like there should be a song or something. Lift, and lift, we'll do eight more, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Roll all the way up to seated.

We're gonna do a little kind of chest expansion, not a true chest expansion, but just pull back, squeeze between your shoulders, and come forward, pull back, and forward, pull back, and forward, do a couple more here, pull back, and forward. Now, you're just gonna hinge, so the hinge is not a it's not a rounded spine, it's a leaned-forward spine. Make sure your head stays in line with your spine, and your shoulders aren't forward, they're back a little bit. Let your arms go back, they go forward until you hit the stopper or almost, circle out, around, and forward. You go back, forward, out around, forward, back, out around, back, forward, out around, forward, back, out around.

We'll do two more, and one more, and then you can come all the way up. For the next one, we're gonna come into back extension, kind of a little back bend, and you wanna make sure your shoulder blades are like right at the edge. I'm gonna try to measure it out. I feel like if I am this far scooted forward, I would be in a happy position, and that is true, so I'm gonna go ahead and start seated upright, arms forward, (strap clacks), strap falls on the floor, it happens, go ahead and grab it. If you dropped your strap at the exact same time I dropped my strap, wouldn't that be weird.

Arms forward, you're gonna go ahead and round back, gonna do a bicep curl, and then an overhead press, reaching your hands down like they're trying to touch the outside of the carriage, circle your arms, chin to your chest, you're gonna catch the weight, and again, rolling yourself up all the way to seated shoulders over hips. Again, exhale as you round back, bicep curl, press, circle, chin to your chest, roll yourself all the way up. We're gonna do three more. Rounding back, reach, circle, rolling up, and last two, rounding back, curling in, press reach, circle around, rolling up, and do one more time, rounding back, curl it in, push up and overhead, circle it around, and then make your way all the way up to seated. Go ahead and you can hang the straps up.

We're gonna turn around, and we're gonna put the foot bar back up. Right now, I'm on one red spring. I'm gonna do a swan variation, and I actually slide sometimes when I'm on one red, so I'm just gonna change it to one blue for me, so probably a red or maybe even, for some people, a green. You come, lying on your stomach, gonna start with your legs together, and your elbows are slightly lifted, just press yourself out, and in a couple of times. Your fingers are sort of pigeoned, pigeon-toed in, almost, so they're facing towards each other.

We're gonna do a couple more like this, last one like this. Now, lift up as you're coming in, bend your elbows, lower back down, push out, lift up to come in, and lower back down, one more like this, lift up, bend lower. Now, we're gonna do, essentially, the reverse of that. We're going up, push out, bend in. When you come into extension, you lift up.

Try not to like do an overarch of your back, so you're taking your ribs with you, so you're not trying to leave them down. Flaring ribs and lifting shoulders are my two favorite things in the world, other than maybe chocolate, and if you're on the same page you just need to make sure that you are mindful that when you're doing extension, it is a little bit safer if you keep your ribs as part of your body. From here, I'm gonna add on a bunch of springs, I'm just gonna add on all of them, for what's coming next, not next-next, but next after after-next, and then I'm gonna slide myself down. I'm gonna come into a position where my pubic bone is off the box, but my hip bones are on the box, and then you can have your hands held on here, you can hold on here, you can hold on here. I'm gonna hold on here, let my legs go down towards the floor, lift them up, heels together, open out, lower down.

I'm not feeling this in my low back. This is pure hip extension. You might see my low back muscles turning on. It's not like they're not involved in this exercise, but I'm really going for the hip extension part of it. We're down, lift up, and down, we'll do a couple more like this, one more like this, and then we'll lift up, bend your knees, heels together, little lifts from there, for 10, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10, and then you can lower your legs down, just press yourself up, and we're gonna step off to the side.

A lot of times people do grasshopper and then just lower the foot bar. I don't feel like that gives me as much range of motion as I want, so I'm gonna face the other way, and I'm gonna do a swan, let's say a swan dive first, and then into grasshopper, and I'm leaving the foot bar up because I'm lazy, and I know I'm gonna need it up later anyway. The position I'm gonna come into is right that my hip bones are like right at the edge. I could have my hands on the floor, but I've practiced this with my hands on the outside here, so we're gonna do it that way. Go ahead and bend your elbows, lift your legs up super-high, and then lift up, drop your shoulders back a little bit, lift up, legs go up, and lift.

We'll do three more. Lift, and come back up, lift, and come back, one more time, lift, and come back up. Now, we'll do sort of a grasshopper version of it, so I'm gonna separate my legs a little bit. I'm gonna go over, bend my knees, lift my legs up, beat my heels together as I lower back down, go over, knees bend, lift, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. One more time.

Over, bend, lift, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Eight didn't quite make it, but eight was there in my mind. Go ahead and step off to the side. This next exercise, I would say, is sort of like a jackknife using the long box. It is a little scary if you've never done it before.

I'm gonna gear this way out so I can use the bar to press into, 'cause that makes it less scary for me. I would say, if you haven't done this, watch it before you do it, and hopefully I won't screw it up. I have all the springs on. I don't want this to move at all, and I kind of know that the foot bar jiggles this much, so it doesn't freak me out if it starts moving. I'm gonna come to lying down with my shoulders on, but my neck off, and it's gonna allow me to get the extension and the height that I wouldn't be able to get if I was doing it on the mat, without risking injuring my neck.

Kind of adjust. My shoulders are on. My head is dropped back. I'm gonna start by pulling onto this, bending my knees in, and then begin to lift my legs up to what is, hopefully, straight, and then I'm just gonna hold it there, and I'm gonna start doing some leg movements. Just working on my balance.

Open, and close, open, and close, two more times, one more time. Then I'm gonna do a knee down, and up, other knee down, and up, right knee down, and up, left knee down, and up, then I can do a leg back, lift it back up, a leg back, and lift it back up. I'm gonna fold my legs back a little bit as I begin to lay on my spine, down, and then come up into a chest lift, and we'll just do crisscross, 'cause we're here, twist, and twist, really trying to keep your shoulders, shoulder blades off the box, and twist. We'll do four. Two, three, and four, and then go ahead and just rock yourself up to seated.

We're gonna turn the box so it's short box. I know, for me, if it's geared all the way in, I need to put it, which I'm going to do, I need to put the box over the shoulder rests to be able to get my legs in the position I want them. I'm gonna take the gear bar, pull it all the way back, and have a seat, and then go ahead and grab for this strap, and I'm just gonna leave the foot bar up, because we need it momentarily, so I'm just gonna leave it where it is. Go ahead and start with your feet under the strap, and I actually like my feet apart so I can feel like I'm more secure, and you want about a hand's distance from your seat to the back, and then in certain positions your legs will go straight. Hands over your abs.

It's a reminder to pull your abs in, exhale to round back, and then take that shape over, round back, maybe a little bit further, and come up, round back, and come up. Gonna reach my arms forward, round back, rotate towards the right, and center, rotate left, and center, round forward, stack it up. Going again, rounding back, rotate right, and center, left, and center, come all the way up, hands are just gonna touch the outside of your ears, sit up a little taller and more forward than you think. We're gonna do a little side bend, imagining that your bra line is your waist. Lift up to the right, and center, up to the left, and center, right, and left, lengthen your lower back a little bit, lean back, lift up and forward, lean back, lift up and forward, one more time, lean back, lift up and forward.

I'm gonna do tree, which is my favorite exercise on my right leg, but my left leg is really tight. It's got some MS spasticity in it, so it's not going to look the same on the right and the left, which is pretty true of everyone, but certainly true of me. I'm gonna hug underneath my right leg, and I'm gonna do three extensions, so reach your right leg up one, reach two, reach three. Hold on to your ankle, pull your leg in a little bit. We're just gonna rock back till your leg ends at 90, walk down, you can go into a back bend if that feels okay to you, and then walk yourself back up, and do that two well, sort of twice more.

Down, and up. On this next one, I'm gonna take it into more of a back bend, so I'm gonna reach my hands to the outside of the rails, and then take my leg across, around, and up, across, around, and up, across, around, up, switching directions, two, and three. Leg is up, roll it up. I'm gonna grab hold of my foot, stretch my leg up more, and then I'm gonna let my left foot come out, take my right leg across, hold onto these little handle-y things, and then lean forward. Pretty sure that's the technical term for them.

If you need to get replacement parts, just say, the little handle-y things on the long box. We're gonna strap the other leg, and I'll hold on behind my left leg, and I'll do three extensions. For some reason, I usually shift my hips on this side. I'm not sure why, I just do. I'm gonna try to make sure I'm in the middle.

Stretch two, stretch three, holding onto your leg, you're gonna take it back, into your back bend, and then lift back up. I don't know why it is that this leg doesn't like to stay straight, but it doesn't, so I'm trying to concentrate on extending through my knee on this last one, going down, release, cross around, up, two, three, switch directions, two, and three, holding onto my leg, lifting up, holding onto my foot, getting more of a stretch, letting my right foot go, and putting my left leg on top, grabbing onto the handle-y things, and leaning forward, and breathing. I have to say, this talking-while-exercising thing is really challenging. Feels like I've run a marathon, and as an avid non-runner, that's never happening. Go ahead and take the box off, and we're just gonna put it back where we found it, and we're using this and stretching it out to make ourselves a little break, and then we're gonna come back to the reformer, and we're gonna change the springs.

I wanna come to a red-blue. You might wanna do two reds. We're gonna be doing some sort of elephant, up-stretchy kind of variations, so whatever is your happy weight for that. Mine is red-blue. I'm gonna start with my legs back, and then so this is down dog.

This is elephant. We're gonna be in down dog for part of it, but the first part we're gonna be in elephant. You try to lift your toes up, press back and in, and really think about your glutes being what moves the carriage. Going out, all the way in, out, and in, out, and in. Try not to crash the carriage the way I am.

We'll do last two, last one. Now we're gonna come into more of a down dog, so think butt up. Go ahead and take one leg, I'm gonna do left first, extend it up and through, and then you're just gonna do little leg lifts for 10, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10. That leg comes back. You might have to adjust your hands a little bit.

Other leg goes through, lift up for 10, two, three, four. You're trying to keep both arms straight. Eight, nine, and 10, and then we're gonna come back in. Brent Anderson has this great stuff he's talking about, about sitting is the new smoking, so we need to do squats every day. This is gonna be sort of a squat up stretch.

I have my heels kind of middle of the shoulder rest, and right now I'm sitting down on the shoulder rest. My hips allow me that much range of motion. If yours don't, you just don't come down as far. The foot bar feels really far away to me from here, but I can't make that any closer than it is. You're gonna stand all the way up, press out like regular up stretch, come forward, lift your hips back up, squat all the way down so your butt touches the shoulder rests, lift up, push out, come forward, up and back, butt touches down, lift back up, push out, forward, up, lower down, lift up, push out, lift up.

Oh, I forgot to do the travel forward. I'll do it on the next one. Lift up, push out, travel forward, go up, and back. You can let your hands find the mat. Let your feet find the mat so that you kind of turn in, and just come into a forward fold, and then go ahead and come down to your knees from there.

I'm gonna change the spring weight to a single um, actually I think I'm gonna stay on the red-blue for a while. We're gonna turn around, and we're gonna do a little outer hip opener. I'm gonna have my This is my left hand. Have my left hand on the head rest, my right hand on the shoulder rest, and I'm gonna be in sort of a quadruped position, and I'm gonna take my right foot to a turnout position with my knee in line with my toes, and then push out, and in, two, three. We're going for eight.

Four, five, six, seven, and eight. Come all the way in, extend your leg over, we're gonna do little lifts for 10, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, circle it, 10, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, switch at 10, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10, coming back in, and we'll turn to face the other direction. On this side, my left heel doesn't make it all the way down for a lot of it, because of just the tightness in my Achilles. My heel's gonna lift up, and I'm just gonna let it, and accept that perfection is impossible. Do four more, two, three, and four, extending the leg over the foot bar, let's lift for ten, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, circle it, ten, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, switch it, 10, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10, come all the way back in, (spring thunks) and you're gonna lose a spring.

I'm gonna take it down to a red, I think, so taking this spring off. You wanna come forward so your knees are up against the shoulder rest, and have a seat butt-down on your heels. You're gonna start with you butt staying down on your heels. Reach your arms way forward past your shoulders, thumbs with fingers, if you like having thumbs, and then draw your shoulders back, and then you're gonna pull your chest through your arms, and then lower back down, pull, and reach back. Do three more like this, pulling through, and back, pulling through, and back, one more time, pulling through, and coming back, and give myself a little break.

What we're gonna do next time is same deal, and then we're gonna kinda take it to a cat stretch, which means your hips are coming off. You're gonna pull, maybe not quite as far. So pull. Try to keep the carriage still as you round up. Now you're in, like, reverse knee stretches.

Let your legs go back, pull in, go back, pull in, go back, pull in, last two, last one, gonna sit it back down, extend your arms. We'll do one more set of those. Pull, round, lift your butt off your heels, legs go back, and in, two, three, four, and five, and then I'll come all the way back in. I'm gonna add a little extra spring weight for myself, and I'm gonna lower the foot bar down. We're gonna do a variation of long spine with no straps, except easier than long spine with no straps, but harder than long spine with straps.

You will see what I mean in a moment. I may not be able to talk while I'm doing it, so if I all of a sudden go mute, don't worry about me. If I'm still moving, I'm still breathing somehow. You wanna like down, and think about the connection of your arms to your back, and your back to your legs, because it's really about locking into a position, and then stabilizing from there. If you come to lying on your back, you're gonna take your arms, so I'm taking my hands so they're going holding onto the actual wood of the carriage, and then I'm squeezing my arms to come towards the shoulder rest, so I'm locked in in two ways.

I'm pulling with my arms, and squeezing with my biceps. I'm gonna take my legs up, kind of at an angle back, and then we begin to bicycle my legs, and lay my spine away from my legs that are reaching forward, and the hard part is to come back up, and then go down again, so you're bicycling forward, not doing a lot of talking, and then think about climbing back up, and then one in reverse direction, so begin to cycle backwards. I have no idea why it feels like your brain stops working when your legs move this way, but they do. Then just join your feet together at the top, and then slowly lay down, and bend your knees, take a little break. Since we're here, we're gonna do kind of a ticktock, so hands onto the posts, wide elbows, legs up.

You can go all the way straight. I'm gonna do a slight bend. You're gonna take your legs to one side, head goes in the opposite direction, and come back, legs go one way, head goes the other way. We're gonna do one more round each side, and last one, and then go ahead and come back in, just hug your knees in, rock a little from side to side, congratulate yourself if you managed to do that, and then go ahead and make your way up to seated. We need to have our foot bar back, so we're gonna lift it back up, and go ahead and place it in.

For me, we're gonna do a mermaid variation. I'm gonna go with one red spring. It's kinda my happy weight. We're gonna sit with one leg folded, and then the other leg folded forward. This is the easier way to do it, and I like this way better 'cause we can do the twist.

One hand is down, one arm reaches up. When you push out, don't think about side bending, think about side reaching. Your arm is up, you lean, and reach, and then you come all the way back into the stopper. Again, lean and reach. I find this part of mermaid kind of, you know, it's fine.

The other part, which I don't think is classical at all, is the part I like. On this next one, you're gonna lean out, and rotate, left hand down, right arm reaches out, lift your chest between your arms, get the twist, and press back out, lift up, and press back out, lift up, and these feel so good I'm gonna do five, and press back out, twice more, lift, and reach, and lift, and reach. To come out of it, bring your right hand back where it was, lift yourself back up. Easiest way to turn around is just to spin in the direction of the shoulder rest. When you turn around, then your right leg is magically where it's supposed to be, and your left leg is where it's supposed to be.

Your left hand is slightly forward of your shoulder, right arm reaches, you side reach over, and then lift to come up, side reach over, and lift up, side reach over, and lift, the next one gets the good part, side reach over, rotate, and then lift your chest through your arms, and push back out. We'll do four more. Lift up, and out, lift up, and out, last two, lift up, and out, and last one, lift up, press out, left hand comes back, sit yourself all the way back up. We're gonna add a spring for some knee stretches. For me, two reds is what I would usually do it on, but I'm gonna do some a kind of variation that makes it harder, so I'm gonna do a red-blue.

You're gonna start with your feet up against the shoulder rests, and then sit your hips back to your heels a little bit, and then you're gonna round, kind of tuck and round your spine coming off your heels. This position of your back isn't really gonna change. You're just gonna push out and in, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10, can sit your heels back for a second. We're gonna come back into that position, so rounding up. Bring your right had a little more center, open your left arm out, and we're gonna do a twisted version.

Two, three, just four, four, back to center, and go out, two, three, and four, and then come all the way back in, and you can just sit your hips back to your heels, stretch out a little bit, and then we're gonna go ahead and change the spring to I'm gonna go for one green. I have figured a green is the perfect spring weight for me. For you, it might be a red-blue. We're gonna take it down in weight. Might be a red-yellow.

We're gonna do some sort of kind of control front, but it's sort of a variation of that. We'll go ahead and take the foot bar all the way down so it's out of the way, and we're gonna do hands on the carriage instead of on the shoulder rests. You'll learn the reason for that. We're gonna actually try to drop down to our forearms while we're pressing out on the second set. Go ahead and come to kneeling.

You're gonna bring your feet up to the wood and/or the gray exfoliating pad, and you'll press yourself out to a plank. Just push out and in five times. Three, four, and five. Now we're gonna try to drop to your forearms. Push out drop, lift back up, push out drop, lift back up, push out drop, lift up, just two more, out, and in, and out, and in.

Let your knees come underneath you. Take a little teeny break, 'cause that was really hard, and then on the next one we're gonna do what I'm now calling the Stallone, because I saw Sylvester Stallone doing it on some Instagram video, and I figured if Sylvester Stallone could do it, I could do it, as one does. We're gonna start with your hands in the same position, but because your hands slide, potentially, you're gonna hook your thumbs so that your thumbs are up against the shoulder rests, so hopefully they won't slide. You're gonna come into what I'm gonna call like a down dog position. Your shoulders are forward, your hips are up, and then you push yourself out, and lift to come back in, push out, and lift to come back in, little length through your low back, push out, and back in, two more times, doing this for you, Sly, push out, and pull to come back in.

Go ahead and let your knees drop underneath you. Collapse if you need to. Grab some water. We're just gonna stretch. Go ahead and lift the foot bar back up, and we're gonna start with a little side straddle stretch.

I'm gonna come to one red spring. I'm gonna start I'm gonna bring my legs parallel because I wanna stretch my peroneals 'cause I know they're tight for me. Parallel foot, parallel foot. Begin to push the carriage out, and the degree to which you have the flexibility, you can fold forward into the stretch, reaching your hands down, noticing the hair that got caught in one of the springs during one of the exercises, and then come all the way back in. We're gonna take a quarter turn to just do like a little Eve's lunge.

Foot down, lower down, lengthen your spine, so lifting up and out of it, and if you wanna take it into more of a hamstring stretch, go ahead and flex your foot, push out more, so it's more of a split stretch. You could, if you wanted to, bring your hands lower, and then we'll come all the way back in, walk it around to the other side, and then you're gonna start on this side, with your feet parallel. Parallel foot, parallel foot, press yourself out, and walk yourself forward, getting that inner thigh stretch, and just hold for a few breaths, and then we'll come back in, and just take that quarter turn. Your foot comes back, other foot is up against the shoulder rest, you go back, lengthening your spine forward, and just hold for a few breaths, and then, if you wanna take it into more of a hamstring stretch, lift your heel, push back, and then we'll come all the way in. We're gonna use the foot bar for a little last stretch.

What we're gonna do is bring your body back, and bring your elbows onto the foot bar, drop your head between your hands, and your fists to your upper back, and if you want to, you can bend your knees, so you're trying to get a stretch through your triceps, and upper back, and then one last thing, just kind of hang back off the foot bar, and then make your way all the way back up to standing. Thank you for joining me for this class. Hope you liked it. If you did, make a comment.


2 people like this.
I really enjoyed your class - especially the jackknife off the box (great for those like me who do not have a ladder barrel and want to practice) and the Sly movement! Thank you from Paris!
1 person likes this.
I loved !!! Thanks from Brazil!!!!
1 person likes this.
I'm stealing most of these moves for my group class tonight! Thanks for the inspiration???
1 person likes this.
Wow, thank you so much.
1 person likes this.
I knew I was going to love this class! Almost chickened out of the jack knife, but I gave it a try. The bicycles were my favorite! Thank you!!(from Los Angeles):)
1 person likes this.
Julian would be proud of you for offering both challenging and Innovative exercises that are fun! Thanks for an awesome workout
1 person likes this.
Loved the class!! So good to have a new class from you. I took your ms workshop in Temecula and it is good to see you again.
1 person likes this.
Awesome class Mariska! You crack me up. I might have missed it, but what springs were you working on during the footwork and bridge at the beginning?
Aww - thanks! Glad you all liked it. Dawn - two red springs.
Wonderful class, I can't wait to do it!!
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