Class #3301

Athletic Reformer Variations

60 min - Class


Get ready to work all over the Reformer with this challenging workout by John Garey. He focuses on full-body movements, adding strength and balance elements throughout the class. He includes fun variations like Kneeling Footwork, The Hundred Start, and so much more!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Weighted Balls, Knee Pad

About This Video


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Hello, and thank you for joining me for this athletic reformer workout. So today we are going to be working all over this reformer. We're going to be focusing on full body work. So that means arms, legs, abs, back muscles. And we're going to be doing some balance work.

And we're going to be doing a lot of strength work. So this I would consider to be an intermediate level exercises, but the exercises do range from beginner all the way up to advance. So for some of them, make sure you are ready to do these exercises. And you are doing them with a trained professional if you're not one yourself. So we're gonna begin with foot work.

But what I'm gonna do is I'm going to incorporate some upper body mobility into our foot work today. So I'm using just some weighted balls and they're only two pounds. So if you want to use regular dumb bells or anything that's light, you don't want anything super heavy here because this is really about warming up the joints and getting our bodies ready for the work to come. So I just have those on the sides of the carriage here. And I'm using a balance body reformer.

So for my foot work I'm going to use three red springs. You can use whatever it is that you normally use for foot work. So on different reformers, obviously, the spring tensions are different. So what I want you to feel is that you're warming up. You're not really using super heavy distance here.

That's not what foot work is about. It's really preparation work and that's what we wanna use it for. So I'm gonna have my headrest up so that my head and neck are in a comfortable position. And then I'm gonna come down onto the carriage here on my back. And I'm gonna take my feet...

We're gonna start in kind of what is more familiar for our people coming from the fitness world or our athletes that are used to working in kind of a more gym environment. So I'm gonna work with my heels first. It's also really nice way to make sure that you're connecting with the glutes and ham strings. So I'm gonna do just a few reps here. My feet are hip distance apart.

And you want to look for that neutral alignment in the pelvis and lumbar spine. That means you've got a little space between your lower back and the carriage. It's not smushed down onto the carriage. I'm gonna take a breath in. And as I exhale, I'm gonna press the carriage out.

If you prefer to inhale as you press the carriage out, by all means, go for it. But I like the exhale for what you're going to be doing because it kind of coordinates with the arm movements as well. As you press out, you want to think about pressing through the center of the heel. And try to let your ankle joint relax. Meaning, don't crank your toes back with you as you press out.

Once you've got that down, you're straightening the legs without locking the knees out. You're going to grab the toning balls. Make sure you slide a little bit away from the shoulder rest so you're not jammed up into it. And we're gonna do a chest press. So with your light weights, just press up and come back in.

Exhale up, inhale to come back in. So once you start this coordination thing, anything you might have corrected on your footwork may come back so bring your attention back to that movement pattern. Make sure it's nice and fluid for you. And then you can go into a fly. So you're going to reach the arms out to the side and then bring them right up.

So this is a really good way to warm up the should joint a little bit. And some of those muscles like pec muscles anteriored out. And same breath, exhale press out. And then we can take this right into a lift. And lower.

Now, I've got the palms facing each other. But you can also turn the palms down or turn the palms up if you want more of an open position on the shoulder. It's up to you. And then two more and one more. Alright, now we're going to come back in and I'm just going to change foot positions.

I'm still going to keep my feet about hip distance apart. But I'm going to go into my high half toe position here. That means at the end of the ball of the foot. And I'm plantar flex or pointed through the ankle joint. And then I'm gonna press out and come back here.

Exhale away, inhale to come back in. Just pressing through. And you want to keep the weight between on the ball of the foot between the great toe and the second toe. Two more times, don't snap your knees. Control that carriage.

And then we're gonna go right into our flys. Opening out. So if you do about five of each of the arm movements. Gonna be doing 15 reps, that's plenty for each of these. That's why I took the little bit of a lighter resistance as well.

And then we're gonna go right into our lower lift with the arms. Right here. And two, there more. Press, use your exhale as you press out. Hold this last one out there.

And what we're gonna do is bend your elbows and we're gonna go into our lower lift here with our ankles. So you're gonna reach the heels under and come back up. This time I want you to exhale as you reach the heels under. Inhale back up. Three, and four is gonna be plenty.

And then we're gonna go into our flys. Reach under and lift. Try to stay right in the center of that ball of the foot as you reach the heels under and lift to keep our abdominals engaged. And then we do our lowers and lift, exhale. So it's opposition here.

Arms are going up as heels are going down. Two more, and one more. A little coordination right at the beginning. And then come all the way in. Okay, so what I want you to do now is take those weights and put them off to the side.

And then we're gonna go back to your heels. So this is one of my really favorite new things to do that's going to really get us into the posterior muscles on that leg. So what we're going to do is start in your neutral position. If you're more comfortable lowering your headrest down for this, you can. But we're only floating the hips off the carriage like so.

Only about an inch. Barely enough to slide your hand underneath. So you should be okay with the headrest up still. From there, you're gonna push the carriage out. And come back in maintaining your neutral position in that pelvis in that hover position right above the carriage.

Pushing out and coming back in. Let's go for eight. So we're gonna do three more here. Really hold that steady. You should be able to feel the muscles down the back side of the leg really working just to stay in that position.

And let's do one more because I lost count. Press, come in, and lower down. Okay, now it doesn't get any easier. We're gonna go on to the high half toe position. And you're gonna lift up and push out from there and come back in.

This is a really good way to make sure that those hamstrings stay engaged throughout this whole movement. Super challenging to keep the pelvis level and hovering just about the carriage the whole time. Let's do two more. Press. Abs nice and strong, one more, press.

Now hold it there and you're going to go into a little running or prancing with your hips off. Really work the back of the calves. The very belly of that gastrock and the ham strings, and the glutes, your quads are working as well. Your breath is flowing. You're going to reach both heels up.

Bend your knees to come back in. And set your hips down. You should be warm. Okay, now we're going to move on. And we're going to continue with foot work.

We're going to do some kneeling foot work. This is really a great way to think about holding your body in kind of a more neutral position in a completely different position than our foot work. So you have to take what you learn in foot work laying on the carriage and transfer it to kneeling on the carriage. So I'm using any kind of a raised cushion is fine. It doesn't have to be super high.

But what it's going to allow me to do is keep my pelvis square during the exercise. So if you've got one great, if you don't have one it's okay, it's just going to be a little tough on the high half toe part. Then if you notice, I put the cushion all the way back at the end and I kneel all the way back at the end. And I take my opposite heel and I place that on the foot bar. I went down to two red springs by the way, if you didn't see me do that.

You're probably going to want to do that. Now I'm going to come into this position. I have my hand in front of the shoulder rest to prevent me from sliding. And I find as neutral position as I can here. And I'm going to push the carriage out with my heel and then come back in.

Head is in line with my spine. Abdominals are engaged. Shoulders are above the hand. And I love this position because as I do my single leg work here, I'm actually able to get that hip almost fully neutral when I press the carriage up. Different than when you're laying on your back.

Two more times. And one more time. If you haven't already, you're gonna soon learn that this is as much an upper body exercise as it is a lower body exercise cuz your shoulders are really working hard to stabilize you. High half toe position is next. And you can see this is why I want to be kneeling on a cushion is because my knee would be hitting the carriage otherwise.

This really helps me to get the range I need with my hips square. Press out to the center of the ball of the foot and come in. Press away and come back in. Foot right in line with the sit bone. And three.

Whoo, two. Now hold this one out there. And we do our lower and lift above the bar. Inhale under, exhale up. And two, strong abs, three, four, five, oh my goodness.

And come all the way back in. Alright, so now let's slide the cushion over. We're going to do the same thing on this side. So it's important that you kneel down at the end so you get enough range and you're not hitting the carriage in every time you do the repetition. And so here, put my heel right in line on the foot bar with my sit bone and push away.

Exhale, strong abs here. Press up and come back in. Head in line with your spine. Try not to keep it lifted. And two.

Shoulders out at the ears. And one. Shoulders should be on fire right now. And then go into your high half toe position. Exhale, press out.

Press right between the great toe and the second toe. Press and return. Try to keep the heel lifted. And the hips level. Three and two, and one.

Hang in there, we got this. Now we're going to go into our lower and lift. So drop the heel under and press it up five. Four. Three, get good range.

Two. One. And come back in. Now, this next one is so great in combination with that last series. So what you're going to do...

I'm going to go down about one red spring. I'm going to come forward and I'm going to put my knees against the shoulder rest. And I'm gonna put my hands forward on the rails. Now I want my hands in front of my shoulders. So a little bit different of our reverse knee stretches.

So I'm not going to be pulling with my legs. I'm actually going to be pulling with my arms like so. So I want my hands far enough ahead. I'm going to exhale. Pull the carriage in.

Abs are strong. Back is as neutral as possible. And I'm pulling the carriage forward so that my shoulders end up right above my hands. And then return it. I'm not pulling with my legs like we normally do.

This is the opposite of the muscles you used during the last exercise in the shoulder. So now we're using lats. And it actually gives us a little active recovery for those delts. Two more. Shake, shake, shake.

One more. Pull and come back. Now I'm going to bring my hands back just slightly and then I'm going to shift my hips forward so they're out over the shoulder rest. And I try to get my shoulders above my hands. From here, I tuck the knees under.

Now this is our more normal reverse knee stretch position. And exhale, pull. I'm flexing the hips. My body is no longer moving forward and back. My knees are coming underneath me.

Two more. And one more. And now we have a little fun. So I pull in with one leg, I reach the other let out. Come in and switch.

Whoo. And exhale alternate. So the carriage and the legs move constantly reciprocally. Pull and exhale. Pull and one more set.

Exhale, pull. Work that upper body. Pull and return. Oh my goodness. Okay, enough of those.

Now we're going to move on and we're going to actually come into what I call the hundred start. So guys, I would recommend that you keep this one kind of medium spring, medium tension spring. Maybe one heavy spring if you're on the marithew equipment. And that should be enough to start with. I'm going to do an exercise that I refer to as the hundred start.

So it's not the full hundreds. I'm going to actually get my foot bar out of the way here for this one. This is a way to add legs into the hundreds. And it's a really good combination with our feet in straps that we're going to do after. So here's what I want you to do.

We're going to get into the perfect hundred start position with our legs in tabletop. So I'm going to breathe in. And then as I exhale, I extend the elbow. But the elbow stays slightly rounded and turned out. So the shoulders are rolled actually a little bit forward.

That gives me more thoracic flection. And then come back down. So find that perfect spot, exhale, come up into that hundred start, and lower it back down. One more like that. Exhale, right into the hundred start.

And then lower back down. Now we add a little bit of our leg fun. So I'm going to come up and I'm going to stretch the legs out and bend them in. We're just going to do three. And two and one.

Feel free to do more, but we've got a lot coming. So come back down. From here, curl up, stretch the legs out. Now we do a lift and a lower with the legs. Come up and down.

One more, up, exhale down. And come back to the start. Next, come on up and we're going to do leg circles. Up and around. And two, and three.

Lower back down. Now we're coming back up. And we're going to do a little tuck, roll back and come in. Roll back two, and roll back three. And come back down.

Now we're really going to have some fun. Come on up, turn your legs out. We're going to do a little beats. So you're going to bend, press. Bend press.

Last time, press. One, two, three. And come back down. Ready? Come on up, turn the legs out and a little frog.

Legs come up, you bend, you reach. Flex the feet as you pull around. Bring them up. Exhale, inhale and exhale. One more.

Up, bend, reach, pull around and come down. Last one. Come on up, turn your legs out, stag, bend one knee, the ankle dorsal flexes, press it back out. Switch. Exhale out.

Switch. Exhale out. One more. Come in, reach out, and lower down. Whoo.

Alright, from there we're going to go up to to red, two medium. And we're going to put the straps on our feet. So like so. Hold it in place and place the other one. There we go.

Now we're going to do many of the same leg movements that we just did without the straps. Again, we're working those opposing muscles. We're doing the same movement, but now we're working the muscles on the posterior leg. Abdominals stay connected. Press out.

So lets do to more. And this bend and stretch on dorsal flexing the ankles and plantar flexing. You can keep them dorsal flex if you want. Lift and lower. Breathe in, exhale down.

Breathe in, exhale down. And down. Then we did our roll back. So lower your headrest into the flat position. You're going to bend your knees in and you're going to roll back.

Roll back down and press out. So breathe in, exhale, roll back. Remember we did this without the straps. This one gives us a really nice lower back stretch. And roll back down.

Now we're going to come back and visit that in a second. But for right now, let's come back to leg circles. Up, open, so we're kind of going in the same order that we did our hundred start leg work in. So I'm coming up, trying to keep the hips as level as possible and circle around. Now next we did our beats, legs turned out.

Inhale, bend, exhale reach. Three beats. Inhale, come in. Control it. So just before the legs are going to clank together, slow that down.

Really control that movement, and come back in. Frog. You're going to reach the legs out. They stay turned out throughout this, guys. You're going to inhale, lift the legs up.

And exhale and bend. Inhale, extend the legs. And the flex the feet, pull around, and point the toes at the end. Come on up and then bend. Notice it's a nice diamond position?

I'm not collapsed into it and I'm not hooking my feet. Reach the legs out. Flex, pull around. One more. Come up and bend.

And reach and pull around. We go right into our stag. This is the hardest one, coordination wise because the legs are doing different things. One leg bends and the ankle dorsal flexes and the other leg stays long and the ankle plantar flexes or points. And you're trying to keep your feet at about the same level without moving your hips.

Just a few things to think about. Inhale in, exhale out, last time. Come in and reach, and bend your knees. So we did two sets of exactly the same exercises but with the resistance coming from different places. Which means that we were able to work all the way around the joint.

Okay, so we're coming up now. And I'm going to lower that head rest down. And we're going to move into a little back rowing here. So I'm going to go down to that one red spring again because we're not just doing back work here. We're doing some back extension work as well.

So what I'd like to do... So for your athletes, they're going to be strong. They might have some mobility in some areas of their body, but usually they're really tight around the hip joint. So when you try to sit them with their legs in front of them, they have a hard time getting into neutral. If you are working with athletes, they are probably not, most of them, are not going to have a problem sitting on their heels this way.

So this is an option that I do a lot of times. That they get really close to the same line of pull that you would get if you were sitting on the carriage. But in this position, it's much easier for them to hold a more neutral alignment in their spine. So we're going to hold this one today. But feel free to change that position.

Sit on a block in between, like a yoga block. That can help for some people if it's a little too much on their knee joint. But this should be pretty good for just about anyone. And I'm going to start with just a high row here. So the straps are crossed and I'm pulling back.

My elbows are coming out to the sides. Exhale, pull. Inhale, return. Nice strong abs, pull back, and return. And I'm must going to do that a couple more times.

Exhaling back, inhaling forward. And I'm going to add here extending the spine. Lift and come forward. This is such a great posture exercise because it really works all those posture muscles. The rear delts, mid traps, romboys, erector spinae.

Two more times. Don't drop your head back to far. Just think of lifting up to the sternum, letting your head and neck follow that line. And one more. Now, I'm going to add to this.

A little tough. You might have to go down on resistance here. So notice I reached all the way for the straps. I'm going to pull and stretch and then come forward. Pull and stretch the arms out and then come forward.

And three more. And forward. And two. And forward. And one more.

Good, reach out there and come all the way forward. That's super challenging, alright. So now we're going to move on. And I'm going to go into a little standing work here. So let's clear this stuff out of the way.

And what I'd like you to do... I'm going to keep the one red spring on. You can adjust this as you go forward. This is such a great full body exercise. So here's how I position it.

I stand and I have my feet actually tucked under the reformer here. So they're right underneath the reformer. And then I'm going to grab the strap that's closest to me. I'm going to hold it in my hands like so and what I'm going to do is find the position that where the strap is taut when I'm in a side lunge. From this side lunge, I'm going to push to the other side lunge.

And then come back. So it's a side to side lunge. I'm pressing through the side of my leg. And I'm getting really good work through the abductors and aductors. Pressing away.

Notice I'm hinged forward right over the carriage. The strap is directly over the shoulder rest. And my arms are in a lock position. I can add a little rotation here. Turning and back.

Not a lot, just a little. So you get a little hip rotation. A little spine rotation. And two more. Press.

And one more. And press. And come back. Alright, from there, I'm going to come on to the carriage. Now, adjust the springs any time you need to.

But from this position, I'm going to start. I have this back strap and I'm going to do a little... Let me scoot forward just a little bit here. I'm going to do a little bit of rotation, but unilateral. So let's go a little bit closer here because this is a tough one.

I'm going to hold the strap on the arm closest to it. I rotate and then rotate. If you notice, my hands are not touching. They're separated. As soon as you close the hands together, you're kind of letting both sides work.

So we want only to feel this part of your body working. Just this side, the side that's holding the strap. Anterior muscles. Rotate. All you're going to do, switch hands.

They're still going to stay separate. And you have a completely different exercise. Exhale. Now we're working all the back muscles on that side. Rotate.

Two more. Rotate. One more. Rotate. Good, alright, now I'm going to come back and then we're going to switch to this front strap here.

And what I'm going to do is just a bicep curl to an over head press. Now many of you may need to reduce the weight because this is challenging. It's also challenging to keep your balance. So guys, this arm is your support beam. You're going to press it right into your side here and push it right against your thigh.

So all you're going to do is from this position you're going to push out into a side plank. And then lower your hips back down. Now decide whether that spring felt like enough to support you or whether you need to go up or down. Press out. And come back in.

One more. Press out. And come back in. Alright, now we're going to go into our side bend. We're going to go down to just one regular red spring here.

And I'm going to press out here. Now I'm going to lift my hips, pulling the carriage underneath my feet and dropping my head. Press back out and then lower your hips back down. Let's breathe. You're going to inhale to press out.

Exhale to lift up and pull, pull, pull. Inhale and then exhale to return. One more. Got it. Press away.

Lift up the hips to pull the carriage and drop your head to get that arc. Press back out and pull back in. I did say twist, didn't I? So here we go. We're going to press out, same way.

Now you're going to pull the carriage in, rotating and reaching under. Push back out and turn to the ceiling. Now pull the carriage in with your feet, reach. Out and return. Alright, let's do that same thing on the other side.

Come on over and either one regular to warm up. I'm going to add that yellow. And from here, push out. Find that one long line. And come back in.

Press out and come back in. One more. Press and come back in. Good, now I'm going to go down on that spring for the next one. I have my hand here solid on the platform.

And I'm going to push out. Arm goes up into a side plank. Then I pull the carriage in with my feet as I drop my head and lift my hips. Press back out to the long line. And lower down.

Two more. So here we go, inhale. Exhale, lift. Inhale, back out. Exhale with control, lower down.

One more time. Press and lift. And reach and back in. Alright, twist, here we go. Press out, breathe in.

Exhale, rotate under, pull the carriage underneath you. Reach back out. Turn to the ceiling. Now lift your hips, pulling the carriage in. Come back out and return.

Whoo. And bring that all the way around to the front. Alright, we're getting there. Now it's just our cool down. So we're just going to bring this out here.

And back in. So challenging, that series. So it really deserves a good stretch. So here we go. We're going to sit in a mermaid position.

So legs are kind of zig zag back toward the shoulder rest. And just breathe. Take one hand on the center of the foot bar. Reach your arm up, breathe in. And then exhale and just stretch over.

Come back up and down. Other side, reaching up. Stretch over. Come back up and down. That's it.

And just let the breath flow. Inhale up. Exhale over. Inhale up. And down.

And last time. Reach and over and up and down. I'm going to add some rotation on this one. So come on up. As you go over to the side, you're going to turn toward the spring and you're going to take a hand on either side of the foot bar and just bend and stretch three times.

One more. Now with the arms long, press down on the bar and lift your chest. Get it really nice rotation stretch here. Press all the way back out. Slide your hand to the center.

Rotate back. Come up, place your arm down. Let's finish over toward the shoulder rest, coming back up. And down. Let's turn around and do that on the other side.

So right here we're turning back. Legs turned toward the shoulder rest. Hand on the middle of the foot bar. You're going to breathe in. The arm floats up and then exhale.

Just fold over to the side. Come back up. And down. And then we go over toward the shoulder rest side. And again, reach up, press away, lengthen over, come back up and down.

Reach up. Take it over. Use your breathing. One more time like this. Breathe in, exhale over, stretch.

Come back up and down. And the other side, reach up, stretch over. Come back up and down. And now we're going to add our rotation. So as you go over to the side, rotate toward the carriage.

Hollow out the abs. Take a hand on either side of the foot bar. And bend and stretch. You're going to feel a really good stretch through your lat. That's why I like this rotation stretch.

Then little bit pressure down on the bars. You lift your sternum up and get that really good spine twist and stretch. Press back out. Slide your hand back to the center. Rotate.

Come up to the top and down. And we'll finish back to this side, reaching over. Coming up and down. From here, you're just going to step to the side and I'm still using just the one regular spring, the red. I'm just going to do a little single five stretch back.

Stretch out our hip flexors and our hamstrings. So keep everything square, sink down, press back. My front foot is right up near the front leg of the reformer. And I'm using my legs, not my arms to do the work here. I'm pushing back through my feet.

And just getting a really good stretch back there. And then forward and up. I like having the spring on the side that I'm working on. That helps the carriage to move nice and smoothly. So line your feet up.

Make sure your knee is in line with your foot. Give me a little sink into it and then stretch back. Come forward and up. And again, sink back and just use your exhale here. Stretch, forward and up.

One more time, guys. Right through, press back. Forward and up. And you can just have a seat and congratulate yourselves because you did a great job. Thank you so much for joining me.

I hope you enjoyed this really challenging workout. I'll see you again next time. Bye.

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6 people like this.
Always love your classes! You are such an innovative, creative teacher! I am always challenged and learn something new. You keep it all fresh and new. Thanks for your great work and for sharing it with us all!
1 person likes this.
Awesome variations! loved it! Thanks John!
That was great! Love those ab things with hundred starts. And the side bend twist at the end...OMG. Thank you !
So much fun, John. Loved all the variations and sequences. I am Stott trained originally so really enjoyed hearing the names of some of the exercises since they were how I learned them 15 years ago. Thanks again for the class and your creativity.
1 person likes this.
Thank you John. I love your classes and admire your energy and enthusiasm which adds to the fun!
Sencillamente espectacular!! Mil gracias!
Super like always!!!!!
Wonderful class!! Great cuing !!
Great workout. Really love all the side body work. Looking forward to the next workout with you.
Excellent! I really enjoyed the workout! Thank you for sharing :)
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