Class #3365

Quick Athletic Reformer

30 min - Class


Practice moving with effortless effort with this quick Reformer workout by Maria Leone. She teaches an athletic class that covers everything you need in 30 minutes. She includes challenging variations to help you deepen your connection to your center as well as tempo changes that help you feel the power in each movement.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Mar 07, 2018
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Hi there, I'm Maria and we're getting ready to do a 30 minute athletic reformer. Everything you need in 30 minutes. So set yourself up for foot work, I have on three heavy springs and one light. Come on to your back, I have my headrest up, but choose what works best for you. We're gonna start with the heels wide on the bar.

Draw the heels in, engage the abdominals, inhale and on an exhale, begin to flow, pressing out, resisting in. And two and resist. And three, and as we start moving really build the intensity in your body, so you're never releasing. I don't wanna see the carriage pull you in. You resist it.

Second Position Heels - Pulses

Last time, feet are still for me, halfway down pause. Little presses up. Okay and this action's coming from a pulling in of the inner thigh and the heels. Rather than a jab from the knee. Keep the sit bones engaged, keep your focus entirely on your body.

Press the carriage out all the way. Come all the way in, put the balls of the feet exactly where the heels are. Heels high and press out and in. And really feel the inner thigh spiraling up to the ceiling. Pull the rib cage right out of your pelvis, so get a full body sensation immediately.

Second Position Toes - Pulses

Traction the lower back out of your hips, from the center of the body, not with the shoulders. Last one. Press out, come in half way, pause, those little pulses again. Pull the big toes in towards the midline of the body. Take a moment to focus on the arms and the shoulders, make sure you're not bracing with the arms or the shoulders.

Press yourself out all the way, control the carriage in, bring the feet to first position right away, heels are high and wrap and in and two. So I really wanna try to get the back of my legs to come together. That's what is propelling me, okay? Do not move from the knee socket. Or the knee joint or the knee socket.

Heels - Pulses

Two more. Last one. Halfway in pause and then those little motions up, never letting go of the tension in the legs, the heels are glued tight. But we're moving with effortless effort, right? Effortless effort.

Pilates Stance - Pulses

Pull out all the way, twist those thigh bones. Come all the way in. Heels up on the bar. Bar's right at the edges of the heels. Let's suction the legs together today, move from the sit bones and press out and in.

And two and in. (deep breathing) Listen for your breath. Maybe an inhale for two reps and an exhale for two reps. So your breath should always match the speed that you're moving. Keep tractioning the spine out of the legs.

Come in halfway, pause here from the sit bone, little presses back. Take a moment to feel the ribcage flat to the mat. I'm working with a neutral pelvis. Legs are still hugging into the midline of the body. Pull out all the way, get long, long, long, long, long.

Control the carriage in to the balls of the feet. Heels are up in a forced arch position. Press all the way out and begin lowering and lifting. Go through full range of the feet, control the carriage entirely. Ribs tight, legs suctioning in.

Tendon Stretch

So that's the part that you have to do. The carriage is offering resistance for our calves. We have to create that form in the body. Last one. Right into running, one heel and then the other.


Change and change and change and change. And five and four and three and two and one. Come in all the way. First equipment change. Come down to two heavy springs.

I'd like your headrest down. That's not a choice, put it down. Onto your heels. And a parallel bridge. From here, tuck in, bridge up.


Dragging the heels to the sit bones, articulate back down. All the way neutral. Inhale here, exhale, tuck, hand peel up, warming up the spine. And peel back down. Last time, tuck and peel up.

Bridge w/Single Leg Lift

Hold it here, no shifting at all, one leg to the ceiling, flex the foot and pulse straight up from that left leg, stamping the left foot into the bar. Flex the right foot. Put the right foot down, no shifting at all, the other leg goes up. Notice my carriage is moving a little bit, pulse up. Fight to hold that carriage in.

(deep breathing) Put the left foot down and peel yourself down. Take a breath in at the bottom, exhale, come right back up. Resist the temptation to brace with the neck and the arms. Right leg up. Big kicks for five.

Bridge w/Single Leg Extension

Down up five, and four, ah, three, and two, and one. The foot goes down. Roll yourself down, shake out those hamstrings, ah. Tuck and peel back up. Hold it there.

The other leg is up. Down and up. So I think I could use a little bit more tension on this, right, cause I'm bobbing around and my hamstrings are fried. Left foot down. Roll down.

Take the two legs straight up to the ceiling, grab hold of the shoulder posts. Glue the legs for modified corkscrew. Inhale up and over to one side. Stack the hips, stack the legs. Big exhale back to center.

Tick Tock

Inhale up and over. Make sure that top waistband is long. Big exhale back. Inhale up and over. Make sure your legs are the same length.

Exhale, pull back. Inhale up and over. Top waistband long. Pull yourself back from the spine, one more each way. Inhale over, pause.

Exhale back, keep gluing the legs. Inhale up and over. Pause. Exhale in. Pull the knees into your chest.

Bring your headrest up and grab your loops. We're setting up for hundred. You're gonna do your version of hundred. Legs to tabletop, inhale here, exhale to hundred and in for five. Out two, three, four, five, two.


Out two, three, four, five, three. Continue with that. Four. Pause, now the legs walk. In for five with the breath.

Out two, three, four five. In. Out two, three, four, five. Make sure that head is not bobbing around. Last time.

Legs together. Take the legs straight up, lower the head and shoulders down. Turn out the legs. Inhale, lower the legs down. Pause, exhale, pull up.

Double Leg Lower Lift

Now you can also do this with one leg. Inhale down, choose a range that you're comfortable with. Exhale up, meaning the lower back is not shifting. Inhale down, ribs hug the mat. Exhale up.

Inhale down, pause. And exhale out. Knees in to feet down. Take a moment. We're going to add arms to that now, exactly the same action with the legs.

Double Leg Lower Lift w/Arms

Legs up, glue the heels. Hands start by your side and pause. Inhale, open the shape. Exhale, back to the start. Inhale, open, make it look effortless.

Exhale back up, squeeze those heels. Inhale, lower. Exhale, up. Two more, inhale. Find the back of the shoulder as you press down.

Last one. Inhale, pause. Exhale up, knees in, arms down. Okay, we're going to start building coordination. Take your legs to tabletop.

Inhale here, exhale to hundred. Hundred, pause. Open the legs, reach long through the legs, pull them close. And open, legs reach passed the foot bar, and close. So it's not gonna be a big action, but it's a long action.

Coordination Prep

Exhale, close in tight when you close. Lower down. Inhale here, exhale back to hundred. Hundred, from the lower belly pull the knees in and back out. And exhale, pull.

Hands In Straps w/Double Leg Extension

And be mindful here as you return back to the low position. Exhale, pull in deep in the curve in the upper back. And out, squeeze the legs tight. Last time, in and lower down two feet to the bar, let the two knees drop one side and to the other side. Okay, we're going through the full exercise with one big breath in and out.

So bring your legs to tabletop. Inhale for nothing. Exhale, lift and open, close. Inhale, knees in, arms in right back out. Exhale.


Inhale, keep that quality you had. Exhale. Inhale, stay up. Last time, exhale. Inhale, pause and lower down.

Let's move on, come on up. We're setting up for rowing back which is one of my favorite exercises. Put the headrest down. Let's get rid of the foot bar. One heavy spring.

Set up for me is always five fingers distance from the back edge. Bring the ropes up to your chest. Sit beautifully tall. From here without sinking, tuck and peel your tail under. Open the arms.

Rowing Back

Reach the arms really long like wings. From here, move from the center, dive forward, pull the arms back, palms face the ground, big beautiful circle up and all the way passed the legs folding a little bit further forward than we normally do. All the way back to your start position. And again, tuck and peel back. And open those arms, reach long through the arms.

Dive forward. Big circle of the arms up and over the top, feeling the arm how it connects to the back. Back to your start position, be beautifully tall. Adding on. Tuck and peel back without sinking.

Open the arms, reach long. Reach one leg up as high as you can, then pull it a little bit higher from your lower belly. Lower it down, stay still. The other leg lifts straight up, go to where you think you can go, and then really take it a little bit higher from the lower belly. Lower the leg down.

Dive forward. Big circle up and over the top. Grab the soles of the feet. Pull your head to your feet, drop the shoulders. Do this with your elbow, not your shoulders.

And back up. Palms are up, we're moving to a bicep curl. We're going to use the same position. Tuck and roll back. One leg lifts, stay here.

Bicep Curl w/A Round Back

And begin your bicep curl. I'd like you to keep the tension on the rope the whole time. The upper arm is still, and some of you will even begin to alternate the arms. So, you'll do one arm and then the other arm. Nothing changes about your form.

The leg is still super long. One more each side. Grow a little taller, lower the leg, and lift yourself up. Arms straight down into tricep press. This should feel really nice right now.

Tricep Press

Lengthen through the arms. Keep pulling the ribcage right up out of your hips. Try not to grip in the front of the hip. Two more like that. Last one.

And back to the bicep curl. Palms up, tuck, roll yourself back. Lift the other leg up, that's my good leg. Bicep curl straight up, and open. Try not to move the upper arm.

Bicep Curl w/A Round Back

Relax your neck and your shoulders. Into alternating. So the spine is curved but it's not slouched, right? And it's not compressed. There's still a sense of length through the crown of the head.

We're almost done, almost done, almost done. Last one. Sit all the way up, put the loops up over your elbows. Sit yourself up as tall as you can. From here we're looking for posterior shoulder.

Open Close

Press open, and slowly back. You'll run out of tension, stop there. And really in your mind's eye see the backside of the body beginning this. Feel like you're opening the chest without poking the ribcage forward, right? Just by pulling that upper arm behind you.

Keep getting tall. And last one like that. And come on out of there. Into frog series. Two reds, or two heavy springs.

Headrest can be up or down to begin. Come onto your back, and you can work turned out or parallel. I'm going to work turned out today cause I usually go parallel. So legs go to 90. Squeeze the legs tight, engage the back of the leg, press the legs down without popping the center, and fold clean at the hip.

Lower Lift

Back down two. Resist as you come up, really suction those legs tight. And really show me that you have control of the reformer. Push down. So in other words I can do nothing and just lay here and ride it, right?

So really keep your engagement. Keep your focus on where you are in your body and from where you're moving. Last one, right from here. Push. Come back up into circles, the legs open and circle down and together.

Leg Circles

Up on one. Open two. Pull close. So a little percussive. One, two, three.

One, two, three. One, two, three. Let go of tension somewhere, in the face, in the shoulders, in the arms. Let something go. Work a little deeper somewhere else.

Stay here. Into Peter Pan, bend one leg and then shoot back center. The other leg bends, and back center. So there's multiple things happening right now. I want you to aim for stillness here in your pelvis, and in order for that to happen I'm keeping tension on both of the ropes.

Peter Pan

Okay, so I'm not just using one leg and letting that slingshot out. Not very graceful either. Control, control. Last time. Control, control.

Legs parallel. Headrest must go down now. Into short spine. Whatever version you do works for me. I'm going to go directly to shoulder stand, bend the knees, pull yourself down.

Short Spine

Really use this as a stretch of the back. The legs shoot out. Lift to your shoulder stand, get there however you're used to getting there. And compress the knees in as you come down. Use this as a recovery moment.

(deep breathing) And moving on. Ropes off the feet. Bring yourself up. Long box, please. It's over there (laughs).

One heavy spring is my preference. You're going to lay down with your head and shoulders just off the edge of the box, barely off the edge of the box. And we're going to begin inflection. Full arms length up on the ropes. Legs hug the midline.

Inhale, lift the back. And lower it down. Legs are suctioning together. Inhale, lift. Take the heart way far forward.

Pulling Straps

And lower down. Again, inhale and lift. And lower. Last time. Pubic bone stays on the box.

The legs should stay still. Moving on. Slide the hands back to the loops, overhand grip, elbows in by your side for kickback. So begin to swing from the elbows like a pendulum. And to begin with, the back is flat, so be aware of the posterior shoulder.

Tricep Press w/ Extension

Have the abdominals pulled up to your back. Mutual pelvis, and all that good stuff. Now add extensions, so just lift that upper back. And the entire time now you can really have the sensation here of propelling your chest forward towards the back wall of your reformer. Be careful of what you're doing with your head position.

Be mindful of where your gaze is. Last time. All the way down. Put your ropes down, bring yourself up. Two feet to your headrest for roll back, which is the perfect thing to do right now.

It's going to feel great on your back. Tuck the tail under, roll yourself back bone by bone. Up and over the box if that's available to you. Nod your chin. Peel in and up.

Roll Back Variations

Try to keep those arms low, so the higher the arms come up the more help you have. Sit tall. Inhale. Exhale, curl the tail under. Try not to slouch as you curl.

Up and over. Chin in, peel in and up. Press the lower back into the box. And all the way up. Adding backstroke legs.

Roll yourself back down. Pause. Right leg to tabletop. Left leg to tabletop. From here, the legs go straight up, they open, they close and pull in.

One, two, three, and similar in what we did on the leg circle. One, two, so it's percussive, and in. Up, open, close, and in. Last one. Up, open, close, pull into feet down, and all the way up.

Moving to short box. Up you go. Turn your box. I'm going over the shoulder rest, that's just for distance. I'm going to add one more spring so the machine doesn't bounce around.

Have a seat on your machine facing forward. Hands behind your head. Lift yourself up as tall as possible. Rotate to one side. From here, hinge back, straight back, pause.

Twist and Reach

All the way back up. Come center. Other side. Turn, hinge, keep the ribs closed, up in one piece. Back center.

Moving on. Twist, now a double twist. Take it back. Percussive twist, one, two, up, center. Other side, get tall.

Take it back. Hold, twist, one, two, up, center. Triple twist, twist, take it back, percussive, one, two, three, up, center. To the left, take it back, pause. Twist, one, two, three, up, center, and relax.

Into side over. Pivot on one hip, find your setup, I use the fingertips. I work like this because my knee's not great. Bring your two hands behind your head and pause. Full range today.

Side Sit Up

So, all the way down and now all the way up. All the way down, all the way up. Keep lifting this leg. Take it over. So this is what I don't want you to do, right?

Dead. Take it over. Come up and hold that engagement, keep working the glute need. And over. And up.

Last one. Over. And now all the way up, sit tall cause I need a minute. We're going to add rotation to that. Come back.

Set your position. Same movement, take it down, rotate as you come up, over two all the way down, and then rotate up. This doesn't change. Take it over and up. Keep lifting that leg into the strap.

Side Sit Up w/Rotation

Over, and up. Elbows wide, last one. Over, and up. All the way over into your well for a stretch. Do whatever you need to to make it feel good.

Reach those arms up along the rails. Deep breath in, and exhale. Come on up, second side. Quickly around. Find your start position.

Over on the side of your hip. Make sure you're not starting too low, about like that. Both sides of the waist long, hands behind the head. Here we go, take it over, and all the way up without losing connection. Over two, and up.

Side Sit Up

Lift that leg into the strap. Over three, and up. Get the elbow to your headrest. And up. Last one.

And up. Take a moment. And reset. Back to your start position. Hands behind the head and take it over and now rotate.

Back to side, lift and rotate. Right leg lifts, over, lift and rotate. Two more. Over, lift and rotate. Last one.

Side Sit Up w/Rotation

Oh, and our little reward. All the way down, crawl along the rails, let the head drop. (deep breathing) And up you go. Okay, boxes are coming off. Going into heavy legs.

Quick heavy legs. Knee stretch series. Everybody knows this, or you should know it. Bring your foot bar up. Same place it was for footwork.

Traditionally done on two heavy springs. Take your feet against the shoulder rests, set your round back position. The tail is pretty far back to the heels. Arms straight, maintain this position. We're doing eight, here we go.

Out, in, and in, and it's a pump action. And four, and five, spin the biceps up. Two more. Stay in. Change the shape flat.

Round Back

Here we go. Out in, sandwich the spine. Two, it's syncopated. Three, and four. Fight to be still with the body.

Flat Back

And six, all the way in. Seven, and eight. Round the back. Bring your hips over your knees. Stay here, new position.

Hover. Lift yourself up. The carriage doesn't move, the shoulder blades are wide, and lower down. So it feels a bit like pike on the chair. Again, and lift.

Overwhelming sensation right now should be abdominals, not legs. And lower. Last one. And lift. Hold it here, now move the carriage.

Out, in, out, in. The pubic bone must stay pointed to the foot bar. All the way in. Yeah, this is a little different place in the thigh. Hold it in.

Knees Off

Stay here, fight for it. Lift and lower. One more set. Back flat, hold it here. Ribs tight, lift the knees, out, in.

So, this is also known as jack rabbit. Different place in the thigh. Percussive, in, and in. Two more. In, last one.


Hold, ah. Lower, stand up. Elephant. Shoulder blades are wide. This is going to feel super nice.

Press the legs out and in. I'm keeping my back flat. I'm thinking of keeping my shoulder blades wide. (deep breathing) Last one. Stay in, the right hand comes center.


Pull the knee into your chest, then turn it out and reach the pinkie toe to the sky. Notice my hip is open. Shoulders down. Pulse the pinkie toe up. It's tiny, right?


You should really feel a lot of glute on that working leg. Big stretch on the standing leg. Stay here, flex the foot. Carry it all the way side. Hold that right hip back, though.

Take the opposite hand off, hold it. Be strong. Lower down. Walk your hands over a bit. Get your weight back on your standing leg.

Left knee in, turn it out, and lift it up. Arms straight. Now from the pinkie toe, little pulses up. (deep breathing) Find something to let go of, probably in the neck or the face. Pause here.

Carry the leg absolutely side, hold it there, opposite hand comes off, you don't shift at all. The weight is back on your leg please. And lower down. Onto your knees. Okay, we're almost done, we're almost done.

Foot bar goes down. Bring your machine to one light spring, the lightest you have available. Set up in a modified plank. Shoulders right over your hands, and then a straight line from the crown of your head to your knees. Pause here.

Modified Plank

Feel the work already in the center of the body. Follow my breathing pattern. Here we go. Inhale, take the carriage out. Be still.

Exhale, pull the carriage in. Be still. One pushup. Inhale, down hold. Exhale, up.

Again, inhale, connect to your breath. There's a pause in the breath. Exhale, pull yourself in. There's a pause. Inhale, down.

Big exhale up. Again, inhale back. I'm going to show a modified one this time. Exhale, in. Inhale, down.

Exhale, up. So, it's about form not range. Inhale, out. Exhale, in. Think of your form.

Down and out. Knees in, come into rest position. Come up, take that spring off. Step into your well, push the carriage back. We're going into a plank.

Shoulders over the hands. Step one foot back to the ball of the foot. Bring your head in line, the other leg back, and hold it. Suction the legs into the midline. Be strong with your hands and your fingers.

Plank w/Inverted V

Feel where your head is in space, and step down. You can repeat that just like that, or move the machine. Okay, come back to that plank. It's actually psychologically a little easier to move. Dive through with the upper back, pull the carriage in, let the heels go down.

Hold it in. Stand on the hands and the feet. Come back. Pause. I'm going to adjust a little.

Again, upper back moves. Pull the carriage in. The heels go down, be on your hands and feet, all four points, back to plank, pause. Last time. Here we go.

Upper back, pull the carriage in, the heels go down, hold, hold, hold, hold. Be strong in your mind and your body. Back to plank. Step down. Release the back leg and come on down into a Psoas stretch.

Lunge Stretch

Okay, so whatever feels good for you right now, just to let this open. Take some deep breaths. Reach one arm behind you, either one, grab that foot, find a quad stretch which we so desperately need after that knee-stretch series. And kick that foot back, lift your chest up. Some of you might take this hand away and grab there.

I'm not doing that. This is just fine for me. Lift that chest. Come on out. Change sides.

Left leg on top. Really let the leg be supported. Come down. Just look for something that feels right on your body, something that feels good through the hip. Someplace where you can relax.

Let the hips be heavy. Reach your hand back behind you, find that quad stretch, woo. Focus on your breath. Start to slow down your breathing. Kick the foot back, lift the chest.

Come maybe to your fingertips. Maybe take that hand away. Push with that back leg. Come all the way down. Step into the well.

Have a seat at the edge of your carriage. Sit up nice and tall, bring your hands on your knees. Close your eyes. Let your body settle. Listen for your breath.

And now sensing your lungs, take a deep breath in and fill your lungs with air; the front, the back, and the sides of the lungs. Hold that breath, and a very, long slow exhale. Out through the mouth. Really seeing the lungs deflate. And now listen for the beat of your heart.

I can actually hear mine. And slowly open your eyes. Thank you for joining me for that. That was a lot of fun. Take care.


8 people like this.
Love love your classes and love the speed of this class!!!! Thank you for another great workout!
2 people like this.
"A lot of fun" AND a lot of work !!! Thanks for this beautiful workout Maria :)
LOVED it!!! What a wonderful way to wake up this morning. It was snowing in Alberta, Canada, so it was extra lovely to see the person paddling in the background and taking an extra breath at the end of this routine:0) Thank you Maria-so fun and effective!
2 people like this.
Really good workout, I like to do a faster more athletic reformer set after a short run so this is perfect, would love to see more like this. Thank you
It’s pj. Oh how I love and miss you Maria you are so fab. It’s fantastic to watch you ....such intelligence and grace!!!!
Got my heart pumping! Yes! Thank you!
2 people like this.
awesome start to my day,such a great workout in a short time thank you Maria
1 person likes this.
loved it! great pace and cuing
2 people like this.
So so so so perfect. Thank you. I am sweating.
Thank you. Loved the cueing. Especially “Form over range”. Find myself saying that so often to my clients!
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