Class #3635

Reformer Flow

30 min - Class


Go through a continuous flow of movement in this Reformer workout by Benjamin Degenhardt. After breaking down all of the exercises in his workshop, you can now breathe and enjoy the flow of the exercises. By putting everything together, you will be able to see the interconnectedness between each movement.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Jan 02, 2019
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So now that we broke all the exercises down individually, we're going to put them all together into a continuous flow so that you can see the interconnectedness between the exercises as well as really live through the breadth of this work. And talking about breadth, one of the things that maybe we didn't get to discuss enough was when to breathe, how to breathe. In my opinion and in the way that I see that Joseph [inaudible] worked. It's more important that you brief and that you re fully as opposed to going crazy about when exactly to breathe with every single movement. There are certain movements as we broke them down that have a very specific breathing pattern, but for the most part and it just makes sure that you breathe and enjoy the flow of these exercises. Um, that said, we will probably not do a full set of repetitions because you've already worked so hard and we really want to just take a look at how these pieces all fit together. Are you ready? Let's do this. We're going to start with the footwork. Remember we are set up on four springs here.

Pilates Stance

We're going to begin on the toes to really set up our practice to warm the body up and enter our reformer work. Heels. Touch all 10 toes, participate in the movement. Go all the way out to straight legs. Keep the effort as you come all the way back in and flow right through. That's your form or here, set of five in total. Three all the way in four. Let this be your last one and then without skipping a beat, come to the arches of your feet. Knees together.

Heels drop under and go for five here all the way to straight and back in good moment to check in with your breath. Right away. Is it being held? Is the reformer stealing it from you? Are you finding full extension in the legs and springs? Come to the heels for another set of five. Push evenly through both your feet. Remember we are trying to stimulate the nerve endings in the feed.


Starting to warm up through use of the lower body here. After five you return back to that first position where we started. Heels touch you on all 10 toes for your tendon stretch. You press out one time, find length on the springs and inside your spine. Lower the heels without losing any of that, and then press back into all 10 toes and lift yourself up four and lift. Go for three.


Remember how we talked about our rib cage here and how we're trying not to brace it other than just finding the length through our torso on top of our strong, long legs. Lower your foot part down, bringing one foot under the bar, the other under the kickstand, which might be lower than you'd think. Lower down as if it's part of the exercise. Dylan, we're transitioning into our hundred which now warns us up fully. Your legs are extended over the bar. Your arms are straight up. Create a Fisker with your hands to prepare your shoulder and back and then press the straps down. Bend your spine evenly. Ears two hips. Lengthen the legs out of your body to unweight them off the bar.

Tendon Stretch

Clear how far you can lift the arms without the carriage moving and begin to pump. The arms will do five breaths, 50 pumps here. Inhaling, fully and exhaling. Remember you have the option to open the fingers here. If you feel like your shoulders are getting too stuck with that fist grip, but it's a good way to set yourself up to really activate your bag because we are warming up for all the goodness. That's to come. One more breath here. Inhale, reach to the legs like you still doing footwork with you. Have legs release all the way back down and we're transitioning into our coordination. You can flip your headpiece down.


Just lower it behind you. I change it down to two springs for our coordination. The knees come in towards the chest. Elbows are bent by the side and for today we're leaving the head down, finding that length through the spine. On the inhale, this is where our breath gets specific. We press the arms down, legs go long and low. You stand in the air, you hold your breath, you open the legs, you close the legs. Exhale, bend the knees in, in, in. At the end of your exhale, bend the elbows in. Let's do two more like that. Inhale, open close XL rather, knees in elbow, spend nice and even tempo. Press out one open too, close, three in four, five and you're done. Or she does another one.


Great bonus rounds are always appreciated. Oh, don't be sorry. Come on up and we'll go into our first sequence on the long box worth pulling straps. Yeah, you can leave the straps right there. We'll set the box up. Remember the placement of the box is such that you one, both your chest, your upper body and your hips supported by the box facing down so that there's even distance from the edges of the box to your shoulders and your knees were down to one spring. At this point the straps come to the outside of the reformer and you grab them at about 90 to a hundred degrees of shoulder flection, so probably somewhat in front of your body and if you like, you can use the handles to get it a little bit of an extra grip on your straps. Taking into account everything we've done so far.

Pulling Straps

Think about your hips being nice and activated into the box, your legs stretching bag as if you're standing in the air and then you pull your straps down back up. Perhaps lift your hands, shoulders, and feet a little higher at the end. Keep the lift as you slowly retreat back to your start position. We'll just do one more here before we take it to the teeth. Stand in the air with your legs nice and then pull down back, possibly up the effort that got you here. You maintain as you slowly return at the straps when the tug of war on that spring tension and then change to your teeth.

You slide your hands to the start of the leather and bring your arms outside. We'll do two of those. Remember no spring tension to start. You want to find that openness across the chest. When you're ready, twice you pull straight back, possibly up. Your legs are very much a part of this exercise all the way through the end as you release the spring tension, so beautiful. One more like that, straight back through the arms. Then think forward rather than just up slowly.


Retreat arms open, wide, spread your wings and release all the way down. Stepping off to the side, getting ready for our swimming backstroke. You might want to take those straps with you. Remember, backstroke is an exercise in synchronicity and preparation for our teaser. How are you doing? All right, we're on two springs for this one.


I'm going to take a seat right on the front edge of your carriage. Slowly taking it all the way down. Make a ring with your arms. Knees come in, arms and legs do the same thing at the same time, the same amount of effort. You go up, you open, you circle everything forward, squeeze your legs together and then slowly retreat back into start position. Let's do one more like that up open. Circle it forward as if you're trying to lift into a teaser, but there's that second spring that holds you back. Slowly come back in.

Let's reverse that. Come forward into that hundred position first. Even bend ears, two hips, arms circled down, around and up. Last one, stretch it forward. Open, lift. Keep the box in place. As you pull yourself, intake the straps into one hand, take a quarter, turn towards where you're holding the strap so you can release one spring down or take one off rather. So we're on one spring at this point for our teaser. Also called control stretch. So remember the finished product isn't the goal as much as the journey.

Reverse Backstroke

In this case, your arms are nice, wide and open. Your legs are long, your body's positioned properly and centered on that box and you start with the idea of that t pole again, the arms come forward until the straps catch you chin over, chest pass your hundred position and then see where it goes today. Perhaps you lift yourself all the way up into that beautiful teaser. Listen to your breath for a second. Make sure it's there. And then with control you come back down, reaching those legs away from you, melting and unrolling the spine back onto the box. Had releases. We'll leave the embellishments out for now, but you know they're there.


We'll take one more. T Poli arms forward, Shin over, chest legs lengthen out of the body. Really bringing all the elements we've been working on so far together in this one. Slowly come back down, release your head back. Enjoy this moment for a second. You can take your arms together overhead and drop your straps into the well, that open space behind the carriage and you can make your way off to the side. I'm going to move on into our long stretch series. So the box goes away, the foot bar goes up. I'm going to work on two springs for the first few exercises here.

Long Stretch

The black madd comes back and it goes onto the lifted head raise so that we have something to bring our feed into. Remember, long stretch series means we're trying to keep space between our vertebrae in all these different spinal positions starting with our long stretch, which is our playing. So Hanford hand-foot, you set yourself up with straight arms and legs, feel the chest pull forward, the heels kick back and again it's about maintaining that length between head and heels. Not about pushing the carriage as far as possible. Go press away, straight arm, straight legs and a straight spine. Come all the way and pull the chest through the arms, close it and it take one more. Starting with no spring tension and ending with no spring tension on pretty much every exercise including this. Next one, the down stretch, knees come down, feed separate against the blocks. Remember we have a bit of a four way stretch happening. Your heels back, hips forward, hands down, chest up. Go for to press it back. Chest leads the way your arms are still pushing the football away from you.

Down Stretch

One more time. Lift the chest forward and all the way up. Now we're going to change the order. Just a little bid for Mary. Based on what we discovered during the workshop, we go into our elephant next, so on straight legs and on flat feed. She's puffing her back up, pressing the heels back and down and then moving the carriage with both her arms and her legs. Spine stays unchanged. Back puffs up to the ceiling to drag the legs in underneath her. Let's do that a couple more times. Push back, pull back in. Last two, press back, heavier heels, light on the toes.


We're going to need that in our long back. Stretch in a second. Last one, press out, come all the way back in. Step off to the side for a second and as we discovered during the workshop, we made an adjustment for your body to work on one spring during the up stretch and the long back stretch. So that's why I changed the order for you because we want to teach to the body that we're working with. So Ab stretch on one spring. Remember the tradeoff of having less spring tension is that the carriage needs to be controlled better from our center. They'll move easier, it will be harder to bring back home. I'm going to let you go all on your own now. Push the arms and legs apart.

Up Stretch

Let your hips come down, bring the carriage forward in that reverse inverted hundred position and then ripple through your spine. Let your hip creases lift last. Do One more like that. It was gorgeous arms. Alex, push apart. See and feel your 100 positioning it. Bring it home and then let your head rub, lift the upper back, middle back, lower back, hips are last and then carefully step after the side. That carriage is going to move easier with just one spring. Nice work and we go into a long back stretch, which again is kind of like elephant, just facing the other way.

Long Back Stretch

Your arms are behind you, but a lot of similar elements for her with stick. We stay on one spring here, heels, heavy toes pull back. Remember we had two options here. Arms Bending, arms straight. I'll let you choose which one is right for you. What's important to me is that she uses her arms and legs to give more space to her spine to move. Nice to come all the way home. One more like that. Down, out and up. Hips lift. The long muscles in the back are stretching.

She comes home, she reverses the action out through the heels, the feed back to the heels of the hand lower with straight arms. It's a lot more eccentric work in the backs of your arms, especially on that return. Last one. Lift yourself all the way back up. Beautiful and step off to the side. Building some heat in the body here. Right flowing right through those. We go into our stomach massage next, we did those on two springs. If you remember, we'll go into the round shape.

Round Back

The one legged version. Why am I lowering the foot by now and stays up? Have a seed really close to the front edge. We had those two variations where you are able or allowed rather to sit in front of the carriage as well. I'm going to let you choose which one felt better for you. Alright, so for that one you want to bring the carriage almost a little behind you, right? So that you can sit right in front of it and then push the springs out as much as you need to get your feet onto the foot bar. Right? I said earlier, we try and start almost every exercise with no spring tension.

This is the exception. Your arms are hooked around the front edge of the characters. If you're lifting it up, go right into edge. You push the legs for straight, you lower lift the heels. You bring yourself in perhaps a little deeper than where you started. That's the point of this exercise was squatting and using the spring tension to help us go into a deeper fold at the hip, knees and ankles. One more stretch, lower lift. Come all the way in. We'll do two on one leg.

Take one foot off the bar, stretch it out underneath. Keep your weight even by using both hands and last one, push a straight, lower the heel. Lift the y'all come home and change to the other side. Thinking about the compression and the massage of your internal organs here, it's very easy to shift your way towards one hip, so make sure that both hands are still actively pulling. Your back is actively rounding so you can stay nice and centered. Both feet.

Single Leg

Come back on arms. Reach forward and up. Try to find that lift in your chest, but your low back is rounded still and press your legs to straight so much. The spine lifts more. Keep the lift, bend your knees, come home one more like that. Stretch to lift the spine. Keep the lift, soften, hips and knees come all the way home. One twist to each side, right on back, left arm forward. Emphasize that arm, reaching towards the foot by return and take your final and nice and you'll see how sitting in front of the carriage really supports her sacrum into this exercise. Come all the way home and you my friend are done with stomach massage, not fully done yet. Step after the side and we're going into our short spine massage. Next, our furniture change here is to bring the head piece down to flat, lowering the foot bar down. I'll do that part and she's going to change her straps to short weaning. We'll take the leather handle or the leather loop and bring it through the center of the handle. All right, so let's add one step here actually to bring it right through because otherwise those things are just kind of come dangerously close to your head and we don't want that turnaround lay down on your back.


Yes. At this point, and especially now that we're flowing through these exercises, you can tell how much more your body is warmed up to actually enjoy that deep compression and massage that we're looking for in this exercise. Try to keep the carriage where it is as you lift your hips up, bring your feet to the straps. Remember, we had options here as well as to how to position the feet. Roll yourself into start position first. Arms Nice and long by your sides. Exactly. Position your handle so they're not in your way.


Make sure they clear off the top of the shoulder blocks and then find the opposition of pushing your legs out as your back deepens down, up and over. You go feet pushing into the straps. You bend your knees, bring your hips in, heels towards one another, and then keep that distance between ips and the yields as you roll yourself down. When you're working your stomach down into the mat, unrolling the spine, you get two more of these just because they're so good for the back up and Oh Vigo folded in and like you're standing in your straps so you push them towards the heels to give you a spine space to unfold until you completely down. Last one out, you go up and over, you lift, bend the knees in. Enjoy this one. You Roll yourself down. Okay. And once your body lands, take the straps off your feet.

Short Spine Massage

We get ready for chest expansion for which we stay on two springs. Just step off Neil on the carriage facing the opposite direction. Now after we stretched the smile of the bag that intensely, we're trying to find that stability again by pushing the hips forward. Remember how you feed hook behind and you hold onto the handles with that strong nice fist grip is another one of the exercise that has a specific breathing pattern. Inhale, as you pull, hold your breath as you turn your head one way than the other. Look straight ahead. All the while pulling. Exhale to release.

Chest Expansion

We'll take one more. Pull the arms back behind you. Hips and chest, push forward. Turn the head one way and the other straight ahead. Keep lift. As you come all the way in, I'm going to change your springs for your thigh stretch. You can move forward against the shoulder blocks with Unis. Remember that it's important to set yourself up properly for this exercise in that there are options and how to set up your lower legs, um, to keep your knees safe and to find more success in the exercise, which was to energetically draw your knees towards one another. Like you're pulling the mat together. Press the shoelace part of your feet down, Chin to chest tail slightly under, and then recline and perhaps into a smaller range of motion.

Thigh Stretch

Pause there for just a moment and then let the strap tension in the spring tension. Pull you right back up. We'll take one more like that fee. Press down, knees draw together. Chin to chest. Tailender pull back, lift the strap so they can pull the carriage in underneath. You. Take the strap, step off to the side to then face the other way. For arm circles or lowering the spring down to one. So two springs come off and you probably want to take those with you so we have them in our hands as we face this direction or those arm circles. The feet go against the shoulder blocks here. And just like in chest expansion, think about the front of your hips pushing forward in space.

Arm Circles

You feel that extension in your hips. Nice, nice and long, and your arms Fisker with your hands opening those shoulders. Remember full range of motion here. Take a deep breath in, lift those arms up, let them circled back behind you and down if that's available to you. And if that feels good, it should. Let's do one more this way. Forward and up. Um, circle around and down. You're gonna reverse that just two times out to the side and up.

Remember on the reverse, it's a lot harder. You might want to start with the, I'm slightly in front of the body. What she's doing. Just fine. Arms come forward and down. You can sit back on your heels, get rid of your straps now. And we're getting that long box back on for a second time. Four some leg curls are rocking and are swimming. Yeah, God, she just changed the spring. So too, you're going to face the back of your reformer.

Leg Curls

Take the leather lubes. Remember this is the complicated part. Bring them around your feet, crossing them first. Look at as to what strap is on top because that's the direction you're going to turn towards the land on your stomach facing the opposite way. And if you have somebody helping you, it's a lot easier to make sure that those straps stay in the right spot. Your arms hug around the front edge of your box.

Your knees are as wide as the box you. He'll draw in until the straps are taught and you begin by activating your arms into the box and you hips down into the box from there twice. Pull your heels towards your seat. Try the Inter, lift your thighs up ever so slightly. Keep the effort as you unfold your legs. Nice. One more time. Arms into the box, hips into the bogs, heels to the seed, knees to the ceiling.

Slowly release and then see if you can grab on to your feet. You can use one at a time. Should I give you a little assistance? All right. Try to keep your hands underneath the strap. Remember, we're not looking for a big movement here. You might also work with different spring tension. We're still on two at this point so that she gets the support into her back bend. Begin by pulling your heels ever so slightly towards you.


See for a little tug, a little tug, and then kick your feet into your hands. Let the straps take you into extension. Gorgeous, and then deflate the shape. You come down, you pull the heels to your seed once, twice. Lift yourself up and remember, we're not looking for much here, but see if you can pull your knees up high so that your chest has to come forward and down. That's it because that a couple of more times feed, pull up, chest lifts high, or one more time. Feed Poe up, chest lifts higher. Calm on down. Gently let your feet go. That was awesome.

See sometimes when you flow, ride through all of these, your body is prepared to do them properly. Do you have one more in you here on that box and to extension, take your arms out in front of you. We're going into our swimming. Remember your chest is now free to express itself. Hips press down, legs lift up and then one on one leg at a time. Let them swim. Find that extension and that activation in the back of your body here. Take a deep breath and let that one go. Nice.


All right, so that was our second long box. We just activated the back of our body to get ready for our short box and as we discussed it's all about those deepened versions. Exactly. The sort of box goes behind your shoulder block handles and in front of those little pegs that you hook your straps up on, we're using two springs just to keep the carriage in place and you probably want to use your outer springs here so that you feed, have a space to drop into. We're using both straps, bringing them right over your ankle crease, your legs are engaged, your feet are pulling back. Remind yourself you need your legs during these back bends, your arms hug around the waist, and we'll just do one of each.

Round Back

So go ahead and recline round yourself back. You have the option of using your elbows against the back wall of the box if that's necessary for you to feel safe in this. Otherwise just let your body hang. Take your arms overhead if that's available to you as well. Maybe push yourself away from the floor a little bit to give that chest lift to go into a hybrid of swords. Keep those feet alive. Exactly.

And then when you're ready, make your way back. Arms come around the waist, Chin over, chest. Lift yourself all the way up. Take your hands behind the head, press your head into your hands to find that long lift and then take your second back. Then any amount will do, may not go all the way down as Mary does so beautifully here. Make sure that you are able to come back up. So the feed pole, Chin over chest, you roll yourself up out of that deep extension, lifting to a tall. See the right knee comes in for back-bending three also known as tree. We'll just get that leg into your kicking it out a few times, just so limber it up. Remember, your left leg may not be secure under the strap at this point, but before we recline and make sure that that happens, keep the leg out wherever it extends. Walk your hands into the leg, round your spine into the leg. Take it back until this wraps securely holds you. Now the left leg is the start. Hold you in place.

Back Bend

You find your way into your back. Then again with the option of supporting the traction, your lower back with your elbows are going all the way into a hug of the frame. Beautiful. It looks like it feels good. Take your arms back around the leg, climb back up. Think of that one leg teaser here to come all the way to the top and we'll switch sides. Right leg under, left legging and keep in. There were a lot of exercises that were added to this specific sequence.


We're just going to keep it simple for today and really make it about that deepened version here. Go ahead and limber it out, almost coming down the mountain. Now at this point, you stretch the leg and holded walk your hands in, round your spine in. Find the strap as you recline, keep that energy in the top leg as you walked down the back of your thigh into your full expression of your backbend leg. Still keeps reaching as if it was holding onto a strap on the ceiling. Hands come around the leg, Chin over, chest, you walk yourself back up. Ah, nice little stretch for the back of the leg here. Why not? Go ahead and step off to the side. Homestretch, knee stretches, running and pelvic lift and those were all the exercises we covered in the workshop. How are we doing? Good.

Round Back

Remember Tiger stretches, right? We're trying to really puff out that back in the round positions here. Fecal back against the blocks, hips towards the heels, nice and strong in the arms. Push the foot bar so much away from you that already you feel your spine nice and rounded and then add the legs to that. The first two can be a little slower and go a little farther than what we used to pushing back and in it's arms against legs, even effort through both push and Paul last one before changing into that arched position. Seed reaches back. Hip crease is lift.

Chest lifts up tall and go arms against the legs. Out and in. None of this should really change the configuration of your spine. You want to keep that lift and with across the chest. Give me two more porous back. Pull in. We're getting ready for our knees, our last one, Chin over. Chest round your spine again. Use that round to pick up the weight of your knees and then go for five out and in four and in last push and in four two final one.


Hold the knees in, close the springs all the way if you can, and down. YouCam getting ready for our running. I'll lift your head piece up. You go ahead and get into that position as fast as you can. We're changing it to four springs and this is where a cooldown begins. Almost nothing of importance in running other than having a good time.

Knees Off

Stretch out those legs. All 10 toes on the bar, shake it loose. Remember, you can place an emphasis on the heel that's lifting or the third of the heel that's lifting, but most importantly, just listen to your own breath at this point and just let things dissipate. All that effort is now seeping into your body. Feel the stretch in your feet. Lift both heels are bend your knees, come all the way home. We're going to finish with our pelvic lift legs, tabletop out into that wide turnout. Find the corners of the foot bar. Curl your hips up to the height of your head so you have that nice even bend throughout your spine, and then straighten your legs all the way out. Keep pushing through both feet as you soften behind the knees and let the springs take you back home. Let's do four more here and in letting your pacing slow down a little bit as well.


It was for today. This is the end of our practice. You have to slowly folded in. Final one, push and pull. Let this be a conscious moment of really lengthening out your spine as well as you roll yourself down. Ah, give yourself a little squeeze and he's coming towards the chest. What began with footwork has brought us here. You can sit yourself up, take a quarter turn, raise your right hand and give me a high five because that was awesome.

Pelvic Lift

Thank you guys so much for watching.

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Becky C
3 people like this.
Great way to start my day! Thanks Benjamin! Best tree I've done in a VERY long time!
3 people like this.
Thanks Benjamin. nice flow and it felt wonderful after the Christmas break!
2 people like this.
Beautiful! you are so inspiring as a teacher of the method x
2 people like this.
I did it backwards 🤭 going to watch the workshop now. Then, I will do this fantastic flow again! Thank you so much Benjamin- love everything you do!!
2 people like this.
Michele M
2 people like this.
Great practice with a lot of exercises in a short time. Beautifully executed too! Thanks Benjamin!!
2 people like this.
Very fun, I liked the movements and will try it again. Head rest was up during the hip rolls though.
Benjamin Degenhardt
Thanks everyone — so happy you're enjoying it! Audra I'm not familiar with the name "hip rolls", but if you mean "pelvic lift" at the end - the head rest is up intentionally. Unlike a shoulder bridge, the hips only lift to the height of the head to form a C-curve in the spine, no higher. Hope that helps, otherwise feel free to check out the workshop this session is based on!
Taghrid K
2 people like this.
Wow great fun and flow, many exercises in a short time. I liked the pelvic lift with the C curve as a variation and my back felt great and lengthened with this flow. Thank you Benjamin.
2 people like this.
Benjamin Degenhardt loved this flow and the tutorials. Also, your variation of putting our students ever so slightly in front of the carriage for stomach massage is completely brilliant. Thank you again for all your effort and preparation you do when you come to Pilates Anytime. It is so appreciated.
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