Class #3719

One Spring Reformer

55 min - Class


Flow through a class on one red spring with this fun Reformer workout by Delia Buckmaster. She starts with an active warm-up, layering the exercises as you go so you can find what is appropriate for your body. She also includes challenging Plank sequences and other creative variations to strengthen your whole body.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Delia Buckmaster and today I'm gonna be leading you through a reformer workout using just one red spring. If at any time the one red spring is either too much resistance or not enough resistance for you then obviously you are welcome to change it. Otherwise, let's get started. So, we're gonna start with a nice standing warm up first before we get on to the reformer with just some arm reaches. So just reach those arms up to the sky and bring those arms back down.

Warm Up Stretch

And this is a great opportunity to sync your breath, and I am not partial to any inhale or exhale at any specific time. It's whatever liberates your movement and allows you to move more fluidly throughout the exercises. And we're gonna add a squat here. So we're gonna reach the arms up, and then go ahead and bend those knees, crossing the arms in front of the body and then reaching up towards the sky. And do that several times, and this is a really great place to sync your breath to focus on the next hour, and also to wake up your glute muscles which are really important throughout your workout.

So maintaining that pelvic stability in neutral will be really helpful to engage your glutes. So just one more time as you bring those arms down and up and then just some rotation of the spine. And this is actually a really great place to assess your clients. So you can watch how their feet move and their knees and their ankles and hips and shoulders and see where they might feel stiff and just a few more. And we're just gonna end with a roll down before we get on the reformer.

Roll Down

So reach those arms up and flex through your spine bending your knees and flexing over your legs. Enjoy the stretch here for just a moment with soft knees, breathing big in through the ribs. And on your exhale rolling yourself all the way up one vertebrae at a time up towards the sky and again nodding your chin and making this a nice active flection. So as you roll down towards the floor, make sure you feel those abdominals working for you and as you roll up think about your back muscles helping you extend and we're just gonna do that one more time. So nodding your chin, flexing through your spine, rolling down towards the floor, reaching for your feet, inhale breath and exhale (exhaling) as you roll yourself all the way up.

So let's get started. You're going to have the reformer on the right side of you and the foot bar's going to be in position number two and just as a reminder, it is just one red spring and I do have it set in the middle because the carriage will move a little bit more smoothly if it's set centered and if at home you don't have springs that are colored, it's your heavy spring. So you're gonna place your right foot up against the shoulder block, and your hands on the foot bar. So two things here. The left foot should be lines up preferably with your springs and your right hand lined up with your shoulder and that'll help keep your body square.

Lunge Variation

So just go ahead and pressing back into some lunges. And not thinking much about this. This is just a little warm up for the hips and the knees and the shoulders. And it should feel fairly easy. And then we'll do that just a couple of more times.

And on this next one just hold it back here. Feel that nice stretch. Make sure the hips are nice and square and then take the left hand off the bar turning the palm up. You're gonna rotate your upper body. And more so then focusing on the rotation, focus on the right hip stretching.

So this'll open up that hip. Big inhale, exhale as you return the carriage and before we go to the other side we're gonna transition onto the reformer. So you're gonna stay on the reformer with both knees, feet up against the shoulder blocks. And your bottom will be onto your heels for just some light calf stretches. So rounding through your spine, exhale, breath, and then inhale on that extension.

Cat Stretch

And what I love about the calf stretch in the beginning of a class, is it really helps to identify where your stiff spots are in your spine. So it's a really nice spinal articulation and when you're extending focusing on that upper back and sternum extending as you flex focusing on your lumbar flexing more so than the stretch in your shoulders. And then we can go over to the other side. So stepping out to the right you'll have your left foot up against the blocks, and your left hand and right hand on the bar. So your right foot's gonna be lined up with the spring again squaring off the left hand with your left shoulder and then pressing back.

Lunge Variation

And again, this should feel good. So it's a nice active warm up for the legs and the shoulders. And the breath again is up to you. Whatever makes you feel like you can move liberally throughout the exercise. Holding here on the last one, the right hand will come off the bar.

The right hand will turn up so that you can get more rotation out of that shoulder and then really feel that left hips stretching. Take in a big deep inhale breath here. And then returning the carriage. And now we're gonna get onto our back on the carriage supine on our backs so that we can do some of the foot work and abdominal work. So, with your head between the shoulder rest and just a reminder that you have one red spring here.

Toes Parallel

So the carriage is really mobile. So when we go to push our feet back, try to stay really light in the feet. So head between the shoulder rest and of course the head on the head rest. Balls of the feet are gonna be on the bar, and you are not committed here to your first position. So once you get moving if it doesn't feel comfortable stop and start over.

So, with the balls of the feet on there plantar flection, just go ahead and extend the legs just back and forth and this'll bring some awareness to your inner thighs, your pelvis, and because there isn't a lot of weight there, there isn't a tendency to try to work the bigger muscles of the legs. This is just for your inner thighs, a deep connection of that pelvic floor, your transverse and then sinking your breath and we can try a few of those with our arms up towards the ceiling. The arms are right above the shoulders and here you'll know whether or not you are really using your arms to stabilize and again, heavy sacrum nice and neutral with your spine if possible. From here, we're gonna add a hundred prep. So as you extend your legs lift your head and shoulders up and flex through your spine reaching for your feet and hold it here for just a moment.

Hundred Preparation

Strong through your quads, inner thighs are connected. We're workin' on our thoracic flexion and then lower yourself back down and exhale. (exhaling) And inhale. And I love doing the hundred here on a reformer with the feet on the bar because then I can really focus on my thoracic flexion. It's not into my hip flexors, and I can really think about the breath work here as I come up.

We're gonna hold the hundred. You can start to pump the arms inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. (exhaling) Inhale two, four, five and exhale two, three, four, five and inhale. And exhale two, three, four, five really reaching with those fingers. Rounding through the shoulders just enough to get your upper body up just a little bit higher.


Continue to breathe, inhale. And exhale two, three, four, five. And those arms should be moving vigorously as your breath stays nice and smooth throughout the exercise. One more time. Inhale.

And exhale two, three, four, five and hold here. And lower yourself all the way back down. And if that wasn't the full one hundred you could do the full one hundred breaths at home. Sometimes I lose count. So extend your legs out.

Windshield Wiper Legs

From here we're gonna do the one legged circle. This is another great place to take mat work onto the reformer. Taking your right knee in towards your chest you can give yourself a little stretch here. And then you can give yourself some dorsi flexion, plantar flexion of that foot just to mobilize the ankle just a little bit since we held it in that plantar flexion for the hundred. And then find that high heel, extend that right leg up towards the ceiling and make sure that your right leg is fixed right on top of your hip here and we're just gonna do a little windshield wiper side to side.

And what's really great here is that the left leg which is actually really important for the one legged circle sometimes, people don't focus so much of that or are more focused on the range of motion of their gesture leg, this helps stabilize that leg. So allow that right hip to slightly lift off giving yourself a little bit more mobility in that hip and you can start those circles here circling down and around and stop at the top. I like to inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale but you breathe how you want to breathe and what's gonna help you move that leg around smoothly. We're gonna reverse that circle.

Single Leg Circles

Inhale and exhale to the top. That left leg is gonna stay nice and stable. The right leg is mobile. Just a couple more. Last one, holding the leg at the top, dropping the left heel onto the bar and drawing the right knee into the chest for a little stretch.

And then we'll return the carriage to do the other side. So both feet on the bar, extending your legs nice and long, left leg in towards you for a little stretch and then mobilizing that right ankle up and down. And then bending with the plantar flexion there, extending that leg up towards the ceiling. Left leg is lined up with your hips, hips are nice and square, palms on the carriage. Just side to side.

Windshield Wiper Legs

Side to side. So you could start a client here if you'd like and if they could do this exercise just side to side and still stabilize that right leg, then they are ready for the one leg circle. So take that leg over the midline of the body and then bring it up and around. Inhale and exhale. (exhaling) Just a couple more.

Single Leg Circles

Last one and then we'll reverse that circle outside and then through the midline and up and inhale and exhale and up. Keeping the hips nice and stable on the mat until you bring it over your midline to add that rotation. One more time. Hold and then bring the knee in. Lower the heel under the bar and give yourself a nice stretch.

And then returning the carriage, from here we'll just do some pelvic curls. So you can place your foot actually underneath the foot bar onto the platform and then with a little bit of room here from the shoulder blocks so you're not rubbing there and you can just give yourself some pelvic curls since you were using those hip flexors for the last three exercises and flexion. Just rocking your pelvis back and forth. Giving your hips flexors a little break, engaging those glute muscles. And then we're ready to sit up for the next series of exercises.

Pelvic Curl

So, coming to a seated position, you're centered on your carriage. You'll place your right hand on the foot bar slightly forward over the shoulder and then you'll take your feet slightly to the left. So away from the foot bar and just do some nice side bends or mermaid, modified mermaid on the reformer. And what I love about this exercise is that I can focus on lengthening my spine and lateral flexion by breathing on the inhale, and then exhaling to return. That way you focus on length versus the shortening on the other side.


One more time. You'll just hold it here. Breathe. And then add a little rotation. Both hands onto the bar, pulling you abdominals in, deep inhale breath through your ribs and then exhale breath as you return back to center and then just a little counter stretch to the other side and then back.

And to get to the other side of the reformer you'll just swing your legs around the back and then you'll be seated in the same spot just facing the other way. So your feet will be slightly to your right, left hand is going to be on the bar. Go ahead and stretch over. And return. And that's an inhale, again focusing more on the length of the torso in lateral flexion versus shortening on that oblique side.

Once you get that length, then it's gonna be much more effective to work on the obliques. One more time and then just a nice rotation. Both hands onto the bar. Deep inhale breathe through the ribs, and then exhale breath. (exhaling) And return the carriage.

A little counter stretch to the other side. And then you're ready to move on. So we're gonna go ahead and face the back of the reformer. And we're gonna work on some more abdominal exercises here starting with the half roll back. So grabbing onto the straps, you can hold anywhere.

Half Roll Back Variation

It just depends how much resistance you want. You do wanna be about two hands widths away from the back of your carriage and that way when we roll back you're not falling into the reformer. I'm not too concerned about the foot bar being up this high. With the carriage moving you shouldn't hit the foot bar. I like to hold onto the smaller loops or I will grab on to the outside of the straps, okay?

So with the palms facing each other, inner thighs are connected, tall through your spine. You'll just go ahead and give me a nice half roll back and then sit back up. And I do like to exhale as I roll back, (exhaling) to allow a little bit more air there in the belly but if you wanted to feel that stretch in your spine then you can inhale as you roll back and then exhale as you sit and float up. So just a couple more, focusing on the lumbar flexion. So all the time people will roll back and then they'll stop and then they'll lean their upper body back instead or really focusing on the deep flexors of their pelvis.

So holding here you can really feel your abdominals working. Eyes forward. As you come up this time, we're gonna stay rounded and bring on leg up to tabletop. So that table, leg will come up. Your body will come forward and then you'll bring that right foot down and come back into your half roll back.

Inhale to come up. And exhale. I've chosen the inhale breath here because I really want to increase that expansion of the ribs behind me as I come up and exhale as I roll back. And we'll do one more on each side. And then back to the center.

Sitting up nice and tall. If you have really tight hip flexors you can always give yourself a little break here and it's not the best exercise for everyone, so just make sure you're comfortable doing the half roll back here. You can also extend your legs which we will do here in a second for back rowing. We'll go into some obliques. The arms are gonna be out in front again.

Half Roll Back w/Rotation

This time I'm gonna turn my palms up and on the exhale breath I'm gonna roll myself back and hold it here soft through the elbows and just rotate your upper body from side to side. You'll be rotating from the ribs and I like to lead with my eyes because my spine will follow my eyes and if I'm leading from my ribs sometimes it will over engage my lumbar spine or queue it to rotate and I want to keep the lumbar spine as stable as possible. One more on each side. Exhale. (exhaling) Inhale to center.

Exhale to your left. (exhaling) Inhale back to center and then sitting yourself up nice and tall and now you're ready for some back row and exercises. So, extending your legs long and through the shoulder blocks. Not everybody can fit between the shoulder blocks, so as long as you're about a hands distance away from the back then you can make those adjustments for your feet. You can cross those ankles.

Rowing Back Prep

Just make sure that every once in awhile you uncross and cross the other way. So nice and tall with your spine holding onto the small loops. Eyes forward. We're gonna break the back rowing down here. So just take the first step by rolling down and bringing your fists together and again if you're not comfortable with your first position you can adjust yourself to find the right position.

Your arms are lined up with each other, your forearms and then you're gonna sit back up. And then you can exhale to roll down. (exhaling) Now the breath is important here to start because it will lead you throughout the full exercise. Exhale breath. And then inhale and up.

And I'm not a big person on gesture of the feet but it is helpful to keep the feet pointed so as you're rolling back, the weight stays forward on your legs. So hold here on this next one and then take those arms down to an A position. Palms are facing backwards. The carriage should stay nice and stable and as you bring your arms here to the side it should almost feel like your body wants to extend forward, so it is a challenge to keep your torso and flexion here. Fists come back together and then you can back up.

Inhale at the top, exhale to roll back. (exhaling) Inhale, arms to an A. Exhale, back together and then inhale as you sit up. Exhale to roll back. Deep flexors of the spine are working here.

Shoulder stabilizers are working. Fists come back together and then you sit back up and we're gonna add on from there. Inhale at the top. Exhale as you roll back. (exhaling) Arms come to an A.

Rowing Back

Now this time we're gonna dive our body forward and use the resistance of the springs to increase flexion of the spine and your arms are gonna come up as high as they can in extension and then just swing the arms forward and sit up and we'll do that again. Exhale as you roll back. (exhaling) Inhale, arms to an A. Exhale to dive the body forward. And then inhale to sit back up.

We'll do that just one more time. Exhale to roll back. (exhaling) Inhale, arms to an A. Increasing that flexion of your spine. Increasing the extension of your shoulder and then go ahead and sit back up.

We're gonna go through the full exercise. So roll yourself back. Take your arms down. Dive your body forward. Take your arms out to a T position.

The outside of the hands will be facing each other because of the natural rotation of the shoulder. So when you sit back up, you'll turn those palms up. Exhale as you roll back. (exhaling) Inhale. Exhale to dive forward.

Inhale as the arms come around around the shoulder height, hands come together and sit up. And I love this exercise because I can really feel my shoulder blades mobilize and it's so important that those shoulder stay and feel lubricated around your ribs. Roll yourself back one more time. Arms to an A. Dive the body forward, circle the arms around, allow those shoulders to rise just a little bit for a stretch.

Take one deep inhale. You're at the end. And exhale as you sit back up. Okay. So moving along to some hip work.

Side Kicks

You're gonna shift your legs to the floor. We're gonna be on our side continuing to use the straps. So, what I probably wanna do is have the straps away from the blocks here so I could easily grab for them. But you'll be sitting sideways and to get into this exercise, you're gonna need both legs. So I'm gonna take my hand here to the other side of the shoulder block and place my bottom foot on the foot bar.

As I extend my leg I could actually straighten out my body to make sure that I'm nice and long and with my OCD I have to make sure that my back is lined up with the back of the reformer and then I'll place the strap onto my free leg. As you extend that leg then you can pull the bottom knee in. Now this is really important for shoulder stabilization here. Do not collapse in this exercise and don't try to move too far away from the shoulder block so that you're flexing in the opposite direction. So as tall as you can sit or lie.

So that leg's just gonna come forward. You're gonna do the kicks here. Side lie leg kick or side kick. I've learned so many different modalities of Pilates that sometimes I don't know what it's called anymore (laughs). Inhale as you bring the leg forward and then exhale.

And allow for a little bit of mobility here. So let that leg come forward. If you need to stretch then take the stretch. As it comes back, feel how your hip opens up. So you can feel your glute working in extension.

Forward and back. One more. And if you'd like you can add some leg circles here. So that leg will come forward and circle around. You are limited in range of motion with that strap.

Side Leg Circles

And reach it around. Inhale and exhale. (exhaling) And then reverse that circle. So take it back and around. You don't wanna do too many of these.

These are really hard. (laughs) So you'll lose your class about half way if you don't control the repetitions on these. One more time. And then we're gonna shut the door. So bend that knee in and then press and shut the door.

I don't know why you'd be shutting the door in this position but if you are then you're prepared. So inhale, bring the knee in and exhale to press out. And you can allow for that mobility, so even if you're lying on your back doing two legs in the straps for hip work, sometimes I just allow the leg to come in if it feels good for that glute stretch. And the last thing here, you'll take the leg out, bring it in front, turn that foot medial and just up and down with that heel and this is the burner here. This is where you may lose people in class.

Side Leg Press

Inhale, exhale. And I've lost count so it's four, three, two, one, and then return. So taking the foot out of the strap here, carefully return the carriage. You can go into a little figure four glute stretch. So sitting up nice and tall, taking that right leg over the left, ah, for a stretch and you can bring those arms up.

Side Leg Pulses

And then stretch forward, and then back. So we'll just go ahead and switch to the other side. It's always easier to swing your legs around the back than to hit the foot bar. So over to the other side. Same thing, this time on your right forearm.

Figure Four Stretch

Grabbing that strap with your hand, pressing away with the bottom leg, taking the top leg into the strap and then shifting that knee in. So tall through your spine, go ahead and do that side kick. And now I have really awesome views (laughs). Probably a better view then you have right now. So I'm just gonna reach that arm forward, or that leg forward, excuse me, and that leg back.

Side Kicks

Inhale and then exhale. And again, allow a little bit of hip flexion here. Feel that stretch and then let the hip flexor open a bit to feel that hip extensor. Inhale forward. And exhale and back.

It doesn't always have to be work. Sometimes it can just feel good. Go into some right circles. Forward, down and around. And I didn't say this on the other side but if your foot is in parallel or if it's in lateral turn out it doesn't matter to me.

Side Leg Circles

It's just that if you are used to doing it in one way it might be good to try another way. Reverse. And around and forward. And inhale and exhale. And that feels really good on that hip.

We'll do this one more time. And then we're going to shut the door in this direction. So, bending that knee, allowing that stretch if that feels good to you. Inhale breath. And then exhale breath.

Side Leg Press

(exhaling) And if you're feeling ant tension into your neck at all, then you might be shifted from one side to the other. So just make sure you find a very comfortable position so you're not straining that neck in side plank here. And now, we're gonna take that foot forward. Turn the foot minimal and you'll know if your leg comes too far forward then you'll start to collapse in your hip and if it's not far enough then you're not gonna feel anything. Four, three, this burns, one.

Side Leg Pulses

And then go ahead and take that foot out of the strap and then you'll be doing the figure four on this side, taking that left leg over the right, reaching those arms up, and then folding forward for a deep stretch of your glute. And you're ready to get on all fours on the reformer. So, again we haven't changed springs. Just as a reminder we are still on one red spring. But you can change the spring if it works better for you.

Figure Four Stretch

So, going into some hip extension here. We're still working with the glute. But I like to put my hand on the shoulder block. There are other options. You can place your hands down and kind of wrap them around the shoulder block like an owl or maybe place your hands to the side.

Kneeling Single Leg Press

This part depends on your reformer 'cause you don't wanna get your fingers caught in there. But what works best on my shoulders is to have the hands on the blocks, 'kay? Your knees are underneath your hips. It's not gonna be perfect for everyone. I happen to be a good height for the reformer so my feet just fall into the well comfortably.

Okay? So the right foot will go onto the bar, and then you'll just extend. And then bend and like I said in the very beginning you are not committed to your first position. Fix your foot if it's not right. Fix your shoulders.

Come down to a child's pose if you need one. And then just be really careful here 'cause the tendency here is to use the arms. And if you're using the arms then you'll see that that other leg, the stable knee will shift forward. I want you to think about the arms being like legs here for stability. Pressing out and pressing back.

If you're struggling with your shoulders maybe turn the elbows backwards. Soften them just a little bit and think about this as being your plank. Last one. Hold. Feel that extensor at its end range and then return.

And before we move on to the other leg we'll go into chest expansion but in a lunge position. So just shift that right foot forward and find a lunge position where you can balance, and just as a warning in this position if you go to grab the straps really quickly and tug without being ready, then you might fall over. So, I'm gonna grab on to the small loops and it's just like skiing. The closer your feet are together, the harder it is to balance. So you can actually even press your foot up against the block.

Chest Expansion Variation

So nice and tall with your spine, pressing the left hip forward, you can go ahead and go into your plow or chest expansion here. Breathing in whatever breath pattern is gonna liberate that movement. And I like to stretch my hip flexor here. So, my left hip is stretching and then I even allow for a little bit of upper back extension which we don't get enough of. So if you can add it on throughout your workout and it's convenient I recommend it.

Just a couple more. Inhale, breath. And exhale. (exhaling) One more inhale. You're gonna pause here for a second.

Hold, challenging the triceps, the lats, the back extensors. And then release. And you're ready for the other side. Straps on here first. Knees back underneath the hips.

Kneeling Single Leg Press

Left foot on the bar and then start to move. And reach out. Again, if your wrists hurt up here, just move that hand forward just a bit. A lot of times the strain will be in the forearm if you are too extended in the wrist. And then think about keeping that left ankle nice and steady.

Otherwise, you're gonna get a calf workout here and it is a lot more about the hip extension. Just a couple more. Again whatever breath works best for you. And then return and then you can just smoothly shift the foot forward, grab onto the straps, find balance and then press back. And this is actually, I don't want to jink myself here but this is actually my balance side.

Chest Expansion Variation

Pressing back and forth. Inhale and exhale and then allow that freedom there. A little posterior tilt of the pelvis. Chest opening, triceps working. Lats working.

Just a couple more. And then one more. You're gonna hold it back for a little pause and breath. (exhaling) And then return. So, placing the straps on first, we are gonna go through a little plank series here and there are a couple of options and I do like to layer my exercises so that if I have an open level class, people don't feel like they can't do the exercise.

Reverse Long Stretch

They always have something they can fall back to. So, I'm gonna start with my feet on the platform for this plank series and this plank series is awesome. It feels really good. It's like the reverse long stretch. So your hands are gonna be on the blocks again, and then test it out.

So, inner thighs together or slightly apart and find plank, okay? This is step one. If that feels good to you then you're gonna be really to move on to the next few exercises and then lower the knees gently down. Okay. If you wanted, you can place your foot up on the foot bar which for a lot of clients it really freaks them out so you have to be really careful, depending on your audience about placing the feet on the bar and you can have them try this out.

Inhale breath. And exhale. (exhaling) One more. And exhale. (exhaling) And then, this is the part that's scary (laughs) for a lot is to bring that leg down carefully 'kay?

So I'm gonna do the rest of this series with my feet on the platform below. Hands on the shoulder rest, feet on the platform, find your plank. From here, we're gonna go ahead into that reverse long stretch by just pressing the arms forward and then bringing them back under the shoulder blocks. And I do like to do an inhale as I press my arms forward and an exhale to return the arms. And this is a lot on the wrist, so just one more.

Inhale and exhale. And then the knees come down. I do like to give people breaks in between so they can choose what they wanna do next, 'kay? Hands on the shoulder blocks again. We're gonna go into some front support or layman's terms some mountain climbers.

Front Support Knee Raises

So feet back onto the platform. Find your plank and then pull your knees in. Exhaling. You could even add a little round spine if that resonates with you. (exhaling) One more.

(exhaling) And then place those knees down. And lastly we're gonna go into some lunges, okay? So, feet go back down. You can see these exercises are well layered. So you're back to plank.

Front Support Hip Extension

Hold. And then you're gonna put some of this together. So the right knee's gonna go into the chest. You're gonna place it onto the floor into a lunge and you're gonna press the carriage forward. So you've got the movement of the long stretch.

A little extension. A little stretch in the hip and then a little balance as you return to center. Left knee in, left foot to the floor, push the carriage forward and then come back. And this isn't meant to be done really slow. And if you have balance and speed, it doesn't compromise the control and precision of the exercise, then you're welcome to move a little bit quicker.

And it's an inhale, exhale. (exhaling) Inhale. Exhale. One more on each side. Inhale.

Exhale. Last one. And then return. Those were hard (laughs). Knees come in.

And then oh, a well deserved resting position. And then if you feel like maybe you've taken a little bit too much into your wrists, you can stretch those wrists out. Whatever you need to do. (sighs) And now we'll move into some box work. So we're gonna grab the long box and place it on the reformer and I'm gonna move the foot bar down just one and it doesn't necessarily have to be all the way to the bottom and I'll tell you why I like it here.

Prep for Extension

So when I put the long box on and we're doing some on point straps or extension, the foot bar is a nice point of reference for me and for my clients and they'll know whether or not their legs are getting lazy because they can feel the foot bar with their feet. So, I like to keep it just at the third position there, okay? So getting onto the long box, you're gonna ride it like a surf board. So you're gonna lie all the way onto your belly and then what I like to tell clients is if you're not comfortable in the very beginning you're not going to get comfortable as you continue with the exercise. So make sure this is comfortable.

And this actually doesn't work for everyone. Not everyone can do the sternum on the side of the box but what's really important is that your flexion here of your thoracic spine is fine okay? So we're gonna start with a little prep. Hands are gonna go to the side of the shoulder blocks on the carriage. And your upper body is going to rest over the box.

And then we're gonna go active with the lower half of the body. So, pressing the hips into the box and the pubic bone is gonna make the legs rise naturally to its long line. So please make sure not to squeeze the glutes here. Make sure that it feels like your glutes and your hamstrings are active. There's no light coming between the hips and that your lumbar spine is comfortable.

Draw your naval to your spine per usual here. We're just gonna come into some extension. So it's almost like a little prep for extension here. And I'm actually gonna scoot my body forward a bit more. So, inhale up and then exhale and down.

And for some this is all that works especially if you're super kyphotic in the back, just coming to a long line is a lot of work let alone an extended spine. And then we're gonna try that with our hands underneath the forehead which is gonna lower the upper body and make it a little bit more difficult. You're gonna lift up, find a long line here and then lower yourself back down. And I do like inhale on this extension. (exhaling) And then the legs are preferably close together but if you can't get them together and they are open, just a slight lateral rotation is really helpful for the back.

On this next one you're gonna come to your long line, hold. Take your arms out and back and place your hands onto your hips. Elbows are gonna be pointing towards the ceiling. You're really gonna try to promote the retraction of the shoulder blade here because a retraction is what's gonna be helpful to find that proper extension. So just breathing and holding a few breaths here.

Strong through the legs. Abdominals are pulled in. Pubic bone is pressing down, shoulder blades are coming together. You should feel like you're about to shoot out of a canon. One more breath.

And so now we're gonna grab onto the straps to do some extension on pulling straps. And I like to hold on to the ropes themselves or to the hooks of the straps so I can have a little bit extra resistance. So again lying here with your legs and your lower half of your body active, abdominals pulled in, arms are reaching, leading with your pinky fingers, bringing your hands back to your hips and finding that long line of extension and then lowering yourself back down. Leading with the head as you come up, thinking about the sternum extending and then, or I should say the sternum reaching forward, the upper back extending. Just a couple more.

Pulling Straps

Inhale. And exhale (exhaling). Last one. And hold. From here take those arms out to a T, bring those arms forward, find a swimming position and then rest completely over the balance of the upper body.

T Pull Combo

We'll do that again. Inhale as your arms come back. Exhale as your arms come forward. Find that long line for swimming and lower yourself back down. One more time.

Inhale. Exhale. Now this time, (exhaling) find that swimming line and start to swim your legs. Up and down nice and slow. You don't need to go too fast.


You're not swimming away from a shark. So just keep those arms and legs nice and slow and controlled and then if you'd like you can add the arms. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, four, five. Two more sets.

Exhale, two, three, four, 20. Last set. And exhale two, three, four, five. Hold and pause and then release. So, placing the straps over the blocks.

Flexion to Extension

This is a great time to come into a resting position or child's pose. And release any stress or tension in your low back. And then we're gonna flip around for a little bit more abdominal work but to bring the body back from extension to flexion. So lying down on the reformer, now that the foot bar's up it's actually really convenient. So, you're gonna lie back.

And what's important here is that the shoulder blades come off so that your head and neck are consistent or your neck's consistent with your upper back. So this should actually feel comfortable here. It doesn't feel comfortable for clients with vertigo. I have a couple clients who cannot do this. But for some or most it should feel pretty good.

From here, interlacing the fingers behind your head and pressing the back of your head that would normally be resting into the head rest on your hands. So you push that weight into your head so you can get as much flexion of the upper body as you can. And then take the legs into a tabletop position holding here. And then just coming into extension to flexion. So you're actually mobilizing your spine in the opposite direction and I like to put clients in this position that are really kyphotic because that's what they need the most is mobilizing in the opposite direction and not in this flexed position.

From here we can do a couple of exercises from the mat. So lift your head and shoulders up, hold. Grab ahold of your right leg. Bring your right leg in for a single leg stretch. Right hand on the outside of the ankle.

Single Leg Stretch

Left hand on the knee. Feet are lined up and your hands are this way to keep your legs straight. So just move and what I like about the single leg stretch as well is that it's functional so that your hands and your legs move together like running or hiking and reach and have fun with your legs and just think more about your abs working. And reach. One more.

Knees come in and then you can hold your head and feel that release in extension. We'll do one more. We'll just do the double leg stretch. So head and shoulders up. Exhale up.

Double Leg Stretch

(exhaling) Grab onto those legs and give yourself a little hug and feel the stretch in your back. Extend your legs out. Take your arms up. You've got the lower half and the upper half of the body working together. Circle the arms around.

Draw the knees into the chest and as you move along with your double leg stretch, you don't have to hug so tight. You can release with every repetition. Inhale and I don't care what your arms are doing. Some people are taught to take the hat off their head. So whatever feels good to you just make sure the arms do not go past the head and cause any more neck tension.

You're gonna hold on the last one, bring your arms around towards your feet. And lift up six counts. One, two, just a little challenge. Three, four, five, six, tucking your knees in, holding your head and resting back. And I think we should do one more set of those pulses.

Double Leg Stretch Variation

So open up the chest, lift up into the start of your double leg stretch. Tuck your knees in, come to the opening of your double leg stretch. Just reach the arms around and lift up six times. Up one, two, three, four, five, six, knees come in and from here you can rock yourself up and your feet will rest on the bar. 'Kay.

So, we're gonna go into a little series on the carriage. It's a plank series to side plank. So we'll have to remove the long box off of the reformer. So from here we're gonna go onto the carriage and I'm gonna move the foot bar up to position number one. And the reason that I'm moving it all the way to the top is because it is a lot easier on the upper body for these exercises.

Kneeling Leg Lower and Lift

And a reminder here that you do only have one red spring and for some people one red spring isn't enough or it's too much. For me having kind of a bad shoulder, one spring is perfect for me. If I have more than one red spring on or a full spring and a half, I can't move the shoulder very well. So you do what you need to do. You're not committed to that spring, okay?

So you're gonna start by standing, or kneeling on the reformer. And we're gonna get into these exercises kinda like we would for a long stretch. The feet are gonna be slightly forward of the shoulder block. And the reason that they're forward is so when you come into a plank position your heel is about half way down so that you have a better point if reference for your feet. It's important with these exercises that your feet make some contact with the shoulder block, okay?

So we'll start by prepping into the plank position. Hands on the foot bar where they're comfortable. Elbows pointing back. Feet slightly forward of the shoulder blocks and we're gonna start by just doing some knee lifts. So lifting the knees up and then you're gonna see whether or not those heels are comfortable on your shoulder block.

And if they are you're in a great spot and you're gonna lower yourself back down. I'm gonna do that again. I'm gonna do it as an inhale breath so it feels like I'm floating up. Inhale. And then exhale (exhaling) to lower down.

Now I'm gonna find a full plank. So inhale to lift the knees. Exhale to extend the legs. And then you'll know here if you're in a good position or if it's too much resistance or not enough resistance. And holding plank here, we're gonna switch it over to a side plank.

Side Plank

So to get into side plank you're gonna bring your outside hand towards the direction that you wanna turn. Maybe about center. Maybe slightly forward of the shoulder and then your feet will pivot and you don't have to take that other hand off right away. You can make sure that you're comfortable on the reformer carriage. Okay?

Once you feel comfortable, that outside hand, that left hand here is on my thigh for support and I'm just gonna push the carriage away and return and just working on that side body. It is important that the shoulder does not feel like it's moving away from you. And if you feel like you're struggling then you need to come down so that you don't hurt your shoulder. And inhale out. On the next one here.

We're gonna come into a little twist. So as you return the carriage thread that left arm underneath your body and the hardest part here is finding that stopper and you're gonna rotate that upper body to really reach and then you're gonna come back to that side plank. The key here also is to not push the carriage out any further then right, keeping that elbow lined up with the bar. So that way you're not over loading that shoulder. Exhale breath and then inhale breath.

Side Arm Support w/Rotation

We're gonna do some pulses here. So exhale as you rotate and then once you find that stopper, that deep rotation, you're gonna pull that carriage in and out about five times. Three, four, five. With control, find your side plank and then you're gonna rotate. Ah.

Side Arm Support w/Pulses

Over to the other side. So, outside hand toward the side you're gonna rotate. Legs will pivot. Again you don't have to take your hands off right away if you don't feel safe doing so. And then your arm will go on the side.

Side Plank

I like my hand here because I feel like it gives me a little support in the shoulder. Carriage reaches away and the carriage returns. As you bring the carriage back in try not to lift those hips a little bit higher. You wanna maintain as much as a long spine as you can. We're gonna go into your twist.

So arm reaches up. Don't push too far away from that foot bar and then rotate. And find that stopper. Hi. And then you're gonna go back to your side plank and exhale.

Side Arm Support w/Rotation

(exhaling) And inhale twice more. (exhaling) Last one and then you're gonna hold and you can have those pulses. See now you can see my face as I'm struggling here. Three, four and five. Find your side plank.

Side Arm Support w/Pulses

So stay in control. Control, control. And then you're gonna go ahead and rotate back to your plank and knees rest, and just a little antagonist exercise to this we will do a little bit of down stretch. Okay? So, feet up against the blocks.

Cat Stretch

Bottom to the heel resting at first. Hands on the bar. Just do a little cat cow. So flexion and extension. And people will be really appreciative of the cat cow after the side plank work.

And round. And we're gonna turn this kind of into a cobra or up dog but we're gonna keep our knees on the carriage. So flexing through your spine. Keep your bottom slightly off your heels so you can maintain active abdominals. So sitting back makes everything just kinda collapse.

Down Stretch Variation

So, abs pulled in. Nice C curve with your spine. Start to straighten out your back leading with your tailbone. Leading with your eyes forward. And then hold that position here as you extend the legs back to drop the hips towards the wall of the reformer and then lift up giving that nice extension.

Find your stopper. Once you find your stopper, you can round your spine and come back towards your heels. Inhale as you extend. Exhale to press the legs away. (exhaling) Inhale as you come up into that cobra and exhale as you round twice more.

Lengthen. Reach, trying really hard not to collapse into the low back which with the one red spring could be easy to do. And back. But with the foot bar at position number one, it's a little helpful. So legs back.

Hips down, inhale breath. Ah. And exhale. And return. And we're gonna go to some standing legs on the reformer.

Standing Side Splits

So, coming off the bar. Now this time, this is personal preference to the position, where you want the position of the bar. I don't always place it all the way down. Just in case the client feels as though they need it to hold onto to get onto the reformer. So we're gonna try it this way and if it gets in my way I'll step down and move it all the way down to the bottom okay?

But an important queue which all Pilates instructors know this that this is mobile so if they step on this one first they might do the splits. So, hand on the bar, hand on the non moving platform, or foot, sorry. Other legs on the moving platform. So from here, we are gonna actually not try to load the abductors, the outer thighs. We're gonna work more on the stretch and feel good part of this exercise.

So, placing that foot about halfway on the carriage, and if you get to here and it's not comfortable, move it a little bit closer. You do wanna make sure that you can hold the carriage in comfortably at the stopper and there's no pressure on your hips or into the medial part of your knee. Hands on your hips. Hips shining forward and then just press out and back. And think about wearing a huge belt buckle and you want that belt buckle to face forward.

You don't want it to face the floor and you don't want it to face the ceiling. Just shines forward. And your hands can be wherever you'd like them to be. Prayer. Hips, oh I have a mic here so it's not as comfortable.

Or arms out to a T. And breathe out. And then back in. On the next one you're gonna push the carriage away and you're gonna bring the arms forward. Soften your knees.

Standing Hinge

Almost like a standing spine stretch. You're gonna hinge the body forward, roll yourself down and place your hands onto the frame of the reformer. Holding that stretch and then lifting your body up in a straight back, finding a little bit of extension using your glutes to come all the way up to standing. Hands by your side. Inhale out.

Exhale to fold. (exhaling) Inhale to lift. And then exhale to return. We'll do that one more time. Inhale.

Arms to a T. Reach the arms forward in that same inhale breath. Fold yourself forward. See if you can get a little deeper each time into that stretch. And then lifting your body up using those glute muscles and back extensors and then turn your palms up at the end and lift your chest up high, and then switch to the other side.

I always say you could risk your life and turn around on the top of the reformer or you can step off the back with your moving platform leg and go around. So, this side here. Left hand on the foot bar. Left foot on the platform. It doesn't move.

Standing Side Splits

And then you'll see your divot from the foot from the other side so you'll be able to place your foot in the same spot, okay? So consistency with the arms. Wherever you had them last time. I'm just gonna place them out to a T position while I enjoy my view and return. And you wanna feel the crease of the side of your bottom.

Push the carriage out. Otherwise you'll use your low back depending on how much resistance you have. And we're gonna do this one more time and hold. So arms, or legs out, push out. Arms reach forward.

Standing Hinge

Soft knees. Really reach as far as you can and then fold yourself forward. Hi. Flex. Reach your arms out and then arms to a T and return.

So it's an inhale arms out carriage move. Arms forward in the same. Inhale, really stretch. On your exhale fold forward. Place your hands on the frame.

Find a deeper stretch. Go ahead and lift up using your back extensors and glute muscles and then returning back. One more. Inhale. Arms forward.

Exhale. (exhaling) Inhale and then return. Turn your palms up. Lift the sternum and then return to neutral. Stepping off the back, we're just gonna end here with some little standing cool down.

Ending Stretch

So back to those arm reaches like you did in the beginning. Just reach those arms up. You should feel a little different. Maybe you're more fatigued in your arms. Maybe they feel a little bit more mobile.

We'll add little squats there as well. Dropping your bottom down and then depending on what time of day you're doing this class, you might want to walk out of here with a little bit of energy. And then holding here at the bottom, taking your hands to prayer. Maybe a little rotation. Shifting that hip back.

And then to the middle. And then over to the other side. And back to center. And then taking those arms over the head, interlacing the fingers. A little side stretch.

Ah. That feels so good. And then over to the other side. And then back to the middle and lastly just the hands behind, interlace. And open up through the chest.

And getting that nice stretch in the shoulder. Couple breaths. (exhaling) And you're all done. I hope you guys enjoyed that class and that's it. Thank you.


3 people like this.
Absolutely feel fabulous !!!! I loved it all ! Thanks .
2 people like this.
What a nice surprise this morning when i got to work out with my beautiful and talented friend! Congratulations Delia on an amazing workout!!!! Loved every second of it ❤️
1 person likes this.
Candace thank you for so much! What a lovely surprise to wake up to!
Aww Natalia thank you! Xx
1 person likes this.
That hip opener at the beginning was a clue that this was going to be a great class. And It is! I bet you have a lot of other "things" up your sleeve! Cant wait to see what they are! Thanks for this amazing class Delia!
V Pilates
3 people like this.
Awesome workout!!! I love that we are on the same colour spring the whole time! :)
Denee thank you so much for your feedback! Glad you enjoyed to! ♥️
2 people like this.
V Pilates thank you! It’s so nice in a group class or if your busy trying to get workout yourself. ♥️
2 people like this.
That was so good!!! Can’t wait to incorporate some of those cues and motion into my classes
With one word, delicious! Thank uou very much and more pleasee:)
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