Class #3748

Reformer for Back Strength

35 min - Class


Use the apparatus to inform your alignment with this Reformer workout by Monica Wilson. She continues with her Back Care series adding new exercises to your practice to help strengthen your powerhouse, hips, and glutes. She also begins to introduce more flow to the workout but encourages you to maintain your precision so you can stay safe.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Pilates Pole


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to class number four with my friend Tara. We did mat last time, and now we get to use the reformer to reinforce all of those feelings, and get to use the apparatus to really teach her about the powerhouse for your alignment, continue to strengthen your hips and your glutes, get some stretching in there. And we're gonna add a few exercises today, but we're still gonna keep you safe. Okay. Okay?

How does that sound? Sounds good. Alright, so we're gonna come forward a bit, and you're gonna lie down, but start by sitting. Good, and lying down, good, alright. So you worried me a tiny bit, that you put your feet up before you lie down, but if that was more comfortable, that's fine.

But what was going off in my head is that, that really would arch your back. But if you felt okay? Yeah, I felt okay. Okay. Good, alright, so we're gonna put your toes, Pilates stance, heels together.

Pilates Stance

I'm gonna have you on three springs. You're soon gonna be on four. I'm pretty confident. I'm working on a Gratz reformer. It doesn't have different measures for the springs, it just has four springs, and they're all the same tension.

So we have your box, and that is what is so great about the reformer. So we're gonna go a little bit to the right, just to here. Good, excellent. Now, because your neck's okay, why don't you lift your head up and see if you have a straight line from your nose to your belly button, to your heels. Does it look pretty straight?

I think so. Good. And you're gonna lie down, excellent. Good, so you wanna feel really square and straight. Okay.

We're gonna have all the toes here. Now, you're just a tiny bit curled up with your tailbone. So I want you to let it relax, and we're gonna use the belly to go up maybe half way. So straighten your legs half way. Great, and now think about those three springs, and put them all on, that's it, and go all the way out now.

All the way out. Hold it there. Do you feel your lower back on the mat? I think so. Okay, bend in.

I like the honesty. Yeah. (chuckles) Yes. So, we're gonna think about that now. Okay. Okay?

So we have our box, and we're gonna, how about now, is your back on the mat? Yes, for sure now. Okay, good. Now, can we keep pulling into our lower back as you straighten your legs. Like the whole point of straightening your legs is to pull on your lower belly deeper, and bend in.

How is that? Yeah. Good. And now, one more at that tempo. But then you're wanna start introducing some good flow, without losing any of that beautiful precision.

Love it. Usually I don't like wrinkles at all, but I would love wrinkles in shirts. It means you haven't pushed out your belly and it's nice and in. You're keeping your hips very square, and pulling in. Good.

And, yeah, one more. Good. Stay here, we're gonna bring your knees together. So, using footwork to feel your lower belly pull into your lower back. So this one is arches, so your toes are curled around like a bird on a perch, like an owl ready to get its prey.


And you're gonna feel the lower belly. And it pulls in deeper as you go up, and come in. And you pull your lower belly, yeah. And it might seem silly, but it takes all our concentration to pull it in, and to not forget about it a second later. So we're gonna say it every time.

You're gonna pull your belly into, feel that lower back, and that's what's great about the reformer, is you feel it on the mat. And you're feeling it get stronger against the resistance of those springs. We're doing tens, we have two more. We haven't changed the tension. One more time squeeze those legs together.

Yeah, great, you're really keeping your hips square today. Okay. Lift your heels up. Good, and pull those toes back. Good, good.

Heels Parallel

And, same thing, belly, uh-huh. 'Cause that's what we're doing, we're pulling back into L5, right? Even better. And pulling in, mm-hmm. We're on our heels, your toes are pulling back.

Great, three, and everything's together. And, there we go, we got a lot of hip work now. Let's stay here. We're gonna go to the toes. So the toes go on the bar, excellent job.

Little bit apart. It's a little different, 'cause we're gonna pull out the carriage and we'll stay there. Okay, so you're gonna still, how's the stomach, do you feel it? The lower back, yeah? Uh-huh.

Tendon Stretch

Okay, is it there? Uh-huh. We're gonna push your heels down under the bar, and pull this into your lower back again to lift them up. Good, one more. Uh-huh, one more like that, that is.

So stay her now with your heels up. This is excellent, but now we need to make sure from this hip that we're strengthening your hips. So you have to rotate, feel those barbershop poles. Gorgeous. And as you lower the heels, they don't get to let go.

They stay. And now you really work them to come up. Yes. Yeah. Stretch.

Look how much stronger you're getting already. This is so good, stretch, stretch, stretch. When you do frog and leg circles in a second, it's such an easy exercise to not feel anything. So use this exercise to feel, "What should my legs be doing". Two more.

Great, last time. Hold in your belly into your lower back. Good, bend the knees and come in. It's already success, because you're not like, "I think so". Yeah.

Now you're like, "I know it." Yes, I can feel it now. It's really great. Slide a little bit away from the shoulder pads. Good, alright, stay in there. We're gonna the hundred here.

Okay. Okay? We're gonna do it with handles though. Okay. And we're gonna try not to have your head up so long like last time.

Okay. So, we're gonna stay here and we're not gonna move it at all. Okay. First, we're gonna get your legs in place. One leg at a time, pulling your belly into your lower back.

Is it in your lower back? Yes. Good. Now, keep it with all those wrinkles, no puffing up the belly at all. Oh, wow, that is so good.

There's like hardly any energy in your legs at all, and that's what you want. You wanna hold your legs up with your belly. Now I want you to do the same thing, but lift your head up. Pull into your lower back, and then straighten your arms any way you can. Uh-huh, really straighten them, forward more, crawl up a little more, stay there and pump your arms up and down.


Good, we're gonna inhale. Two, three, four, five, and exhale, excellent. Keep doing that. And I want you to feel how the carriage is kinda going in and out. (laughs) Yeah.

So you gotta pull it out, and it doesn't move now, as you pump, oh yeah. Because you're putting it all in here. It's just grounding, it's like a tree trunk literally growing roots into the mat under your lower back. It's so much better. Keep pushing into these handles to hold the carriage out.

And your belly is gonna try to pull in and up. That's that in and up feeling that we're trying to get on spine stretch forward. Having, oh, there, we got the belly to get, that's it. One more time, look how steady your carriage is, and bend everything. (Tara sighs) And wow, good work.

Nice job, I'm gonna drop one spring now. Okay. How's your neck, okay? Yeah. Good, good.

Did you feel your stomach? Yes. Good. I'm gonna take these handles, Okay. and I'm gonna add some extensions.

You just stay there. Okay. While I do frog and, we're gonna set up for frog and leg circles. Okay. So, I mentioned earlier, that there's not much tension in this exercise.

So it's really kinda hard sometimes to feel the muscles like you did when you held the carriage out, and lowered and lifted your heels. That one's called tend and stress. So, but we're gonna try though. So you're gonna pull your belly in. Good, and bring me the other foot as well.

It's kinda nice if you can move both legs at the same time. Okay. Good. And now you're gonna pull your belly in, and then, lower the bottom a little. There you go.

And can you keep your knees almost where they are, but just bring the feet down? Mm-hmm, right there. Okay? Good. Good, good, good Pilates stance.

Alright, so, our goal's always to have our arms pressing down, so that they help us ground our belly a little more. Excellent. So, right now, even though your legs aren't straight, even though it's really hard to feel your bottom tighten or those barbershop pole muscles work. See if you can engage them. Just send a message that they're gonna start working and we're gonna straighten your feet to my hand, legs.


Beautiful. And then, can you keep those muscles tight, as you bend the knees? Gorgeous. And as soon as you're in, you're gonna go right back out with those tight muscles. And coming in.

A little less jumpy this time, smooth. Yes, and draw and get in. And as you go out, you're saying, "Do I feel my lower belly and my lower back?" Really good, and in. When you used to do, the first time you did this, keep doing it, two more times, I'd have to hold the feet. They were going everywhere. (Tara laughs)

Look at how far you've come, bend your knees. 'Cause you're working from your powerhouse. We're gonna stay out this time, and keep those muscles working, those barbershop pole muscles, and we're gonna do circles. So, we're gonna, circle one. Mm-hmm.


So as the legs go down right here, is your lower back on the mat? Yes. And it's gonna stay, it's gonna stay. It's challenge, squeeze your legs together and come up. I'll do one more with you.

Pulling into your lower back, yes. It's a different exercise. I'm gonna let go, and you're gonna do three more on your own. Perfect. This is kinda those sidekicks where you kept this here and the legs, so good, one more.

The legs reached out. And that is gonna be so good for your hips. We're gonna stay here, turn the legs out a little again. We're reversing it. Holding your lower back, stretch out by going down with the legs, and then open and round up.

Beautiful, mm-hmm. You're not gonna, it's not, "I think it's in", it's in. A little high for your back. So you're gonna stop here, not quite. Hold for a second.

So you wanna be careful that doesn't go up to a 90 degree angle, 'cause that can, you can pull on your back when you do that, okay? Yes. So we're gonna start our, only come up this high, is what I should say. Okay. Okay, so just shy of 90 degrees.

Squeezing down hamstrings, ah, a little lower. Lower? Uh-huh, right there. And then, open up and pausing here. That's a better range of motion.

And, you feel it, you feel it, you feel it? Good, keep the legs together until, till these almost touch the-- Mm-hmm. That's a good frame of reference for you. Beautiful, two more. Oops.

It's okay, you're doing great, last one. That's it. And we will stretch. Okay. So you're gonna grab these handles, mm-hmm.

Hamstring Stretch

And keep your bottom down like it is right now for the first stretch. Good, good. And then, you can bring the legs as close to you as you want. Yeah. Reach your right hip away a little further.

Yeah, good. How does that feel? Good. Good. Yeah.

Alright, we're gonna relax, I'm gonna slip them off. You're gonna come home, okay. And now, you can roll on to your side or sit up any way you want, okay? Okay. And stand up, and then, I'm gonna set it up for the next exercise, it's stomach massage. Okay.

And the first time, we only let you do round, but today I'm gonna let you do hands back. Okay. We will see, if that's okay. So, we're still keeping on three springs. Okay. Come on over here.

And you're gonna sit down. We're not gonna lie down, right? We're gonna stay seated. Okay, mm-hmm. Put your feet here first.

Good, and then just center your bottom. Good, great. And then, put your hands behind you, so that you're supported, as you put your feet up here. Toes on the bar, mm-hmm, great, okay. Bring your left hip just a tiny bit forward, good.

Round Back

Alright, now, one hand at a time grab on to the front edge of that mat. And then, remember that exercise called a roll back, that you did, where-- Mm-hmm. So that's what's you're doing right now. You're gonna bend your elbows, uh-huh. You even wanna pretend like you can lift up that carriage or that mat with you, and round that more, good.

And our whole goal is, can you feel your lower belly right here? So, we're gonna look at those springs, and put the resistance of all those springs into here to straighten your legs. So good. And then, bend the knees in. One more and then we'll had a stretch.

Pulling in here, if you nail this feeling right now, and bend in, then we can do the arch, or the hands back safely. Scoop in in here, stay there, lower your heels under the bar, stretch, lift them up and bend in. Anything hurt? No. Good.

So, pull the legs straight from your stomach, so no arching here, it has to be round. Pull your belly into your lower back. Once you're out, then you can lower the heels for a stretch, lift them back up, and you come home. Very good. Pull the belly into here, right into your injury, lower those heels, lift and in.

Let's do two more. Pulling into here, and when we do the short box, I want you to initiate like this, it's so good, so good. And in, and one more time. Pull in your lower belly into there, very even, down, lift, good. Great job, now, holding on to that mat, pull your belly in and start lifting up your chest with your stomach.

Flat Back

And lift up your head. Excellent, can you keep your belly in? Good, alright. Now, picture those shoulder pads are behind you, you need to hold this like a corset, and you're gonna start walking your hands back, and you're gonna see if you can put them on top of the shoulder pads. Perfect.

But you're still holding this, heels together. Okay. Are you okay? Mm-hmm. (chuckles) Okay. To straighten your arms, you don't do that.

Instead, it comes from your powerhouse. You're gonna pull in, and you gonna lift up, and all of a sudden, magically your arms go straight. Heels squeezing together, so your hips squeeze together, and you're gonna go out. I'm sorry, come back in, just kidding, stay there. You almost slid out of your pants, huh?

(both laughing) It's 'cause I didn't drop a spring. One day, you'll be able to do it on three springs, but not today. (Tara laughing) Maybe lift your bottom forward just a little bit. Thank you. Okay.(laughs) Okay, let's come back.

You were such good position, and then I blew it. So squeeze your hips together with your heels, corset. That's what lifts up your chest, and now just straighten your legs, making sure you feel your belly. Uh-huh, and bend, that didn't look like it felt good. No, it's fine, I just wasn't sure that was right.

It was right, but you sat on your left hip when you did it. So can you stay, can you feel both sit bones? Well, that was perfect. Better? Okay. Interesting.

(both laughing) Maybe I'm just confused. Okay, so stay on your right sit bone, when you go out. Okay. Don't put extra weight, just be aware. Okay.

And pulling out, beautiful, and in. You still sat a little on to your left. And pulling, yes! This was very good for you. Pulling in, no pain? Good.

And two more. Another time we'll add this stretch again, but not today. Just making sure you feel this, like a corset. Stay here, and now give me your hands. And you're gonna do the reach.

Okay? Okay. Heels together, mm-hmm. So you're gonna just pull out with your belly, yep, and come back in. That's all it is.


But, you know how I made you do on the one that chair, that table exercise, and you weren't allowed to push the pedal down? Yeah. You can't push your heels down. You have to pull away from them. Okay. Okay?

Pull away, and come in, excellent. (Tara laughs) I know, it's such a small little-- Yeah. And, pull your belly into your back, so you pull away, yes, and in. Now, one more with your arms at this level. Pulling, good, and then exhale.

Now keep reaching forward, keep reaching. Arms up, arms up, arms up. Okay, relax. I want your hands to be there, and you're gonna get a little stretch. You're gonna go ahead and straighten your legs, but always by pulling your belly into your back.

Hamstring Stretch

Look down, and you get to get a little stretch here. It might stretch your upper back, it might stretch your shoulders, it might stretch your lower back, it might stretch your calves. Can you straighten your legs any more? It might stretch your hamstrings. Achilles tendon, all of that, right? Mm-hmm.

Very good, bend the knees, and come in. Doing okay? Yes. Good. Carefully step off.

I'm gonna set it up for our short box. I'll try to not to have you slide out of your pants again. (Tara laughs) Okay, that'd be good. So, we're gonna start off with the round back, and that exercise is gonna start off like all the other ones. It's not like, can you feel, like you have to feel it.

Okay. So you're gonna sit down. Good, and your feet, good and they're, it's gonna be closer to your ankles. And this is one of the parallel exercises, great. Good, good, good, good.

Alright, so, I want you to do it like you did the first time. Watch as your hands go under like a roll back, and your shoulders are right over your hips and over your sit bones, which is perfect. Okay. But you gotta round your back now. Uh-huh, head down to your chest.

Good, good, like that rainbow we had talked about, right? And now, I want you to take a big breath and exhale. Can you feel your belly pulling to your lower back? It's not like, I think so, right, it's I have to know it. Right? Yeah.

Now, we're gonna take a breath, and we're also gonna squeeze your bottom as if you're on the bed of nails, excellent. And now we can start using our lower belly to roll back. Yes, keep squeezing your bottom, mm-hmm. Right there, take a breath and exhale, pull your belly in to come forward. Really, really good, good.

Round Back

Now, we're gonna advance a little bit, and instead, hug your arms around your belly. Mm-hmm, round your back again. Good, squeeze above that sit and pull your lower belly and roll that back, good, good, good, beautiful. Take a breath and exhale forward, pulling away from me. This stays here, you come forward.

Do you remember the assisted teaser? That's with the last exercise we did on the mat. Yeah. When I pulled you up, I want your stomach to feel like that. Okay.

Push your legs out a little bit, squeeze your bottom, rounding. So you roll your lower back down first. Take a breath, and on your way up exhale, this stays here, stays like on the mat, and this part rounded up forward, forward. I'm gonna make you go right into the next one. And last one, oh, that was so good, Tara.

And, exhale, it's like I'm pulling you up, but you stayed on the mat with the rest of your body. That is so good. Great job, hard work, huh? Yeah. You're doing okay?

Yeah. Alright, no pain? No. She's like, "Can I make up some pain?" (both laughing) Good, I'm glad. Slide a tiny bit back.

And then, we're gonna grab this bar, it's gonna be shoulder width apart. We're gonna work on your posture. Okay? Mm-hmm. Kinda touched on that last class.

Flex the feet, good. Do you find your sit bones? Mm-hmm Okay, can you set up you hip bones right over those sit bones? That's better. Okay. Good.

And then, straight fingers, so we don't grip for dear life. How's this lower belly? Is it in your lower back? Yes. Okay.

Pull your lower belly in, and lift up your arms with it. Keep your hip bones over your sit bones. Stay a little more on your right hip, excellent, good. Don't let the bar go behind you, you should be able to see it out of the corner of your eyes. Excellent, good.

Flat Back

Okay, with your belly into your lower back, this is a paint roller. Have you been doing painting lately? Not me. (laughs) Not you. Okay, we're gonna paint the ceiling, lifting off your seat, no arching, just keep lifting and go back straight as my arm. Straight, straight, straight and come forward.

So, fabulous. Except you did it all on your left side, so stay on your right hip. Pull your belly in, and you're gonna go back, making the right side of your stomach work twice as hard as your left, and come forward. That's really good. So if I drew a dotted line, and you were like, this is my left side and this is my right, you're gonna use this one twice as much.

Okay. Squeeze up of your seat, pulling the belly in, and use that right side, use that right side, and come forward, really good. And one more time. Pulling your belly in and lifting off that bottom, lifting, lifting, lifting, and coming forward, and take a break. Good news is, there's only like three to five reps ever, so it's not killing you. Yeah, not so bad.

I know, or in a side reach. So we did crisscross last class, but we didn't twist our lower back, right? So, now we're gonna do almost the same thing if our hands were here, this stays here, as we just stretch away to the right, and then you come center. So you don't fall over. Pulling your belly in, mm-hmm.

And this one we're gonna lean forward. So you're leaning, straight back, just hinge work, excellent. Here's your belt, it stays here. Take a breath, good, and exhale, pulling in. This time you're gonna inhale and bend to the right.

Side to Side

None of this moves. And then exhale center, good. And then, inhale, go to the left, bend into the left. Yes, and exhale center. And, pulling into here and bend reach to the right.

Reach, reach, reach and come center, you're doing awesome. Pulling in first and then, reach as far as you can, and center, so good. And, pulling in and reach to the right. This one's easier for you. And last time pulling in, don't let that right side get bullied.

It's gonna stay holding on, really good. Rest your arms down. Very nice, good. No twisting yet, so we're gonna leave the next one out. We're done with the bar.

We're gonna do tree. So you're gonna take your right leg out. Uh-huh, perfect, staying just like that. Pull your belly in, and you're gonna put your hands underneath your knee. Belly in, so belly into your lower back.

Good. (laughs) No. Has to always be there, and you're just gonna straighten that leg up and bend, good. Just like all the exercises, our leg goes straight, our belly pulls in more, more, more and bend. And, as that leg goes straight, it pulls in more.


Now stay there, walk the hands up your leg to the ankle. Excellent, stay in there, we're gonna rotate. Remember all those barbershop pole rotating? Okay, and now stretch forward over that leg, rounding, head down, relax the shoulders. How are we doing?

It's okay? Good. Okay, good. Stay there, stay down. So we did assisted teaser, so I want you to stay here, and pretend, use a lot of imagination, okay?

I'm gonna bring this hip forward, because if you can see, it's really far behind this one. So we're gonna lift it up, and now it's straight across, yeah? And I was standing, and you had your feet on me. Do you remember that? Yeah.

Okay, so, looking down, pull your lower belly in, and we're gonna roll back your waist span. We're gonna rock your weight back. Don't move that right hip, it has to stay there. And roll back, yes! Yes, keeping your hands where it is, awesome. That strap holds you.

And now we're gonna do that assisted teaser. You're gonna walk down your leg, down as you roll away, take a breath and come up, as if I'm pulling you up, remember that? Uh-huh. And do that two more times. We keep these hips square.

That's what's really important for you. And come in up. This hip doesn't get to hike. One more, that's it, and come in up, good. Next time we'll end up stretching in between each one, but this was really good.

Grab onto your ankle and head down and stretch. That's it. And we're just gonna do that for safety, just to, like I said, the first time on reformer, I don't wanna add too many that are questionable. Okay. We're gonna see, does your body feel great after today, then the next time we know those are all safe, okay?

So, we're cautiously adding exercises. We're gonna keep scooping in. And you're gonna bring the left foot on to the mat. Put your hands underneath that knee. Good, yes, exactly.

And now lift up the knee a little bit. And straighten and bend the leg three times. Good, and it's not, I think it's in, it's I know my stomach's in, right? And then, hold it up and walk up the leg. Hand over hand, grab the ankle and reach forward over that.

Stretch, stretch, stretch, good. Check out the line of your hips, what do you think? Oh, so that, right? Yeah. This one's gonna be hard, because the right side is your harder side to keep engaged, okay? Yeah.

It's gonna wanna push forward. So I'm gonna help you. And we're just gonna rock back, rolling back until that right foot is holding you. Is it holding you? Yeah. Excellent.

Look at your belly, I think you can scoop in, uh-huh. Can you take your left hip just a little more forward so it's square? Very good, rotating it out. Okay, now we're gonna do that assisted teaser. Walk down your leg.

And see how much I'm manhandling you. Yes. (laughs) And you're gonna come forward. So, now I'm not going to, and you're gonna do it on your own, okay? And, oh yeah, and it's like I'm pulling you up, but you're pulling it, oh my gosh, that's so good. One more time.

Yes! And, pulling in, yes! Great job, stretch forward and bend the knee. And now, we're done. (Tara sighs) With the box, dang it. (Tara laughs) Alright, go ahead and step off it carefully. (laughing) I was like, great, I'm giving her false, you know you're enjoying every moment of this-- I am.

Just a few more on the reformer. We're gonna do elephant, which is super similar to two exercises. I'll make you really use your creativity. We showed it to you last time, though. It's the same as double straight leg.

That was when your hands were behind your head, and you had a magic circle and I kept you in a real small range of motion as your legs just moved a little bit and really pulled in. It's also just like the pull up that you did on the wonder chair. And you had to make a rainbow. Okay. So you're gonna come over here.

And you're gonna place your hands on the bar. So, in two springs, and we're gonna stand up on the mat. And then, I'm gonna have your feet just two inches in front of the shoulder pads. A little bit more. How tall are you?

5.5. Yeah. So if you were 5.9, I'd have them all the way back there, but just bring them a little forward. I certainly have to bring them forward. (Tara chuckles) Okay, and this is similar to the pull up, because the alignment's important.

Right now your center of gravity is really far back, yes. So your shoulders are gonna actually stay over the bar that holds the springs. You're gonna tuck your head between, uh-huh. You're gonna curl your tailbone, oh, that's so good, look at this rainbow, good. Now I want you to go out with the legs just a couple inches, pushing out, stay there.


And you're gonna exhale, really feel your belly. You're gonna trust if your belly pulls in the carriage or come home. So we're gonna push those heels down maybe, would be at better, yes. Out, and push the heels down as you come in, mm-hmm. Now it's really coming home, right?

(both laughing) And pull coming in. Good, and out, I just wish that your stomach would pull in instead of push out. I'm asking a lot here, huh? And going out, and now let's see. Pull in, that was good.

Oh, I don't care about that. This is what I care about. Two more, inhale, exhale to come in. One more time, inhale, exhale to come in. Oh, that was great! Could you feel it? Yeah.

Do you know how hard that is to get your belly to pull in when you're upside down, it's really hard. So we're gonna do the same thing, but kneel down, okay? And then, your feet, that's perfect. Just put them against the shoulder pads. Okay.

Left one too. And you're gonna round into a rainbow and sit back toward your heels. Right there, straight arms, okay, good. But look down and pull in. Oh, now we're really like pulled in.

Yeah. Now we're gonna keep your belly pulling into lower back, and can you push your knee out to my leg? No, I'm sorry, push the carriage back, so you're, uh-huh. And then, come back in. Good, and you're gonna push out and pull in.

Knee Stretch Round Back

Good, so my hands are holding your hips to straighten them, but you're using your stomach. Go out, and pull in. Really good, you're pulling your stomach back into your lower back, so that your upper body doesn't move, and you're doing that so well. And two more. See if you can move a little quicker.

What do you think? See how that changes. You can, you're gonna feel different muscles get recruited and it's a little bit easier, not so hard. That's your last one. So good, alright, good.

We're still gonna leave the arch one out on that one, that gets me a little too worried, so we're gonna step off. Okay. But added a lot of exercises. We're gonna end with our running and our pelvic tilts. So you're gonna lie down any way that makes you feel good.

But slide forward more first. Yeah, okay, that's okay? Good, yeah. Okay, good. (Tara laughs) We're gonna put your toes here and heels, good.

And you're just a little off to your left, so we're gonna scoot a little to your right. Mm-hmm, good, good. And we're gonna revisit the one where you stayed out. So you're gonna pull your belly in, which you are. And you're going to, I'm gonna add one spring before I mess that up. Okay.


So three springs for you. Just like you did when you started. And you're gonna straighten your legs. Good, is your lower belly into your lower back? Yes.

Yeah? Bend the knees in, why don't we try it again? One more time. Okay. Just gonna really concentrate on that lower, yeah, 'cause we are pulling into L5, as you go up.

You're gonna stay there, and do you feel both of these barbershop poles working? Yeah. Okay. I want you to keep them working and push both heels under the bar. Hold, can you intensify them as you pull up the heels?

Pull the heels up towards you. Could you feel that? Yeah. And one more time down and pull, get up, mm-hmm. Now we're gonna stay like that, lift the heels up, but one leg at a time.

Yeah, and then, uh-huh, good. How's the lower belly? Is it pulling into your lower back? Good, good. Yeah, 100%? Yeah.

Good, now I want you to just keep moving. I just want this to look a lot freer. So this is not free, but I want your heel to go really low under the bar, and I want your knee to go really high. How high can you get that knee up? How low can you get that heel?

Good, like a big ring, almost like a big wheel, yeah. And that ends up kinda freeing up the lower back. Ends up feeling really nice, like a good stretch and a massage, yeah, that's a lot nicer. Really good control, yes, last set. And bend the knees and come back home.

I love how you ended with your heels up, that was really good. Oh, good. So we're gonna put your arches here, mm-hmm. And you're gonna turn your knees out a little bit, good. And you're gonna pull your belly in.

Is it in? Yeah. Good. And you're gonna curl your tailbone up like we do on the bridge. So you're gonna, the carriage doesn't move.

You're, of course, not pushing into your feet, 'cause you've done the table now. So you're just gonna use the hamstrings and glutes and curl up a little further, little further, little further, great, stay there. Excellent, your upper back's gonna be on the mat, okay? And you're really trying to pull your belly into that lower back while keeping that pelvis curls. Makes sense?

Pelvic Lift

Every time before you go out, I want you to try to curl your tailbone towards you like you are. Okay. We're gonna squeeze the hamstrings and glutes to go all the way out, all the way out. Straighten, straighten, straighten, from here, and then come back in. Is it supposed to drop like that?

Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And, good question, and out. A lot of times you need, your body just needs to follow a natural movement. You don't wanna start by dropping your bottom, that would not be good. So now, we're gonna curl, and how about the ribs?

Can we get them back on the mat? Oh, and now out, and coming in. I'm not seeing the scoop that I was, yes! And out, it's again looking like that assisted teaser, when you do this exercise. And coming in, so let me see that scoop. And going out, here we go.

All the way, and coming in, curling that tailbone towards you, curl, curl, curl. Two more. Where do you feel this exercise? In my glute. Okay, good.

And coming in, perfect. Yeah. Any discomfort? A little bit, in the back, when I stretch all the way up. I noticed that.

Go ahead and lie down completely. Yeah. I asked, because, you know how I said I'm not seeing that scoop? Yeah. For whatever reason, when you go out, you would make a dome with your belly instead of the scoop, so it was like you were bracing in.

Yeah, that is the perfect position that you have right there. So, here's what I want you to do. No to torture you, and only because I'm working with you. I want you to not move the carriage, but lift up a little bit. Mm-hmm, good, stay there. Okay.

'Cause we're actually gonna do this in a second, on the Cadillac. And I don't want you, do you feel the ribs on the mat? Yes. I want you to only go out as far as you can keep those on the mat. And then, come back in.

Any pain? No. Good, again, two more. Good, and in, yes, one more. Good, and coming in, and melting down.

That's enough, good. So, when you go, a lot of times when we're getting past an injury, Yes. The exercise might still be okay, but the full range of motion is not. So you wanna work until you can keep control of it, and then come back. When you would extend the straight legs, I don't know if your pelvis would change or what would happen, but it would change your back, which wouldn't let your belly pull in and support it.

Makes sense, okay. So, does it? Yeah, and that's when it hurt, okay. Yeah, so keep it in the right range of motion, okay? Everything else looks so good.

Okay. Now, we're gonna have you slide your feet together and just hug your knees into your chest. Good, and just little yummy stretch here. How does that feel? It feels good.

Do you feel your lower back on the mat? Mm-hmm. How many times did I say that today? Yeah. Do you feel your belly pulling into your lower back?

Yes. (laughs) Good, alright. So, the reformer wasn't too scary today? No. Great. You did a great job. So good.

Nice work. Thank you.


1 person likes this.
Question? What injury does the participant have?
I love your sense of humour and making the client feel comfortable. The precision and the cuing of the exercises were great. What do you do with hyperextended knees when doing the leg series? How do you cue and which adjustments will you do? With the "Side to Side" exercise; was it intentional to keep the upper body slightly forward and rounded? Another question: the headrest is up during Pelvic Tilt -not so important to take it down or do you only take it down when people have neck problems? Thanks in advance. I really enjoyed watching this class. 
1 person likes this.
pull in the belly to the spine?  that is so old school and so not useful.  
1 person likes this.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen alignment in this workout. When footwork series she was tilting her pelvis over using her hip flexors and tightening her lower back. Ribcage wasn't engaged at all.
When frog you need to use your powerhouse and stop the knees above the hips, otherwise you just making too much hip and knee flexion and there's no control. 
I couldn't watch after the frog((

I needed this refresher. I’ve gotten a bit lazy about pulling my stomach in. Good to return to the basics!
This was a great refresher of basic techniques for me. I often forget to pull my stomach in as much as I should. Thanks.
A tip I'd like to pass along is to take several classes from an instructor before you decide if this will be someone you choose to follow or not. I took an earlier class of Monica's that just felt rushed (to me) and I didn't enjoy it as much. Knowing her training and legacy, I wanted to give it another shot. This is now my third trial and I would say my favorite. This more instructional, slower paced, was just my speed. I found myself having some of the same issues as the demonstrator (domed back instead of rounded in the hip lift at the end) so it was interesting to get the same tutoring that the model needed. I found that if I lowered my feet on the bar, it gave me more support and I was able to get rid of the arch (dome) in my back. Not sure if that's proper form, but I think it gave my larger body the support it needed from my legs which allowed me to get the pelvis and hips and lower back in the right position. Thank you, Monica!
Monica Wilson
Wow Frances! This is great feedback. Thank you! And I greatly appreciate the respect and your continued determination to find a class at the right tempo and that spoke to your body.

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin