Class #3918

Push and Pull Reformer

30 min - Class


You will explore the concept of push and pull in this creative Reformer workout by Rebekah Rotstein. She uses the Footbar to show the interplay between these two actions. She also shares how this concept is related to the theme of integrated movement.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Nov 15, 2019
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Hi, I'm Rebecca Rotstein and I'm happy to be back here at Peloton as anytime sharing with you a new reformer class where we're going to explore concepts of push and pull. And it's related to this theme of integrated movement and contraction and expansion. So I'm using here a reformer that is a balanced body reformer. I'm using two red Springs. You may be more comfortable with a little less tension. I've tried it on a stock or I used a red and a blue.

I tried it also on a grots with just a single spring. So what you're going to play and explore. So we start seated on our box and we're going to place our hands on the foot bar and we're going to start off with some arch and curl type of action. So we're going to move our spine, we're going to pull on the bar as we arch and extend and exhale gentle push into the bar. [inaudible] and inhale, pull and exhale, push. So we're feeling this whole continuous movement throughout the body.

Inhale and exhale and notice how the push occurs through the hands, but it reverberates and transmits through the spine, through the trunk, down to the feet. Inhale and exhale. [inaudible]. Then we're going to make a wave like action. So we're gonna pull and the movement's going to start from the pelvis and it's going to transmit and undulate up through the spine. And exhale, push and inhale pole and exhale, push. So you'll notice that the elbows start to become involved as well. And exhale, push, and then he'll pull and exhale, push.

Then we take one hand and pull and the other hand is going to push. So we inhale and exhale. Inhale, and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Now stay here. Switch hands and inhale and exhale and inhale and exhale. And I just can't help but smile as I do this because it just feels so glorious on my body.

Inhale and exhale and just feeling grateful for the movement that we're capable of. Let's do one more inhale and exhale and pause. Placing your hands here on the bar. Just do a gentle pull so that you can experience more of the movement through the collarbones rising an exhale. Now let's sit sideways. So we're going to do our push and pull here.

We're going to lean away. Here's our little pole, and you're going to feel a nice stretch along the sides along probably the scaling area of the neck as well. And then we push to side and we pull to bend away and we push to go in and breathing it. Any pace that you want and any pattern that you wish. Let's do one more [inaudible]. And now let's stay here for a moment and curl down and circle around and side.

Been in curl. So you'll notice that there's still this contact with the bar. Push and pull, and hopefully you don't get dizzy. And all the way up and side bend away and rise. Let's turn and try the other direction. So we first pull and side bend away and enjoy that stretch.

Maybe pull the head in a little bit to intensify or to change the direction or the angle and the vector. And then we push inside. Bend toward the reformer and we pull and bend away and we push and go toward and pull and Benoit and push and go toward. So the breath is that conduit throughout all of these movements. And then we're going to do one more where we go away and we're going to roll forward and push yourself up and over and pull yourself back in and push yourself over and pull yourself back in last time and push yourself over and return to face the bar. Now we're going to get a glorious stretch on the rhomboid area between the shoulder blades, so we're going to roll back, but we're going to remove one hand.

So I've been playing with this for a while with clients. It feels so good between the shoulder blades directly where the scapula comes in, attaches to the thoracic spine. Don't try and relax your shoulders. Don't try and pull your shoulders down. We're basically doing everything we always say not to do. I want you to elevate your shoulder.

That's going to maximize the stretch here. Oh, it feels really good. You're going to try the other side. If you don't have access to a foot bar, I mean hopefully you do because you're doing a reformer class, but if you ever want to do this, you can just hold on to a doorknob. Inhale here. Exhale. All right, let's sequence this. So we're going to go into that stretch and then we're going to pull ourselves up and forward and we're going to go into the stretch and we're going to pull ourselves up and forward so we add in a nice spiral and pull ourselves up and down and pull ourselves up one last time and pull ourselves up. And last one and it's that poll that undulates and transmits through your whole spine. Placing your hands down here. We're going to add in a little wave stand.

So we're going to roll up and come up so you might have to come a little bit closer and then we're going to sit back and you also may need to have somebody stand or sit on your reformer. If you're larger than I am, you're going to pull up and then we're going to sit back and pull up and sit back. So if you are more than five feet tall, you may need to keep your knees bent. You might not be able to straighten them as much as I am and go one more and up. Now we're going to make it even more interesting though because we're going to place our foot bar securely down and we're going to do a little bounce. So we're going to sit back and feel that pull and we're near you. Leverage that pole for a little less elastic recoil and up and up.

And notice that moment of suspension. Whoops, there goes, there goes the foot bar and two more. So I'm going to have to be a little careful that I don't use my entire body weight as I was before last one and lowering down. Now we're going to sit sideways. So again, I recognize that my height gives me a certain advantage in fitting to small spaces. If you need, you can move the box a little bit wider or you can bring your foot closer into you because we're going to take advantage of this foot bar now to stretch our pecs. So I'm going to lower myself down and I will screw this up just a little bit. So I'm Loring myself down.

I'm bringing my entire forearm here onto the bar and I'm going to take the other hand for leverage to push myself away so that I can get a great stretch on that chest. Breathing in and exhale, lowering and whew, this feels wonderful. And so it's, it's more about playing with how we can take advantage of this rare piece of equipment. It's not just the reformers, it's what are the parts of the reformer, what else can it do for us? What is the shape and how can that play in interplay with the shapes of our body and the shapes that we create? All right, last one. We're going to come all the way up here. So we're going to take this moment and now bend away and get a stretch here on the hip and breathing in.

And exhale and inhale again, a gentle little pole on the foot bar and return. And last one. And let's try it on the other side. So I'm going to again, make sure that the heel of the hand at the very least, and the forum or in contact with the foot bar, and I'm going to drop myself down and you're going to do it as much as you can just to make sure that you experienced that stretch on the pecs. And we're going to take the other hand and push ourselves away. So one of my very dear friends calls this, her chicken cutlets her, her pecs, he's like, my chicken cutlets are tight.

So we're giving ourselves a little release on that. And the tension here I find can often not just pull my head forward, but it can also restrict that movement through my neck. So it's interesting to think about the neck as it relates to this area of the chicken cutlets. And last one holding breathing in, exhale and sitting up. And then we're just going to do a gentle side bend over, pulling again onto the bar and coming up. And let's just do one more like that. So we pull, then we come back.

Let's go to the first side and let's play with a little lunge here. So I'm gonna place my front foot in front of, if that makes sense. My front foot in front of the box. And depending on your height, you may want to elevate yourself by sitting on something a little bit taller. So I'm going to bring my foot a little bit closer into the front foot and I'm going to just do some lunges here and I'm getting an intense stretch through the back hip. I'm watching to make sure that my hips are as square as possible so that I'm not twisted and rotated, going up and down, and all the while I'm trying to relax my shoulders.

So I'm using this for a little balanced support, a little additional, um, help if I need it by pushing down on it. But I'm also thinking of squeezing my hips together and I'm going to hold, breathe in, and now I'm going to round and rise and then I'm going to bend away and I'm gonna take the free hand. And I'm going around and crawl forward and then a gentle opening and we're going to try the second side so we go into that lunch and organizing yourself first to make sure that your hips are square, to make sure that you're well positioned. So we go down and up, down and up and we're working so much through the lower body that the upper body after all that nice release work is able to just stack and rest on top of the hips and on top of the pelvis, letting the legs do their job and last one stay and now we're gonna round and rise and we're going to take the free hand and side bend over and hurl forward and expand and return. Now comes the fun part. We're going to turn around and we're going to move this box a little bit closer to the bar and at this point I'm actually going to lower the foot bar. You have your choice, you could keep it higher, but I have a feeling that for most people it's going to be a little too high.

It's going to be too much extension. The reason is because I use this exercise in one of my spirals workshops and it can be challenging to get, uh, so much flection in the shoulder. So we're going to explore it on a low setting, but you have the option. All right? We have our feet relatively parallel. The bar is positioned just I would say just around the point of the inferior angle of the scapula.

But depending on where your restriction is in your spine is where you're gonna position it. So for me, I have a little more restriction, slightly higher. So I'm going to let it go a little higher. I'm going to lean back. So I'm allowing my head first just to rest on the end of the frame. Now the goal is the elbow should not be wide. We want to narrow the elbows here. So what you could do is take one hand and give yourself a gentle spiral.

Other hand, a gentle spiral so that you're spiraling the elbows inward to help position the humeral heads in the sockets. And then we're going to push and return. So part of the action here is that you're in a bridge and by being in a bridge, you're also reducing too much of the torque happening throughout your spine. If you're down here, it might be possible, but it also might just be too much on the shoulders. So you keep the hips high. Let's do five, four, three, two, one.

My shoulder is a little funky today and we're going to stay here and then we're going to start to lower and we're going to start to lift. So we're basically massaging and mobilizing that area, the thoracic spine and two and one, and lowering all the way down, letting it come in. Now, place the hands behind the head and we're going to roll onto the side. So we're on the side of the scapula. I don't want you on your ribs unless you're there intentionally. I don't want you to accidentally dislocate a rib.

Another option is you might want to play some padding on the foot bar, but this is a wonderful trigger point release around the lateral border of the scapula. Inhale, exhale. So play with this. Maybe you want to try moving a little bit higher up, I should say lower down, technically closer to your pelvis or maybe you want to go higher up, closer to the armpit. There's some great uh, Terese minor trigger points are on there. Some inference, infraspinatus trigger point. So some of these rotator cuffs you can get some trigger points that can create some restrictions and then we're going to return to the side and we're going to go to the other side. Oh boy. I think my shoulder liked that and so I'm basically just moving. I'm finding where it's calling and speaking to me. If something feels like it's too painful, by all means backup.

You have to listen to your body and you have to pay attention to it and respect what it's saying to you. Maybe it's asking for more, maybe it's asking for less and let's do one more. Let's go a little bit lower, like we were saying, see what that feels like, or maybe you want to go a little bit higher and then we're going to return onto the back and we're going to find a place, a different point on the back that needs some of that mobilization. So part of the secret is the angle on the size and the circumference of the foot bar because it's just in the right position to give you an extra little mobilization and what's often tight [inaudible] thoracic spine. Let's do one more set, push and notice a difference. After we've done that movement of the trigger point, release three, two and one and let the elbows bend please.

The hands behind the head nod and curl and come up a little bit higher on the bar. And I'm ready now to begin a new part of my sequence. So I'm going to lift one foot up and I'm going to bicycle down and up and down and up and down and up. Let's try the other foot down and up, down and up. So I'm still pushing. I'm still pushing through that foot. Let's alternate. One, two, three, four, five, six. With the feet up, bend the knees and let's open the arms.

Expand and push the carriage away and lower the hips. Bring the hands behind the head and curl forward. Here's our contraction. Let's now come into single leg stretch. So one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Lower the feet down. Expand, opening the hands, placing them onto the bar and pushing the carriage away and lowering back down. Place the hands behind the head. Drop the chin and fold and contract. Let's do some scissors. Lifting the feet up toward the ceiling. Laura, one leg pull, pull, pull, pull, pull, pull, pull, pull. Two more. Popo, Popo and final. Expand rates. Savor, push and lower the hips if you want. At this point, if you've opened enough through the chest and that thoracic spine has mobilized enough, you may be able to keep your hips down at this 0.3, two, one or maybe you don't straighten the elbows all the way and place the hands behind the head and let's roll up.

Push the hands into the box and just feel the connection into the back of the shoulders. I don't know if you noticed what I started to do. I started to thrust my chest forward. That's not working my shoulders, that's just working my back. So let's stay expansive through the back and push through the hands, feeling the connection. It's almost like an isometric version of chest expansion and return and exhale, push looking to one side, looking to the other side, looking to center. And now we're going to get even more interesting because we're going to place our hands here on the foot bar. This isn't the foot bar. This is the box. Sorry.

I do know my equipment. Apparently we're going to come all the way forward and we're going to think of doing a leg pull front or back, I guess you could say and lowering down. But first we start off with a plank. Uh, now let's add in our leg pole lift and lower. And I'm just doing a variation where I'm pointing and flexing, but I'm trying to keep my pelvis and my hips level and then I'm going to bend the knees, rocking back onto the heels.

I'm going to bend. It's almost like our long back stretch. Yeah. Well let's reverse it. Don't worry about the direction you're going. Just find the fluidity of the movement as you push. And there's a pull as well.

So I pushed through my hands and I pull through my heels once more, and we're going to take one foot and plant it down. Pivot through that hand. We'll do a little stargaze or stretch. After all that work on the arms, it feels good to stretch them and return down. Reposition the hands, reposition the feet. Other foot pivot. Oh, enjoy and savor that doc. Bend haze or expansion.

Place your hands her right back again. All right, you ready for some sissy squat prep? Take one foot plant the ball of the foot, and we're gonna rise up and down. So I started to actually do dips, but rather than that, I want to keep the hips up. So I'm going to go up, up, up that back thigh is burning, but I'll tell you this, this movement has been so helpful for me, especially in hiking so that when I'm hiking downhill, my knees hurt anymore and push, push, push, push, push, push, and once more pull the hips back. Let's bend the knees. Let's just do a set of dips for three, two, one and our triceps are on fire. Now let's actually get onto the reformer itself. So I'm gonna lift the foot bar. I like to put it on its lowest setting here as I lift it this way I have it on, again, I have it right now on two reds.

I would say for this you probably want to keep it around what you would usually do the long strip series on. All right, we're going to actually pull the box a little bit closer for what we have in store and a little bit as well. So I'll start on this side here and as if you were going to do scooter, you're going to line up your bottom foot with the knee and you're going to first just test out. It might be a little bit heavy, but we're first just going to experience what it feels like to get that little activation to the back of the hip while we push through the hands and just do two more here and then we're going to lower ourselves all the way down. At this point I like to place that front foot or the planted foot a little bit lower. We're going to take the bar hands and place it anywhere that you can reach on the bottom of of the frame. And we're going to isometrically pull here as we push and try to keep your hips relatively square, a couple more, three, two.

So I'm actively pulling through my right arm as if I were doing a lot pull. Whereas if I were pulling on a door that won't move and back in. Now, let's try it with the other side, giving just a little pull so we feel that connection into the back of the shoulder here. And then we're going to come up. So we're going to push away and we're going to rotate and we're going to contract and we're going to expand and contract.

So we're expanding against the resistance of the strength Springs, which are contracting along with us. So we use and leverage the metaphor of the Springs and lowering all the way back. And now place both hands onto the foot bar and let's come into a little plank, a little long stretch pushing out, but against one shoulder rest out andN , N , N. N. now the outside foot is going to come up and we're going to go into a little arabesque. So we're going to lower the foot, lower the hip, lift the foot, lift the hip, and we'll lower and lift and lower and lift and lower and lift. And this time a lower and lower the foot all the way down and let it rise and lower and rise and lower and rise and lower and stay.

Just experience that stretch for a moment and allow your heart to float forward and up and exhale. And let's replace one foot with the other and come right into the center. And let's just do one up stretch. So we're going to push back and return in and undulate through the spine and push and pull in the last one and reach and pull in and place one foot removing the other foot and lower that foot down. Bend the knee and we start on side too.

So let's first just line up our thighs and begin pushing back just a little bit. Feeling a little bit of the connection in the posterior hip here. Couple more. Breathing in and out and feeling this effort that's occurring through the upper body, this connection that's helping stabilize the entire shoulder girdle and come back in. Now bring that foot a little bit further forward. We're gonna lower our chest down as we push out and pull. Actually, I think I had my hand on the frame itself, so it's not quite so awkward.

And so I push the courage all the way out or as much as feels appropriate. It feels a little bit heavy to me on this, so I'm not gonna probably push all the way out, but I am going to pull up against the inside of the frame. Maybe I did pull, maybe I did straighten the knee all the way. It feels better now to one, but now we're going to switch and we're going to place the other hand on the outside of the frame as we go forward. I'm finding it feels a little more natural that way, but now the same side arm as the supporting foot is operating and when I say operating, it's active.

It's isometrically contracting as I pull and return back in. Alright, let's come back on here because I think I may have done it differently on the other side where I had my hand here the whole time. Forgive me if so, we're going to expand and contract and expand and contract and expand and you might notice as I do, it feels very, very different from one side to another and that's okay. We acknowledge that we're asymmetrical. Sometimes some of us have more asymmetries than others and back in, and we're ready for our arabesque. So we're going to bring first the feet together and let's just push out in it cause it is a little different side to side. So our long stretch, and we're going to lift the outside foot and lift and lower.

So the hips lifted, the foot lifts the hips lower as the foot lowers up and down. So here's the pole, here's the push, two more. And then we lower that foot all the way down. So feel the connection as you push out through your hands. And we're gonna let the carriage come in and the foot rise is in, the foot lowers, has it pushes out and up and uh, and up and down.

Last one and down. And we're going to return with our feet. If I can unstick my feet, coming into one more long stretch and coming all the way in. Now let's lower the knees and we're going to sit to one side. So we're going to take a breather here as we push and notice how pushing yourself, pushing your hand into the foot bar allows you to get this sense of sitting taller. So I'm going to take advantage of my feet against the shoulder rest here and I'm going to lift and swivel.

So that took a little bit more effort than I anticipated, but now I'm going to have my feet away from the shoulder rest and lower and swivel and I'm trying to not move the carriage. That's the secret. And lift and lower and lift. Yes, it's quite a bit of an arm workout and lift and stay breathing here. Push the carriage out and one more up stretch. Pulling yourself right back in.

We're going to walk forward and we're going to come with one foot onto the bar. And actually let's lower, sorry the box. I keep calling the box, the bar. We're going to lower this foot bar and we're going to do mountain climber from the one to chair, but on the reformer. So our hands are going to be right here and we're going to be in a curled position. We're just going to push two. So the ball, the foot's against the edge of the carriage. Three, four, ready? Hands behind the head. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Back. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. And try and straighten that knee. Get a little stretch. Now we're going to switch sides. So you might want to hold the foot bar and we're gonna try the other side. So first, just in this position here, push and get the organization in your body. Mind feels a little interesting. So I'm gonna give myself a little hands on adjustment.

You can do the same and one, two, three, four and we're ready to begin. Hands down. Excuse me, hands behind the head and one, start riding. Two, three, four, five, expand. Six, seven, eight and contract, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Let's turn around and we're going to do a little version of an arch and cruel sort of elephant style with our feet on the foot bar. And our hands are going to be at the very edge of the carriage. So you can pull the box back as much as you want. I keep saying this is the foot bar. I don't know why. We're going to try.

We're going to push out and exhale, curl ant and arch to push. Exhale to curl or to push. Now at this point, relax those shoulders wide in the shoulders and see how it frees up your neck and exhale, two more. Inhale and exhale. So we started off where we began. Exhale, walking the feed in, placing your hands onto the actual foot bar. Your feet are on the box. I think I finally got that right. And rolling up, opening the arms, lifting up and come down to center.

Thanks so much for joining me.


5 people like this.
Great class Rebeca. 
Love the concept of push and pull and the integrated workout. The spiralling feels so natural and it really makes a difference in upper back mobility. Thank you!!! Will be watching out for more.
2 people like this.
From start to finish that felt so awesome!! Thank you!
2 people like this.
So creative!!! Felt like I was working with a gyrotonic machine
Sara Ellis-Owen
Loved the sitting on the box combo at the start- just what my body needed. Thanks so much!
3 people like this.
Great that you put Garuda method inspired movement into your work.
Love your creative movements in the body! Work and feels good:). Thank you for tapping the brain and body.
1 person likes this.
Thank you Rebecca, very creative. 
1 person likes this.
excellent class! Felt very open and integrated afterwards

1 person likes this.
Really wonderful! Loved your use of the footbar and box! Thank you :)
Kendra W
1 person likes this.
Loved everything about this class Rebekah! Thank you!!
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