Class #3929

Reformer Fundamentals 1

25 min - Class


If you are new to Pilates, then this Reformer workout by Kathryn Ross-Nash is perfect for you. This is the first class in her series designed to help you build a strong foundation in your practice. She moves slowly and cleanly, gradually increasing the difficulty so that you can build strength and endurance in a safe way.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Pilates Pole

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Kathy Ross Nash and I'm here for Pilates Anytime. Today we're going to be building a strong foundation on the reformer. We moved slowly and gradually increase each reformer with difficulty. Remember that these are four brand new students to move slowly and cleanly. As we work through the exercises, we're going to first begin at the end of the reformer.

Remind your student not to pull the bar up as it will lift. Stand on an angle, dropping the tailbone down, lifting the stomach up, fold the arms, fingertips to elbow and turn to sit right on that edge of the reformer. So one sit bone is on and one sip bone is off in the beginning. Take two hands and place them on the reformer in a little CanCan twist. Make sure that you spot your student's head as they lie down, bringing their head between the shoulder rest.

Do a double leg pull to bring the legs up, hands by your side, and do a roll down to fall right into place. I'm going to be placing my heels together and my toes apart. For this particular workout. There are many foot positions that you utilize based on the needs of your student. Anchor, the tailbone. Lift the stomach in and up. Don't let the tailbone lift, soften the ribs.

Feel all your toes lengthening over the foot bar. Press the heels together. Elongate through the crown of the head. Open the shoulders and relax the fingers. The chest softens gently. Push slowly out, drawing the inner thighs towards each other and control the carriage in. For one, anchor the tailbone. Lengthen through the crown, the head.

Draw the legs together for two. As you go back in with the carriage, don't feel like you're resisting the spring. That will shorten your body feels if you're still pushing out with the feet. As you draw the carriage in, five repetitions. Execute a double leg pulled to re anchor the powerhouse and place the arches on the foot bar. Glue your heels together. Press the knees together. Once again, anchor the tailbone, zip the stomach up, soften the chest and press out the heels.

Reach deeply under. As you push the heels under and draw the carriage oral press outgrow tall through the crown of the head. Push through the heels. Leave the crown of the head on the end of the carriage income in. Press out. Anchor the heels like a little bird on a perch. Draw the carriage in for three. Press out.

Anchor the heels. Lengthen through the next. Soften the ribs. One time. Press out. Glue the heels together, the balls of the feet together. Draw the carriage in. Execute a double leg. Pull. Flex your feet strongly and please the heels directly on the foot bar in the center of the bar. Once again, push out through the heel. Now as you come in, pull your toes back towards your knees to increase the stretch.

Push out. Lengthen through the crown of the head. Draw your legs together. Press the heels strongly together. You want the heels together and the balls of the feet together. Pull the knees back as you come in for three. Press out. Push through the heel for for one more time. Press out.

Push through the heel. Four, five AA. Pull. Turn out in this position, pressing the heels together, pulling the stomach in. All these transitions are anchoring the stomach and finding the powerhouse between every repetition. You'll need that as you're a newer student. Glue the heels together. Once again, draw those legs up and in. Reach the heels away. Slowly. Keep the knees straight.

Lift the knee caps up and lift the heels. Lower the heels down. Keep equal weight distributed on the foot bar. Zip the stomach in and up to come up. Lower the heels for three. Don't let the ankles roll in. Push through the baby toe and the large toe. Last one, press down. Press the heels together.

Zip the legs up, up, up, and with the heels lifted, not changing their shape, draw the carriage in. You're going to sit up at this point and take your foot bar down. I begin with my hundred legs down so that I build the lift of my upper stomach. First. Lie back down. Take your handles with your legs long and you're going to press not lift your head up yet. Inhale, one, two, three, four, five. Exhale. One, two, three, four, five.

Inhale, one, two, three, four, five. Exhale, one, two, three, four, five. Lift the head now. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three. Keep reaching out. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Reach to the arms and come down. Place two handles into one arm.

Spin yourself to sit up and go and add on your long straps. You'll notice that I'm not doing a lot of repetitions yet. When somebody is first starting, we have to gradually build their endurance. Many times you'll hear that people say, Oh, my neck hurts. I did Pilates. Their head was up way too long for the beginning.

Remember when you loop through the straps on the inside, the metals on the outside, loop it through. Place the metal on the outside as well. We're going to set the straps here to make it less complicated. Getting into position. Now I get to practice my squat again. I'm going to stand on this side now coming from the other direction, fingertips, elbow, sit down just as I did before and lie myself down in the center.

My two hands reach back at the same time. I executed a double leg pool to place the strap in the same place on both feet. Drawing my heels down, press the knees in as if I'm doing a double leg. Pull. Anchor the stomach, anchor the tailbone. Press out. We're going to begin with five frogs all the way in the knees. Track directly out. They don't lower or lift.

Pick a point in space where you can see your toes and press to that point. Lifting your navel away as you come in. Continue to press into the strap again. Press into the strap, press into the strap. Remember one day this will be your long spinal massage, so you're training the work from the beginning. Press into the strap.

As we go into leg circles, we're going to make a box. First, push the strap, pull the stomach way. Open hips with, lift the stomach. Press the legs down, lift the stomach, draw the legs together. Keep the thighs drawn together. The heels pressing. Rise the legs. Press into the strap, open. Press into the strap down.

Draw your legs together and keep the legs pressing together. Heels firmly together as the legs lift. Never going past 90 open progress all the way down. Draw your legs together, pull the stomach in and up and draw the legs up. One more time. Open, press down, draw your legs together and reverse the action.

Reach long. Find where your a hundred will eventually be lumped the legs to push out. Push into the strap, bring the legs up, draw the legs together. As if squeezing and magic circle. Reach the legs away from you and the stomach lifts as the legs reach away.

Anchor the pelvis. Feel the sit bones and the hipbones on the mat. Soften the chest as you bring the legs up, push into the strap, reaching away, and again down. Open up together, down, open up together. Keep pushing into the strap as you bend your knees in. Take the two straps off at the same time and gently lower them down.

Roll up and take your pad. We're going to put the pad length wise, put the foot bar back up and sit into position. Heels together, toes apart, just like you did in your first foot work. Pull the stomach in and up and you're going to just slowly, small range of motion. Extend the legs, not fully concentrate that the shoulders don't move from the hips. I don't want to rock back or forward. Concentrate the ankles.

Don't move as if they were encased in cement. Pull the stomach in and out. Take your hands, slide them back. Find the shoulder blocks. Do his shoulder roll to open the chest against small range of motion. Press a little out. Keep pressing on the feet. Grow tall to come in.

Scoop the lower stomach. Press a little out. Grow tall. Pull the stomach in and lengthen the spine. Crack a Walnut behind your shoulder blades. Elbows go directly back. My hands are not holding my body up. My shoulders, my stomach and my powerhouse are holding it up.

Slide my two hands at once. Reach in between to take off the spring and reach your arms up parallel to the legs. Grow tall. Stretch a little out arm. Stay parallel. Come in and lift to where the ceiling meets the wall. Pull the stomach in. Stretch out. Lift to where the ceiling meets the wall. One more time. Stretch out small range of motion, concentrate on clean movement and excellent swing your legs over to the side.

Take your foot bar down. We've been working on three Springs. Then we went to two Springs. We're going to keep it on two Springs for the short box. Notice I hold my box by the handle. I'm going to put my short box on in the long position.

I prefer to teach it this way. I find it safer and I also find that I stay away from two bad habits. One of the bad habits is that people grab in their thighs when they're doing their short box. Many times we begin with a short box. We begin with legs bend and we develop into extended legs. Same here.

So we're going to place our feet under the strap on the frame and if you have big feet like me, there'll be on the foot bar to place the bar under here. What we're going to concentrate on now is that we have a 90 degree angle here. I'm lifted up in my stomach and all I want to do is find my shape. So I'm going to pull my lower stomach back. Grow tall, hold two, three, four, five acre, the tailbone as if I'm rooting down any long gate and length in the crown of my head to this ceiling. Again, anchor the tailbone, lift the waist back, move just the pelvis back. Don't sink down.

Grow upward as if you're once again pushing in those straps for the leg. Spray leg circles and lengthen up. Anchoring from the tailbone. Lift all the way through. Inhale up. Exhale, yeah, and lengthen all the way up. Take your bar and you're going to hold onto the black ends.

Pull the stomach in and up and keep the spine straight. Hinge a tiny bit forward. Grow tall, lift the waist, lift the waist, lift the waist and relax. Just totally let it go. And again, lift. Getting a long waist and learning to keep a straight spine is hard for so many people that sit at a desk all day long and relax and again, lift, lift, lean a little forward, anchor that tailbone, pull the stomach in and relax. Stretch forward. Lift all the way up.

Shoulders draw down and back. Tip a little forward. Reach over to the right. Anchoring the left sit bone strongly. Re anchor the left. Sit bone and come to upright again. Over now to the left. Anchor that sit bone Paul the stomach in and up and come up.

Relax in the middle. Lift up over to the right. Reach, reach, reach, anchor the left CIPO come center. Relax. Lift up. Anchor over. Reach, reach, reach, center, and relax. Last time, lean a little forward. Shoulders slightly in front of the hips. Reach over the right.

Go a little deeper. This time, anchor that left tip. Pull the stomach in. Relax. Lift all the way up. Anchor that right. Sip phone, soft ribs, long waist anchor, the right sit bone again and relax. Bring your forward for your twist so that you can see that you are not twisting with your shoulders, but that you're twisting with your spine. Inhale, exhale. Turn to the right. Keep the shoulders parallel to the floor. Come center. Relax, lift.

Don't let the pelvis move. Grow tall as the shoulders turn. Shoulders, turn, shoulders, turn, lengthen and relax. Shoulder height with the bar. Anchor the tailbone. Feel your shoulders move, then your ribs move and your waist move. Now come back with your waist, your ribs, your shoulders, and let it go. Lift up, re-engage. Go shoulders, ribs, waist. Come back, waist, ribs, shoulders. This time just stretch it all the way down. Put your bar back.

You're going to take the right leg out from the strap, shoulders down by your side. One of the most important things in this exercise is that we do not shift. We're going to do a simple lift of the leg and not allow shift, DAP, and anchor your tailbone. It only happens when I want it to and lift the knee up and hold for five, four, three, two, one. Bring the leg down. Looks easy, but it's not. Pull the stomach in and up. Nothing moves.

Reach underneath the leg and draw the leg up like a single leg. Pull one, two, three, four, five and down. Keep the leg right in line with the hip as you lift. Don't let it go front or side or back or visit somewhere. I don't know. Shoulders back, anchor the tailbone. Pull the stomach in and lift the knee up. Hold for five, four, three, two, one. Place the foot down. Place it back underneath the strap for safety.

Take the other foot out. Pull the stomach in and up. Soften the ribs. Shoulders directly over the hips, heel and knee in one line. Reach out from the hip to lift the leg up for one, two, three, four, five and relax again. Lift. Don't shift up to three. Lift in the powerhouse. Five and relax and again, pull the stomach in and lift two, three, four, five and place the foot down.

Remove your foot from the bar, the strap. Swing your legs over. Always move your carrot, your reformer, the foot bar down. This way you don't mess up whether you have the right number of Springs. Put things back safely. Pick up the box with your box square.

Put down the box with your box square and we're going to come to the elephant. The elephant is actually an advanced exercise. We just teach it first so that you learn how to stand on the apparatus. Place one hand and hold the bar, single leg pulled to bring the leg up. Turn. Place your heel. Place the other right in line where your shoulder will be.

Pull the stomach in and draw into position. Lift all your toes and shift your weight back so your hips are over. Your heels and toes are lifted up. Bend your knees, sinking your heels down low. Push through the heels and stretch the legs. This is a lot for the beginner. Bend your knees.

Pull the stomach in. Reach through your hands, reach through your heels and lengthen. I have fists for strength today. Bend. Press through the heels. Pull the stomach in and reach. Reach, reach. Now lift your heels up at the same time. Bring one foot back, bring the other foot back. And I have my students do this from the beginning, so they start to really use their stomach. Gently.

Bring toonies down to the carriage. At the same time, Paul, the stomach in push a tiny bit out for your knee. Stretch. Pull in, push through the heel to pull in, push through the heel. Three pull in, push through the heel for sitting on your heels. Now what you're gonna want to make sure that you have is contact through your heels at all times. From here you're going to reverse the arch, the low back, the waist, the ribs, shoulder. Roll the chest open. Push out one inch, come in shoulder, roll to open that chest again. Tailbone reaches down just like your second stomach. Massage.

Straight wrists. Push through the heels. Open the chest, shoulder rolls so that you really accent that chest is open. Push through the heels, pull the stomach and sit on your heels. Shoulder roll. Two more. Push. Pull the stomach in, shoulder roll to open that chest and push and in and shoulder roll. Now I teach single-leg. First I execute a single leg.

Paul, place your foot flat on the reformer. This helps you understand this curve with your legs in a different position. Pull press and I keep the knee down first so they start getting that development of the quadricep and in one more time. Press and in. Lift the stomach and slide the foot back.

These transitions are all exercises. Keep your box square, single leg pole. Place the foot down. Push scoop in. I prefer to teach it slowly and correct rather than fix problems later. Press and all the way in single leg pool. Did he come down? Two feet? Come off.

I'm going to sit on the edge of my reformer. Add his spring, so I'm back at three just like I began. Swing my legs over and slide down for running. Open your chest up. Lengthen all your toes on the bar. Fi are going to have a slight turnout today. Glu the heels. Press out. Bend one knee. Lower the heel.

Lift your two legs up and hold for five four, three, two, one bend, press lift. I focus on this lift because this is the first thing that we lose, and Ben, lower the heel. Pull the stomach in. Hold for five. Press the heels together. Three, two, one bend, lift. Press the heels together. Five, four, three, two, one bend. Press the heels. Five, four, three, two, one bend. Press the heels for five, four, three, two, one.

Bend the knees all the way in. Separate the feet so that your arches are directly in the corners. Your knees, your hip points, your toes, and your heels are all colinear. Just roll the tailbone up, only the tailbone and hold it for five, four, three, two, one. Elongate, lengthening the tailbone down and relax.

Pull the tailbone in and up. Hold for five, four, three, two, one. Pull the stomach in. Relax the shoulders and lengthen the tailbone down and again, tailbone reaches up. Focus that it is reaching towards the heels, not getting shorter. Press through the arch. Feel the outer edge of that foot so the urge isn't collapsed and roll for five, four, three, two, one. Now we're going to press out in this position.

Press the legs out. Don't let the alignment change the knees. Track the knees directly over the toes. Will you continue to push in the foot bars you come home, pressed out, pull the stomach in and up and knees bend as you come home. And again, press out. Keep the spine long and come in. Five, four, three, two, one. One more time.

Press out length in the spine. Leave the head on the ceiling for five, four, three, two, one, draw your two legs together and roll up, and that is your first foundational reformer.


1 person likes this.
Thank you for the super beginner versions of the basic exercises. I have a couple older/less mobile folks that will really benefit. And some speedy folks I’m trying to slow down! Great for both ;)
Thank you!!!  I found these personally useful for my clients and my teachers have as well! Please let me know how it goes for you!
1 person likes this.
I really needed this for myself!  Fabulous to slow down, be very aware of my spine and my stomach muscles.  And I will definitely use much of this in my reformer classes!
Wonderful work Kathi! Makes teaching the foundations of the work so simple and clear for me. Now I am sure of the order and the basic principals to work with my clients in their first workout on the reformer! It's like seeing your foundational reformer book in motion👌❤👑 
Thank you Daniel !!!! I love being able  to support the books by giving examples of  application options.❤️❤️❤️❤️ 
Brenda I am thrilled you have the same experience that I do with this workout!!!!
1 person likes this.
Merci beaucoup Kathryn! Tes explications sont simples, précises, faciles a comprendre. Très peu des mots pour un résultat efficace. Très utile pour moi et mes élèves. It’s a pleasure to see you!
Thank you Christina !!!!! Merci beaucoup ❤️❤️❤️
1 person likes this.
Thank you Kathryn for breaking down the fundamentals in such an eloquent, clear and precise way. I love watching you work and the reminder of how you get into each exercise is an exercise within itself. Easier to establish a good habit than to break a bad one. Would love to have the privilege of having a lesson with you!  
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Kathryn. Great class! I have intermediate students who like softer sessions from time to time and this was perfect. Looking forward to passing on your work to my little Pilates community! and i LOVE your leggings/top :)
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