Class #3930

Reformer Fundamentals 2

30 min - Class


Learn how to build your powerhouse strongly with this Reformer workout by Kathryn Ross-Nash. She adds on from her previous class by focusing on engaging the powerhouse and understanding your box. She also shows connections to future exercises so you can get an idea about where your practice can go.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Pilates Pole

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Kathy Ross Nash here for plots anytime. We're going to work on our foundational reformer number two, building off of introducing a student to the reformer and how the carriage bed moves and the equipment. Now we're going to start focusing on engaging the powerhouse and understanding of the box. Once again, we're going to be working in the very beginning on three Springs. Stand towards the end of your reformer, heals together. Cross your elbows, fingertips, elbow, turn. Sit directly down in a squat. One sit bone on the carriage, one sip on off the carriage.

Remember to spot your student as they lie down so they don't hit their head. Swing the two legs over and a little CanCan roll directly down to slide right between the shoulder blocks. Not too much pressure if they're too close, have them slide away so that they're not justing into the shoulder blocks. We want to make sure that it's their powerhouse that's holding them, not their shoulders. Reach your arms down. Lengthen your two heels together over the bar. You're going to pull the stomach in an up, turn the right leg to parallel and hug it into the chest.

We're going to learn how to anchor this leg. You can also do this on two Springs. This heel stays in the middle of your body, right in line with your tailbone. Don't let the knee rock in and out. Teachers usually spot the ankle and the foot student pulls this leg in and can feel how it anchors the powerhouse into the carriage. Pull the stomach in and press halfway out and draw the carriage in.

Again, press halfway out. Feel your whole pelvis on that mat. Press for three and in four and in last one five and in execute a single leg pull, not moving your powerhouse. Pull this stomach in and up. Don't shift your box just like we did in the tree lift. Don't shift in the first foundational reformer.

Keep this knee right in line with your hip. Press a little out and in. Notice I'm not pressing all the way out. I'm not making this about extending the leg. I am making this about anchoring the stomach and connecting my foot and the movement of my leg to my powerhouse, hugging this leg into anchor that hip.

So I learned to wait that side of my pelvis, controlling this ankle and come in, execute a single leg pull. Bring both legs in for a AA. Pull, anchoring your powerhouse. Push the stomach in in a way. As the arches go on. Draw the leg right into the chest. It's going to line up between the ear and the shoulder. Hug it firmly in. Press halfway.

Draw the carriage in. Press to draw the carriage in. At this point, I have the student with the left hand on the knee and the right hand on the ankle so that they can start understanding that this is the position they're going to use for their single leg. Pull on the mat and they feel that you're pushing away as opposed to just flopping the leg in the air. Pull the stomach in. Execute a single leg pole, execute a single leg, pull right hand to knee, left-hand to ankle. Hug that foot right in line with the sip bone shoulder. And ear lines. The leg up.

Elbows are lifted to engage the back length in the neck partway out. Pull the stomach in. Push through your foot. When you take them to the mat, you can now tell them to feel as if they're pushing into the foot bar as they extend their leg and feel that they're moving their powerhouse away from their leg as opposed to their leg away from their powerhouse. Execute a single leg pole executed double leg pull. Hug it in. Flex your feet, anchor your tailbone. Anchor your stomach, and place your heels on the bar. Straighten this leg, pull it into straighten the ankle. Sorry. Pull it in. Hug it into the chest. Flex that foot strongly partially out, and pull it in. Flex the toes back.

Make sure that you're hugging this leg firmly in to stimulate your digestion. Press. Pull it in. Every time I go. Just a hair further out to challenge the muscles and the alignment. Pull the stomach in. Flex the foot, place it on. Execute a single a pull. Extend the top of the foot. Pull the leg in, hug it into the chest, flex the right toe back, press elbows up, draw it in, push to the heel, push the heel as you come in.

Push and drawed in. Push and draw it in. Last one, push and draw it in. We're going to go to our heel together, toe apart. Position four, our tendon stretch at this level. I don't do a single leg.

I feel lowering and lifting your ankle at this point in his straight leg is way too difficult. This time we're going to press all the way out. Straighten and lower for one, two, three. Lift it. One, two, three. Press the heels together. One, two, three. Lift it. One, two, three. Leave your head on that back wall. As you lower your heels away, lift the knee caps as you lift the legs and lift the knee caps as you lower so that you don't bend the knee. The tendency is going to be to bend the knee as those heels lower. So lift the knee cap.

Feel the outer edge of the foot length in the toes over the foot bar. Lift the knee caps up and bend all the way in. Swing your legs up, and we're going to lower the foot bar. Now we're going to increase the amount of time that our head is up 400 and the amount of repetitions. Pull the stomach in and up, and this time, lift the head. Press into the stretch. Try to get up to the bottom of the shoulder blade. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, five big arms.

Build the lungs all the way up as much as you can. Now squeeze the air out and ring the lungs out. Out, out, out. Bring the head down. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Again, inhale to exhale. Two, three, four, five. Roll the head up. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, ring it out. Two, three, four, five. Inhale, it's you. Three, four, five. Exhale. Two, three, four, five. Lengthen up. Put two straps into one hand. Swing your legs over and take out a spring.

I like to balance my Springs out, so if I have two outer off, I'll have two on or I'll switch it up depending on what I need. If I need to draw someone towards the midline, I'll keep two center Springs on. If I want to work the connection on the box, which we're doing today, I will keep two outer Springs on. Okay, so always walk to the back of your former so you don't drop your steps on your client's head. Leather handle right through. Make sure that the metal is on the outside so they don't hit and disengage for beginner. Place them on here. Now we're on the other side of the carriage.

Again, we're going to turn fingertip to elbow. Sit down, get to reverse it and lie all the way down to hands. Reach back. Okay, two legs come up together. Okay, and we're going to still work our frogs. You're going to press in the strap, pull the stomach back in, press in strap. As you come in, you start with your frogs so they understand how to use that strap and their alignment.

Push in now just like your stomach massage that we're going to be doing next. Your knees track directly in that position that you are hugging them into and not out too far and the beauty is is you can use the straps to track your knees. If they go away, then they've gone too far. Your knees should ride. See they're against my straps. They keep contact with my straps. Press the heels and stay with the heels pressing in the same point.

Don't let it roll it in out. Keep the contact at the same point of your heels. Once again, we're going to stretch out and go into our leg circles. We're going to still do a box. Reach out, press down, draw together, lift up, reach out, push in the strap, draw together up, reach out, pushing the strap, pushing the strap, pushing the strap. You'll hear me say that a million times, pushing the strap and reverse pushing the strap. Open up, pushing the strap together. It's so important because you're really introducing to them that they reach away and not grabbing in the joints, but that they're lifting the stomach and reaching out of the joint.

Putting space in lubrication in the joints that we sit and compress all day long. Bend your knees in. Extend the legs up past the face with the buckles and straps gently with control. Reach them down. Bend your knees, swing yourself up. We're going to set our reformer from the foot bar up. Bring up, add a spring. We're going to be working on three Springs for these Springs. You have to see what your Springs are. If they're heavy Springs, work on a little less if they're light Springs. Work on four instead of three. Once again, I'm going to fold fingertip to elbow CIT.

Swing myself right up into position. Heels together, toes apart. In that same exact connecting point that they were in my frogs, all my toes over my knees are now in that same position they were when I hugged them and I'm going to scoop the stomach stretch and keep my shoulders over the hips. Zip the legs together. Stretch, pool, the stomach in, zip the legs together. Stretch. Keep the stomach pulling back. Zip the legs together. Stretch one more time. Lift the waist up and in.

Now you're going to, today we're going to reach our arms up and over to open the chest as we make the transition and place the hands like this. I will use this when I really want to get a shoulder stretch. Pull the stomach in an up stretch and in two and in three and in every position you choose should have a reason from my foot position to my hand position. Last one and come in. I'm going to re circle, bring my hands down and in.

Take off the center spring. My arms are parallel to my legs and I'm in my first teaser ish position of the day. Stretch out arms. Stay parallel. Bend the knees, lift forward, reach to where the ceiling meets the wall. Lift the stomach in and up and make the waist longer. As you bend in, lift in an up, pull the stomach in. Lengthen, lengthen, lengthen and come down. Swing two legs over. Once again, working from the bottom up. Take my foot bar down.

I'm going to work once again with a long box for my short box, my box stay square. I pick it up by the handles. That's why they're there. I'm going to place my box right directly in the center. I prefer working the long box first. For many reasons. One, there's something behind my students so they're not afraid to go backwards to the knees are bent, which is going to keep them out of their thighs and more focused on their pelvic articulation as opposed to rolling back. Okay? You want to hook your feet for safety heals or on the frame.

Knees directly over the heels. Strap is engaged. Lift the waistline up. Take your hands around your waist and today we're going to make a fist. This makes sure that Timmy doesn't push you out. Remember I said we're focusing on our powerhouse.

Place the fist right on the center of your stomach and press the other hand on top. Press down, grow tall, and you're going to let push into this hand. So the pelvis goes back and then push into the hand and round up and over the hand and sit up tall, push into the hand so the pelvis rolls back, push into the hands. So you go up and over and sit up again. Push into the hand, pushed into the hands, shoulders draw down, curl over, over, over. And uh, now we're going to go to our flat back.

One of the hardest things is to get a lift in the flat back and to differentiate between rounding and a flat back. So we're gonna focus on reaching all the way up, lifting up as tall as we can, making the waist longer and longer and longer. And then exhale, go forward and let it go. Reach out, lift up tall, longer, shoulders down, waist up, tail bone anchors, ribs. Draw towards the back body. Lengthen up, up, up, up, up. Exhale and let it go. Roll it up. Sit up tall. Anchor the tailbone, lift the waist up, stretch from the fingers.

Try to get the crown of your head to touch that bar above you. Try to get the tailbone to reach the floor behind the reformer. Lift it, separate the waist. Feel as if you're a piece of taffy being pulled in two directions. Lift the stomach in and up. Exhale, let it go.

Roll all the way up for side to side. Tip yourself a little forward. Anchor the tailbone. Reach over to the right side on little diagonal forward. Reach out and come up. So I'll use this diagonal when I'm working on the range of motion to prevent them from translating their ribs over. So as they reach over, if you take them on that little diagonal, it pulls that rib back so that they don't get into the habit of side bending by moving into a space rather than away from it.

I mean like this, right? So if I reach over there and I bring my shoulder into that space, my ribs can't go into it and lift up and over on that little diagonal and lift up. Stretch all the way down, twist, lift up as tall as you can reach. The find that same lifted point where we were a piece of taffy. Anchor your pelvis. Just move your shoulders. Hold it. Don't let the ribs go. Don't move the waist. Move the ribs.

Don't move the pelvis. Move the waist. Anchor the tailbone. Drag the waste back. Drag the ribs back. Drag the shoulders home and relax. It's very deep. Relax in between. Lift all the way up. Grow tall, anchor the tailbone. Don't move the ribs as the shoulders go. Don't move the waist as the ribs go.

Don't move the pelvis as the waist goes, come back waist. Drag the ribs. Drag the shoulders and relax. As I twist the next direction, it is imperative that you keep. You can hold your bar however you want, but keep your whole hand pad on there. This happens a lot and it closes the shoulders.

Keep your pressure on their justice. If you use your fee on the foot bar, you use your hands on this pole. Lift tall, shoulders, turn, ribs, turn, eyes turn. Grow up, up, up, up, up. Come back to center, reversing the action. Lift, relax, lift up again. Lengthen shoulders, ribs. Now the waist anchor that tailbone, tailbone drags the waist back. Ribs.

They, I don't want to go. Waste comes back ribs come back the shoulders. Say, I don't want to go waist ribs, shoulders back all the way down. Take the bar, place it underneath. We're going to work on an exercise called the TV exercise. This helps to teach that the tree is not about lifting the leg, but sitting upright. Roll your shoulders back and please your hands right by your hips on the box.

Keep the elbow soft. Bring the right leg up. Hold it. Two, three, four, five extended, two, three, four, five bend, lift it. Two, three, four, five. Relax. Two, three, four, five, grow tall. Two, three, four, five extent, two, three, four, five. Lift back, end leg to bend and down. One more time. Grow as tall as you can. Reach the leg out of the hip.

Find that position where we hug that knee into our chest and our first footwork and place it down. Change your sides, left leg out. Make sure that strap is engaged. Pull the stomach in and up. Hands down. Lift the waist tube. Three, four, five, extend everything's colinear. Two, three, four, five. Lift to Ben so you get taller and bring the leg down. Lift, don't shift. Two, three, four, five. Extend. Don't sink. Two, three, four, five. Everything up, up, up, up, even your eyebrows and relax. Two, three, four, five and up to three, four, five stomach lifts, two, three, four, five, lifted up, two, three, four, five and relax. Take your second foot out.

Swing your legs to the side, place your foot bar up. You're already onto Springs so we don't have to do anything there. Place your pole in the center so it is out of way and you are safe. Hold your box with your box. Everything we do is an exercise.

We're going to Mount the apparatus for the elephant. Remember, don't pull on this bar. Hand goes right in line where my shoulder will be. Foot does a leg pull place up, hand comes right where my shoulder will be in line and I draw this other leg up. Toes come up. You can hold your hands like this if you want. Keep your wrist straight. I prefer to hold the bar. If I want a little more length, I will elongate my fingers either here or here, but for me, this suits me best. Toes her up.

The carriage begins the exercise out, so I push the carriage out. One eighth of an inch. Stop. Nothing moves in my spine, my heels dig me back. It's an isolation of the hips. Push back. All the toes are up. Scoop the stomach. Push into the heels. This is an advanced exercise and up. Press.

Push heels down, stomach in, push through the hands. Push the heels, drag the carriage in and up. Long spine, long neck, head relaxed. Push out. Hold two, three, four, five. Dig your heels and up. Lift your heels in. Place them as far back as possible. Pull the stomach in and up and gently bring your knees down. Without moving the carriage, you're losing your heels. This foot position is imperative.

So many of us today have no more mobility in our foot. If you can't stretch your foot that way, practice the two by four exercises to build up dexterity or your foot corrector. Pull your stomach in, drop your tailbone down, push out one inch, scoop it in. Pull the Simic up in one inch. Quick out. Focus in, focus in, focus in. Keep the tail down. Roof [inaudible] versus the arch pressed. Open the shoulders.

This will be the position that they will be using in their single leg. Kick back. Pull the stomach up and in press. Don't move the chest. Push through the arms. One inch in, one inch in. Push through the heels in and in. Last one and in round over. I teach single leg front first to get that shape.

Go onto the ball of the foot. Once again, you're in that position that we hit in the very beginning of the referral. Warmer work, foot work without shifting. Lift that left knee. Hold it. Two, three, four, five. Bring the knee down. Don't move. Just lift the knee. Two, three, four, five, hold scoop and down.

Bring the knee in towards the chest tube. Three, four, five and down. Slide your foot back. That's a killer. I'm just gonna tell you, do a eggs. Pull up all your ball. If I don't over pushing your foot and make sure the muscles are working, not the bones. Pull the stomach in and up. Lift the knee. Two, three, four, five in, lift the knee. Two, three, four, five in, lift the knee.

Two, three, four, five in. Step the foot off to the side and float. Add your spring and then float down for running. Pull the stomach in and up. Heels are slight are together, toes slightly apart. Knees are in line with the hips and the heels open the chest.

The goal one day is to have them parallel. Stretch all the way out. Lower lift hold lower to lower lift. Lower lift. Don't wiggle on the hips at all. You can even place your hands on your pelvis and feel that pelvis anchor. So this is echoing, bringing that knee into the chest from the first foot work.

Lower lift, lower lift, lower lift, lower lift, bend both knees. Separate your legs at the same time so that they're now on the arches. On the points of the foot bar. Roll your tailbone up. The goal is to have your whole sacrum up, which is the length of your your hand. Many people cannot get that opening.

Just make sure that you lift up so that your pelvis is on. This is the trajectory of your short spinal massage, so these foundations that we build are very important. Hold it there. Go halfway out. Keep the bottom up. Pull, draw the carriage in with the inner thighs. Push through the foot to go out, push through the foot and draw the carriage in with the inner thighs. Press through the foot to go out. It engages your buttocks. Drawed in scoop with your navel.

Press now feel as if your tailbone is reaching towards that foot bar and your waist is getting longer. Push halfway in, in, in. Again. Push halfway in, in, in. Draw your legs together. Swing your two legs off. We're going to exit this side. I try to alternate which side I get on and off so that I'm working my mounts in both directions. We're going to now do an introduction into our kneeling front.

Kick a front stretch. So I want you to get on the apparatus as you would. Your knees stretches, tailbone is down. Sit on your heels in that niche stretch position that we just did do a single leg pull. But this time continue in place the foot on the bar. You're just going to bring your box forward and bring your box back.

This foot, I'm not pushing over on it. This heel stays lifted. My ankle does not give. If your ankle Gibbs, it means that you are cheating someplace. Keep this hip directly in line with the knee and just move your box back and forward to open the hip and back and forward. Open the hip and drop this hip down. Single leg pull. Slide the foot back.

That helps to stretch the foot right in line with the hip. Point this foot, single leg. Pull up, lift it and reach the hip back. Drop the left hip and get your box square. Bring it forward. Reach the hip back key, but ankle is stable as you can push through the left heel. Lift the left heel, push you the right heel. Don't get that right hip down. Don't let your box be uneven. Bring the right hip forward again, Paul the stomach, and bring it back and bring the right hip forward, left hip down, single leg pull.

Bring it back and step off. It is imperative that you work that cleanly and slowly so that you're building your box and your powerhouse strongly focused on really getting that box square in that front stretch that we just did. Thank you.


Michael Mary S
Thanks for a great fundamental class.  Your cuing is so precise.  Loved this.
Thank you!!!!!!! I love these level classes! They feel so good to me!
Janet B
3 people like this.
That was so clearly explained. I love the Precise teaching for the beginner, purely practicing how to engage and connect the powerhouse. I am very happy you made this video! And I will continue to watch your videos and share them with my coworkers. Please make more like this!
Janet! Thank you so very much for this helpful (and kind!) feedback ! It is my goal to share and demystify the work we love and share. I PROMISE to do more of these. Your input is the exact reason I write the RedThread Book Series... so I can share the tools I have learned, both from my teachers and the needs of my Clients, with my fellow Teachers!
1 person likes this.
Oooh that placing the hands on the hips in running is a doozy. Did not realise until then my powerhouse had left the building and that welcomed it right
Chaz K
1 person likes this.
Omg Kathi! You continue to inspire me with all you do. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication. I strive for the clarity you display in your teaching. You keep filling the gaps and answering the unanswered questions.
Chaz thank you sooooo much!!! I will do my best ❤️
Jennifer W
1 person likes this.
I love that you introduce short box on the long box! This will be so helpful in teaching. Love these level classes! Thank you!
2 people like this.
Such clean and POWERFUL cuing. I love it. Thank you.
Thank you so very very much!
1-10 of 13

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