Class #3931

Reformer Fundamentals 3

30 min - Class


Now that you know what it feels like to move on the Reformer, Kathryn Ross-Nash teaches you how to squeeze the juice out of each movement. She moves inch by inch, focusing on what it means to bend and extend so that you can gradually build to full extension. She also begins increasing the range of motion during certain exercises so you can begin to challenge your control and stability.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Moon Box, Pilates Pole

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Kathy Ross Nash here for [inaudible] anytime and reform reformer number three in this reformer, I call this the inch by inch reformer because we're really focusing on what it means to bend and extend. Gradually building the extension of the legs. They've already felt what it feels like. Now they're gonna learn how to squeeze the juice out of it. We're going to begin with a three spring set for if you have light Springs at the end of the reformer, drop the tailbone down.

Lift your stomach in and up. Fingertips, elbow turns so that you are facing directly where the crease of the bed is. Squat down one cheek. Sit bone on the bed. One is off. Remember to watch that they don't hit their heads as they come through. Two legs come up and a double a pull.

Roll right down into position. Making sure you're not jammed against the shoulder blocks. We're gonna begin with our heels together and our toes apart. Soft chest, feel the neck lengthen. Bring your arms down, glue your heels together.

Don't press up into the joint. Let the muscles do the work. Press out one inch, pull the stomach in and up and come back in. Press out. One to press on the bar to come back in. Press your heels together. One, two, three. Lengthen the stomach. Keep pressing with the feet as you come in.

Press one, two, three, four. Focus at the alignment of the need. Doesn't change as you press out further. One, two, three, four, five, all the way in. Don't let the heel height change. Your feet are as if they're in cased, in cement. One, two, three, four, five, six. Draw the stomach in and down. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Lift the hip points up. Keep the tailbone anchored.

So there's a triangle that's weighted right here. Press one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight all the way in. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, almost home all the way in. Last one. Field, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. The legs join on 10. Feel that lamp and come all the way in. Double leg pull to anchor the powerhouse at the foundational level. I always bring those knees in to really anchor my powerhouse. Heels. Our undertows are over right now.

I'm on this part of my foot. I could be here. I'm right in the center right now. Stimulating those internal organs. Heels pressed together, knees pressed together out one inch. Pull the stomach in and sit as if you're sitting on a chair. One to sit down, one to three heels, press down as you come in. Press out. One, two, three, four. This is where your heels are.

Gonna want to start separating. Keep the foot alive and the arch lifted. If your arches collapse, your heels will separate. One, two, three, four, five. Really think about what a birds Poe Claude does on a perch. One, two, three, four, five all the way, and luckily I have a size 10 foot so you can really see what they're doing. Two, three, four, five, six, all the way in, no cheating with my feet. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Tailbone anchors down. Feel as if you're between two panes of glass with the front and back body and you don't want to break that glass. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, all the way in.

Still pressing those heels under. One, two heels under six, seven, eight, nine all the way in. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. Lift the kneecaps. Push the heels under key, pushing the heels under to drag it in. Double leg pull. Flex the fee. Heels are together. Knees are together in place. Your feet firmly on the foot bar. Again, one inch. Pull the toes back. One, two all the way in. One, two, three. Press the heels together. One, two, three, four. Lift the navel up. One, two, three, four, five.

Pull the toes equally back as if they were standing on a jump board so you don't want your little toes rounding forward. You want everything in one line as if you're standing on the floor. Seven one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Even though I'm a dancer, I can count to ten one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and last one, lift those kneecaps as you go fully into extension so you don't hyper extend the legs. Lift the front of the legs, push through the heels and pull the toes way back. Double like pole. Heels together, toes apart, glue that same part of the heel. Lengthen your toes, all of them over the foot bar. Made sure that these are equally distance from your midline.

Press the legs into that last fully extended position of the first footwork. Lower one, two, three. Lift the knee caps up, one to three. Lower one to three. Don't let those little ankle bones touch those little ankle bones. Don't like each other. Lower one, two, three. Lifts a, up and down, down, down, and up, up, up, down, down, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, up, up, up to more, down, down, down, up, up, up. Last one. And um, bend your knees all the way in. Roll yourself up.

Let's take this foot bar down again for the a hundred. Notice that I do not discuss a foot position specifically your foot position is going to be as individual as your hip position. Your goal is to have them one day parallel or would that pie shaped position? Where were your one hands with distance apart. Arms are going to be up. Legs are going to stay. Long head lifts up, press lifting your upper body up even higher this time, and inhale, two, three, four, five arms.

Move six to eight inches above the thighs. Inhale, reach out. Don't just go up and down. Reach outreach, outreach, outreach, outreach out. Fill the lungs for five full counts. Exhale for five for roll up more. Three, two, one. Inhale and exhale. We're going to do 60 counts, five, four, three, two, one. Inhale again and exhale, wring it out, wring it out, keeping the head up for the whole time.

This foundational reformer and lengthen all the way down. Take your two straps into one hip. Working your legs up. Remove one spring. I have two outer Springs on, two centers. Springs off. You want to balance your carriage out unless there's a specific reason why you're going to move a spring. Sometimes I will load one side of the carriage if I have somebody with scoliosis or needs to fire another side, but right now we're going to work our carrot with a balanced carriage.

Made sure that there's no kinks in your straps, that they lie flat. You have your strap and your handle and you thread through like I haven't done this a million times and hook. Make sure that the metal is on the outside headpiece remains up at this level and I'm going to Mount my apparatus on the opposite side. Foot fingertip to elbow, squat, DBU down the same place. Swing my legs over, roll right down, guarding these shoulder blocks. Two hands take straps, two feet come up at once they extend.

Place it on your foot. Now we're going to talk a little bit about where it goes on your foot. You don't want it up. You don't want it too far down. You want it right above the heel. This is so that any movement of my ankle will not affect the connection to the strap. If I put it here, you see this is going to affect it.

If I put it down here, it can slip off. I want it right there, right? Just beyond that heel, there's a little nook and cranny. Their knees are apart, but they touch the straps. Glue your heels, press your legs out. We're going to go into circles this time we're going to reach out.

Don't let your feet go up. It means you released. Press out open, circle down to make a letter D and draw the legs up. Open. Circle, draw together. If you make a heart, it means that you stop pushing out and work the straps equally open. Draw the same size letter on both sides. Draw the same size letter and reverse. Reach down. Open up together, not past 90 keep pushing into the strap. As you circle.

Push, push as they go open and pushes, they draw down. Reach the chest up, scoop the stomach in, soften the ribs and lower bend the knees in for frog press and the strap. No, keep pushing in that strap and keep the ankle. Long as you come in. Watch that you don't flex and point the foot. Lot of times people will flex in. That's a release.

Keep the leg with an extended top of the foot and you get more relaxation and opening in your hip and you won't grab in the hip flexors and all the way in. Extend the legs up, take the straps past your head and control them all the way down. Toonies come up and I'm going to swing my legs up and get ready for stomach massage. This is inch by inch, so we're going to do exactly what we did on our footwork. I'm going to add my spring. Get my handy dandy pad this time.

Mount my apparatus from this side. Lift down, bring my legs up right into position. Now watch where you are. This point, I'm a little too far back from where I want to be, which is fine at foundational level, but I want to start at this point, inching a little closer and making it deeper into my stomach, especially cause I'm going to go inch by inch. So now I lie down. I'm clear the shoulder blocks, I know I'm in the right position. Pull the stomach up in in. Don't let your ankles move out. One inch. Shoulders. Stay over the hips and come in. Knees go to the ear.

Can you see rolling like a press one to stomach pulls back. Shoulders stay over, hips low back lengthens. Press one, two, three. Push down a little on your hands so that you lift your waist up, up, up, press down on the hands. One, two, three, four. Scoop up, up, up, up, shoulders. Stay over the hips, up, up, up, up. One, two, three, four, five, six in, in, in, in, in. Lift the waist. Grow tall every inch I go out, my waist lengthens that high up all the way out. Little deeper. We're on nine and last one 10 pressed up in, over. Lift.

Journey calves up and come all the way in. Slide your two hands back when your shoulders and chest. There's not a lot of weight here. My shoulder blades draw together, creating a second powerhouse which helps stabilize my spine. My stomach is going under, my chest is open and I'm moving my spine in two different directions. Knees stay in line with the shoulders, one inch and in grow taller.

One to keep the elbow soft so you're not locking your joints. One, two, three, scoop the stomach back and lengthen. Shoulders draw together. One, two, three, four. As you press out, those shoulder blades draw down back and together more and the ankles don't move in. You're still gluing those heels together in that same place where you glue them on your frog. One, two, three, four, five, six and in one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and in one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and in we're almost home. One, two, three, six, seven, eight, nine and home. Last one, lift the kneecaps and come in. Hands, return. Come through the center. Notice I'm not doing one than the other.

I'm using both my hands evenly. We tend to go into a habit and just use one hand. Use your hands if one's reaching down, the others reaching down so that you stay balanced. Arms are inline with the legs. Parallel one inch and one two lift up, up. One, two, three. Lift up, up. One, two, three, four. My voice is getting higher as I'm doing it. Up, up, up, up, up.

One, two, three, four, five. Lift up, lift up, lift up, lift up and relax. Swing your legs over and good. We're going to once again, use our long box for our short box. Bend your knees, pull the stomach in, keep your box square as you lift this box, place it on the center. People got out of the habit of using the handles. There are reason why they're there and as you Mount, you're going to reach down and place your feet under the strap. We're going to increase our range of motion this time. So once again, we're going to have our knee right over our heel.

I want you to take your hands, place them flat on your stomach this time. Live the waist long and you're going to roll back reaching towards the box behind you just to the low back and curl over and sit up. It's so nice to have the long box behind you because you don't have any fear. And as a teacher it's safe. Cause if they collapse there's something behind them all the way back touched, just the low back. Keep that shape. Don't change the shape.

Pivot from the hip and then elongate up. Feel as if your head has a hook to the ceiling and it's not moving in space, but your tummy is lifting in and out, up in and up, in, up, in and up. Your pelvis doesn't. Your pelvis separates and this hip hinge opens you. Keep that shape. Pivot from your pelvis and sit all the way up. Let's take our bar for flat back holding the handles. Reach out.

We are going to increase. Now notice there's no rests. Now lift up on the dye over diagonal so you can catch your stomach. Come to exactly upright. Hinge one inch back. Hold hinge two inches back, holds hinge three inches back. Suffer a lot. Hold and come back up to forward.

Anchor the tailbone. Lift the waist. Sit directly on the sip bones. Feel the pubic bone reaching downward as well. Reach the crown the head. Keep all your pumps, the entire finger pads on your bar back another inch. Lift the stomach back another inch and reach forward again. Lengthen the tailbone down.

Long straight spine directly upright shoulders. Plug in and draw together. The whole back body is making a support for the front hinge. One inch back. Soften the ribs, lift the lower stomach, another inch, soften, lift, lift the stomach, soften the ribs and lengthen all the way up. Sit upright, shoulders slightly over the hips and over directly side this time, and now if they were translating their ribs, I would return to that prior variation where you're on the diagonal and up.

Reach over. Anchor that right hip. Come up, anchor the left hip and up. These are the rules that you will use for every side. Bend and up. Stretch down. Pull the stomach in and roll all the way up. We're going to rotate quickly. Anchor the tailbone. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale, inhale.

Exhale. Use the twist to squeeze that last drop of air out. Inhale, exhale, lift the stomach as you exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Keep all the pads of your fingers on there. Use the eyes. Inhale. Exhale. Pull the stomach in. Stretch center.

Take the bar underneath and we're going to take the leg out and I'm going to hug it into my chest and sit up and bring it down for one hug. It into my chest, hand on hand, and to hug it into my chest. For three. I'm going to stretch the leg and bring it down. Only worrying about sitting up, stretch and down, stretch and down, keeping my back lifted. I'm going to stretch the leg as much as I can. I don't want it to go all the way up. If it means I'm going to rock back, circle your ankle. Two, three, four. Reverse the circle.

Two, three, four. From there you can probably stretch a little deeper. Those circles help loosen up the tendons and ligaments in that leg. Again, sitting upright leg at 90 degrees. Draw the leg in as if you were on the mat. Doing a single leg. Pull. This foot stays connected to the strap. Lift the back, bring the leg down, lift the back, bring the leg down, lift the back, stretch the leg and down.

Lift your back is that leg extends. Anchor the tailbone down. Pull the stomach in, lift it as much as you can. Soften the knees so it's about the back circle. One, two, three, reverse circle. One, two, three. Hug that leg to you and give it a little more stretch. Bend the knee, take your foot at feet out, and we're going to set up for elephant. Always working in the reformer from the bottom up. Make sure foot bar is secure.

Place the pole out of the way so that you're not going to trip on it. It happens. Trust me. Holds from the handles. Square the box. I can't even tell you some of the things I've done in my years of teaching. Pull the stomach in, bring it back. And now I'm going to take this box with me and I'm going to put it by my side cause we'll be using it soon. Those are my training wheels.

You're going to Mount the operators. Remember not to pull on that bar. I just shook my finger like my mother. Do a single leg pull. Bring the leg up, place the foot down, pull the stomach in, other foot goes up, pull your toes up, shift your weight back, lift your stomach and anchor the tailbone. Exercise begins back. Pull the carriage in, push it back, dig the heels, push it back, dig the heels. Three more. Pull the stomach in and back. And in last one, make it your best. Did dig, dig, dig, end with that carriage in.

Lift your heels. Bring your feet back as far back as you can. Get that nice toe stretch. Keep that carriage in round, bringing that both knees to the bed at the same time. Sit back, tailbone under. Pull the waist up so you're reaching your stomach away from your thighs, pressing the hands and this time go back to your knees. Line up with your hips and pull the carriage all the way and sit on the heel. Try not to go up and down. It's an isolation of the hip.

You're one inch off your bottom. Push your knees under the hips. One shins length and in push through the heels of the hands on the heels of the feet in. Keep your restraint and your knuckles forward. Press scoop in. Press scoop in. Press scoop in, press scoop in, reverse the arch. Roll the shoulders back. Feel as if your tailbone is still pulling towards your heels, but somebody taking your sternum and reaching it forward as if you have a big beautiful diamond necklace on. You want the light to catch it. I need to go shopping. Open the chest, push through the heels, back and in. Get those knees right under your sh, your hips.

Press in, press in, eyes of the elbows, forward in, in the elbow, soft. If you hyper [inaudible] then like me in, in, in, and it Paul the stomach, and we're going to do a single leg. Knee first. I teach this first so that we get this curved position. I have yet to meet somebody who can do knee stretches off when they first begin. Head down, lift the knee, push a little back, one inch, one inch, one inch, one inch and come down single a pull. Slide it directly back. Don't let it loop out to the side. Make space for the leg with the powerhouse.

Don't lock into the joint. Knee up. Push the heel. Two, three, four on, five come down. Now we got our training wheels. This is how I begin teaching knees off. To me it is about the powerhouse shape. Not about that. I'm just getting my knees off. I develop the quad strength with the single leg with still being able to protect my spine cause that leg is in. So my spine is rounded.

Now to get the understanding of what it feels like to lift both knees. If you think about how we learn the method, we learn a single leg pull than a double leg pull, which is why I teach a single leg knee stretch first and then the double leg off. So now my legs are about shin height depending on the padding of your box. I have a couple at home that are a little less padded so they're a little lower. They're right in line with my heels. Now I understand that this is parallel. My hands go here, I sit back, I'm in the shape and nobody's going to die.

Poor push through the heels and in and they get this glorious stretch in their spine and it's like, wow, this is what I want to feel in this exercise. So it doesn't really become about anything but that beautiful, beautiful spinal opening and good step off. Face your box back down. Add a spring, getting ready to run. We're coming from this direction down. Swing into position. Lie down parallel feet today. Stretch all the way out.

Lift, push through the heels, draw the heels together. Notice I'm not saying squeeze anything, but I'm giving you an action. Press your heels together. That'll engage your inner thigh and your Tata Buendia. Open one heel down and lift and lift.

So it was one heel reaches down, one heel, lift up and let, he'll separate from each other. The box does not move. This is a cool down as well as a spinal massage with the alternating action in the sacrum that's being created by the movement of the legs. It is preparing us for standing and running around like lunatics, which we do all the time and stretch both legs. At least I do. Bend your knees, move your feet apart equally at the same time, everything is done with purpose. Roll the tailbone up so that you are one hands with this is your trajectory of short spinal. Also, when you do corkscrew tail off, this will be your tail off. Stretch out the legs, drawing the legs together and then press out and push the knees out so that you draw in with the inner thigh.

But don't let the foot drop out further. So your knees go directly over the center of the foot. Wrap out Acher, your pelvis, scoop and lift your stomach to come in. Rap scoop. So we've worked in a scoop, we've worked in an arch and we've worked in a flat back and wrap. And this action is introducing our side bending so that we know when we were working on our side when we're not going to get shorter. As the limb gets closer up, rep and scoop, rep and scoop, rep and scoop. Draw your legs together.

Swing off onto this side. Alternate side to side, getting on and off. Take one middle, spring out. Go back to your knees. Stretch position. Pull the stomach in for kneeling. Front splits. Now lift up. Keep your head down and bring this hip forward. Don't let this hip up. Drop this hip back.

Move the left foot back one inch. Nothing moves. Bring the whole body in. Move the left foot back one inch. You'll feel a tremendous stretch on that left side. Bring the whole body in. Left foot back. One inch. Whole buddy in, left foot, back one inch. Keep everything in line. Don't shift. Draw your legs towards each other. The inner thighs draw towards each other.

One inch back. Draw the inner thighs together. A single leg pull. Slide back to stretch the toes. Make sure everything is in alignment. Pull the stomach in a single leg. Pull to bring the foot up. You'll see the [inaudible] very clearly on this side. I open my hip, I bring that opening home. Push open the hip.

Bring the opening home. Open the hip, bring it home. Open the front of the hip. Bring it home. Open the front of the hip. Bring it home. Singally pulled. Remember how you introduce an exercise and what the focus you bring to the exercise is, is how your students will view that exercise forever. So really teach them what each exercise is about as you introduce it. Thanks. I hope you enjoy it.


1 person likes this.
Thanks Kathy, love this series, the details about the classical technique are very helpful and love the way you teach knee stretches. 
1 person likes this.
I just love these videos!  Breaking down each movement so that it becomes more relevant not only to more difficult Pilates exercises but most importantly, to our everyday functional movements!  Mindful, purposeful movement!  Just beautiful. Thank you, Kathy!
Kathy, this was an amazing teaching of the fundamental work ...Can't wait to do it again...Thank you ! 
1 person likes this.
Simplement GÉNIALE !!! Mille merci :)
Michael Mary S
I love the images you use.  Your cuing is right on.  Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Knee stretches!!!! Wow!!!! I have a whole new appreciation! Thank you Kathi!
THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Patty Hafen
1 person likes this.
I love this inch-by-inch work, and I especially love the knee stretch series and knees off  with the moon box - brilliant.  Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Excellent, I started watching one of them and finally I just had to watch all of them. 
geovanna I think that was a great idea!!! Then you see all the connections ❤️
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