Class #4056

Upper Body Power Reformer

35 min - Class


You will focus on your upper body with this creative Reformer workout by Sarah Bertucelli. She starts with an efficient warm-up so that your body is ready to move. She then moves on to exercises that will make you feel powerful and strong.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box)

About This Video

Apr 20, 2020
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Let's do a powerful full body workout focusing on the arms. All right. Remember to have fun and take care of yourself and let's move. So I have set my reformer set with three reds and a blue, the nice zesty footwork spring. I encourage you to choose the spring that suits you. Let's lie down and do a efficient warmup here.

Settle your feet on the bar, your arms by your side, just kind of notice where you are in space and start connecting to your breath. [inaudible] soften anywhere that needs softening. And then with your next exhale, engage the abdominals to find your way through a pelvic curl. I'm a fan of starting a small pelvic curl, especially in the warm up stage. And then growing a little bit bigger has I feel warm and ready to go. So make sure that if you're feeling any hamstrings kicking on unexpectedly or more than you'd like, that you just kind of stay back for a moment and let things settle.

So as you curl up, use the exhale, perhaps. Really try to find that nice posterior tilt here, lots of work on the back of the leg. And then exhale to lengthen the spine and peel down. So let's do this again and really think about the stretching through your spine as you curl up. Inhale here, and really think of the stretching through the back of your spine. As you curl down, I need one more pelvic curl. Please exhale to peel up and inhale at the top and use the exhale to peel down.

Hold the pegs by your ears or the frame if you prefer, and relax your legs over to one side. Just kinda check out how that feels and then pull back through to center. Go the other way, just relaxing the legs, pushing into a little bit of a spinal rotation, releasing anything that's tight and then come back through. I am a huge fan of kind of loosening up and stretching before I work. So this is an opportunity for me to kind of survey where I'm tight and then try to address it in my workout. So here, come through to center, gather your abdominals, lift your legs up and spine twist here with a little more effort.

We twist with an inhale and with the exhale we pull back through to center in hell to twist, keeping those knees and feet together. Exhale back through to center. Inhale to twist again and exhale back through to center. And just one more time. Here we twist and we pull back to center. Keep the legs there at tabletop. Float your arms to the ceiling. Take an inhale, use an exhale to lift the head and chest.

Remember to think about lengthening through the back body here and gently lower down. Let's do a couple more there. Exhale to lift, grounding the spine, opening the enjoying that nice energy in the abdominals. Let's hold here right into a single leg. Stretch one leg in, one leg out. Use your breath to change with an energy that suits you. I like to use the bar when it's there and press down just a little bit to feel a little engagement in my hamstrings, but try to make sure your pelvis doesn't change when you do that breathing, when it makes sense to you. Perhaps you're using an exhale with each repetition or perhaps you're taking a longer breath. Good.

One more time here and then draw both of your legs in real lift if you've lost it and get connect here. Again, slip your hands behind your head and go into your crisscross. Lifting and twisting and lifting and twisting. Feel free to connect the leg to the bar if it makes sense. Perhaps a little faster, perhaps a little slower depending on your body today. And just a couple more here. One more each side please.

Legs come in, hands to the backs of the legs. Lift your chest up, pull your legs in and lift your pelvis as well. Feeling a nice stretch through the back body and then [inaudible] lower everything down and we settle in now for our footwork. With the heels on the bar, the arms by your side, classic Bassey footwork here. Exhale to press out and inhale to come in. Play with this idea of pulling out and pressing in, pulling the inner thighs toward one another and pressing into the heels as you travel inward. Now that shouldn't change the relationship of the bones, but see if that helps you wake up your hips a little more.

Maybe just do one more here. Gently come on in and place your toes now where your heels are, organize yourself and then when you're ready we're going to exhale to press out and inhale in. Still that idea of pulling as you press out, think it through for a moment and see if it helps you connect a little more to your hips, to your inner thigh. Find the flow, pelvis is neutral, pressing in. Really focus on that and we'll do just one more. They're pleased. Gently come on in, slide your heels together, pull those heels together and for us finding a nice flow. Wow.

Check in with your shoulders and make sure you're not pushing up through your shoulders and check in with the back of your neck and make sure there's length without compression. Interesting to think about that one more here and then come on in. Place your heels now wide on the bar. Relax for just a moment, feeling, feeling ease in the legs and then settle into the feet. Rotate the thighs out. Make sure you're not too wide and we press out and we pull in or we pull out and we press in.

Think about that pulling and sort of pressing as you go in without changing the relationship hopefully of the bones so the bones stay still, but within that we may feel a little more in the hips. And just one more here please. Nice and quick through the foot work. We're going to bring those legs all the way together. Skipping the toe position today, not all the way together, but for calf raises using both feet equally, both legs, PRS out and let's lower down and press up. So as you lower down, try to feel the pressing down and the lifting up, pressing down and pulling up and see if you can think of that movement happening from your abdominals at least a little bit.

Also check in with the front of your hips and see if you can feel softness across the front of the hips. Moving on prances or moving on to prances. We change and we change and we change. I just had to check in with my head. I was creating a little tension in my neck. Perhaps that's a good idea for you to soften the back of your neck a little bit and one more time. Hold the stretch, adjust your foot to a position where it feels like you can really feel the strap. So I always move my foot up just a little bit. Breathe in, breathe out, stay here just a little longer and see if you can feel the stretch. Travel up your body. Maybe.

I often feel the stretch all the way into my hip and then change sides. So nice little foot stretch here. Just moving my foot so it's secure for me. And then feel that lengthening through your whole spine that released through the foot. Feel free to wiggle around and find what it is that you need. I see you'll see me sometimes touching and I'm touching where I'm feeling a release and my hand there helps me to release more.

It's a habit that I happened to have developed and also really like press up with two feet on the bar and gently come on in and then let's come up to a sitting position. I'm going to skip single legs so we can do more arm work today. So let's change the spring just to a red and a blue. Perhaps we're going to do some abdominal work and some hip work here, so this is too heavy for your abdominals. You'll simply lighten it. I'm choosing the heavier Springs so I don't have to get up and change again and to push myself. So make sure you're not too close to your shoulder rests.

Hands are directly above your shoulders. Tap into those abdominals and float the legs up. Now here we're going to exhale. We're going to lift that head and chest up nice and high, and we're going to lower down so the arms go, but it's really about the abdominals first. We're going to add some arms to it in a moment. One more time. Here we lift and hold. Your teacher needs to lift just a little higher, so I modified. Here we go.

Bend your elbows and straightened. So try to stay lifted as you bend and straighten and a little bit of tricep work here, but really it's a lot of abdominal work. Yeah, but a little bit of tricep work. We'll do one more like that and we gently lower down. Nice little heat in my abdominals. Inhale, exhale, lift your head. [inaudible] chest up. Nice and high. Same thing.

We're going to now open the arms out to the side as we stay lifted and pull in straight up to the side with abdominal. Super active. Now I'm pushing myself right in front of you and I feel myself challenged to stay lifted, but it still feels like I'm in my abs, so it's worth it. One more time and lift, lift, lift, and we lower down. Go ahead and put your feet in your straps and let's start with just a couple of frogs. I do want to give you the extended frog today, so we'll do just a couple to kind of set. Feel your pelvis neutral, feel your abdominals, feel open through your chest, fill your head relaxed in how the legs in meet the spring with the backs of the legs to reach out. What do I mean by that? I mean don't push with your feet in your mind.

So as you press your legs out in and you want to really feel the backs of the legs moving out and down or down and together. Good. One more time like this. I'm choosing a soft foot position. You're welcome to point. Take the legs up only as high as you feel that your pelvis is perfectly stable and circle down here and then around to the top position. So often when I'm teaching, people wonder how big the circles should be. Well, the circle should be as big as you can control.

So if you're working on range of motion and stability, feel free to go a little lower and see if you can keep your core super engaged at that low position. If it feels vulnerable in your back, then you don't go as low or as wide. Pause at the top and reverse. Find the breadth that suits you here. I'm not going to Q specific breathing very often today. Just please make sure your breathing gently controlling and then finding the backs of the legs as you carve those heels together, making sure your pelvis stays neutral and please remember to check in and be sure that both legs are contributing equally. Sometimes one leg likes to do a little more and now here let's bend the legs to the frog. Pause there for a moment. Feel the back of the legs.

Press the legs to straight. Point the feet. Now open the legs. Why? To a stretch. Flex the feet as you draw in, touching the heels together, keeping the carriage still and we press out points. We open, we flex the ankles as we draw. I like to use an exhale here. Point and then the inhale happens organically when it makes sense.

One long exhale, point and draw in. From here, let's reverse the action. So we take the legs straight out to the side, point the feet here, carve those heels together. Feel those inner thighs flex as you come in. I'm out to the side. Point the feet and squeeze hand. Come in, check in with your body. Make sure your pelvis is staying is still is you're able to, I'll tell you my inner thighs are speaking to me. I hope yours are as well.

And let's bend the legs in and pause for just a short moment, perhaps swaying side to side, releasing your low back for a moment and then settle back in a frog position. Actually I'm going to just slip a little bit away from my shoulder rest so that I can do the short spine without getting stuck. So settle in your frog position and then you're going to press the legs to straight. We re folded the hips first and then you want to feel that roll up actively supported with your arms, with your abs in how bend those knees. Exhale, roll down through and to straight. I didn't really want to cue the breath, but I do want an exhale on the up and an exhale on the down.

So [inaudible] with Bassey we would inhale to fold officially. We would exhale to roll up. Good. We did help to bend, we would exhale to roll down and then at this point we flex the ankles and we pull through with an inhale and then we exhale the legs to straight. But today just breathe. Please try to perhaps use an exhale when you roll up and use those abdominals.

We'll bend the knees just one more time and we roll down enjoying the flow through the back, the stretch, and you pull yourself through gently bend one knee and go ahead and take that foot out of the strap. Take the other foot out. If you're able to go ahead and replace the straps on your pegs hem and climb on up to a sitting position. All right, let's get into some more abdominal and arm work. One blue spring for the next piece. If you've taken my classes before, you know, I love myself, the um, reverse knee stretch. So we're going to do some of that right now. The knees though, all the way together. So a slight variation and a little bit back from the shoulder. Rest.

Lean into the arms, squeeze the knees together, round through the low back. Really engaging the abdominals. We're going to pull the body forward and then, whoops, I forgot to remove a spring. I'll tell that my clients do that all the time. They leave that one spring on and boy is it so heavy. Let's try again. If you're already going, keep going please into the arms.

I cannot believe I did that and I'm gonna have to tell Wendy around through your low back. Squeeze the thighs together and we pull in. Now we're going to stay rounded. The head is relaxed here. We really flex up through the low spine as the legs go back and as you pull in, what's nice about taking the legs behind the shoulder rest as you get more range of motion in this exercise, which I find to be really satisfying. Let's do one more here, pulling in and gently going back. So now move to one side. I'm going to move over to my right.

My right foot is on the floor, my left knee is all the way on the outside of the platform, and then I'm going to lean over using my bottom foot to help me find my way. I'm going to lean over a little bit. Now here, the trick is that you have to keep the upward pole with the abdominals. As you lean over a little more with your pelvis, I'm visualizing my thigh bones spiraling in and I'm receiving a really beautiful stretch. We're going to try to keep that feeling as we bring the other leg up to join. We're going to try to keep that feeling as we pull forward and the legs go back.

I would like you to have your head and shoulders beyond your hands. I didn't cue that, so make sure that that's your arm position and then the leg movement should help you work and stretch the hip in this position. Go ahead and rest and let's change sides please. So we're going to move now to the other side. You want to have your foot on the floor and your knee right on the very edge, and then you're going to roll over to the outside of the need to find a little sensation of a stretch.

Perhaps the way you're going to get more stretch though is with the lift up. If you just sink, you're not going to feel as much. It's the lift up the opposition. Imagine that Pilati is all about opposition, right? So here I've got that lift. I've set my leg on top of my other leg. I'm going to lean forward first and I'm going to pull in second. Keep that beautiful lift up as you pull the leg in and out.

Breathing please. I do like to use an exhale to come in, but choose whatever breath suits you. Just focus on the lift up the entire time. Nice. And we'll do one more and I think that makes us pretty close to even there. And go ahead and rest. So let's now put the knees right up against the shoulder respite back just a little bit at in line with the shoulder rest. But back a little bit.

I'll say that correctly. So now the hands are on the frame. Once again, I'm going to move my knees back a little more so I can lean into it. I'm looking for a plank through the spine. So there's a little bit of hip flection cause that would be my plank. But a plank through my spine, my knees and my shins. Stay grounded down and we do some pushups so you can choose to do just sort of a regular, um, range of motion.

But what's nice about this is you can actually go a little deeper, keep your abdominals engaged and push this feeling of maybe a little bit of stretch and then pull yourself back up. You can stick with that, especially if your body says that's enough or you can mean to the right. Go down, slink over to the left and push up. Reverse left. So I'm actually kind of messy on purpose because I want to work through some of my connectors. I want to feel a stretch while I'm working. Pleasure principle though. It should feel like a good idea. One more time.

So I am using my abs. I am using my arms but I'm not thinking about it so much. It's more life skill if you will. Just doing it now please with your knees right up against the shoulder rest. We're going to pull forward until we're holding on to the risers. This point, you can put your head rest up so you have more space. I kind of hooked myself with my elbows and get set here just to make sure I feel comfortable.

Now I want to keep my arms in a position where my shoulders are safe. So an easier version is to keep the chest up like this and you're going to stretch the arms to straight and pull forward. That's your pull up. Now if you think, man, this is kind of a non event, I can work a little harder. Try taking your heart a little lower and doing the same action. Now you don't want to dump the chest forward and you want to be able to flow equally with both arms. So can you try doing a couple with just the right arm, see how it feels, and then try doing a couple with just the left arm. See how it feels. Yeah.

And then try doing just the right arm without holding on if that's too much. Hold on. So my hand is just here, but I'm not using it. So I did three there and now I'm going to do three on the other arm and you get a beautiful angle of my weaker arm. And that third one is always hard for me, but it's getting a lot better than it used to be. So with two arms on the risers, relax into a stretch.

So here my forehead is actually resting on the shoulder rest or the head rest rather. And you can move your hands wherever it feels good, a little lower, if that's better, that's less intense or higher. If it feels good on your shoulders, just use the spring and the position to kind of scratch any itches that need scratching. Slowly take one hand down to the frame and then the other and nice and controlled, like walk yourself in and then come to an upright position. All right, so now let's reach back and change the spring. I'm going to ask you to use a heavy spring, like a green spring probably, or perhaps even a red and a yellow. We're going to do, um, first the ups stretch or the pyramid position, but then we're going to move into an exercise where you do need a little bit more spring here.

So settle yourself so your heels are up against the shoulder rest, but you can put weight on them, your arms are on the bar. Just find that nice long back supporting with your upper back and just find this exercise a few times. Inhale, reaching back with your legs. Exhale, pulling in. So see if you can feel that reaching back, pushing through the heels, pulling in with your inner thighs to see if that makes any sense. Inhale back and exhale in. Nice, long back and exhale in. And just one more time like this and then hold for just a moment and get your head wrapped around your plank position. We're going to come down to plank and it should feel like you're quite supported here. So if you don't feel quite supported here, add a little bit more spring, just a little bit and go forward only as far as you feel comfortable.

Don't let the spring shoot you off, but work now on going back a little further, how far back can you go? This is where the exercise is interesting. It's useful here if you can really reach back and feel supported by your spring. So we're going to do one more like that and you're going to reach back and now try to keep your body from going up in space, but bend your elbows in and you're pressing back rather than up as you do the pushup pressing back rather than up. One more time, please hold the arms straight. Lift the hips up, lower your feet so they're flat.

Bring your hands to the reformer and just let your head relax and find a nice, yummy feeling here. Look for the idea of just kind of working through something that's sticky. The position doesn't need to be organized. It's perhaps just a little messy, a little unexpected, and then gently come forward onto your knees in your hands or however it suits you. And I'm going to ask you to change your spring for rowing. For me. A red spring is a much better choice than a green for this one, if you want to keep it heavy, that's 100% fine, but we are going to focus on the arms, so be prepared so here legs are forward a bit so that there's enough space for you to roll back. So make sure you have chosen a spot that suits you here. And let's just start by holding the straps here, sitting up nice and tall and just do a couple of low rows.

Focusing on opening through your heart to notice I'm hitting the stopper as I do this when my arms are straight and that's okay. I'm feeling that and that's fine. Just one more here please. Now we're going to bend the elbows so that the knuckles touch a bit and come to your sternum. Keeping this shape we round and roll back through the spine. Find a deep roll back. Inhale, take those arms wide here, focus on spreading and do three little pushes, one, two, and three. Now folding forward, the hands come together.

Lots of abdominal support. The arms can come around or up and around. If that suits you for your shoulders. That's where I intend to go next. Now stack your spine sitting nice and tall. Inhale in, so I'm looking for more, not less. What do I mean? Exhale. As we round and roll back, we got this beautiful stretch through the low back. Now here, we're going to take those arms straight out to the side.

Now here we're not going to go forward at all. We're going to press back a little bit and press back a little bit spreading and one more time. Now we hold that as we come forward and around hands together. The arms can go up and around. If that feels like a good idea on your shoulders, settle in a position of stretch for just a moment and then sit tall. We'll do that two more times in hell. In exhale, go back.

Nice big rounded back. We inhale the arms to the side and you're going to reach and press. Try to find the abs per us and press and hold it as you roll forward. I'll tell you my back body is very involved in that sitting tall. Just one more time. Inhale in. Exhale, peel back.

Inhale to open three times we reach one, two, three, folding forward, up and round. And just take a moment of hang time, shoulders relaxed, relaxed, back, relaxed, even your belly can be relaxed. Every now and again. It's okay. Now I'm a little tight through my low back so I tend to wiggle back. So I'm scooching forward. I'm going to inhale to bend my elbows. Exhale we round and roll back. Find that deep abdominal curl here.

Straighten your elbows. Three elbow bends or going a little deeper too. Yes, I could have put my foot bar down. If you're feeling like it's in the way, that would be a good idea or roll up and reach up. Here we go. In hell in exhale, roll back three. Feel the control but feel the challenge to hold the bent elbows in her oral reach up. Sit tall, bend in, [inaudible] back and our nice flow here too.

Deep into the core. And one more here and we roll up and reach up. Place your straps down. So we'll keep the spring the same. And let's work some support for our triceps here. And this is probably one of my favorite exercises to do to challenge the arms and also to create more flexibility.

So you're going to sit on the bar with all five fingers facing forward. Just begin by taking your feet forward a little bit. Take your bottom forward and keep the carriage at the stopper. You're going to open through your heart and press your body forward. You want to try and keep your body aligned though the tendency is to press the button forward.

Can you keep your body truly aligned and really open through the heart. Now here, lengthen through your neck, bend your elbows. So by keeping the knees quite bend, we keep bending the elbows. It makes it a lot easier to go a little deeper. So in that deep position, can you hold for a moment?

Can you open your heart a little more? Use your abs to support and press up. And one more time. We're going to come down there. We're going to open the heart, use the abs a little bit and press up and then we take a seat. So that's an option one. You can continue with that if that's where you need to be.

The option two is to do straight legged dips moving into the long back stretch. So that's where we're headed. So here we're going to first take one foot all the way up against those shoulder rests. Oh, it's so clear out there today, crystal clear islands. That's amazing. Open through your chest, use your abdominals pressing forward. We're going to bend. How low can you go?

Keeping the carriage at the stopper and we're going to press up using those back muscles. You're going to go, how low can you go? Scoop your pelvis up, find your long back stretch position and then you round yourself all the way back in through and recover. We do that again. One tricep dip. We press up and we're going to come down and we Ooh, bit up and we round and roll back one more time for me. We bend and we press up, we come down, we roll up and we reach up and we round and roll all the way back. And my back body is definitely warm. Let's finish with a beautiful, stretchy, yummy mermaid. Same spring. I have a red on. You can tuck your foot close to your bottom or you can leave it up against the shoulder. Rest of your choice, but be in mermaid position and find your breath.

Stretch the arm to straight and just be here for a moment. Feel your pelvis, a few pelvis rocks to feel how your hips feel. Land on what feels like a neutral position as you lift tall, meaning you're not sticking your booty out too far and you're not tucked too much. That's what I mean by neutral. There's probably some lateral flection here in how to reach away here. Feel the shoulder, so stretch a little bit deeper if it makes sure your shoulder is supported. Support with your abs, press down through your leg. As you rotate around, you have two hands now on the bar.

Reach the hand around and give yourself a little push. So I'm holding with my right hand and pushing with my left. Next time we'll add on. We'll inhale to open and exhale to come in. Let the spring sort of push you over. Let your neck relax. My arm stays straight, but I've pushed my body off balance. Come to center, inhale to reach. Feel the stretch. Exhale, rotate around.

Now here, keep your two hands on the bar and bend the elbows three times. Here's one and here's two. And here's three, two straight arms. We're going to lift two back extension supporting with those abdominals, but feeling the upper back. Play with the push and pull here. So I'm hooking and pushing. So hooking with my right and pushing with my left.

Come back down in hell. Arou and exhale. Come in, take the reverse release here with one hand on each shoulder, rest and round back. Just a little bit. Pleasure principle. Go for what feels good. Breathing in and breathing out. Let's change sides. So facing the other side. Set your legs up so that they suit you.

I like to keep my foot tucked. It gives me more room in my, in my hips and I like that arm is next to your shoulder or out from your shoulder and just feel your pelvis a couple times and just notice if you're sticky on this side or not. I am more open than I usually am, which feels really delicious. Inhale, reach away and here feel the shoulder position and try to feel that you're stretching as much as you can, but you're supported with the shoulder. Come around. So I'm going to hook my hand and push with my other hand to get a little bit more opposition, a little more stretch, breathing. Inhale to unwind and then exhale to come in and let the head kind of relax over. The arm stays straight and the body just gets pushed a little off center. Beautiful. Let's do it again with the arm pushes. So inhale to reach, fill your pieces, exhale to come around.

Two arms on the bar here we're going to bend hands, straighten and bend and straighten and bend and straighten and we lift tobacco extension and we lower. Then we lift and we remember to push and pull a little bit. We're pushing with the left arm, pulling a little, I'm sorry, the opposite. Pushing and pulling, pushing with the right, pulling with the left. Inhale. Exhale. Come in and then take one hand on either of your shoulder rest.

Feel that same feeling of push and pull. It should be kind of obvious which one you should push with. Breathing in, and let's just all come to a standing position and do one roll down together just to feel our bodies and to reset. Feed her underneath the hips. Feel ease. Inhale here with an exhale. Roll your head down. Look at your feet on the way down. Feel your legs, let your arms relaxed so it can be very controlled or it can be a little messier. I like to let my head, neck and shoulders stay more relaxed here, especially at the end of the workout. And then with an exhale, gather your abdominals and slowly roll yourself up, shaking out any tension, feeling the calm, but the power in your body as well. And come up to standing with your palms. Open your heart, open all your potty body parts where they need to be today in this moment.

Thank you so much for playing [inaudible].


4 people like this.
Delicious wake up and quarantine move from my tiny apartment in Saudi / thanks so much Sarah
2 people like this.
This looks awesome, can't wait to try
2 people like this.
I needed that after a walk on the beach and no arm work today.  Social distancing in Australia.  

1 person likes this.
Awesome work for my lunch break. And those stretches! YUM!!
1 person likes this.
1 person likes this.
perfect 30 mins or so.   Thank you...esp loved the tricep work & the long back stretch...and of course the stretches throughout.   rockon
1 person likes this.
Thanks for the great flowing work out!  Feel great :)
1 person likes this.
Glad to have a new Sarah class.  I hope it’s one of many new ones.  Love your classes.  
1 person likes this.
Thank you!  This is just what I needed today.
Thank you!  So please this class has been well received. There are a few more coming soon!  
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