Class #4585

Strengthening Reformer Class

25 min - Class


Building off of Chris Robinson's Foundational Reformer class, you will learn to take those skills further. This is where you will get strong, learn how to connect your powerhouse to the rest of your body, and increase your endurance. Chris teaches you exercises from the foundational level and layers in variations to make them harder. Find your rhythm in this active flow and get ready for Chris' Advanced Reformer class.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi everyone, I'm Chris Robinson and I'm here today to do the intermediate Reformer. This is the meat and potatoes of our working out. So the Reformer with the intermediate is where, okay, it's not so hard, but it's not easy. This is where you learn how to get strong and learn how to connect everything together, all right? I'll go through some easier variations, then make them a little bit harder to get you ready for the advanced.

All right, I'm gonna start out with three springs. Okay, again, you have some choices with your foot work. You could be heels together toes apart, or you could be parallel, either one is fine. Try to get all the balls of the feet on the bar and now let's go, all the way out and in. Now, let's just flow and get a rhythm and see if we can maintain that rhythm the whole time, okay, throughout your work.

All the way out, all the way in, three more. Pressing the arms down, reaching the head away one more time. And then right to the arches and go. Push the heels underneath. Keep them as you come in.

And get that same rhythm. Try to go all the way out, all the way in. That last little piece is hard to control. That's where you got to really work your powerhouse, last two. One more.

And then right to the heels. Okay, keep that resistance the same against the bar the whole time, so the heels are pushing into it, even when the carriage is coming in. Last three. Two more. And one, okay. Now let's go do your tendon stretch all the way out, way down and up, squeeze the heels together really tight and up, see if you can stabilize your ankles, they're gonna wanna roll.

Keep them as you go down, keep them as you come up. Good. Five more. Way down low, way up high. Now let it flow up, down, up, down, up, down, up, home. Okay, you're gonna reach back, grab your handles, lower your headpiece, reach up and then just go right into your Hundred.

And now just pump from here. And out two, three, four, five. Now, as best you can, try not to let the carriage move at all. Okay, I'm keeping the pumps small for now, but I have control of the carriage. Okay and in two, three, five, out two, three, four, five.

The legs, they don't move. Your head, it doesn't move. Now, I want to make it harder. Make bigger pumps. Try to keep that same rhythm.

Now it's harder. Gotta get deeper. And out two, three, four, five. Last three. Two, three, four, two more reach long.

(Chris breathes in deeply) And out two, three, four, one more time. Okay, hold it. Bring it in. Take a spring out, so you have a total of two. You're going to lie down.

Get to the straps, go through the hoops of the handles. Okay, come up. We have the sore spine massage now. I have the strap just above my heels. Okay, my strap's on the top of the shoulder blocks here and I want to go out.

Now the first one, I'm just going to go to 90. Hold it here. Let the straps pull me over, but I keep that 90 degree angle. Once it's all the way in, I bend, keep everything together and roll down. Okay, so out, go to 90.

Now let it take you over, keep that 90 degree angle. Bend, and then roll everything down. Now we advance it a little bit. Here, 90 hold it. Go over. Bend.

Now this time don't move your feet. Reach your hips down, when you can't go anymore, everything comes home together. Okay, now a little bit more advanced here. Lift your hips up and come over. Bend, roll everything down.

And then once you can't go anymore, everything comes home together, last one. So here, lift up. Bend, roll down, and then come home. Okay, take your handles, pull them tight, elbows down, head is up. Reach coordination, open, close, in, in.

Think of the head coming forward, now it stays forward. Okay, inhale, hold your breath. Open, close, now long exhale. Keep exhaling, inhale, open, close. Exhale, two more.

Reach out, press the arms down. Then bring it in, head four, last one. Open, close, in. Okay, come on up. (Chris breathing heavily) Okay, so from here, gonna grab your box.

Got to set it up for the pull straps. Okay, lift your head piece. You have one spring. Okay, I like to just go here and lie straight down and I let the handles fall and I reach as far forward as I can. Make the straps tight.

Now I'm going to grab, I'm going to reach my knuckles down to the floor, reach back. Now I'm going to lift the handles and my head at the same time. And then I come back and I reach away. Now, to not make noise I gotta have control, so I got to reach down, and back. So you see there's not a lot of noise.

Now when I come home, I got to do the same thing in reverse, reach, keep it, one more time. Reach down, I'll make it smooth up and come back. That one wasn't so good, and come home. Now, T position you're gonna go all the way to the end of the leather. Okay, thumbs are up here and then just pull back and lift your chest, lift the handles, and then come back.

And again, pull back, lift up and back, so I make a T, now from that T position my hands start to go up, my chest goes up, they go together, and then I come home. Take both handles into one hand. Step four, step off. You're gonna add a spring. Okay, separate the handles behind you, hand foot, hand foot, come all the way to the end, and lie down.

Okay? Up for one. Open two, around for three and hold, hold, come home. Up one, open two, around for three and hold it, hold it, one more time. Up one, open and around hold, hold. Now reverse to back stroke, reach and hold it, hold that one smooth motion, all the way up, and again, reach, hold it, hold it, everything is up and come home.

Okay, take a spring out. You're gonna do a Teaser first, and come back here. Now you gotta reach into the handles. Come here, now keep that shape and take it all the way up and then lower down for one. See if you can get higher, down two.

See you take your hands even higher, and out three. See if you can take them straight up, high as you can, up and then come home. Okay, now see if you can get that at the beginning, high as you can, down, a little bit more. I almost lost it, so push into the handles to give you that control, and then come home. Okay, one more time.

So now I gotta use my hands, I gotta reach my legs, down one, straight up two. Now, all the way up, hold it up, reach it, reach it, and then come home. Okay, and come on up. Okay I'm gonna take this back. Add a spring and get ready for the long stretch.

Okay, hand, foot, hand, foot. Now, everything is long, nothing changes and just reach, and in. And reach, and in, don't move your heels. Come all the way in, one more time. Hold it, make it touch the front, bend your knees, come down.

The Down Stretch, push the heels back and we'll go way back there. Push the heels, as I come in lift my chest up, inhale back, exhale come home. Inhale back, and exhale. One more time. And up, hold it in, now don't let the carriage move, lift.

Okay up stretch, reach down all the way in, hold it, up, reach out all the way in. Now once it touches, lift up, but don't let the carriage move, then you can get to go out, make a straight line, come in. One more time. Up, reach, down and all the way in, hold it in. Lift up, lower the heels, the Elephant.

Again, you have some variations, I can come forward, or I could go back, push the heels down, come in for one, two, now once you're in, hold it, don't move a thing, take your left leg back. And one, two. Once you're all the way in, hold it, switch. Don't let it move. Okay, and reach one, two, and three, hold it in.

Take that right foot down halfway up the shoulder block, lean back a little bit and lift it, keep your hips squared, one. As you come in, the hip comes up, two, use that leg way up there. Hold it in, change. Okay, and out, that leg goes up as you come in, up as you come in, one more. All the way in, okay, come on down.

Okay. Go ahead, add whatever number of springs you started with. We're gonna do the stomach massage. Okay, nice and tall, head goes forward and go. Try to get a rhythm, so this, lower the heels deep, up, come in, squeeze the heels tight. And now flow.

Try to make it all the way in without collapsing. If you collapse, only go as far as you can where you don't collapse, three more. I'd rather you not come all the way in than to collapse. Okay? Come all the way in now, total of three springs. Take your hands back so you can either go here, go here, whichever you prefer.

And come in, lift the back up and in, and grow. Three more, chest up all the way in as much as you can, but don't let it sink at the bottom. One more time. Okay, two springs. Reach in, grow.

Keep it, one more time. Okay, now we're going to add a twist. Exhale all the air's out. And again. Squeeze those heels tight and nothing moves.

And try to grow. That's the hard part, that lower back wants to fall down. Keep it up on the last one, and keep it up on the last one here. And come all the way in. Okay and come off.

Okay, lower your foot bar. Lower the head piece. Grab your bar, and the box and let's put them both on. All right. Got your strap.

Okay, we're gonna go a little further today. So nice and tall. Hug your stomach here. Now you're gonna reach away and go down. Now drop your shoulders, drop your head, exhale.

Take your head up first, press your arms down and come over. Okay and again, we're going to go back. We can add a little arm stretch. I'm grabbing my elbow, so when I go down, I give it a little pull. One, two, three, arms up first, then the head press.

Okay, now switch, grab the other elbow. Go down, push away, reach, pull this down, arms up first, then the head and then come up. Okay, take your bar. Reach up, nice and tall you're going to hinge back and forward, and just grow to go back. The hard part is to transition to come forward.

You're gonna wanna sink. Okay, one more time. Get tall and just go wherever you can where you keep control, and come up, hold it here, now go side to side, reach and up, just reach away. Now, I like to not sink in the middle. I get taller and I get taller and by the third one, I'm super tall, and up.

Okay, relax your arms for a second. Reach it up. Now you're gonna grow and twist, reach, come back. Don't sink on me. Other way, keep long, stay tall in the middle don't sink.

Okay, and again reach, and back. Good, let it flow, there's no noise down there at the foot straps. And up, keep separating, one more time. Get long as you can, come back up and reach other side. Reach, twist, stay twisted as you come up and then here, okay.

Take it underneath, nice and tall here. All right. Place your hands like this underneath your leg, lift your back, lift your knee up, and just extend out for one, two, hold it for three. And then climb out, nice and tall. Take the head forward and down, keep this shape and go back. Now, I just want you to walk and exhale, and come back.

Okay, and again. Just here, you only take that leg up where you can keep control. Okay, so mine is about here. If I take it too far, for my body, I might lose control. So I just want to keep it in, my powerhouse, everything is straight, exhale.

Come back, now don't move the leg. My head goes to my knee. Work for it. Okay, and nice and tall here and let's cross the leg. Sit tall, try to get this knee down and just exhale here.

Okay, switch. Okay, sit tall, hands here, lift up. Don't move, reach. Two, hold it for three, climb out. Head down and go back, push the heel away, walk.

Again, only take that leg up as high as where you have control and from there it does not move. Wherever that place is for you. And reach, and come back, don't move it. Try to get your forehead, to your knee. One more. Reach.

Push that other heel away. Pull back, the ribs are pulling back, head is going forward, that's your opposition, and then come up, cross it, exhale. Okay, and come on out. Okay, take everything back. (Chris breathing heavily) Okay, we're gonna go here with the semicircle.

You could do it with the bar up, bar down. Today I'll just keep the bar down. Okay, you're gonna shimmy down. Maybe watch my little headphone thing here. All right, push the hands away and I want to lift up as high as I can to start.

Now, I'm gonna go down. The heels do not touch the frame. Okay, now go out. Now hold it, nothing moves, until I'm all the way up to my highest position. And then I go down, way down deep.

Keep it pushed out, nothing moves, until I'm up. One more time. Down, reach, hold it. And up, now reverse it. Reach out, go down.

Come in, lift up. Reach out, don't move a thing, push your arms away. Go down, and then come up. One more time. Lift up high as you go out.

This is something for the advanced later on, that's important. And then come in, and then come all the way up, reach and grab your feet. Now, just reach your knees away and lift your hips up. Try to get your seat to your heels. Okay, and come on back.

(Chris breathing heavily) Okay from here, let's go back. Let's put the straps on, for the Leg Circles and Frogs. Okay, so quickly we'll loop down. Back in the day we used to race with this and I'm kind of going slow, but that's okay. All right, this side.

(metal jingling) Okay, once you have that, the hardware is facing out. I like to put them on the hooks first and then lie down, that way I can't mess them up. All right, lift up to put them on. (metal jingling) Seat is all the way down. Straps are just above the shoulder blocks here.

Now, just follow that line and just come back in, just to get in control of the carriage, making sure everything is even. If I had a teacher, they can see that the straps are right in the middle on both sides. Okay, one more time. Now do your circle. And I like to do a true circle where I just bump in the middle, and then come off.

And then reverse. Just bump in the middle. Two more. Okay, and come in. All right, go ahead and just take these off.

I like to take these straps off here, pull it tight, and just step off. Put that there. And now I'm ready, for the knee stretches. I like to sit way back. Hands way forward.

Ribs are up, head is down, now I go. Heels just constantly connected to the shoulder blocks and I got to bring it all the way in, but I want to sit down first before I make it in, to make me work this. Four more, last three. Two. Okay. Now, arch the back and go.

It's like I'm doing the Swan. (Chris breathing deeply) Eight, nine. Okay, now keep it at intermediate. I like to start up here, come back, bend down. Now I can take it a little bit lower and then go from here.

In, good, out. Four more, three, two. Okay, come all the way in. Bring it down and come off. Three springs for Running.

Feet are parallel, go out first and we're right to it. Remember one heel is way down, one heel is way up, they meet up the top, then you switch. They meet at the top, switch. Now make it smooth. So you gotta time it, where you get that piece at the top.

So now my seat works, stomach works, and I just hit it, at the top. It's like I'm jumping. Good. Four, three, two. Hold it, all right, come all the way in. Separate the feet.

I like to go parallel and apart. Okay, just lift up using here. Then go out and keep it. Nothing changes, press the hands down. And out, and in, and out Two more. One more.

Come all the way in. Come on down, and come off. Lower the foot bar. Now you can do this on two springs or one. The goal is to do it on one spring, two springs, because if you're by yourself, it's a little safer.

One spring you gotta have a lot more control. So I'm gonna go on one. Okay, you gonna step on. And if you have socks or something, you might want to use sticky pads. Now I'm here, don't let the carriage move as you heel toe, heel toe, all the way out, here.

Now, grow tall to go out, hold, hold, grow tall to come in. Hold, hold, go out. Get tall, get tall to come in. Hold it, one more time. So once I'm here I pause, push both heels down.

Now, grow to come in. Once I'm in, it stays in and then I heel toe so this is an exercise. Don't let it move, and then I change. Okay, turn towards the springs. Let's go to the other side.

So heel to toe, to toe, nothing moves. Once I'm there grow, and go out and hold it, hold it, you get taller and come in, hold it. And again, go out, hold, hold. Grow to come in, hold, hold. One more time.

Grow to go out, and now grow to come in, here comes another exercise, keep it in, as you heel toe, heel toe and come down. Okay, back to two springs. Foot bar is up. Okay, Front Splits. Put one foot on front.

Okay you got in between the first and second hook. You gotta heel toe this back and don't move it. Back foot's out 45 degrees. Okay now, without moving this heel at all, I'm gonna push through this glute to go out, and then come in, so I'm not gonna go out that far, that's okay, do it again. And then come back.

Now, the last one, I go out as far as I can, now I'm gonna push that heel down and I'm gonna go out really far. And then come all the way in, hold it here. Lift up, reach here and same thing. Don't move that front heel. And out. Okay now the last one, be careful, lotta control.

Push underneath, now you can go all the way. Come all the way in, reach up, reach down, lift the heel up, turn the knee down. Okay, now that back heel has to press into the shoulder block. Get everything long, so I'm stretching from knee to knee it's like I'm doing a split. Now, only this back leg is going to move.

It's not a lot. This heel doesn't move, and come in, I'm not using this leg. Push here, and in. Now push it, hold it. Now I'm going to go out as far as I can.

Don't move this heel. And come in, that's all I got. Okay, do it again. So I got the first leg going, now I got the other side, but don't move that heel, and come in, the last one. First leg, second leg.

Now when I can't go anymore, now I'm gonna push that heel underneath and go way out there. And then come all the way in. So everything is connected. Okay, let's change to the other side. Okay so heel toe, heel toe.

Oops, it moved. Don't let it move. Okay, now go out, this heel doesn't move. I'm using this side to do the work. And out, and in. Okay, now the last one and hold it.

Now I could push this heel underneath and I could go way out there. And then come all the way in. Hold it, lift up, take the hands from behind your head open. Okay and push out, and come in. And push out, don't move that front heel.

In, now go out however far I can, now with control, push that heel underneath and push out more. Okay, and then come all the way in, reach up, reach down, turn the knee down. Okay, back the heel up. Push only the back leg, and in. Only the back leg, don't move this heel.

Push only the back now hold it, now reach but this heel does not move. Okay, back leg first. Take it back however far you can. Doesn't have to be a lot. Okay, now this last one's a little different, push back first, then go out wherever you can, now push the heel underneath, actively.

There you go. And then come all the way in. Okay. And come on down. All right, so that is the intermediate Reformer. So very safe, but very effective.

This teaches you how to connect everything and really gets you in your powerhouse. So this is where you want to really put a lot of your practice, most of your clients will do this level of work, to really get those connections, to take you to the more advanced levels later on. Thanks a lot.


Elena S
Chris thank you!
Nelly C
That was good! It was fast pace, loved it. Thank you
Alexa C
4 people like this.
Too fast…..
2 people like this.
I appreciate the pace of this workout.   You can get a full workout in in a short period of time and makes it more aerobic.   I don’t always have an hour to spend on the reformer.  Thanks for this series!
Robin S
1 person likes this.
What a great find this morning! You being one of my most favorite clients of all time ( my office was in La Jolla) I've been wondering what you've been up too! And here you are! LOVE IT!! 
I recently and back from a long illness and this was the first class I jumped into ~ I could do it at 85%  proving that you don't lose what you create with pilates. Hope all things are wonderful in your world and I'll be doing all your class here!~ Hope the rest of you really understand how masterful this man is!!! THANK YOU 
Greta Martin
Chris, you are going above and beyond.  You are helping me to simplify my cuing to keep the class going, verbiage for my male clientele and progressions in my own practice.  Thank YOU, you are talented!  
Thank you! Loved the exercises and Quinn on tree and splits were great (I learned something new). Pace was a little too fast - but good quick workout :)
3 people like this.
I had to keep stopping so I could set up for the next move.   To fast.  Did enjoy it though.
Marney M
Great class. I loved the pace. Thank you.
Lucy N
2 people like this.
Too fast. 
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