Class #4626

Abdominal Reformer Flow

25 min - Class


You will feel the burn in your abdominals with this quick Reformer workout by Gia Calhoun. She teaches a full-body class, adding a bit of emphasis to the abdominals so that you can feel the strength coming from the center of your body. This is a great class to use as a warm-up or for those days when you are short time.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Gia. And today we're gonna do a reformer workout focusing on the abdominals. We are gonna work the whole body, but we're gonna focus a little bit more on ab work. And it's gonna be a quick class that you can do as a warmup for other classes, or just when you're short on time. So let's get started.

So I'm gonna start with footwork just to warm up the body. I have three reds and one blue spring or three full and one half spring on, but you can do whatever feels good to you. My headrest is up because I prefer it that way. But if you like your headrest down, feel free to do that as well. So we're starting in a prehensile position.

So I'm wrapping my toes around the bar, pushing my heels under, arms are reaching long, and I have my feet parallel hip-distance apart. Before we start moving, I just want to take a few breaths to ground us into the carriage. So let's take a deep inhale. (breathes deeply) And exhale. Let everything go. Two more times, inhale and exhale.

Feel your pelvis heavy into the mat. One more for nothing, inhale. And exhale, rewrap those toes around the bar. On the next inhale, you're gonna stretch all the way out. Exhale to come back in.

You may feel you need to adjust your feet, and that's okay. Inhale, exhale to return. This is three, and return. So you're lengthening. Always pushing those heels under the bar.

And then I'm reaching out through the top of my head. So I have that opposition going. Four more, reach and return in. Finding that resistance in both directions. Two more.

Reaching the arms long and back in. Slide up to your heels, still parallel hip distance apart, pull all five toes back to the shins. Same thing here. Inhale, exhale to return, finding that internal rhythm of your own. Trying to keep that even pace throughout each position.

We have four more, and in. Three, really standing on those heels. Two, last one. Now, we're gonna slide down to the balls of your feet. Heels together, toes apart.

My knees are in line with my shoulders, so it's not too wide. As I push out, I'm thinking of wrapping around the legs and then returning in. So I'm trying to keep the heels glued together. So I have a nice connection to the middle of my body. Good. Four more.

So as I'm warming up the legs, I'm still thinking about my abdominals. 'Cause that's what we're gonna be working on throughout the class. Two more. Last one. Then we're gonna stay on the balls of your feet. Just swivel your legs so they're parallel.

Heels are nice and high, push all the way out and hold. We're gonna lower both heels under the bar, and then lift them back up. And again, lower the heels under. And lift. So as I'm moving, I'm trying not to hyperextend my legs, I'm pulling up my glutes, trying to work the hamstrings as well.

Think of the abs pulling in and up to lift you. Three more. And two, last one. And just pull the heels under and hold. Just nice little stretch.

'Cause if it feels good, you're gonna bend one knee, push the other heel under. Again, try not to hyperextend that knee. Switch sides. Just breathe naturally. Both heels under one more time, and then bend your legs, come all the way in.

And we're gonna sit up, change the springs. So I'm gonna take off one red and one blue. So I'm left with two reds. We're gonna do some supine abdominal work. So feel free to do whatever springs that you like to do.

You can do one spring or a red and a blue, if that feels good to you. Make sure that when you lie down, you have a little space between your shoulders and the shoulder rest. And then you're gonna bring your arms up. We're gonna bring the legs up to tabletop, squeeze them together, and then push the arms down a little bit so they're perpendicular to the mat. So I'm trying to imprint my spine into the mat.

Pull the abs in. My head's gonna stay down for the first set. Inhale with the arms up, exhale, push the arms down by your sides. Inhale, arms back up to the ceiling. Exhale, push down.

So I'm trying to keep the chest open as the arms come down. And lift and press, two more. Good, reaching those arms long, even out through the fingertips. The next time we press the arms down, we're gonna add a chest lift, so arms come up. Push the arms down, curl the head and chest up.

Inhale, glide back down. Exhale to curl up. So the legs are staying still. And I'm just moving the upper body. Two more.

Last one. And then we're gonna hold chest up. Just move the arms here. Arms come up, head stays up. Push the arms down.

So the upper body doesn't move. Just the arms. Push down. Inhale. Try to curl up a little higher each time.

Two more. Last one. And then lower everything down. We're gonna repeat that, but with a little bend in the arms. So elbows down on the mat.

You can hover them up an inch if you want, or you can keep them glued to the mat. Inhale with the arms bent, exhale, straighten the arms. So for this first set, the head stays down. Press. You're still pulling the navel into the spine.

Trying to deepen those abdominals every time. Two more. Last one. Next one we add a chest lift. So as you bend, your head is down.

As you straighten the arms, curl your chest up. Lower down as you bend, curl up as you stretch. Inhale. Two more. Last one.

Hold the head up. Bend the arms here. Keep the head up. And then press down. Bend to 90, and press down. Keep curling the chest up.

Three more, two. Last one. Lower everything down with control. Rest your feet on the foot bar for a second. Just rock side to side.

Nice. So we're gonna bring your legs back up to tabletop, arms back up to the ceiling. Find that perpendicular position where you're already engaging in the arms. Take a deep inhale here. As you exhale, push your arms down, curl your head up, and stretch your legs out over the foot bar.

Return the palms in to face you. You're gonna open your arms and legs, and then close. We're trying to keep the head up the whole time. And close. If your neck bothers you at all, feel free to put your head down.

You can also add a combination of lowering as you open and then curling up as you close. We have four more. It's like a little snow angel. Three. Or I guess here it'd be a beach angel.

Two. Last one. Hold it up here. Curl up a little higher. Reach those legs and arms a little longer.

We're gonna beat for 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold and then bend it back in. Arms come back up. Hang up your straps. And you're gonna grab your long box.

Foot bar can be up or down. It doesn't really matter. We're gonna bring the headrests down though. So we're gonna do a little bit of arm work. So I'm gonna put the headrest flat, and then I'm just keeping one red or one full spring on.

So you're gonna sit on the box, about in the middle, and then grab onto your straps. So you want your head, shoulders, hips on the same line. Arms are gonna be out, shoulder height. You want to keep your upper arm still. We're just moving the lower arm.

Inhale with arms out. Exhale as you pull into a bicep curl. Inhale, stretch the arms. Exhale, pull. So as I'm doing my bicep curls, I'm using my abdominals to keep my spine long.

And I'm trying not to lean back. I want to stay right over my hips. And pull it in. We have four more. Try to find that resistance as you straighten the arms.

And if you don't get all the way straight, that's okay. The stopper gets there before. Just go where you can. Now we're gonna straighten the arms, bring them down by your sides, palms face back. Again, sitting up nice and tall, inhale with the arms by your sides.

Exhale as you push them behind you. Back to your sides, and then you push them back. So as I'm pushing my arms behind me, I'm trying to keep my chest open. So I'm not letting that shoulder round forward. I want to keep broad in the collarbones.

Three more. Reach those arms down as the spine grows tall without letting the ribs press forward. Now bringing the arms back up to shoulder height, we're gonna bring your tailbone under you. We'll round into a C-curve. Find a position where you feel it in your abdominals.

Here you're gonna bend into your bicep curl again. Inhale to stretch, exhale to curl in. Trying to keep the elbows in line with the shoulders. Making sure they're parallel. You're not letting them wing out to the side.

Pull in, resist. Pulling into the abdominals as you're in the C-curve. One more. Good, roll it back up. So you get nice and tall.

You're stacking the spine. This time for our chest expansion, I want to have you bring your wrist into the straps. Your palms are facing you. You're gonna bring your arms out to a low V. You're gonna reach back with your pinkies as you pull with the arms behind you.

And back in. So instead of it being a narrow position, it's a little bit wider. It feels a little bit different. Good, still exhaling as we push back. And return.

We have four more. Again, I'm reaching up through the top of the head. Three, reaching down with the arms. Two, or down and out, I should say. Last one.

And then we're gonna go into our legs in the straps. So you're gonna scoot forward. See right at the edge of the box, and then we're gonna bring the straps over your knees. And then I usually like to hold onto the side of the box to roll down and then bring one leg up to tabletop. And then the other leg.

Hands are gonna go behind your head. One stacked on top of the other. And then I want you to curl up as high as you can, keeping those elbows wide. So we're just gonna keep the legs where they are. And you're gonna lower down, so you're parallel to the floor, and then lift your chest back up.

If you want to go a little bit further into extension, you can, depending on the length of your box and the length of your torso, you can get more or less extension. I usually like to just go parallel, though, for this one. Try not to arch the back at all. Or not too much, anyway. Last two, last one.

Hold it up. Elbows are still wide. Pull your knees in just an inch more. And then we're gonna twist to one side, back to center. Twist to the other side.

So I'm thinking of the rib cage moving. And twist. My legs are staying still, keeping the weight even on both hips, one more each side, and then just rest, hug your knees into your chest for a second. Again, if you want to let your head go back, feel free to. Come back up, hands behind your head again.

Legs back up to tabletop. Elbows are still wide, pulling the navel into the spine. We're gonna lower the legs down toward the floor, and then lift back up. And again, lower and lift. So you don't have to go too far.

I'm not going all the way to the headrest, because my back will arch if I do that. I want to go as far as I can control it. And then scoop to come back up. Try not to lose your chest lift. I just caught myself having to go up a little higher with my chest.

Let's do two more. Last one, inhale, lower. Exhale, lift. Now we're gonna straighten legs up to the ceiling. Keep them parallel.

I'm gonna point the toes. Not as hard as I can, just nice soft point. Inhale, lower the legs down again. Exhale, lift. Just giving it a longer lever.

And lift up. Keep lifting the chest. Think of coming up to your legs. Not just your legs coming to you. And lift, two more.

Lift. Last one. Hug your knees in. Let your head go back one more time. We have one more variation here. So hands behind your head again, curl your chest up, legs up to the ceiling again.

Not too wide. We're gonna make a circle. So you're gonna open, lower together, and lift up. Open, lower together. Reaching those legs long, one more in this direction.

And reverse. So you lower, open, lift up together. Last two. And last one. Hug your knees in one more time.

Take a breath. Those are always challenging for me. And then use your hands on the box. One foot comes down. Use your hands to pull your back up.

And then you can take your legs out of the straps. So hang those up. We're gonna turn your box around. So we have the short box. I like my box over the shoulder rest.

You can do whatever feels good to you. Add one more spring, or at least one more, and then grab your strap. So I'm gonna do a little side-over series. So I have my top foot in the strap. I want to keep that leg parallel.

My other leg is at a 90 degree angle in front of me. If you want to hook it under your top leg, that's also an option. So I'm trying to square my hips off to you to bring one hand onto the headrest. Find a long line from my head all the way down to my heel, and then really flex that bottom foot. So that way it keeps you in the strap.

Top hand is gonna go behind your head. Pull your ribs in, your abdominals in, hold it here and bring your other hand behind your head. Now from here, you're gonna lower all the way down, and then come all the back. And lower. Back to that long line.

Three. Lift. Four. Trying to stay in one straight line from your head all the way down. One more. Hold it here.

Find that long line again, lengthen a little bit more. We're just gonna twist toward the ceiling and then back to center. Make sure it's not from your arms, just from your torso. And center. Two more.

Center. Last one. Good. Twist to the other side. Twist. Good, so we're twisting toward the floor. Center. Two more.

Last one. And then bring your hand down to the headrest. Come all the way over for a side bend stretch. If you want to bring that elbow onto the headrest, you can. Wherever it feels good.

And then you're gonna bring your hands one on each side of the frame. And stretch your back. I like to pull on my strap with the foot, and then pull myself with my arms to get a little traction in my spine. And then when you're ready, bring your hand back onto your headrest. Back behind your head.

Other hand back up. And then use your abdominals to lift you up. We're gonna do the other side. So bring the opposite foot into the strap. Again, the other leg is at a 90 degree angle or tucked underneath.

Finding that nice long line from your head all the way down to your heel. Bottom arm is on the headrest. Top hand behind your head, pull your abdominals and your ribs in, and then bring your other hand behind your head. From here, you're gonna lower all the way down to that headrest. And then back up to that long line.

Lower and lift. Three. Four. Try not to twist. Five, one more.

Hold it here. Hold that long line. You're gonna twist to the ceiling. And center. Twist.

So as you're twisting, try not to move that top hip. It's just your torso. Good. Now we twist the other way. Twist to the floor and center. Two.

Center. Three. Last one. Good, bring your hand down to the headrest. Come into your side bend, or you can come onto your elbow.

Just breathe into that stretch, keep flexing the other foot, keep you in the strap. And then when you're ready, twist, one hand on each side of the frame, pull yourself with your foot, pull yourself with your arms, give your spine some traction. And then bring your hand back onto the headrest. Come back to your side bend, top hand behind your head. Bottom hand behind your head.

And then pull yourself back up. Good. Let's get rid of the box, and then we're gonna go into some planks. So we're gonna do a long stretch first. So I'm gonna do one red, one blue, or one full and one half spring.

Bring my headrest back up. And we're gonna have hands on the foot bar, feet on the headrest, or the ball of the foot's on that little crevice. I like to keep my hands forward a little bit so it doesn't bend my wrist too much. And then I'm in one straight line from my head all the way down to my heels. Think of reaching your heels back toward the headrest.

From here, you're gonna inhale as you push back, go as far as you can control it, exhale to come forward over that foot bar. Inhale to push back, exhale to come in. So I'm staying in one straight line. My whole body is working. So even though it looks like my arms are doing most of it, my abdominals are really supporting me.

My legs and glutes are active to support me as well. Two more. Last one. Come on down to your knees with control, and then I'm gonna bring my feet against the shoulder rests. So I'm trying to tuck my toes under as much as I can to get a nice stretch on the bottom of my foot.

And then I'm gonna push my hips forward, open the chest, feel a little extension in my spine because we've done a lot of flection so far. So the glutes engage, chest lifted. Gonna reach back. And then lift the chest up as I come forward. And push back and lift the chest up to come forward.

Two more. Keep pulling the abs in and up. We support the spine. Good. Come on up to the balls of the feet.

I want my heels about halfway up the shoulder rest and then weight is back into my legs. So I'm gonna find that round back position. Try not to let my head drop too much. I want to keep it between my arms. I'm gonna push back into a plank, but keep that round upper back.

Keep the round upper back as you come forward, like your long stretch. Once you're all the way in, you're gonna round further, push your weight back towards your heels. Try not to move the carriage. So push back into the plank. Just keep the back round as you come forward over the foot bar.

Round back, think of diving through your arms. Hips come back up. Two more. Pushing out to that plank. Pulling in.

Diving the head through the arms even further as we come back to that upstretched position. One more. And then pull back into your plank. And then weight comes back into the legs. Keep your weight back into your legs.

Just come down to a flat foot. If you want to lift your toes up, you can. If your hamstrings are on the tighter side, feel free to keep the toes down. Pull up in your quads, round your back. And then you're gonna push back with your legs.

Use your abdominals to pull it in. Push back, and in. So you get a nice stretch in the hamstrings. And maybe even the calves with your elephant, but try not to forget about your abdominals. Their what's pulling the carriage in.

Try not to let the springs do it for you. You want to do that work. We have four more. And three, two, last one. Good.

Come on off. We stay on the spring, if you'd like. We're gonna do a few more planks. So the heavier the spring, the more work it's gonna be on your arms. And if it's lighter, it'll be easier on your arms, but harder on your abdominals.

So you can kind of play around and choose what works for you. I'm gonna do one red spring, and I'll give you some options too for your plank. So we're gonna face the other way. You can have your hands just around the shoulder rest, if you like. I'm gonna have my hands on the shoulder rest, or you can do a nice forearm plank, just grabbing onto he shoulder rest.

Whatever you prefer. And then for your feet, you can choose to do feet on the platform. I'm gonna have my feet on the foot bar. So come out to that plank position. You want your head in line with the rest of your body.

Everything's in line with your feet. Find that long plank and just hold it here. Trying to keep the carriage still, pushing up out of the shoulders. Shoulders are away from the ears. Now from here, I'm pulling up my abdominals.

I'm gonna keep everything straight. I'm just gonna move the arms forward and then pull them back. So it's not going too far. Just a couple inches forward. And then back under my shoulders.

Forward and front and back in. Four more. Good. So you're using your abdominals to stabilize everything. So that way your arms have the freedom to move.

Last one. Now with control, you're gonna come on down, shake out your wrist. And we're gonna go back into another plank. So find the position that works for you. Safely come into your plank.

Again, the shoulders are right under or right over the wrists. So I'm gonna keep the leg straight. I'm gonna dive my head through my hams. With my arms lift up into a pike. And then come back out to my plank.

So hips pike up. And then back out. So I'm trying to keep my feet in the same position. So I'm not letting my heels come up and down. They aren't moving.

It's just the rest of my body, hiking up and back. Two more. And pull it back. Last one. And then again with control. We come on down.

Shake out the wrists. We have one more plank. So hands back out, where you like them. Back onto your foot position, where you'd like it. Find that long plank.

And then from here, the upper body stays still. You're gonna bend your legs and then push out, almost like you're doing a knee stretch. And up. It's kind of like reverse. 'Cause knee stretch it's usually you're pulling in.

So this we're focusing on the out. Four more. Try not to let the arms move. That's it, so your wrists are always under your shoulders. One more.

And then control it back in, bring one foot down, bring the other foot down. We're gonna have your feet together, knees apart, and come into a child's pose. You can have your arms in front, or you can have your arms behind. Just take a deep breath. One more deep breath here.

And then use your hands by your sides. Roll your back up. And then you're all finished. Thank you for taking class with me, and I'll see you next time.


Denise W
4 people like this.
Great class! Great cues!
Gorgeous class. Feel worked, energised and calm :) Thank you Gia. Love your calm cueing. 
1 person likes this.
So much packed in 30 min! Loved it! I feel great!
2 people like this.
Thanks Gia - great class! It would be great if you could also do some 20-40 minute Level 2/3 reformer classes.
Katie V
1 person likes this.
Great class. Please do some more!!Gia Calhoun 
Dawn U
1 person likes this.
Great class, Gia.  Clear, clean, concise and calming!!  Thank you.
Wendy B
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Gia!  What a fantastic, effective, short workout!  I love it and your cueing was spot on👌 Thank you again~
3 people like this.
As always, this was a wonderful class -- thank you! It would be great if you could also do some slightly longer Level 2/3 reformer classes.
1 person likes this.
Amazing class - my abs thank you! Hope you can do more classes, Gia!
I love all of Gia's classes and any Studio Du Corp teaching. MORE PLEASE!
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