Class #4664

Elite Reformer

35 min - Class


You will stimulate your body, mind, and spirit with this advanced Reformer workout by Diane Diefenderfer. She flows through a full-body class, utilizing skills she previously taught in a series of tutorials. She includes traditional exercises like Teaser, Twist, and much more.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Oct 11, 2021
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Hi, I'm Diane Diefenderfer. This is Laura Hanlon. We're going to do, she's going to do an advanced reformer workout today. It's part of our Pilates essential program. We work at a pretty quick pace to get the blood flowing, fluid movement, lots of good breathing.

So hope you enjoy it. All right, let's have you start at the end of your reformer and take a nice tall position to start. Take a breath in and exhale, contract the low belly and roll on down. We're gonna start with some leg and foot work. She's on two reds and a green.

All right, let's come to prehensile, working the toes over the bar, really opening up the top of the feet. Good. Legs together. Neutral pelvis, long spine, flat belly, and press out. You can take one to stretch, really lengthening the back without forcing it.

You want your back down on your reformer. Take another breath in and come on home. Good. We're gonna have her do 10. And in, and press, and in.

So it's a good fluid pace with a nice breath corresponding to keep your tempo. Her neck is nice and long. Her shoulders are down. You look good. She's using her hamstrings and her glutes.

Good. I think you have two more. (Diane laughs) And nice. One more. And great.

Let's bring the heels to the bar in a nice flexed foot position and begin. Press, and in. You wanna make sure your heels are high. On the tip of the heel, always engaging into that bar so you don't slip off. Yes.

Again, really firing the hamstrings to go out, to go in, to go out. So you get a lot of bang for your buck here. Really work everything. Nice and good. We'll switch to Pilates stance, slight turnout and begin.

Press, and in. So she's in a narrow Pilates stance or in dance first position. You wanna make sure you keep your pelvis neutral. You are. Sometimes, people tend to tuck here, which is not so good.

Keep that tailbone down on the bed. Beautiful. Good. And you're counting I'm (laughs) hoping. And nice.

We'll go to parallel, still with the high heels. Great. Go ahead. And press, and in, and press. You can have a nice high heel or releve in dance as long as you're not supinating or pronating.

So top of your insteps are really facing the ceiling as are the knees. Good. Weight about the second toe, really using your seat and press, and good. And you look great. Really warming up those legs.

Great. All right, let's put the feet on the ball, on the ledge, sorry. Arms to the ceiling. Inhale, exhale, roll up. Every transition involves rolling up and down, bar down, and springs for your 100s.

We'll do essential classic 100s. In five, out five. She's going to two reds. You may wish to go a little lighter, up to you. All right.

Excellent. Shoulders are away from the shoulder blocks. She'll start with her knees at tabletop. Her arms stretched with a slight pull, really pulling down the scapula. Take a good breath in and exhale, reach long.

And one, two, three, four, five, exhale. Three, four, five, two. Beautiful. Out, out, all the air. Third set.

Her arms are long, yet taught. Wrist straight. Yeah. Good. Two, three, four, five, five.

She's at a good spot, just at the bottom tip of the shoulder blade. Good, nice. Add a little turnout. Two different styles, you can do parallel or turned out. I think we're at eight.

Out, out, out. She's smiling good. Nine. Good. When you exhale, deepen, deepen, deepen, deepen, deepen.

10, two, three, four, five. Is that really 100? One more. She's counting better than me. And good.

Parallel inhale, bend, and rest. Good. Talking and breathing. (Diane laughs) Okay, good. All right, feet in the straps.

We're keeping the same springs for short spine stretch. Headrest down. Good. Carefully elongate your legs to 45-degree angle. Keep the neck long, head straight, and we'll take an inhalation as the legs float back.

You'll get a nice stretch. Use your abdominals to peel up. Beautiful. Bending at the top to a nice diamond shape and rolling down through the spine, vertebra by vertebra, working the belly to bring the heels in and out. Inhale, and beautiful, exhale.

Continue. So I asked you to make sure you're breathing. If you have a different breath pattern you're used to, that's okay. The breath should blend with the movement. Sometimes, it's quick.

Sometimes, it's slower as here. Just don't hold your breath. Beautiful, Laura. Open the back up, reach the tailbone down and out. I think this is coming up to number four.

Let's do one more inhale. Enjoy the hamstring stretch. Good. Really reach those toes. Good.

Bending. Nice. She really has her knees hovering. She's not dropping her knees into her body. Beautiful, Laura.

And nice. You can bend your knees, take your straps to your hands for coordination. So same springs again. We keep it moving. Let's have you start legs at tabletop, do a few here, and then some with the knees way in.

All right, regular, advanced coordination. Go ahead. Reach. (Laura breathing heavily) Knee stable and bend, and reach. Open, close.

The opening and close is narrow. Just to challenge that pelvic stability. Good. And four. Pull with the belly.

One more is five. Good. We'll do five more with the knees pulling way in towards your face to your eyes. So if your pelvis lifts here, it's because of the deep connection in your abdominals, not because you've just tucked the pelvis. Excellent.

Two more. Yes, pull. And she's kept her head up the whole time. If you need to put your head down in-between, that's okay. And good.

Bravo, you should be warm. All right, loop your poles and we're gonna have you roll up. We'll change to one spring for rowing. So she'll use the middle red. You could go lighter if you need to.

Headrest down. There's many rowings. I've done others in other of my classes. Today, she's gonna face back and do two. All right, so starting really tall, beautiful spine.

Excellent. I'll get out of your way. Go ahead and pull. (Laura breathing heavily) Contract, chin to the chest, working the abdominals, still exhaling. Present the arms, inhale.

Contract the belly, exhale. Stretch it back, inhaling and circle. Head to the knees and float forward, getting a good stretch. Again, pulling one and contracting, two. It's a nice long exhalation.

Sit tall, reach and turn, press. Good. And she's stretching her arms out, not up, so as not to overstrain the shoulder. Good. We'll do two with a hinged back, inhale and hinge, flat back.

Beautiful. Ooh, good. And reach it out, and contract. Reach it out again and circle. Beautiful.

She kept her shoulders down as her arms came around. One more of these and hinge that back as like a board. Sit tall, out of your hips, reach. And good, Laura, stretch and reach it around, and rest. You may loop the poles.

Good. I'm gonna have her do all the changing as you are at home. Take your long box, all right? Good. So we're gonna do some long box works.

Keeping that one spring in the middle. And we're going to do a little bit of spinal extension into hyperextension. Bring the bar up to a lower, not too high. Yeah, moderate height. She'll lie prone on the box facing that way.

Chest just off the edge. Hands on top of the bar. All right. Press the carriage all the way out. We're gonna stay here for a moment.

The neck is long. The buns are tight. The legs are engaged. The feet are pointed. The whole body's working and her belly's pulled in away from her box.

Great. Let's shrug the shoulders, and then depress the shoulder blades, and shrug them, and press them and hold. Now let's come up into a swan, inhaling up, and exhaling down. She's really pulling that belly beautifully away from the box. Three more.

Inhale, lift the chest, open the sternum, exhale, lower. Excellent. Beautiful. Inhale, lift. Do you feel like a swan?

Exhale, lower. She's keeping that back of the leg. Hamstrings, really engaged. Lifted up beautifully and exhale, lower. Nice.

You may step off over here and put the bar down. Good. And she's going to go around, get her straps for backstroke. All right, so... Yes, ma'am.

Good. (Diane laughing) It's helpful if you get the straps, then lie down instead of getting there, and then trying to find those straps, that happens to a lot of people. All right, good. So she lies down, her shoulders are just at the edge, knees to the chest, hands to the sternum, elbows wide, deep belly. All right.

And you reach arms and legs perpendicular, open them slightly. Inhale, reach. Exhale, bend. Inhale, one, exhale, two. I'm standing back here.

You're good, but you wouldn't wanna open your legs too wide, everybody. Good and pull, and then two more. So we'll do five this direction. Reach across the room. Nice.

She's bringing her hands right over her lap, really works the pectorals, and reverse it. Inhale. The head goes back with care, up and bend, and curl. And one. Circle, two, close, three, bend, four, curl, five, and reach, and back.

Legs and arms are exactly a perpendicular. Beautiful. Good. And around, not too wide. You're good.

I'm just reminding our viewers. Good! One more. Good. Beautiful. And use the neck well to bring chin to chest.

All right, my dear, you're up to teaser. All right, that belly's warm now. All right. You take a moment where you're sort of splayed out here relaxing. All right, I'm out of your way.

She's gonna take a breath and curl into the teaser, finding it exactly. And one, and down. And two, and good. One more is three. And you hold, squeeze under your armpits.

Inhale, exhale, lay out. Excellent. Breathe. Everything happens at once, belly, arms, legs, and one. If you need to bend the knees a little bit, that's an option.

Her shoulders are down. Her chest is lifted. Inhale, exhale, lay out. Good. And you do a third set.

And scoop the belly. So smooth, and one, and lower. Two and lower. And beautiful, and good. Breathe in and roll down.

Good. All right, thank you very much. You can get off the horse. (laughs) Just kidding. And we did not do pulling straps, so I'm gonna add it in here now.

All right, so go ahead and face the other way. The nice thing about the long box is, pretty much, the spring stays the same. All right, just to work the triceps a little bit more here. All right, long line, nice tight buns. Go ahead, my dear, pull back right to your hips and through.

Good. Five of these, five of the T-shape. So it's certainly working her, nicely, triceps, pulling the scapula down. Good. She has a little bit of an upper body arch, which is nice.

And then to the T. You may do this with a completely flat back if you wish. But what I love is that her neck is in line with her spine. Good. Good.

Right. Alrighty, you can loop those straps and they're gonna rest for a while, and I'll have you swing over here. Take the box off. Feeling good? Yes.

Okay, she feels good. (Diane laughs) We're gonna continue with the long stretch series. So long stretch, down stretch, up stretch, elephant. All right, go ahead and take your springs. Bar goes back up.

If you're a little bit more petite in height, you might wanna have a higher bar, and she's gonna use a green and a blue. You could use a red and a blue. You could use what you're used to at home. Headrest up. All right, long stretch, right hand, from where you are, left foot, left hand, right foot, seamless mount of the reformer.

Good. Tight buttocks. Excellent. You're engaging seat, hamstrings, pelvic floor, abdominals. Beautiful neck alignment.

Ooh, I love it. Good. Press out, inhale and exhale. Five times. Inhale.

Keeping that plank. Great. Press and over. Good. Press.

Controlled, it's not a super big distance. Yes. Is that five? All right. Gracefully kneel, bringing your feet to your shoulder blocks and you're up, you're sweating a little bit.

(Diane laughs) You're up to the down stretch. So arc your body forward. Keep the buttocks very tight, abdominals in. Excellent. Inhale back.

Keep the head up. Exhale, three, two, one. Two more. I learned from Ron Fletcher and Romana that this was taught by Joe Pilates, as a big exhalation and arched back to empty the lungs. One more.

So your back is carefully hyperextended with good control. And let's take a moment. Inhale, exhale, and stretch back. Beautiful. You're warm.

(both laughing) All right, you may stand up for up stretch. So come on up to shoulder blocks with the heels. You're on a lifted heel. People, make sure you're not too high on your releve or your high heel. Feet centered nicely.

No supinating or pronating. All right, up stretch, press out, one. Lower pelvis, tighten the buns, the body comes forward with the upper body rounded. One smooth breath, inhale and exhale. Inhale.

Excellent. And come over that bar, hips forward. Let's do five of these. I'm saying, "let's," she's doing it. (Diane laughing) Nice.

There's a real good stomach pull at the end of it. Ooh, is that five? All right, let's have you go to flat feet, slightly forward and you can reach down, and take off the green spring. So now, keep your spring light with great care. Yes.

Here's the elephant, hips over the feet, shoulders over the hands. So there's that rounded elephant back. Here's her trunk. (Diane laughing) Belly in. Excellent.

Go ahead, Laura. So this spring is quite light. The carriage is quite light. It's all about that pulling the carriage forward with the abdominals. Yes.

Stretching the back this way. This way. Nice concave, convex curve. She pulled up her quads without locking in her knees. Excellent.

Maybe one more is good, and then carefully place your hands to the carriage. Take a breath in. If you need to bend your knees, it's fine. And roll up carefully. So you don't wanna stand up too fast, people.

Unfurl, and good. All right. Then carefully step off your carriage. And we're up to doing the long back stretch. So Laura's picking a red and a yellow.

You don't want it too heavy, too light. All right, my dear, go ahead and get onto your reformer, hand and a foot, hand and a foot. Heels into the shoulder blocks. Fingers and thumbs are forward. Excellent.

Go ahead, press out high, she's tucked her pelvis, released and tuck the pelvis. So you're really using a lot of low belly. As always, pelvic floor, inner thighs, seat. One more. Lift the pubic bone, sit down and reverse.

Sitting down, pressing out. This is another one you wanna keep moving. Inhale, exhale. Excellent. Straight back, sit, press and lift, one more.

And good, Laura. And Bravo! You may step off. Okay, we're up to stomach massage. So I'll get the gripper and you may change your springs to two red. And everyone, you wanna make sure your bar is not too high on this one, if you have had a high bar.

All right, so we go here approximately depending on your flexibility in your hips and your strength. You're good to go. All right. All right, feet in a Pilates stance. Good.

Excellent. All right, so I've done a tutorial on this. If you're interested in a little bit more information, you might wanna watch the tutorial on stomach massage. It's a tricky one. Inhale tall, exhale, contract, pulling that belly in and begin.

Eight times, one and flex, and lift, and bend. So a few things to note (laughs), as the body is in a nice high curve, not a deep dropped curve, the belly is concave, the back is rounded, arms sloping, inner thighs tightening, the heels together. Excellent. Inner thighs squeezed. She hasn't dropped her head too low, it's just in a nice alignment with her neck and the rest of her spine.

Are we at eight? Great. And come in and take your hands straight behind you. And the next part, flex and lift, and in. So still stomach massage, still feeling that internal massage with a flat back and a beautifully open chest.

I love this for posture and to get out of the hunched position that so many people find themselves in. Nice. Good. Reach. You almost wanna feel like you're gonna lift off the reformer.

There's that much lift under your seat. Good. And number, that's eight. One more. (Diane laughing) Good.

And good. You need to change your springs for the reach and the twist. So let's go to a red and a yellow. Excellent. All right.

And we're not gonna do the flexing of the feet, but the reach is here and press, one. Reach past me and two. Good. Way out there into outer space. Strengthening the spinal muscles.

Let's do four to five, plenty. Good. And nice. Take your arms to the side. Breathe in, rotate and center.

Beautiful. She's really lifting up as she rotates rather than simply rotating. And her hips are square, and her heels and legs are together. Excellent. One more each way.

Great. Make sure you're even. You could have hands here. All right, come on in. Let's go parallel and stretch out.

Just give yourself a moment here. Yeah, I'm not gonna pull too much, although it does feel good. (Laura laughs) And then you may come back in. All right, you happened to be on the right springs for semi-circle. So go ahead.

You don't need that. Some people may use bar up. You may put the bar down. It does depend on, not just your height, but your proportions. Make sure your knees are healthy to do this exercise.

All right, rolling down and we'll have her legs, feet in a Pilates stance position, making sure you're not gonna slip. Stretch the arms all the way and the hips are high. So a wonderful stretch in the hip flexor in the thigh. Good. Okay, press out, inhale.

(Laura breathing heavily) And then she rolls, ribs, waist, hips, tail, and lifts, and rolling down. Good. In your tailbone, the back of your pelvis here very well may touch the spring. You're way down in there. One more, Laura.

Reach and lower, and good. Hold it, roll down and really drop your pelvis with control. Return high. Good. And rolling, breathe as you wish.

(Laura breathing heavily) That's correct. (Diane chuckles) And roll. Good. Good. One more and I'll give you a stretch, which I can't do for y'all at home, but (laughs) maybe you have a partner.

And there's a nice thigh, hip flexor stretch. Careful of the knees. All right. Good, my dear, roll on out. It's a little sticky.

Sometimes, it helps if you have a towel (laughs) under you. All right, good. Let's have you roll up nicely. Inhaling, exhaling. Every time you roll up and down, you're gonna use those abdominals.

We're up to chest expansion. All right, so one green. Okay, good. Laura's strong. You don't want a green on a red though.

No. No, let's take the red off. (Diane laughing) All right, we'll do chest expansion. She will do chest expansion back. All right.

This is the version I've learned from Ron Fletcher. Some of you may have the feet over the end of the carriage. I like knees against the shoulder blocks with an imaginary line up the body. Beautiful. Let's pull back, hold it, turn the head right and left, and center, return.

It's a big inhalation. (Laura breathing heavily) Left and right, and center, return, and pull, right and left. The whole body's working. Nice. The seat is tight, the belly's in, the shoulders are down.

Yes. Good. And again, press. And you clearly look where you're going. Ron Fletcher was really adamant about that, that we really see something.

Look, and look, and there you go, right out to the ocean. (Diane laughing) All right, let's have you turn around and do some facing from upfront, while you're at it, which is much like teaser. Nice turnaround. Nice teaser arms, all right. But we're gonna add a little circle bit here.

That's good. So come on up. Nicely bent. Slight bend, not more, not wrist. Good, let's go forward.

Twice, inhale and exhale. Again, real body control throughout the entire body and go forward and circle twice, and down, and up, and reverse it. Great. Side up and to your sides, and side up, and that's enough. Good.

In the interest of keeping this moving. All right, you are up to the twist. Oh boy, oh boy. All right, so we'll keep it on a red or a green. You can do a green?

Yeah. Laura's on a green. Okay. Go ahead and take your equipment there. Hand and hand, and foot and foot.

Good. There's different versions. I like this one as well. So hips are high. The belly's in and she's gonna press out, inhaling, looking back towards me, and exhaling, the belly pulls the hips high.

Three more. Twisting, squeezing the inner thighs and pulling. And reach. Good. Beautiful.

The shoulders are down. One more. Great. And press into the carriage. Yes, indeed.

All right. I'd like to choreograph something for you to waltz around there, but let's go to the other side. (Diane laughing) All right, nice. Okay. Hand and hand, foot and foot.

Slightly catty-cornered here. Yes. Great. All right, twist it out and reach back, looking over your left hip and pull up, and press. And this is another one where breath is essential to keep the fluid movement.

Inhaling. Almost always, not always, the carriage, when it goes out, you're opening the springs. You'll be inhaling when you're closing it, you'll be exhaling. That's kind of a good rule to remember. It's not always, but it's most of the time.

Good, Laura. Excellent. Whew, how you doing? Good. Okay. (Diane laughing)

Let's go ahead and sit down, and we're gonna go to long spine stretch. So two reds is good. We're getting close to being finished, but not quite. And you'll put your headrest down. You can do that once you're down there and we have the double-looped straps, so she's gonna take the longer.

If you need to get an extension strap, do so or adjust your straps. So they're about that much longer, approximately. All right, let's bring the legs down and out. (Laura breathing heavily) Good. We'll do three each direction or you will.

(Diane laughing) Palms are down, neck is long. Good. Go ahead and let the legs float back. (Laura breathing heavily) And again, starting from the abdominals, peel the carriage and the toes go through the roof, and open, narrow V and roll down. The width of that V is much like she was in a backstroke on the box.

Again, inhaling, enjoy the hamstring stretch. Exhaling. Nice. Open. Yes.

Think of the width of the frame here. Circling using your belly and closing. And one and rolling, two, and three, and rolling, four, anchoring sacrum, five and six. Reverse it. Nice.

And up you go. Reach. Good. Close, inner thighs. So as she rolls down, the toes are being pulled that way, so she really gets that stretch.

Use your hamstrings and your belly, and circle around, and roll, and close, and down. Her arms are nicely placed on the carriage. Bravo. One more. Feel good?

Good. (Diane laughs) And up. Yes. Beautiful. Articulation of the spine.

And with the lengthened ropes or straps, they get a little bit different feel of stretch and control. Excellent. You can bend your knees and come out of that. Right. Indeed.

Okay, you are up to knee stretches. All right, two reds, so your springs are set already on the two reds. Foot bar to your height, moderate or a little higher, if you're a little bit more petite and stature. Good. So I've done another tutorial on this because this is a devilish exercise to get.

We'll do the three, 10 reps of each. It's old school. All right, belly pulled in, rounded spine, tucked pelvis and go one and in, and two. Good. Good.

So keeping that tucked, rounded pelvis is essential on the first one, she's really only moving her thighs back and forth. When you do 10, stop. Excellent. You release to a flat back. Good.

And go. 10. There's the long line. The pelvis is released. Her sits bones are pointing back over her shoulder blocks.

The back is perfectly flat. The belly's still in. Nice, Laura. Good. Nice.

And her fingers are extended. Beautiful. Rounding the back again, knees off slightly and go. One, and then this one, you wanna keep it moving. See how low her knees are and she's not straightening her legs all the way, so you don't want it to be punchy.

Good. Good. Excellent. Whew! She's warm. Okay, we're almost done.

Let's do some parallel splits. So you can stand up, we're still on the two reds. You could go lighter if you wish and take one foot back to the shoulder block carefully, other foot up. So she's in a V position, square the tendencies to do this, and we wanna keep her square. All right, go ahead and press out.

Take your time. And in. There's lots of front and back controls, I've done some of those in other classes that I've offered on Pilates anytime. I like this parallel one. Oh, that's quite straightforward because of the parallel alignment.

Do like five. And on your last one, bend your knee. To come in, you got a lovely stretch of the hip flexor over there. Changing sides. Nice.

Good. And go, and in. Good. Back. And the belly is what pulls your hips to the ceiling.

The thighs are pulled up without locking. Nice, Laura. Her foot is in good alignment. When you've done your fifth one, bending, be all big, real careful on these. Yeah.

Excellent. All right, you may sit down on your reformer at a third red and we're going to finish our class with running in place, which is a nice way to finish your workout. Get the reformer back in a ready position for tomorrow's class, (Diane laughing) where you would probably start with the three reds or the reds in the green. Okay, headrest back up and let's go ahead and place the balls of your feet on the center. Good.

Nice alignment. Excellent. And we're gonna run away. No. (Diane laughing) Press on out, inhale.

(Laura breathing heavily) Now grow longer. Beautiful. Exhale and begin. Inhale, exhale. Good.

The hips and pelvis are stable because she's really using her transverse abdominals. Her seat muscles are active without tucking. It's another tutorial I've done about keeping the pelvis neutral in leg and foot work. Excellent. She's passing up rather than punching the heel down.

Good. Couple more. Inhale. The neck looks beautiful. Last set, and let's rise up.

Flex your heels down. So we're kind of back to where we started class today. Bend your knees. Come home. You're ready to walk out the door, feet, not before you get up.

Feed on the ledge, arms to the ceiling. Exhale, roll up, and beautifully done. I hope you enjoy this workout. Hope it's stimulating to your body, your mind, and your spirit. Thank you.


Sinead Maguire
Excellent.. really enjoyed this class
Sinead Maguire
Excellent, really enjoyed the class
Angela N
1 person likes this.
Such a pleasure being able to take class from Diane again!  Highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to focus on more traditional Pilates exercises.
1 person likes this.
Oh my, so many exercises in this class that I do not like but I know I need to do them!! Thank you!
“Elite” oh my!
1 person likes this.
Beautifully executed and great cueing! A dynamic duo for sure..Thank you!!
Great Class with perfect flow.
Edgar A
I like that you give the note of finding the tips of the shoulder blades on the reformer during hundreds. Keeping this is mind has helped me a lot.
Great class!
Loved it! Very stimulating to my mind when I'm trying not to wobble off in my teaser! 😅💕
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