Class #4670

Reformer for Menopause

50 min - Class


In this is class, Joy Puelo addresses menopause. The main focuses are to keep our bodies flexible, our tissues lubricated and our muscles strong. You will move through exercises focusing on bone health, eccentric control through the lower body, and training towards full ranges of movement. Joy creates rhythmic and dynamic layers to allow for flow and stimulation in your body.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Nov 05, 2021
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Hi, I'm Joy Puleo, and I'm here today with Tiffany DeMartin and Kristen Briody. And we are here to talk to you about menopause. Very often menopause is seen as a real downer, and when our bodies are changing, and a loss of the reproductive cycle in our lives. However, I'm going to encourage us today to look at this as a renaissance, as an opportunity, and as a new beginning. Yes, it is true that our bodies are changing.

Yes, these changes are physiological in nature. And yes, we cannot stave off all of the changes of aging. However, good choices in how we move our bodies can help push off some of the negative effects of menopause and of aging, and can help us move into this new phase of life with the independence and the confidence physically that we need in order to enjoy sort of the wisdom that we've carried along through the years. So, Tiffany, Kristen, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me. And for those of you who are watching this, I just wanna tell you that I am thinking of two primary things for this workout.

One is collagen in our body does change as estrogen starts to drop. Now, listen, everybody talks about estrogen. It's all about estrogen, estrogen, estrogen. And actually, for me, if I had a super power in this world based on the shape of my body, you would see a giant E across my chest. "I am an estrogen maker," right?

But that being said, I, too, am going to lose my estrogen. And the problem is not just estrogen. It's the relationship between estrogen, progesterone, and, believe it or not, testosterone in our bodies that changes as we get older, that affects our collagen matrix, that affects our connective tissue, that affects our inflammatory. It triggers inflammatory responses, and can affect the way in which we move. Now, how we deal with those changes through movement can be varied, but for our purposes today, and sort of to simplify what is really a very complex topic, we wanna think about how we keep the body flexible, how we lubricate the joints, and here's the other thing, how we tap into the strength of the body, particularly of the legs.

You will notice at this point, when you train your women who are pretty much over 45 or 50, they can come to you, every single session, very different in the quality and the tone in their lower body. So we need to tap into the legs, full range of motion, and work both eccentrically as we push out and as we pull in. And that is exactly where we are going to start. So I'm gonna back up here into the corner just for a second. We're gonna start with an Eve's lunge, but it's going to be a standing balance lunge.

So I'm going to take much of what you already know, and I'm going to tweak these things just a little bit in terms of leg placement, foot placement, in order to achieve more out of their bodies in this instance. Now, here, they both have this on a red. It's highly dependent on the ability to maintain the stability on the standing leg. I would like them to keep the torso relatively upright as the back leg goes back and they sink far into that front leg and then come on up. So you'll notice we're not going into some big arching Eve's lunge right now.

We're truly just toggling the leg that's stretching back behind them, but I'm really super interested in that front leg as the knee bends and as they get deep into that hip crease. Good. Now, if you've seen any of my other workouts, you know how fond I am of integrating the upper body into this. I'd like you to, on the next one, take your arm, the same arm as the leg that is going back, up, and then bring it down. And do that for three.

Once I know they have their balance here, I'm going to ask them to add flexion and extension. So extend up and flex as you come in. Extend up and flex as you come in. Nice. And extend up and flex as you come in.

You'll notice their eye gaze followed their hands. Now let's add a side bend to this. Keeping yourself more neutral, come on down, side bend, and then circle around overhead and bring the back leg in, and up. Nice. Come down into that lunge, side bend, around, and up.

So the idea of the stretching is not to just hold them in a position, but to move them dynamically, integrating the body as we go. And up. Beautiful. Let's have you come off of there. And now I wanna work the hips in all ranges and in all angles.

So I'd like to work the A-B-ductors. So I'm gonna ask them both to come and stand in line with the shoulder rest. And, Tiffany, I'm gonna take these. I'm gonna keep the loops in the well, just to avoid any kind of clanking from those loops. Now, the other thing that I really do enjoy is the cross body and crossing the midline whenever possible.

This might not be possible for all clients 'cause there might be issues with balance. By the way, a gondola pole is a really nice accessory to have here. But if you can see through this, through these views, I want the knee to come just across in front of the pubic bone. And then like a windshield wiper, I want them to move their femur out to the side. And then resist the carriage as you come in.

You're gonna hear me say this a lot. And the reason for that is eccentric control of these movements is really important for building strength and also for reminding, neurologically, the body of what it is we're trying to do in terms of muscle strength and tone. I'll elaborate on that in a second 'cause I don't wanna have them do 8,000 reps. And just one last one. Great.

Now let's have you move toward the foot bar and let's go for the A-B-ductors. So what do I mean by eccentric control? So now they're in this position, make no mistake. They're standing. You guys changed your resistance.

What did you put it on? Red. So they went to a red so that they have more support and more float. They did the A-B-ductor work on a blue. It's the standing leg that I want you to push off of and float into that stretch.

It's the standing leg I want you to come back on to. Good. And you can close the carriage all the way. Straighten the leg on the carriage, push with the back leg, lift up, and bend. So you have three types of muscle contractions.

Actually you have more than that, but we'll just review concentric contraction, eccentric contraction, and isometric contraction. Now, if I asked these ladies to go out there and hold it... (Tiffany exhales) Tiffany's giving me a big breath. Right now, if you're holding, this is an isometric hold. Now, if you pulse for me a little bit up and down, that's a dynamic for me, isometric.

And now, if you resist as you return, that's eccentric control. All three of these are very, very, very, very, very important as we age to make sure you're including into your client's program, because the body needs this feedback, neurologically, it needs to wake up, and we need to create strength and heat in these muscles, and these are good techniques by which to do that. So now, one more time, you're gonna go out. I want you to hold it there, really feel that support of the spring underneath you. And it's small little pulses, so this should be roughly a red spring.

Too much spring, your client gets shot back. Too little spring, you could see the look on their face 'cause they're gonna be struggling really hard and we don't wanna strain the groin area at all. There you go. And these guys look really comfortable with that red spring. And then come on in with control, up and over that standing leg, bend your knee, the carriage closes.

One more time. Strain the leg, press out, hold it. An isometric hold. Add little dynamic pulsing. Nice.

And then bring it in, up and over that standing leg. Super. Okay, so now what did we do? We started with a nice Eve's lunge, opening the front of the body, opening the front of the hip. We then moved into A-B-ductors.

We did this nice isometric and eccentric control of the A-D-ductors. And now let's take it and let's work the back of the body. Let's work the propulsive strength of the glutes and the whole back line. I'm gonna turn you again, facing the foot bar, just like you were for Eve's lunge, but we're gonna change this. For you two, I would like you to take it to a blue.

For you guys out there, I'd like you to play with blue, a blue and a yellow, or a red. For me personally, I have a larger lower half. I need a little more stimulation in through my lower body. I like these on a red. You need to judge what works for your body.

Now, our typical lunge, right, you have your knee on the carriage. I wanna change this a little bit. We're gonna take your foot and bring it forward onto the edge of the carriage. Yeah, there you go. And you're gonna crouch down and get into a tight runner's stance.

Tiffany, I'm gonna have you lift your head a little bit and you can actually lift up just a bit here. Great. Now, just for the first one, let's see your positioning. Can you straighten that leg back behind you? Make sure you don't hit the back end of the reformer.

Bend your knee and swing that leg in. I'm looking at the femur. Here, I got hip flexion. Now I'm going into a little hip extension, right? And come on in.

So, Kristen, will you take a little bit of a step forward just so that when you extend your leg, we don't hit the back of the reformer. Now, I've got your knee hovering above that foot bar. For Tiffany, her limbs are longer so her knee is a little below the foot bar. Let's go back and come in, and back, and in. Good.

And back. Now, when you fully extend that spring by putting your foot to the edge of the carriage, I get a lot of extensibility out of that spring. They're feeling this in their glutes. They're feeling this in their standing legs. Go a little faster for five.

I want propulsion. Four, three, two, and last one. Come all the way in and stand. And up. Okay.

How are you feeling? Great. Okay. So, you know, I have this little saying, "Don't be satisfied..." With what? Sagittal. Sagittal.

Right. So Tiffany's looking at me. She's like, "I know." (laughs) So I had you now sagittal, which is great 'cause we tend to walk sagittally, but our muscles of our hip are in a fan shape around our hip, and we need to find different ways of targeting those muscles. And these muscles tend to go quiet as we age. So we are going to take that same movement, but instead of being sagittal, I'm going to ask you to be a little bit on a diagonal, facing the foot bar.

So instead of, you know, in Pilates, we tend to do either we're sagittal and we do a whole, what is it, a half a turn; it's really like, a quarter of a turn. So, Tiffany, take your feet toward me. Excellent. Now your left leg is going to go on the edge of the carriage, just like you did before. And what I would love is if you come into that nice power lunge position, can you internally rotate that top leg just a tiny bit?

You may or may not need to hold onto the foot bar. Straighten that leg and make sure you've got clearance, and then pull that leg in. Now look at how we've changed the angle here. The standing leg is working differently, as is the moving leg. And, guys, resist the carriage coming in so we get this nice eccentric control through the back line and the glutes.

Alright, give me five, going a little faster for propulsion. Two, last one, and then come all the way in. Standing up. Awesome. Now you're gonna get back into that position.

I have one more to do with you. I actually put two fingers up, but one more to do with you here. 'Cause I have no guarantee it'll really be one. It might be two, it might be five. (Joy laughs) I know, I know, sorry.

So let's have you get into that position again. And now, this time, can you take your right foot, turn it out a little bit, so your standing leg now is working differently. And the left, also turn that out a little bit. Now can you strain and push, and notice the difference in the feeling, both on the standing leg and on the moving leg. Good.

Now go, give me a propulsion. Go for five. Four, three, two, and one. Come all the way in and stand. And now we're gonna give you guys a break from these standing lunges and we're gonna make our transition over to the other side.

So what I would like for you to do is take your little pad, and we're gonna put it right on the front edge of the carriage. And you're gonna kneel on the front edge of the carriage. Put both feet on that pad. Or put both knees on that pad, I should say. Excellent.

Okay, so now let's have you take your right foot and put it on the standing platform. We're going to go into a runner's stretch. But notice because I have the knees to the front edge of the carriage, that their femur is actually in flexion, or, I should say, their hip is actually in flexion with the femur a little bit north of the pelvis. This is what we're looking for here. I want to encourage full range of motion.

If I have a pet peeve in Pilates, it is that we tend to limit the full range of motion, particularly in the hip joint. And I want to encourage now fuller ranges of motion. And as we age, what do we do less of? We do less of going down to the floor and lifting ourselves up. And this really helps us to get clients into a deeper hip flexion and deeper squats, if you will, without them knowing that they're actually going into deeper squats.

Which is part of the beauty of Pilates, we kind of do these things subversively. Alright. (chuckles) With that, we're gonna send your left leg back and then bring it in. So first just toggle it underneath. We work on the dynamic flexibility before we start to really move into the stretch. Now send that leg back.

And now I'm looking at the front leg, and I want you to sink as deeply as you can into that front hip, and then come on out and bring it in. Go back, sink down, and as you come in, bring the leg and the carriage all the way home. Now let's add the thorax and the extension. You wanna do that naturally, so let's go there. You're gonna send the leg back.

You're gonna sink down. You're gonna look up. Don't take the hand yet. You're gonna look up, and then come on in. Good.

And you're gonna do one more like that. Beautiful. Now, if you'd like, you can add an arm, right? And integrate. Beautiful.

And then come on in. Now I like to add diagonals. So the arm goes up, and as it comes in, can you touch the arm that is... Ah, that's beautiful. Yes.

And then the arm comes up. And across the midline there. Oh, I love these. These feel great. You need to try these.

And super. Put your hand on the foot bar. If your client has the flexibility, you can send the back leg back. And now you could stretch through the front leg, press back. When you come in, I want you to cue this a particular way.

Bring the thigh to the chest as you bend the front knee, and let that lift you back home. The back leg gets dragged in and comes along for the ride. So go into the lunge, straighten that front leg as you come home, right? Bring that front thigh to your chest. Let that be what lifts you up.

The back leg gets dragged in. It's a lovely opening for that hip flexor. Great. That looks so good. You need to do one more.

Ready? Go for it. (Joy chuckles) And then bring the thigh to the chest, dragging, controlling again eccentrically that back leg as you come in. Super. That was really, really lovely.

Let's switch sides. Okay, so first it's the leg toggle. Now, we can actually argue this, whether or not I should just transition you slowly over to the other side or if I should do those first exercises and make my way here. I think, given the nature of what we've been doing, this is a lovely transition to go from one side, onto the carriage, off to the other side. So let's start.

Take that leg back, lower down, and then come in. Just three times like that. Let's move this one a little bit faster, this side. Two, and three. Inclination is to do what?

To add the thorax and spinal extension. So go for it. One, and bring it in. And two. Now look how beautiful that starts to get when you create movement and make it more dynamic.

Great, what are we gonna do now? We add the arms. So there's always, there's a rhythm to what we do and how we do it. Two. Good.

And three. So what do I love to do? Add the rotation or the diagonal there. So touch that right hand to your left for one. Beautiful.

And two, and three. (Joy laughs) It's really beautiful. Is there like an award for synchronized Pilates in the Olympics? (laughs) So that was really nicely done. Now let's take this into the back leg stretches. Come into that lunge.

And then with the front leg, can you send yourself back? Bring the front thigh to the chest, drag the back leg in here too. Let's give this more of a rhythm. I want you to come right into it. And then as soon as the carriage touches home, go back out.

Yeah. Give that more of a dynamic flow. The back leg comes in, and then send it back out. Beautiful. Great.

Now you're gonna step off to the other side and we're gonna see in our mind's eye if we can reverse this. We're going to go with the lunges to the front edge of the carriage, which meant you put this on a blue spring. And you're gonna hold on to the foot bar. Your right foot is gonna be on the edge of the carriage. You're gonna give me that nice power stance.

Good. And the first few, remember, we're gonna just go out and make sure you're not hitting the back end of the carriage. Tiffany, we need you to be a little more upright and a little more forward. Now send that out and just test the waters, and then come on in, and now out, swing it out, and in. Good.

Out and in. Five, four, three, two. Good. Last one. Bring it in, stand up, and come out of that for a second.

Kristen, I'm gonna have you come forward just a little bit more. Don't be satisfied with sagittal. You're gonna give me our little diagonal, our 1/8 of a turn. And you're gonna come into that strong squatting position. And the foot is on that reformer there, it's gonna be a little internally rotated.

Tiffany, I want your head to come back. Yeah, there you go. Now send that leg back, and then bring it in, and push out and in and out. And it's eccentrically controlling through this back line for three, two, and one. Stand up, come on out of there for a second.

We're gonna go back into it for our last version, which is the turned out version, yeah? So let's have you turn out both legs. Come down into that squat position. Lift your heel up. Send the carriage out.

Control it coming in. Now we're really working the hip three different ways, both the standing leg and the moving leg. For, I don't know, 28? 32? (chuckles) Let's do two more. And one.

Super. And then let's have you stand up. Great. Now, I'm trying to reverse engineer this, and I think we're gonna go with the A-D-ductors first. So let's have you turn out a bit and let's have you put one foot up against the shoulder rest.

We're going back into this concept of working that standing leg against that moving force, eccentric control of the adductors. So let's have you open out and come back in, close the carriage, straighten that right leg, open out. Feel the support of the spring underneath you. Close the carriage. If you don't have enough support 'cause you left it on the blue, you're more than welcome to bend over and put on the red.

There we go. (laughs) Much better, yeah? And then come on up and close the carriage. So we're gonna do something different on this side that we didn't do on the other side 'cause they are both very balanced. Both of you, take your arms out. Yep.

Now, I'd like you to glide out and rotate toward your standing leg. Rotate towards your standing leg. Yeah. And then come up and rotate toward the leg that's on the carriage. Rotate towards your standing leg, and then come up and rotate towards it.

And so this now, by spiraling the spine over that standing leg is a completely unique, balanced experience. They're both doing an excellent job of this, yeah? And last one. Ah, that's beautiful. So the last time we did it on that side, we had you hold, and then we had you pulse.

On this side, what we did was we added some upper body work, upper body movement. You can be creative here. Please, let me give you license and encouragement to be creative, as long as you have the basic components down of what it is you're trying to achieve. Okay, so now that was A-D-ductor work. Let's do A-B-ductor work.

Let's move you up against the shoulder rest. And this will be nice 'cause you can see more, specifically Tiffany from the front, and you'll be able to see Kristen from the side. And we want the knee really in line with the pubic bone, or even a little across that center line. And I'm looking at the femur. Not the leg pushing against the shoulder rest, but that femur like a windshield wiper opening out toward me, and then that control going back in.

Opening out toward me, and that control as it returns, right? So, again, everything is about the control on the return. We're trying to encourage that, you know, not only the balance on the standing leg, but that eccentric work that needs to happen here. Two more. And last one.

Super. And then you can come off of there, and then we get to end with our glorious Eve's lunge facing this way. (chuckles) I think I got a silent "yes" out of both of them. (laughs) For this Eve's lunge, remember, no hands. And we're looking at this back leg and you're just gonna send the carriage back, sink into it, and then rise back up. You're moving only as far as this leg and maintaining the upright spine will allow.

It'll help you to get a little bit less of a lumbar pitch or arching in the lumbar if you keep the torso upright, and it'll give you a little bit more of this nice openness through the front of the hip. Good. What do we like to do? We like to add the arm work. This time, both arms come up, and then both arms come down and flex the spine.

Let's go right into spinal flexion and extension, yeah? Up and down. Right, this is my "Godfather" moment. This is the, "I thought I was out, and they pull me back in." Sorry, I know, it's an Italian thing. (laughs) Two more. Lovely.

And last one. And in. Great. And then come on up and out of there. So we did different arm movements this time.

You can, again, be creative and play with this any which way you would like. But here is an example of some really nice ways in which you can take basic lunge stretching and turn it into a much more dynamic, full, lower body hip workout. Okay, so we just finished all of that leg work. And, again, that was a sample of things that we can do with our standing work that's a little bit different, with a slightly different focus on the control of the standing leg, changing the angles around the hip. So that's one consideration I have when I'm training my clients who are entering into the turbulent menopausal phase.

The other part that I really tend to focus on are postural muscles and ways in which to tap into the postural muscles to prevent that sort of just kyphotic posture that we all get, I think, less from aging and more from sitting at our desks, but that is a whole other topic for a whole other day. So I'm going to grab this box here. And if you wouldn't mind, Kristen, grabbing yours. We're gonna bring it over to the reformer. And I think, for today, because you're both very different in your limb length, I'd like to do this in the long box orientation.

To start, I do like this on a single red spring. You certainly will have to judge based on your client's abilities and strength of their upper body. So I'm gonna ask you both to sit. Straddle the box, facing the risers. And if you would take the straps, and here's where it gets a little different, or a little dicey, if you will.

I want you to put the straps on your forearm, just at the elbow, just either above or just below, whatever is most comfortable for you, and then open the arms out and just hold it there for a second. So what are we doing here? We're working on the upper back, the trapezius. We're working on the rhomboids. We're trying to keep them out of their necks.

So we don't wanna see that their shoulders are up around their ears. Elbows come toward each other and come forward. And I like to add in this arm spiral here. Can you look at your pinky? And now as you open the arms and push away, can you push through the palms of your hands, right, and the pinky leads you or is behind you.

Good. Spiral the forearm as you come in, and then open out. Nice. And again. Good.

The spiraling of the forearm is really something that we really need to consider and put in wherever we can with the arm movements. You will find you get really much better range. And ultimately, there's a nicer, when this is all done, a nicer letting go in through the shoulder joint. Alright, now you're gonna hold it out there, right? Remember, repetitions, isometric hold.

And now pulse back. It's small pulses back. Now, don't think about pulsing the arms. Can you think about bringing the shoulder blades closer together and slowly releasing, creating now, again, that sort of nice little dynamic tension through the rhomboids. Nice.

And slowly release. And, you know, I really hate to just call out one muscle because the reality is there's a lot happening here. And if you can imagine the whole upper body complex as you're holding this, the chest is expanding, you've got the whole back body contributing to supporting that work, the deltoid muscles are working to keep the arms up. So this isn't just about the rhomboids. Please, let me be clear about that.

But the rhomboids, everybody kind of knows where they are in terms of pulling the shoulder blades together and allowing that little bit of movement between the shoulder blades. Now, let me have you open the arms out. And here, let's make little circles around the shoulder joint. For you guys who are watching them, Kristen's arms are staying a little more in scaption so the arms aren't coming necessarily behind her. Tiffany has a little more flexibility, openness through the chest, and she likes that feeling of stretch she's getting by bringing the elbows slightly behind her.

Both are equally great, as long as there's a purpose and as long as it works for that body. Super. And let's have you rest because these get tiring real fast. Okay. So both of you, we're gonna put you back into that position.

No spiraling of the forearm. Right, you're gonna be back in that position. And I just wanna focus on raising and lowering the arms without movement in the carriage. And here, you know, in terms of placement of the strap on the forearms, it's gotta be where your client is comfortable. And so don't go too high or too low, and you really want to avoid movement of the carriage, but I do want the elbow to come below the level of the shoulder and then to rise up just a little above the level of the shoulder.

How far up they go is great. And if you want to add some moves where they go, "Ooh, ooh," by all means, go for it. Two more. And one. Great, bring the arms down.

So these are really, really, really lovely in and of themselves. Now I wanna add a rotational challenge to this. So I'm gonna ask you to put one strap down. I'm coming behind them, they have a red on, I'm going to take Tiffany down to a blue. Kristen, we decided we wanted to go down to a yellow, I believe, or...

Okay. So you got the strap on one arm. And, here, let's have you... Ah, you know what? Will you guys humor me for a second?

Okay, I wanna go back. Put the strap on both arms. (Tiffany and Kristen giggling) (laughs) Just humor me. I'm going back to a red, Tiffany. Alright.

And, Kristen, I'm gonna put you on a blue. And the reason why I wanna go back is I really wanna add... I had just had them doing all that really stabilizing work. I'd like to add a little bit of mobility into the spine. Can you put your hands behind your head for me?

Ah, that feels so much better, thank you. Okay, now, just this position with hands behind their head, and the reformer straps, wanting to pull them forward, what's happening to their back line? It's definitely resonating, right? It's resonating 'cause it needs to hold them upright. So posturally, this is tremendous.

Now I'm gonna ask you both to flex forward, but resist the straps pulling you forward. So, again, it's sort of this eccentric control, particularly up through the upper thoracic, because there's not a ton of flexion here, but just enough... Yeah. And Tiffany's taking it into extension, and take it into your flexion, and then rise up, and a little bit of extension. So it's lovely here.

And both of you, if you can come up and just hold it up in a neutral. Feel the weight of your head into your hands. Feel the relationship of the back of the neck, through the thorax, all the way down to the spine. Now, let's take you forward one more time, really resisting the pull forward. So always feel your head into your hands.

And now let the head pressing into your hands lead you back up, and let that be what takes you into extension, if that's where you want to go. (Joy sighs) Excellent. And then sit upright. Now, let's have you put one of those straps down. And now I will take you down and we will work against the rotational challenge.

I knew I was forgetting something. Alright, so let's do that same hand behind your head, but now you have one strap. Okay? And you put both hands behind your head. Now with one strap, they wanna be pulled into rotation.

I'm gonna ask you to stay in this nice neutral position, or this sagittal position, as you curl forward. And now sit up tall. And you could even go into that extension without adding rotation. So they should be feeling a different work happening on one side versus the other. And since they're both straddling the box, what they can do is they can actually gently squeeze into the box, get the adductors activated.

And, actually, if they get the opposite adductor activated, it's really gonna help keep them stable because it will activate the oblique slings. Nice. Great. So this is great. We've kept them stable as they've worked against a unilateral force which is working against a rotational force, which works very much for lots of clients who maybe cannot rotate.

But I know these two can, so I'm gonna ask them now to take it into a rotation. So as they come forward, they will rotate. And as they rise up, they will rotate in the opposite direction. You may have to play with the arm placement so that the strap doesn't get too close to your face or to your client's face. You will notice that Kristen has the shorter strap around her arm.

And you'll notice that when Tiffany comes up, she opens her arm out just a little bit. Nice. And last one. Great. Let's switch sides.

So all this work that we've done with the postural muscles before getting to the flexion is actually really great postural work for everybody. But clients who cannot tolerate flexion, that was all really super for. You know? That's the circles with the arms, the up and the down. So super great, especially for anyone that you're concerned with with osteoporosis.

For people who can, and where flexion is appropriate, these are excellent ways in which to teach how to control forward flexion. We always say, "Ah, there's so much flexion in Pilates." I contend there's lots of bad flexion. So there's nothing wrong with the flexion in Pilates if it's supported and where we get the back line to support the body as we flex forward. We do have to get in and out of bed. We do have to get in and out of cars.

We do have to bend down to pick up wiggly children, right? Alright, so hands behind your head. And, again, this is a unilateral force. It's gonna wanna pull you into rotation. You're gonna keep it nice and sagittal.

And let's have you flex forward. And press up. And if you want to go into extension, by all means, go into extension. As you flex forward, please feel the head gently into the fingertips so that you're not just falling forward into the weight, but instead you're resisting it the entire way. And let's do one last one.

Great. Now let's neutralize your spine and let's have you come forward and add a rotation. And then as you come up, let's rotate in the opposite direction. Good. And here, if you play, again, with that gentle hugging of the box, it's gonna help to provide an additional, a little additional stability.

Choosing a language to speak would be helpful. (chuckles) Nice. And last one. And super. Again, if rotation is contraindicated for your client, or if flexion is contraindicated, you would certainly want to be careful with these because you do have this pull on the spine. But if it's not contraindicated, these are really lovely ways of training through the whole back line of the body to control both flexion and rotation.

Super. So let's have you take those straps, put them inside the well. And let's turn this box, short box direction. And we're gonna put a red spring on. Okay.

So you're ready? One of my issues with, as we get older, and especially as we rely mostly on our Pilates environment, is creating, again, control and propulsion through the back line of the body. And so I'd like to take jackrabbit and maybe just add a little something to it and play a little bit with the speed and certainly the leg positioning. So I'm gonna ask you both to come on to your box. And you'll lift your heels so the balls of your feet are on the carriage, right?

And this here, by the way, is just a lovely, upright sit position and a nice deep hip crease, or a nice deep squat, if you will. Let's have you both bring your hands onto the foot bar. And now you'll notice when they get into position here, the hands are very far forward of the shoulders. So what you're going to do is lift your tush just a little bit. And that's an official anatomical term, your tush.

Lift your tush a little bit over your hands. Relax your shoulders and see if you could widen across your back as much as you can. I love this starting position. They're in a nice deep squat. Now send your legs out behind you, pull the knees all the way in, close the carriage.

So I want you to get that full drawing in and control as you go into that deep squat here at the level of the hips. Now I'm gonna ask you to pick up the pace. It's in and out. In, out. I'm gonna stay here.

I want a little more control right through here, Tiffany. Yeah. Three, two, and have a seat. Okay. So I said, "Pick up the pace," and I don't know if you saw it, but they started to and slowed down.

This is really challenging a lot of quads here, if I'm not mistaken, but also a lot of control through the back line of the body. So this is also a really nice way, 'cause if they had heart rate monitors on, we would find out that their heart rate is starting to go up. Alright, so just as we did with our lunges, I don't really wanna be just in one plane of motion. I wanna work the hip in lots of ranges. So the next version of this, I'd like you to turn out and be really almost in a frog position where the heels are together and the toes.

Yeah. But the knees now are staying roughly in the line of your reformer. So you don't want your client just to turn out as much as they can. They're just lifting the heels, bringing them together. And that's the level of the openness through the hips.

Hands are gonna be on the foot bar. Again, your shoulders are gonna be up over your hands. You're hovering. Now the goal is to stay as low as you can, hovering over that box. Send your legs out, pull the knees all the way in.

See if you can close the carriage. Now give me the in. Control it. In. And let's do four more.

Three. Good. Two, and one. Great. Have a seat.

And down. And I'm looking at their faces and they seem to be good and they're with me. (chuckles) Okay. Alright, so now we turn down, I'd like to do diagonals. Good.

So, Tiffany, go the other way so that when you turn out... Excellent. You guys are sort of doing this nice little synchronized thing. Hands are gonna be on the bar. So we're keeping the torso, right, exactly in the orientation it was before.

But what's going to happen is, as they straighten out, they're gonna get a little bit of a rotation, a reflection of a rotation in the pelvis, and the legs are going to be oriented in one direction, right? So now let's send you out. And then let's pull you all the way in and push out. And in, out. Four, three.

Notice their timing is different. That's perfectly fine. Two, and one. Great. And then come and have a seat.

Excellent. We're going to change you to the other side. Their timing is different, they're getting tired, so you're gonna notice how it's difficult for them to really draw that carriage all the way in underneath them. I'm not really gonna talk to you this time. You're going for five.

Ready and go. Go. Good, I'm gonna come in here, Tiffany. I want you to stay a little lifted here. Yup.

And last one. And then have a seat. Okay. Okay, you guys still love me? (Joy laughs) So I'm just checking.

So we just did those diagonals, now we wanna center them one more time. And this is a nice place, actually, to do piking. Let's have you put your hands again on the foot bar, and let's have you send your bum up to the ceiling. And just take a second in that position. Now the shoulders are directly over the hands.

Send the legs out, pushing into the box. Now pike up and close. Try not to float back. Tiffany, you're gonna keep your shoulders up over your hands and then come on up. And I also don't want you necessarily to fall into extension.

I want you to stop roughly neutral, push away from the bar here. That's what I want. And then lift up. Super. And last one.

Stay connected through the shoulder girdle here. And then lift up, and then have a seat. And down. Great. So those are really challenging, aren't they?

On a lot of levels. (chuckles) Really well done. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So it gets your heart rate up. Yes, check. It works the hips in multiple ranges.

Check. It works eccentric control through that back line again? Check. It works full range of motion through the hip joint. Check.

So this does tick off a lot of boxes for us. Okay, so I think it's time to cool them down. And we will start with a mermaid, but not your mother's mermaid. (Joy laughs) So I'm gonna keep this on a red. And we'll ask both of you to kneel, facing in.

Super. And you have the box here to one side and you have your foot bar to the other side. And we'll start you in a little bit of a side bend as your hand goes on to that foot bar. The other arm is going to come up. Good.

With the arm that's on the foot bar, send yourself away a little and hold into that. The movement here is really small and it's from the legs. Can you push the box out a bit and pull the box in? It's really small. And pull that box in.

Nice. Three, two, and one. Now bring the carriage all the way in, and you come upright. Can you take your right hand to the box, or take the other hand to the box, and come up and side bend in opposition. Great.

I love these kneeling mermaids. Come back up to your upright position. I love these kneeling mermaids because here I can really work on getting the stretch all the way in through the lateral line, into the side of the hip. So let's add a little rotation, shall we? Let's put the hand on the bar.

Right arm goes up. And push away just a little bit. Now rotate so that arm finds the foot bar. Now you'll notice they're very different between Tiffany and Kristen. A lot of that has to do with their torso length and their flexibility.

Tiffany, I'm gonna to have you... Wait, stay there, Kristen. You're gonna come up a little bit more. And now here with your legs, you're gonna push the box away. You're gonna almost come into a side plank and then pull that box in all the way, or as much as you can.

Come into a little bit of a side plank and come on in. I want your head to come up just a little bit, Tiffany. There you go. Now push the legs away, and then up. No movement in the shoulders.

And the legs away, and come in. Great. Carriage comes closed on the next one. Come up to your upright kneeling. Take your opposite hand to the box and rotate toward that box.

Super. Let's turn you around and do the other side. Alright, so it's kneeling. You've got the box to one side. You've got the foot bar to the other side.

First thing is find that foot bar. It's gonna put you already in a side bend position. Both of them will look different because their limb lengths are different. You'll press out with the hand that's on the foot bar. So the carriage now wants to come in, but they're side-bending against that pole of the carriage.

Now, here, the upper body stays nice and stationary and only the legs are gonna move. They're gonna move in and out. And the more you can get the legs to draw closer to home, the better the stretch along the side body will be. And last one. Now you're gonna come up to your upright kneeling, bring the carriage all the way home.

Let's have you side bend to the other side. Good. We'll add a rotation to this. So your hand finds the foot bar, that opposite arm comes up, you'll find your side bend, and now rotate and hold it there. So it will give Kristen an opportunity to find.

And push away just a little bit, Kristen. Good. Now it's move the carriage out and in. Again, you'll notice they're very different bodies, very different experiences here. Good.

And last one. You're gonna come all the way in, un-rotate. Put that left hand on the box. For Kristen, it's your right hand. And then you're going to rotate toward the box.

Super. You're gonna come out of that rotation and step back off of the reformer. Okay. Now, to end, let's have you stand facing... So, Kristen, you're gonna come on the inside.

You're gonna face the camera. Good. And let's just do a standing roll down from here. So you're gonna stay. Stay where you are.

Kristen, you're gonna step forward. Give yourself a little space. Alright, everybody, arms are gonna come up overhead, and then let's have you dive down and roll all the way down to the floor. Good. Take a second here.

Both of you have terrific flexibility, but take a second here. Bend your knees and bring your thighs to your chest, just like we did before with that stretch. And now when you straighten your legs, what I don't want you to do is change that relationship too much between your thighs and your chest and send your bum up to the ceiling. So it's almost like you're pitching yourself more into a headstand. Bend your knees, bring your thighs to your chest.

Inhale, exhale. See if you can really send the pelvis up. Good. Last one. Great.

Now, if you have any issues with your back, you can soften your knees to roll up, or you can keep your legs straight, ground through your heels. Really feel that back line of your body is what's bringing you back up. Arms open out to the side, hands behind your head, and let's tap into that back line. Lean slightly back into your heels. Good.

Come back to standing upright, neutralize your spine. Stand up nice and tall. Good. And one more time. Lean back into your heels just a little bit.

You can extend if you'd like. Now neutralize your spine, send your arms straight up. Good. And you'll bend your knees, circle the arms, come down and hug your knees, and then open out. Now give me more of a swing.

Ready? Go down. And open, (inhales) and down, (exhales) open, (inhales) and down, (exhales) and open, bring the hands together, and then come down through the center. So, again, I'm Joy Puleo. I'm here with Tiffany DeMartin and Kristen Briody.

I wanna thank you all for joining us. This is a small taste of different things that you should be thinking about doing with your clients as they're getting older. I know some of the stuff was challenging, but we really need to get in there and tap the system safely and effectively, work on real-time movement with real people in real environments as best we can. Lots of love. And thank you all.


Just stumbled on this class and it was excellent!  Thank you Joy for such an insightful and educational class that felt just fabulous in my (49 year old!) body ;) Some great ideas that I will be trying out on my peri/ menopausal clients.  Thank you.  
Wonderful class, with some great ideas. Thank you!
I absolutely love these classes.  Thank you so much from this menopausal woman.
What a pleasant surprise to find Joy in this page! Awesome hip movement to help me open my hip. Thank you

Wonderful as always, Joy! 
4 people like this.
I took this reluctantly not wanting to pigeonhole myself as a "menopausal woman"....but WOW...this is an incredible workout for anyone of any age.  Thanks so much!
1 person likes this.
Just finished this class and LOVE how much I feel through the back body!  I hope you will consider filming a higher level of this class as well.  Will be trying the arc workout next.  Thanks for filming this!
2 people like this.
Thanks for this great class. I'm 61 and most of my clients are in their 60's. I'm always looking for new ways to serve our bodies with respect, and this was spot on. 
Please teach more classes! That was one of my favorite classes so far! 
Love love love. Thank you Joy!!
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