Class #4678


55 min - Class


Find creative ways to use all parts of your Reformer with this fun workout by Mariska Breland. She teaches a class that focuses on finding length in the body through challenging and innovative variations. While there is stretching involved, this class is definitely not easy!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

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Hi, I'm Mariska and we're doing another Pilates-ish Reformer Workout today. Today's theme is Lengthening Exercises. It doesn't mean that everything is going to be a stretch, but a lot of it's going to be a stretch. I do have the box on the reformer already, and I have the foot bar in not the highest position, but kind of a normal ish position. I have one blue spring on and we're not gonna push quite yet, we're gonna do a little bit of kind of a shoulder opener before we get going.

So I'm gonna come to the foot bar side and I'm just gonna hang my weight back. So thinking about making myself into essentially a V-shape, and then I'll come onto my tip toes and I'm gonna send my hips forward. So kind of think your upward facing dog. And again, we sit it back and then round your spine sending your chest forward, maybe a little squeeze between your shoulder blades, you can tilt your head up a little bit. We'll do one more like this, and then coming up and forward.

I'm gonna stay holding onto the foot bar. I'm gonna lower down to my knees. If you need to have your knees padded, you can do that. And I'm just gonna drop my chest down in between my arms and then I'm gonna kind of push away. So I'm protracting my shoulder blades.

And then I'm gonna retract my shoulder blades. Protract and retract. This is actually sort of a sequence that I do before I work on doing handstands or anything just to get my shoulders more open. And then this next exercise is a very mean exercise that my trainer makes me do to get my upper back muscles firing. So again, I said, lengthen doesn't necessarily mean easy.

So hands are gonna come on to the foot plate, round your low back a little bit. And then you're gonna lift an arm up to touch the bar and lower it. Lift the other arm up try to touch the bar, and lower it. And I don't have great shoulder extension. So you might make this look a whole lot better than I make it look.

I'm gonna lift up and down, lift up and down, do one more each side. Lift up and down. And last one lift up and down then you can hold on here. Just drop your chest. And then you'll slowly just make your way up.

So I want you to think about your foot bar as if your foot bar were a foam roller. So what we wanna do is get kind of the base of your shoulder blades up to your elevated foot bar foam roller. So I'm gonna kind of walk myself forward a little bit, lean back, and then bring my hands behind my head. And then I'll just kind of lean back over it and I can push my legs straighter and then bend. And maybe I wanna be a little bit more underneath my shoulder blades.

So I'll push up and then kind of drop my hips down. Push up, and you can get a little roll as well. So this is the area of my back that is always the crankiest. And I know I'm not alone there. Now we'll reach up...

Go ahead and reach for the box. And you're gonna push the box overhead. You can stretch your legs straight and bend. Push reach, and bend. Push reach, and bend and we'll do two more.

One, and two. Let the box come in. Hands can come back behind your head, chin toward your throat, drop your hips. And then we're gonna go ahead and gracefully, make our way out from there. I'm gonna take the box off and we're gonna do some standing lunges instead of footwork because we do foot work I feel like in every class.

And every once in a while, you can just not do that. So my footwork is going to be usually how we end classes like with some lunch stretches. So we have some extra special lunch stretches for this class for the end. So I'm gonna go for me happy spring is like one red. I'm gonna start with one foot on the floor and then the other foot is gonna go up against the shoulder rest.

So I'm gonna start by thinking about pushing your thigh down, but lifting the crown of your head up towards the ceiling. So my inside leg and my carriage leg or outside leg, both of my legs are bent at this point. We'll do a couple more like this. Last one like this. Now I'm gonna take, we're gonna come up enough that you can push your carriage leg to all the way straight.

We're gonna lunge down a little bit more, extend your right leg straight pushing back and lifting up, pushing back and lifting up, pushing back and lifting up. Now you can go with both legs straight. So you're just kind of leaning it back and then lift it up. And we'll do five of these. Two, three, four, and last one like this, five.

You can kind of hang out in this position. If you have a foot bar like I have where you have the little ball thing and the foot bars actually to the outside of your reformer, you can bring your inside or your outside foot onto the little ball, in which case then you can push back into more of a split stretch. This is my much, much, much more flexible side. So this side is gonna look way different than the other side. If you don't have this little ball thing, you could always move your foot over to the further away from your shoulder rest and then bring your other foot to the carriage.

Now, I could walk around to the other side, but honestly, do we do this? No, we don't. We usually just slide over. So my left foot is on the floor. My right foot is going up against the shoulder rest.

And then I'm going to think about my thigh going down with my head and my chest going up and then I'll lift up. So we'll do about five of these. For some reason my carriage is really squeaky and I don't know why. So if you're hearing squeakiness, there's probably some maintenance that I haven't done much like on my car. I don't do maintenance that I need to do.

We'll go ahead and take your leg and extend it straight. And we'll sink down into that lunge and stand up, sit down and stand up. So this is my much less agreeable side. A lot of us have two bodies on one body. I certainly do.

This is my evil twin side is my left side. We'll go straight leg back and then lift back up. I feel like I'm a fairly decent Pilates practitioner if I'm only showing you my right side, but that wouldn't be a very balanced workout. So you got to do the whole thing. We'll go back, and come back in.

And last one, like this, go back and come back in. And because we did it on the other side and I have my little ball adjusting things on this foot bar, we can go ahead and do more of a split stretch and super uncomfortable on the foot. Probably some sort of acupressure point that I'm hitting. Do two more even though I think we only did three on the other side, but this is my less stretchy side. So we'll do that one extra.

Okay, so let's come on we'll do some legs in straps variations. So you could do two reds. I'm gonna do a red and a blue, which on some days is my happy position and some days it's not. Headrest is down, although I'm not going to... Well, I will do shorts fine, I think at one point.

So headrest should be down, but if you want it up for the first part you can certainly have it up for the first part. So I'm just, again scoot myself forward so I can lay back and grab hold of the straps. I have the double straps, so I have the smaller loop and the bigger loop. I'm just gonna lift my feet up to find the bigger loops and then I'm just gonna lower all the way down. Now remember what we're thinking about here is we're thinking about finding length.

So tailbone is gonna be heavy to start as you lift your legs up. And then, because it actually feels, okay, let your hips lift off a little micro amount. And then you're gonna go ahead and press down. Kind of rolling through little lift up and down. A little lift up and down.

Do just a couple more. Little lift up and down. So I would say go down to about 53 degrees or so. And then from there we are going to move the carriage. So we're gonna let your legs opened for sort of a straddle and then press.

So I always just think that there's a horizon and that my feet are traveling along that horizon as they open out and then pull to come back in. Open out and pull to come back in. Open out and pull to come back in. This is one of my favorite little exercises to do. Open your legs out, let them lift up a little bit higher.

So I am at the angle of roughly an L between my legs. So if I tilted it to one side, which I'm gonna do, it's gonna turn into an L. So I'm holding on to the straps and then just be mindful that you don't wanna fall off of your machine. We're gonna go from one side to the other side and I have a wall in my way. So I'm gonna be a little bit limited on how far I'm going to the right, but that's okay.

'Cause again, my right side is my looser side anyways. So my left side is getting a little bit more love. Again, just be careful that you don't fall off of the reformer by going too far. So we're just rocking from one side to the other side. Again, something I just think feels really nice to kind of get that a little bit of massage in your low back or of your SI joint area, which is also super good for your proprioception and your walking.

Now, I'm gonna bend my knees. So I'm thinking like sort of a happy baby kind of pose. I'm gonna hold on to the straps and same deal smaller rock from side to side. Again, something that should ideally feel good. Depending on where you are tight, you might feel a stretch in your glutes, your low back, your inner thighs, all three or none of the above.

But what we want is a little bit of feel good movement. Speaking of let's go ahead and push your legs all the way straight. I don't know a lot of people who think short spine is a terrible exercise. So I'm gonna start with my legs in parallel. I'm going to let my legs begin to fold in.

Now, if you're super flexible, you might be able to fold them in without lifting them up. But I have to hit the stopper, lift up towards the ceiling. I'm gonna bend my knees. So I'm thinking about thighs parallel, and then I'm gonna begin to extend my legs away from the straps when I can extend them no longer, I go ahead and lower down all the way down. I'm gonna again, 'cause we're doing this as the hamstring stretch variation, I'm gonna go ahead and try to fold my legs and my left leg does not like to go all the way straight sometimes.

So that's why it's got a little bend in it. Lift up, bend in. And I'm doing this mainly in parallel just because I more often do it not in parallel. I'll do one more like that. So we're gonna let our legs fold in first.

So we're folding, we're folding, we're folding, we're folding until we can fold no more. In which case, then all we can do is lift, bend your knees, begin to extend your legs away from your feet, and then you can lower your legs straight down. Now we could always have bent our knees in and push them out. This was a little bit stretched here that's why I did it that way. I'm gonna leave my right leg in the strap.

I'm just gonna take the left strap off for a second. And I'm gonna find the foot bar with my left foot. Hang that strap up. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna push out with my left leg. I'm gonna bend my left leg to come in.

And at the same time, I'm gonna let my left knee open out to the left and my right leg open out towards the right. So it feels kind of like a stretch. I'm really controlling this more with my left leg. And then there's just kind of the pull from the strap. So bend left knee into external rotation, right leg goes into external rotation.

And then we pull to come back in and do a couple more like that. And by a couple I mean three, which is also several if you know how to count. We'll go out to the side and back in and last one, go out to the side and back in. I'm just gonna go ahead and take the left side strap, hook my foot in the left side strap, unhook my foot in the right side strap. My left leg is up towards the ceiling.

My right leg again is now controlling the foot bar legs. So I'm gonna bend my right knee, let my left leg go out to the left and then pushups. So we're doing five of these total. Going out two and back up out three, and back up and out four. And last one, going out to the side and back up.

I'm gonna go ahead and take the strap off, hang the strap up and then from there, go ahead and just rock up to a seated position. I like one red, to one red, yellow. So actually I'm gonna split the difference. I'm gonna do what I call a super red or red plus. So on this reformer, there's these little buttons.

So there's the hooks and the buttons. I'm gonna do one red on the button. The button gives you a little bit more tension than if you were on the hook. Doing a red, yellow, or a green would give you a little bit more than that. We're gonna be doing down stretch a couple of different ways.

And one of the ways is in a very extreme backbend. And if your low back does not like very extreme backbends, then you're gonna leave that out. None of the rest of my back likes to bend at all. My low back is happy bending at a 90 degree angle, which is probably definitely not ideal. Okay, so you're gonna start on your knees.

Your feet are up against the shoulder rest. Normal people will have their heels up against the shoulder rest. My left heel or ankle is kind of stuck. So that's where it is. And I'm just gonna let my right leg kind of match what my left is doing.

So I'm gonna start by sending my hips forward and then I'm gonna push back and lift back. And this is not my extreme one yet. Push back and lift back in, push back and lift back in. At the top, sit your hips back for a second, just so you can change your grip. So I actually wanna flip my grip under hand.

So rarely do people flip their grip underhand and things, and it just trains your arms in a completely different way. I think it feels really cool. It brings your shoulder into external rotation, which is most people's happy shoulder place anyway. I'll go out and come back in. We'll flip back to normal.

This time we're gonna go out super far. So I'm gonna go out and I'm gonna keep dropping down and push out. And I can't go out any further 'cause I hit the stopper and then I'll lift to come in. Push out, keep going out and then lift to come in, and do one more like this, push out and then lift to come in. So from there, I'm gonna stand on my knees.

The foot bar is teensy bit too far away. So I'm actually gonna come to the tops of my feet so that I can reach the foot bar fairly easily. So foot bars here in an ideal world, it would be here, but it is where it is. So when I take my right arm, I'm gonna reach back for the shoulder rest. I'm gonna let my left arm lift up and I'm gonna pull with my left arm and kind of cartwheel around to touch the foot bar.

Lift up, reach back for the shoulder rest, you can reach your right arm up and then we'll kind of cartwheel it out. Reach up and back and lift. Cartwheel it round, reach up and back, and lift. We're gonna do one more each side. I feel like I did not cartwheel it around very well on that one.

Lift up and circle around. Now from here, your right arm is up. You're just gonna reach your right arm back and then send your hips forward. Shoulders together, head back, bring a hand to your chest, bring the other hand to your chest and then go ahead and you can just have a seat down. 'Cause that was kind of a lot of back-bending, we're just gonna take a really quick little child's pose.

And then from your child's pose actually tuck your pelvis under so that you feel like a little bit of movement in those lumbar vertebra in the opposite direction. Although how much your lumbar vertebra actually go into extension, that's something that the PTs are debating. So it doesn't go into as much extension as we think it does, which I think is kind of a thing where we run into a lot where we think our bodies do something and they actually don't. So when I have both of my legs shins are gonna be stacked, essentially one on top of the other, and then I'm going to have my... So my legs are too...

I'm sitting on my right hip. I'm gonna bring my left hand down. I'm gonna look over my left shoulder as I push out. And then as I pull in, I'm gonna look over my right shoulder. Look to the left as I push away, come in, look to the center.

Reach away. This is a very satisfying exercise in my opinion, and lift up, reach away and lift up and we'll do two more. Reach away and lift up. And last one like this, we reach away and then lift to come all the way in. I'm just gonna do a 180 to turn onto my opposite hip.

So I have my left shin and right shin essentially stacked. Left hand is on the foot bar, right hand is on the carriage. When I push away, I'm gonna look over my right shoulder. As I pull in, I'm gonna look towards the left. Reach away and then pull to come in.

So we'll do about six total. Let's do four more. One. Although I could've lost my count entirely. That's quite possible.

Two, three, and last one like this reach away, and then go ahead and pull to come back in. I'm just gonna go ahead and untangle myself a little bit here. I wanna do a sort of a stretchy elephant twisty thing. I want it a little heavier than a red. So I'm gonna throw a yellow spring on.

So could be a red, yellow could be a red blue could be two reds. I'm gonna come up to standing on the carriage. Feet might be all the way back just depending on how tall you feel today. I feel like our height is variable. So from here, I'm gonna reach across.

So I took my right hand to my left leg. I'm gonna bend my right knee and then think about kind of reaching underneath my armpit. And then I'll untwist myself come back to center. Twist, and come back to center. Now in this next time that we twist, we're staying in our twist, we're gonna do a little pushback and pull in five times.

Two, kind of intense in the stretch department, three, four, and five. And I'm gonna untangle myself. I'm gonna reach across to the other side. This is definitely my tangle side. I'm gonna bend my left.

Look underneath my right armpit, come back to center and do that three times. Two, and three and then I've got five presses. One, two, three, four and five. And then we go ahead and come all the way down from there. Go ahead and shake things off.

I'm gonna lower my foot bar down I think to where it's kind of in a straight line for me. However, your foot bar lowers down is probably fine. I'm gonna change it to a red and a blue spring. And we're gonna do my version of the classic Swan that you do on the reformer. The really uncomfortable one where the thing digs like into your hips.

I do have the rounded box. I don't actually love the rounded box for most exercises, except for this on 'cause on this one, the roundness of the box does make it slightly less uncomfortable. So I'm gonna place the box on the reformer, and then we're not going to be doing exactly the classical one. I'm gonna stand on the frame. So once I stand on the frame, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna let my knees kind of go wide, and then I'm just gonna push out a little bit and then let my knees kind of come down so that I can then push myself away.

So you want your pubic bone to be on the lower end of things. And your hip bones are kind of like right in the most uncomfortable place. If you're in a really uncomfortable place, that is probably correct. So I'm gonna start by letting my knees bend kind of out to the side. I'm gonna start with my hands down by my side.

I'm gonna push out and then do a little lift up. Now, in the classical one we'd keep the lift as we bend our knees to come in. But what I want you to do is I want you to put your hands on the box as you come in and then use that to find your extension. I'm trying to let my knees go wider than the frame. And this is kind of a wide reformer.

So I'm gonna again push out and do a little baby lift up and down, hands come to the box, knees bend the outside of the box. You're gonna lift your chest up. These are very uncomfortable so we're only gonna do one more. So we're gonna push out, baby lift up, bend your knees. You're trying to go to the outside of the frame and then lift yourself back up.

Now let's try one where we go, baby lift up, go to the inside of the frame and then lift up from there. The reason I don't like that is I feel like it feels like you're gonna fall. So I'm gonna just go ahead come out of it the way I like to come out of it, which is come into a little knee bend and then just shift your weight back. You can kind of fold forward over the box and then you wanna carefully make your way off to the side. I'm gonna come to one red spring and I'm gonna lift my foot bar back to its normal operating height.

So normal height would be like there. And I'm gonna sit on my right hip, sort of in a pigeon stretch position. And then my left leg is just gonna be kind of hanging out. My right arm will go onto the foot bar and I'm gonna try to make sure that my shoulder is not rolled forward where it likes to live. I'm gonna take it back and I'm just gonna push out and let my outside leg lift.

And then I'm gonna come back in. And I'm just gonna do five of these. Two, three, four, and five. Now we'll come in. You could stay on a red.

I'm going to change it to a blue and I'm gonna come down. Actually, my hips is gonna come out a little bit more 'cause I'm gonna be on my forearm. So that you don't slip, what I recommend you do is peace fingers, wrap peace fingers around the bar, thumb underneath the bar, and I'm gonna push out. And where I wanna feel stretches I actually wanna feel stretch in my lap and my armpit. And then I'm gonna pull back in.

So it's really about the lengthening in this position, which a lot of us get really tight. Your top hand can just be on your hip. For now we'll do maybe three more of these. One, and two, and three. Now from here, what we're gonna do is we're gonna reach out.

We're gonna take your top arm forward your top leg back do a little twist and then come back to center. We'll do five of these. Two, three, four, and five. And then you can go ahead lift yourself all the way in. So since I changed it from one red to one blue, and we're doing second side, I've got change it back from one blue to one red.

So you're gonna sit on your left hip with your right leg just kind of reaching down, make sure your shoulders are back. You're just gonna let your arm lift as you push away and come back just five of these. Two, three, four, and last one and five. I'm gonna come in, change my springs, just to a blue. I'm gonna do my peace fingers, hold onto the foot bar.

My left leg goes out a little bit and then I'm gonna reach out. Again, think about getting that stretch through your lap, through your armpit. We'll do six of these. Two, three, four, five and six. Hold it there.

You're gonna rotate your top leg back top arm forward, and then come back. We'll do three of these. Two, and three. And then we're gonna go ahead and come back in. Now, the rounded box works really well for this variation.

I am gonna put it a little bit further on because I want my arms to have more ability to move. And I'm gonna put all the springs on and there is a step barrel exercise where you use arm weights and you kind of move your arms. We don't have arm weights. I mean, you might, and you can always grab them if you have them. I'm essentially gonna be doing that exercise on the box, but I'm gonna have my feet hooked with the strap.

And then once I have my feet hooked where I want my shoulder blades to be is like right at the back edge, which takes sometimes a little searching to find. I wanna feel like the box is kind of underneath my shoulder blades. I'm gonna reach up and back and I'm gonna do scissors with my arms. So one arm reaches down the other arm reaches overhead. Now because there's a lot of stuff to run into.

I could go kind of straight in the well kind of a little bit hitting the straps. You could also go where you're kind of hitting the outside. We're just trying to get your shoulders moving a little bit. Plus if you don't have, it's a little harder on your neck, 'cause there's nothing holding your head. Actually, my head is a little bit resting on the head rest, but if you don't have a step barrel and I don't have a step barrel, this is a way to do a very nice step barrel exercise.

I'm gonna go ahead and just chin towards my throat, roll myself up. I just find it way harder to do a roll up after you've done some sort of back extension. I don't know if you're on that same team that I am, but that is definitely how I feel. I'm gonna go ahead and take off all the springs except for one red it could also be one blue and then we're gonna come off. I want to actually move my box a little bit further forward, and then I'm gonna need kind of a non-slip pad because it turns out these pants are pretty slippery.

So I don't have anything fancy. This is a chopped up old yoga mat. I'm just gonna place it right at the edge. And then I think to come onto it, what I'm gonna do is I'm going to come into the carriage. I'm gonna be OCD here.

I'm like, this is not exactly in the center. Now it's closer. Okay. So hips are gonna go right on the edge. And then I have one red on and I wanna be kind of in a position where I can have my legs draped off to the side.

So I'm gonna lift my foot bar up to the higher position. You can also do that if you like, or you can leave it where it is, it really depends on your body length. So I'm gonna push out, lift my legs up, I'll lower them down. And lift up and down, lift up and down. Three more.

One, two, and three. And I'll go ahead bend to come in. I'm just gonna slide off. We're gonna keep this sticky pad 'cause we're gonna need it for this next exercise. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna lower the foot bar down.

For me, I can get to this position. You can also do this totally just on the frame. So we're just gonna do it's kind of a grasshopper variation. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move my sticky pad to the front because I think that will feel better for me. So I want to scoot forward kind of far like to where my hip bones are right at the edge.

I'm gonna have my hands on the foot bar. You can actually even bring your hands to the floor if your performer isn't too high. And I'm just gonna practice sort of a little dive. So I'm gonna dive forward just 'cause I wanna see where I am and lift back up. And you know, what that pointed out to me was that I want a little extra springs on here 'cause I don't really wanna be able to push out.

I'm gonna lower down and lift backups. So my legs are currently separated roughly hip distance or so apart. So diving down and lifting up. Now, in this one, I'm gonna dive down across my legs. So one leg is on top of the other, extend my legs out and click my heels together.

Let's say four times 1, 2, 3, 4, and I'm back up. And so now I'm gonna cross them again, extend out 1, 2, 3, 4. And then cross them, extend out 1, 2, 3, 4, and then cross, extend out 1, 2, 3, 4. I'm gonna separate my legs some. I'm gonna bring them into sort of a diamond position and take that diamond shape forward and up.

Forward and up. I'll do three more. One, two, and last one, three. Go ahead and let your legs extend easiest ways to kind of shimmy your hips back on bringing my hands to the frame, stepping a foot off, stepping a foot off. I'm gonna say goodbye to my little sticky mat 'cause I don't need it for any other exercises.

So it's literally just gonna get chucked off screen magic of television. I'm gonna lift my foot bar back up to the top and then I wanna take the box and I wanna take the box and put it over the shoulder rest. So I'm gonna do kind of a stretchy tree variation, but I'm first gonna do our little rounded back variation that I quite like to do a little bit of a shoulder opener. So I have a lot of springs on from that last exercise, but I'm gonna throw on the last remaining springs that I've got. What I wanna work on is rolling back into the rollback part of the short box series.

But I wanna do this variation that I like for Chester. So my reformer is too high for me to reach to the floor. So this is what I do instead. So go ahead and start. You can reach your arms forward.

Think about moving from your low back. You're tilting your low back and then you're gonna round back. And then you come into that little bit of back extension. You have these handles here to help you up if you need them. What I want you to do is I want you to push your elbows into the box and then lift your chest up.

We're gonna bring your back back to where it was can round to come up. I know that wasn't so much a rounding to come back up as long as it doesn't hurt your back, I think that's fine. So I'll do that again. So you're going back, your elbows push and you take that into a little back extension, and then roll yourself back up and then we'll do that one more time so rounding back and then press into your extension. And then you roll yourself back up.

I'm gonna release my right foot and I'm not gonna be rounding all the way back here. So how well my left foot is holding on is not gonna be really relevant. So I'm gonna round my spine and then I'm going to extend my leg and then I'm gonna extend my chest around my spine, bend my knee, extend and lift your chest. You might need to lower your leg down some and then think about pulling in and then lifting up and pulling it in. And if it doesn't work holding onto your foot, you can hold onto your shin.

You could hold on behind your knee. I don't know if this is gonna work on my left leg, my evil twin leg lifting up and lower back down and lift to come up. You can go ahead and take hold of your foot. And what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna open my leg out and in some slight round back, and you can always hold on to this little thing here because that's why it there. And then make sure your knee is out.

You're gonna reach your leg out to the side and then bend to bring it back in. And we'll do that three times. Two, and three. Now, if you do wanna take this back, make sure you have some space behind you. I like this on my good, not evil side, but my left foot doesn't wanna hold on as well as it should.

And then you're gonna go ahead and bring yourself up and then you can go ahead and just bend that leg. You're gonna hook that foot so we can do the other side. So holding onto your foot again, it might not work for me to hold onto my foot. I might need to hold onto my ankles. So we'll just kind of see.

So I'm gonna extend my leg with around this spine, lift round back and lift, round back and lift, round back and lift and round back and lift. You can hold on to the inside of your leg. And you're first gonna just open your knee out and in. So do about five of those. Two, three, four, and five.

And I'm pretty sure I can't do this nearly as well on the side, which is completely accurate interpretation of my ability. So I have to hold on lower. And I also still can't get this leg straight and again, evil side, good side. It is what it is. We're gonna go ahead and lift the foot bar all the way up to the top.

Again, you still have all the springs on. We're gonna do one of my favorite low back extension exercises, and we're gonna do a single leg version, which I think I've done for Pilates anytime before, but it's such a good exercise that I'm gonna repeat it. So your heels are gonna wanna be hooked on the foot bar. Again, this is very height dependent and you wanna have a lot of your torso be able to fold over the box. So I'm gonna scoot forward.

So I basically want my heels to be on and my waist to be able to fold over. So see how I've kind of limited there. I'm gonna make one adjustment. It's the only adjustment that I can make to give me a little bit more forward fold is to put the box in front of the shoulder rest instead of behind the shoulders. But that does enable me to get kind of more out into space.

So you can have your hands behind your head. You're gonna have your hands behind your back. Many different options, I think I'll do behind my back. So I'm gonna do five regular forward folds. Once I think about head to the floor and up.

Two, and up. And this is actually one of my favorite kind of gym exercises. So I like to do it holding weight. Four, and five. So at the top, you're gonna give yourself a little bit of a break by holding onto the rails so that you can let go of one leg.

That means you're doing the same exercise as a single leg exercise. So you fold down, lift up one. Down, lift up two. Down, three, four, and five. And then you have to hook that foot in.

This is hardest part of this exercise. And then you've got five more. Down, up one. Down, up two, Down, up three. Up four, and up five.

And then you can go ahead and just kind of slide yourself back so that your knees can come down to the carriage and you can make your way up from there. So let's go ahead and we're gonna leave this box. But I wanna go back to, it giving me a little bit more space. So we're gonna do a lovely shoulder stretch. I'm gonna put my foot bar back to where it was.

I think I want it to be one red spring. So kind of think of this a little bit like a semicircle. If a semicircle was just about more of a shoulder opening than anything else. I might not take it in sort of a full semicircle. So what I wanna do is I wanna fold backwards over the box and try to grab hold of the posts.

So I'm gonna kind of scoot in here, reach back for the posts, bring my feet up to the foot bar. And then I'm actually gonna even scoot out maybe a little bit more. And then my goal is that I can scoot out even more so that I can try to drop my pelvis down. I'm gonna push out, lift up and in, lower down. Lift up and in.

Again, trying to make adjustments because this is not easy to finagle yourself into... Ah, there, my hips are down, lift up and pull in lower down, hips touch, push out and in one more time, lower down, hips touch, out and in. And then I'm just gonna let my hips lower down making sure that I'm properly kind of seated here. We are definitely in the home stretch of this lengthening, but not necessarily calming and relaxing workout. And you can just stretch forward, getting a little bit of a stretch in your legs.

You can do some calf raises. If you wanna reach lower, you can find all sorts of things on the reformer to hold onto to get that little bit of a lower reach. So we have one last exercise. And what we're gonna do is take the box off and we're gonna do a little Swan dive using the foot bar. So box goes back where you found it.

And then I wanna go really light for my spring weight here. So I think a blue or a yellow even would be good. This is not a comfortable exercise. I feel like I should give that disclaimer before we even get started. So we're gonna start where you're kind of in where your Swan position would be.

So here's my hip bends and here's my pubic bone. And I'm kind of in between those two. Hands are gonna come onto the carriage as we're going to reach out and then lift in. Reach out and lift in, reach out and lift in. Now, reach out, bend, push.

We'll do five of those. Two, three, four, and five. Straight arms lift to come in, let your feet lower to the floor. We're gonna give ourselves the tiniest little break, run to the bathroom if you have to 'cause that definitely gets right onto your bladder. So we're in on the last one.

We're just gonna try to come to the foot bar and balance. On the foot bar, legs back, you get a couple of tries. Foot bar, arms. Haven't got it quite yet. Have to find exactly the right balance position.

So we're lifting up and just holding, and then you can go ahead and lower back down and now run to the bathroom if you need to run to the bathroom. We're gonna end with one fairly intense stretch. Actually probably should have just left the foot bar on. I'm gonna come to one red spring. We're going to do a stretch.

That's a lunge stretch, but we're gonna have the short box on so that it makes it more interesting. Add a chili pepper to it. I'm gonna put it on like so, so it's behind the shoulder as I kind of move all over the place between am I behind the shoulder rest, am I in front of the shoulder rest. And it's really based on, do I want a little more space? Do I want a little less space?

For this one I want a little bit more space. So I'm gonna start by bringing my left leg against the box. My right leg is going to go against the foot bar. So again like we did in the beginning, we were thinking about pushing down, but now with your leg bent up, it should feel a little bit more intense. Now, you could try to shimmy yourself to get your shin completely flat up against here.

I'm actually not sure if I can do that. You can do a couple of presses out and pull to come back in that press out. Actually let me kind of shimmy my knee back some not all the way, but some. So we'll do, let's say five of these. There's three, four, and five.

And then nasty last little bit of the stretch is to reach your arms back your chest up. You can see if you can sink it down. If you wanna push it out into a split stretch, you are more flexible than me. And then you can go ahead and make your way kind of out of that. I don't know if there's a graceful way to get into this exercise.

If there is, I haven't found it, it might require that you're some sort of contortionist and I am not. So this time your right shin is up against the box, kind of sink down. This is definitely the less flexible side. It's my much stronger leg, but it's also my... Well, it's my less flexible quad.

It's my more flexible hamstring, bodies are weird though we can do five presses. One, two, three, four, and five. I feel like one that show where people have the hot sauces and they get increasingly spicy, hot sauces. And then this is the spiciest of all of the hot sauces. So I'm kind of lifting up and then making my way out of that so that I don't have to do that anymore.

If there are any last stretches that was so not graceful, but it is what it is. If there are any last stretches or lengthening exercises that you feel like your body needs, you can go ahead and take those. This is the last one of the series. So hopefully I will catch you elsewhere or next time.


2 people like this.
I loved the class and feel totally energised
The number one question anyone should have is "what is going on with Mariska's hair??!"
2 people like this.
Loved it!  Everything is open.
1 person likes this.
looking forward to see new series! really cool lessons, I did all of it :) see you soon, thank you!
1 person likes this.
Great class! Thoroughly enjoyed the work while lengthening! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Great class as always!
Sue S
1 person likes this.
I hope you'll do more classes for PA. I never worry about my hair when working out. It is what it  is on any given day.  :)
1 person likes this.
Fabulous class Mariska. I love your style and humor and I loved the wonderful variations you explored in this class. Its exactly what I needed today! Thank You!!
Michele M
1 person likes this.
Wow I needed all of that! Thank you for being super creative and light hearted when teaching!;) Look forward to seeing more of your classes on PA! 
1 person likes this.
I loved this series so much. Thank you!
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