Class #4903

Mat on the Reformer

45 min - Class


Learn how you can translate Mat exercises onto the Reformer with this creative workout by Delia Buckmaster. She takes movements that are familiar to you and adds resistance so that you can feel them in a new way. She uses clear cues to guide you through each variation so that you can enjoy a full-body experience.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Apr 14, 2022
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Hi, my name is Delia Buckmaster, and welcome to Pilates Anytime. Today, we'll be doing a mat routine on the reformer. So we're gonna call it mat-former. And basically, just taking some of your mat exercises and translating them onto the reformer using resistance. So, I'm gonna start with one red spring and if you don't have a balanced body reformer, it is a one full spring.

So, we could put one on right in the center. I'm gonna have a seat and my foot bar is at its high bar position. We'll start with the legs over the front of the reformer. So, just comfortably sit with your calves either lined on the edge it depends on your length of your femur where you'll be sitting, but wherever feels comfortable. My hands are just gonna lie right onto the bar and I'm gonna fold forward and we're gonna do some forward breathing here.

So take a deep inhale breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Just your traditional Pilate's breath. What I'm trying to do here is expand through the ribs as much as possible on my inhale (inhales loudly) and on my exhale, just pulling my abdominals in bringing awareness to that inner core. Let's do that again. Inhale breath.

And exhale breath and on the next exhale, I'm gonna sit up tall and find my tall posture. We'll do that one more time, a set of three. So nod your chin and flex four forward. Take a deep inhale breath here. and exhale breath, relaxing all the tension in the neck and shoulders.

Inhale breath. Drawing that naval to the spine gently. One more time, take a deep inhale. And exhale to sit up nice and tall. So scooting your bottom forward we're gonna supine on the carriage and warm up from here.

So once you're down onto the carriage head onto the headrest, feet could just rest onto the foot bar. Let's take the arms to the ceiling, palms facing each other and let's retract and protract those shoulder blades. So let's reach the arms up towards the ceiling, stretching between the shoulder blades and then drawing those shoulder blades together like you're squeezing a small little object between the shoulder blades and then do it again. Inhale breath. And exhale breath.

Your retraction and protraction is going to be synonymous with flexion and extension, which is going to translate quite well as we bring the mat onto the reformer. So one more time as you pull through those shoulder blades. A healthy shoulder blade will glide gently across those ribs. Now let's go ahead and take one arm down towards the hips and the other arm back. You've got a little resistance there with the shoulder block, but as far as you can go.

And then just move the arms up and down. While you're moving the arms in this scissor position, think about your ribcage here, the placement of your rib cage. So make your pelvis nice and heavy into the carriage and breathe into the ribs, trying to keep them pretty steady. Now into arm circles, arms reach up towards the ceiling, out to the side and down. And basically what this helps me do is just start to focus on my routine, inhale up and my breath and again, inhale, reach and exhale.

I'm gonna reverse those circles, so take them out. Try not to resist that movement. It's a nice little warm up for the upper part of your body. And then one more time as you reach the arms up and then take them down. Now the hands will go up to the ceiling again and then you'll bend your elbows to place your hands to the back shoulder blocks.

So you'll be holding onto the blocks for a little bit of upper body support, taking your legs to table top position. My legs are about hip distance apart. Pressing down into the blocks will help support the torso as you go into little toe dips. Now your range of motion is going to be limited because you've got the foot bar there. So basically what you're doing is waking up that inner core and stability, and then thinking about those hip flexors that you'll be using quite a bit throughout your time here with me.

Inhale, exhale. (inhales loudly) And if you have a little stability there, move into a little reciprocal motion. The movement needs to be coming from the hip joint, not the knee joint, so see if you can disassociate the two. Breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth. (Delia exhales loudly) One more and then legs together, and then place the feet down for just a moment. Let's take the hands to the side of the frame.

This'll help support you as we move side to side with the legs. So legs back up to table top. Squeeze those inner thighs together, shoulders wide. Let's take the legs slightly to the right gluing the legs together as you lift the hip, part of the ribs and keep that left shoulder down, bringing the legs back to star position. Take it again to the left.

Heels or knees together, feet together and back to center. Take an inhale breath as you lean those legs to one side. Exhale as you draw the hips back to the carriage. I want you to imagine you have say a rubber band right at your belly button to your knees. So as you move the legs to one side, it stretches that rubber band, and you're gonna pull that rubber band back gently so that you're not moving so quickly into star position and that you're really focusing on your abdominals.

One more to each side. Inhale, exhale back to center. One more to the other side, and then back to the middle. Let's place the feet now at the platform that's below the bar. Arm is by your side and just a little imprint and release.

You're gonna take your pelvis tilt it back into a posterior tilt as you stretch the lumbar spine engaging the lower abdominals, and then tilting the pelvis into an anterior tilt. So creating a little bit of an exaggerated arch. So take it back with your breath (inhales loudly) and then release it with your breath, trying hard not to fire through the glutes at all, you're just firing through the abdominals to move the pelvis back and forth and that'll get you all warmed up. Now we're gonna start with the feet onto the bar. You're still on that one red spring, as a reminder, balls of the feet and your heels are up into a high half toe.

You do not have a lot of resistance on, so as you press the carriage back, be really careful that you don't get excited. You'll bounce right off of the stopper there and then bend your knees. So just back and forth. Inhale, focusing on your breath and exhale and focusing on your form. So if you squeeze those inner thighs together, it's gonna give you that inner thigh connection.

And the heel to tailbone connection, it's like a pedestal for your hips. Breathing in and breathing out. And if you wanna take those arms up to the ceiling, it'll take it to a little different level, 'cause now you're working on the support of the bony parts of your back without using your arms. So my shoulder blades, they're like the back of a, they're like the legs of a table pretty much and so are my hip bone pressing back and back. So you'll do that two more times.

(Delia exhales loudly) And last time and then return the carriage. So now reaching your arms up towards the ceiling, palms are going to face the feet. And you've got a little bit of room there between the shoulder block and your arm. As you extend your legs this time, you're gonna lift your head and shoulders up, squeezing the inner thighs together, finding upper body flexion. So you're in the a hundred position here with your feet supported and then lower yourself back down to the carriage.

Exhale breath as you flex. Inhale breath as you lower. So now the beauty of having your feet on the bar is that you've got a nice closed kinetic chain, so you could really focus on the form of the upper part of your body. And remember that retraction and protraction. I want you to really protract those shoulder blades as though you're stretching your back, focusing more on that than you are on your abdominals working.

Making sure that you've got nice cervical placement here because we are about to go into the hundred. So on the very next one, lift your head and shoulders up and pause. And let's drop the heels down for a stretch and pump those arms. Inhale two, three, four, five, exhale. (Delia exhales loudly) Now on your exhale breath, I want you to lift into that plantar flexion.

And as you inhale, you're gonna drop those heels down. So it's an exhale breath as you lift those heels up and an inhale breath as you lower those heels down. Let's go with inhale two, three, four, five. And exhale, two, three, four, five. And inhale two, three, four, five.

And exhale, two, three, four, 50. Inhale. Exhale, two, three, four, 60. Inhale two, three, four, five. And lift, squeezing those inner thighs together if possible.

Maintaining that upper body flexion. Lowering the heels adding that coordination, so it makes it a little bit harder. One more time as you drop those heels. Lift the heels, pause, and then bend the knee and return the carriage. I'm warm now, so gonna place my feet now on the platform, arms by my side.

We're gonna go into a slight little bridge. So we went to that imprint and release so now we're gonna take the hips into that posterior tilt and lift into a bridge. Now you don't have a lot of resistance here, so there is a tendency to cramp those hamstrings. So if you're cramping the hamstrings, you wanna lower back to the carriage, pull the inner, pull your pelvic floor up and then lift back into your bridge. And that usually will help the glutes fire before the hamstrings and you can avoid the hamstring cramping.

So just do that a few more times, lowering the bottom down, lifting the bottom up, pause and hold. Now from here, keeping a neutral position with your pelvis, let's drop the tailbone towards the carriage and lift back up. So what we're trying to do here is just firing the back of the body as we stretch the front of the body. There's a little bit of flexion that we're gonna be doing after this, so I wanna make sure that we work the whole body from the hips, so that we not flexion the entire time. So you're just opening up into that hip extension, firing the back of the legs, and really bringing awareness to that lumbopelvic neutral part of the body.

One more time as you lift and then go ahead and lower the spine down one vertebra at a time. So now balls of the feet go back onto the bar. And most of you have heard of the series of five, but we're gonna do a series of four today and then add the fifth one later. So from here, head and shoulders come up, hands reach towards your feet, you're in a C curve spine. Start to extend with your left leg, grabbing onto the right so that your right hand is at the side of the ankle, the left hand is at the inside of the knee, just so that you can line that knee up straight.

Bend the knee, release the leg over the bar, reaching the arms towards the feet. Continue that pattern and then alternate under and then over the bar with that leg, just to keep that mind going. Inhale under exhale (exhales loudly) and reach. We'll do that one more time over, under. Single leg stretch, and then go ahead and place the foot down, rest the head and shoulders and pause with your legs extended.

Bend the knee, the left knee, bring it in towards your chest. As you flex the upper body, the left hand's gonna go to the left ankle, the right hand at the inside of the knee. Leg will reach over the bar, and then you pull one and under the bar. And over inhale, exhale (exhales loudly) and under. Keeping the legs nice and straight and guiding them with your arms, maintaining that flexion of the upper part of your body.

We'll do that one more time. Over, under, feet on the bar, pause, and then as you bend and your knees, rest your head and shoulders back onto the mat. Onto the double leg stretch. Nod your chin. Head and shoulders rise, you flex.

Hands reach towards your feet. Extend your legs as you reach your arms towards the ceiling, pause. Circle the arms around towards your feet nice and strong. Inhale to reach, exhale to return. And up.

Now that your feet are on the bar and you've got that closed kinetic chain, you could really focus on the form of your upper body, making sure that those arms don't reach past the ears so that you don't overload the shoulder. One more time as you reach and then return the carriage, resting your head. Moving on here, lifting your head and shoulders back up, you're gonna extend the legs, take that right leg towards the ceiling and extend it and stretch. So now you've got your scissor legs here. As you bend the left knee, that right leg goes over the bar and then you pull on that leg, giving yourself a nice stretch without lifting that hip.

So pull, inhale, exhale, hamstring stretches. Add a little pulse, pulse, pulse. Giving yourself a little bit of coordination. Two more inhale, inhale. Last one, inhale, inhale.

And rest the foot and rest the head. Going to the other side, head and shoulders come up, left leg extends to the ceiling as the right leg extends long. Feel that stretch. Reach that leg over the bar, arms to the hips and pull one. I'll add those pulses, pulse, pulse.

And exhale, pulse, pulse. Keeping that flexion again, keeping that foot strong on the bar, we'll do that one more time. (Delia exhales loudly) And return. One more little torturous exercise here. Head and shoulders up.

Let's interlace the fingers behind the head, looking at the knees. From here you'll extend both legs back, bringing the right knee towards you, rotating towards that leg for your obliques. We're gonna go back to your over, under. So bend the left knee, reach the right leg over the bar. Rotate, pause, under the bar.

Rotate, pause, inhale, exhale, (exhales loudly) inhale, exhale. Let's do two more sets on this side. (Delia exhales loudly) (Delia exhales loudly) One more. Feel that burn. Last one.

And return. Ah, pulling those shoulders down 'cause they rose up just a bit. Take a deep inhale breath. Let's flex back up on your exhale. Extending both legs out, bring the left knee and rotating towards that left knee.

Now make sure you're focusing on the left elbow coming down towards the carriage and not your right elbow coming to the knee. Now rotate back to center, maintaining that flexion. Rotate go under and rotate, so you know that you are moving from the rib cage and not just from the shoulders and from the neck. (Delia exhales loudly) One more over. One more under.

And return. Ah, let's give those abs a little break and place the feet onto the platform, arms are long by our side. Let's level up those bridging exercises we did just a moment ago. So from here, take a deep inhale. Lifting your hips on your exhale, remember that pelvic floor or engagement to keep you from cramping those hamstrings.

And don't be afraid to just pause for a moment just to make sure that you're in good alignment, legs are in parallel. Now, if you are really tight in your hip flexors and you can't get up into your high bridge, then you're gonna end up going into your lumbar spine. So adjust the feet comfortably so that you can get a nice stretch an opening of the front of the hip. From here with your bridge, we're gonna go back, push the carriage maybe about halfway, just a little short range, and then pull the carriage back in. Now, the reason we wanna stay in short range is because there's not enough resistance there, honestly on the carriage and it could put a little strain into your knees.

And this is a safe place for me, 'cause what I'm actually wanting to focus more on is that negative resistance. It's that pulling of the glute to the heel and that consistent opening of the front of the hip. When you're in the bridge position, please make sure your eyes are up at the ceiling, your shoulders are nice and wide and you can feel those shoulder blades planted into the carriage or mat, so that way you can support your torso in a strong inverted position. Two more times as you pull. Last time, inhale, exhale.

Hold it here. Gotta a nice burn going on with the glutes and hamstrings. But I'm feeling that nice stretch at the front of my body and I'm gonna roll myself down all the way and release. So we're gonna lift ourselves up into a seated position now. Ah, rotating towards you, and I'm actually gonna do a quick little mermaid stretch with my feet on the floor.

So bringing my feet slightly towards the foot bar and my left hand is going to be on the bar, I'm just gonna do a little modified, actually let's switch the feet. I'm gonna do a little modified stretch over for a little lateral movement, 'cause we are gonna be working sideline next. So stretch it out and return. Just one more inhale breath as you reach. Strong through both arms, equal distance between the ears and the arms.

Hold, feel that big stretch as you reach your arm away from your hip and then return. I'm gonna spin spin over to the other side real quick. Stretch the other side. My feet will be towards the left, my right hand will be on the bar and I'm gonna do the same thing. So as I push the carriage away, my knees kind of cross over where my feet are and then I'm gonna return here.

and two more inhale breath. And exhale. One more, and I'm just gonna pause on this next one. Feel the stretch of that lat opening up, both arms really long again, equal distance between the ears and the arms and then return. And wanting to face you guys again, I'm just gonna swing my legs around and we're gonna lie on the side.

So going into our side leg series, we are gonna use the strap. So I'm gonna bring my forearm down to where my head normally would be. And then I'm gonna take the strap and place it on my left foot. But to do so, I'm gonna put my right foot onto the bar to push and place my left foot in and then quickly just exchange the legs. And that makes it easy.

Now you wanna make sure that you're lined up and set up for success here. So look at the distance in front of you, make sure that it's straight. Get your shoulder out of your ear and fire those obliques and we're just gonna go into a sidekick. So I'm gonna take that leg forward, feel that stretch my hamstring and then I'm gonna use my glute and I'm gonna pull that strap back. Inhale is what I prefer forward and exhale to bring it back.

Now the biggest thing here is the collapsing of the lower back and you're gonna get a little bit of movement in the pelvis and that's okay. 'Cause you wanna feel a little bit of that stretch at the top of that glute, but just be careful that you're coming out of your lower back, not outta your lower back and you want it into your hips. And back. And again, you can follow your foot with your eyes, nobody says you can't. Good, almost kinda see that nice long line.

And then from here we're gonna go into circles. So I'm gonna bring the leg maybe about halfway forward and then up and then circle it around just so that I can keep in control of my hip. 'Cause if I make too big of a circle with this much resistance on one leg, I'll have a tendency to go into my back. We'll do two more for a total of four. Inhale, exhale to circle.

One more. (Delia exhales loudly) And now let's reverse. Inhale up, forward and back. And this is a lot, so if you wanted, you can put a blue spring on for these. Red is pretty challenging.

Inhale and then exhale and make that check of your head and neck. Make sure that you're not falling into those shoulders. Last one. And now bring that leg forward, rotating the foot down into medial rotation. Just little toe dips here.

So unless you walk pigeon toed, this muscle sometimes can be underused. And I feel how underused it is right now, 'cause it hurts. So we'll go four, three, two, and one. Bend the knee, remove the strap and then place that strap either on the L hook, which I'm gonna do to get it out of my way or on the shoulder block. So now I'm gonna lie completely down, folding my arm under as a pillow.

And then I'm going to take my top foot and press into the bar. My left hand is there also for support. So I'm actually pushing my hand into the block and resting here. You're still in that sideline neutral. Now take that bottom leg, extend it long.

My left foot's gonna stay dorsiflexed. So then I'm gonna dorsiflex my bottom foot and I'm gonna bring my bottom foot to the top. So now I'm really focusing on my inner thighs. And pull. You still wanna maintain that long line.

Still keeping that head in line with your shoulders. Still keeping be that neutral position of your pelvis. So sideline neutral could be difficult, 'cause it's very easy to wanna collapse here. Now point that bottom foot and do little circles here. Circle.

That top foot is still in that dorsiflex position, staying nice and strong. And again a nice close kinetic chain to support that hip. And then reverse those circles for four, three, two, and one. Now I'm gonna take my bottom foot and place it to the front of the foot bar. Now I have an infinity bar.

So you have a couple of choices. You could actually put your foot on the platform and push out or you can put your foot on the side of the foot bar, so whatever's most comfortable for you. So from here now with a plantar flexion of the bottom foot, I'm gonna take my top leg above the bar and I'm gonna bring it forward and I'm gonna bring it back. So the foot bar here, as I explained is an infinity bar. So this foot bar is a little bit wider, so I've got a little bit more of a bigger bowl here to get up and around.

But you don't have to go up and around, just whatever feels good to you. And that leg can turn medial as it comes forward, back to parallel and back. We'll do that twice more in inhale breath. (Delia exhales loudly) Last one. And then go ahead and place the foot on the bar to support.

And I'm just gonna lay here for a second, legs stacked on top of each other and I'm just gonna do a little twist and open up through the shoulders, taking a deep inhale and exhale to come all the way up. Now as a little transition, I'm gonna come up and turn backwards. So my feet are gonna go onto the headrest, grabbing onto the straps and I'm gonna place my hands now inside the shorter loops. I'm gonna do a few half rollbacks from here. So arms out in front, palms face each other, inner thighs squeeze together, same resistance on the carriage.

You're gonna tilt your pelvis away from your femur and roll back. And then go ahead and roll all the way up to a tall spine. Now depending on your leg length, sitting like this may not be so comfortable, so you're gonna have to find a position to where your feet distance from your hips feels pretty good. Now, if you'd like more resistance, you can always reach a little bit higher on your ropes, grabbing your knots, but it is going to assist you up a little bit easier. So I'm just gonna stay here.

Flex back and then sit up nice and tall. Roll yourself back this time. Find the lumbar spine on the carriage. If that's available to you, scoop those abdominals in. From here, I'm just gonna lift up an inch and down an inch just for a little bit more emphasis on the abdominals in flexion.

And what I'm focusing on is trying to bring my ribcage a little bit closer to my hips instead of rocking on my pelvis. And I wanna make this a very active C curve, naval to the spine. While I'm here, I'm gonna take my left arm up towards my left knee and rotate slightly to my right, just to go into those obliques for one more. Lower back, take that right hand towards that right knee and then flex up. See if you can take that right shoulder blade and maybe move it a little bit further away from the center of the back.

Coming back to the center (exhales loudly) and back to your tall spine. So we're gonna go ahead and go to the other side and do our legs. I'm just gonna hook the ropes here so they're out of my way, and then I'm gonna rotate to the other side. So let's place the left forearm down. So you're in that nice sideline neutral or on your forearm anyway.

I'm gonna put that foot onto the bar, the bottom foot, extend so that I could place the right foot into the strap and then exchange the legs. So nice and tall here with the spine. Just a little reminder of your posture here. You should feel like you're in a long diagonal line, even though you're on your forearm, Let's bring that leg forward, feel that stretch in your hamstring and then pull the leg back. This is your sidekick.

Inhale is the breath I prefer. Exhale back. Now you can switch your breath and switching your breath might also change the emphasis of the exercise and the objective of what you wanna feel. So play around with that breath. Make it in through the nose and out through the mouth.

(Delia exhales loudly) And I like to follow my foot with my eyes, just like I did on the other side. I actually like to see the long line, making sure that I stay nice and tall with my hips. Two more. One more and we'll go into those leg circles. So I'm gonna take the foot about halfway forward, bring the leg up, and circle it down and around.

Inhale and exhale. Allow the leg to move into that lateral position. It'll help to circle the leg 'cause it gets it over that greater trochanter pull around. One more time. Exhale breath. (exhales loudly) Watch your shoulder.

I'm only saying that because I had a tendency sometimes to collapse in there, so I'm paying close attention. And exhale. (exhales loudly) Two more times. (Delia exhales loudly) Last one. (Delia exhales loudly) And now into that dreadful medial. You're gonna turn that foot down, bring it forward and then touch lift.

Now you wanna make sure that you've got strong tension here with the rope, that you don't have that leg too far forward. For three and two and one. And grab the rope. Ah, and slide yourself down. So now I'm gonna fold my arm under, rest my head and I'm gonna place the top foot right on the bar into that dorsiflexion.

So my foot is flat on the bar and then I'm gonna extend the bottom leg. So I should feel nice and tall here as I work my adductor. So bottom leg up and down. (Delia exhales loudly) And I'll flex that ankle to keep it consistent with the top leg. So I'm actually bringing the inside of the feet together, pulling it in.

(Delia exhales loudly) For four, on three, two more. On the next one, hold that tension with that inner thigh, point your toe. Let me do circles here. Doesn't matter what direction you start, you're gonna have to go the other way anyway. Reverse the circles and around.

Again, trying to keep that sideline neutral. Maybe putting your fingers under the waist there, make sure you're lifted. And then the next one you're gonna put that foot forward onto the bar into that plantar flexion. And again you could place it on the platform, wherever it feels more comfortable on your reformer. Releasing the bar with the top leg, we're gonna go forward and we're gonna go back.

What this is doing is challenging the stability of your hip in this position because it's very easy to wanna fall in to your hip in both directions, which in turn will put you into that lumbar spine. So keep it in nice and steady and strong so the lumbar spine is working for you to hold the entire spine up. I got a little bit shorter range of motion on this side. I'm gonna try to reach back with some effort here. (Delia exhales loudly) Just two more.

(Delia exhales loudly) One more. Ah, and then release. All right, we're gonna sit all the way up and I'm gonna switch it now to one blue spring and then rotate backwards so I can give myself a little bit of a stretch in the inner thighs. We're gonna do a little straddle movement here with a little cat-cow, with our feet on the floor and to work the upper body. So hands onto the blocks.

And my legs are, my feet, I'm not wearing socks so there is no tendency to slip here, but if you are in slippery socks, you might wanna take 'em off for this one. Now the bottom comes up to a hover. And from here you're just gonna give me some nice standing straddling cat stretches, little cat-cow flexion and extension. Now, if this straddle position is uncomfortable for you, then go and just bring the knees onto the carriage with your feet back into the well and your hands on the blocks and just continue this movement. (Delia exhales loudly) Now I'm gonna hold on here with my back in that extended position.

I'm gonna press the carriage away, dropping my bottom back and feeling the big stretch through the front of a body and also a little arch of my lower back and upper back. And I'm gonna around my spine as the carriage returns, finding that flex position from the tailbone to my head and then repeating that. Inhale to press away and then exhale to return. So little extension and flexion. Just twice more.

(Delia exhales loudly) And on the next one, I'm gonna hold it out there, sending my tailbone away and then doing little shoulder presses here by bending and extending the arms. Torso is nice and long. I'm pretty much just working on the opening of my hips. A little work here into the legs. Elbows coming close to my side, stabilizing the shoulders.

Focusing on that neutral spine. Let's try a few single arm here. I'm gonna press with just my right arm out and back. And again, you can continue with your double arm, you don't have to follow me. Just leveling up these exercises.

Last one on the other side. Left and out. Elbow close to the ribs, hand onto the thigh for four, three, two, and one. And then slowly dropping your bottom down, reaching your arms up to this sky for a little stretch and then releasing the arms back down onto the carriage. So we're gonna go over to the long box now.

I'm gonna go ahead and take this to a blue or red spring, we're on a blue, grabbing the long box, bringing it onto the carriage, and then we're gonna do a little bit more flexion. So grabbing onto the straps, this one is actually quite challenging. So I'm gonna take straps and place them on the block so they're a little bit easier to reach for in a bit. But for the first part, we're gonna have a seat on the long box. The bar is still at its high bar position and I'm gonna take my legs up and over the bar.

My torso will be on the box long, shoulder blades off the back and I'm just going to rest here for a moment. So you'll be comfortable here hopefully if you are in the right position with your shoulders. So from here, I'm gonna interlace the fingers behind my head, lift my head and shoulders up into that flexion. I'm gonna take my legs up to tabletop and I'm gonna go into a little flexion extension of the thoracic spine. So just a little ab curl here, inhale breath, taking your mobility to another level.

So you're opening up the chest. This is a great place to be if you've got a really tight middle back, and it's hard for you to find that extension and actually even hard for you to find that flexion. So at least you feel like you're getting some range of motion. If you wanted to translate this on the floor you can put a ball behind your back and you kinda get that same movement. Exhale breath. (exhales loudly) One more.

Now remember that last exercise in the five part series for your abs, we skipped that last one. I'm gonna bring it here. This is number five. Legs up to the ceiling. Double leg, lower lift from here.

Inhale, exhale, pull it up (exhales loudly) one. And exhale (exhales loudly) and two. So as you're lengthening the legs away from you, you only wanna go as low as your hips will be safe for your back. So you don't wanna hurt your lumbar spine as you're lowering and lifting your legs. I actually find it easier the lower I go, 'cause I get a teeny bit of momentum as I bring my legs back up.

Last one, bend the knees, feet flat and rest. Now the shoulder straps, so they're a little bit closer, so they were a little bit easier to reach for. I'm gonna go ahead and hold onto the shorter loops. Now I said this to everyone in the beginning behind the scenes, but it is very brave for me to do the teaser here today in front of you. So this is a very difficult exercise.

So what we're gonna do is we're gonna take the arms out to the side and lift them into my peripheral vision here, so they're here. Then the arms will start to come towards the hips. I'm gonna let my legs just hang onto the bar. So at the very last minute, I can lift those legs up off of the bar and find my teaser. And then slowly lower myself back down into my start position.

Now, when you come up into your teaser, if it's easier for you, you could also just bend the knees at the top so it's more of a modified teaser. But make sure to keep those toes pointed so the weight stays forward. Let's try that again. I'm gonna rest back, opening up my body. Nodding the chin, letting the legs hang, letting them slide and when I'm ready, I'm gonna lift those legs up to that teaser position, hold, and then slowly lower back down.

We're gonna try that twice more. Inhale to nod the chin. Exhale to pull it up into teaser. (Delia exhales loudly) Slowly come back with the arms, timing the arms with the legs resting the legs onto the bar. On this very next one we're staying up there.

Nod the chin. Flexing the spine, again, you can modify with a bent knee. I'm gonna hold this position as I bring my arms forward and back. Exhale one (exhales loudly) and two. Keeping the toes at the level of your eyes, two more times.

Reach, one more, hold. Make sure to roll through that lumbar spine onto the carriage, reaching the arms back and resting. Aw! I'm gonna go ahead and just drop my straps for the sake of my shoulders as I roll myself up to a seated position and then just a quick little spine stretch here. I'm gonna keep my feet on the bar. Sitting up nice and tall, putting my heels on, arms out in front, take a deep inhale breath, nod the chin and flex the spine forward, reaching the hands towards the bar and then sitting up nice and tall onto your sits bones.

Now imagine your knees are like the edge of a building. So as you flex forward, try not to go over the edge of that building. So that what I'll do is I'll keep my lumbar spine back and it'll allow me to stretch my upper middle back and then back up to tall spine. One more time and I'll add that extension. So nod the chin and flex. (exhales loudly) And I like doing the spine stretch here because I feel that contact with the heel to the bar, giving me that connection heel to sits bone, sits bones to head.

Let's add a little bit of extension. So now the chin flex forward. (Delia exhales loudly) Reach the arms up to the ceiling as you lift your head up and find extension at that upper middle back. Flex back over your legs and then sit up nice and tall. Inhale to nod the chin, exhale to flex forward.

Inhale, reaching with the arms, following with the eyes. Exhale to flex back over your legs. Sitting up nice and tall. One more exhale to flex, (exhales loudly) inhale to extend. Exhale to flex, and then nice and tall and release.

I'm gonna step off to the side. I'm actually gonna take the foot bar down one. And I'm not taking it down all the way because I actually want to have the foot bar here as a reminder, as I do some extension to keep my legs elevated. So I'm gonna lie in the other direction, chest over box, and I'm going to grab the straps here. So I'll just reach into the well and then bring 'em towards me.

So this is your arms pulling strap series on the long box, but it can translate without the straps onto the mat as well. So, but the wonderful part about this is that you have the ability to go over and straight back into extension so that you can gain that thoracic mobility. So we're gonna start setting up the lower back for success here. Pressing the pubic bone down into the box, pulling the abdominals in, and then the feet will float up. From here with the arms nice and long.

Pull your arms back towards your hips and maintain a long line, like someone just shot you out of a cannon. From here just the arms are gonna move back and forth. So all you are really focusing on is that long line. My legs are abducted, ideally they're abducted. So if you can't keep them together, don't worry about it just open 'em up a bit, whatever's gonna keep the back comfortable.

However, do not squeeze your glutes. That will hinder your extension and then just cause you a little bit of a back pain. So I'm gonna do this two more times, keeping my back nice and straight, focusing on the energy of my back body. One more time. And then I'm gonna flex completely over the box and relax.

And so you'll see your feet can also rest on the bar, which is actually comfortable, especially if you have long legs and this box might be a little short for you so you're just kind of hanging there on your knees. All right, so the next one is gonna go from flexion to your long line. So you're gonna lower your upper body down. Make sure your sternum feels comfortable here. Set your lower body up for success.

You're gonna come from this flexed position, leading with your arms, into that long line, which is hard to find, 'cause you're gonna really feel tempted to go into that extension. But I want you to just go into that straight back. Remember that cannon. Shoot out that cannon. Pinky finger to the hips and then lower yourself down.

You wanna line up your arms with your shoulders and I don't have anywhere to see if that's happening for me, but that is my goal is to pull back and find that long line and lining up my arm with my hip. I'll do this two more times. Inhale breath. Exhale. (exhales loudly) One more time. Inhale.

And then exhale to release, and then my arms release. So we have a couple more from here. This next one you're gonna go from flexion all the way into extension. So flexing the upper body over the box, arms are long. I'm gonna float my legs up by pushing my pubic bone down, adducting my legs.

I'm gonna come from flexion, pass through that straight line and find extension. So upper body extension, upper thoracic and then lower. Lead with those eyes and pull. Inhale, exhale. (exhales loudly) And again, and these are challenging if done correctly. It's hard to keep those arms in alignment.

If you're tighten your chest, there's a tendency to wanna turn the palms up towards the ceiling. Two more times. Just do your best here. One more. Pulling the arms back and then returning and flexing over the box.

Last but not least, We're gonna go from a straight back to extension, which I find to be the most challenging because you're maintaining all of that energy into your back the whole full time. So press your pubic bone down, float the legs up and you'll start with a straight back. Arms are long, the cannon, remember. Now as your arms move back, find that upper back extension looking to the back of your reformer and then finding that long line. Continuous energy through the back body inhale, exhale.

(Delia exhales loudly) And again, and pull. We're gonna do three more of these for a total of six. (Delia exhales loudly) You have one more here. Long line hold for eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. You don't see my ropes, but they're shaking and release.

Go ahead and step off of the box. And then we're gonna conclude your workout with a little push up here at the end. So I'm gonna take the box off, place it at the back of the reformer. Making sure that my straps are outta the way so that I don't trip on them. I'm gonna step into the well, and we're gonna go into your Pilates pushups.

So taking my arms up towards the ceiling, I'm gonna bring my arms back down towards my hips, walk past the blocks with my hands on the carriage. We're gonna go two pushups here. Elbows close to the side. One (exhales loudly) two hands to the blocks, roll myself back up, arms reach to the ceiling. These come in sets of twos.

Rolling down, hands on the blocks. Hands on the carriage. Inhale, exhale, (exhales loudly) inhale, exhale. Now how far away you stand from the carriage is gonna be dependent on your length of your body so adjust yourself here. Take it back down.

Two pushups inhale. (inhales loudly) Not my favorite exercise, those pushups. I don't feel like I can go very far, but I certainly try. Take it down again. Hands back to the carriage. Two pushups here, one (exhales loudly) and two.

We have one more set. Arms to the ceiling. Arms back down. Hands back to the blocks. Two pushups here, one and two.

Now this time, just take your hands to the blocks. Drop your head between your arms and stretch. With my palms on the blocks, I'm gonna pedal my knees here, allowing my lats to stretch out in front of my body. And breathe. Slowly take your hands down to the floor with soft knees as you're folded forward.

Roll yourself all the way back up to standing and I'll step out of the reformer so that I don't hit anything here. I'm gonna reach my arms up to the sky and give myself a little stretch here, reaching with interlaced fingers, taking it over to one side and then taking it over to the other. I got a little pop there that felt really nice. And then taking the hands back behind the hips, opening up the chest and then just mobilizing that cervical spine. So those extension exercises that we did at the end might have taken a little toll there.

And then one more reach for the ceiling. Inhale breath and exhale. Hand down. All right, well thank you for joining me for mat reformer or mat-former. I hope that that's given you some ideas on how to translate some of the mat exercises onto the equipment so that you yourself or your client can see the benefits of both.

Thank you so much.


1 person likes this.
Thanks for this!  I’m a reformer girl and probably much more likely to do a mat class if I can do it on the reformer, lol.  
1 person likes this.
Loved this class Delia, exactly what I needed this morning and loved being brought back to mat exercises. I used to do Mari Winsor mat videos on repeat back in the day, before I got my beloved reformer, so thanks very much! 
Ahhhh- LOVE this. I’m going to throw a few of these in this am when I teach. Awesome video 👏🏻👊🏻
Thanks for this fun creative class.  I love it and my clients will to!
Kelly B
Great class! Fun to revisit these mat exercises, some of which I haven't done since I got my reformer.
Michele M
Very creative and beautiful! Reminds me of teaching mat classes and the importance of side lift leg series!  I loved doing your class on the reformer and will share with my clients too!  Thank you Delia!:) 
Dawn U
1 person likes this.
I simply love your classes, Delia.  You are a breath of fresh air.  Thank you.
Thanks such a great flow!
I like the series of five . The way you teach is very calm 
Michael Mary S
I  really liked this class.  Your cueing is so precise; and I love your calm disposition.  Can't wait to do it again and share with my class.
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