Class #4918

Lower Body Reformer

40 min - Class


Have fun playing with advanced movements in this Reformer workout by Carrie Pages. She teaches a full-body class, adding challenging exercises to work the lower body. She includes creative variations and progressions for Arabesque, Gondola, and much more.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

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Hi everyone, today, we are going to do a lower-body-focused workout. Just like the previous two classes that we have done, you will feel the whole body working. But the focus today is on the more challenging lower body advanced content. So I'm really excited to do this class with you today. Olivia is going to be working out with me and we are gonna get started laying on your backs with footwork.

Since this is the lower body workout, go ahead and load those springs up nice and heavy. Olivia, lay back. And we're gonna go right into Pilates V stance on the toes. In that Pilates V stance, reach the arms long, get a little pressure of those hands into the mat. Let's take one breath in to prepare, and let's take one nice, long breath out to connect to your core, connect to your arms, wrap through the thighs, and here we go.

Inhale to the top, exhale brings you in. We're doing 10, inhale up three, and four, and... Good, this is six. Feel the glutes assisting you, inner thighs assisting you, nine, and 10. Now she's gonna come halfway in and hold at precisely halfway.

From there, she'll pulse down low for 10. So just adding a little extra lower body work to it today. This is five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10. Take that halfway back, pause precisely there. 10 pulses above halfway, 10, nine, nice, Olivia.

Seven, arms still pressing gently, core engaged, glutes, inner thighs, nine, 10, take that all the way to the top. Bring that all the way in. Transitioning to bird feet, knees and toes together. Those toes curl forward like a bird on a perch in the feeder pulling downward. That's gonna activate the seat and the hamstrings.

Slide yourself to the top, breathing in, exhale, bend to come in, inhale, take it up two, exhale it and inhale up three. Strong breath out, nice. Keeping that energy of the hands pressing down, think about that upper body workout we did, pressing up and in. Nine, and in. 10, halfway, hold it halfway, pulse below it for 10, nine, eight, seven, tailbone stays anchored down.

Nine, 10, take it halfway back, pause. Then high pulses, up, good, Olivia, two, three, glutes engaged. Six, seven, eight, nine, 10. Take it all the way to the top, lengthen those springs, and bend your knees, come on in. Walk right up to your heels, flexing your feet, and you go, breathing in, exhale, two, bend, two, and in, three, strong through that center.

Four, glutes alive, five. Seven. Two more, this is nine, come halfway, in hold precisely at halfway. Pulse below, two, nice job. Three, four, six, Halfway back, pause right there for a moment.

Pulse above, 10, Four, three, two, one, take it all the way up, pause right there, Olivia, flex those feet a little bit more. Bend the knees, come all the way in. Take it to Pilates V stance on your toes for me and slide to the top, nice inhale gets you there. Now the heels press down, exhaling. Inhale, raise the heels, exhale, two.

Inhale, raise them, exhale, three. How much can you wrap through the thighs? Four, good, and up, beautiful, five, and up, Six, and up. You've got three more, breathe out and in. Out, gorgeous work, last one, down and up, bend those knees, come all the way in.

Very nicely done, scoot down just a little bit. We're gonna get the 100 beats in, just to get nice and warm for some really good, fun, hard work that's coming up. Preparing right there with your breath in. Pull those handles, tuck the chin, curl right up. Reach the legs out, pump those arms.

Breathing in two, three, four, five, and out, gorgeous. With that nice strong reach through the arms. Feel the backs of the arms active there. That's beautiful, Olivia, continue. And exhale, good.

And this is 40. Good, arms reaching long, strong through that middle, 50. (Carrie softly exhales) You're halfway there, five more breaths. How long can you make those springs? See how much core work you can use to push into the handles, making those springs long, inhale, and exhale.

Let's do one final breath here, inhale, and exhale. Pause the arm movement, draw those knees into your chest. Lift your arms and place your head down, gorgeous job. Hook those handles on the poles. We're gonna come on up.

Now you can swing your feet to the side. We're gonna go right into elephant next. So we're jumping ahead into elephant and the arabesque series. Starting with elephant to kinda get acclimated, we're going to do a medium and a light spring or a yellow and a blue on peak. And Olivia, go ahead and climb up there, heels against the shoulder blocks.

So almost using this as an opportunity to kind of program the coordination that's needed in this exercise, we're gonna take these shoulder bones and just slide 'em right down her back so she almost sags into her shoulders a little bit. A lot of energy through the arms, a lot of energy through the wrists. Deep breath in, take the carriage back. Olivia, pause with the carriage back. Let's lift those toes as if the belly is what's responsible for lifting the toes and then exhale, bring 'em underneath you.

You go again, inhale, the carriage goes back. Start the breath out and think my belly is pulling my toes up, up, up, up, up, inhale back. Exhale, come in, she's gonna continue. What's important here is the stabilization of the arms, the head, and the back. She's really only moving those legs.

Inhale, the carriage rolls back. Exhale, it rolls in. Inhale, carriage rolls back. Exhale, it rolls in, two more, let the breath in. Lift those toes from deep in the center.

One more time, Olivia, legs back, and legs come in. Now pause right here. We're gonna get ready for Arabesque 1. So Arabesque 1 is basically elephant with one leg in the air. Roll the carriage back one time and hold.

Take your left leg through the shoulder blocks and lift it up. For this exercise, the hips are squared. This back of the leg is long and strong and this knee is straight. Now we're gonna exhale and pull the right leg under and with an inhale, send it back. Let's drop this hip a little more, Olivia, good.

Exhale, pull the leg under. Inhale, arms strong and stable, three. Inhale, carriage rolls back, exhale, we're doing five, this is four. Carriage goes back, exhale. Feel that elephant sensation, belly pulls up, up, up, carriage back and we hold there.

We transition, here, carriage stays open. The foot comes down. The other leg goes through and lifts up, excellent, and the carriage rolls under. Breathe out, feel that rib connection happen. Inhale, move the leg.

Good, exhale, now, Olivia, I want you to take this leg and push it into my hand. Good, inhale, especially here when the carriage comes in, you send me back. Gorgeous, inhale, exhale. Think push me back, yes, girl. One more, inhale.

Exhale, bring it to finish it out. Let's roll it back one final time. Put that foot down. Pause right there, can you lift your toes back up like elephant and roll that carriage all the way in to the stopper. Step forward and down to the floor.

You can let that blood come back down into your heart there, yeah. So that was our Arabesque 1 series. We're gonna program Arabesque 2 by using the box. So I'm gonna grab the box here and, we're going to lower the foot bar just to kind of get it out of the way. I'm gonna also lower the spring just a little bit.

So I'm bringing it down to a medium spring or a yellow spring on the peak. She's gonna take her hands and bring 'em onto the box. So again, Arabesque 2, I think coordination wise, can be really tricky. So I like this little pattern of movement to help program the coordination of it. Bring the hands down to the box, Olivia, and just hold there.

And we're gonna take the right leg and just kind of reach it back behind you. If you have a dance background, tendu that foot back. If you don't have a dance background, that's okay, it doesn't matter. You're gonna take a nice big breath in for me. With an exhale, the box is gonna roll out and her leg is going to lift up.

She breathes out, bringing that leg up, up, up, and then with an inhale, the leg comes down and the box rolls back in and she's gonna like puff up like that Arabesque 1. Go again, Olivia, exhale, roll it out. Lifting that leg up, that's beautiful, sends more weight into the right hand. Keep balanced weight in the arms. Inhale, lower the leg, the box comes in.

That becomes very important when we have our hands on the bar in a moment. So she's pushing out and there's equal energy in those arms, almost pushing more with the arm of the leg that's in the air. Inhale, that leg comes down. Now, go ahead and bring the feet back together and put the other foot back, toe to floor, inhale to prepare and then exhale. You're gonna send the leg up in the box away.

How high can you get that leg? Inhale, lower the leg, and bring the box in. You go again, exhaling. So we're gonna recruit from this side hiney here to try to get that leg up, inhale, lower the leg down. Rely less on your back, more on your glutes.

Exhale, the leg goes up, up. Make sure you've got weight in that same arm as leg, gorgeous, Olivia, and bring that down. She did a nice little adjustment there. Olivia, I want you to bring the feet together and I just want you to do two more on each leg. With lots of equal weight in the hands, tendu back your right foot, inhale to prepare.

And as you exhale, Olivia, the box rolls out and that leg goes up and you're gonna start to free up that flexibility that's gonna be needed on that carriage in a moment. Inhale, lower the foot down. You just do it one more time here, exhale, that leg goes up. How high can you get the leg? And recruit from your strength to get the leg up, lower the leg down.

We focus on flexibility so much, sometimes we forget our strength helps us. Bring the feet together, tendu the left foot back. Inhale, prepare, exhale, the leg goes up, good. We've gotta have the flexibility there, but we access it from our strength. Inhale, that leg goes down.

And we go again, exhale, that leg goes up, Olivia, big reach of the thigh, equal weight in the arms, and inhale, bring the carriage in. Walk the feet together and a nice little articulation to come all the way up. Beautiful job, nice. So what we're gonna hope is that that's gonna help us with our coordination on top of the reformer. So I'm gonna get the box out of the way for her.

And I think we're gonna wanna go to, for this next variation, we're gonna do just a heavy spring. So the red spring on the peak, the foot bar's gonna come up and she's gonna climb up hands on the bar, feet against the shoulder blocks. And I'm just gonna stabilize her carriage for a second. Go ahead and rise up to your toes, Olivia, for the Arabesque 2 start position. Instead of beginning with the legs on, both legs on, we're gonna take this left foot and bring it back behind the shoulder block of the right leg.

So she just has the legs kind of closed together. In that position, I'm taking my foot away. She can now roll the carriage out and open that spring up nice and big, the leg will stay down. So the legs stays down when the carriage is out. That's your inhale.

With your exhale, the leg lifts up and the carriage comes in. So we're trying to get a similar feel that we had on that box. With an inhale, the leg comes down and the carriage goes out. Exhale, the leg goes up, up, up, up, up as the carriage comes in. Inhale, that leg goes down and the carriage goes out.

Exhale, lift, lift, lift, and then bring that out and down and simply step your left foot over to your shoulder block and organize to do the other side. So the foot can just creep behind that shoulder block, big inhale to prepare, and exhale, the leg goes up, yes, as the carriage comes in. Inhale, take it down. Nice, Olivia, again. Now what about that equal weight in the arm?

Send your weight into your arm of your leg that's lifted. Inhale, leg goes down. Exhale, leg comes up again. Big lift, big lift, big lift, and bring it down. Excellent, bring the feet to the shoulder blocks.

Why don't we bring the carriage in, put the knees down, and take a moment. So what we've done is set up the coordination that's gonna be necessary for the arabesque where the leg goes out and in on the carriage, but the leg in the air stays up. And that's really hard. It's hard because you need the flexibility to get the leg up there, but you also have to understand that coordination of not moving the arms and the torso as the leg moves underneath you. So let's see how it goes.

Come on up, let's see. All right, so the first thing we're gonna do, just to get the upper body where it needs to be, is we're gonna keep both feet on the blocks and roll that carriage out. So really send the back away from me. Go back even further, yes. All right, take one foot through the shoulder blocks.

Lift it all the way up, keeping the carriage out there, out there, out there. Now exhale, bring the carriage under you. Inhale, send it back. Exhale, keeping that leg high. Yes, Olivia, inhale sends it back.

Exhale, and now that side hiney is on fire. Inhale, send that carriage back, put that foot down, beautiful job. Other foot through the shoulder block. Lift it up, let the hip open. Now this leg floats under, breathe out, gorgeous.

Inhale, take it back. Exhale, feel that leg lifting high. Inhale, move the carriage back. Last one is three. Inhale brings it back.

Bring that foot down and roll the carriage in. You can bring those knees down, take a rest, very nicely done. So again, a certain level of flexibility is needed. If that leg is just parallel to the ground, it's gonna be really tricky to get that coordination, but just keep practicing at home and build up to that full expression of the exercise. I love this one on the floor.

I think it's a great way to get the exercise in your body. Moving on, we're gonna go into knee stretches next. So Olivia, you can stay right where you are. Our spring tension here is going to be two medium springs or two yellows. So go ahead and make that adjustment for me, Olivia.

And then the first of the knee stretches we're gonna do today is knees down, rounded back. Hands come onto the foot bar, feet against the shoulder rests. Now for this exercise, this can be, again, another one that's tricky to coordinate. You gotta figure out what's stable and what's moving. The start position, we're gonna squat her back close to those heels.

So she's gonna come right on down here. These arms are going to, I want you to imagine at home you've got me with you. My hands are underneath her arms and she's gonna pull her arms down on my hands as I pull my hands back on her arms. She needs that to stabilize these arms and her spine and back. Now from there, none of this moves, the only thing that moves are the legs.

They go out with an inhale and then they come right back under. Notice that her knees are staying underneath her. You could make it a little bigger, Olivia, there you go, and then bring it in. What we're watching for is that the knees don't go beyond the position of the pelvis. So now I want you to think, as you do your last four, heavy my feet, lighten my knees.

Heavy my feet, lighten my knees. Those quads are gonna work, in, out. Let's do one more, out, and gorgeous. She was, look at this, stayed right where she needed to be. Now's all she's gotta do is make a swan-like shape with her back.

So she reaches her tail out, her gaze goes up. Now I'm gonna come step in front of her. Again, I want you to pretend I'm with you at home. She's pulling her hands down, I'm pulling my arms up. From there, she goes, same thing, legs go out, but they stay under her as she comes in.

Out, and that's it, good, Olivia. Out and in, when this gets too big and too wild, we lose some of the fun. Keep it petite, contained, and controlled. And in, good, and in, and in. Two more, bring it in, last one, and pause.

Gorgeous, you can relax there. Yeah, they're hard, they're hard. So again, that's a lot about what's moving, what's not. It's even more challenging when we do the one-leg variation. So I'm gonna do an introduction to the one-leg variation.

We're gonna get the box and we are gonna lighten the spring a little bit. So we'll take that to a medium and a light spring, and to really help you figure out what's moving and what's not, we're gonna keep something totally still. So by putting the foot on the box here, this gives me the ability to just stabilize this leg completely as I move this leg out and in. My hands are all the way over on one side of the bar, rather than spread wide open. I just have those hands right underneath me.

And I'm just trying to do the exact same position that I did in the round position with both knees on. So go ahead and walk around, Olivia. We're gonna take, yes. I usually line my big toe up about where the carriage is. So yeah, you kinda see where your carriage is, big toe right there.

And then she's just gonna bend those knees, yes, and curl into that position. I'm gonna give her that same little feedback. She's gonna pull on my hands as I pull on her and she goes, inhale, exhale one. Now we're just gonna do eight of these, two. That's so good, Olivia, can you get lower?

Squat down, four, very good, five, six, seven, and eight, rest. You can totally rest. Yeah, get out of that, good. I'll bring the box around you for you so you can do the other side. All right.

So she lines the toe up. Yeah, let me pull that forward a little bit for you. Thank you. Welcome. Take the foot on the box back about two more inches.

There you go, so big toe lined up with the carriage. Yes, give her that little bit of feedback here, and go. And one, nice, Olivia, two. So what we're looking for is this shin is nice and parallel to the mat and she's doing it so well. That's what we're gonna try to duplicate in a moment where it's a lot harder, and in, and two more.

Last one is there, good. Woo! Gorgeous. Now you can bring yourself back onto the carriage like you're gonna do up stretch. So just walk those heels back, good. I am going to change her spring again.

I'm gonna bring her back to those two medium springs. So I'm just heavying it up just a little bit. Now I'm gonna hold her steady here for a second. Take your right foot, Olivia, bring it forward on the carriage. Notice that she has her heel lifted there.

You wanna be tippy-toed on both feet, which is gonna keep that pelvis nice and squared off. Now here's the tricky thing. She's gonna try to curl into the exact same shape she was in with one foot on the box. She comes down low, low, low, I get out of her way, and she goes. And exhale one, that's gorgeous, two.

We're gonna do eight, this is three, you're amazing. Four, five, good, six, seven, and eight, standup, Olivia. Gorgeous, switch legs. So hard to do and she's doing such a great job of keeping that upper body stable. She squats down into it.

Tries to bring the shin parallel and go. Exhale it in, one. So if eight is too many for you, don't do all eight, take breaks as needed. This is five. Shin stays low, six, two more.

Stand up and rest, gorgeous. Now just to put it all together, knees off, five reps only. For knees off, she's gonna try to hover both of those shins parallel to the mat, and go. Dynamic, inhale, exhale, one. And exhale two, and exhale three, pull the tummy, tuck the tail, four.

Last one is five, knees down, take a rest. So, really hard sequence to do. You could obviously just pick or choose a few of those and build the strength up. But you did a great job with that, thank you. All right, so from here, we're gonna go right into bottom lift.

Go ahead and lay on your back. And I'm gonna adjust her springs to two mediums and one heavy spring. Feet out to the corners of the bar there, Olivia, good. And you're gonna take a nice long breath in. As you exhale, you're gonna send your belly to your back, tuck your pelvis.

And we're lifting up the back and the low back, trying to keep that bra line area down. With an inhale, slide the carriage back. Once you get there with legs straight, I want you to hold. Activate your glute max as much as you can. Pause right there for just a moment.

Now come all the way back in. Those knees are yearning east and west. The tummy's pulled tight, the hips are lifted. Very good, we go again. Inhale takes you back, we're just gonna pause.

We're gonna find that glute max really strong and then exhale coming in. In a moment, we're gonna do the exercise gondola. Here's a little moment to program that. So she goes back with her inhale. Then when she exhales to come in, she's gonna open those knees as wide, east and west, as she can to try to find that opening through the hips so that the gondola is a little easier.

Inhale, she takes it back, long springs beneath you. Exhale brings you in, strong core, knees open, and pause, one more time. Inhale takes it back. Exhale, opening those knees. Now let's pause.

Let's lift those hips higher and sacrifice where the back is positioned. Yes, just come right up, open the knees a little wider. And now just roll down through your spine. You can draw your knees together, hug your knees into your chest for a second and take a moment. All right, moving on.

We're gonna go into the gondola next. So, Olivia, you can stand up. On my apparatus. I need my split platform and you'll also need a sticky pad for this. So the sticky pad will be positioned about at the very center of your mat, maybe just a little to the side if you're on the taller side of short, and then we're gonna get the platform, place it in there. And the exercise is going to be done on two medium springs.

This is going to be the accent out, hold two, three, standing split. And then we're just gonna flow from that one right into gondola, okay? So I'm gonna stabilize her carriage while she steps up, foot to the platform, foot to the sticky. She's gonna look down and make sure those feet are lined up, big toe to big toe, and the feet are awkwardly parallel, is the way I like to put it. So you wanna look at the outside edge of your foot to notice if you're parallel, not the inside edge, and really try to kick those heels out a little bit.

Like I said, it's slightly awkward, but makes a difference in the way the body works. You can hold your arms out to the side there today, Olivia. I'm getting out of your way, I'll release it. With equal energy in both legs, with an inhale, slide your carriage out. Stabilizing that pelvis, we hold for three, hold for two, hold for one, and then reluctantly bring it in.

We're just doing five of these. Again, take it out, hold for one. Hold for two, hold for three, exhale rolls it in. Again, inhale takes it out. Pause of the breath, one, and two, and three.

Control that carriage coming in. Again, take it out, holding one, holding two, holding three, exhale. Control it in, really waiting for that little pause. We go again, trying to minimize momentum. You are the boss of those springs.

They are not bossing you, roll it in. Nicely done, she's just gonna turn her toes out to the side now to get ready for gondola. I'm gonna leave the spring heavy for just a second so she can get organized there. All right, so with gondola, we're gonna try to keep that spine and pelvis nice and neutral as we add all the knee bends. Olivia, I'm taking your spring off now.

Everyone, we're down on one medium spring. From here, we're gonna bend those knees. Let's take the arms out to the side, yup. You're gonna bend your knees, Olivia, and go down low in like a dancer's second position. Once she's down there, the right leg doesn't move.

The left leg extends out, one. That leg pulls underneath you and I want you to hear it hit the stopper, but not slam, yes. Extend that same leg three times, that's two. She brings it under. Look how nice and low she's staying, that's gorgeous.

She goes again, inhale, three. Exhale, she brings it in. Now from here, this leg doesn't change, the right leg pushes her. Out, inhaling, gorgeous. Exhale, pull it in, hear it click but not slam. (stopper softly clicks)

Oh, that's such a mean cue. Inhale, take it out, two. Exhale, think back to your bottom lift. Can you press those knees east and west? Inhale, take it out, three.

Exhale pulls it in. Now from here, everyone, we're gonna hold the carriage on that stopper. Stand all the way up. Now we add what I call the circles. So she's gonna bend the knees down, she goes low.

She stays low and rolls out with both knees slightly bent. She holds the carriage steady, stretches both legs straight. Then pulls that carriage in, she hears it. (stopper softly clicks) Then she bends. Down low, Olivia, gorgeous, stay low, roll it out.

Stretch the legs up straight. Pull yourself all the way in, in, in. Again, down low for a third one, roll it out, stay low. Stretch up long and straight and bring it in til you hear it. Reverse it three times, take it out.

You're amazing, bend down low, keep the carriage open. Stay low, pull the carriage under you. That's the hard part, stand all the way up. Again, take it out. (Carrie softly inhales) Bend the knees down. (Carrie softly exhales) Stay low, pull it underneath you. Stretch all the way up straight.

That's okay, go one more time. Inhale, take it out. Exhale, bend it down low. You bring it in. Stay in as you go all the way up and I'm gonna be a good friend and stabilize that carriage for her.

That was really lovely. Let's go ahead and turn around to do the other side. So we can just step back, that's perfect. So what I want you to notice as we get ready for our other side was the control and the timing of the exercise. Sometimes it's really tempting to speed through these, to not have those little holes and those little moments where you hear it before you go and all of that.

So I want you to really pay attention to the timing again on this side. Olivia, if you'll hold that carriage in nice and strong, I'm gonna come around and change the spring so it's heavy for you. So we're going back to the two medium springs to do the standing outer thigh. And here we go, press it out, Olivia. Nice connection through the core, pelvis remains neutral, holding three.

Slowly bring it in. Again, roll it out. Get there, hold it one, two, three. Control it in, take a moment. Check your knee locking.

See if there's a little bit of a lock, mm-hm, and here we go, there you go. Press it out, better. When those knees unlocked, her pelvis was more neutral too. That was really cool, roll it in. And again, real tempting here to lock the knees.

Let's try to keep 'em straight but not locked back. Bring it in, fifth and final, roll it out. Hold it one, two, three. Roll it in, good. I'm gonna change the spring real quick.

We're going back down to that one medium spring. I'll stabilize her carriage and she's gonna figure out getting those feet where they need to be. All right, so from here, I'll take my foot away. You're in control, bend it down low, Olivia, keeping the carriage closed in, Now it's right leg only. Push the carriage out.

Pull that carriage under, hear it. (stopper softly clicks) Take it out, two. nicely done. Pull it under. (stopper softly clicks) Gorgeous, take it out three, and pull it under, and you hold. Now you hold, and now the left leg goes out.

We had to wait to hear it, we didn't hear it. And bring it in, that was really nicely done. Let's think back to that bottom lift. Press the knees east and west and press them east and west as you come in. That's gorgeous, again, inhale, take it out, three.

Exhale brings it in. Once it hits, we stand up. Then we start the circles, take it down low. Roll it out, stay low. Stretch the legs straight.

Roll the carriage all the way in, you grow tall. Bend the knees like bottom lift. Roll yourself out. Stretch yourself up and bring it all the way in. Again, take it down, roll it out, stay low.

Stretch the legs straight. Roll it all the way in, reverse three times, take it out. Bend those knees down, down, down, down. Stay low, low, low, low, low, then go up. Again, take it out.

Bend it down low. Bring it in. Take it up, you're amazing, one more, take it out. Take it down low. Pull it under, under, under, stand all the way up and I'll be a good friend, there you go, girl.

You can come off of there, nicely done. At home, if you put your split platform in, go ahead and take that away. It's time for splits. More splits, I should say, more splits. So foot bar comes up.

We're going to a medium and a light spring. Headrest comes all the way up and I do like to use a sticky pad for this as well. I'm gonna bring the sticky pad kind of on the diagonal here so that her right foot lines up with it. Her left foot will be on the foot bar first today. So stand all the way up, Olivia, just start standing completely up, there you go.

All right, so from here, I like to start this way just to get my body kind of acclimated to standing on the equipment, which can be a little scary. Take your left foot, put it up on the foot bar already. Just bring it right in front of the hip, yep. Now from there, thoughtful movement, strong through your core, roll down and bring your hands onto that foot bar. Now that you've got your hands on the bar, you try to do it in one hop, but you hop your foot back and bring it to the headrest.

So the heel is raised up by the headrest. The toes are in front of the shoulder rest. Bend your left knee more, Olivia, and lunge into that shape a little bit stronger, that's amazing. Now she's gonna stay here and the really important cue here is this back leg. You wanna make sure that the muscles inside on the side of the knee, on the inside of the knee, are nice and active.

Little toe heavy down, arch kind of lifted. So a lot of energy through this leg. I'm gonna get out of the way, Olivia. You're gonna start by just pushing with your left leg rolling back. Inhale, push back (Carrie softly inhales) and exhale, bring it in.

Now here's where I recommend accessing your strength to find your flexibility. Think of it as being a leg press, like just push your left leg strong and see if that frees up from some flexibility. Doesn't always work, but sometimes you can find more flexibility with your strength. Gorgeous, and we come in. Now, this next part is a balance check.

Listen to your body. If keeping the hands down for this part is better for you, please do that at home. One arm reaches out, Olivia. Other arm reaches out. And in a perfect world here, this upper body would be stacked over.

She's gonna pull her ribs, pull her tummy, and she goes. Inhale, good, push back, that's right, with the left leg, you got it. Exhale brings it in, that's beautiful. Yes, you look great. See how far you can roll that carriage.

Make sure the foot is stuck, you look amazing, that's two. Inhale, take it back. Exhale, bring it in. Bring those hands down to safety, holding that bar. Next step, this heel comes up onto the shoulder block.

The knee comes down to the mat. And right here, if you need to adjust that foot, yes, you can get it against the shoulder block, that's great. Now holding here, I want you to look out, shoulders back, gaze out. Think of a little pull of the tummy and just a little tuck of the tail to get into those hip flexors. Now take a deep breath in.

You're gonna dive or just kind of lower, rather, your head down, round your spine just a little bit. And we breathe in again. Send the carriage back with the exhale. So we're pushing this left leg going for as straight of a leg as you can, where's that strength? And then pull yourself in.

Good, think of it as a strong leg press of this leg. As you push back, you exercise that leg and then maybe you can free up some flexibility, and you bring it in. Gorgeous, you do it one more time, send it back. Good, and bring it in. And we're simply gonna take that foot off the bar.

Yup, you're just gonna stand back up on the carriage. Good, I'll move your little sticky over, put it on the other side on that diagonal direction. The foot comes up onto the foot bar. Good, you'll just dive down, exhale, reaching the hands for the bar. Trying to do one hop, but sometimes it takes several.

Oh, that's okay, we just got a little grippy, a little grippy sticky. Okay, good, and then she's just gonna bend the knee into that nice low lunge. Now again, get that back leg inside of the knee here. The arch is lifted, the little toes yearning down. And she goes, inhale, push.

Exhale, come in. Good, Olivia. Inhale, push back. Feel that strength from the right leg. Exhale, bring it in, beautiful.

Inhale takes it back. (Carrie softly inhales) Exhale brings it in, just three. Then it's the balance check. Feel free to keep those arms down. One arm comes out, other arm comes out.

That's it, pitch back a little more, there you go. Ideally that torso's vertical, push with the right leg. Push back one. Beautiful, exhale brings you in. Inhale, push it back.

Beautiful, exhale, bring it in. And again, where can you go? Good, Olivia, and bring it in, nicely done. Bring those hands down. Bring the heel up onto the shoulder block and then slowly bring that knee to the mat, adjusting the foot as needed.

Taking a moment just to kind of gaze out, you're gonna think, pull up through the tummy, tuck the tail under just a little bit. That's gonna get up into that hip flexor just a bit. And now you can lower your chin. Slightly round the spine over. Big inhale and let's send the carriage back with an exhale.

Again, like it's a leg press for this right leg. Beautiful, and then bring yourself in inhale. You go again, exhaling, carriage goes back. Inhale, carriage comes in. Third and final repetition, exhale, take it back.

Where's that strength? And bring it in. Olivia, bring that foot off the foot bar. The next exercise is the Russian split facing the other way. So I'll take this out of the way.

I'm just gonna put it on the floor. We're gonna stay with that same spring, a medium and a light. And I'll stabilize the carriage for her. She'll step up for me. All right, from there, round your spine down.

Bring your hands onto the shoulder blocks. She's gonna bring her right foot back onto the foot bar. Now the heel is on the top of the foot bar and the toes are wrapping around the side of the foot bar. She's now gonna try to make this part of the transition and exercise. She almost just stands on her hands, pulls her knee up and just walks that foot forward.

The ball of the foot is on the headrest. The heel is on the carriage part. The arch is right at the crease of the headrest, okay? I'm getting out of her way so she can bend her knee and find her low lunge to start. Again, back leg's so important.

That was good, I felt that Olivia. She wrapped those muscles, sent energy through her heel. The left leg extends out. Now here's where you can use your arms. What if you used your arms' strength to push it?

And then pull it underneath you, exhale. Always making sure this back foot feels really safe. Push it out, two, (Carrie softly inhales) and bring it in. We'll push it out, three, beautiful. Bring it in, all right, again, this is a balance check.

Skip it as needed, just leave the hands down if you need to. Her arms come out. Look, she's almost completely vertical with that torso. Now go ahead, left leg goes one. This is so nicely done and very hard to do, two.

The tendencies to pitch that chest forward, she's doing a great job, three. She brings the foot under, beautiful, Olivia. Back to safety, put those hands on the shoulder blocks. Now we're gonna fold the carriage up. Both legs are gonna straighten and she's gonna shift her heel up to the crease so her entire foot is on the headrest.

In this position, she breathes in. With an exhale today we're gonna roll that carriage out. She pushes with her arms to find the depth of her exhale and to find her flexibility. Inhale, she comes up, and she goes again, exhale. Use the breath and your strength to find your flexibility.

And then inhale, float it right back in. Do it one more time, Olivia, exhale, take it out. Inhale brings it all the way in. Now again, stand on your hands to pull your left knee up a little. Bring it down, walk the foot down.

Now let's just do a slow articulation to come up to standing. How about a little arm circle, arm up, and bring that around. Let's dive that right back down. Bring the hands down, bring the foot back. So it's other foot, yup left foot comes back.

And then I always like to try to make this an exercise where you just kind of stand on your hands, use them as a kickstand, and just prop your foot up and walk it forward, good. She's gonna take that into her low lunge. All right, so as a reminder, the ball of the foot's on the headrest, the heel, yeah, are you good there? Yeah. Okay.

The heel is on the carriage. Strong through this leg, inner thigh, outer thigh, go. Inhale, push a little with those arms. Exhale, you can use 'em here, so do. And do it again, two.

Good, she brings it under. And take it out, three. And she brings it under and she holds. Stabilizing that carriage right where it is, the arms reach out, and you take your time coming up. Think a little, pull my tummy, tuck my tail, gorgeous, Olivia, and go ahead and send that carriage forward, one.

And bring it in. Out, two. And bring it in. Out, three. And bring it in and back to the shoulder blocks with those hands.

Fold it up. Good, both legs are straight and with straight legs, she tries to prop that heel up and bring the whole foot onto the headrest. Big inhale to prepare, strong through this back leg, exhale, roll it out and really use those arms, girl. Press that carriage away. And with an inhale, fold up.

Use your core like it's a pike. Exhale, take it out, two, good. Inhale, fold it up, up, up, up, up, and exhale, take it out, three. Bring it all the way in. Stand on those hands, pull the knee up a little, walk the foot down.

Keeping the head dropped down, you roll through that spine. Come all the way up. Gorgeous, you can step down to the floor, Olivia, and that is going to cook us for, well, it's gonna cook you for today and cook all of you at home for today. Thank you so much for joining us for that lower body workout and I'll see you next time.

Progressions: Breakthrough to the Advanced Reformer

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May 16, 2022
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Jennifer E
1 person likes this.
Awesome class! And I love Carrie's shoes! 
Jen U
1 person likes this.
Beautiful work!  Love your cues, Carrie!
Annie R
1 person likes this.
Love Love Loved this - will be on repeat.   Challenging but fun!
1 person likes this.
So fun!! Challenging but doable with Carrie's excellent cues! 
Danielle A
1 person likes this.
Loved this soo much and surprised myself with keeping up! the cueing was soo on point !
1 person likes this.
Love this challenging awesome class, the technique and cueing, thanks Carrie!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Carrie, I’m definitely cooked
1 person likes this.
Carrie, your cues are so thoughtful and spot on! I love how playful your classes are. Thank you so much for this one!! And adding on to what someone said above: I also love your shoes!
1 person likes this.
Arabesque 1 is in flat position or flexed?
Hi Monica R !  Arabesque I is done with the foot on the carriage flat and parallel.  The leg in the air I usually teach softly pointed, but it could be flexed!   
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