Class #5217

Lower Body Reformer

30 min - Class


Say hello to your legs with this advanced Reformer workout by Mariska Breland. She teaches creative and challenging variations to work your entire lower body in a fun way. She includes a mix of micro-movements and bigger movements making you feel the burn in your hips, legs, and glutes.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box)

About This Video


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Hey, I'm Mariska, and this is going to be a lower body reformer class, so only lower body. However, I did make an upper body class for you as well so if you need to mix and match, you can do them both, and then you'll have covered everything. So we're gonna be doing some footwork right into some strap work. If you wanna change your springs and do a heavier footwork, you can. I'm just gonna stick with two red springs 'cause then I know I can stay on that for kind of an extended period of time, so that's what I wanna do but if you wanna go for heavier spring weight, I promise you your quads will get a workout regardless of whether you do a heavier spring weight now, because of some exercises that I have coming up later.

So headrest down 'cause we're gonna be doing some bridging, and then just go ahead and lie down on your back and we'll start with your feet in parallel, and just press out and bend to come back in. Press out and in. We'll do like eight or so. Four, five, six, seven, and eight. Come in halfway, we'll do eight pulses.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Turn your legs into a turnout position, so heels together, toes apart. Press out, we'll do eight of those. Two, three, four, we're just basically saying hello to our legs right now. Five, six, seven, and eight.

Little pulses for eight. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Come back to parallel, press out a little bit from there so we're not all the way straight. We're straight enough that you can drop one heel down and that leg extends without moving the carriage. Then bend that leg back in, drop the other heel, bend it back in, drop a heel, and bend, drop a heel, and bend, drop a heel, and bend.

We'll do just a couple more. This exercise is designed to make you concentrate. We always feel like not moving the carriage is a good way to sort of tune in to are we just kind of moving or are we paying attention to what we're doing when we're moving? Now go ahead and bring yourself all the way in, you're gonna have your right foot on the foot bar in a turnout. Your left foot is gonna come down to the plate, and you can be on your toes here so kinda scoot yourself back some.

So turn out parallel. From there, you're gonna bridge up and lower back down. So you should feel your outer hip really on your right leg, your left leg is just kind of participating a little bit but not too, too much. Here's four, I think the number today will be eight. Five, six, seven, hold it up on the eight, and then we're gonna take your right leg and we'll just bring it back to parallel, back to turnout.

Parallel and turnout for the magic number of eight. Four, five, six, seven, and eight. Lower yourself down. If you moved away from the foot bar or the stopper at all, come back in. Go ahead and bring your right foot down and your left foot is in that turnout position.

Right parallel, left turnout. Lift up and down for eight times. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Now your left leg is gonna rotate in and out, try not to move your right leg. Three, four, five, six, seven, and eight.

Lower yourself back down, bring your right foot back so kinda be where your heel and arch come together, and extend your left leg out long. Left leg's hovering, pelvis is level. so I always kinda bring my hands to my hip bones and see if they're in the same place. And then lift up till you tap your leg underneath the foot bar, and lower back down. We'll do just four of these.

Two, three, and four. Then just hover, push out and in. Two, and I just think we'll do four, three, and four. So I did stick with eight, there was still eight, I just didn't wanna do eight of both of those 'cause those are really hard. Go ahead and now extend your right leg under, lift with your left, and down.

Lift tap your right leg, and down, Three, hard for me to keep the carriage in on the side, and four. And then we'll just push out four times. One, two, three, and four. And then lower yourself all the way down. We're gonna take your left foot, leave your left foot on the foot bar, press out a little bit so you can take your right foot only into the strap.

Go ahead and from there you want your right leg to be basically steady, your left leg to be basically steady. We're gonna bridge up from this position and lower back down four times. Two, three, and four. Now take your right leg out a little bit and in four times. Two, three, and four.

And then lower yourself down, take that strap off, hang it up, that was loud, and then you go ahead and switch to the other leg so left leg is in, right leg is on the foot bar, bridge up and down four times. Two, you can always bring your hands on your hip bones to see if you're keeping them level, three and four. And this next one we come up and then we do four opens. One, two, three, and four. You can keep your left leg in the strap.

Go ahead and just bend that knee, put a little pressure on it so you can step your right foot also into the strap. Press your legs all the way out straight, and we're just gonna start- Let's just do some leg circles because leg circles- I'm convinced leg circles save lives and I'll tell you my reasoning. So one of the number one causes of death in older people is when people break their hips and then they end up in nursing homes, and then they don't leave the nursing home. If you have nice strong, supple muscles around your hip you are less likely to fracture them and, also, we'll we can switch directions, and also you're less likely to not be able to rehab it. So think about your leg circles as prehab for when you're 95 years old and you have a little fall 'cause you tripped over your laundry or your dog, and when you land you don't break your hip, or if you do break your hip, God forbid, you can fix it.

Deep thoughts with mariska on this, it's a very rainy day here. Go ahead and reach your legs so they're straight up towards the ceiling, and then we're just gonna do a hamstring curl in space so your knees don't come closer to you. Hamstring curl, and reach, hamstring curl and reach, hamstring curl and reach. So your legs are straight, we're gonna lift up towards the ceiling, you should feel the back of your body, and then bend your right knee, bend your left knee, sorta like we're going to walk in the air. Right bends and left, well that was right, and left, right and left, right and left, right and left.

And I'm trying not to move the carriage but now let's start moving it, so we're going to keep this happening, this right bend, left bend, but we're going to start to push forward a little bit. So it's like we're walking down something, we're walking down air is what we're walking down. And then we're going to walk back up. So you start to lift your hips, let the carriage go closer into the stopper. This is one of those if you want to feel your legs, this is a good way to feel them.

And then, again, we're walking down the air. And then from there, lower your legs down, open your legs out to sort of a wide V position. Bend your knees without moving the carriage and push, little bend big push, little bend big push. So we're gonna add onto this, so we have a little bend, hamstring, big push, open your legs out a little bit more. Little bend, push, open more, little bend, push, open.

Little bend, push, open, little bend, push, open, couple more like this. And last one like this, and then it gets really spicy when I tell you to then drag your heels towards each other. And then we're gonna hold on like we're doing long spine with no straps, except we have strap which is nice. So you're holding on, I go... My arms are long enough that I can have my hands on the spot right behind where the shoulder rests are, you could hold onto the posts, you could hold onto the shoulder rest, but you want to squeeze your biceps towards each other a little bit.

Bend your knees into sort of a wide frog position and then let your feet lift up a little bit higher, maybe about there. So from there we're going to peel your back away, coming into a froggy type air bridge. It's the official name of this exercise, and then lower back down. Somebody commented on one of my earlier "Pilates Anytime" classes the other day about my chicken wing roll-up, so I like to bring, you know, some really solid names to the Pilates-ish repertoire. Lifting yourself up and lowering back down, and lifting yourself up.

Oops, moved a little more than I wanted to there. So from here you're just gonna press your legs out and then bend to come in, first one doesn't count because that one just didn't look good so the ones that look good count and the ones that don't were just practice. Three, four, we're going for the magic number of eight here. Five, six, seven, and eight. Come back to your frog, lay your spine down, and then we can go ahead and take the straps off, and then just hang them up.

And just take a quick minute here to let your legs go, ooh, one side I just cracked like three vertebraes, very satisfying. And then over to the other side. Go ahead and make your way up from there. So from that position, let's go ahead and work a little bit more into our quads 'cause we got a lot of hamstrings there. So we're gonna need a dowel, if you don't have a dowel we don't really need a dowel but I like it better with a dowel ao if you have a dowel grab one, if you don't I'll talk you through how to do it without.

So I'm gonna be on one blue spring, you could be on a red spring if you don't wanna be able to walk down the stairs tomorrow. I would like to be able to walk down the stairs tomorrow so I'm gonna do a blue, but for you a red might be appropriate. So you take the dowel and you're gonna thread the straps through it. So if you don't have a dowel then you're just gonna hold the straps by your hips. So legs are gonna be about like hip distance apart, and then for me it's just easier for my feet to be like on the top of my feet rather than to tucked under, so that's what I'm going to do.

And we're first gonna start probably hold onto the dowel with a knee squat. So just stand up, pushing your hips forward and then sit it back down. Stand up and back down. So I'm going head straight up towards the ceiling, lowering it back down. Head straight up, and back down.

Let's do four more like this. Two, three and four. Coming down, taking a little break. I feel like this is one of those exercises that you want to punch your muscles afterwards, I don't really know why I think it's just breaking up lactic acid that built up over the course of that minute, or whatever. Now from here you're gonna lean forward, so with a flat back, and then scoop up, lean forward, sit down, lean forward, kind of scoop your hips forward, hinge and down.

Hinge forward, push, hinge, and back. Hinge forward, push, hinge, and back. My quads are talking to me right now. Lift, lower, and down. Punch it out if you need to punch it out, we've got one more round here.

This is the worst one, I save the worst one for last, which is bad planning on my part, you should really kind of start with the worst one; or you could consider these warmups but we'll say we just are saving the best worst for last. Go ahead and stand back up on your knees, and then we're gonna do a little bit of a thigh stretch. So you're just gonna lean back, not too far 'cause you have weight to pull back up and lift back up. Lean back and lift back up, lean back and lift back up. I feel like I could go further if we didn't do those other sets first, so imagine me going back like twice as far as I'm going.

Lean back and lift back up, and lean back and lift up. I sadly think we need to do a couple more to get to eight. Lean back and up, and lean back and up. Go ahead and have a seat, punch it out, and then we're gonna take the straps off and go ahead and hang up the straps. We're gonna come to like a red blue, so I have a red- I have a blue on now so I'm just gonna add a red to it, and then come to sort of a short elephant, so your elephant could go all the way back to the shoulder rests if you want, I wanna be like right here.

I want to think about moving the carriage with my feet, so I'm just gonna push back, lifting up to my tiptoes and come back in. Push back and come back in, push and in. And I don't care if you have a rounded back or a flat back, all I care is that the carriage is moving because your feet are doing the work. So we're working kind of into your calf but also into those little muscles in your feet that are super important. Press back and in, press back and in, couple more.

Press back and in, and press back and in. Take your right foot forward, bend your left knee kind of a lot, and then just your left leg pushes back and in. I want that to be a little bit lighter so I'm gonna lose the blue, push back and in. So it's like a one leg knee stretch. So you could have your leg be super low or you're gonna be super low if you feel like punishing yourself with more quad work, or you can be less low if you want it to be a little bit easier.

Do a couple more here, and then lower your right foot down so that you can step your left foot to the exact same distance as your right, step your right foot back, bend down a lot, press back with your right and in. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. And then go ahead and lower that all the way down from there. I'm gonna lift my foot bar up just to make myself closer to the shoulder rests for this next one, so all the way to the top for me. I'm gonna have my right leg all the way up against the shoulder rest, and my left leg can be down on the floor to start.

It's not gonna stay on the floor because this is a little bit too hard. Right hand on the foot bar, set your shoulder blade, we're gonna push out, doesn't have to be far, and then think hips lift you back up. So it is, you know, your shoulders obviously working as well but I want you to think about your outer hips pressing to pull you back in. Going down, press to come back in, go down, press to come back in, go down, press to come back in. That's enough of that for that side so we'll just move on to the other side.

So spinning it around, I like to start with my foot on the floor first so I can get my shin up against- my shin flat and my leg up against the shoulder rest. And then you push out, press with your hip. Going out and up, there's three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. And the go ahead and just have a seat on your hip to come in, I'm gonna lower the foot bar back down to its normal position but I'm gonna stay on the one red spring. Face the risers, and then I'm gonna come into a forearm plank position.

So, options, you can hold onto the shoulders rests, you can also make a fist with your hands and place your hands on the headrest, and then push your arms into the shoulder rests, which I like, I feel like that feel kind of stable but either is fine. So maybe I'll go with this one today. Okay, so right foot goes to the foot bar, press out and in eight times. Three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Come in, you're just take your right hand up to the shoulder rest, so your elbow is gonna be bent, which is fine.

You're gonna take your right leg, open it, extend it over the foot bar, bend it, lower back down. It's almost like a clamshell opening, reach it out, bring it in, and down. Lift, press, in, down, here's four, five, six, seven, and last one is eight. Hold it There, eight lifts, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Lower back down, reestablish yourself.

I have to lift up a little bit to just get my foot on. Press out and in, push out and in, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Let your Knee come down first. Go ahead and have your left hand come up, your right hand is gonna stay in the forearm plank. Open your knee, reach it out, bend it in, drop it down.

Have to adjust a little bit, I'm getting caught. Reach out, bend in, and down. Up, out, in, down. Up, out, in, and down. Reach, and down, this is definitely my tough side.

Last one, hold it out, eight lifts. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Coming all the way in, spin it around, bring it to a blue spring. You could keep it on a red, I'm gonna go for a blue. So you want your left to actually come inside the carriage, so you can basically be on sort of the arch of your foot.

Press your leg back so that your knee is behind your standing leg. So left knee is behind my right knee, and I'm just gonna do little presses here. Push back, and push, and push, so just pure hip extension here. And then a lot of stabilizing on your right side. Push, and push, press, and press.

We do four more here, two, three, and four. Come all the way in, take your left foot to the far away shoulder rest and then just have your foot turned so you're on the inside edge of your foot, your knee is lifted. Push out and in, press and in. If you want to do this balancing, you can do that. Four, five, six, seven, and eight.

I'm gonna go ahead and take the opportunity on this side to do a quick kind of lunge stretch, so you can have- I'm gonna keep my knee down. This is sot of hanging in my flexibility, which I don't have that much flexibility but it's actually hanging in my lumbar spine 'cause I can bend my lumbar spine a lot, none of the rest of my spine bends but my lumbar spine does. So if you feel like you're, you know, not actively using any muscles, what I want you to do is push down in your knee, your left knee, tuck your pelvis under and then lift yourself up some. So right now I feel way more of a stretch in my hip flexer, the other one I didn't actually feel much of a stretch but sometimes we have to activate muscles to actually feel them stretching. And then go ahead and walk it around to the other side, or I'm not looking at you so if you wanna just step over you reformer you can totally do that.

And then you're gonna have your left foot bent, your right foot- or your left knee bent, your right knee is behind your left and we do little pushes from there. So think engaging your glute to push, release. Press, release, press, release. Eight more, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Go ahead come in, take your foot so the inside edge of your foot is flat, and your going to the outside shoulder rest with your knee lifted up.

Push out, and in. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. Go ahead and bring your right knee down, coming to the closer shoulder rest. See what's it's like to just hang in the stretch, so I feel the skin of my lower back, I feel maybe the tiniest little bit of something on my right side, and this is my tighter side for this particular movement. Go ahead and push down with your knee, lift up and tuck your pelvis under, so it should be an entirely different experience here on what you feel like you're stretching.

And we'll just hold, and then go ahead and bring the carriage all the way in. So, Epsom Salt baths, massage, anything like that can be very helpful if your quads or hamstrings, or inner thighs, or whatever are speaking to you later today or tomorrow, or the day after. But hopefully you liked it and I will hopefully see you in another "Pilates Anytime" class soon.


2 people like this.
Loved this class so much! Great cues!
Natasha T
2 people like this.
Love class and love your funny comments
1 person likes this.
It's a few hours later and I am feeling my deep hip muscles.  Wonderful class!  Froggy type air bridge, lol
1 person likes this.
Always something interesting with mariska - low bar across the hips and the thigh stretch in that direction. Great hip hinge work 
2 people like this.
Always love your classes, cueing and really fun and different moves. And I really dig those blue pants! Thanks for the great workout and ideas.
2 people like this.
Always love your classes Mariska. Fabulous variations, wonderful creativity always coupled with a sparkling wit.
1 person likes this.
I Did this class at work on an Allegro 2.  I'm curious to see what tomorrow brings as far as soreness! Thanks so much Mariska!
 Did you know that if I do PA on ROKU I cant comment? 
Michele M
1 person likes this.
Awesome classy with outside the box exercises! I loved the flow and yes “the chicken wings, froggy legs” burned my abs too:D Thank you Mariska!!
1 person likes this.
Spectacular Mariska! Thank you!
Denee D I don't know about using PA on Roku. I'm sure if you email customer service they'll be able to help you out!
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