Class #5218

All About the Box

30 min - Class


It's all about the Box with this creative Reformer workout by Mariska Breland! She uses the Box in multiple ways, allowing you to use it on all parts of the Reformer. These fun variations will challenge your balance and stability while also giving you opportunities to strengthen and stretch your body.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

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Hey, I'm Mariska and today we are going to do a reformer workout where we're going to use the box the entire time and the box is going to stay on the reformer, at least on the reformer frame. But no exercise will involve doing something that does not include the box, so I don't know what they'll name this class, maybe it'll just be all box all the time. So I have one blue spring on, you can go a little bit heavier if you want, just make sure that you have something underneath you if you have slippery pants on, so I'm gonna start, I have one foot on the footplate, I'm gonna bring one foot up to the foot bar, which is at its normal height. So I'm just gonna start by pressing out and it's going to be only my foot bar leg that goes all the way straight and then the other leg is just kind of going along for the ride, so concentrate on the foot bar leg doing the pushing and then you can have your hands just kind of holding on or you can cross your arms or do whatever you want. We're gonna do a couple more like this and then bring your hands behind your head, keep going and then as you come in, rotate towards the foot bar knee, so that's my right knee, I'll do eight of those.

There's three, four, five, six, seven and eight, so we're gonna hold it on the eight and just do a little bit of a bend down and lift back up, so I'm rotated and side bending. We'll just do four of those last one and then coming back to center, go ahead and bring your hands back, switch feet, so now it's your left foot that's really doing the pushing, so it's your left leg that goes all the way straight bend to come back in. Press out and in, press out and in trying to maintain nice posture, which posture is not a pathology, so if somebody's posture isn't perfect like me it doesn't necessarily mean that they have a major character flaw, it just means that they have a different posture than that diagram that we look at in teacher training. Go ahead and bring your hands behind your head, press out and in, press out and in, we'll add rotation, press out twist, we'll do eight of these, two, three, four, five, six, seven and last one is eight and then on the next one we come in and we just do a little side bend toward journey knee and back, four times two, three and four. I wanna scoot really kind of far to the front of the box especially if you're taller 'cause we're gonna come to a supine position, so your feet are on the foot bar, legs can start straight, reach your arms by your sides of head and chest are lifted, bend your knees to come in as you pump your arms for the a hundred and press yourself out, bend in and out.

Here's three, four, five, six, seven, eight. two more nine and 10. Come all the way in, you can bring your hands behind your head, do a little inhale back and exhale up, inhale back and exhale up, just one more like this. Bring your feet so they're in parallel, so my legs were in a slight turnout position first so I'm gonna push out, come in, bring my right knee in press out, lower it, left knee in and reach right knee in and reach left knee in and reach, add rotation, right knee and twist, twist to the right. Go left, I just realized that twist, it's a very weird word.

Twist and center, one more each side twist and center and twist and center, you can go ahead and roll yourself up with or without the assistance of your arms, I decided I wanted the assistance of my arms and then we're gonna come all the way in. Now I'm gonna put it on a really super light spring, so if you're not on a blue, you want to be on a blue, so go ahead and be there or you can even go a little bit lighter, you could even go down to a yellow almost thinking of this as stuff you could do with literally no springs on at all and then we wanna place the box towards the foot bar side and we want to get the carriage away from it, so should look something like this when you're done. Go ahead and bring your hands to the front of the box and that little kind of dimple divot in your kneecap you're gonna bring that right on the edge of the box, so we're gonna start with just a couple of cat stretches, so it's a sort of a a congested quadriped. So this is not like a (indistinct) with knees directly under your hips, but do try to get your shoulders over your wrists. Tilt your pelvis to begin to round your low back and we're just gonna start with your low back and then extend your spine, so tailbones tucking under, feeling your abs engaged as that happens, maybe a nice stretch through your back depending on what you've been doing the past couple of days and then extend back.

Then we're gonna keep that going, so trying to take it up without protracting your shoulder which I think is really difficult, like I always feel like I want to do this, like kind of an angry cat and then you can start with your head mid back, low back and then coming back in one more time. Tilting your pelvis, rounding through your spine head can drop, lift your head, begin to extend your middle back, lower back tailbone. Come to kind of a neutral position, press down with your arms, so shoulder blades on your back, you're just gonna hover your knees up and lower them back down, again hover up and back down, lift hover and lower, lift hover and lower, lift hover press back legs all the way straight. Come in, try to hit that little kind of dimple part of your knee and then press back control it in, hit that little part of your knee and press back a couple more like this, we're coming in and press back coming in and press back coming in and press back. Come in, find that on your knees again and this time you're gonna sit your hips back towards your heels and all we're gonna do is move the carriage with your feet, our feet, I'm participating in this so our, press back you should feel a stretch through probably your big toe joint, a lot of us are really tight there so we're gonna push back pull to come in, push back pull to come in, push back and in you can do this with like your arms off.

Press back and come in, which feels a little precarious, I'm on a yellow so you just wanna be careful that you don't, push your feet too far back and send the carriage too far away and then bring your hands to the outside, closer to your knees and then just kind of shift your weight back pulling the carriage in and then let your knees tap, it's a weight shift and forward, weird weight shift and forward, weird weight shift and forward. Go ahead and we're gonna turn, this is actually a really, really, really nice shoulder stretch, we're gonna also turn it into a a strange little bridge, so feet are going up against the shoulder rests and then your back, you're gonna come lower than you think or higher than you think, so like kind of right underneath your shoulder blades bring your hands behind your head and then lift up letting your head just rest, press the carriage out and then pull back in, press out and in, press out and in press out and in. Reach your hands so that they are holding onto the foot bar and then scoot out so your arms are straight, you can have the carriage kind of be like medium out then drop your chest and then drop your hips and you can bring the carriage underneath you or if you push it out further, see if you can drop your hips down more and lift back up, so it should have a feel almost like a semi-circle, except a semi-circle with something wedged right underneath your shoulder blades, which I actually feel is very satisfying feeling 'cause on if you're doing a regular semi-circle, you're not this far onto something that you can get right into that. What is for most of us a very tight spot on our back or maybe it's just me, maybe I'm the only person in the world who has a tight thoracic spine, although I doubt it. Okay, carefully make your way up because again very light spring and then we're gonna lower the foot bar down a little bit, so I'm gonna go two down, if I can get this thing to move feet of strength for the day apparently is moving my footwear and you're gonna come to your hip, so I'm gonna have my left hip on the box and I'll bring my left hand onto the carriage.

So what you do with what you wanna do with your legs you can kind of, you know play around, I think that holding my top leg up is gonna work for me and then make sure that you have your shoulder blade on your back. You can hold onto the box, we're gonna press the carriage out, drop to your forearm lift back up, press out and lift back up, press out and back up, press out and up, press out and up now with a straight arm press out push your top leg back and turn to look over your left shoulder and then come forward, press out and come forward, I feel like I do this maneuver, this kind of twisting thing and almost all of my classes lately because it just feels for me very, very, very nice. We'll do a couple more pressing out and back in and pressing out and back in, turning over to the other side, have your right hand down, your left leg can be hovering, set your shoulder blade on your back, press out drop to your forearm, lift back up. I think we do about five of these, here's two, three, four and five, now straight arm reaches as you bring your top leg back have twist, look over your right shoulder and come back to where you started, press away and back, press away and back, do two more like this, press away and back and press away and back. Go ahead, make your way up from there and we're gonna take the box and this foot bar does not work as well for this as some other foot bars but it's doable, so since it's doable I will do it, you're gonna tip the box so that the box is at on a diagonal and it's kind of resting on the foot bar, so I know that the balanced body like this is the Balanced Body.

The Balanced Body Revo footbar works really nicely for this setup, this one's a little wobbly so just going into it knowing that it's a little bit wobbly I think is fine, so I'm gonna start by changing my springs to a blue. So this is a little bit heavier, come to your forearms legs back and then press back, so you're in a quadriped on your forearms, so from there you're going to turn your thumbs up which is actually we're going to rotate externally from the shoulders and then press out with your elbows and then come back in. Press out and come back in, press away and back in, press away, stay there, press out with your legs, pull to come back in, press out with your legs, pull back in, press out and back in, press out and back in, couple more like this, press out and back in, press out. Come in first with your elbows pulling towards you, then let your knees pull towards you. Very similar kind of position, you're just gonna turn your right hand so that your arm is parallel to the edge of the mat and then just turn your legs around, we'll press out and pull to come back in, see it's a little wobbly.

Press out and pull to come back, it's gonna go a little bit lower on it, so just know that the wobbliness probably not it's not gonna fall off the reformer, it might surprise you if it happens. Press out and back in, press out and back in, couple more like this, press out and back in and last one, press out and come back in, coming back to your original arm position, so we can rotate your left arm and then your legs can be draped off a little bit bit. Press out pull to come back in, press out pull to come back in, out and in, out and in, couple more out and in last one out and in. Coming back to center, I want it to be a little bit heavier, so I'm gonna place a red spring on, but take the blue spring off cause I don't want it to be that much heavier and have my back foot up against the shoulder rest and my front foot is going to be knee down, lift and press, lift and press. So think about you're lifting your butt off your heel and then lowering your butt back down to your heel and you can either hold onto the box or not hold onto the box, kind of whatever feels reasonably stable for you.

But think about pushing with your glute on your right leg, if your right leg is the forward leg, lift up and lower it back down, I'm just gonna push my left leg straighter, come in a second 'cause my left foot is doing this weird thing that it does, so I wanna have my toes tucked under and then you can lift up and down, lift and down and always hold on if you feel like you feel unsteady. And last one and I'll just drop my knee, let the carriage come in, switch sides, so now my left leg is the one that's just pressing down and it's just that little lift up, so when your knee is on the carriage, you're probably not gonna lift up very high, but just think about, I don't even know what to call this, it's some sort of weird lunge thing. Lift up and down, lift up and down, lift up and down, I'm adjusting 'cause I'm in a weird place on my shin, you can bring the other leg back and then you have more range so you can lift up higher and down, lift up and down, lift and down, last four, two, three and four. We're going to turn around and take your hands to the shoulder rest, bring one leg forward and then you're gonna bring the other leg so that your shin and your foot resting on the box, which my box is moving but it's like secure enough that it's fine. I'm gonna press my right leg out, bend to come back in, press out and in, press out and in, you can do this without holding on to the shoulder rest if you want you can also do it holding on to the straps and then pulling the straps in, which is kind of a fun variation but I don't trust myself not to fall doing that, so I am going to skip that one.

We'll do a couple more just thinking nice hamstring stretch here, you can kind of just hang out on this last one, come in easiest way out of it is to just kind of stand yourself up a little bit and then switch which leg is the back leg and then we're pushing out, pulling in, pressing out and in, push I think we did about eight, so let's do four more one, two, three and four and this last one we can kind of hang there. This leg for me likes to internally rotate and I kind of have to guide it sometimes to not do that, so that's why I'm holding onto my leg in the way I am and then go ahead and come in and then lift yourself up and we're gonna come into sort of a bridge position. But for this bridge what I want to do is have your legs in a diamond, so I have to scoot forward to have room to lay down, bring the soles of your feet together, arms by your side. Let your knees just open wide like you can even touch the edge of the box, push out a little bit, lift your hips up and lower back down, lift up and down, lift and lower, lift and lower, do a couple more, lift and lower and lift and lower. Now see if you can take your left leg and just bring it up a little bit higher and then you don't wanna push into your left leg you can even hover your left leg, we're gonna lift with just your right four times two, this is a very spicy exercise, three and four, left leg down, right leg off.

Lift two, three and four, both legs on lift up press out and in two, three and last one is four, lower your hips, go ahead and make your way off and we're gonna take the box and put it on long way again. So long box, I always love that the long box and the short box are the same box and then when you're first taking Pilates and people say get the short box and you're looking around for a box that's short and this is the only one that you have. It's all very confusing but long position and then I think I'll do, I think I should start with the stay with the red spring for the first one, so go ahead and make your way onto the box and then we're gonna do a swan variation, so press out all swan variations make me happy. But on this one we're going to lift up and take your thighs with you and then lower back down, this is where you find out how slippery your pants are, so I'm gonna scoot forward a little bit. Push out, lift up with your legs bend your knees, push out, lift up, so your pelvis is coming off the box and lower back down.

Now I'm gonna change it to a blue spring and then starting in at the foot bar, elbows out wide to the side, you're gonna drop your elbows and then pull, so when you drop your elbows, think that that's your that's the time where you're gonna pull yourself forward and then keep pulling yourself forward to lift yourself up and then go ahead and bend back down, so wide elbows to start. Drop your elbows, pull the bar unless you have one of those classic performers and you can't pull the bar, in which case you can push, but still have that idea of pulling your chest through your arms and then lower back down again lifting and lowering, elbows drop pull to lift and lower, last one like this, pull to lift and lower. Go ahead and come to a quadriped on the box, have your left hand on the front edge of the box and your right hand on the foot bar, from there you're gonna press with your right arm bend your left pull to come back in, push and bend, pull to come back in, push with your right, bend your left pull to come back in, we're doing six total, four, five and six. Come back in, switch which hand is where, so you're gonna be pushing with your left bending with your right, lift to come back in. Press out, lift back in, press out, lift back in, three more press out, lift back in two and three.

The position you're in probably is going to work, we're going to do a plank to sort of a swan dive, similar to what you would do on the chair, so take your legs back so that you're in a plank, begin to press back and then you should be at the edge of the box that you can let your legs lift, let your chest drop and then you pull to come in and pull your knees back underneath you, so you start by coming into a plank, pressing out, dropping down, letting your legs lift up and then pull to come back. One more time press out, drop down, let your legs lift, enjoy the stretch and then make your way all the way back in, while you have a view of the springs, go ahead and put a couple of extra ones on, 'cause we actually don't want anything to move here. We're going to do a very crazy kind of quad stretch that I accidentally discovered one day trying to do some other something, but my knee got caught on the foot bar and it turned out to be a really, really nice stretch, so you're gonna tuck your left leg down so that when you lay down your left knee is underneath the foot bar and then come to lying on your back and then just pull your right knee in towards you, so you should feel a pretty intense quad stretch and then you can just kind of lower yourself down a little bit and lift up, lower yourself down a little bit and lift up. I get more of the stretch on the lift and then just make your way up and we'll switch legs, so right knee is tucked under, you're gonna grab hold of your left make sure your right knee stays tucked under, so I need to scoot forward a smidge. Hold on with your hands on your left, this is my tighter side for sure and then you just do a little lift up and down, lift and lower, lift and lower and last one lift and just hold that one.

And then you can go ahead and make your way up from there, actually you don't even need to change the spring, you can keep the spring where it is. You're gonna bring your left leg to the box in this sort of 90 degree position, so 90 degrees from your hip, 90 degrees from your knee and then walk your other leg out some and then just kind of squat down so you feel a little stretch in your inner thigh and then lift to come back up. So you're bending into your right leg so that you're getting more of a stretch in your left adductors and lift back up, bend feel the stretch and lift bend get that stretch and lift and then just on this one, just kind of hang out, you can see if you can take that into a little bit of a forward fold and out of it. And I'm trying to maintain my 90 degree position I realized it had had moved a little bit, so check to see if you did that as well. It's kind of your body's way of cheating to make you think you have more range of motion than you actually have, go ahead and take your leg off, we'll walk around to the other side.

So you're bringing your leg on the box where it's a 90 degree bend at your hip 90 degree bend at your knee, other leg bends and extends, so you're getting that nice adductor stretch on the right side, bending down and lifting up, bending down, hold this one there and then see if you can fold forward some and lift fold forward and lift and fold forward and lift. Go ahead and make your way off that, if there's any last stretches or anything that you need for your body today, go ahead and do that now and I hope to see you in class soon.


1 person likes this.
Lots of creative movements, so much fun!
1 person likes this.
Your classes are always good new creative work for me and always a good laugh.  Thanks so much!
1 person likes this.
Those last two stretchy moves surprisingly got me out of breath! There was one exercise which you mentioned stretched the big toes; amazing such a small movement could move the toes so much. Great, energising class, thank you.
Rebecca C you’ve gotta move it all! Glad you liked it. 
Praveena C
1 person likes this.
Lovely, thank you ❤️
Annalise C
1 person likes this.
Mariska- I love your smarts and sense of humor, and really appreciate your candidness about your own body. I feel like we're friends! Keep up the good work creating new and amusing variations.
Linda T.
1 person likes this.
Always love your workouts and humour Mariska 
1 person likes this.
Your classes are always the best!
Michele M
1 person likes this.
Just what I needed today!  Thank you Mariska for your creative movements!  Using the box as a prop and using minimal range of motion was perfect for my whole body at the end of my week!:D. 
Annalise C that's a lovely compliment! I'm sure we would be!
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