Class #5220

Creative Tower Variations

40 min - Class


You will have fun playing on the Tower with this creative workout by Mariska Breland! She starts with standing exercises to challenge your entire body and balance before moving down seated and supine movements. She comes back to standing with innovative variations like Trust Fall Push Ups, Mountain Climbers, and much more.

Mariska offers modifications for the equipment that you use throughout the class so that it can be compatible if you have a Cadillac, Springboard, or a different type of Tower.
What You'll Need: Tower

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hey, I'm Mariska, and today we are going to do a tower class. I am going to give you modifications if you're working on a Cadillac, a spring wall or whatever they're called, or a wall tower. So in some situations I might be turned a different way than you are, and in other situations we might be like reaching for different things. But I'll try to kind of let you know what we're doing. This is a fuse ladder, but we're gonna be using push-through bar and leg springs, and that's it.

So we just need the red spring, the heavy spring for the push-through bar, leg springs, and then I also have the strap from the short box, which you don't necessarily need. You can just actually tie two of your leg springs together. But I'm actually gonna start with these. So I'm gonna take my regular foot handle things. Foot handle? That doesn't seem right.

And I'm gonna place the short box strap on. And I have the springs roughly shoulder height. They can actually be a little bit lower than that, so I think I might lower them down a bit. But I'm gonna combine the two to basically make one loop. You wanna walk out till you feel like it wants to pull you back.

You can kind of change the angle of the pull by lowering it if you want to, but this will kind of work through a couple of different exercises, so I'm just gonna keep it here. I'm just gonna start by leaning out. So I'm actually leaning my weight forward over my toes. And then I'm going to do a little hip hinge. So my hips are gonna go back so I feel that my weight is traveling back into my heels some.

And then you might feel, depending on how tight you are, you might feel a little hamstring stretch, and then press yourself forward. Hinge and press. Hinge and push. And so when you're pushing, you wanna feel your glutes are engaging to push you forward. This exercise is called a good morning.

So if it's morning, good morning. And if it's not, we could call it a good afternoon, or good evening. I don't see why not. Push forward, bend and push forward, just kind of warming up your legs a little bit. And then, just call this last one.

And then, we're gonna turn around and hold onto whatever you can hold onto. And you're gonna gonna take your right foot and push down, and then step let's keep your left foot stepped through. So think about this as just like a leg press. So little bend in your left knee, bend your right knee and push, bend your right knee and push, bend and press. Bend and press.

We'll do a couple more here. You really wanna feel your glute activating when you press. Now your heel is lifted. I want you to lower down into your heel, bend your knee, lift your heel, lower your heel down, bend your knee, lift your heel, lower and lift, lower and lift, lower and lift. Do a couple more like this, and last one.

And then just step that leg forward just so you can bring the other foot on. Right knee is slightly bent, left leg pushes and bends. Press and bend. Press and bend. Press and bend.

Four more. 1, 2, 3 and 4. You're gonna lower your heel, bend your knee, lift your heel, lower your heel, bend your knee, lift your heel. This is actually a really good exercise if you want to work on someone's gait and you wanna work on push off, which is, in my opinion, probably the most important part. Drop your heel, bend your knee, lift, drop your heel, bend your knee, lift, and you also have that sort of weight shift forward when your heel is coming up.

We'll do a couple more, and last one, and then just go ahead and let your foot lift, so that this comes all the way in. Now we're gonna take the short box strap off, and then you want to have this springs be probably a little bit higher, because we want them to be helpful in lifting our legs up. So I'm gonna lift them up couple inches higher than they were and I'll see if I like this position. So I have something that I can lean against. So if you have a spring wall or a fuse ladder and you can lean against something, that's going to be the safer position for this exercise.

If you're on a Cadillac or a tower that the push-through bar can actually really push through, then turn around so you have something to hold onto, 'cause I'm not going to have to hold onto anything with my arms 'cause I'm gonna be able to push my back into something. So we're gonna take one, just one, of the leg strap loop things, and you're gonna hook it to both springs. So you have purple spring, purple spring, one loop. So this is what you wanna create. And then you can kind of lean yourself back or hold on.

And I'm just gonna take one foot and place my foot in the single loop. Little bend in my standing leg. So if you're holding onto something, you're gonna be in a slightly different position. And I'm just gonna let my leg lift up and down. I'm in a slight turnout. Leg lifts and lowers.

These springs are really loud for some reason. Lift and down, lift and down. And if you wanted it to be more help on the way up, you would just make the springs higher. If you wanted it to be harder, where you have to like close the springs and then lift your leg with the power of your own musculature, then you can like have the springs be lower. I'm gonna lift my leg up so it's not quite hip height.

And then imagine that there's a shelf that your leg is resting on. Bend your knee so your heel travels along the shelf. Press out, bend in, press out. Bend and push. Bend and push.

Bend and press. Bend and press. We're gonna keep it out there, and then we're gonna do a single leg circle. So take your leg across, around and up, across, around and up. Cross and up.

We'll just do five each direction. There's five. Pause, switch. So out, around and lift. Out, around and lift. Out, around and up.

Two more on this side. Last one on this side. Go ahead and bend your knee so you can take your foot out and then you're gonna place your other foot in. Little bend in your standing leg. We're gonna let your leg lift and lower, lift and lower, lift up and down, up and down. Lift and lower.

Lift and lower. Couple more like this. And then keep your leg lifted at a comfortable-ish level. We're gonna bring your heel in, push your leg out, bend in, press out, in and press, in and press, in and press, And if you're on like a real Cadillac, hold on probably 'cause it's a little bit heavy to have the two springs together. And then we'll do our circle.

So cross, around and up, cross, around and lift. Cross, around and lift two more this direction. Last one this direction. Switch directions. Out, around. That was a very sloppy circle.

That was like definitely an oval. Out, around and up. Two more. Out, around and up. Out, around and up. Go ahead and bend your knee, take your foot out and then you're going to unhook one of the springs and then you'll put its strap back on it, so that we can use it momentarily.

So let's go ahead and take the push-through bar, and I'm gonna lift the push-through bar up and attach the red spring to it. I'm gonna lower down my leg springs 'cause I want to use them together at some point. And I'm just gonna walk away a little bit, press my arms down, drop my chin towards my throat, and then round down, pressing down into the bar, coming into a forward fold. And then, round your spine as you come back up to standing. You can bend your elbows at the top, press down, chin towards your throat, bend to round forward, and then rounding your spine lift to come back up.

We'll do two more like that. Chin towards your throat, round to go down, and then round your spine as you come up. And last one. Press round to go down and lift back up still in a rounded position. Now on this next one we round to go down, and then arch your back, pull the bar in, press out round your spine, come up.

Chin towards your throat, round, arch, press, and round. A couple more. Round to go forward, arch up, press, and round. Last one like this. Round to go forward.

Arch up, press and round. Hold onto the bar. We're gonna do a squat, we're gonna see if we can go all the way down, butt to the floor, stand all the way back up. So it's kind of like a little row when you come back up. So I'm gonna let my arms go straight, squat down, butt to the floor.

Lift up, pull in. Going out, down, up and in, out, down, up and in. Two more like this. Out, down, up and in. And last one, out, down, up and in.

I'm gonna take my right foot into the purple springs strap. So for me it's, I want it a little bit, just a little bit higher than the floor. So I don't want it to touch the floor, I want it to be a little bit off the floor. Go ahead and hold onto the push-through bar. Little bend in your left leg.

You're gonna take your right leg and then you're just gonna do a little hamstring curl and extend, little hamstring curl and extend, curl and extend. Curl and extend. Will do four more. 1, 2, 3 and 4. Keep your legs, your right leg straight, you're gonna go down and up with your left leg, down and up.

And this is my weaker side so I can go down lower on the other side. But who knows? Down and up and down and up. Take your right leg and you're just gonna press it across. Eight times, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

I'm gonna go ahead and let the right strap go. Catch the left strap, and then same thing, we have a little bend in our right leg, we do a hamstring curl with the left eight times, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Let that Lego straight as you bend into your right leg and lift up, bend down and up, down and up, three more. One and two and three. Little bend in your right leg still, eight little crosses with your left.

3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. I'm gonna go ahead and let that go. Still using the push-through bar, go ahead and come down kind of close to where the edge of where you can push the push-through bar, and you wanna sit on your heels and you're gonna start by just rounding back and kind of hang back a little bit, and then press forward extending your spine, moving from your lower back and extend. Moving forward and extend. A couple more like this just should feel good.

We're in the feel good portion of this workout. Round back. Now begin to press the bar up. Send your chest through your arms, get a nice stretch there. Round back, press, round back, press, round back. We'll do a couple more 'cause they feel really good.

Last one like this, just kind of hang there for a second, and then round back. I'm just gonna go ahead and sit crosslegged, and then I be reasonably close 'cause I push the bar up and I want to reach across so that I can hold onto the outside of whatever I'm holding onto. So I'm holding onto the ladder, you might be holding onto the poles on the Cadillac. If you have a spring wall, just reach for the wall. And just gonna trying to twist yourself around, and then we'll come to the other side, and it's the twist and also a reach of that other arm at the same time as you're twisting.

Let's do this all day long. However that would not be a very full body class just to do that twist. So we're gonna move on and we're gonna sit in a a pretzel position, pretzel-ish. And you want to be able to grab hold of the bar with your outside arm. I'm gonna start by just doing a...

Let's scoot in, a teen sit in (indistinct). I'm gonna start by doing a bicep curl, and the other arm just come forward. So bicep curls, arm comes forward, and back. Forward and back. Forward.

So curl and reach. Curl and reach. And then we'll build onto this by also adding a knee lift. So you're gonna take your right knee, lift it up, lower it down. Lift and lower.

Lift and lower. Lift and lift. Couple more like this. Lift and lift. I'm gonna switch my grip. So as underhand grip I'm gonna go to an overhand grip and then press the bar down.

I'm gonna turn to face the bar, so just kind of rotating around and then press forward, extend your back leg, and then lift yourself back up. I want a little bit more range than that. So scoot out some. Reach, push your leg out, lift yourself back up. Reach, extend your back leg, lift yourself up.

Reach extending your leg, lift yourself up. Couple more like this. Reach it out, lift it up. Reach it out, lift it up. And reach it out and lift it up.

From there take your top arm onto the bar you're gonna bring your top leg in front of your bottom leg and we're gonna press up into sort of a side plank. Then you're gonna bend your knees towards your feet, turn the your head, push the bar forward. Bend your knees, reach up, bend just to clear your head and push forward. Bend and reach. Bend and push.

Bend and reach. Bend and push. And then you can lower your hips down. And then just turn so that you're coming onto your stomach. So you wanna scoot back so your arms can become straight-ish.

We're gonna bend your elbows, lift up into a swan, drop your chest down. So imagine that you're trying to lay your torso down onto the mat. Lift yourself up, bend your elbows to kinda push through. So the bar is way more forward. In this situation I would normally have it on like the Cadillac, but it lets me lower my chest down more, which is kind of an interesting feeling.

So again, bend your elbows out to the side, turn your elbows down, press yourself up, lay your stomach down as much as you can onto the mat. Lift up, bend and push. One more like this. Elbows out. Turn your elbows down, press up, lowering it down, lift up, bend and push through. Being mindful that this thing has a spring on it.

We're gonna make our way up to do our pretzel on the opposite side. So, starting with your left arm out, right arm holding onto the bar, we do a bicep curl, shoulder adduction, reach, curl in. Curl. Moving in and out. Moving in and out.

Moving in and out. Add that knee lift up, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Turn to face the the bar, you're gonna reach forward. Extend your back leg back. This is the one I need to adjust myself back a little bit and then pull to come back in, reach, extend your leg, lift to come back in.

Reach out and up, reach out and up, reach out and up. And last two. And last one. We're gonna have your left arm on, right hand comes down to the floor. Left foot on the floor in front of your right.

Start with your knees bent. We're gonna push up into our side plank, bend, twist and push through. Bend, lift, bend and push. The springs are having a conversation with the world today. Bend and push.

And last one, bend and reach. Make your way down from there, shake it off a little bit. We're going to come into kind of a thigh stretch. What is happening with my hair? We're gonna come into sort of a thigh stretch type situation.

You want to be in a position where you can push the bar up and come up onto your knees. So I don't wanna be too close, I don't wanna be too far. So just go ahead and start by having your arms reaching back behind you, holding onto the bar. You can even like kind of lean yourself back some to get a little bit of stretch of your quads. Then you're gonna push up, lift up and lower it back down.

So if you're on like a Cadillac, you can do a really fun version where you go all the way back and pull the bar over your head. But I can't do that here. So I'm going to do this different but still fun for me version. Lift reach and down. One more time, lift reach, let the bar go.

Just reach yourself forward and then see if you could touch the top of your hands to the bar. And then go ahead and make your way down from there. We're gonna hang out underneath the bar supine this way. So you want the bar to be kind of directly, like hands, elbows, shoulders pretty much in that position. Bring your legs into a tabletop and then we're just gonna keep your shoulder blades grounded, but let your legs go towards the right and center.

Legs go left and center. Legs go right and legs go left. Take your legs, reach them over... The push the bar so you can just kind of hang, which is a lovely, lovely, lovely feeling. So from there we're going to push forward.

So we're almost coming up into a shoulder stand and then lower back down, push up, extend your legs and you need to kind of keep pressure on the bar so that the bar that's you don't lose it. Press up. We're gonna take your left leg and bend it. Take your right leg, reach it back, bend it, reach it back, bend it. And up.

Bend and reach. Bend and reach. Bend and reach. Now bend you can go out to the side to get underneath the bar and then we'll sort of hang down. Let your right leg reach out a little bit.

I'm trying to keep my hips level. You can bend your knee if you want to. Lift yourself up, take your leg with you. Lower down. You can bring your hands onto your hips, if you feel like me, like I feel like my hips aren't staying square, lift up, lower down, and lift up.

Go ahead and take that leg around. So we're gonna start now with your left leg reaching back a little bit, bend and extend. Bend and extend. Bend and extend. Bend and extend.

Bend, you can kind of go around, so you can come up on the opposite side. Lower down, you can take your leg, reach it away, maybe bend your knee, lift it up, lift back up. Lower down, can always bring your hands on your hips to keep yourself more honest. Lift up. Last one. And lift back up.

Go ahead and grab the bar. Take your legs out from underneath the bar. Lift up, let the bar go up to the top. Swing yourself around, and we're gonna do a couple of little parakeet variations, or what I like to call hamstring pillars. So you wanna take the bar and press it down.

And you want to bring your foot so that your foot is holding onto the bar. Lay down on the mat, arms by your side. Go ahead and bend your knees. Lift the bar up, lift yourself up, lay your spine down, bend your knees and push, bend in, lift up, lower down, bend and push. Lift up, hold it there.

Just do a little bend of your knees. Tiny bend. So just saying hello to your hamstrings. See if you can prop hips up with your hands. Almost like we're doing scissors bicycle. You're gonna keep your right leg where it is.

Bend your left knee in, lower your left leg down, touch the floor and lift it up. Lower, touch the floor and lift it up Lower, touch the floor and lift it up Lower, touch the floor, bend your right knee and extend. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Left leg comes on, reestablish where your hips are. Lower your right leg to touch and up.

Lower, touch and up. Lower, touch and up. Lower, touch and lift Lower hold, bend your left knee and stretch six times. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Both legs on, hips high, release your hands, lay your spine down, bend your knees like some.

Look at where the bar is. We're gonna try to keep the bar where it is. So I'm gonna try to keep the door here, and then try to peel your back up without moving the bar. The bar is moving but in my mind I'm trying not to let it move. And then lay down bone by bone.

Uncurl, tilt and lift up. Lower down and uncurl. Last one, lift up and lower all the way back down. Let your legs extend. Bring one foot to the floor if you need to lift up to let that go.

Then just go ahead and rock yourself up to a seated position. And then we're gonna make a change or two here. We're gonna come back to using the purple springs that we were using before. So I'm gonna take the push-through bar and release it. And I want my leg springs to actually be pretty high for these next exercises.

So I'm going to lift them up. Kind of to not like the highest point, but definitely close to the highest point that they can go. If you're on a Cadillac, you're probably gonna wanna do this exercise, both of these exercises on the floor. I don't think you would want to do them on the Cadillac. I feel like it would be weird.

You're gonna first put the straps on your shoulders almost like you're wearing a backpack. So this is my trust fall pushup. So we're just going to like try to be stiff and straight and fall forward and then make our way back up. It doesn't always work. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Make sure that the backpack straps are on really good. Know that the springs are going to slow your dissent and you can catch with your hands. So you're gonna lean forward going down and then push yourself back up. Lean forward and push yourself back up. So when you get stuck, you feel how your legs and calves and everything have to like kind of come into play too.

Going forward and back up. These are fun. Let's do two more. Going forward and back up. That one wasn't the best. Hopefully, this last one will be good.

Last one, best one. Going forward and pushing to come back up. We're gonna keep this straps at this height and we wanna step our feet into now. So one foot in the strap and then other foot also on the strap. They're very heavy and you want them to be really heavy, 'cause they're going to have to support you in the air.

So from here you come down to your knees let the straps swing around, so they're now on your ankles. You want them to be in a position where it's directly on your ankles. We're gonna do what I'm gonna call a pounce to a plank. It's the official name of this exercise. So your arms are reaching forward.

It's almost like you're in a child's pose. Lots of energy through your body. You're gonna come forward, catch your balance. So you're gonna be a little bit more, it's actually more of a plunge, 'cause your shoulders are forward of your wrists, and then come back. You wanna keep your feet flexed as much as possible, 'cause you don't want the straps to fall off.

So again, we pounce forward, catch and then lower back down. Pounce forward. From there we're gonna take your legs out and in eight times, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. And then go ahead back. We're gonna do one last thing.

It's gonna be sort of a mountain climber. So pounce, catch. We're gonna bend one knee in and switch eight times. There's 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Easiest way to come out of this is just extend your leg till you lose the tension on the spring.

Let that leg come out. Extend your leg till you lose tension on the spring. Let that leg come out and then make your way up to standing. We're actually gonna come inside of our push-through bar. So, push-through bar goes over your head.

It does not need any kind of a spring on it. And just walk yourself forward with your legs actually back a little bit, so that the bar is kind of at your pelvis. It's actually like, so my ASIS are here, it's below that. And I'm just going to fold forward into sort of a short supported down dog. You can play around with your foot position if you want your feet to be further back.

We'll take one hand to the center lift the other arm up towards the ceiling, and then back. Other arm, rotate and back. You can also kind of lift your arms up, circle it around, lower back down, lift up, around and down. Last one, lift up, around and down. You can sort of just hang here.

You can cross your arms, maybe rock a little bit from side to side. And then release your hands. Slowly roll yourself all the way up. If you got dizzy doing that, take a moment to recover. And if there's any last exercises, stretches, whatever that you wanna do, go ahead and do that now.

And I hope to see you in another class soon.


1 person likes this.
Super fun and really creative! I really enjoyed this class, especially the series in mermaid position 
Wonderful variations! I can see applications for so many of my clients.
1 person likes this.
Thanks so much, really enjoyed that, will have to practice the pounce plank for more flow!
Fabulous! Thank you! 
1 person likes this.
Me ha gustado mucho todas estas variaciones, que muy bien, puedo aprovechar para mis clases en las Springboard con mis alumnos. Muchas gracias.
Thanks Mariska!
1 person likes this.
So, I absolutely loved the trust fall and tiger pounces! I probably won’t do them in a group setting though . Our springboards aren’t mounted to the wall. It’s a tower/reformer setup and I’m a little nervous about the possibility of them moving 😳! I tried the trust fall with a private client/dancer - and she did great. I put the loops through a black theraloop to make sure the loops stayed in place.
Fun class. I did it on my home Aeropilates 610 tower/ reformer and definitely had issues with the trust fall and the tiger pounces. I do not recommend on this type of equipment. It looks like a lot of fun on the proper equipment.
1 person likes this.
Mariska, your creativity seems boundless! Thanks so much for another , outside the box, innovative, fun and always challenging pilates ish workout
Christine H I always make sure the straps are really secure, which sometimes takes adjusting between reps. Great idea on linking them as you did!
1-10 of 15

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin