Class #5427

Get Moving Reformer

40 min - Class


You will challenge your whole body with this detailed Reformer workout by Niedra Gabriel. She shares the exercises she does when she wants to get her body moving so she can feel fantastic. She starts with a stretch of the backline of the body and then progresses through the rest of the body with movements that will stretch and strengthen you.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Today's workout is a reformer routine I often do for myself just to get my body moving and deal with my own issues. We all have issues. We all have, challenges, and we all want to feel fantastic. So I hope you enjoy my workout. And to start with, I always like to stretch out my back body. Back body means from the soles of the feet through the calves, through the hamstrings, the whole back line of the body.

This is a fascia line that ends right up here And because I'm already a flexible person, I will work up high. You can be in a coffee table. If you don't get to the floor, you don't need to be up. But if you're flexible, this is your start point, then I retract. I spread my shoulder blades. And drop my head and let the weight pull down. I'm holding £10 weight, so you can hold any old weight.

On the way down, I'm taking my time to open up my low back. So I'm stretching and separating every bone in my spine before I move all the way into my hips, and then I let the weight drag and stretch out my side ribs, my armpits, my spine, and now on the way up, I'm starting to tighten my glutes and pull in my core and come back up. And the first stretch is always a shock and a good one. So opening the back body, rolling down, reaching long, stretching into the hamstrings and your bottom. And on the way up, right here, it's a beautiful place because there's a temptation to pull the shoulders up, Keep the shoulders down and open. Again?

Reaching long, I'm starting to feel literally how this is opening up into my piriformis and my glute muscles as well. Which is a good area to spread so that all of the tissue in the body is long and hydrated. Lengthening and coming up. By the way, the human body is designed to do this up to half your own body weight. So starting with light weights and gradually increasing the weight, is very healthy for decompressing any congestion in the connective tissue and allowing the ligaments and tendons in the spine to be healthy and make sure you round and roll through the spine.

Don't just hinge. I can't emphasize that enough. Going as low as possible. You will find that every time you're going a little bit longer, and rolling up. So from here, let me put these aside.

And as I still like to stretch out before I actually get myself on on the reformer, I'm going to start in a very unusual way with the split series and to reach and open my adductor. So I've got this leg opposite, and I am putting myself on one spring. So I'm not working in high tension, and I'm in this funny side split variation which allows me to get into the adductors of both legs and stretch them out. A lot of us have uneven hips, and maybe one leg, the range of movement in one leg is quite different from the other, And having a slightly varied stretch into the legs is very nice if you have that condition because starting with a perfectly symmetrical pelvis is not always a working solution for some of us because we may have a twisted pelvis. We may have injuries in one hip compared to the other. And one leg will just have a different range of movements.

So we wanna kind of deal with each part of our bodies. So moving to the other side, I'm going to take my left foot and put it right up against the shoulder rest. I like to have my foot flat, I do know that some people like to have the foot up, but you want to find a position that you feel nice and stable between both legs. You are on a diagonal, whether your hand is up or down is your choice. You want to be in control of the carriage while you get to find the angle that will give you a nice stretch between your inner thighs.

This is a very nice stretch to do for stiff tight hips, something that can get stiffer as we get older, and we want to keep the elasticity happening in the legs no matter what. To keep us vibrant and bouncy and strong in our legs. So that felt really nice. And now adding on to this, if you're nice and loose, you can put your foot up high on the on the shoulder rest. And I'm sorry, hon, the foot bar, or you can have your foot low And you can move the gears as far out as you need to to be able to get a bit of a hinging between both legs.

So all I'm doing is I'm not trying to look good. I'm not trying to place myself in some perfect alignment. I'm looking to get some separation and sensation of splitting happening between the legs. So that when I get into the more, organized practice, with the reformer, I already have a range of movement to play with, and there's some hydration in my tissue. Moving to the other side, same thing, lunging.

Some people can't lunge. So then you would start further back and then start the movement out. Just to get the hips to start to pull apart from each other and the hamstrings and the thighs to stretch. One more time like this. So again, this is just my warm up for myself.

And from here, Some of us know this is pigeon working into all the muscles on the outside of your glutes. Open up the knee. Some of you will be able to get your knee right on the bar. Some of you can have the foot up here. I'm pretty tight in this position, so my knee is high, but this gives me a lovely stretch and a lovely opening up. Gonna do three on either side.

And changing over. And if you think of this, you are having an external rotation in your front leg And so we're working different angles. We're asking the lakes to be in different angles in relation to a movement. And that's my little hip opening stimulation before I get into my footwork. So I'm putting myself on 3 springs. I have 2 reds and the blue.

Going to set the foot bar a little bit higher up for myself. And starting out, I like to find the spine nice and long feel the sacrum and get a sense of the body being stable. So my hips tend to twist to one side. So this is a great opportunity now that warmed up. I hope the same will be for you to really feel how centered the pelvis is, and the angles of the angle of the legs is the same going out and in.

Then I use this time to just to start lubricate the joints, get the muscles and the legs to start to pump a bit, and feel the movement warming up the muscles slightly. From here, bird on a perch, very much grabbing the toes, wrapping them around. I like to look for see if I can get all the knuckles popping in the feet and then pressing out and in. It's as though you've got the towel or pebbles and you're grabbing with the toes, in order to lift them up. If you look at babies, they're often doing that movement instinctively.

It just feels good to make that area move. When we become adults, very often that area atrophies and stops moving and Why not restore that ability? It will make you much more capable of being balanced and facile on your feet. On the heels, spreading the toes, making sure the spine is still feeling long and connected up. I start to really work into the hamstrings and the glutes here.

So this pushing movement And then pulling back in should be coming from the hamstrings more than these muscles in the front of the legs. So if you can find and activate that, that's wonderful. Coming back onto the toes, I'm going to work parallel. So when I stretch out, I'm actually going into running, and I'll take a moment to stretch the calf. Because, again, that lower part of the leg gets very, very tight, taking a moment to really lengthen it. Other side, stretching the calf, releasing the ankle.

First side again, Once I get to the maximum stretch in the calf, now I'm bending the knee in order to deepen the hinge joint right with the shinbone and the ankle connect, that's an area that gets really tight. I want it nice and juicy, you could say, not grippy, bending in order to release even more tension around that area. And now just a few more faster starting to get the whole leg shaft to work, making sure that my spine feels long, and I haven't shortened anywhere else very often when you try and open one part of the body, another part of the body shrinks. Which is natural, but then you want to always come back and say, how can I even out all the forces in the body so that they've all integrated and all connected up? And coming back in, Now I'm going to release the springs.

I'm putting myself on 2 springs, and because I want to work into my inner thighs, and I'm going to take a magic circle. And lying back, you want the bar. I'm placing the foot close to my heels and the magic circle close to my knees. And just checking for a minute, you want to check and see that you have a good sense an ability to squeeze. Once you've stabilized, stabilized your sacrum, Now when you squeeze, it's really easy to squeeze with the knees, but I'd like to see if you can get the adductors, the muscle halfway up your thigh to your groin is can you make that muscle really pull in words and make it fire very, very often those muscles tend to be lazy, and you want to make sure they're turned on and working for you. We want the full language of the leg available.

And then from here adding rolling up and rolling down. Rolling up and rolling down. So I call this bridging and just keeping that compression, but every time you release the magic circle, you want to be sure that you fully released so you relax the muscles. Don't stay in a state of tension. Like, I found the contraction, and god forbid, I let go of it ever again. You want to actually trust that your body will be capable of turning itself on and then relaxing much more of a natural state of what life is about, where we have tension and relaxation happening side by side all the time.

Unless you're human and you live in a permanent state of tension. And now let's go up. Hold this and just work a few pulses to really challenge these muscles very extensively. And rolling all the way down and releasing the muscles and hamstring stretch So magic circle between the feet between in the inside of the circle, and flex and point a few times. Bend the knees and slack even further.

This is a place where you get that joint in the ankle to work and slowly, slowly, slowly press the legs up, try to keep those ankles very flex and now stretch a little bit further. Magic circle on the outside. And from here, pressing out. So now examine the opposite muscle groups. From your hip to your outer knee, you're activating the outer thigh very strongly.

So if you can get in touch with that muscle group, you'll feel that something is spreading in your pelvis as well. Very, very useful, not just a squeeze, but be able to widen in that area. And then from there, widen and roll up and down, Release. So this time you release in words, widen, roll up, and roll down. Release wide, roll up, and roll down. Relief, widen, roll up, and roll down.

And last one, widen and roll up and hold it here. Now you've activated from your glutes to your outer knees. And from here, go out and in. We noticed I'm not going to fully straight legs. I'm just stimulating this outer leg and this pressure outwards with this movement.

And rolling everything down, And again, hamstring stretch. Such a lovely, lovely place to release and stretch out, and let's do a little bit of a walk. Not as nice as on the foot bar, but still very effective, press and bring the legs over for that extra little stretch through the backs of the legs. And We're done with the magic circle. Now we are moving into single legs.

So I am lightning the spring tension on this reformer. I'm currently on 1 red. I will see what I think of it. I may add a blue, but it's a lighter spring tension because we're on 1, and you will have one leg lifted lifted up. And from here, just start by pressing out.

When you get to the top, find your glute and your hamstring. That's your stabilizer. So this is what you're using to press out this muscle here in the back of the leg. And that's what you want to connect with. So better to work at the beginning with a lighter spring and make sure that that muscle group is turned on properly for you.

Other leg Same thing. Pause. Check that your glute is fired. Your hamstring is fired. And then go out and in.

Every time the leg is going to straight, it needs to shorten in that muscle group. It's very easy to work only with this frontal area and not work the back. So taking your time to figure out how to make that work unbelievably useful. Next one, I'm going to add a spring that's super light for me. So I have now red spring and blue spring, And now for on the first leg again, this is where it gets interesting.

You're gonna lift and lower your bottom and see if you can get that muscle to connect up. And once you've figured out how to make your hamstring and your glute work, see if you can go out and in It's not as important to go to fully straight as much as it is to make sure that it's working. So you really want to make sure you've got that leg muscle activated and turned on. This is my last one. And I can feel my muscles starting to contract, so or spasm, so it's a good thing before you lift feel that connection of wrapping the muscle around, connecting into the hamstring, and then lifting and lowering.

Now when you lift and lower, The trick is to keep the hips very stable. So your right hip and your left hip, are they coming up and down evenly with the ceiling because very often they'll wobble around it first. If you're wobbling around, you need this. And you want to practice it, you will figure out how to keep yourself stable, then you find your place of stability, and you go out and in, making sure that this connection between your glued and your hamstring is what's holding you up, and then rolling everything down. Coming back to a slight Pilates V, extending out with both legs to straight, Once you're out here, woah. My legs are working.

I can feel them cramping a bit. You want one leg up to the ceiling, flex, point, and lower. Lift, flex, point, and lower. Lift, flex, point, and lower. And one more time in this variation, flex point and lower. Now lift your leg up.

So you have this nice stable point, your standing leg, the leg that's end it is very steady and single leg circles just like you do on the mat. And what's fabulous with this place is it means that the leg that's connected to the foot bar is working super hard, and we usually don't even think about that leg, and then give yourself a stretch if you can. And come down. Let's have a go with the other side too. Push out with both legs first. You find the nice stable pelvis and then you lift the leg up and you flex, you point, and you lower.

Lift, flex, point, lower. Lift, flex, point, lower, lift, flex, point lower. Now staying out here. Nice stable pelvis, 5 circles with the leg in the air, notice how hard you're working with your stable leg, the one that's holding you connected to the foot bar, and you can definitely figure out if you have a tendency to want to wobble around because it's the moment of truth. From here, you will press out with both legs again.

Find your stability and just go up and down. So now you get chance to do regular attendance stretch and just lengthen out the calves, even out the legs. And we are done with footwork. And from here, we're moving on to 100. So I'm going to put the footbar down.

And I am putting myself back onto 2 red springs. To start, I like to get the hands nicely down to notice how much I'm pulling down with my shoulders and my armpits into my ribs. And then I will practice lifting a few times to really get the upper abs upper rib cage to work. And then I start with my legs high with my vetting as much as I can into my front body and slowly lowering the legs working that front trunk lifting up, lowering a little bit more, So each angle you take your legs is a different angle into the abs. And, again, breathing in, breathing out and coming in.

As I've said before, I never count to a 100, I just make sure my abs are firing well. And short spine massage, one of the most beautiful exercises to do on the reformer, in my opinion, because it's such let me make sure my headrest is down. Very good. So before you start, make sure your spine is nice and flat. Your knees are in line with your shoulders. And extend out.

Notice this movement. So in the hundreds, we pulled up with the upper body. So there's this contraction. I want to find the contraction and then use it to lift up. Bending, and then I use I'm pulling with my feet to stretch my spine out.

Again, finding the front trunk and floating up. Bending and pulling with my feet to roll through the spine. So that's one variation. My next variation will be taking my legs down as low as I possibly can to stretch out my spine. And then with my knees, really low rolling through.

So each one of these different variations catches different of the back, different aspects of the powerhouse, and the trunk, and different aspects of hamstring and leg strength. So why not go through the full repertoire and see what serves you today at least that's my philosophy for myself. What does this body of my knee today? Lower bend. Last one, I'm lifting my knees up, so I'm in a tabletop.

And so notice the angle is completely different in the stretch. And I'm actually getting much more into these outer hip area, and it feels delicious From here, again, getting into the same shape Notice I'm pulling my armpits to my ribs and then coordination. Crawling up even more. And one more time seeing if I can curl up even more to stretch and lengthen my back. And next is Long box.

So I will have myself on 1 spring. And starting out with pulling the straps, and I will get on And for this one, there's lots of places you can have your body back, but today, I'm bringing myself quite a bit forward. So I will have a lot more room to get my upper back to lift. So if you put your hands in the shoulder rest of the frame, you get your hips nicely anchored see if you can get a sense of how to make the muscles in the upper back work without the lower back overarching. Because we have a band of muscle all through the, the thoracic spine that is fabulous to activate.

Once I kind of figured out who the muscle group is, I'm going to start to pull back into it. So it's really your lats that are working and your your erector spinae, you're trying to get this whole band to work nicely in the body. Once I'm here, I'll do some trisapro pulled as well. Looking to keep my neck long and my shoulders away from my ears. Which is a lifelong project, arms to the side for t pulls, same thing looking to get the rib cage to do most of the work.

Now adding on to this, a little variation If I'm bending my knees, I have an opportunity to press the hips down. So see if you can really press your pubic bone and hip bones down, To anchor your glutes and make the hamstrings bend, can I pull back now without shortening in that area, but actually lifting a little bit more? So I'm waking up the whole back chain of the body And one more time, pressing the hips down and opening the chest without arching in the low back if at all possible. Finishing up with that exercise, so we've warmed up the trunk Now we're coming back to our magic, magic circle. And because we've learned to find all these muscles, we're going to start lifting the arms up over the head in preparation for next class, handstands. So When you have the magic circle, let's start with the hands inside and notice that I have my palms turned out.

What this does is it turns its shoulders out and brings the inner web of the, elbow forward. So when the arms come up over the head, you have an external rotation of the arms, and it sits the arm in the socket properly. Very, very important. So let's just take the arms up and down a few times like this see if you can find the same back ex back muscles you just worked on in pulling the straps because what we do over and over is we start to develop a bigger body shape as we learn to control the body in a smaller shape. So we want this. Let's hold this for a minute.

Press into the magic circle. Feel the trunk connected up. Feel this back thoracic spine or the rib cage area long, not rounded and find your powerhouse. It's such a good feeling. And then from here, we're going back, and we will put the foot bar up.

And we will practice the same movement, but from bent a straight So if you have your arms a little bit in front lower and you press out, you can really feel notice I'm stirly rotating the arms. And this starts to connect the arms into the lats. It's very very useful quality for posture, but later on for one to of things like lifting your grandkids up over your head or doing crazy stuff like balancing on your arms. Moving to a higher position, again, getting that road patient in the arm. So I'm taking my triceps.

I'm rolling them down and my biceps up towards the ceiling. As you get more capable of doing this, you can increase the spring tension. And this will be the last one. Coming off. Now We will be setting up the reformers so we use the box as a platform in order to move into the lower body And in order to do this, you want to lower down the foot bar. I'm now putting myself onto 1 red spring.

And the setup for your box will be you want it wedged free reformers a little bit different. You want it nicely wedged and secured so that when you come on, this is a variation of the knee stretch series, but it's super for your butt and your hamstrings. You have some options. You can have your hands clasp or you can have your hands down. So you want to experiment with this.

Notice what I'm doing. I'm slightly rounding into my lower pelvis. And just check a few times going out and in in this position that you can hold that contraction in the lower abs. Once you're comfortable with it, lift your knees up. And this is where you're starting to do a full trunk workout and also add in.

Notice how much you can pike So it's a kind of hybridized elephant and knee stretch series. That means that you can't let go of your powerhouse or your glutes. We'll fall apart. We don't wanna do that. One more time.

And one more time with the knees in and coming down. All of this so that you can be ready for long spine massage. Which is such a beautiful combination of many, many qualities all combined together. I'm now putting myself back onto a blue and a red. And with the feet in the straps, Just starting up with a few frogs just to get used to the spring tension and check the relationships of the, of the legs to the body.

Now from here, you want to connect into the glutes and roll yourself all the way up. Open and roll down through the spine. So very much like Short spine massage, you have this rolling motion. The difference is that now you have the whole body in a much longer lead so there's more to deal with. One more time with this variation, And because I love inversions, I like to add an airplane, which we so seldom do in the workout, and yet all of this other work is preparation for being able to manipulate your body in space upside down with no help.

So grab. You can grab your show your shoulder rest You can grab the little knobs at the back. You want to make sure your shoulders are further forward. And I will tell you right away, you will need to lift your elbows up and pull. Do you say how much are pulling with my arms because this is a full body exercise. So once you're out, I'm pulling my elbows in, and rolling up.

Now from here, some people can get the legs way out when the body is super strong, but can you lower yourself down with control? All the way. Only once, just for the fun of checking it out, because it's so hard. And If you really could do this well, you would lift up again, which some people can do, but next year for me, not this year, I have to work up for it. So I'm now setting up again. I've got 2 reds and a blue as the final cool down, you want your feet together, your knees together, nice and long, and back to our famous running, just stretching out the legs, stretching out the quads, stretching out the limbs, feeling your back long and flat, evening out your body.

Just enjoying this final section. And bending the knees and coming back in. So that's a little workout I like to do for myself. I hope you enjoyed it as well. I hope you found some parts challenging and some parts really lovely to do because why not?


1 person likes this.
You have to love a class that challenges you in a safe and supportive way.  This is the one   Thanks  I needed this class today.  I feel more committed to doing the difficult.   
Niedra Gabriel
Amy Preusser this is wonerful! go for it. 
Katie M
1 person likes this.
great class! enjoy your zest an energy!
1 person likes this.
I love the airplane 
Agnese G
1 person likes this.
I did your class twice and it was amazing, It felt so good, tanks a lot Niedra
Michael Mary S
Love many of your stretch options.  Thank you.
Niedra Gabriel
Katie MElizabeth DAgnese GMichael Mary S thanky ou all for your comments. Im always happy to know the videos are enjoyable or educational for those watching, or doing them.... Keep moving ! your body will love you.
Nikki S
1 person likes this.
Loved your energy! Great class!
Kate A
1 person likes this.
I really loved the ‘practice’ exercises to get a feel of the activated muscle groups. Thanks for the great cues!
Niedra Gabriel
Nikki S and Kate A thanky ou for your comments. Glad the practice " pre pilates" set up helped activate the muscles. I always like setting up the body prior to working out...
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