Class #5458

Chest & Glute Strengthening

25 min - Class


You will work on strength-training elements in this creative Reformer workout by Mariska Breland. She uses the Reformer to do exercises you would normally see at a gym to give you a fusion of fitness and Pilates. She focuses this class on the chest, triceps, glutes, and hamstrings to give you a nice balance of upper and lower body work.

Because this is an advanced class with elements that may be new to you, Mariska recommends doing a warm-up before taking the class so your body is ready to move. You can also watch her tutorial, Make your Reformer a Gym to learn tools that you can use to make your workouts more effective.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Jump Board


Read Full Transcript

Hey. I'm Marisca, and I'm here with Chandra, and she's gonna be my student today. This is the first of a series of, workout that I'm doing on different Pilates equipment, where we're basically using Pilates equipment for more gym type exercises. Now knowing that going in, you're probably gonna wanna do a little bit of a warm up first. That could be like just a little bit of matte work, just you know, some standing, like body weight exercises, something that's gonna be pretty easy on you that just kind of loosens everything up. I can't make this exactly like a gym workout and a gym workout. I would be doing sets and reps kind of going back and forth, but I just wanna give you some ideas on things that you can do with your equipment that are Pilates ish and also strength training ish. So in this class, we're gonna be focused on, chest and triceps and glutes and hammies, so glutes and hamstrings.

So we have this kind of weird setup. We have the reformer box on and the footbars on pretty high. And I'm gonna have Chandra go ahead and come on to it. We practice this already. So we know that the measurement is right for her, body size. So you want to be where you can fold over.

It's gonna have hands behind her head, and you kind of wanna be, like, I would like her legs to be a little bit longer, but I don't think they're gonna grow in the time that we're here. So if she was a tiny bit longer, I would have her a little bit further off this box. But I asked and she said no. So we have what we have. So we're gonna go ahead and just lift up. So think about using your back and glutes to lift up It is okay to use your lower back to lift yourself.

You will be okay. Go ahead and lower back down. Lift up. Now if I wanted to make this harder for her, I could give her a weight to hold on to so that we could add weight. I could have bands tied around the base of the reformer, and she could be pulling that weight up with her. But right now, I think this is like reasonably difficult enough. She's coming into a pretty big arch.

She's very flexible. If you don't have her flexibility, just come to a straight line. If you don't get quite to a straight line, that's fine, but you're gonna try to fold as deeply into a crease forward as possible. Ideally, you're feeling glutes and hamstrings. She's nodding. Let's take it up like a small notch by reaching your arms overhead.

And then see if you can reach down. Like, you're trying to touch the floor and pick something up. Good. And then lift up. Keep your arms by your ears. Good. And down. Good and lift backup.

You don't really have to do that many for these to start feeling like something. In general, higher reps is going to be more muscle hypertrophy. Lower reps is more strength, but lower reps, you'd wanna have more weight. So we're gonna do higher reps in, all of these classes. Do you feel like that was sufficient, amount of those to do? Yes. Okay. Awesome.

Go ahead and make your way off. We're gonna place the box literally just to the side, adjacent to the reformer here, and then we're gonna lower the footbar down. We're gonna take a little break, and we're gonna do some, fun dip variations. And by fun, I mean, fun for me to watch you do. So, I think 1 blue spring, probably for her, if you're bigger, you might wanna go to a single red, go ahead and walk around to this side. We're gonna have one hand on the gray exfoliating pad plate thing, unless you have, like, a nice standing platform other foot or other hand is going on, the carriage. We're not gonna move the carriage out yet. So we're just gonna do some dips.

So you need to be forward enough that your butt kind of slides towards the floor, and then you lift up. You can do those bent knees, like she's doing, or you could go to straight legs. So straight legs is just gonna be a little bit more difficult. And I'd go back to bent knees for our fancy variation. So on this variation, walk yourself a little teensy bit to the right.

Because as you dip down, I want you to open the carriage. And then as you come in, you pull the carriage back together. And can you pull the carriage in to hit the stopper? Perfect. So we have something to aim for. Don't go so far out that you can't come back and then pull in, hit the carriage. We're going down.

Pull in, hit the carriage, going down, pull in, hit the carriage, go down, stay there. Now can you push up without moving the carriage back together? Lower down come up one more like this, you're moving the carriage, but that's okay. I would be moving the carriage too. And then let's pull it all back in and then just go ahead and have a seat. Now, technically, we could do another set of these and kinda slip around to the other side. I don't really feel like that's that necessary, so let's go ahead and move on. We're gonna do a variation of an exercise called a Romanian split squat.

So a Romanian split, let's say I had dumbbells, and I would have, like, a front leg bent, and I'm holding on to dumbbells here. And I'm just doing, like, a hip hinge and a lift backup. But we're gonna use the reformer box. So let's come around on this side. You're gonna step on the box with both feet.

Take your closer to the strap leg. And we're gonna grab the strap, and you're gonna put it around your leg, but your leg is gonna stay on the box. And it's gonna go all the way up to your knee. Okay. One leg back. If you need something to hold on to, a dowel here would be fine.

You're gonna have that little bend in your right leg. And a little bend in your left leg. Now trying to keep both of those legs in exactly the position they're in, just hinge forward at the hips, and then stand yourself back up. Try not to move the cares. There's your challenge.

Going over, and then stand back up. Going over, can you try to keep that tension the same? Bring your right hip, the tiniest little bit forward. Perfect. And then stand nice till that very end. That very end part is really hard because as we go forward, it's natural to wanna bend that knee more.

And you do sometimes, like, when you're lifting a lot of weight, but if you're not lifting a lot of weight, which we're not lifting any weight here, we're gonna try to keep that leg in that one position, and she's shaking. So I know it's, you know, reasonably challenging exercise for her. Let's do one more here. And then go ahead and make your way out of that. We're on the right spring weight to try another couple of exercises here.

So let's go ahead and we'll do those so that we will repeat the sequence on the other side. So come to kneeling on the box and just throw that strap on the floor. So kneeling on the box facing towards me, And then actually probably scoot the box back a little bit. I want you to take your right hand to the shoulder rest. And then we're just gonna be doing tricep extensions with your right arm.

So press your right arm back. And then bend your elbow. Good. Press your arm back and bend. And you can adjust as needed. It's a little bit of an imperfect setup If you have narrower shoulders, if you feel like you're a little bit too far away, obviously it's a balanced challenge and work This is a chest and triceps glass. So some chest work for the, inside tries to work for the inside arm, chest work for the outside arm.

If you wanted to make this more difficult, you could take that right leg and reach it long back behind you. I didn't actually ask her if she wanted to make it more difficult, but she went for it. So we're just gonna assume that she was like, totally, totally wanna do that. Let's do 2 more. And last one.

Go ahead and make your way up from there. We're gonna step off the box for a second. We're just gonna scoot scooch the box a little bit forward and then go ahead and grab with your right hand. So your inside hand closer to the reformer, you're gonna grab the strap Step your left foot up to the box, hop your right foot back a little bit, And then you're just gonna kind of come into a lunge, and you're just gonna do a chest press. Trying to keep everything relatively square So chest press reach forward.

We're just gonna do let's do 6. 3. 4, 5 and it's gorgeous. Go ahead and hang that up, and then we'll carry the box around to the other side, we meaning you, And then we'll do the whole series again. So we're gonna do the Bulgaria and split squad, the tricep extension, and the chest So standing on the box, facing towards the riser side, you're gonna take the strap that is closest to you and put it on your inside leg, which is gonna be your front leg.

Other leg goes back, kind of square yourself to the front of the box, And then little bend in both knees, kind of do a hinge forward, trying not to pull the carriage back when you hinge forward. Right? So think about, like, just keep the tension the same. Keep the even if your range of motion goes to 2 inches, start with the 2 inch range of motion, and then keep that tension feeling exactly the same behind your knee. So if you're moving the carriage, the tension behind your knee is gonna feel different. We're just gonna I mean, I teach a lot of neuros. We're gonna get some brain, involvement here and try to make that make sense.

Is that harder? Yes. Excellent. And those little tremors that you have is actually your cerebellum trying to help you figure out a movement that maybe you've never done before. Chandra was looking at my exercise list, and she's like, I don't know what any of these are. And I'm like, that's the point of this class.

Let's do a couple more. And then one more time, Awesome. Carefully make your way off. And, like, for me, I have really very questionable balance and very questionable other things in my life. So I would be doing that with, like, holding on to Adele. So, there's no shame in, like, making your feel safe and an exercise as possible. We're gonna come to our quadruped with your inside hand on the shoulder rest starting with it bent so that we can come into a tricep extension.

If you need to adjust the box back, you can. If that looks good to me. So you're pressing back and coming in. And there should feel like almost equal work in your obliques, in your core. This is what I love about a lot of gym exercises. You're sitting there and you're doing a row and you're like, o your obliques are sore the next day. It's like, that's kind of awesome.

You were doing a row, and now you have sore obliques. We're gonna go ahead and take your inside leg and reach it back. Because that was so fun last time, and we wouldn't wanna miss that on this on this one. Good. We're gonna do a couple more and call this the last one. Beautiful, and then go ahead and we'll come off from there.

We've got the chest press lunge. So you're gonna have your outside leg stepping forward onto the box up on the tiptoes of your back leg. And then can you can do both arms together with one having weight and one not having weight. Or you can just press with your one arm and keep the other hand on your hip just to keep your, hips a little bit honest about how much they're moving. Pelvises are a very stable hips are not stable, so hips move all over the place.

Everyone's always talking about pelvic stability. And I'm like, let's talk about hip stability because pelvis is mean, that's pretty much gonna be where it is, but the hips, they don't lie, says Shakira, and she was correct. Good. I think we said 6 because you really don't wanna do more than 6. Perfect. Okay. So let's go ahead and put the box on the reformer. What we're gonna do is we're gonna offset it.

And by that, I mean, it's going to be, you know, usually you get, like, really anal and you make sure it's, like, super in the middle. Like, let's not do that. Make it more towards one side. So the side that it's towards, you're just gonna lay down on it facing towards the foot bar. And then you're gonna have the other leg off the box. Sorry. So you're gonna have your left leg off the box.

So that you can rest your knee on there. So your it's a more stable position for doing a single leg hamstring curl. So since I'm here, I'm just gonna give her the strap if you wanna point your foot. If it's just you, then you would have to grab the strap, and get into it. Do you wanna be on 1? She we're on a half spring right now. Do you wanna be on a full spring? Or give it a go and kinda see what it feels like to do one at a time. Okay. So it's a more isolated kind of hamstring curl.

So I like to just go from the 90 degree bend to the kick your own butt. Ninety degree bend, kick your own butt. And she has great hamstring definition so you can really see that it's working. And then if you want to make it a little bit different, you can hold it. Obviously, you're trying to stabilize with your upper body. See if you can do, like, the tiniest little lift up, like, just a little lift up.

And let's just do 2, because those are aggressive. And then go ahead and you can let that come out. I always just kick the strap off in any type exercise like this and let it fall. We're gonna take it to the other side and so that people can, sort of know getting into it. Let's just put the strap on your So you're gonna go ahead and put this strap on your foot. Oh, you're doing the the fancy flip.

The fancy flip. That's how I learned it too. So, we can have your knee down, and then we'll do the 90 degrees to kick towards yourself. Good. That 90 degrees to kick towards yourself. We'll do a couple more like this. And then we're only gonna do 2 because they're awful.

So hold it, little lift, and down. Little lift and down. And then you can go ahead and just throw the strap into the well. And then let's go ahead and take the box we're done with the box. So we can take the box away. I'll just go ahead and put the strap stuck on in case we need them.

Okay. So we're gonna set the footbar back up to, first, what I'm gonna call just a normal footbar height, and we're gonna do what it's gonna look like control front, but we're gonna do it with more of an idea into doing a push up with if we had parallettes. So parallettes are just these little things that you hold your hands on. Some people use weights But it's basically so you can have your hands in neutral instead of having them turned this way, which makes which is uncomfortable for a lot of people. So we're gonna have, your wrists neutral so your wrists don't have to bend. I'm just gonna throw in a lot of springs because I don't need the carriage to be moving.

So from here, go ahead and you can step feet on and then hands on, the shoulder rest. And then I'll decide if I want your feet to actually be on the frame. How much do you like a push up? I like push ups. Okay. So she likes push ups.

So we're gonna be up here. If you're not a push up person, you're gonna bring your feet to the frame. If you're really not a push up person, you're gonna bring your knees to the carriage. So you're gonna go elbows towards your ribs as you lower, good, and then push. We're just gonna do how many do you wanna do?

5. I was I was thinking 5. So five seems good. We'll do 5. And 5. Go ahead and step a foot down. Step the other foot down. We're gonna change it to let's actually go kind of light on this. Let's go 1 half spring.

So one blue spring. Take everything else off, and we're gonna do you're gonna think it's long stretch. I'm gonna think it's a plunge. So if we're doing more of the strength training world, A planche is just where your shoulders go over your wrists a lot. And we're gonna try to have your shoulders go over your wrists a lot.

So feet up against the shoulder rests. And she's short, so her this is not enough. This is an insufficient amount of mean, that is that even over, like, barely? So I want you to walk your feet forward some. A little perfect. Okay. Now from there, you can press back until you're in a straight line, just to there.

And then you're gonna travel it forward. So this thing of sending your head out the window. There's a window over here. And then press yourself back. And then send yourself forward.

So you're smiling because this is a joyous exercise. Press yourself back and then come forward. Let's do 2 more like this. Press back and forward, and last one, press back. And forward. Perfect.

Go ahead and drop down to your knees. We are gonna get the jump board. We're gonna do some weird things with the jump board. So if you have a jump board, go ahead and grab that now. Okay. So we're gonna throw all the springs on.

So we want the carriage to be locked in. We're also going to lift the foot bar up to the highest height. So basically a vertical, foot bar and make sure it's pretty locked in. We're gonna take the jump board, and we're gonna put it on, and we're going to basically create a pivot. So what we're trying to do here is create a hip thrust machine. Now hip thrust machines Like, they're all the rage now. Everybody's, like, really into hip thrust. It's a great butt exercise.

They charge, like, 100 of dollars for these, but, You've already spent 1000 of dollars on a reformer, so might as well just use what you have. So if you if your head is really not close to the jump board, you could always pad that if you need to, like, live a more luxurious life than Chandra's living right now. But it can be, you know, it can be down and dirty here too. So she's gonna shimmy her butt up off the carriage first a little bit, and so we're on this sort of pivot. You're gonna drop your hips down, not all the way, and then squeeze your butt to lift your hips back up.

Good drop down some. And then we have that squeeze to lift it. And so that top part you really wanna feel like sort of the inner part of your butt, like, really contracting, and you wanna feel like your hips are at least as high as your ribs. Like, we wanna get this in, like, one line. If you wanna make it harder, you can get up there and let's take a single leg up. And then you can just do, let's just do 3. So down. Don't have to do any fancy leg things. This this is a strength training ish class.

Not a beautiful Pilates ish class down and lift up, and then go ahead and we can switch. And then we'll do this a similar thing. So we're going down and lift. Good too. And then we have one more to finish it out down and lift it up. Go ahead and bring your foot down.

Slowly pivot yourself all the way back down. Beautiful. And then go ahead and you can make your way off. We're gonna take the jump board, and now we're gonna flip it. So it's gonna go over the shoulder rest.

Similar thing. We don't need the foot bar. So if you want to get the foot bar, out of the way, you can actually lower it all the way down. We don't really need it. So here, we're trying to mimic what we would be doing on, like, a a weight bench. So this is our weight bench angle. So you won't lose the foot bar for me? Just because I think it'll it's just aesthetically gonna be in the way.

So she's gonna lie down. She has very open shoulders. So for her, she can reach back and hold the shoulder posts if she can find them. They're I know. It's like they're right there. They're right there.

She can do that. I don't have that flexibility. I would be holding on to the top here. So almost like this, which actually make this exercise easier because then it becomes sort of a bit of a bicep curl. Let's go ahead and start. This is a weird position.

You're gonna have your knees up internally rotate them. So your feet are together, flex your feet, and then take that into a little bit of a rollover. But try to keep your feet separated and your knees together. I know. Lots to think about it one time. Lifting up. Good.

And then lower it back down. Lifting up. Is it hard? Mhmm. And lowering it back down. Let's do three with straight legs. And they can be together or part.

I don't really care. So we're going over and not really over. We're more going, like, up at an angle. Up at an angle, and then last one. And if this is impossible, you can do this exercise without having the flant it's still a great exercise.

And then go ahead and we'll make your way out of there, and we can say goodbye to the jump board. Okay. So we're gonna do one last exercise here in celebration of sort of a chest arm thing. So we're gonna do sort of a handstand l, with your hands on the floor and one foot on the carriage. So we're gonna go from, like, sort of a plank to lifting your hips up, lifting the leg up. So one red spring, probably for your size, Let's do the camera side. So just a little prettier for the first one. So, walk around there.

Let's do your inside leg on the shoulder rest. I don't think you necessarily need to go to the top and then hands on the floor. And then press yourself out into a press your, left leg straight. Good. Now we're gonna see if this is heavy enough to lift your hips up. And if not, I will add some spring weight for you.

So begin to lift your hips up like you were coming in a downward facing a beautiful ice. And then you can reach yourself out. Let's just do one more like this, and then we'll do one with your leg lifting because it's gonna look pretty lift up and then go ahead and lower yourself back down. Now you could do those all day long if you want to, but we're just gonna do 3 each side. So walk around to this side, and this will be our last exercise. So we'll have inside leg, shoulder rest, hands floor, plank, hover your leg, to meet it, lift your hips.

Nice. And then press yourself back out. And then we're gonna do that one more time, and then we're gonna do the fancy leg lift Grand finale, you have to throw a little Pilates ish stuff in there, lift your leg, and then go ahead and slowly make your way out from there. She did a great job. I'm sure at home, you also did a great job. So pat yourself on the back, any stretches you wanna take, the way I teach my classes, I'm always just like stretch what you feel like needs to be stretched.

If there's any exercises you wanted to do that I didn't give you, then go ahead and do those now. And I hope to see you for more of the workouts in this series.


4 people like this.
Mariska THIS is what I've been waiting for! Thanks for giving me the best of both worlds! You are so funny, as usual!   
3 people like this.
I loved this class. In fact I love anything Mariskaish!!! I love the creativity. It brings out my inner gymnast. Thanks Mariska!
Bye bye flow and total body...
Joan Breibart correct. In a strength workout, it’s sets and reps and muscle focus. Pretty much any of my other workouts would be (non-traditional) full body flow if that’s what you’re looking for. I have a couple more workouts that are just looking at what gym exercises you can focus on with apparatus, so you’ll probably want to skip those if that’s not your interest. 
1 person likes this.
Great class thankyou. Why did you choose the hip internal rotation with the jump board pelvic lift exercise?
1 person likes this.
Interesting use of the reformer - things I might actually use are the tricep dip series- the single leg hamstring curl - the long box back extension - holy cow that jumpboard over the shoulder rest reverse abs series was like impossible!! I love the cue to just do it on the mat- why is it so much harder with the internal rotation of the leg?! Always smart moves 
Vicky  because it’s bizarrely more difficult! You can’t flex your hips as much and use hip flexion to get you over - you end up engaging your abs and using your spine more. 
Elizabeth D Most people in rollover steal from hip flexion and that facial tension just pulls them over. When your hips are actually reflexively stabilizing, you’re forced to move the pelvis around the legs and flex the spine and that is really hard for us mere mortals.
Michele M
Super fun and outside of the box thinking! That’s why I love your practices Mariska!  Thank you for sharing:D

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