Class #5461

Strength Training with Tower

25 min - Class


You will feel strong and accomplished after this challenging Tower workout by Mariska Breland. She teaches a strength-training class that includes exercises you have seen on the Tower before as well as new movements to explore. She shares different versions of Squats, an Ab-Roller variation, and much more.
What You'll Need: Tower, Reformer Box

About This Video


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Hey. I'm Marisca, and I'm being joined by my student, Chandra, today. And we're going to do a strength training workout on the tower. So some of these exercises might feel sort of similar to things that you've done in tower classes before, but my goal is to give you some ideas of maybe some things that you haven't tried. We have the long purple springs and the short yellow springs. Those are the only springs that we'll be using today. I have the roll down bar There's some handles hidden under here, and then we have, like, the regular straps. We also have a reformer box You could do any of these exercises except one without the reformer box.

So if you don't have the reformer box, you're still gonna be good. So Chandra, we're gonna start with some squat rows. So if you wanna come up, we have the handles pretty high for her because we want to be able to, like, let her be in a position where she's able to do a lot of movement, and the springs can help as much or as little as possible. So first, just give it a poll and kind of see how it feels. And then as you do the pull, we're gonna do a squat and we're gonna go down to the box as our target and then stand yourself back up and pulling in lowering down.

And I'm not, like, a huge stickler on where people's feet are facing, feet tend to face the direction they wanna face. And if you have your feet slightly turned out. There's probably a reason that they wanna be there, but, she's has feet forward. If you wanna be slightly turned out, that's fine as well. Now on this next, when you lower down, I want you to hover.

So you're just gonna stay there. Let your arms extend and pull eight times. 2. 345 6, 7, and 8, and then go ahead and we'll stand it up shake out your legs a little bit because we're gonna do some single legs. So we're gonna try to go all the way down to the box.

So I like to do it with one leg kind of floating as I go because it's easier. And you can do bent knee, if your hamstrings are tight or if your hip flexors are not feeling it. So go ahead and we'll sit it down. And then stand it back up. I think it gets really interesting here when you have the springs and you see how much, like, maybe you're using them. Like, you might wanna pull on one spring more than you wanna pull on the other.

And if you didn't have the springs, that would be indicating how much are we twisting when we're going down and, like, where are some of our muscle imbalances from one side to the other. So we'll do roughly 5 each side. She's like, don't just talk and ramble and not count reps. It's like the the worst thing about Aplati's teachers that we don't count, and then we just start talking, and then people are like, can we move on to the other side? So we'll move on to the other side. So you go ahead and have your leg up.

And then we're lowering down and lift and lower down. Nice and lift. And she's making these little micro adjustments using the springs. I actually think this is like a much friendlier way to do it than using straps, like a TRx kind of strap. Because the springs give you a little bit more interesting feedback and the straps more just or like you're pulling on a strap. So I think the springs are cooler in in that respect. Okay. We're gonna do a variation of a pike push up.

So pike push up is a way to get to a handstand pushup if that's on your agenda of things that you wanna do. So we're gonna move the box closer in this way And I love this variation because this is really good for those of us. I'm talking about myself whose shoulders wanna be here and we want them to be here. So we're gonna do what I call backpack, springs. So you're gonna go ahead and take the springs you're gonna place them on, like, you're putting on your Jan Sport backpack for 1st day of school.

And then The boxes here were kind of adjust as needed, but her she's gonna bring her niece to the box first. And then her hands to the floor And the goal is that you're she's gonna come into sort of a pike. Now she has pretty loose hamstrings so she can get her legs almost all the way straight or maybe all the way straight? Are we slipping? Okay. Move back a little bit. It's like you want the springs to help you, but you don't want them to beat you up. So that's good. Perfect. Okay. So now we're gonna try to bring your head towards the floor. You're gonna bend your elbows, crown of your head towards the floor, and then press.

Bend, and then press. Good. Lower down and lift and lower down. And lifting will do a couple more. Lower down and lift and last one, lower down and lift get out of it the same way you got into it. So knee down knee down, walk yourself back, and then we'll take off the backpack like we just got home from school.

And if you're anything like me as a kid, then you just throw it on the floor and go about your day. Okay. So we're gonna take the box now, and we're gonna bring it around on the other side of the tower, because we're gonna do an exercise called a Jefferson Curl, So a Jefferson curl is usually done with a weight, usually a kettlebell, and you're standing on, like, a bench or standing on something elevated and you would be, like, doing a forward fold. We're gonna take our spring, and we're gonna lower it down. Like, really pretty low. So I'm going as low as I can go on the, Cadillac tower. So that's it goes all the way down to the bottom.

And we have options to use regular handles or to use the, roll up bar, but just for ease of everything, we're just gonna use the roll up bar. So walk yourself back and you're gonna stand on the box. And you wanna obviously make sure that your box isn't going to move. The heaviness of the spring is actually what makes this exercise feel really nice. So first, you're just gonna think about doing a roll down, so chin towards your throat, begin to round your spine, and then you reverse it.

So tucking your tailbone under curling up one vertebra at a time trying to get, like, have each have its little moment. A very standard way to do a Jefferson curl would be that you would actually hang in that forward fold. But what happens when you're using the springs is it's heaviest at the top. And if you're using a weight, it's equally heavy the entire time that you're doing it. So at the bottom is where there's the least amount of pull. So it's gonna be the least satisfying to get that sort of stretch that the spring would get.

So that's something to think about when you're doing exercises that are modified to equipment that's different than what you might be used to doing. Could step one foot down and then step the other foot down to reach it. So go ahead and place that down to the floor for a second, and then we're gonna get the box out of the way. Okay. So the next exercise, we're gonna try to use the roll down bar roll up or whatever you wanna call it, like it's a barbell. So we still have the same attachment.

It's really low. Now this is a very, very, very narrow bar. The bigger bars are gonna little easier. She's gonna place the bar on one shoulder. So from this one shoulder, she's gonna turn so that she can get it on her back. So then your hands are like like you would have a barbell on your back. Walk yourself out a smidge.

And we're just gonna try to do a couple of squats here. Just kinda see how those feel. So you're bending and standing up. Bending and standing up. So because I want her to be able to do a variation of a single leg one, I'm actually gonna move this out of the way for her because the push through bar might catch her foot. If you have that same situation, just know you might have super right behind you.

So let's see if you can take one foot up. Good. Just rest it there. Good. And then we'll just do four with one leg down up 1, down up 2, down up 3, nice and down, up 4, carefully lower that leg and switch. I find when you're just reaching a leg back behind you, proprioception is a little weird when you don't know where you are in space. So a lot of times we end up grabbing, things with our foot that we don't want to like the push through bar.

In this case. Let's do 2 more. And last one. Gorgeous. Go ahead and step your foot down, and then you get out of it the same way you got into it. So you basically do a little turn. So it's resting on one shoulder. And then you turn around, and we're gonna lower it to the floor. Okay.

So now we're gonna take the springs up to the top because you wanna have as much assistance as possible for this one. We're gonna be doing a variation of an exercise called a sissy squat. A sissy squat, I believe it's named after some of my name's sisyphus don't quote me on that. You can look it up, but I don't think it's like a girly squad. It's actually really hard. You're gonna spin yourself around and you're gonna press down because you wanna create resistance.

So when she's bending her knees, and I'm gonna kind of mirror her here a little bit, you bend your knees and your heels lift off and you start to aim your knees down to floor, but your chest is moving in the opposite direction and then stand yourself back up. Good. So try to move your ponytail towards my voice. Nice. And then if you go down and you get stuck, you can send your butt back a little bit towards your heels, And it's still a really hard exercise, to get out of. You will feel your quads. Do you feel your quads? She is she is saying in the affirmative that she does in fact feel her quads. We're gonna do one more where we purposely go down to your knees and then shoot your butt back, shift your weight onto the balls of your feet, and stand back up.

Great job. So you can go ahead and slowly slowly, slowly, slowly make your way out of that. And then let's go ahead and we're gonna take these springs. So we have the we're gonna do the same springs on both sides. So we'll do one spring maybe, like, a little above show like, a little bit above shoulder and then maybe one spring a little bit below shoulder. And then we're gonna hook them together with a, handle. So if you're wondering how to make something a little bit heavier or create more resistance, you can actually double springs up and put them on the same, the same hook. So go ahead and walk back with face towards me.

And then we're gonna start this as a row. So you'll pull in. Good. And release. Pull in.

And release. Hold in and release And if you want to, you can play around with choreographies. So if you're pulling in, you could have, like, the other knee lift. You can do different arm movements. You can make it like a little fancier. You can work on your balance here.

We're gonna add a rotation on the next one. So as you pull, you're gonna rotate and then return to center. Good pull and rotate. And return to center. And you can play around with where you want the position of the springs to be.

You can go a little bit more separated or a little bit more together. It kind of just depends on what it is that you are trying to accomplish with it. Now I want you to turn so you're facing towards that direction and then hold the, are right in front of you. And then you're gonna press your arms forward. I want you to have some tension in it.

So if you don't have tension in it, walk yourself out to the side, What ideally the weight of this is is when you push, it's gonna want to pull you this way. So you should feel your obliques working to keep you from being, like, pulled to the side. I've definitely done this exercise where I had socks on, and I just was, like, traveling with with the movement in a way it was not supposed to be doing. Let's do a couple more like this. And then last one like this, there is no reason to set this up on the other side to do the same exercise.

So you're just going to do your other arm. So we're gonna start by doing the row. Yep. Unless you like setting up your equipment over and over and over again. Otherwise, I would just say, like, well, you could just turn. So we're just doing the we could just turn methodology. Good pulling in.

And release. You can add fancy choreography if you want to add fancy choreography. And you can then add that rotation. We'll do 2 more like that, and then you'll turn to face the Pacific And then make sure you have enough tension in it that it feels meaningful, and then press your arms forward without letting it without letting it turn you. Good reaching out and coming back in.

Good reaching out and coming back in. Let's do former. Reach out 1 and reach out to And next one is the last one. Good job. We're done with the Yellow Springs, so we can say goodbye to the Yellow Springs I'm gonna take the purple springs, and I'm just gonna move them over to this side because this is the side where it will work out better. We're gonna do another kind of squat, which is it's sort of like you're sitting in a chair.

I think they're generally called Spanish squats. And, we're just gonna go as low we can with the springs. In a perfect world for her, it would be exactly at knee level. We don't have a hook that's in the right spot. So we're gonna get as close as we can get. And then you'll go ahead and step into the straps. So it's gonna go right behind your knee. I actually also really love this exercise if you have somebody who is a hyper extender and they don't really know where they are in space.

Because the pressure of the straps behind your knee can be really, really useful. So walk yourself back enough that you feel a little bit of tension, and then you're gonna squat down. So since we have the support of the springs, what I want you to try to do is get your shoulders back. Which you might have to walk back. So you're trying to get your shoulders so they're more stacked over your hips. Good squatting down.

Good. And lifting up. So if we were doing like a chair kind of squat, we would be holding on to something. Here, we're not holding on to anything, but the springs are trying to give us a little assistance in a different way. Than we had used them at the beginning of class when we were, like, holding on to them and pulling. Good. We'll do a couple more here. And then I also like the feedback here.

If you just wanted to practice something like a little split squat dead lift. So if you have one leg back a little bit and the other leg forward and you just work on, like, a hip hinge down, and back up. Like, it really there's something about the Sprinter special. Springs being there can make you really feel things, I think in a different way. So if you do also have weights, you can add the springs to your weight workouts to make them a little bit spicier. Wanna switch legs?

So leaning down, like, let's say she had a couple of weights there, and then she could just be lifting them up and having the springs add that feedback, which the feedback can be really, really nice, especially if people are having trouble kind of figuring out where they are in space. Okay. From there, let's go ahead, keep the one on that's on your right leg. And then turn yourself to the side, and we're just gonna do a little hip abduction. So you're just lifting your leg out and in.

Now balance obviously is going to be a challenge here. So you can always hold on to the tower or you can hold on to a person, if they're a stable person, you can hold on to, like, a dowel or something like that. We'll do 4 more like this. 2, 3. And last one is 4. Go ahead and take a turn.

You can switch which leg has this spring. Again, you don't have to switch the spring. You just change the leg, and then we'll see if the side I always say one side is good, and then one side is sometimes Well, not all sides are good ever. So sometimes you have 2 bad sides. Depends on the day, but it seems like she has got 2 good sides today.

And if you are wondering how hard she's working, just look at how much her foot is moving. To keep her balance. So when we're when we're balancing, our balance happens first at her ankle, and then it goes up up the chain to our hip And she's obviously has her her foot stabilizers are working hard. Let's call this the last one. And then go ahead and make your way out of that.

And then we're gonna finish up with some exercises using the push through bar. Okay. So let's finish out, using our tower as a gym by using, the push through bar without any springs on it. So there's no weight on it at all. Go ahead and just lie down on your back and then just bring the arches of your feet on. We're just gonna start with knee tucks.

So pretty simple. It's not gonna feel all that different from things if you want. So you can have head and chest lifted, or you can be all the way flat. Again, this is just, you know, personal preference, like what you like. I do like doing some single stuff here because you can do some kind of fun choreography. So you can have like one leg on and the other leg kind of moving oppositionally.

So if you take your right leg off, and just have your left leg move in. Right. And then switch. And you can push it all the way through. I'll get these springs out of the way. Sometimes the springs just get annoying.

They're like in the not quite right spot. Gloves to a couple more like this. And last one, this side, And then we'll go ahead and switch sides. So then you have your opposite foot, and we're switching. Good.

Now a lot of times in, like, a gym, you'll see people do, like, hamstring curls and stuff on the, like, the big, huge ball. We're gonna do something similar to that in terms of how it's going to feel by starting with your legs all the way straight where they're slightly elevated by being on the push through bar. So what you're gonna try to do is time the knee bend and the hip lift at the same time, and you're trying to get up, like, super high. But slower, super high and slow. So we lift up, good, and then slowly lower it down. And in a perfect world, which the world is very far from perfect.

The timing of the lift and the lower is exactly smooth, like the whole time. So it's like you're bending in as up. And you're reaching out and everything's down together. One more? Good. And they can go ahead and just bend your knees hug your knees into your chest.

So I have a house full of Pilates equipment and, also a gym full of gym equipment. And my husband still uses the ab wheel from, like, the infomercial back in, like, 1985. It's not from 1985, but they sell them and they are exactly the same, but we're going to take some inspiration from the ab wheel and do some ab wheel rolls on using the push through bar. So if you come to a plank, you're gonna wanna do this on your knees. Trust me. So knee plank, hands on the push through bar, imagining that it is one of those wonderful ab rollers, and you're gonna reach yourself out and then pull back in. Do you feel your abs? I know. It's it does work. But I'm kind of, like, if you have a house with a reformer, why are you using an ab roller? But that's my husband.

That's that's what we're doing. Pull to come in. You could reach out. Pull to come in. Let's do 2 more.

Reach out. Pull to come in and last one reach out and pull to come in. Good. Give yourself a give yourself child's pose. We've got one more thing here before you do a quick little stretch. So you're gonna do forearm plank.

One arm is going to be reaching to the push through bar. And we're gonna do out and in with the one arm. Try to, like, level yourself out. And so when you're moving that arm, the push through bar arm, what you want to try not to have happened is that that side of your body gets higher. So you're just trying to keep everything like, if I was resting a tray of martinis on your back, that you wouldn't spill a drop, which is impossible because martini glass are very stupid, and they're really easy to spill. And we go ahead and switch sides. And I imagine you feel your abs.

This is really to me an ab exercise as much as it is anything else. I like sneaky ab work more than I like regular kind of ab work. Let's do one more. And then go ahead and lower yourself down. And this is not in any way a gym exercise, but let's do an unweighted push through bar Swan because I feel like that would feel nice.

So arms go all the way straight. Start by drawing your shoulder blades down your back, lift your chest through your arms, and then reach yourself long and away. Good lifting yourself up. And reaching along in a way. We'll do a couple more like this.

And last one like this, and then release the bar? And then go ahead and just press your hips back to your heels. And then any stretches you wanna take, go ahead and take them if you are at home, any stretches you wanna take, go ahead and take those. And I hope to see you in another class soon.


1 person likes this.
“martini classes are stupid . . . “ Mariska, you are hilarious! Great class (as always). Thank you!!
1 person likes this.
Love this class! So many great ideas, thank you!!
1 person likes this.
Thank you for a wonderful class Mariska! I got a great work out in under 30 minutes. This one is going into the favorites.
Glad you liked it! And martini glasses are ridiculous, especially if you ever waited tables! 

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