Class #5464

Lat & Quad Reformer

25 min - Class


You will make your Reformer act as a piece of gym equipment in this challenging workout by Mariska Breland. She focuses on the upper body but also adds in other elements to get your whole body moving. She includes variations of strength-training exercises like Squats, Pull Ups, and so much more. Please Note: You will need an Infinity Bar towards the tail end of the class.

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.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box), Infinity Bar

About This Video


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Hey. I'm Marisca, and I'm here with Kathleen, and we're gonna be doing another one of the workouts in my series. That are focused on taking Pilates equipment and making it gym equipment. Now these don't have sort of your classical Pilates reformer class warm up. So before you do this, if you're coming in really cold, no, we might be doing some more advanced type exercises early on. So you might wanna just, you know, go do a 100 roll up roll over, like, that whole sequence and then come back and join us. Otherwise, if you're good to go and you like going into hold or you just feel ready, we're gonna start now.

So we're gonna actually use the safety strap, which I think is something that people forget that has other possibilities other than just, keeping your feet from falling off when you're doing short box stuff So we're going to have Kathleen come in close, and we're gonna hold onto the strap, and we're gonna come into what's called a Spanish squat. So in a Spanish squat, it's basically a chair. Right? If you do bar, you've done sort of this chair pose, and we're gonna come up to standing, which obviously we're gonna be folded over because this is not a very long strap and then come back into the squat. So currently her legs are wider than hip width apart. You can do it with your legs, hip width apart. So if you wanna walk your legs in a little bit closer, if that feels okay to you, we can try it there. And she's doing a really nice job of not letting her shoulders stay with the strap. She's taking her shoulders with her as she's going down. So this class is really focused on a lot of quads and also lats and biceps we're gonna be getting a little upper body and a lot of quads, but also some in earth eyes.

So we're gonna move on to a squat I really like. It's called a Casa squat. So a caustic squat you probably have done, you just didn't know you did it. So from here, we're gonna widen your legs. So let's have one leg go all the way out to the side, and you're gonna sink into your other leg and then let your body come up to your heel of the straight leg.

Now the goal is that you're gonna stay as low as possible, almost like you're trying to dust the floor with your butt as you're moving from one side to the other. So this is really, really hard to do without holding on to something, and it's really, really hard to do when you're holding on to something. So either way you do it is going to be hard and you will be feeling your inner thighs talking to you. So we don't really need to do all that many of them to feel like we have accomplished something. Yes?

And then carefully just make your way up. We had moved the footbar here just to kind of get it out of our way. So we're gonna move it into its more normal operating position of tilted down. We have a half spring on. So Kathleen, can I have you stand inside the well? So we're gonna go inside the well, and we're gonna do sort of a flat back lap pull.

So reach forward to the shoulder rests. And then she's taller, so she's gonna start with bent knees. Lots of different ways to do this. So let's do it first in more of a pilates way where you're just gonna pull your arms back lift your chest through your arms, kinda feel that squeeze between your shoulder blades. And it's a half spring. If that's too much, you can always adjust and then go ahead and let your arms come forward.

So let's do 2 more like that where you're pressing down kind of lifting through and then reach forward. And then give me one more in the more pilates fashion of doing things. Nice. And then go ahead and let your arms come forward. Now this time, we're not gonna try to get that big extension. We're just gonna focus on moving your arm from your back. So take your arms and begin to press them back.

You're gonna have to lift up a little bit to do that just to change that angle and then let your arms begin to reach forward. Now this can also become a squat if you want it to be a squat because we're working legs at the same time. So as you go down, you can bend your knees more. And then you can combine them. So as you're coming up, your legs are going straight you're getting the squat and the lot combined, which is always nice to get a little bit of a combination exercise together. How does that feel?

She said it's hard. On this next one, I just want you to hold it. So what we're gonna do is hold it there. Can you give me little tiny squeezes back for 8? 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Nice. Go ahead and let your arms go forward.

Let your hips go back. And then be careful when you're stepping out from the well. I don't think it's necessarily the side of the machine that trips you up, it's the straps that trip you up. So just making sure, oh, that was even a that was a way more clever way of getting out of it than I was thinking. Gonna come around to this side. So I'm gonna have her standing in the well on this side, which is the spring side, but we need the springs. So because the springs are going to be where I want her legs to be.

We're just gonna kind of brush the springs to the side, but she can also just reach down and change the springs if the weight that I choose is not the weight that she would like to choose. But we played around with this a little bit earlier, and we decided that this weight was like a decent start weight. So we're gonna do some arm exercises first, and she's gonna stand with one foot on one side of the spring. And one foot on the other side of the spring. And then you can reach forward and grab hold of the straps, And then these have the double loops.

So you can kind of make up your mind kind of as you're going along, do you wanna be in the big loops? Do you wanna be in the small loops? We're gonna start with a wide row. So a row with your elbows out to the side, really nice, and then let your arms go forward. So let's do about 6 of these. Here's 2. 3, 4, 5.

And last one like this, for 6, We're gonna change your arms, let your arms go forward, thumbs up towards the ceiling, and so we're gonna do a row that's coming in really tight, and then let your arms go forward. Good pull back and let your arms go forward. Pull back. And arms go forward, we'll do a couple more like this. And we'll call this the last one like this.

Let your arms go forward flipier grip. So I like to not be fully supinated. I find a lot of people don't have great bicep curls. When they are fully supinated here, I feel like most people like a hammer curl. So we're gonna go we're gonna split the difference.

So we're gonna be at, like, a forty three degree angle. From there, go ahead and bring your, hands towards your arms, and then, well, your hands are always attached to your arms. That was a weird cue. Remember your hands towards your shoulders, Whether or not you touch your shoulders is not, we don't really get bonus points. If you'd like to give yourself bonus points at home, you can do that.

We're just gonna come in as far as we can. Let's do 4 more like this. There's 1 and 2. And 3 and 4. Good. We're gonna give your arms a break by letting you hang these up for a second.

So while we're doing that, we're gonna change the foot bar to get it out of the way because our next kind of series is gonna be doing some squats. And I want you to be able to sit on the plate if you can make your way all the way down there. I think you're probably good staying where you are. We'll see. Yep. And I'll just move that out of the way. So if you wanna change your weight to make it heavier because you're gonna want more support here, you can do that.

And then go ahead and reach forward. Then we're gonna be doing first. Let's just do some squats down to the plate so we can kind of get a sense of what that is. Now You can do a row at the same time, but that's not my preference here. It's just that you're using the straps to kind of help you on the way down to slow your descent and still be slow on the way up.

And then you can also play around with pacing. That's a big thing that we do in the strength training world is you might go down for 4 up for 1. So it's gonna be a fast up Good. And then down. And then try to do a fast step without really having the carriage move, which will be a challenge. So we're going down and fast up. Good.

And we're gonna take your next time we come up, you're gonna take your right foot and place it on the carriage. So we're gonna start with a bent knee. Now you're gonna bend your left knee. So we're gonna come into a little baby pistol squats with a bent knee and then stand back up. These are hard. So we're only gonna do 3.

So we're going down again. Down 2. And last one like this, down 3. Let's go ahead and switch legs before we do the other side because These aren't gonna get easier as we go along. So right leg, three times you're bending down. Good. And lifting back up. And if you want to go all the way down till you touch the plate, by all means, do that, but you still have to make your way back up.

So if you end up getting stuck at a row So add more weight to help pull you up if you need that additional assist. Okay. So now we're gonna do straight leg So switch legs. So we're gonna have one leg go down, other leg go up, and then have that leg go straight. Okay. First thing I want you to do is see if you can look that leg off the carriage. Let's see if we can lift it up three times. Inhale and exhale lift. Mentally prepare for this one. Good.

Up 2. Up 3. Now see if you can you can either leave it down. Or not, and we're gonna do 3 knee bends on nice. She's going for the hard version. I would not have taken that.

You can change your mind. You can change your mind. Lower down and lift up and lower down. Nice. And lift up. And then let's go ahead and switch that to the other side. So we've got the 3 lifts.

Just imagine was that light as a light as a feather stiff as a board? Just remember, like, set that game. Light as feather. Just light as the feather as you lift and then see if you can do 3 little squats. From there.

Good. And last one. And then go ahead and lower your feet down. And then we'll reach forward to hang the straps up. And then carefully because there's straps there, you're gonna make your way out. Before we move on to me giving you any more quad exercises, we're gonna do a ab exercise that to me is a bicep exercise.

I'm gonna throw on a couple of extra springs. Go ahead and lay down on the carriage once I'm not in your way. And then we're gonna hold on to the shoulder rests like you're doing a bicep curl, like an underhand bicep curl. Okay. Table tap likes to start and then really pull. Like, so you really wanna feel that engagement of your laps. You wanna feel your biceps turning on.

We're gonna take this shape up and over into a rollover and then slowly lower back down. So we're starting easy ish. We're starting on the easy ish side. Again, we're going over. So thighs above your eyes we go up and over and then lower back down. Now the most advanced version of this exercise, which in the strength training worlds called a dragon flag would be like long spine with no straps. We're not gonna go that crazy, but we're gonna do a variation. So we're gonna go up and over.

Then lift your legs up. Take one knee and bend it in towards your chest. Now this shape. We're gonna try to keep this shape exactly as it is and then lay your spine down. So this shape is gonna start to move away from you as you're lowering it down to the mat. And you're gonna try to keep that shape.

So the angle of your knee to your foot and your other leg staying the same as we're gonna go over one more time. Going over and then see if you can lift your knee away from your face a little bit because the goal is to get as open a hip angle as possible. Is really, really, really hard. And then try to keep it as you're laying your spine back down coming towards me, coming towards me, coming towards me, coming towards me. Now the bad news is we have to do that again on the other side. So let's start with a bent knee rollover because that's how we started on the first side. So we're going up and over, Have a leg extend.

Nice. And then that shape, we're just trying to keep it the same, and we're laying your spine down away from your arms. And to me, you should feel your biceps. Do you? Oh, everything. She feels everything. And everything includes the bicep.

So we're gonna do that again. Nice up and over. And, again, we're trying to get the angle as open as possible as we lower slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, all the way back down. Hug your knees into your chest rock a little bit from side to side. We're gonna do a couple more, quad focused exercises before we move on to doing some more arms. So go ahead and make your way off, and we're gonna take all the springs off the machine completely. No springs on.

And then we're gonna take the carriage all the way to the other end. We did this earlier. So we're gonna do the step ups. So you're gonna grab hold of the handles And I want you to choke up enough that you have pulled the carriage all the way into the riser side And once it's in at the riser side and you're holding on to it, it can't go anywhere. So, essentially, this would be like a box step up. So go ahead and step into the, reformer.

Just make sure the straps aren't gonna get caught on anything, so I'd probably throw them out to the side. And you can always just choke up higher than you think you might want to choke up. Your back leg is just gonna be kind of draping down so it's angled towards the floor. Then your front leg's gonna step up and we'll do for each side. So right leg is on.

Left leg is back. Lift yourself up. So we're coming up to standing on the carriage. Good. Lower down. Sort of like going up front on the chair, except there's no pedal. Lift up and down. And just if the springs are getting in the way, you can reach that left leg back a little bit further.

And one more like this. And then you can go ahead and take your feet and switch. So your left foot's on. Your right foot is the one that's gonna reach back to the floor four times and see how she's, like, moving her arms to just kind of adjust with the shift of her weight. So it's just to keep the tension in the straps basically the same because the goal is that the carriage is going to stay there.

We're not doing any kind of crazy standing on carriage doing strap stuff here. Good. And then you can make your way all the way down. So if you would like to step to the side, you can, if you'd like to step in, you can, whichever feels better for you. And then we're just gonna put a spring back on I'm gonna pick a red spring because we're just gonna do a little tiny split squat, which will feel like a combination of a quad exercise slash a stretch So it might feel good or it might feel like more quad work. So let's go ahead and have you come into a quadruped on the reformer, let's do left leg against the shoulder rest and right foot on this plate in the front.

Okay. So from there, my goal is that your front knee is gonna travel over your toes. That's the only thing I care about in this exercise is that we're trying to lean your weight that far forward over that leg. So that you're getting a little bit of a stretch. And then you can push yourself back. So if you wanted to take it into a little bit of a split stretch, you can. Wherever your hands wanna be is fine. If you wanna hold on to the reformer, I would be holding on to the reformer, that's fine. If you're the person who wants to, like, go into a full split, then do that. If you wanna have your hands behind your head, you can do that. But this angle that she has at the end, that's what I'm looking for, is that her knee is tracking over her tip.

So see if you can emphasize that part more than you're emphasizing the split. Right. So it's really about, like, I don't care if you push all the way out. With that leg. I just want that because that much of a knee bend. So when we're really here, we're really getting the VMO. When you're really straight, you're really getting the VMO.

So we're going from the super bent to a little bit straight. So you should feel that inner upper knee. Or inner lower knee. In well, above your kneecap, not sure the best way that that would be explained in what I had just said, but it made sense in my mind. Let's call this the last one.

That it's called that the last one, and then let's go ahead and switch licks. So you did some splits on the first side, so might as well do them on this side. I mean, if you can, you might as well do it. Good. So reaching back. And then traveling forward, remembering our goal is knee knees over toes.

And there was a study. I think it was in the eighties that said your knee shouldn't go over your toes, and everyone believed it. And then nobody did their knees over their toes for years. And it was, like, one study with people who had bad knees, and so that's not really, like, indicative of, like, everyone in the world. And if you walk downstairs, your knees travel over your So just if you're ever worried, if you shouldn't be doing your knees over your toes, then, consider what happens when you're walking downstairs because I promise you're doing it. Let's do one more after this.

And then we're gonna have a complete break of legs. No more legs. Good. And then go ahead and make your way carefully off of that and coming to the side. So we're gonna do a little change, and we're gonna take this foot bar, because it is the infinity foot bar, we're gonna take it over. I'm gonna say about a foot over the carriage end. So if you have an infinity foot bar and you can do that, go ahead and do that.

If not, the rest of the class isn't really gonna work for you, but doing some, like, ab work here would be great. Probably stretching out quads would also be great here. So the foot bar has magically moved to the other side of the reformer. And so you don't wanna have it all the way at the end because you wanna be able to reach I'm gonna have Kathleen go ahead and come in, and she's gonna lie down. Now your spring weight, you could do a quarter spring, like a yellow or a blue.

If you're really strong and feel like really, really strong, then do a red. You could do 2 reds. You could do whatever you want. Go ahead and reach your arms overhead. We're gonna do, flip your grip So think bicep curl, and then you can have your legs.

Let's just do tabletop legs, I think, is fine. And then imagine that you're doing a chin up, and you're just gonna pull your elbows towards your side and then let the carriage come all the way back home as long as that feels okay. Now because of how this reformer is, you could take the shoulder rest off pretty easily, but we're just gonna leave them on because I also think sometimes when you're pulling yourself, if you don't have shoulder rest, feel like you're pulling yourself past where the shoulder rest would be and they kind of keep us, like, in one position. Now, clearly, this is a way easier up than if you were doing it hanging with all of your body weight. So we're gonna do, some variations that are really not very easy to do unless you're super, super strong, including a one arm chin up. So let's have one arm come down by your side. Pick an arm, and then you're just gonna do 3 on one side.

Good to pull in 1. Pull in 2. And then pull in 3, and then we'll go ahead and switch. So your opposite arm will come on when your arms are straight. Who have your right arm by your side.

We have 3 pulls. And then we're gonna move on after this into muscle So a muscle up is a combination of the need of doing 3 things, which are all hard. You need to be able to do a strict pull up strict pull up would be hands facing forward. You need to be able to do a full dip, like a full body weight dip, and you need to be able to get your wrist to make that transition, which is usually where people would have their risks kind of bent like this. But on this supine, position is much, much easier.

So we're gonna do it like this. So start with a pull in. Lift your head and chest up and extend your legs and push your arms straight. There you go. And then go ahead and lower yourself back and then let your arms reach overhead. So again, we're curling in.

So we're doing a pull to come in and then lift up, and you can extend your leg straight. Now what you might see if you actually see somebody do muscle ups or chin ups is there's usually some sort of point during the lip where you start to use your abs so you start to pull your legs forward because it makes that lift easier. What we're doing here on the reformer, it's actually it harder doing her legs like this because it's just the change of gravity in the position. But, That's how we're gonna do it on the reformer because it is so much easier than doing it, in, like, the gym world. Now in this last one, let's just hold your legs there, let your head lower down, and then bend your elbows just some. See if you can take your legs up to 90 degrees.

And then lower your legs down, exhale to lift your legs, and you don't have to lower them past any point where it doesn't feel challenging, we're just going to challenge, but not to where it feels bad. We'll do a couple more like this, and then last one like this. One more, like, let's go halfway to where we were and would just do crisscross legs so that we can feel like we did a pilates class. Last 8, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Slowly make your way all the way in, so go ahead and bend your knees.

Let your arms reach overhead. Foot plate is just right there if you put your feet down. And then you can just let your knees hug into your chest, give yourself a little break, rock a little bit from side to side, Hope you got some ideas there on how to use your reformer as more of a gym piece of equipment, and we have more workouts in this ilk coming soon.


1 person likes this.
Includes some helpful single leg squat work. Video might benefit from text overlay with guidance on springs since there were a couple of places where spring settings were not specified.
Ditto$ja">J A Roseanne P - I’m so sorry! Usually I say them. For the squats, it was always 1 red or 1 blue. I personally do it in one blue. 
Thank you Mariska for getting back.  Have a good night.
Aly M
Hey there, could you please specify what half a spring is in colours? Is it  a blue? Which spring did you use for the standing rows facing shoulder pads? Thank you 
Aly M
Hey can please mention which springs you used for ab work and pistol squats. What is add a few springs exactly?
Aly M sorry - 1 blue or red depending on what feels sufficiently supportive and challenging, which will depend mostly on the size of the person. We used 1 blue. 
Suzanee W
1 person likes this.
Bit disappointed to get to the end and discover I needed an infinity bar, could this be in the description please?  Thanks 

Suzanee W I’ll see if PA can add it to their description. I saved it all for the end so people without this type of reformer could do an entire (but shorter) class just eliminating the final infinity bar exercises. I can say that I don’t have any other classes using this reformer on the site. 
Michele M
Very fun and great challenge for balance work too! I used the tower for some of those exercises since my Reformer does not have an Infinity bar.  Thank you for sharing:D
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