Class #5500

Strengthening Reformer

40 min - Class


Courtney Miller leads you through a dynamic and creative flow which blends weight transfers, precision-focused movements, and increasing intensity. As you tap into your breath and initiate each movement, you'll enhance your coordination, balance, and overall body control. Get ready to feel successful and empowered in how you move, while increasing the pace and challenging yourself in a fun and engaging way.

Check out Courtney's Reformer Foundations Flow here!
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box)

About This Video

Jan 22, 2024
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Hi. I'm Courtney Miller. Today's workout is a progression workout building off the foundations that we did together in a previous class. We're gonna start standing. I've got 1 red and 1 blue spring on for my next flow. Meet me beside your machine and sit down and low into a squat. Rise all the way up.

10 presses up, knees over toes. Inhale to lower and exhale to lift. Driving the heels down, it's gonna help to activate through your seat and back body. 3, 2, and up to the toes we go, lift toe ball heel lower. There's pause at the top, I want you to activate your front and back body simultaneously helping to keep that vertical stability.

5, pressing all the way up to straight legs. 4, 3, 2, Now stay low with me and pulse it out. Find some heat and fatigue in those thighs. 5, 4, 3, so a little deeper, 2, and 1. Line down onto your machine. Reach back behind you and grab your loops for your hands.

Shoes between the long and the short loops. If you have the option, long will feel a little bit lighter. On an exhale lift up, extend the legs. Now for this challenge, we'll be staying up in our abdominal curl the whole time. Just the arms pulling down.

If you'd like to take breaks at any time, go for it. Bending the knees in will decrease the intensity. Shoulders are off the mat, chin to chest. 3. 2.

And last time like this, one. We take a little break, set yourself up for your t presses, curl back up, stay in the curl. Open and close the arms. This is a back exercise. Try to feel that back body working.

Complete exhale. Pulling the arms all the way in, pulling for 4, 3, 2, And one, take it down, take a little break, setting up for your triceps. We're also gonna add a leg tuck for this. So lift up. Bend your knees and your elbows. Legs go under the bar for 1 and over the bar for 1.

And press 4 to go. Elbows tucked into the sides. Chin down and gaze at your thighs. 3 to go. Last two. And last one, leave the legs under the bar.

Take a little break here. We're gonna prepare for the 100 With low legs, I'm gonna call this an advanced variation, exhale, hover the legs and pump. Now, by all means, take the legs higher than the bar if that works for you. In through the nose, out through the mouth. In 234, exhale, 234. Bending the knees in or bringing the legs over the bar if needed.

Halfway there. Last 2. And Bend the knees in, scoop a little higher fight for it, and take it down. Hook up those loops. To get off the machine, we roll up.

Come over to the other side, and let's do those squats again, feeling strong in the core, down and up. Ten times. This is a good opportunity to warm up the ankles, the knees, and the hips. I want you to notice how my chest stays lifted, but my hips drop down. 4, 3, 2, and up to the toes, finding that ankle stability, down and up. It's almost like we're doing footwork vertically.

Inhale lower and exhale left. 4, 3, 2, stay low and find that heat pulses down. Down, down, down, for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and rise. Good. So now we're gonna play a little bit with weight transfer. One foot comes up onto your carriage, one foot down onto the floor. First, at a 10, knees and toes forward.

Inhale to sit low, heel to mat, hips, sit back. Exhale to rise, there's a pause at the top 10 times. I'm on both feet and I'm on 1. That is the challenge of weight transfer. Lower with control, toe ball heal. 3 2, 1.

Now stay low and find your turnout. I wanna remind you this movement comes from the upper hips, knees over toes, second set, lift, and lower. Focus on that landing. Keep the chest up. Coming all the way up to a straight leg.

We've got 4, 3, 2, and 1. I want you to remove a spring, so now I'm on a single red spring. Inside foot goes against the shoulder blocks. We practice these moves in another class. Let's go back to what we learned, kicking the carriage back, leaning forward, and pulling into the core.

Exhale. To find a straight back leg inhale to rise. Now that you remember those foundations, we're gonna add in overhead reach. Exhale. The closer I stand to the foot bar, the lighter the tension will feel.

Last three. Last two. And on the next one I want you to hold, inside hand comes to the bar, outside hand to the back. Bend and kick. 10 times kick.

Find power in that leg extension. Find connection into the core. 5, 4, 3. Keep leaning back. 2, hold for 1.

Both hands go on, hands are shoulder width. Get low to start, lean the shoulders forward over the wrists, and pause, finding almost that long stretch setup, lift the outside leg and hold. Remember to push and scoop while in this position, bring the foot forward and land. Shoulders come forward. Leg comes up.

Leg comes down. Carriage kicks back. Once you have a flow, you can start to move with tempo. Minimizing momentum in this exercise, and finding that shoulder over wrist alignment. 3, landing in the lunch each time.

That is your home base. 2. And one. So that is a combination of our lunge and our long stretch. Moving on to another exercise we practiced, which was our round back elephant. Starting from your low lunge.

Shift the hips up and bring your outside leg up. Pause for a moment and find that scoop. Then land into your lunge, exhale up, inhale down. In this exercise, I'm trying to lean back. So when the carriage comes in, my hips are shifting back, and I'm trying to avoid leaning my chest forward. 4, 3, 2, and 1, bringing the carriage all the way in, meet me in center, knees are wide.

Reach behind, grab your straps, long or short. I'm on a red spring, so long loops work well for me. Start in your low kneeling position. Elbows tucked into the side, and let's go into our forward reach offering. Keeping the palms level, chest open. When you start to feel comfortable with this movement and the stability required, then you add your seated squad.

Hips come up as the arms reach forward. So really uniting upper lower body and core. Last three, two, staying down or staying up for one you choose. Open, close, and bend it into the sides. Reach forward.

Big open. Big close and bend. And you'll remember this series from our foundation class. The next move after this is going to be our shaving. Push, open, close, One more time.

Push, open, close. Hands come back behind the head. Sit low. Push forward. Option 1. Adding your seated squat every time you press up.

Staying in the high lift position, final 5. Back of the neck long, 4, core tight, 3, 2, fully extend the elbows all the way, circle around, and hook up the straps, come off to the other side Let's start with our step ups. So parallel was our start position, one foot to the floor, one foot to the mag, send the hips back, 2 things. Hips are back, chest high, and keep that carriage heel down because you need that to power up. 10 is your goal, landing light toe ball heel.

There's a little pause at the top and control to come down. Final 43, 2, 1. Find your turnout in both legs. Hips are back. So there's a bit of a shift over that stabilizing side and landed. Find that straight leg.

Control the down. Last four. Last three. Last two. And one.

Foot goes against the shoulder block. What I had said earlier was the closer your standing foot is to the bar, the lighter the spring tension is. We'll practice keeping our hips square and leaning the chest forward when we'll we're low. Adding the upper body, overhead reach, big inhaled a rise up. And rise. No neck tension.

Easy intuitive movement. Last 2. And we'll stay low for scooter. Inside hand to the bar, outside hand to the back. When my hand is on my back, whether I'm doing this movement scooter, or skater lunges.

I'm thinking about pulling my belly button towards my hand. It's like a bull's eye. It's like a target. 5, 4, 3, 2, keep the leg straight. Both hands come on. Hands are wrapped and thumbs are on the same side as the fingers. The chest comes forward as if you're about to be in long stretch, outside leg lifts.

Here's the droop. Here's the scoop. Try to stay in that position. Land toe ball heel. Once you find those foundational components, add some tempo.

It is your back glued on this side that's lifting the leg up. So squeeze it. Last 4. 3. Last two, and one, into the pike we go.

Pike and round back elephant are the same thing. That's why it's so important to learn round back elephant. So the hips come up The weight shifts back, and the leg just dangles, landed. Landed. Lean back.

The head drops, chin to chest, look towards the belly button. 3, 2, and 1, If you're closing that carriage easily, you might not be leaning back far enough. Let's do a spring change. One blue. Bread comes off.

Take a seat on your machine facing back. So continuing to build on our back rowing variations. Because I'm on a blue, I like to use my short loops. If this tension doesn't feel right for you, make it heavier, or make it lighter. Starting your best posture, shoulders over hips, bend your knees.

If that's intuitive, we're gonna make some shapes. The first one, is a letter I. The second is a letter t. And then we tilt and lean making a diagonal to one side, and a diagonal to the other. Repeat the flow.

Sit tall, feel those postural muscles kicking in, backs of the shoulders, feeling strong, core will stabilize you as you lean equal tension in both ropes and same thing to the other side. Two more rounds up to the letter I, out to the letter t, no momentum, Just strength. Lean. Lean. Last time like this.

Hold it and pause. Think about an exclamation point being right there. Lien and diagonal lean. Now you've got the right loops in your hands and the right tension. So swing your legs off to the side and meet me in a straddle. I like to move back when I'm working my upper body, especially my back, I want it to be heavy.

Single or in row, narrow elbows. Legs don't move. Hit sitting low. So the more you step backwards towards your foot bar, the heavier this tension is, I want you to feel fatigued by the time we're done this. Big twist and squeeze and squeeze last three.

Last two. One more each side. Finish by putting the hands on the shoulder blocks and coming onto your knees. Hook up your straps temporarily. You'll use them again, but let's do a reset.

That doesn't mean a break. We're gonna go down into a plank position, holding the shoulder blocks. One foot presses out. Prepare for what's gonna happen. You know you're gonna be holding yourself up.

You know it's gonna be a whole body move, send the other leg back. We practice this movement in another video. Now we take it single leg. As I push out, one knees into chest. One knees into chest.

Push. Push. I have to really scoop to get that knee off the carriage for 3, 2, one knees down. Alright. We're gonna start that flow again. From your seated position, legs go through.

Short loops, focus on posture, and here we are. I T, diagonal to one side, tilt, diagonal to the other. And if this is working for you, stay right where you are. If you're looking for an added challenge, we'll do this move in our modified teaser, which we know and love, I, t, diagonal, and diagonally 2 more to go. I tea. Reach, wrists are staying straight.

Last one like this, I t definitely feeling those arms and shoulders and core and straddle. You've got the right loops. We're coming back into our straddle, low hover position instead of a row, double or and bicep curl. The trick to this exercise is to lift your elbows higher when you want more tension. Sit your hips low.

And co contract the abdominals with the arms. Everything's moving together. We've got 5. 4. Last 2. And last one.

Make sure that mat is underneath you when you sit down, hook up your loops, and we are coming back into another plank, but this time, We're recreating that pike slash roundback elephant position that we talked about earlier. I want your elbows to be wide and palms together in prayer. Elbows are shoulder width, Start with your feet onto the wood platform and then make your way so that your feet are up and onto the foot bar. Heels together toes apart. Start the move by looking towards your toes, lift the hips, bring the carriage home, and then lengthen out looking at your hands. Find the plank, exhale lift. Shoo.

Inhale lower. Try to keep your ankles pretty stable, and your leg is pretty straight. Lift. And lower. Last 4. Last three.

Last two. And one more. Take a knee down, and bring the carriage in. Alright. We're still working into our upper body and core stability, kneeling, with one hand onto the headrest. I always put my hand to the side, grab your rope with your opposite hand, and find your best squared off position.

Straight arm pose back higher than the hip. Straight arm lowers down right under the shoulder. Somewhere around 6 to 8 repetitions per variation is gonna be perfect here. You can increase your reps or increase your tension to feel more intensity. Let's do 3 more.

3 notice I'm not tucking my hips under or rounding my spine trying to stay really long. To And one, bend at your elbow. Extend opposite leg to arm, leave the leg lifted higher than the bar. So if you feel that bar, it's an indicator to go up higher. Push and bend. Elbow stays right, squeeze into the side.

Let's do 3, 2, and one. Keep that loop and rotate your body to your facing side. You have the option for long or short, I like to move away from the shoulder blocks. Inside leg goes to the headrest, feeling nice and long and tall, overhead reach, You saw this in your hug a moon. Reach up and take it down.

Try not to bend the spine yet. Bend the spine in a little bit. Right now, we're just keeping hips, shoulders, and spine as still as we can. 3, 2. Now the next time the arms reach overhead interlace the fingers.

Now that's a lot of tension, but it's gonna pull you into a nice stretch. And then you're gonna use your abdominals to pull in the opposite direction. 5 is a good number here. Head stays between the arms. 4, 3, 2, big stretch, and 1, Open the arms.

Take the knees down. You're not done just yet. Switch so that you're holding the strap in the opposite hand. Inside hand comes to head rest, now find a balance position facing the other direction. Lift your elbow, extend your arm to the sky, notice how my hands are right over each other, look up at the fist, bend, and extend.

Hips are stacked, elbow points up. 6 to 8 here is a good number. Add more reps for more intensity. 3, 2, and 1, taking it all the way down. Now I'm gonna switch to my long loop inside hand.

Both my hands rotate to the front of the mat. Both my feet rotate back. I always bring my feet off the head rest, find that same long spine you know and love, take the opposite leg to arm up, and then your strap arm is ready to lift. You can do this move with your pump facing down or your pump facing in whatever feels intuitive to you. Keep the shoulder down as the arm presses overhead.

Let's do four more here. That's 4 rib cage lifted. 3, 2, and one. Okay. Where we're ready to reverse the flow, we're gonna stay where we are, hook up the strap that you just use, grab the long loop on the other side, and set yourself up. Knees are back.

Abs are in opposite leg to loop arm lifts, palm can be down or in. Big pushing forward. I'm trying to keep my stabilizing elbow soft, and a long line between my ears, my shoulders, my hips, and my back heel. 4, 3, 2, one. Hand goes down.

Bring the knees forward and pivot so you're facing the opposite direction. Let's start so we're moved away from that headrest. Inside leg onto it. I had the short loop in my inside hand, up and over for hug, the moon. Acts heal as you lift, inhale as you open.

Try not to twist or turn yet. 3 more to go. That's 3. 2, interlace the hands overhead, let the resistance pull you off to one side, bend towards the footbar 5 times one. 2, 3, 4, 5, open the arms, change the setup. So you've got the short loop in your outside hand, hand to headrest, find the balance.

Pull the elbow up, extend the arm, align the hands over each other, and you're ready to go. Big push up and bend. So it's your tricep on that top arm that's doing the work. To push lots of other muscles in the body working to stabilize you. 5, 4, 3, 2, and one more time. 1, The arm and the leg come down, pivot, and you're ready to finish where we started.

Holding the loop in your outside hand, knees are wide, long through the spine, straight arm pulls up, higher than the hip, straight arm lowers right under the shoulder, always keeping tension, even when the arm is low. Your feelings in your tricep and in your back. Last four, three, last two, and hold the arm up, squeeze the elbow in, bend to a 90. Opposite leg to arm lifts, you're going for the height and for the length. Kick it back.

If you're feeling any neck tension, actively pull your shoulders down, push your chest up. You're almost there. 4 more. 3, 2, and 1, Alright. Let's focus on the glutes next. So come into a side lounge position where you're propped up onto your elbow.

Grab the strap that's in front of you and place your top foot in the long loop. Extend that leg and find your lift We practice this in a low position. Now here we are in a higher up position. Swing the top leg forward and swing the top leg back. I use the foot bar as a guide for how high my foot and leg need to stay.

Top hand could be at the hip or behind the head, just make sure you're staying lifted through those ribs. This is gonna prepare you for some even more challenging work. Don't be afraid swing that leg forward. You're using the resistance to find length. Just do your best to keep your hips as stacked as you can.

3, 2, into circles we go. They don't have to be too high. Big circle forward. 5, 4, 3, 2. And don't forget to reverse the direction of your circles forward, up, and back.

5, 4, I have to remind myself to keep this shoulder down away from ears. 3, 2. And then just like we did practicing that bend and extend, here's the difference. The loop is gonna be below your knee. Just keep your knee and heal in line with your hip.

Big kick out. Every time I kick out, I press down into my 4 or more, try to find even more lift more strength, more length. 4, 3, 2, and one. Awesome. Right into the other side, we go. Turn it around.

Set yourself up. I always scooch my hips back towards the edge of the mat and scooch my hips down. I don't wanna feel cramped don't wanna feel like I don't have the space that I need. Top hand to head or hip. Top foot is gonna be the height of your hip.

Or that foot bar, stay lifted and stay stable. Again, it's okay to swing that leg forward. Just keep your top hip directly above your bottom. I want you to feel the length in the hamstring, inhale stretch, and exhale pull. Last three.

Last 2. Last one into circles we go They don't have to be high. 5. 4. 3, 2, one more, 1, reverse, pull back, lift forward and around 5, 4, 3, 2, and one into the bend and extend.

Focus on the knee, the heel, and the hip, the same height. Every time you push out lift up, We have a nice series coming up after this, so don't quit now. Last four. Last three. Last two.

Big kick out for 1. Foot can come out of the strap, meet me lying down onto the carriage for a single foot and strap series. I'm gonna stay on my blue. You can always increase the tension to get more support in this series. I'll use the short loop because I want a blue, and I'll put my foot into the loop, same side to leg.

Head stays down. So the goal in this series is to stay as stable as you can through your middle as your loop leg presses out, starting with a bend and extend. So it's very easy for this leg to feel like it's wobbling all over the place. Hips stay stable, exhale to press out, moved from a place of power. Now adding the double leg bicycle movement.

Once you feel pretty solid about what's happening with the legs, option to lift the head, neck, and shoulders off the mat And if you're gonna be there, my suggestion is palms up. Arms floating. 4. 3. 2, 1, change to a scissor. So both legs are straight, one up, one down.

Hips are staying level. Go for that length. Keep the booty feeling like it's pressing down. 4, 3, 2, and 1 more. 1.

Now we practice short spine together. We're now gonna do a single loop version of short spine. So I see how I'm able to get both my feet into one loop. Just fiddle around and meet me here. On a breath and the legs lift up, not unlike what we learned in foundation, we deepen the stretch.

That's important. This is where this blue spring is not gonna help you. So if you're having problems lifting off the mat, you might wanna pause and change to a red. On an exhale, you're using your core to lift up into the inversion. Carriage is closed.

Bend into your little diamond shape. Roll down the center of the spine, but wait, there's more. Once the booty touches down, the head can come back up. The arms and legs reach away or reminds you of your double leg stretch. And the whole thing starts again.

So find the stretch. Deepen. Not a lot of help on that lift is coming from you. Small diamond. Once the booties down, the head is up, and one long line.

Let's do it two more times. Legs first. Spine, bend, feels good to roll down, and press it all the way up. Last time, legs, spine, bend it, Feel length as you roll down and hold it. Good. Let's do the same thing on the other side.

So you can get rid of this one, and you can find your opposite one. Recreate the exact same environment, so short loop. Same loop to leg, same rope to leg, and practice just settling it and push pull. So even though this is a lighter tension than we were doing it with both legs, it's more complicated. There's more to think about, more to stable, eyes, which is why it's in my progression series, adding the double. When one is straight, the other is bent, This is, almost, replicating a walking pattern. Right? The legs are moving, and the hips are staying still.

Adding that abdominal curl when you're ready. The nice thing about being up in the curl is you can see what's happening. You can see if your hips are moving. You can see if your knees are tracking right over your hips and in line with your feet. One more like this.

And straight leg scissor, one up, one down. What I breathe out, what I'm looking for here is a visual of compression. I wanna see all my air expel and my abdominals wrapping. Shhh. Naval to spine. Last three.

2, and 1. Head goes down. Both feet go into the loop, and I just have my feet beside each other like that. Lift. I can already feel this side's gonna be harder.

I really have to work to stay stable, roll to come up. Bend into my diamond shape. Spine rolls down with control head comes up arms and legs reach away, and there's a hold there, and then repeat. Legs first. Stretch the hamstrings. Spine second.

Stretch the back. Close the carriage, bend, roll with control, use the arms if you need to, and lengthen. Two more like this, just the legs. Bend right down the middle of the back, hitting each bone one at a time. Last time.

Bend. Roll it down. Now we're not done yet. So take your foot out of the strap. I always come off this machine via a reformer roll up, so drape the legs over.

Lift the arms of the sky, exhale all the way up, you go. I have my blue spring still on. You could be on a blue or on your red. We're gonna go into a straddle press series facing back, and you'll see how this evolves and classes to come, but this is a great place to begin. However, the hips, hands to the shoulder blocks, flat back lean. Now in this position, I'm trying to lift my sit bones up, and drop my chest down. I bend my elbows narrow and push back.

Bend and push and every time I push my arms forward, I think about my hips driving back, so my spine feels longer. 4, 3, 2, 1, sit down. You want the hips towards the middle of the mat. Hands go back. Legs come up. Is it gonna be a full teaser, a modified teaser up to you? 3, 2, 1. This time, elbows will be wide. Axill as you press.

Chest is low. Hit bones pressing up. 4, 3, 2, and 1, carriage comes in, hips go down, arms come back, modified would be bent knees, find the straight legs to intensify, 4, 3, 2, one, this time it's a single arm. So press out hold. One arm comes off to the side, push. Switch when the arms are straight.

Push. So this is setting us up for our carriage tosses. I'm gonna see in our challenge class for these, but take your time, build that foundation, stability in the spine, shoulders down and back. 4, 3, 2, and 1, bring it all the way in, take the hips down, take the legs up, Find the balance and hold. 4, 3, 2, And one.

Legs come off the side. You rise up. You've made it. So we've taken this next step this next layer coming from our foundation into our progressions. It was definitely a challenge. I felt it too. I'm gonna see you in the next class.

Thanks for joining me.


2 people like this.
Great class! Exactly the kind of class I’ve been wanting recently. A mix of squats and creative pilates strengthening. Thank you, Courtney! 
Shona Croft
Great workout, great Pilates, went by in a flash and I’m Glowing. 😅
4 people like this.
This was a tough one! I was with you until the step up onto the reformer - needed to increase spring tension and to steady myself with the foot bar. Any modifications for this portion? I've been a Courtney fan for at least a decade (I've aged, Courtney has not!). I admire and appreciate the impeccable cueing. It's as if Courtney anticipates the questions which accompany each movement and provides exactly what is needed to understand and execute each exercise. Also appreciate the focus on excellent form and thoughtful breathing to support each movement. Thank you, Courtney.
Brandie D
Thank you again for the incredible flow. The pace, the sequence, the cueing and full body progression throughout.
Love love. I will be doing this weekly to get beach vacation ready! Courtney you get better with age - thanks for inspiring me to try my hardest to do the same!!!!
Melissa D
Always love a Courtney workout! Great class!
I loved this one! It is a bit slower than some of her others and it made me work so hard.
Natalie S
1 person likes this.
This one made me WORK! I am enjoying this series so much and thank you for pushing us! Your cueing as always is so helpful in both my own practice and when I teach others- thank you Courtney!
Loved this creative, and incredibly well cued sequence -- so many awesome ideas to play with and consider.  This whole series has rocked and inspired me to jump on the Reformer to play. Courtney, thank you for bringing so much perspective and FUN into the progressive work. 
1 person likes this.
Great class, as always! Loved the single leg short spine flow  :) 
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