Class #5510

Challenge Reformer

35 min - Class


It's time! Get set for an energetic, high-tempo Reformer class led by Courtney Miller. Building on your foundation from previous classes, this session will test your stability, strength, and endurance. Brace yourself for challenging exercises including the Snake, Tendon Stretch, and Semi-Circle as part of the class's choreography. You are ready to meet this challenge - you've got this!

Check out Courtney's Reformer Foundations Flow here!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Feb 26, 2024
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Hi. I'm Courtney Miller. Today's workout is a challenge, and we're gonna be building off of the foundations and progression moves that we practiced in earlier classes. I'll be using the box and I've got a nice heavy set of springs on. I've got 3 full springs for some footwork. Let's get started. Line down on your carriage.

Well, I'll start with our Pilates V first position heels together toes apart. What's gonna make this a little different is our breath. So inhale to push all the way out and on that same breath in return the carriage. Exhale to push all the way back and on that same exhalation return the carriage. So it's one breath for a full cycle of movement.

The purpose here is not for you to necessarily speed up what's happening in the lower body, but instead to really solidify that complete breath. Let's make sure we're pushing all the way out and resisting in. 10 repetitions is perfect, so five breaths, last time here. And bring it in. Let's change the feet, toes are still on, heels are high legs together, pushing all the way out. One complete breath sounds like this. Inhale.

Inhale. Keep the heels high and the pelvis anchored one more time. And let's change our feet. Our is on, legs still together push and resist. So I want you to pay attention, pushing evenly into both legs, using the backs of the legs to push and feeling open through the front of the hips.

Arms are long, chest is wide, really building that foundation you're gonna use for the rest of class. Last time like this, and wide second toes on. Inhale. Inhale. As I push out, I'm thinking about squeezing my upper inner thighs together. That helps me to activate through my abdominals, the lower part of my core drawing up last time like this.

And back to our heels up, legs together for tendon stretch, lower and lift. Change the breath to what suits you, I'll generally take my hands on my spine like this, one on the low back, one on the front, and I just make sure that I'm nice and connected as I breathe, stable, as those ankles move. 3, 2, 1, bring the carriage in. Into a bridge series, if your head rest is up, place it down, lift the hips up, finding your best bridge here. Rolling the spine down one bone at a time and resisting to come back up. We're still in our warm up stage.

I want you to really take a second to connect breath to body. So feeling the abdominals activate sequentially, you've got upper middle, lower and then lower middle upper. Say up on the next one. Hips are high. Rigs are closed. Arms are long. One leg extends up to the guy, flex the foot, drop the leg as low as the hips can stay stable.

Point when you kick, down, up, eight times, down, up. 4, 3, 2. Now hold the leg up. Hips are nice and high. Narrow the shoulders.

And place your hands behind your hips. To get off the foot bar, you wanna lean back. So I'm stretching that straight leg back. And just hovering my bent leg. I wanna try to reach for that foot bar and see if I can touch it now. Reverse.

This is your bicycle. I love this move because it really teaches you to reach down for 3, getting a big stretch to the front of the hips. 2, 1, I've got my opposite leg up. Ready to go. Flex and kick eight times. Last four hips are staying level.

3, 2, 1. Let's have a second go. So hips are high. Should shoulders are narrow. You hold the pelvis. You lean that leg back.

It makes it easy to lift off that bar. Find your hips support stability. Here we go round 2. Reaching down to the foot bar, stretching the opposite leg back. 4, 3, 2, 1.

The feet can go down. The spine can roll down. One bone at a time into a reformer roll up we go. Arms reach up to the ceiling. Let's do 3 were former roll ups.

All the way up we go. 1. On the third one, we'll stay at 1st spring change. 2, remember to find that low back connecting into the mat. And on the next one, roll up, reach under your legs and take off some of your springs.

I'm gonna leave myself with one red. Before we go down, let's practice the teaser prep. We've already learned. Legs are extended. Find that Pilates V, open the chest, use the footbar to find it.

Let go, hold and breathe, 5, 4, I think chest to thighs, 3, 2, and take it down for 1. Reach back behind you and find your loops. We're gonna be staying up as we go through some lower body variations. So on an tail, lift the chest. It's surprisingly light, but you're going to be working hard nonetheless.

Legs go down, legs and hips lift up ten times. Keep pushing through the hands. Legs are long. If you can, bend the knees if that feels better. Remember to keep the chin down and the gaze at your thighs. 4, 3, 2, and 1, we take a little break, a little reset, and come right back up into the position.

Arms stay. Knees tuck in, extend the legs, one leg goes under, one leg goes over, alternate. Push down through the pinky fingers, keep the collar bones wide. Last four, last three, Stay in it. We've got another reset in 2 and head goes down. This time we're staying up again for Sean legs extend, find the turnout one leg crosses over, and this is a quick criss cross coming from the upper inner thighs. 109 8, 7, 6, 5, 4. Can you straighten your legs? Last 2. And one. Bend your knees. Fight for the scoop.

And reset back down. Hook up your long loops, drape your legs over 3 reformer roll ups, and down, you go. 1. Finding that complete breath You'll need it in some of these more challenging series, all the way up. Swing your legs off to one side.

And meet me standing. So we really broke down what this side standing lunge looks like. Now we're gonna go right into some choreography. Bending into the standing leg, body weight shifts forward, shoulders come right over wrists, outside knee lifts to same elbow. Outside knee crosses to opposite elbow, it comes back to where you started and you land in the lunge.

Take it, take it, hit it, and down. So there's 3 positions, same, opposite, same, and down. And I really want you to emphasize the rotation, as it goes across, and down. Last three, last two, One more across, same, and land. Up onto the machine we go, walk the feet back against the shoulder blocks. Turn your toes in one direction. Hand goes centered on the foot bar.

Opposite hand reaches to foot. I just want you to see how far back I'm leaning. I need to return to the space every time the carriage closes. On a breath in, I push out using the strength of my legs. I support myself with my back and sides. Exhale, reaching opposite hand to foot, leaning back.

Inhale pressing and exhale into the pike. So when we do snake, it's coming up shortly. I eyes, you're gonna do a very similar movement pattern. So if you're leaning forward and you're not finding that pike, Now is the time to dial it in. 4, 3, 2, one more time, 1 and done. Turn the toes forward. Come off to the side that you were just standing on.

Let's put our foot bar down and come to a standing position on the machine. Remember to stand on what's not gonna move? Hands on hips, hips tucked core tight, push out, see if you can hold it, and control to come in. So this is our straight legs, abduction working from the upper outer hips focusing on posture. Keeping our weight into the outer edges of the feet who don't lose those arches.

4, 3, feeling centered as I push out, not leaning off to one side, 2. And on the next one, I want you to bring the carriage in, but not all the way. So feet are right underneath the hips, and I've got some tension. Take it down into a squat and press. Now I'm really thinking about my outer edges of the feet knees traveling towards my baby toes, not towards my big toes, trying to keep that lateral line of my leg alive and carriage as still as possible.

5. Remember in this move, it's the hips that are dropping down. So resist the temptation to lean forward. 4. 3, 2, one more like this, 1, Close the carriage. Keep your platform leg up. Step your carriage leg back for a modified snake. Here's how we're gonna get into the The hand that's closest to the foot on the platform wraps around the front of the carriage opposite hand can be on top of shoulder block, or down flat, your preference.

Back leg is gonna lift and cross in front. Hips go up. I wanna meet you in a pike. Once you're here, use your inner thighs to press out, find a long line, look towards your feet, exhale hips come up. This is why we practice star and exhale. We have to lift the pike position. 3, 2, One, adding rotation with a hip dip, this is an optional add on.

So I look over my shoulder, return, and lift. Let's do 2 more like that. Dip and look, recover, and scoop last time dip and look, recover, and scoop, step backwards. Well done. We did it. So let's take a knee down opposite foot forward, we're gonna build on our proposal arms and add a balance challenge. Let's recap what we practiced. I've got the short loops in my hand.

One arm presses back. One arm does a bicep curl. Then exhale. Push. And this is a great place to be. So if your balance is feeling off today, I'd like you to stay here.

If you're looking to add a little stability challenge, make sure the back foot is onto the carriage. We'll do a bilateral bicep curl as we rise to standing. Now up here is when I feel strongest and most stable. So it's okay to stay up here. To find your stability. When I lower things get wobbly, I lift and find it.

Inhale down, and exhale up. I'm trying to score off my hips, the higher I lift my elbows, the harder I work, 4, 3, that's 2, We'll hold our halfway down position and finish with 4 bicep curls here. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Now, we're going to reverse the order of our flow, which is a fun little brain challenge, So let's stay as we are, test the waters, 1 bicep curl, and one press back. Remember, we feel different side to side.

So settle in. If this is working, you don't have to change anything. But if you are looking to add into that lunge add on, scooch the back knee forward and find the lift. Once you're in the lift, two straight legs, bent elbows feeling really, really strong, go halfway down, and up again. It's common to wanna lean back when you do this move.

And I want you to try to keep your hips stacked right under your shoulders or shoulders right over the hips. 4, 3, 2, And one, we go to our half position, 4, 3, the higher the elbows, the harder you work. 2, and 1, take it down and hook up your loops. Nice. Okay. So snake is next because we're reversing the order. So come off to the opposite side, and let's work how we get into position.

Foot goes on to the platform, the same side hand onto the carriage, slightly in front of the foot. 2 options for your other hand. It's just a personal preference high or low. When you're ready to commit to the lift, back leg comes up, ankle crosses in front, two straight legs into a pike. Inhale to a plank, look towards the toes, exhale hips up, inhale to push, Exhale. Feel like it's your legs helping you to push out.

And your breath helping you to pull in. Lengthen, and scoop 2 more like this, lengthen And scoop 1 more like this. Optional add on, only doing 3. So press Look over the shoulder, recover, and scoop 2 to go. Press Look, recover, hips up, last time, press hold.

Dip look, Back to the plank, and back to our pike. Step backwards. And when you feel ready, step up. So keep your legs straight, toes and align, hands to hips, use the upper outer hips to press. Don't forget the importance of that hold, and return in.

If you feel like it's easy to connect to the back of your machine, you can always add more tension on here. Press and resist. Weight stays into the outer edges of the feet. Arches stay alive. That really makes a difference on how the knees and abdominals work in this move.

4, 3, notice how my body weight's staying centered between my legs. 2. And then on the next one, we don't wanna close the carriage fully. We want spring tension. Feet will be just a little bit wider than the hips, working into the upper outer hips, weight into the outer edges of the feet, down and up. So when I do this move, I think about doing squats with a booty band around my legs. Really similar activation.

Hips low, rise up. 5, 4, 3, 2, and one more like this. One, close the carriage, and step backwards. Don't forget to move your foot bar up so we can do our lunge with knee tuck. Once it's locked in, inside foot against the shoulder block, hands go onto that foot bar.

I'm gonna break down the 3 moves slowly, and then we can pick up our flow. So knee comes to same, I'm feeling a little cinch in my side. I go all the way across, rotation, come back to where I started, and landed. Bring your shoulders right over your wrist, twist, and landed. This is also called TikTok, So you go 1, tick, talk, landing, up, and land. I'm trying to scoop in my upper spine.

Resisting against gravity wanting to push me down when I'm up in this shape. 2 more, same across, and land. One more time, same, and land. Great. Just in case Star and Snake wasn't hard enough, our next move is gonna be teaser on the long box.

So grab that box, I'm gonna leave my red spring on. This is heavier than what we did in our progression class. You'll want the footbar to be out of the way. And you'll be using your loops, so make sure they're handy. Because I have the red spring, I am gonna use the long loops.

Want you to do what feels right for you on your machine. Now, we've already been through the preparatory movements in the earlier classes, so we're going right into our full teaser. Line back head drops off, arms out to the side. On an exhale, come to your hundred position. Then continue to roll through the spine, lifting the arms, lifting the legs, finding your balance.

Hold the balance and lift the arms 3 times. 1, shoulder height is perfect. 2, last time. 3. Leaving the arms up, rolling down through the low back first, and then allowing the body to drop back. Do it again? Tuck the chin, come to your 100, roll all the way up.

Balance. Nice wide chest 3. 2, and 1. Don't forget to leave the arms and the legs as high as you can. Lower back comes to the box first. Then allow the spine to drop back into extension.

Last time like this, exhale into the hundred, roll through, 3 lifts. 1, 2, and 3, roll the lower back down and enjoy the extension. Let go of the loops roll up without. And roll off to one side. You're gonna need those loops though, so grab them. Sit on the box facing the back of your machine.

Now, I have the option between long and short loops. I'll choose my shorter loops for 2 reasons. 1, it's gonna feel a little harder, a little heavier. 2, I like the range of motion I get. So if you've got long loops and you find that your carriage is bottoming out in this exercise, shorten your ropes. Lie down on the box, hug your knees into your chest, use your arm strength.

I want you to think of your series of 5, double leg stretch for this one. Inhale arms and legs reach away. Exhale circle around and hug. Hold the scoop. Inhale reach, exhale hug.

Low back feels anchored into the box, scoop, Inhe'll reach, exhale scoop, 4 to go. 4 3, 2, one more time, hold the shins, but allow the upper body to drop back. If that feels good for you, hang out here a little bit longer. Tuck your chin in. Come on back up.

Next move is our crisscross. Hands behind the head. Legs go long. Both knees come in for this variation, and twist. Keep the elbows wide. 5, 4, 3, 2, one more time, and use a little bit of momentum to help yourself rock up. You can slide your loops off.

We're gonna bend the body in the opposite direction. With our Swan variation. Swan dive, we're gonna use the long box for this. So when you get on, come on to your pelvis, hands onto the rails, and you wanna come a lot forward. So I scooch forward until my navels off the box, and even my hip bones feel like they're coming off the box.

You might have to readjust as you go. Before you start, I want you to find your hip extension. So lifting the legs up, and then come forward a bit more. Lifting the legs up and keeping the legs straight. Hands underneath my shoulders, I want you to try to lift the legs without dropping the chest. 4, 3 to hold that lift. Now chest will start to lower as the legs lift higher. Lots of glutes here. And I'm doing a push up or a press up, but my legs don't touch the box. I'm maintaining that hip extension.

Do it again. Inhale. Exhale, firm grip with the hands, in, and out, try not to let the head droop, one shape down, one shape up. 4 to go. 4. Get ready to hold it down there. 3 Two, my legs are in turnout.

Now hold the low position for grasshopper variation across the ankles three times. Extend and lift higher if you got it. Lift. Let's repeat. Down. 1, 2, 3, legs come up. 2 more.

Down. 1, 2, 3 legs come up. And down one more time. Low 1, 2, 3. Find that hit the extension and lift to come up. That was awesome. I actually think it feels really good.

Okay. So we do have another challenging move coming up. The box can go back. The foot bar can come back up. This is your tendon stretch. I still have my 1 red spring. Remember, Justice brings for your needs, heavier will feel more supportive. Sitting on to the foot bar, I have the heels of my feet hanging off.

Let's practice the hip extension, the lengthening through the hamstrings. So keep that carriage closed, lift your hips up, find the scoop, sit almost all the way down and come back up. 3, 2, and 1. Now hold it here This is your round back elephant shape with your spine. That's why we practiced it earlier. Keep your arms and legs straight. Use the power of your core to press.

Hips come just past the bar, chin stays tucked. Wait to your toes to bring it home, hips drive up. Inhale, push with control, don't swing, exhale, lift with the core. 5 more. 4 3, 2, One more.

Take a seat. And come off to one side. Grab 1 loop. You'll use your longer short loop, set back, I want you to feel tension in the rope, 2 moves. 1 is a squat, 1 is a row, rise, switch hands. Now, there should feel like there's enough tension here for you to lean back and keep your chest vertical. You get to pick your tempo, whatever feels better for you. I like elbow close to my body when I row.

Feel free to lift that elbow higher. Just no tension in the neck. 4, 3, 2, even it out on each side, and bring it in. Neil against the shoulder blocks, hands onto those rails again, downward facing dog, facing back, take that dog for a walk. Just stretch it out. 5, 4, 3.

This is a transitionary move. 2. I'm taking my right leg up to my three legged dog, and then I'm stepping my right foot through and bringing it as close to the back of the machine as I can. This move is called a split squad, very little weight in the back leg. Inhale bending to the front knee and exhale rising up. Now on this exercise, I do lean my spine forward I'm trying to use my body weight to load up my glute, adding rotation when you're ready for a little bit more.

Opposite elbow towards the knee. Oh, down and up. Down and up. 4, 3, 2, And one. Turn around. We've got pull ups.

We've practiced these on the riser. Now, here we are on the shoulder blocks. Keep your hips low, weight shifted back, pull the carriage to your shins, and lengthen. If you're looking for more intensity step backwards, or single arm. Here we go. 8 7, 65, 43, 2. 1, once you feel even, rise and turn.

Let's repeat the flow with the opposite leg back. So just finding our split squat first, lower, and lift. Inhale down, exhale up. Notice on my back foot. My toes are not curled under, so I'm just resting the top of my foot down. All my weight is in my forward leg.

Adding rotation. Let's see how we do on this side. A little bit better. Inhale down, and exit lift. 4, 3, 2, and last time like this, into our downward dog on the rails.

So curl the back foot You have to pull your heel to your seat. Kick it up. Find that three legged dog. Big open. Take that dog for a walk. Right.

Left, right, left, 3, 2, and one. Come off to the other side. Grab the loop. You're ready to rock. It doesn't matter what hand you start with because you're gonna be switching. Sit low, find the row. Step backwards if you think you can.

I want you to really work on increasing resistance here. Sit and pull. Just like we practiced earlier on the machine, keep weight into the upper outer sections of the hips, feeling cardio conditioning, starting to ramp up, 4, back to tendon stretch, round 2. M3. That's 2.

And even a note for one. Take a seat onto your machine. Straight up onto the foot bar. Bring the heels so they hang off the edge. Let's practice that lift again.

Exhale up, Leo. And he'll bend the knees. 3 times lift. 1, 2, and 3. Push the weight into your heels as you press out.

Hips go just past the arms. Exhale, weight to the toes to pull. Inhale, push. Exhale, return. If your hips are moving forward of the bar a lot, I want you to slow it down and minimize range of motion, shin to chest.

Last three. Try to get that carriage to close hips over heels. 2. One more time. Take a seat.

And let's get back into the lower body. So I've got 1 red spring on, which is a bit heavy. If this is feeling like a lot, try a blue. Won't do too many reps. So we practice side lying legs.

We practice side lounge legs. Now we're going to amp it up just a little bit. In this stability challenge. I've got my inside elbow down, open my knee to the side, stack my shoulders. I'm kicking back and kicking high.

When I bend, I'm thinking knee to elbow, inhale bend, and exhale kick. And kick driving through the heel. 4, 3, 2, and 1. Instead of a straightforward, like we practice, we'll do a sweep down and up. Almost reminding you of the long box leg sweeps that we did. 4, try to keep your hips over your stabilizing knee, 3, 2, and now we're only gonna do a circle in one direction.

Lead goes forward and down. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and rest. Great. Let's do the same thing on the other side, easy setup, foot into the long loop, Find your elbow and forearm down onto the inside of the shoulder blocks. Use your mat so you don't feel cramped knee to elbow kick, kicking back, and kicking high. Shoulders staying down.

That red spring definitely has some resistance in it. But we are 2, hold 1, sweep, and app. Let's get some power in those kicks. 4 more like this, straight leg up. 3, 2, And time to circle.

Keep it high. Go forward and down. 1. Forward and down. 2. Forward and down 3. 4.

And 5. Well done, hook up those loops. Coming into our last move. What a great one. Semi circle. So lying down, I still have my single spring on, one red, feet onto the foot bar, hands back to the shoulder blocks, There's no fancy way to do it.

The hips come up. You wanna walk your shoulders to the front edge of the mat until your arms are almost straight. I like toes on, heels together. Now I am trying to close the carriage. You can see I've got no weight on my head.

All the work is in my glutes. I'm gonna press out almost all the way, roll upper, middle, and lower spine down. Just like the articulation we've been practicing in our bridges, my butt is touching the springs as I close, and I scoop back up. Push, articulate, close, and lift. 2 more like this, push, articulate, close, lift one more time, push, Articulate down, close, here's the reverse. Articulate down, booty onto springs, push, scoop to come up, close, roll it down, push, roll it up.

2 more, roll it down. Push Scoop it up. Close last time uppermiddlelower. Roll it back. And close. No fancy way to get out of it.

Walk those shoulders back. Drape your legs over the footbar, and we'll finish with 3 or 4 more roll ups all the way up, you go. 1, low back connects. 2. Take it down.

One more time. 1. Stay on up. You guys did a great job. I wanna remind you what we did today. We did snake. We did teaser. We did star. We did swandhi.

It was a tough class. Good thing we built ourselves up from from from a foundation to a progression so we could meet this challenge. I'll see you guys next time. Thanks. Bye.


Mixx F
Amazing class, advanced level in my opinion (not intermediate ) great fast and effective workout . Thank you 🙏
Barbara O
AMAZİNG class!!!  will be my to-go for my own workouts and classes for my advanced students! 
Brandie D
LOVED IT! Thank you for a fantastic flow!
Isabel G
Awesome advanced class! Need more like this.
LOVE LOVE LOVE. This may be my favorite Courtney clas ever. Shaking and feeling amazing.
Could NOT believe there was yet again a new Courtney video! Love it!!!!
soooo goood
Love this class! Short and intense- like others, I would say this is advanced 
As always… lived ut! Thank you!
Michele M
Super fun, challenging and powerful class!! Loved it!! Thank you Courtney!!!
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