Class #5645

No Flexion Reformer

35 min - Class


Join Maria Leone for a unique Reformer flow that emphasizes strength work without flexion or rotation through the spine. This challenging session includes the exciting Breakdancer and powerful Plank exercises, ensuring strong arm work and connected core work. Get ready to strengthen, tone, and enhance your stability in this innovative class.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi. I'm Maria, and this is Colette. She teaches with me at body line. And today, we're doing a workout with out any flexion. We're starting with footwork. Have your machine set up. However, you like, but I recommend 3 heavy springs and then at least one other spring.

Straddle your machine. We're gonna start seated. Bring your two hands onto your footbar. Link in the left arm up to the sky. From here, we side bend up and over to the right.

Pause here. Really feel that opposite hip, opposite foot sinking down into the earth. Take one deep breath into that top lung. Notice how that facilitates the stretch. And we come all the way up. Length and the other arm straight up to the sky, pulling the ribs right out of the pelvis, side bend up and over, Really plant the opposite hip, plant the opposite foot.

Stay active through that top arm, take a deep breath into the top lung, and come all the way up. From here, we're gonna stand up into, like, a grand pli. Bring your hands to prayer, and let's start little presses up. Your legs might even end up touching the reformer check-in with your pelvis. Right? Same alignment that we're gonna be doing in a moment on the carriage. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, have a seat. Find this same position on your back. Headdress can be up or down, by the way. The feet are wide.

Take a breath in. Let's start moving the carriage out and in. Dragging the heels in towards the midline. Keep your breath moving and check-in here with what you're doing in your shoulders. So I don't want you getting squashed by the reformer. Last time here, come in halfway and begin to take little pulses here.

I always love doing a short range and a big range. Really hold on to this connection to the inner thigh for 3 for 2 for 1. Press the legs out all the way straight. Grow a little taller. Bring the carriage in from here. Roll to your left.

The feet go to the ground. Find yourself in a plank. Maybe you're on your hands. Maybe you're on your forums like collect. She'll be doing the more advanced versions of things from here.

We're gonna step into the crawl position. The feet step under the hips. Pause here. The back is flat. Step back to your plank. Let's set that up again.

Step into your crawl. The back is flat. Hold it here. Step into your plank. 1, 2.

Last time, step in, and we're moving into position, I call the break dance position. From here, pivot towards your footbar. Plant on the front foot. The leg closest to the reformer who lifts up. Hold it here.

Now that bottom side body should feel like you're inside plank. Keep holding, holding, holding, pivot back to the crawl position. Let's do that again. Same direction into the break dance position. The body is neutral, dry through that bottom hand and shoulder blade.

Come back to the crawl position. Last time here into the break dance position, hold it here, pull the spine long, The bottom foot is really planted, everybody. Come back to the crawl position. Step forward and come back onto your back. We're going into 1st position now. So find that Pilates v position, the heels are lifted, begin initiating from the inner thighs, pushing out and pulling in.

And then as a reminder here, we're looking for length through the spine. So, yes, the legs are working. But I really want you to think about integrating the work through Listen for your breath, check-in with your neck, your shoulders, even your face, Everything relaxed. That's not working. Effortless effort.

Last one, come in halfway and pause and take a little presses here from your inner thighs, the heels are squeezing tight together, and 4, and 3, and 2 and 1, pull out all the way. Grow very, very tall. Come all the way in. Roll to your second you can follow either me or Colette. Come to your hands and find your plank.

Step into the crawl position, pause here, and that's pivot right away towards the foot bar. The bottom leg comes up. Hold hold. Hold. Remember, we're inside plank in the bottom side body. Come back to the crawl and pivot. Lift the leg. It's the leg closest to the machine, guys. Don't get confused on me. Back to crawl.

And, again, spine is so neutral, hold, hold, hold, and come back to the crawl. Step forward, and we're gonna do a spring change. Bring yourself down to 1 heavy spring and 1 light spring. We're gonna be doing a core series. Onto your back.

Head rest can be up or down, hands into your loops. Start by extending the arms to the ceiling, And I do want you to have some tension on those arms. So notice the machine has pulled out a little bit. Extend the legs to the ceiling and stay here. From here, we lower one leg down, and we exhale when we pull the leg up. The other leg goes down.

And exhale up. Many of you will stay like this doing this single leg. Some of you will begin to move two legs. That's double the load. Now the quality in the form doesn't change. The back is absolutely still The shoulders are out of the shoulder blocks.

And there's a feeling here that the exhale pulls the legs up. Last one. Stay here at the top. Keep the carriage still. Open the right arm to the right.

Same leg as top arm goes down and up. And you can decide for yourself how low you wanna take that leg. You might wanna keep this small as I am now doing. Notice that all the tension is being held by that top arm. Some of you might be doing double legs by now.

So choose wisely what works on your body today. That's all joined together at the top. Bring your two hands up The other arm goes side. The carriage has not moved. Same leg is top arm, lowers, and lifts.

Inhale and exhale. That nice smooth, continuous soundtrack of sound with the breath. Maybe you're moving two legs. Maybe you're doing a small range. Maybe you're doing a big range. The body is pasted to the reformer.

Everybody meet at the top, two arms up, two legs up, We're gonna go to a leg circle now. The legs open. They circle down and together. Up, open, down and together. Carriage still hasn't moved. Your abdominals have not gotten a break yet.

Maybe you're doing a small circle like me. Maybe you're doing bigger. Like Colette. Last one here. Neezing. I could use a little break.

I'm in charge. So let's take a break. Take one deep breath in through the nose, one long exhale. K. Legs and arms come back up. The carriage floats The right arm goes to the side. The legs come to tabletop.

We're going into cheerleader. The two arms push into your body. We open to the other side. And the two arms push down. Notice the palms are facing opposite directions.

Many of you will stay with the legs at tabletop. Maybe you take those legs out all the way straight. And then, again, you're choosing the height of the legs. And that's gonna be determined by your pelvis, how still it is. 2 more here.

Last time and bring the carriage all the way down, the loops go down bring yourself up. We're gonna do a spring change. Bring yourself to 1 medium spring. For me on this machine, it is a blue. Come to your knees facing forward, reach back and pick up your loops, remember where you place yourself on your machine will determine the level of your exercise.

Come all the way up to your knees. Hands are at the waist. We're gonna begin with serve a tray, pressing the arms out. And pulling them in, growing tall, spinning the biceps up, and working on the way out, but more importantly, also on the way in. That's the part that gets skipped a lot. Right? So a lot of clients will just ride the machine in.

Don't do that. Keep your focus. Work that eccentric phase. We're gonna add a little squat to this. The arms come out.

Keep the hands at the waist and I want you to squat and hinge back and come straight up. So notice I am hinging here and lots of different ways to do this squat. Last time. And now that's out the arms to it. So we squat.

We go hips, arms. We inhale down. We exhale hips, arms. Continue like this. Really feeling the power of the legs translate through the arms. A really important skill for people that play sports.

Ian hell and ex hell. And inhale. Each time that spine is so neutral, tumor here, be explosive here, Last one, come all the way in, put the loops down, turn and face the back of your machine. We're gonna do a little tricep that start with your left hand. Feet are over the edge of the machine. The other hand on your waist pull that arm straight back and bring the arm in.

Continue to grow tall. And then you probably know what to do if you need to change the tension. Right? So lots of options. You can go forward or backward on your machine. You can choke up on that rope. But I also want you to really maintain that this collarbone is nice and open for me. Okay?

Control the way in. Last one like this. Put that rope down. Let's change sides. The other hand comes into the opposite loop.

Find your vertical position and then begin your tricep pull. I don't like that arm going all the way here. See how I lost tension? Like, that's dead dead time. So keep that tension on the machine the whole time. Keep rooting through the keep rooting through both shins and getting tall. Few more here. Crown of the head keeps floating up. And put that rope down.

We're gonna turn and face forward again. Pick up both loops. We're going into something I call growing tree. So you're up on your knees. The arms are starting east and west.

Fingers are in your peripheral. From here, we come into a low tree hug. The arms pull low. The arms are away from you, open to the middle, and now we go high up to that high position and back to center. Exhale.

Email. Really connect your breath to movement. Exhale. Especially when the action is simple, those are the moments to really connect your breath to what you're doing. Exhale. Inhale.

Exhale. Inhale. Last time. Exhale and inhale, bend the knees and put those ropes down. We're going into an arm toss. The more advanced version will be demonstrated by Colette.

Scoop yourself forward. The hands are about shoulder distance. I'm gonna keep my booty down on my heels. The back is flat for everybody, guys. From here, not a huge push, but a big reach and a land.

Lengthen the spine. So, again, I'm more interested in the work in the back and the trunk than the shoulder. Doesn't mean the shoulder's not working. It just means that's not where my emphasis is today. Nice and light.

It should look like you're floating in the air and then a soft landing down. Last one here From here, we're gonna add a squad. It requires a little bit more coordination, different arm pattern this time. So the hips come forward. The arms go back.

And I really want you to thrust those hips forward. Option to fly the arms up. Colette's gonna show it right now. Thank you, Colette. Push that was a little surprise for her. Oh, James might be mad at me.

Lift. Last one. Push and take a second. Okay. The foot bars are going down. We are bringing the box on to the long box position.

You're gonna have a seat facing me again. We're going to something called a Payloff Press. You're gonna pick up the rope closest to your shoulder, and the hands start here. Right above your navel, the elbows are tucked in. Legs are tight together.

It's a core exercise from here. We press the arms out straight in front of us, and we pull the arms in. Notice that the body wants to rotate badly. And now if you feel like you're really fighting yourself with your arms, scoot yourself a little closer to the rope towards the back of the machine. Keep lengthening the spine, have an awareness of your 2 sit bones on the ground, and do try to really get those arms straight.

That's the height of the exercise there. The arms never go straight, you're never really getting that full contraction. I want you to feel. Last one here and we're going into leg pull. Different kind of a setup.

Turn and face the back. The rope that's in your hand place that rope onto your foot first. That leg lengthens down on the outside of the machine. Hand set up a triangle on the box. The two hands to the front.

The knee is the point of that triangle. Notice the shin is not supported. Now the spine goes neutral, and the leg sweeps back, and the leg comes all the way forward. So I'm not super interested in the back position. I'm more interested in that front position.

So do bring that leg forward as far as you can without displacing the hips. From here, the opposite hand, this is where the exercise really starts, comes to fingertips, or maybe you take that hand completely off like Colette is doing. And now you should have a pretty strong sensation in your core. Doesn't look like a core exercise. But if you do what I'm saying, that's what you'll experience.

Again, don't get caught up in the sweeping gesture of the leg. Put your focus on the trunk. Last time here. Come on and take that rope off. Put it down.

That same leg goes in the air into a long straight position. Opposite hand comes off. Notice how hard it is to balance without that shin fully supported. Circle the top arm up and around and catch that back foot. Harder to do than you might think.

From here, you can just stay here and take this stretch in the quad or come into dancer pose. So you push the ground away. You take the chest forward. The heart opens the balance, again, a little bit more challenging than you might think. And lower everything down, pick up the opposite loop, that's put it onto your foot first.

And this can be a little bit awkward in the beginning. Feels a little bit precarious, lengthen that leg down, set up your set up your tricep. Set up your triangle, two hands at the edge, the knee goes back, the leg is at the outside of the machine, and that starts sweeping that leg back and forward is the important part. Back and forward keeping both sides of the waistband long. Once you get that movement pattern, the opposite hand goes to fingertips, and maybe even that hand comes completely off, the breath is still working.

Nice and smooth and steady. Almost done here. Fight to get that leg forward without taking the hip with it. Keep the tension on the rope throughout. There should never be slack.

Last one, Bring the leg forward. The loop comes off your foot. Put the loop away. That same leg reaches straight back behind you, be very neutral in the spine. The opposite arm reaches forward.

And if you feel vulnerable, put your fingertips down. K? And then just kinda check-in with your balance. That arm circles back behind you, catch the foot. Maybe you just hold the quad stretch. Maybe you lived into dancer pose in that dancer pose.

Really imagine that your front lung is fooling with air. Keep pushing the ground away, lower down. We're going to our second side of that palloff press. So my back's to you now. I'm gonna pick up the rope closest to my shoulder. I'm gonna bring the hands just a little higher than my belly button. Elbows are tucked in, knees are together, and then we press the arm straight in front of you and in.

Nothing changes. Fight to get the arms all the way straight. And, again, you might need to play around with your placement a little bit here. You might need to go a little bit further towards the back of your box. We are looking for a sensation in your obliques fighting to stabilize you, fighting to keep you still.

So there's no rotation at all in the trunk. Last time here and bring that loop down. We're going into a spring change here. Bring your foot bar up. And change your spring to a light or medium spring.

Have a seat facing me again, and you are gonna grab again the rope closest to your shoulder. We're going into a single arm tree hug. So from here, the arm is gonna pass the midline and cross and open. So it's gonna feel light until you get about center, and then the tension really ramps up. The shoulder blade stays on the back side of the body.

I want your experience to be all right here. It might even help you if you just go ahead and bring your hand on your peck. Ask yourself, are you really working from the peck? You trying to use that anterior belt. Nice and smooth and steady here.

No rotation. Remember? We're doing nice, neutral shapes today. Last one? And come on in, put that rope down.

We're going into something called Superman toss. Lay on your belly facing your foot bar. Chest is just off the edge of the machine. Legs is close together as you can tolerate. Hands are here on the shoulders.

The back is slight Lee in extension from here. The arms toss forward and they land. And again, this is about that reach. And the lift of the upper back. The legs are not lifting right now.

They're staying down. The pubic bone is in is anchored. The neck is long. You're probably seeing your floor. Some of you will add swimming to this.

You can follow Colette. And now if you're really stuck here in the shoulders, I'm gonna show you a modification, which is just an opening forward and wide with the arms, a lot of you are gonna have a better shape with that. It's gonna feel more organic. More opening, feeling, more of a lift in the chest. Last one.

Come on in. And turn to your other side for your single arm tree hug. Again, rope closest to the shoulder Judge your distance on your box for tension and begin pulling that arm across the midline and open. And as a reminder, the closer together your thigh bones are, the more you're gonna bias this towards your core. I have my hand here on the side depending on tension on your machine. It might give you a little bit of assistance.

Just to be able to handle a little heavier weight without compromising your form. Look for that sensation and be into that peck. Make sure you aren't doing anything from the elbow. Every time we bend from the elbow becomes a bicep, biased exercise. So the full action here I want from the shoulder the elbows just soft.

Last time like this Bring the carriage in, put that loop down. Hey. The box is coming off your machine. Put it away. We are going into scooter next. We are gonna add a heavy spring to your machine.

Set up with your right foot against your shoulder block. In your scooter position. My knee does not touch the machine, the leg on the ground, about in the same plane as your thigh bone. The back is flat. Opposite hand off from the heel.

We push out and we push in. So I do want there to be a little bit of a heavy sensation on the machine right now. Not important to me that you make the leg all the way straight. Of course, I would like that. But, again, if you have to compromise your form, don't do it. You'll see in a moment why we have that heavy spring on there.

Now that bottom leg is soft. I don't want you locking out the knee. You're gonna begin to feel this on the glute meat of the standing side, fighting to keep us still. Spine is neutral. Really connecting with the heel as you push.

This is the last one. Now the back leg comes forward, you plant on it. The bottom leg goes to the bottom of the foot. You're in a runner stance. Maybe you do run out his arms.

If that feels organic, if not stay here. From here, we step up. That's why we have the heavy spring. We land on the ball of the foot we step up, we get vertical, and we control. Now you have a view of that knee as you come down. Make sure it's going over your toe.

Step up. And some of you might begin to take the knee up to your chest, The foot bar is right there. So if you lose your balance, you have a place to catch yourself. Some of you are gonna pick up your tempo. So go ahead and pick up your tempo.

I'm gonna stay nice and slow, easy breezy. I do wanna still see that nice vertical plumb line. Last time, it's all meat at the bottom. The hands come to the foot bar. That step up and over to the other side nice and light. Again, Up and over.

Up and over. Up and over. Real light. Real light. Gentle with the landing. Try not to round the back.

You shouldn't need to end up on your second side, set up your scooter. The knee is lifted. The back is flat. The knee is bent. Here we go. Pushing out and pulling in.

And I really think about this being a heel strike. Some of you know might know but I also have a black belt. So this is a back kick. This is something very sport specific for me. Press.

Power is always in the center of the body powerhouse. Right? So think about powerhouse, that explosive motion from the hip to the heel. Use your breath. Again, you might be experiencing this outside glued meat.

Control the way in. This is a quick, a little slower, quick a little slower. Last one. Stay in. That foot comes forward. We come to our runner's stance.

We take a breath. We prepare. We step up. Maybe you tap gently down. Notice it takes the brain. Like, 2 or 3, they'll be like, woah. What are we doing here?

Pay attention to that knee, knee over toe. And we control that descent. Control the descent. Now pick up your tempo. If you can, Push yourself a bit, but you can stay nice and slow with me.

Last time like this, and step down. We're changing our machine. We are gonna put the footbar down. We're going to a light spring, and we're gonna go to what I'm calling plank to mermaid. Turn and face your machine. Be in your plank position.

You can be on hands with me. Or forms like Colette. Distance of your feet is up to you. It's gonna be easier with the feet wide. From here, nothing changes except the arms. You push the carriage out and you bring the carriage in.

There's this thing called a typewriter in the olden days of your. So that's what we're doing. This, like, kinda typewriter action. So your weight will go from two hands to predominantly being on one hand, and your job is to not shift. If this feels too easy for you, try going to your forearms or bringing your feet closer together, last time here and pause. Have your feet open about the distance of your hands. We're coming into a side plank.

Pivot towards your foot bar. The hand's gonna start off behind the head. From here, we're gonna do some side bends. Lower your hip, and then lift back up. So we're creating a smiley face with the spine, and then of frown. Some of you are gonna follow Colette and take this into the more traditional mermaid from our mat work.

Pay attention to what's happening to that bottom shoulder blade show off a perfect side plank for me last time, come into your plank, stay here, hold the plank, step yourself in, bring your hands to your shoulder blocks. Step your 2 feet to the ledge of your machine and be in a plank position. The carriage might move out for you a little bit. Hold, hold, hold. Another option is to be here on the knees. Quite a bit easier.

And lovely and step over to the other side. Okay. Plank here. You know what's coming? Maybe hands, maybe forearms, You're in a perfect plank. Decide on the distance between your feet.

Here comes that typewriter action. Yes. I said typewriter out and in. Breath is still working. Challenge yourself here, guys. Challenge yourself.

K. And last one. Come on in. I'm gonna suggest your feet are open here a little bit. You're gonna pivot onto your feet. Step onto your feet. And take the hand off.

You're in a perfect side bend, and now the hips go down, and they come up. You push that carriage away. We lower, and we lift follow Colette for that full mermaid, and we lower, and we lift We lower and we lift last time. We lower and we lift pivot back to your plank. Perfect plank.

Step in. Spring change. Go to 1 heavy spring. This is our grand finale, everybody. The hands are going down to the ledge. Your feet are going against the shoulder blocks.

We're gonna use that break dance position we did earlier. So here we go. Let's start by taking your legs out into a full plank. Hold it there. Come in and the knees go down. Never going just to the right side.

Push out to your plank. Hold it here. The carriage comes in, pivot to the right, plant on the front foot, the bottom leg comes up. Hold, hold, hold, hold, hold. Go back to your plank. We go to the same side again. Pivot. Step on the front foot.

The bottom leg goes up. Remember, this is side plank. We just did side plank. Go back to your plank. We only got one more. Here we go. Pivot.

Lift the leg up, hold 2, 3, 4, 5. Go back to plank. The knees come down. Little counter stretch. Take the arms up.

Pull the abdominals in, lift the chest, reach back through the hands, circle the arms, and bring the hands all the way back down to the ledge. 2nd side, you know what's coming, push into your plank, It's a perfect plank, even though we're not supposed to see perfect anymore. Pivot the other side. Step on that front leg. The bottom leg comes up That's the leg closest to the floor, guys.

Go back to plank. Hold it. You do have to learn how to swivel on those feet. Pivot. Plant. The bottom foot comes up. Hold. Thanks side plank.

Go back to your plank. One more, everyone. Here we go. Plant, lift the leg is straight, come back to plank, Bring the carriage in. The knees go down.

Thus, do that counter stretch again. The arms reach up. The palms are forward. Press your hips forward, lift the chest up. The heart reaches back, lead with the fingertips, circle the arms, The hands come down.

Take your spring off your machine. Step your right foot down into the well. And come into a simple sola stretch. And begin to let your breath slow down. I want your knee fully supported on that carriage.

Reach back opposite hand, catch the foot. So feeling of that dancer pose again. You might stay just like this how I am. If this doesn't work for you at all, just be here. Also an option to follow Colette and do two hands and lift the chest up. Whatever you're doing, your focus here mostly on breath.

Remember, stretching is neurological. So don't try to muscle through anything. Bring the carriage in. Let's change sides. One foot to the ground.

The other leg supported by the carriage, start off just by focusing on the opening of that hip. Opposite hand reaches around, catch the foot. And, again, just focus on the breath. Maybe you come to two hands. Maybe you don't.

Maybe you just stay right where you were. Because that's where you can drop in the most. Come out of there. 2 feet to the ground. Have a seat, cross the ankles, palms up on the knees, And let's take one deep breath in through the nose, hold the breath, and a long, slow exhale out to the mouth. That's it for today.

Thank you everybody.


1 person likes this.
Really fun class, I really enjoyed the creative variations. Thevpsoas stretch at the end is fantastic!
1 person likes this.
Great program! Enjoyed. Thanks!
1 person likes this.
You’re amazing ! Not surprised you are a black belt! Love your flows 
Great class! With my scoliosis, flexion and rotation can be problematic, so this class is perfect. 
Lynzi D
Loved this class. 
Wonderful cueing and ideas. Thank you Maria. You are awesome.
Annmarie S
Great ideas thank you ☘️
Gisela G
This is great, loved everything! Thank you!
Shona Croft
Maria that was absolutely BRILLIANT.
Maria, you are my favorite! You made me a great teacher! Thank you! I’m so grateful to you. More videos please. 🙏🏼
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