Class #61

Fundamental Reformer

25 min - Class


For our students with Reformers at home; a fundamental Reformer class that allows you to address your whole body in less than a half hour.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Jan 23, 2010
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Okay. Let's begin. We're going to do a fundamental reformer class, so I want to start by having you lie on your reformers, but the first thing I want to have you do is sit down right at the edge of your carriage. So you want to approach the reformer as if it's part of the workout. Okay? It's part of your dance partner. Go ahead and turn to put your head in the headrest and just kind of make sure you're on the edge so you can ease your way into placing your feet on the foot bar and then adjust for comfort. And Mary, I'm gonna have you put your head rest up a little bit. So we have the foot bars up to the height that works for you about a knee. I don't know, it's a little more than 90 degrees, but it should definitely be comfortable on your knees.

And please tell me if it's not and he's okay. Okay, so we're going to start with a pelvic curl. I'm going to have your feet slightly apart just to the mid back, just to the mid back. Thank you. And then the arms are reaching down, so you should feel the shoulder rest, right? They're there, you're meant to touch them. However, make sure you're touching them enough that you can't shrug your shoulders and push into them. So from here, just take an inhale. This is going to be quite small. On the exhale, just feel the abdominal sink and roll your pelvis up just till your low backs into the mat and that's plenty. Inhale, release back down. We're going to do five of these on your exhale.

Roll the pelvis up just to kind of stretch out that lumbar spine. Inhale down. Now keep going, but imagine not being able to use your feet at all so it's all abdominals. Good. And inhale down two more times. Exhale, and right now you can start to use the breath as a way of almost just relaxing you. We're going to use it to our advantage the whole time. The last one here. Exhaling to roll up and inhale down and just to come from the upper end of the body as a abdominal warmup. Inhale, prepare on your exhale.

You're going to slide your arms down your carriage and curl your head, neck and shoulders up to where the arms just float. That's great. Stay there for your inhale and exhale back down. Just articulating your spine back to your headrest. Inhale and exhale. As you engage the abdominals, you slide the hands, you reach forward. Good feeling the low back rest. That's going to be important. Inhale and then exhale down.

Notice the relaxation at the extremities when possible so the feet are relaxed. Inhale and exhale curls you up. You feel bone by bone, kind of a heaviness through the mid back. Inhale, hold nice positions and exhale down. Good. What I really like is this end range. We're getting. Inhale on both of you. Exhale to curl up. You see the ribs fall, you see in a nice long of a line of the head and neck. Inhale and exhale down and then this time stay down. Take your hands, one over the other, kind of reaching for your knees so you can almost touch and it looks like Laila is going to go beyond. That's just fine. Check the shoulders, keep them broad. There'd be attempting to collapse. Good.

Inhale as you exhale, curl up to about exactly where you were before. Good. Stay there. Inhale. It's gonna be hard cause I got your feet so close together. But exhale, rotate to one side so you're just outside your knee. Good. That's far enough. Inhale, come through the middle, keeping the height. Exhale just outside. Beautiful. Keep it going. Nice job on keeping the hips still.

We're just warming up the trunk. Beautiful. And exhale. I want one more to each side. Just a gentle warm up as we get going here. And last one, two, the first side. Come back to the center. Separate the hands and roll back down. Great. We're ready to go. The first foot position, by the way, we're on a medium white, so if medium to heavy. So I [inaudible] for you all.

I have three red springs on, but basically what you want to start is with this nice neutral pelvis, you're not going to try to press your low back in. If when you push off the bar it feels like you've got a really forced the low back. Let me know. We might want to lighten it a little so the heels are on the bar, the fetal relaxed, engage the glutes a little. Inhale, prepare and now exhale, lengthen out. Full extension of the legs. Inhale, pull back in. Exhale, push out. Fully extend and inhale in. Good. That's a nice rhythm. No need to go faster. Love how you're getting the fully straight legs and out.

Things you can think about as we do these that again, the spine doesn't change. You can initiate a little from the back of the legs. The front of the legs are definitely going to work and breathing out and breathing in. If I don't cue the breath, just make sure you're breathing relatively natural. I just want one more, right? If you, if you want to breathe opposite to what I'm saying, you may from here slide your feet down to the balls of the feet.

You just rest the toes. The heels are slightly lifted just like you have 'em. I'm going to say tiny. Nope, you're good. You're good. Here we go. And help prepare and Xcel length and out. Can you feel the heaviness to the back of the ribs into the mat? It's not that you need to change anything, it's just where do you put your focus?

Ease through the neck and shoulders and draw in and lengthen out to draw good. Notice how you're pressing all the way out, but then you resist coming in. There's no sense of push and release. Good. Just do two more here. Using the breath and the movements to help warm the body up further. Coming all the way down, we changed the foot foot position. Again, you're still on the balls of the feet.

We're just going to allow the toes to turn out a little and the heels come together. Inhale, prepare them to narrow your knees a little. Exhale, press out and inhale, pull in, so some image cues for you. Just keep going. As you lengthen out, get the longest waist you can and keep it long as you come in. It's almost like, in fact, just stay there. Feel how long you can be. No strain involved though. Imagine leaving your head out there as you bend the knees now and pull yourself back in. It's impossible, but you try. Let's go again. Five more regular pace. You inhale and exhale out, bringing your awareness to the center line of your body and everything coming toward that line so that then you can shoot energy out the crown of your head and get long.

Good. Let's one more please. Terrific. Come on back. We've got another foot position. It's going to be heels wide on the bar. Yup. A little bit of a flexed foot, so your feet should always feel secure. I'm going to actually go even wider today. Always feel secure, so if I place them wrong, just adjust. Here we go. Exhale, pressing out and inhale. Pulling in might be worth putting your hands on your pelvis. You guys look good, but I think it's never a bad idea to know what is working and as you're moving through this range of motion, notice that the pelvis isn't changing, that is stable, that you're easy. It's almost a solid feeling.

Good. Really good. Yeah, and ease through the neck and shoulders are both breathing really easily though deeply and effectively. It's looking good. Let's do one last one and bring it back. Slide your feet down to the toes. The heels are ever so slightly lifted. It's almost like wearing a low heel and that just makes you have to work the low leg. Here we go. Exhale, press out. Inhale Poland out. As I talk, I'm going to try to talk a little less for this.

Just a moment so you can feel the rhythm of your breath and how you're matching your movement. It's good. It's important. Give yourself two more yes and one more and come on back. Sure. We're going to move to the calf raises, so that means feet are going to be slightly apart. We could do it a couple of ways, but I'm going to keep them apart today and with that lightly squeeze the glutes. Don't let it change your pelvis.

Push all the way out to the straight and stay there for the moment, for just a moment, without changing anything. I want you to try and relax through the legs a little bit. Okay. And the reason I want you to do that is because I want you to find the back of your legs a little bit more on how you're going to do that is just a subtle contraction of the glutes and not too much tension to the knees. This is great. Um, I'm just going to have you demonstrate something. Literally if you would push through the back of the knee a little bit more, that's something you don't want. And this lines shows it pretty well.

You want to, it's not that she's bending your knee, it's that she actually engaged the back of her leg a little. So both sides of her leg on both of them are working in conjunction to support the knee. From there. Inhale, as you lower the heels under the bar, exhale to lift up in hell lower now because the breath are, the movement is smaller, the breath won't be quite as deep and long. It just right matches you and exhale up Benny nail down and exhale and inhale down it. Very easy to just fixate on the calves because that is in fact what you're working. But let's never forget the powerhouse, right? There's an initial movement or a contraction that comes from higher above the knee. Let's get about three more here.

Good. And uh, and from their, from the high position, Bend your knees, draw yourself back home. Terrific. All right, from there, if you would both just bring your feet together, you're just going to swivel to the side to sit up carefully. Make sure not to pull on your foot bar in case it comes on done. And let's change our springs to a little bit lighter. So I'm going to have you go, what to me would be medium delight for the springs that we have here.

It would be a red and a blue. Um, we're about to put your hands and, and a little bit later, your feet in the straps and you want to be able to move it. So I'm at home. You may need to play with it. A little pause if necessary. Sit back up and, and start again if necessary. So again, with just as much precision as the first time lie down and reach back just behind you to grab your straps, your hand, you're going to put the hands in the straps so that the thumb is on the one side and that the handle is right in the center. Avoid letting it slip up to your fingers, which is a really common thing to do, but that just puts strain where we don't need it from their shoulders are down. Knees come up to tabletop and keeping the heads on the mat. We're going for laps and abdominals and certainly arms. Inhale, prepare on the exhale. You lower the arms down right alongside the hips.

Just leave the knees bent. I know it's tempting. Inhale, take the arms back up and start the exhale and pull back down. Good. So things you can be thinking about. You just keep going. It's again, there's no need to have a lot of tension in the legs. In fact, you don't even have to have a whole lot of attention in the arms other than what it takes to keep you straight. You're much more interested in your lats or the back muscles coming from down below the armpits. Good. We'll do one more coming down in the flection here. Hold it when you get there. Turn the arms out from high in the shoulders to the whole arm. Did good. Inhale.

Sweep the arms out just to about shoulder height. Exhale, bring them back down. Now this is a place where it's so tempting to drive energy into the hands and shrug the shoulders. Rather leave the hands relaxed and move from higher in the arm. If I could put the strap around your upper arm, I would, and exhale. So there's also a place where the legs might start to feel heavy if you need a break, take it.

Otherwise they should be at 90 degrees or perhaps if you need a little bit more of a break, you could pull the knees in a little closer, but otherwise they're there. Next one, hold it in. When you get there, we will make a couple circles here. Turn the palms down, bring the arms up over your chest. That's the inhale. Then open to the side. Try for no movement and then exhale back. Inhale as you come up, stop the carriage above your shoulders. Open to the side, and exhale. Inhaling up, open wide, and exhale. We'll do one more. Inhale Open. If you notice, all of a sudden your shoulders are pressing into the shoulder as readjust. Reverse it to the side. Open. Inhale, come across the chest with precision and exhale. Inhale, opening out to come over the chest to exhale two more times.

The back is just where it started. You haven't arched, you haven't pressed it down. Do your best to keep it right in that neutral place and up on this next one. Come down, stay down from there. Hands, arms are just off. You're going to bend your elbows and straighten. So let's lay the elbows off today just a little bit off the mat.

You can put them down. That's no problem. But I think you guys can do it without and it just keeps your elbow lined up with your shoulder so you work in the Tricep, the back of the arm. Lovely positions. Good. Typically we stopped somewhere around 90 but it doesn't mean you have to. You can go further. Go as far as you want.

So long as the upper arm stays where it starts. Good. Let's do a few more so you feel them. And remember it's never really about the arm or the leg, but you are reaching through almost the shoulder girdle, which I include the shoulder blade in that. Let's just do one more here for us out. And then with that, let your arms come up. You can let your feet go back to the bar and from there move down to your feet.

Your toes are on the bar, you're going to push your legs out all the way to straight. And then let's put the feet on the strap. So taking off one foot, that ought to bring your leg close enough to you. Now as you push that leg out, it'll take the other foot off and there you go. Good. And we're going to start in the frog position. Great series here. The hip, hip, hip works areas. So here we are again still in that neutral pelvis. Yeah. Knees aiming about toward the shoulders and I'm gonna just raise your feet ever so slightly. Okay, so it's not meant to be heavy, so you don't need a lot of leg strength. Let's go close up a tiny bit. All right. In fact, try to relax your legs, but don't drop them.

Just try to relax them cause we're going to work through inner thigh and abdominals. Inhale, prepare on your exhale. Just extend your legs as if they're growing out of the hip socket from deep in the belly. You inhale, pull them back in and exhale pressing yoga. It's a long, luscious extension with no sharp movements. No sort of getting out there and arresting on the joint. Looks Great. It's fluid, it's graceful. And Perez and pull in one of the main points of this exercises.

How much can we move our legs without taking the pelvis with us? And it turns out is not as easy as we thought. One more time until you really practice it from here. We'll go into, we call it down circles. Let's let our legs come up. Just a little sort of finding our end range. And we decide that that's plenty. We decide that by what? What do we need to do to keep our tailbones down?

No Tucking. Inhale, prepare on the exhale, lower the straight legs down, let them come apart. Circle, inhale around and up together to that same spot and exhaling down can kind of relaxed feet. Main point. Remember how we touched our hips before? The main point is the hips don't move around a lot, so if you're not sure, I'd encourage you to put your hands on your hips. These two are looking great. Inhaling around and it's as if the breast somehow had something to do with the legs lowering and in fact it does. Last one. As you exhale, go down in a hole, let's reverse that and he'll pick the legs up, open them and exhale around, almost deflating in the body, so make sure you're not trapping air up in the chest. Exhaling down and up, little more relaxed to the feet. I like the point, it looks pretty, just maybe not quite as tense up to press away and are giving you two more.

That's a really important function for us to be able to do. Then from here, once you've come down, actually I'll use this version. You've still got your legs slightly turned out. Allow the legs to part. Inhale, they're going to come apart. Good, good, good. And exhale close. And Layla has got tons of flexibility so we're going to let her do it because she's staying. So that's plenty because she's staying so stable in our hips. Mary also does, but for an alternative, I'm just going to show difference. You could bring them up and that way when you practice, you can practice practice control rather than stretch, not moving the carriage.

And that's a whole nother skill. So there's two options there. One more for stretch and control of the pelvis. This one more for control of the carriage and the pelvis. Let's make this the last one. Good. Lower the legs, just a little. Bring them into frog. Sorry and let yourself out. So you're going to be careful with this. Don't let the hips roll up.

Reach for the bar, that'll unload the other strap and once again, put them in your hands. One last thing. I'm gonna challenge you a tiny bit with the a hundred prep, just a few. So we go away from the shoulder rest just a little bit so that you have room to curl up here in a moment. Legs up to table top. Arms are absolutely straight. And then once again you kind of forget about the hands. It's going to be leaving your legs at table top. You'll curl up into a chest, lifted a moment. Anyhow, prepare, start the exhale and curl up.

Great. Continue reaching forward as you come down. So in other words, you don't just give up on the shoulders lightly touch the back of your head. Start the exhale enough to come. Again, lovely. Inhale to go back down, working both directions so we don't have to do many lovely and you're coming up high enough that your low back gets to rest. This is great. And notice the wide collar bones. No need to hug yourself forward with those shoulders. Last one. Here it comes. Exhale up. Let's just hold it there for a moment.

How bout a deep inhale with no movement other than if the spinal column and trunk. Exhale one more. Just like it. Fill up, let the whole body expand the whole body. I'll contract on that exhale and take yourself back down. Good work. You can put your straps away to swivel yourself to come up again, we're going to do the mermaid, so what that means is I'm going to have you go around the other side and change your spring down to what we're looking at. One full spring, so something somewhat supportive. You're only gonna have one arm on there so you don't need a heavy one, but certainly don't want it real light either. So lay, they feel just come to kneeling first just to show how we're going to get on it and then you're going to have this right shin, right up against the shoulder rest and then sitting on the left hip. Exactly. Sort of like a figure four position. Yep. Good. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

All right from here, taking the arm onto the bar that's closest to it and then before you do anything else, let's stabilize the shoulder so the shoulders are down. It's fine that the elbows bent. Just make sure the lad has kicked in. Now push out until they are miss straight. So different heights. Here's interesting. It's appropriate that you are not under spring or your stopper.

And then Meredith I think is and that's perfect. Just leaving it like that. The Trunk Is Upright. It's going to go like this. I'll come with you using your lot. You inhale to lengthen out. So just push the carriage away and I'm going to stop your arm just a little lower today and you can actually go a little more with the legs. There we go. So we're looking for that long line now exhale, keep the hips where they are.

Turn the chest and reach for the bar and you can just fit right in there. Yeah, good. From there you're going to retrace the same path. Inhale opens. It's nice and low. A ton of versions of this mermaid. So I'm giving you just one of them and exhale to come up. A can. Good inhale to press out. You feel that lat kick in or the armpit reached down and go a little longer with the Lexi, you feel like you get a good shoulder stretch. Exhale.

As you rotate from the waist step, getting a good shoulder stretch. Two lovely inhale, reopen and exhale to come up. Good. It's a nice line right down the middle of this first part. It's like you're in between two plates of glass, just laying your head almost ends up on your arm in line with the spine. Exhale to rotate. Getting the whole rib cage there, the shoulders, nice and relaxed.

Inhale to reopen and inap the last one. Inhale. Exhale, rotate. Create a sense of opposition. Could you can drop your head just a little good in how reopen [inaudible] in it and because it feels good for a lot of us. Grab onto the shoulder rest or the post.

The opposite hand goes to the ceiling and we take a big stir edge and let's turn around. Just turn around. It's easiest if you flip in the direction of your shoulder rest, but doesn't really matter. Okay, same setups, so find your place where you're relatively comfortable but upright. You're going to engage to the lat first and so that when you push out the shoulders already protected. Good. I'll set. All right. Here we go. Email to lean out, moving the carriage with you as you go. Great. Exhale, rotate.

Keeping the hips relatively still so that you have opposition and you have this lovely rotation or can the obliques in how reopen and exhale to come in and out. It's almost like 11 stating in and up. You don't need a whole lot of arm work there, Ian, how? Press out and exhale. Love the breadth of your backs. Your backs are nice and open. Inhale to reopen. Sorry, I'm cutting you short on Ameri and Dan. Again, if ever you notice your wrist start to hurt when you're having to be on one, go ahead. Exhale, rotate. You can always adjust your hand slightly more over the bar, so long as it feels secure. Inhale, reopen.

Good and exhale and inhale. Layla just slightly tuck or bring the ribs in. There it is. There it is. And again in here. Here we go. That's it. And exhale. It's like you're ringing out your spine. Yeah, make it feel good. There's a lot of things that are just supposed to feel good. Inhale, reopen and up. And I'm going to ask for one more.

Here it is. Inhale, lengthening out and exhale. Getting all the parts moving again. Feeling good there. Inhale to reopen. And exhale. Great to come off the reformers and ah, sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Details. Right, right. Of course, the big deep stretch going up first, then over. Yeah, thank you. It's easy to forget when you don't get to do that. Okay. Go ahead and come off the reformers and take the boxes from the back end.

So you want your long box. Um, and I'm gonna leave the foot bars up so you place the box on lengthwise, line it up so it's even and touching your shoulder rest. Good. And then the spring is, should be about right. So we still have the ones bring on. We're gonna leave it like that. You're going to lie face down with your head near to the foot bar and I'm going to say chest, just barely over, so your head will probably be beyond the foot bar a little bit. This is great and I'm going to see where do I want to be with your hands wide on the bar and the angle of the hands is not super critical.

Typically you're going to want them slightly inwardly rotate it. And then from here the elbows are pointed directly to the side of the room, not higher than the body. Good, good, good, good. Love it. Checking and the movement, we're about to simply straighten the arms and try and involve the back extensors. Before you guys even go, what I'd like you to do is just inhale on your exhale, press the shoulders down, but don't move the carriage. So there's a little pressure on the foot bar with the hands and you feel opposition through the shoulder. That's all in how release are kind of just relaxed, that idea and exhale you'll feel just a gentle depression of the scapula.

As you apply a little pressure on the bar and you feel all the muscles activate a little bit in the back. Next time we'll actually move. Inhale, same start, do that little bit of a shoulder blade depression and now actually straighten the arms as you exhale and press out. Maybe your chest will come up just a little but not high at all for sure. And then if you brought your chest up at all, it comes back down as you now inhale and bring yourself back to the bar. So the trick here is to not use a lot of hand pressure. Exhale. There's what takes to just be touching the bar.

The rest comes from almost below the shoulders in Europe. Back. Inhale, pull it in. This is the breaststroke prep. You find these lap muscles and exhale, stir hatch. Good. I like how we're doing it. Both of you are kind of keeping it nice and long. Let's do one more like this and then I'll just show you another way to do it. Exhale.

Good, good, beautiful. Keeping dominoes in and of everything is looking good. Legs are energized. Let's do the same exact movement with one exception and that is you're going to rise up with the chest. So as you push on this exhale, go ahead. You also lift up a bit and look forward just to out over that bar and then inhale and gradually bring it back down as you go home. Good. And again, exhaling, initiating from under the arm, not so much the hand and down. Good. Keeping the legs parallel, it's all looking good. Two to go and just feel the broad collarbones feel sort of the graceful position. And last one, if you start to notice your low back collecting tension, it often means you just need to pull the abs in a little more and or don't lift so high. That's lovely. Let's come home.

Just lower the chest if you haven't already. And then once you've settled a little bit, we'll take the legs off the side and come off the reformers. Exactly, exactly. And then from just the sides of your reformers. Let's have you sort of faced this way and this way. Good. And for a standing roll down to finish off, allow the feet to be slightly apart.

We inhale. Good work guys. Exhale as you roll down. Just sequentially alleviating any tension we might've created. Keeping the weight over the arches. Shake anything out down there that needs it. If you want to let go of unnecessary tension. Inhale. And on the exhale we roll back up. Stacking the spine, feeling good about tapping into the legs, the ABS, the spinal rotators in the back extensors, not to mention arms, just to deep breath in and with no movement, just exhale on life.

Gotcha. Thanks for coming. Yeah.


Great class.. Good flow.. Great if don't have a lot of time... Great teache!!!!
Thanks Tina!! Glad you like it!
Really enjoyed the instructor in this class! A nice basic class.
I love all your classes. Great class.
Great beg class...
A perfect add-on workout after a run. It might be "beginner" but I really felt it the next day, especially in my lats & hamstrings. Maybe because it was more basic, I could really focus on my form more? Excellent instruction from Kristi, as usual.
Thanks everyone! Britt I often do "beginner" workouts for myself. I find I gain the most out of them and improve my overall fitness by doing so. Thanks for sharing that you also feel this way. I wish more people valued the basics like you do.
Love the class! had to modify when it came to using the box (I don't have one). Great focus on the basics.
nice class
Hey thanks Amit! When are you coming over to teach one for us? Please, consider yourself invited...and thanks for checking out PA!
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