Class #620

Short and Sweet Tower

20 min - Class


A short but sweet and effective workout focusing on spinal articulation. Warm up with the Roll Up bar then head into Footwork, the Roll Pp Bottom Loaded, Tower Prep, Hip work, and of course Back extension.
What You'll Need: Tower

About This Video

Feb 11, 2012
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Let's stand up tall. You're on your tower mat, aligning yourself. Let's say feed together. Shoulders down, take a deep breath in and as you exhale we're going into that standing roll down. Just rounding forward, bend the knees, we're reaching the arms forward and then inhale, growing tall again, expanding, lifting, raising your energy just by the inhalation, rounding forward and inhale, making it somewhat loose, not quite controlled just yet. Okay, one more time. Inhaling up, decide how you want this little workout to go cause that's half of it. We're going to turn around, have a seat. What I've done here is I have the yellow springs or the arms springs.

I tend to call them on this middle island with the blonde bar or the wooden bar or the roll up bar or whatever you call it. Um, to get ready I'll have the legs, springs or the Purple Springs. Yellow would work as well on the next island below. And that's about all you owe. And then one other, I have the red springs, we tend to have already at the bottom. So I have um, a red spring on each side here. So have a seat holding onto your blonde bar and just where you have a little bit of resistance. You sitting tall, it's an inhale. And on the exhale, draw the shoulders down, roll yourself into the mat, unfurling your spine, feeling that pull of the bar with the Le and let the arms be pulled. Inhale, lifting your head. Exhaling, keeping the collarbones wide as you curve forward. Inhale, let's just stay rounded. Exhale, roll back. Inhale and feeling the spine.

Just sort of waking up to the movement you're going to give it. Waking up to the attention you're going to give to all the surrounding areas. Even if you've been moving all day already. I'm exhaling forward and I'm really used this first part. Inhale, exhale down. I use this just to tap into my breath, tap into myself, and that includes the body. Of course. From here we're gonna roll up. Then extending the spine. So it's a gentle presence down of the shoulder blades.

From there, I'm rolling down all the way, so I'm gonna just do one more of those coming forward. Once my shoulders are over, my hips, I stack. And listing here. My glutes, a little bit squeezed. Press Down with those shoulder blades down with the arms. Not so much with the hands, just a couple more to feel the sense of connection of arms to trunk, arms to powerhouse. From there, we're going to allow our pelvis to draw back, but we didn't let the shoulders come off. Bend the knees from here.

Rotate to the right so it's, it's a bit of a side bend, right? But I'm also turning with it just little so it's not just a side band, but I took some my left hand a little bit in front of my right. From there I roll down that side of my back and they come up and keeping it small. Keeping the sacrum and pelvis still. Inhale down. Exhale up. Look at your hip, your right hip at this point. Don't let it hike up towards you. It's real tempting to swivel it.

It stays level. Next one comes forward all the way up. Then come center. Make sure you're in fact square other way. Allow a little rotation too so that right arm gets in front of you and you roll down. Suppose I'm a little off center on the spine. Not by much though. Watch it. The left hip doesn't hike.

I've gotta be real aware of it on this side for me, thinking of letting those ribs come up and under the chest almost. It's an image. It's not reality, I don't think, but I suppose it is actually. One more. We come up, here it is and center. All right. From here we're going to go into some extension. Extend your legs out, squeeze the glutes so you don't overextend the low back.

Rise up so I applied pressure on the bar, arching back. Take the bar with you, lightly touch your head and rule through. If it's not enough resistance, you should back up. I'm going to back up just so I can talk. Here we go. Inhale, lifting the sternum, reaching back and exhale. If you can't breathe, if you're going back, chances are you've cut off the air supply. Don't do that. And what I mean is you can't let the head hang right. It sound good.

It's not good for you. You're tall, you're lifted, there's space, you're protected. One more [inaudible] right? While we're here just sitting tall, we're going to just pull the bar in and think of raising the chest as we do. It's not a bit of a diagonal. So let's lean back and really match that resistance. Pull and stretch. Pull and stretch. Pull and stretch. One more pull and stretch. All right, we're going to let the bar go down.

And because of where I'm going, I'm going to bottom load it. Let's move the arm springs with the bar out of the way completely. So I just put them back at the top. It's where we tend to store them. And then I'm going to take my safety strap. Okay.

And I'm putting it about three or four loops up. I think three is probably good for me, but I'll go forward to be on the safe side. Let's just get this out of the way cause it'll bug me. Okay, so now my safety strap is in, right? Is Yours gotta be gotta be, and that's first. And then take your red spring loaded up. I'm going to do both. Okay?

Just not under that would bar down there. Everything's clear. There's a lot of stuff on your tower, so you've always got to kind of be mindful of of it all. We lie down, take ourselves back, which we keep our moon boxes here at the edge, so if you need to backup, you can were the set on my way. Okay. From here we push the bar up, placing our heels on the bar. Why don't you keep that safety strap right in the middle of your feet are in the middle of the bar. It'll be loose once you've loaded, but anyhow, tailbone is down, arms are down. We allow the knees to bend and exhale straight in one.

So if I'd encourage you to do anything at the moment, it would be kind of to relax, right? See what this feels like to let the leg bones sink into the hip socket. All right. If we overcommit it turns into something else, the pelvis starts moving. It's just you kind of ended up locking down on the hip joint. Let it be easy just for now. Don't even try to work and just feel that, feel how still you can be. Then keep it easy in the hip joint and at the top.

Go ahead and tighten the legs up all you want. Just try to separate the difference between the muscular contraction of the legs and the gripping in the hips. Hard to do, I think. Hold it up. Move the bar one foot at a time to the balls of the feet. Push the bar away. So it's as if you're in a bit of a high heel. If you look at your ankles, they're level meaning you're not rolling in or out and they're um hmm, they're straight. There's no creases at the ankle joint itself. Allow the knees to bend. Do not change those ankles.

You should have the same line if the front and straighten one. All right, so we always talk about where are we initiating from. It's definitely quad work, no doubt. Definitely hamstring stretch, but let's think about initiating from the back of the legs as well as if that was the first thing we had to contract for this to happen. We don't want the quads to work alone. One more from there. From the hip joint. Really? You got a soil? The legs around. Touch the heels together. Digitech don't talk. Let the hips drop and bend.

The knees will come apart and he's fully together at the top. [inaudible] how's your neck tension? Has your chest, is it open? Arms are long. Hold it up. Take your feet back to parallel. Reach the heels to the ceiling. Exhale point. Yeah.

Be Mindful of the knees. It's very tempting to drive energy through the backs of the knees. You don't want to do that. I'm not saying soften them either. I'm just saying keep them straight and focus where you want the work. In this case it will go through the whole leg, but not by tightening up the front of the legs too much. Hold it to the top.

Next time you get there, let the left heel reach to the ceiling and pool the right knee into you a little bit so the both feet are in contact, but it's a, it's a, it's planting. It's a running push with the leg that's down all the way up, both legs straight for a brief moment and then change. What's your ankle doing? It's gonna flex on the one side. It's still pointed on the other, but your feet are level in terms of weight distribution. Push up. Now you know what you were doing. Let's go down and up, down and up. Your hips don't move. Not even a little bit.

How about inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Can we do one more set? One more breath cycle. Inhale and exhale. That's plenty. Bend your knees. Reach up to grab the bar and let it down. Taking the spring off. Probably good idea to come out from underneath it.

To do that. Pull up on the spring with both hands. Careful not to pinch your hands and let the one down come back underneath it. Arms pushing up bar away. It's a little hard for me to tell you exactly where to be on the mat. At the end of this position, you want to be upright with your arms overhead, maybe even slightly behind you, but you're your own shoulder.

Flexibility will tell you. So it goes like this. It's spinal flection. We lift our head and neck and shoulders. Exhale, rolling all the way up to an upright, tall position. Inhale, bend the elbows, but do not lose any lift in your spine. Exhale, straighten. I'll give you one more inhale to prepare. And on this exhale we rolled out. Don't let it drive you down. You're in charge. Inhale, head comes up. Exhale, continue. Inhale, bend and straighten and exhale and you know, so it looks like an arm work. And even here it's really not. It's what can I hold through the spine and what can I move?

So the arms are strong and they're straight, but they're not really doing the lifting of the bar. It's the action of the abdominals. And in this case, the abdominals on the back. One more. We're going down. We're going to do the same thing with the lower body. Hands on the Poles.

Push out to straight arms that matters. Straight arms. Okay, for the moment, take your hands off. Put your feet on the bar. This is starting with the tower prep. I've got my feet parallel on the balls of the feet, holding the poles with straight arms. Tailbone down as much as you can if you very tight. This is not an exercise for you. How do you know if you're tight?

If you're in this position to start in your butts off the table? It's not the exercise for you. It's don't do it. You'll hurt yourself. All right. Flex your feet. Ooh, lovely point. The feet. Hamstrings are engaged a little. I'm going to peel up as I draw my abs and I'm also engaging the hamstrings a little and my knees bend until the hips are over my shoulders.

And then inhale and exhale. Start Rolling the spine down. Eventually straighten the legs, tailbone down. Inhale, flex feet and then point. Exhale, peel up, bending the knees so they end up over your face. But notice hopefully how open I am. Actually don't notice now should've known. I should've said it earlier. Don't look around. You want a lot of space.

Don't have your knees on your chest. Inhale, exhale down. [inaudible] and again [inaudible] if your hamstrings are loose here, it's not. It's not good. You want to protect yourself. So both sides of the body have to work in conjunction. I may have already said last one, but I think it would feel good to do just one more inhale and exhale. Ah, take the big stretch. Flex the feet if you can, and then bend the knees to let the bar down. Alright.

Coming out from under there. Almost there. Take the red spring off, let the uh, bar come down. Sometimes what I do is I just move it out of the way, the safety strap and let it come down. It might be nicer for the next person if I didn't do that though, so I will let him do it. Right. See that moral dilemma I just went through. Okay, we're gonna use our legs springs now, so lie on your back and you know, where are you? Put your springs. It's not that big of a deal. So if your studio, they leave him higher, just means you might have to back up a little bit. If they're lower, you might have to scoot down the mat a little bit. It's just, you know, I'm looking for medium resistance for these exercises that are coming medium to possibly heavy, but you know, B, make the form good. All right. So I, I tend to position myself where I push out to straight arms and then let the arms go. And then on certain days that works. In certain days it doesn't, I'm in a frog, we exhale, press straight out. And Paul, okay, so unlike the reformer, I'm trying to go basically opposite my resistance here so I don't need to go really high. Right? In other words, if I went up, I lose all my resistance.

So I'm trying to give myself resistance the further I push. So that's why you're seeing my legs hopefully go basically straight out. One more time from there. Inhale, soft feet, exhale, circle down around. And so what's the point here? Well, kind of a lot, but for the most part, let's just say it's about not moving the hips. I'm not going to worry about what muscles I should be using. Just move the legs, not the hips. Hold it. Let's go the other way. I'm inhaling and then I exhale as I pull down.

Okay. Things that matter when you using springs, among other things is are you level? Are you in the middle of your table? If not, you're gonna work differently, right? [inaudible] all right. From there we bring the legs up, keep some tension, and start your walking. So I'm gonna staying in place for the moment. Just getting a little pace, going. Debt, debt, debt, debt, debt, switch, switch, switch, switch. Switch than walk down two, three, four and up to three, four hips. Don't move.

Two, three, four and longer to imagine pushing through the strap again down to three, four and up to three or last time, two, three, four. And up, up, up and up. That's enough. Take your feet out, please. Rock yourself up. Turn yourself around. And what I didn't tell you because I didn't set it up, but I'm going to now is I'm just going to take off one of these red springs. I'm going to move it and where am I going to move it to?

I'm going to move it to, thank you. So I'm going to go up one. So one, two third islet down. If you're using all your outlets at home, if not one above or one below, we'll be fine. And again, you'll just have to adjust where you are. Get a little back extension, spinal articulation, and we'll call it a day. So kneeling arms are on the bar. By the way, I'm using one red spring. Some people leave the blue springs up there too.

Blue Springs at about the same level is equivalent. So here we go in how we press the arms to straight. Exhale to articulate down unfurling the spine as I travel forward into the long line. Be careful on the shoulder joint. You don't want to dip too low below here. You want to keep it all lined up from here. Inhale, exhale. As I round up, trying not to back up, right?

I'm going to have to use those hamstrings to help me to an upright position. Then I allow the elbows to bend. Inhale, press the arms to straight. Exhale, rounding forward. Unfurling the spine. Get long, like someone's pulling your tailbone one way in your crown of your head. The other inhale, exhale brings you, don't lean back. It's tempting. And last one. Okay, and for the grand finale, we do our prone work, so we're going to lie down carefully. Again, one red or two blue works here, arms are extended in front of you and for prone one is simply draw the scapula down.

And from this point I'm not going to rely on my bar, I'm just going to use the muscles in my back to try and reach me up. From that point I can apply little pressure on the arms to encourage a little bit more. We're reaching the legs and then down we go again. So the shoulders draw down, no additional pressure on the bar yet. Find the articulation happening from the muscles that are right around. That's fine when you can't do any more. If you'd like to, you could apply pressure, but still thinking long through your upper back, even though it's curving and now we're just going to blend in that so I'm just not slowing it down quite so much.

Last one. Each of those legs, they're still on the mat down carefully, right? You have to stay under control. To get out of this, I've got one hand on the bar, one hand next to me to help me up, walk myself closer to let the bar go, and then with that we'll just stay on our knees. We take the deep breath in, exhale, rounding a little kind of hinge back and inhale up. Exhale on this last one. Collect all the energy you can and hold on.


Paola Maruca
Some people say Kristi is too 'wordy'...I just want to say....KEEP TALKING KRISTI!!!!!!! :).....When you don't have to look at the monitor and pause while you are exercising because what you have to do is really just follow the instructor's cues, you realize how good this instructor is....thanks always:):)
2 people like this.
I completely agree with you Paola. Kristi is awesome. And thanks for adding Tower classes. I am so excited.
4 people like this.
Keep them coming! Love the cueing! Kristi you are a gem! More tower please :)
3 people like this.
I agree. Cueing is key!! I wonder sometimes whether my clients get tired of my voice, but then they say if they close their eyes they will still know exactly what to do. I'm your number one fan, Kristy!xx
1 person likes this.
Loved this! Thanks Kristi, I never think you talk too much. ;)
Joan Bee
2 people like this.
Thank you thank you thank you for adding to the new Tower category. This is a perfect class in terms of duration, pace and level for me. I'm thrilled to find it!
Yay!!! I can keep rambling on!!! Thank you all for supporting me in that! We're doing our best with the Tower classes so far... and we intend to do better (in terms of lighting, angle etc..)! We'll keep 'em coming! Thank you so much.
2 people like this.
Love the short format of this class! Kristi, if you talk too much, I much be the biggest blabber mouth in the Pilates world. I say, if a little info is good, a lot must be better!! I love your cueing and your clear explanations. It's true, I don't need to look at the screen either.
1 person likes this.
Thank you Kristi for adding the Tower Class, not too long and great cueing, as usual! More Tower classes would be fantastic. Great job!
Kristi, This seems pretty darn clear from what you say in this class, but I just wanted to make sure. You are saying there is NO safe way to modify the Tower Prep for tight folks who can't get pelvis all the way down, correct? Would you elaborate briefly on this topic? Many, many thanks!!!
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