Class #697

Reformer Workout

50 min - Class
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Courtney takes you through a Reformer workout that is "ideal for the client that needs a little bit of rebalancing." With clear cues and creative variations that challenge the body to work through its imbalances. Throughout class Courtney builds progressions working one side of the body at a time intending to establish new neuromuscular patterns potentially. This class is a fun and instructive workout.
What You'll Need: Reformer, Weighted Balls

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Hi, I'm Courtney Miller, and today, I'll be taking you through a workout on the reformer that is ideal for the client that needs a little bit of rebalancing. I have a mild form of scoliosis, and I often feel that I get tight through one side of my spine. I feel unbalanced through my body, and I think we all get that a little bit. We're so habitual in everything that we do, whether it's work or play. It's always nice just to come down and feel that we're balancing out our left, our right sides, our front, and our back of the body.

I'm using the reformer today, and I'm also using a set of hand weights. Mine are two pounds. You can use those, you can use one pounds, or you can omit the weights altogether. I've got the bar in mid-bar position, and my spring tension will be two red springs and one blue. If you have any knee issues, you might wanna omit the blue and just try this with the two red springs.

Lying on my back, beginning with my toes onto the foot bar, feet hip distance apart, shoulders snug against the blocks, and tailbone down in neutral position. I'll draw my left leg into a tabletop position. I'll exhale to prepare today, inhale to press all the way up, finding the long line. Exhale, resist as I come in. About five times per variation here, making sure that you're drawing up through the front of the thigh and staying level and square through the hips.

Last time like this, pressing evenly into the big toe and the baby toe, and transitioning to our bicycle variation. Remember that both legs are working. So as I extend my leg long, I draw up through the front of my thigh, and as I bring the leg back in, I'm trying to find that crisp tabletop position. Leaving the leg straight, I'll lift the leg up and down. As I lift the leg and press out, I'm trying to do so with my abdominal muscles, but I'm avoiding rocking my pelvis into a posterior tilt.

Last time here. Let's hold. Take the hands behind the thigh, flex both feet, and plantar flex. So I'm facilitating this great hamstring stretch, tailbone heavy, and just starting to notice how the right and left sides of my body feel different. After five, the hands come down, the knee bends, and I come back through my bicycle for the other side.

Leaving the leg in tabletop, I'm inhaling to press on this variation, exhaling to draw in. So our exhale really helps to emphasize a certain part of the exercise. I'm exhaling today to come in because I wanna feel my abdominals assisting the motion so that the springs don't do too much work. It comes from me, my muscles extending and a bending. Be mindful not to overflex the knee here.

Find your tabletop, because you are creating those neuromuscular patterns, every time coming back to the same position. Also, it would be challenging to maintain a level hip if you came beyond tabletop. Legs stay straight. Lift, (Courtney exhales) lengthen, keeping your heel nice and high on that left side. Two more here.

And on the next one, I'll press out, hold, thread my fingers behind my leg, flex, and a point. It feels great. Press. And press, accenting the lowering, resisting and a hold, bending the knee and coming through, taking the heels of my feet on and coming into external rotation. So I'll leave both legs on so I can feel that I've got that symmetry.

Then I'll take my left leg off, staying level through the hips as I press. Inhaling to go out again, and exhaling to come in. I am in dorsiflexion, but be mindful not to pull the toes back with you as you press out. Instead, push closer from the seat. And press, adding the leg, coming in through frog.

So, much more challenging now to keep my pelvis level that I'm in the external rotation, and a press. And a press. Let's push halfway out, pause, and small pulses for 10, nine, this is a great time to feel neutral pelvis, press down through the right hip, shoulders relaxed, final four, three, two, and all the way out for one. Place the heel on. Before you continue, just make sure you've got that alignment, heel in line with the sit bone.

Other leg just lifts up, and we're inhaling to press and exhaling to resist in. Exhaling to resist in. So I feel the muscles lengthen as I come in. Two more. And a one.

Extend, and a pull. For me, this side is much more challenging to stay level and stable through my hips, so I've got a lot of attention. I can even take my hand and palpate so that I maintain my hip down on my left side. Little pulses. 10, and nine, eight, seven, dropping the sacrum so it's heavy.

As you start to fatigue, you're gonna feel that tightening, so remind yourself to relax. Two, and all the way up for one, and taking the heel of the foot on. Heels are gonna stay on. Legs come to parallel. Let's put the headrest down.

Leave the spring tension on. Hands are down, palms are down. Exhale into your bridge. Roll through your imprint. Come all the way up.

Inhale at the top, and exhale as you roll down. So before we begin the single leg variation, just find that center. Push evenly through each leg, down through the inside and outside portion of the heel, and now that I feel centered, I'm gonna stay up, cue my right seat muscle to activate, left leg comes up, flex the foot as it goes down, point and lift. Down, point, and lift. Three more.

Hips stay level. Two, one. Hold it up. Little pulses up. The challenge here is I have no support underneath my left side, so I'm really focusing on my obliques, my lower back stabilizers.

Two, and a hold. Place the foot on, and let's go right into the other side. Find the length. Lower and point to lift. Down and up.

Three more. Two. And one. Hold the leg up. Down an inch and up.

Not from my chest, not from my heart or ribs, but from the seat, I'm lifting my pelvis. This is a good time, everyone. Make sure you're not letting your weight roll out on your stabilizing side. Activate those adductors. Hold, place the foot down.

Take a deep breath in, and exhale to release. Help yourself come up to a seated position. Take some tension off. I'm gonna leave one red spring on. You could also do this series with one blue spring.

We're doing single, hands in straps, so you're definitely not gonna wanna weight it as much as you would as if you were doing both hands in straps. Shoulders are away from the blocks. Let's grab a hold of our left strap first. Left hand is in. Exhale, then draw the legs through tabletop.

Hover your right hand, nod your chin, and curl up. Take the right hand behind the head, elbow open. Lift the arm up, keeping the gaze forward, and pull down five times each variation. Inhale, lift. Exhale, pull.

Two more like this. Set the shoulders. Last time. Hold. Bending the elbow, pressing.

So you might feel as if the strap is pulling you off to one side. That's the challenge. Try to find that linear stability. Five times each variation. Add the opposite leg, extending out and in.

Press. The lower the leg, the harder. Three more. Two. And you could either take a rest now, or, for your bonus set, both legs go out.

Press, and bring it in. Hug those inner thighs together like a mermaid's tail. Three, and two, that flexion is evolving, you're getting up higher, one, hold, and resist down. Before we do the other side, take the right hand into the strap; then the left hand goes in as well. Exhale first.

Draw the legs up. Knees are just slightly off on a right angle. Nod your chin to prepare, and lift up. Eye line forward. Inhale, the arms lift, and exhale, press down.

Five times per variation. Stay heavy in the hips and focus on that diagonal stability. Press and reach, adding on if you can. The arms are up. Exhale, as I pull my arms down, legs extend.

Inhale, and exhale, legs extend. The lower the diagonal you choose, the harder it will be. Two more. (Courtney exhales) Last time. And adding on, lower the legs as the arms come up.

Lift the legs as you pull them down. Four more, we can do it. This is four. Little lower. (Courtney exhales) Three, hold that flexion, (Courtney exhales) two, and one.

Release the whole shape down and hook the strap up. So your left side should feel quite different than your right. Let's balance them. Grab ahold of the strap. Exhale first.

Pelvis is in neutral. Left arm hovers. One at a time, the legs come up. Nod the chin to protect the neck, and lift up. Take the hand behind the head, eye line just about the knees.

Inhale, arm comes up. Five times per variation. One, pull from the back, two. Hugging the inner thighs together really helps to find your center. And pull.

Last time. Bending the elbow, just the tricep extension. Five, and scoop up a little higher, four, three, two, glide those ribs towards the pelvis, one, adding the opposite leg to arm. Press it out, pull it in. One. (Courtney exhales)

Two, drop that tailbone. Three, feel that diagonal, opposite arm to leg, and a press. Now, take a break if you need it, or both legs. Inner thighs connected. Final five before we take a break.

And four, stay with it if you can. Three, lift up just a little higher, two, and let's finish with a hold. Take the whole thing down, and a well-deserved break. The arm comes up. The left hand goes in first, and then the right stacks.

My arms are slightly off on an angle to the right. I exhale, draw my navel in, pelvic floor activated, corset muscles working, legs up, slight on diagonal. Exhale as I curl up and inhale. Set your eye line. Keep it at the same spot as the arms draw down.

Two more. Try to get that left shoulder up and over towards your right hip. And adding the legs if you can, they extend and bend. Two, three, and four, last time like this. Leaving the legs long, lower them a little.

Lift them as you pull. And scoop, contracting from both ends. (Courtney exhales) Two more. (Courtney exhales) Last time. Hold, rotate a little bit more, and taking the whole thing down.

Hooking the strap up, releasing any tension from the back, and helping yourself come all the way up to a seated position. We could leave the red spring on here or make it just a little bit heavier with a green spring. I'm gonna leave the red on for today. Headrest goes down. Coming into a seated position, so, sitting nice and tall, shoulders over hips, about a hand's width of space behind you, so you have room to roll your sacrum back.

Let's go ahead and grab ahold of one strap. I'm gonna grab the right, and then I'm gonna cross and hold it with the opposite hand, all the way up onto the taped part of the rope. Notice your fingers can fit snugly under and then your thumb just right into that groove. It makes it a little easier to hold on. My right arm is extended forward, shoulders over hips.

On an exhale, I draw my left elbow back and then forward again. So I'm allowing my elbow to angle slightly wide out to the side, about 45 degrees from my body. This is the best position to ensure that my upper traps are not dominating. I'm trying not to rotate for the first part of the series. About one more here should bring us right around eight.

And then I encourage my body to rotate. As I exhale, pull my elbow back, my other arm stretches forward and come back and through. Exhale, dig deep, and then come back through. Make sure you're not protracting to get that right arm to reach. Instead, the rotation is coming from the center of your body, shoulders over hips, and pull.

Last time like this. And pull. Now, coming forward, lifting my arm up, and rotating in the opposite direction, I take my hand down right behind my sacrum. It's almost like a second spine now. Lift up and out of my spine, and then I can let the strap give me a little bit of an additional stretch, letting my neck turn, and then I have the same thing on the other side.

Hooking the strap up, making sure I've got a good grip, my left arm is now forward. Practicing the row without the rotation. So, focusing on stabilization. My arm can only go as long as I can keep my shoulder open. Pull.

Again, play with the angle of the elbow. It's about 45 degrees from the ribs. Now, let's add the twist. Keeping your chin parallel to the ground, look, reach, and come back and through. I'm absolutely lengthening through my fingertips on my left side here.

I'm getting this oppositional pull. And reach. Lengthen as you rotate it. Every time, grow a little bit taller. And pull.

Taking the stretch, my arm will lift, my body will rotate. The heel of the hand comes on, and I let the strap pull me forward a little bit as I counter-stretch, twisting in the opposite direction. Let's keep going with the upper body, but take the weight down a little bit. That was a red. Let's change to a blue.

Coming to a kneeling position, let your feet rest back so that you can actually hook the ankle onto the carriage for stability if needed. Let's step our left foot forward. Heel of the foot is onto the carriage, toes are onto the headrest, and my ankle is about all the way up against the shoulder block. I'm gonna grab the right strap, so the same to the leg that's down. My arm will reach forward.

I can either keep my hand down to my thigh for more stability, I can extend my arm long, or, if I wanted to, I could use one of the two pound weights and challenge my stabilizing arm a little bit more. For today, this is good for me. I'll bend into a bicep curl and extend and reach. Bend in, and reach. So, as I go through the range of motion here, there's a lot for me to think about.

Let's start at the feet. I'm pressing down through the heel of my foot on my stabilizing side, making sure my knee is not rolling open. I'm keeping my hips square, trying to keep my shoulders right above my pelvis, elbow lifted on the stabilizing side. And one more here. Pull, reach.

And stretch long and through. Turning the palm down, going into my chest expansion variation. As I exhale, I grow tall and press back. There's a sense of digging down with my fingertips. The visualization I use is making trenches in sand, and every time I draw my arm back, getting just a little deeper.

The arm stays long. The crown of the head lengthens up. I'll do two more, (Courtney exhales) closing my ribs. And last time. Taking it down, and let's try the same series on the other side.

Taking the foot back, the opposite foot comes forward, grabbing ahold and rising up. Choose the same arm variation you did on the other side. Exhaling as I bend, and inhaling as I go for the length. Shoulders again stay over hips. Be careful of the back extensors wanting to dominate here in the bicep curl.

It would look like this. So just maintain that neutral, lifted, long spine. Eye line forward. Deep abs in, every time. Maybe we can get just a little bit more into our abdominal muscles.

We'll do two more, shoulders down the back and open, heel pressing down and into our chest expansion. Exhale as I press, and inhale. The arm only goes as far back as you can stabilize the shoulder. So if you feel that you're rolling your shoulder forward or elevating it to get a little more range, limit it. Less is more sometimes.

Press. And press. We'll do three more. Don't forget about those inner thighs, especially on that forward leg. Don't let the knee roll open.

Two, and one, coming all the way in, and resting down. Taking the series, but facing the other direction, I'm gonna grab one of the hand weights now. Again, you can choose to use these or not. I'll place it down for later, and I still have that blue spring on, so don't change that. Coming from the side, kneeling so my foot is hanging off the back.

My opposite foot comes forward, so I'm in the same position. Now the muscle emphasis will be different as I face the other way. I grab ahold of the strap with the same leg, with the same hand as leg that's back, and then my other arm is gonna reach forward. Chest open, shoulders down, abdominals in. Let's lift so the arms are level and resist.

Don't go behind your thigh. Exhale, lift, and lower. And as I lift, I grow taller through the back of my body. And exhale. (Courtney exhales) And lift, pressing through my heel on my front leg.

Let's hold. And go into an offering position, reach. Now, I could use both arms here, or I could just hold and focus on my left side. For today, I'll keep them both moving, but if you find that your balance is challenged, you might wanna just do one arm at a time in the beginning. Last time like this.

And let's add on. I'll turn my palms down on both hands. Exhale to reach forward, elbow stays lifted and wide. Do about four here, and then you have the option to add rotation. I'll be twisting towards my right, opening my arms to a T and coming back and through.

Exhale as you rotate, and inhale back and through. So, lots going on here. You can always omit the rotation. One more. And twist, and come back.

Lower the ball down, but before you switch sides, let's do a single arm tricep extension, bending the elbow. I can take my hand onto my thigh, hinge forward, draw my abs in, or if needed, I can have my hand onto my humerus to help stabilize. Exhale, pressing the arm forward and long, and inhale. So, I do feel like I'm hinging forward a little bit here, but my hinge is in a neutral position. Palm open.

The great thing about these exercises is not only are you working the muscle that you're feeling fatigue, but all of the muscles to stabilize you against this one-sided pull. Four more. Press, reach. And three, closing the ribs, and two, and last time, one. Finish my circling the arm around, and let's see how we do on the other side.

Don't expect them to feel the same. Often, one side is much smarter than the other, more coordinated, or one side is much stronger than the other. Grabbing ahold of the strap, and lengthening up. I'll start with the arm lifted, hips square, and exhale as I reach. My goal is to get my arms level each time.

Up, and inhale down. Digging deep here is a great cue, reaching the fingertips down to the earth, lengthening up through the crown of the head. There's a lot of oppositional pulls happening in this exercise series. Press through your heel in your forward leg, and let's add on. Keeping the arm lifted, palms stay up as we bend in.

Feels good to take a break. Then reach up and forward. Every time I reach my arms forward, I draw my abdominals in more. Remember that core connection's just not navel in, but pelvic floor up. And reach.

Let's hold the next one. Turn the palms down. Go into the single arm reach. Remember, you're welcome to stay here for the series, about four, and then if you choose to add the rotation, the arms open to a T as you twist. (Courtney exhales) Shoulders are over pelvis, just rotating.

Two more. (Courtney exhales) One more. (Courtney exhales) And back and through. Before we finish, single arm tricep extensions. So, the elbow comes up, hand to thigh.

Lean forward. If you'd like to, stabilize the humerus in space, and press out, keeping the wrist long here throughout. As we hinge forward on this neutral diagonal, it's a great time to get deeper into the pelvic floor. And press, and reach. Keeping that humerus still in space is key to really getting into the triceps.

And press. Next one will be our last. Press. And circle the arm all the way around. And let's take a break here.

So, pressing back to a child's pose position, drawing the abdominals up and in, and lengthening through the spine. Let's take a quick cat stretch as well. Toes can curl under, heels of the hands onto the foot bar. Inhale for the long exhale. Scoop the belly, drop the head.

Breathe, pressing all the way out, finding that neutral. Exhale, scoop the belly, drop the head, breathe. And lengthen. As we feel the difference between the right and left side, it's important to come back to your center each time, too. And lengthen all the way up.

Excellent. All right. Putting the foot bar down to the flat position, let's leave that blue spring on. Remember, when you only have a blue, the carriage is unstable, so you're gonna have to be quite careful when you come up and onto it. Again, I'm gonna use the hand weights here, but you have the options to use them or not, whatever feels better for you.

Always standing onto the stable part of the reformer first and then onto the moving surface. Feet are parallel, a little wider than the pelvis. Weights into the hands. I'm gonna take my arms out to the sides. I'm gonna do a standing saw.

Press into the baby toe part of the foot. Arches are alive and lifted. Breathe in as you press out. Go as far as you can stabilize in neutral spine. Be careful of the tailbone pressing backwards.

Lift and rotate towards your carriage. Nod your chin, eye line down. One arm lifts up as the other arm drops down. Roll from the base of the spine as you keep the carriage still. Come back through center, and let's give the shoulders a break.

Again, pressing out. Deep, expansive breath in. Rotate, nod the chin, and try to articulate one vertebra at a time. Rolling up from the base of the spine, coming back through center, and releasing the arms down. Last time like this.

As I inhale, press, I grow tall. I think of a five-pointed star. Lift and rotate, nodding the chin, exhaling as I articulate down, pulling my right hipbone back. Lengthen up. Stacking the shoulders over the hips, and releasing down.

To transition from here, step your carriage foot back and your gray platform foot forward a little bit. Then rotate so you're facing towards the back of your reformer. Your heel is gonna be lifted on your back foot, and your foot is flat on your forward leg. Square the hips and reach the arms forward. Pressing into a front split as far as you feel you can stay stable, and drawing the carriage back in.

Again, a lot going on here. As I press forward, I'm mindful not to hyperextend my knee on my front leg. I'm activating my seat, my glutes, my hamstrings on my back leg, and I'm trying to stay square. Let's add some movement with the arms. We'll open the bring the carriage in, and close to press out.

And exhale. (Courtney exhales) Really getting a sense of length here, and enjoying the stretch to the front of my hip on my back leg. On the next one, we'll hold. Flip the palms up. Without moving the carriage, bend into your elbows and your front knee.

So I'm in a low lunge here. I'm gonna have to encourage my right hip to come forward a little bit. Press the arms and the legs out at the same time, and bend in. The accent is the push, not the bend. So reach, little bend.

Is your back leg straight? Press into that heel. Draw the low belly in. Scoop the tailbone under. You can feel all those deep little muscles, the intrinsic muscles in that front foot working overtime here.

And on the next one, we'll hold. Maybe we can lengthen a little more. And release down. Come back the way you got on. So, taking your back foot off first, and walk it out for a moment.

Let's do the same thing on the other side. So, come around. Remember to step onto the stable part of your reformer first and then onto the moving. The arms are gonna be out to the sides. Legs are in parallel position.

Press out. Lots of weight to the outside edges of the feet. Let me show you from this angle. Be careful of dumping the abdominals forward and the tailbone back. So a little bit of a scoop here.

Abdominals up and in. Lengthen as you twist towards your carriage. Start form the cervical spine, and exhale, articulate forward, reaching opposite hand to foot. Other arm up. Rebuild the spine.

Carriage stays still. Rotate through, and release the arms down. Arches of my feet are lifted. Again, press out. Lengthen, twist, nodding my chin, rolling forward.

Then leading with the pelvis, mid-spine, upper spine come back up. And release. Last time like this, pressing out. Think of your star. Lengthen as you twist.

Nod your chin, peel your spine off of a wall as you reach forward. Then back up. Rotate through, and take it down. Roll the shoulders out. So, I'll step my front foot forward a little bit, my back foot back, so that when I rotate, I'm in hip distance apart, staggered stance.

The wider the stance, the more stable you'll feel, too, so make sure that you feel comfortable on the equipment. The hands are forward, abdominals in, and let's just start with a forward press. And exhale. (Courtney exhales) Pull. And inhale, press.

And exhale. Think about the pressure points in the front foot. Equal weight to the big toe, baby toe, inside and outside part of the heel. Arches are lifted. No hyperextending through the front leg.

Back leg strong. Let's add the arms. I'll open as the carriage comes in, and exhale. (Courtney exhales) Abs up and in. My pelvis feels heavy and weighted.

The rest of my spine feels very long and lengthened, all the way up to the sky. Remember, we can drop the weights at any time. Press, reach. And on the next one, let's press out and hold, turning your palms up. Keep the carriage still as you bend into the shape.

So, I'm deepening the stretch for the back of my leg, or the front of my leg, I'm sorry, on my back leg, and then pressing. (Courtney exhales) Energy through my heel. I feel a little bit of a scoop under in my tail. Shoulders over my hips, pressing. Accent is the reach.

Elbows up for four, and a three, neck is long, two, one, and release as you come up and in. Come off the same way you came on, with grace and intention. Let's place the weights down for now and grab our box. Long box goes on butted all the way up against the shoulder blocks. One blue spring.

Let's leave it there. As you come on, the femur slides on first, and then the other leg. Allow your chest to come comfortably off the box. So, single arm strap work. Grab a hold of the strap.

We have options for the legs. We can leave them long and lengthened, not lifted, or we can bend the knees and cross the ankles. This is not only better if you feel like you need to to support your low back, but if you're having problems maintaining your alignment, if you're getting piked to one side, then make sure you bring the feet in. I'll leave my legs out for now. The arm position can either be here on the headrest or here on the forehead.

The second is more challenging. Lift the elbow up by the side. Stay long as we press. Whenever we do these one-sided movements, the sequence of muscle pattern firing is very important. So, if I activate my abdominal muscles before I use my tricep muscles, I'm much more capable of staying long and strong.

If I don't have that pattern, then I might get pulled to one side. Let's keep the next one long. Lower the arm down. And scoop to pull. If I wanted to make this series even more challenging, I could add a reach with my opposite arm.

Even more challenging still, why not, I could add a unilateral reach and a switch, similar to a swimming motion. Reach. Lots of brain work, too. Reach. Stay long.

Two more if you can. Reach, and last time. And take it down. Excellent. I can really feel that in my tricep.

The other side. Try to recreate so the muscle pattern's the same on both sides. If you had your knees bent, bend them again. If you had your hand here, recreate that. Otherwise, fingers are here, elbow up.

Long like a torpedo as you press. Keep that elbow hugging in towards the midline. For me, it's much harder to stabilize my pelvis and spine on this side, so I'm really thinking about abs first and then my peripheral muscles second. Long neck. Use your breath.

Exhale. (Courtney exhales) Let's leave the arm long. Lower it down. Pull from the back as we lift. So I'm not trying to extend my spine here.

I'm trying to stabilize it in a long line. Add the arm, if you choose. Remember, you can layer these. The next time you can watch, you might wanna try another variation. And adding, whoopsy, reaching here.

Adding the oppositional reach. As one arm goes down, the other is back. And reach. (Courtney exhales) Two more on this side. Lots of obliques.

And holding, and resting, hooking the strap up and pressing back. Breathe it out. Enjoy the stretch, navel back and in, shoulders down. Inhale through the nose. And exhale. (Courtney exhales)

Excellent work. Let's do some single leg in strap. One red spring on the Balanced Body equipment. Headrest up. You could also do this on a green spring.

It'll be harder, a little heavier, and you may also wanna take a pillow or cushion underneath your head to support your cervical spine in the sideline position. I'll take the strap that's in front and place it around the arch of my top foot. Little closer to my heel than to my toes. My bottom leg is comfortably bent in, and I'm taking caution to stack my shoulders and my hips. So, a little note.

If you feel the shoulder block hitting your back, you're leaning back, you're rotating through your shoulders. You should be right through the shoulder blocks here. Exhale to press out. Now, in this position, I'm reaching through my hip. So I'm pulling my femur away from my pelvis.

I'm not letting it sink in. You can see the difference. Stay lifted through the underside. Inhale as the leg sweeps forward. Exhale as you pull the leg back.

As I let my leg come forward, I pull my tailbone back. I pull my seat backwards. So a lot of opposition here. My foot goes in one direction, and like a game of tug-of-war, I pull my hip back in the opposite direction, deepening that fold, deepening that crease. I'm challenged to keep my foot the same height the whole time, but my image is just staying parallel to the ground.

Abs in. We'll do one more like this. And then we'll take it in a circle. Circles are great for the pelvis, because it's a ball and socket joint. So as we circle, a good visual is stirring a pot of soup.

Imagine your pelvis is the pot of soup, and your femur is the spoon, the big ladle. Just stir it all the way around. I'm already feeling a lot of seat. Make sure your leg stays parallel here. Avoid external rotation.

Let's reverse. So I'll go low and up and around. It's much more of an oval than it is a circle. In fact, if I go too high, I lose the work. So stretch it out.

Make it long and skinny, and press. Two more. Again, even though I feel my working leg, my hip, my seat, there's so much more going on than that, because I'm just doing the one side, bending the knee in and rolling over onto my back. So now, I have the opposite strap to foot. My other leg's in tabletop.

Tailbone down, pressing straight out and bending in. So, as you're doing this at home right now, I'm sure you're thinking, this is much harder than it looks. The strap is pulling me to the left, and I really have to activate through all of my lateral muscles on my right leg so that I stay in line with my sit bone on that side. If you want the exercise to be more challenging, you can nod your chin towards your chest, curl up, stay heavy in the seat, and you can continue the exercise in a crunch, pressing out. And press.

And if you feel like you need that support behind your head, go for it. You're just gonna wanna take the right hand behind your head so it doesn't interfere with the strap. Let's take this into a scissor. Leg is up. Inhale, and again, this could be done with the head lifted or down.

Inhale here, exhale. (Courtney exhales) So, a good note here is if you feel the strap brushing against your inner thigh on your left side, you know that you're not in line with your sit bone on your right. You're too close to your center. So, think of those train tracks. Feel that parallel.

Let's hold here. Bring the heels together and try to press straight out in a single leg frog variation. As we press out, we exhale, and we try to activate the inner thighs, drawing the femurs together from the upper part of the thigh bone, then the knees, like a zipper. (Courtney exhales) Final three. Maybe you can curl up a little higher.

And a two, and here's the best part. Rotate back through parallel. Let your head and arms rest down, hinging at the hip. Let your leg come up. Your left leg can find the gray platform or the foot bar, and now, we've got this lever stretch system.

So it's a supported stretch. The more I bend into my left leg, the more it's gonna pull back on my right. Remember your foundation and your principles. Tailbone down, pelvis neutral. I can go across the body for the IT stretch, keeping the hip heavy on the right side, and I can even open the leg.

I like to roll my other leg open as well, going for the inner thigh stretch. Come in, taking the strap off, and we'll do the whole series on the other side. So, turning around, this'll be a good opportunity to see the position of the pelvis. Top foot goes into the strap, a little closer to the heel, and extend out. So, I find my square shoulders and hips, lifted through the obliques.

So an incorrect form would be here. No lounging, lift up. Keep the work as you hinge the leg forward, and exhale back. As my leg goes forward, I try to pull this hip bone backwards, away from my foot, and that not only helps to keep the pelvis level and stable so I know that my stabilizers like multifidus are working back here for me, but it also helps to facilitate a deeper stretch on that side. I'll inhale the leg to me and exhale.

(Courtney exhales) Stay long between the hip and the armpit, too. Quick little showcase here would be collapsing. So push into the strap. And let's go into our ovals. We'll go forward, little bit higher than the hip, and down and around.

And around. So, I'm still going into that stretch every time. Forward, and around. And pull. Here's my reverse.

Exhale, navel to spine. Resist. It's always tempting to cruise the springs and let them do the work, but you'll get so much more out of it if you feel that resistance, that eccentric. Up and around. Two more.

And last time. Bending the knee in and shifting, so that you're on your back. Opposite leg comes up. Hands down, palms down. Press out and bend in.

So, just take a few reps to feel that parallel, pressing out. And bending in. Tailbone heavy, pelvis is in neutral here. And if you'd like to add on, add your flexion, nodding your chin, scooping to curl up, bending in, and reaching out. Remember, you're welcome to take a little bit of support here for the cervical spine if you need it, but you're gonna use the opposite hand to leg so it doesn't interfere with the strap.

Pressing out from the low belly, and press. I'll do one more here and go into my scissor variation. This is my inhale, hips down, long hamstring. Exhale. (Courtney exhales) Inhale, and exhale.

So, again, if the strap is rubbing on the inside of your thigh, it may be because your leg is coming too close toward your center line. And a pull. And lift. The knee's a little bit soft back here, guys. So we feel that the pulling is coming from where the hamstring and the seat connect, not right behind the knee.

Let's make this next one our last one. Go into our frogs. Pressing out and reaching, and bending in. So, if you really think of drawing a straight line, center with your pubic bone, the center of your sternum, and you try to follow that line, both on the bending and the extending of the knee, you'll find it's quite challenging. In addition to connecting the upper inner thighs together and you press out. (Courtney exhales)

Final three. And two. And one. Into the stretch. Let the leg hinge up and meet your right foot to the gray platform.

Everyone's stretch will be a little bit different. Go to the place where you feel the muscles lengthening but you're able to maintain square, neutral hips. That's the best place for you. Then the leg can go across the midline, only as far as the hip can stay heavy. This can be quite intense, too.

Just let it open up. Then the inner thigh, if you choose. Remember, you're on a lever. You're on a pulley system. So the more you bend your supporting leg, the more it's gonna pull back and stretch your opposite leg.

Draw the leg up. Bend the knee in. And taking the foot all the way up, helping yourself come on up to a seated position. So, let's finish today's workout with an elongating exercise to stretch through our back and behind our shoulders, a place that can get quite tight. We'll move the bar up into mid-bar position.

You may be able to do this stretch in high bar, depending on your flexibility. I think most of us will be happy with mid-bar. And I've added just a little bit more tension. Right now I have two reds. A red and a blue would be fine as well.

Taking a seat, the closer I sit towards the foot bar, the more I will be stretching. I'm gonna take my hands up onto the bar and my toes up as well for stomach massage position. Now, I'll take my right hand to the center of the bar, my left hand down, dropping the head, exhaling to press out. Lower the heels. Lift them, and bend to come in.

So, press out, scoop the belly back and in. Lower, lift, and come in. One more time. Press out, abdominals activated, and lift. On the next one, I'll press out.

Lower the heels, take my other hand back, and just allow those heels to feel heavy. As I lift my heels, what I feel is more of a pull behind my shoulder blades, so it's a great shoulder girdle stretch. One more time. Deepening those abs as you lift the heels. And coming all the way back in.

Other side. Hand rests down. Drop the head, scoop the belly. Press out, lower, lift, and come in. Pressing out, lower, lift, and come in.

Pressing, down and up, and in, and I'll show you on this side as we press out, and I take my hand away, I lower the heels down, and as I lift my heels and I keep my grip, it really pulls open all through my back. Under, and up. One more time. Let the heels drop, get a good grip, lift, and feel that opposition. And bend and come all the way in.

Well, I hope you feel rebalanced. I do. And you can take what you've learned with you for the rest of your day. Notice if one side felt a lot tighter, one side felt a little bit more fatigued. These are things that can help you as you go along your daily activities to create more symmetry in your life.

You can do this workout in its entirety, or you can use some of these variations with your existing Pilates routine if you're starting to feel a little lopsided. Thank you for watching, and I hope to see you again soon.

Comments

11 people like this.
Nice workout with great precision and cueing .......and really good to see a STOTT Pilates Instructor on PA . Thanks Courtney.
2 people like this.
Another Awesome Class Courtney :)
I can be a bit unbalanced at times (lol) and with this used my less dominant side first, just to set the pace. I enjoyed how I felt as I progressed with the challenges. Thank You !!
3 people like this.
what is my favorite class ..bravo !i love it !
3 people like this.
Courtney this was a great reformer workout - loved the single side challenge - what great attention it brings to the opposites in our bodies!! I do a similar side lying series and I add a foam roller placed in front of the shoulder rests and the forearm rests on the head rest! Hope to see more classes from you here on PA!!
2 people like this.
Courtney, GREAT class!!!
Loved the single side variations! I feel great!
Thank you.
Thanks everyone! I'm so happy you enjoyed the class! I love doing the single arm and leg variations too! It feels so good to rebalance the mind and body!
4 people like this.
So many wonderful variations.. I just love Stott..Courtney you are a wonder! This is just exceptional work for neuromuscular imbalances which we all need to work on. Loved this workout..watched it all the way through today and have intentions of doing the program in the morning. Hope you come back for more here on PA.
1 person likes this.
This was really great. I liked the single side variations. Can't wait to try out at the studio
Amy
2 people like this.
What a great class! Loved it! Loved the variations and the creativity! Nicely done! I look forward to sharing this with my clients!
1 person likes this.
Great Class! I plan to use it often. Challenging each side of the body separately brings so much awareness to the different muscles. Thank you
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