Class #772

Short and Sweet Reformer

20 min - Class


In this class, Niedra shows how to take a basic Reformer workout and give it an advanced twist using the magic circle to add challenges to the material. Very good for extra toning of thighs, chest, and arms. At the same time - the class is short and sweet as the workout is only 21 minutes long.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Magic Circle

About This Video

Jul 31, 2012
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So this workout is again a shorter one, and I wanted to include the magic circle, which is such a phenomenal tool to just make the variations more interesting, more challenging, and just add some spice to the routine. So starting out on your backs, we'll do the footwork as always, love footwork, made sure the toes are nicely broad and spread. Very important to really feel this band that runs up through the hips on the side here to really pull the thighs towards each other. So it's really working inner thighs as well as outer thigh. So the thighs get toned because that's an area that's so easy not to activate.

Going into bird on a perch just below the metatarsal, there's a wonderful place. There's so many places you can put your feet on the bar and for some reason I love to explore the different angles because they open up so many pressure points in the feet onto the heels. Again, spreading the toes wide and working all the way through the legs. You can work at the speed that's good for you. Of course sometimes when I'm spending a lot of time on footwork, I work very slowly, but right now I'm taking it more as an upbeat tempo and then working through the ankles and making sure that the backs of the knees are really opening up and the quads are being lengthened at the same time. Every time you press up, opening up the ball of the foot to feel the pressure down into the foot rather than just pulling up out of it. So there's always a two directional attention of energy to really create a vibrant experience within the body.

And then coming back in beef, I go into hundreds rolling up and down through the hips to loosen up the lower spine. So right here tailbone is down, the stomach is in, and then you roll through and articulate up maybe just above the base of the floating ribs. Not a lot higher than that, which allows for the lower spine to wake up. Wonderful place to get the stomach really dropping down towards the spine. Sometimes clients will have a hard time really feeling that lean wrong abdominal cavity and this is a VAT invaluable place to get that sensation to happen. Now here's where I bring the magic circle and for the first time, so with the heels on the bar engaging but keeping the tailbone down. So the focus here is inner thighs and outer size without the Tuck or the tilt of the pelvis.

So really isolating the size and keeping the front abdominals nice and long and then adding in articulation of the spine. So a lot of different detailed coming in to make this movement very effective. It's fabulous for exposing weaknesses that different people will have as the pelvis and thigh area is such a complex crossroads of energy. Then adding in, rolling up and working the inner size and then rolling down and adding to this the magic circle on the inside and pressing out. And this really allows for widening of the size, widening of the front of the pelvis and the pubic bone area and creating a lot of space across the sacrum. Lifting the legs up and repeating.

This movement really widens and lengthens the lower back. So fabulous to get this area engaged and understood so the client can fully apply. Believe it or not, it helps to really create that strong connection together. So from here, moving into hundreds. So with the magic circle between the feet extending out and hugging that magic circle as you do the hundreds, and what's really fun is be doing the pulses and then working the inner thighs, doing the pulses, working the inner thighs, doing the pulses, working the inner thighs, and then try to do them at the same time. And then coming back and releasing one spring, four overhead.

So the legs, the magic circle is still in, head rests is down, and the arms along the legs are out from here. Arms go down, hug the circle. That'd be less work into the inner thigh. And then reaching long with the arms parallel the length of the legs as they come out. Again, hugging the magic circle and then hugging it and reaching with the arms as the legs extend out. And one more time, really making sure the inner thighs are hugging the circle. Hang up and then articulating slowly through the spine while the inner thighs connect together, coming right into coordination, which can be quite a challenge and squeezing instead of expanding.

So the whole hug, the midline is active the whole time. Squeeze the legs, come in, the arms come in and then settling down. Oh my goodness. Sad was challenging. Like so sitting up, we're going into stomach massage with the magic circle. As people have very unstable ankles and often there's an imbalance with them. So if you play some magic circle just above the ankles and place the feet in a reach towards the [inaudible] stance, the heels are moving towards each other, squeezing the magic circle.

This whole inner line is really worked at the same time engaging the stomach and the long seeker of, so extending the legs out, really pressing in to the magic circle and lengthening down, makes the legs work so effectively and really creates a lot of stability throughout the ankle and the arch. An area that I've had to work on a lot in myself, which I've found is extremely helpful to really balance out my feet, my legs, my knees, because you can check the alignment of the knee, the foot and the hip and the lengthening in the seeker, so you're really lifting out and not falling down at the same time really. You see work if that's what you're looking for and really and with the arms behind getting length and same thing again, hugging the midline, making sure that the ankles don't flop around. They stay very stable, the legs stay very stable. The back is nice and long, but mostly I have to say my focus right now is extensively from the knees to the feet and the whole line of the heel and the ankle because it, I can feel the weakness of the feet coming in where they want to pronate and just do all sorts of things that are not an ideal alignment and then a few just with the legs really waking up those ankles, waking up the stability so that you can work very powerfully in them.

And then taking the magic circle out, bringing the feet together, good depress all the way out and take one leg down and just work a few with the one leg working again, keeping that alignment of the ankle, the foot and the knee. So the knee is tracking over the center of the foot and same with the other side. Looking at the alignment of the toes that they're not doing. Funny things. There's even balance and the pressure into the toes is going through the second and third toe and the little toe and big toe are kind of hugging. So very, very useful work. Now pressing out, lengthening down through the heels to create length. Now in the calves cause the calves have been working very hard. Coming in.

I'll do one stretch with the feet together, extending out again, shoulders a down, really lengthening through the cabs, lengthening out, pulling the stomach back in, up the open, the lower back in. One more time. This can be done with the knees going out or also with the knees coming straight together. Now moving on to short box using the magic circle as a tool. Making sure that our industry, so I'm going to do round box with the magic circle between the knees.

So what does this do? This gets enough size to work and an engagement in the legs that connects nicely into the hip. So starting with a slight squeeze of the magic circle, wrapping the hand, just rolling back and keeping the legs engaging so they support the trunk and the sitting back up, releasing the magic circle rolling down again, going a little bit further and coming back up. And then if a person wants to, they can go all the way back opening up the hip flexors, but keeping those inner thighs working can really feel the work of the inner thighs lengthening up the lower spine and coming back up. Now making a variation of this by putting the feet through the circle and broadening out. So you have this [inaudible] work into the outer thigh and the same thing and you'll feel the pelvis works quite differently and widens out to slightly different muscle groups that are being challenged when you work.

The pressure out versus the pressure in keeping the size wide and long again opens the flexors beautifully to get a stretch and then rolling all the way up and all the way over. Now moving on from here into the upper body slightly with the magic circle. First of all, the circles in front of the chest. So shoulders are down the sh and bra and just gently squeeze. So you feel the pex working, you feel the lats working and without losing that, lifting the arms up, put the flat backs and nice law lift and then lengthening out and still compressing in the magic circle, lifting up, squeezing it, engaging all those muscles and lengthening out, lengthening through the spine.

And one more time, lifting up and reaching out and then stretching over. If you have a foot bar that stable like this, you can use it to stretch the spine out and coming up with the next set. So side to side, lifting up, squeezing the circles so you engage the whole upper trunk and lengthening to one side, lengthening to the other side. So you can take a vertical plane, you can take a slight diagonal plane, which uses z obliques a lot more. And this connection all the way up through the shoulders and the hands, heaps the spine very, very long. And then stretching out, going into the twist, lengthening up, shoulders are down, squeezing the magic circle and then rotating. And this is just fantastic.

Squeezing and twisting and reaching nice and long out of the lower back. Now moving slightly into one hip lifting, twisting slightly into one hip and one more time. And then the other side. And again, stretching forward and down. Now Fun thing is to put the magic circle in the toe. So you have this beautiful long back.

Bring the thigh in and press the like up and press the leg up and pressed the leg up. Then roll back, keeping the foot flex. So this is tension into the foot. That's very nice. And then bend over and play some magic circle on top. And just stretch, making sure both hips nice and square so you're evenly bending over other side, bringing the thigh in as much as you can and pulling the shoulders back with the help of the pressure into the circle, extending the Lait, extending the lae, extending the legs so you can really work the sit bone down the hamstring long, the calf long and the spine up because there's all of these places that you can work against to open up the body. Now keep that length and just rock back a little bit.

Rock backs that opens up the hamstring, opens up the back of the leg beautifully and keeps a connection into the powerhouse. And again, just having a lovely stretch, you can put your hands behind you if you'd like to get that even stretch out in the spine. Then moving into side bends, you can work it literally with the hands here or if you want to challenge yourself further, again, engaging the shoulders, engaging the upper back. It's a lot more work than working without the circle because then the whole upper part of the back is asked to be active and contracted. So moving to the other side, contracting the circle, going sideways, and then really reaching out. These are smaller movements because the muscles are being asked a whole the shape and then giving yourself a nice stretch and coming up. I'll take the box off and go into long stretch.

So placing the magic circle just above the elbows so you can slightly contract and feel the front chest engaged in the shoulder blades widening a little bit. Place your hands on the front of the carriage and then step back. So the funny thing is here you really have to lift the hips up or they hit into the magic circle. Keeping yourself along and keeping the upper arm slightly moving in towards each other. And a lovely lift through the upper back. Move out in, in going into down stretch.

Same thing. The hips come forward and the chest lift. You have to really open up the upper shoulders to make this work, but it really keeps that upper chest nicely engaged and then going right into elephant to take the circle, get it between the ankles, similar to stomach massage, you need to really work those ankles in and you'll have to be a slightly forward to allow the magic circle to work. So I'm engaging those heels towards each other, lifting through the upper inner thighs and lifting up into the ABS and working back and forth a few times. Really gets the innercise to work lengthens out through the legs in the back. And then just letting go of the circle for right now to go into knee stretch series, looking to get all of those qualities, inner size, ankles long, lower back engaged as I do my series here, lengthening the spine out. Again, engaging the inner sighs, engaging the ankles, engaging the cabs and then lying down on your back.

We're onto my back for running. So this is like a cool down. This is an interesting workout because it's a basic one, but you're adding a really advanced twist to the exercises by using the magic circle. So you're just revisiting all of the basic principles of basic alignment, the basic positions within the classical method, but you're adding this extra dimension of intensity that really opens up the body in a brand new and very interesting way. And coming in just doing pelvic lift, lifting the hips up, making sure the innercise are still engaging, the hips are getting nice and narrow and the back is long.

The powerhouses engaged, rolling all the way down and coming to a sitting position and just visiting some of the very interesting variations that we sometimes use to do to as a restorative a compliment to the work. So this one is for the neck and so many people walk around with their neck forward and these muscles are kind of saggy. So sitting straight, making sure the back of the neck is long, supporting the magic circles so the face is going straight ahead and then pushing down without poking your chin forward is fabulous to building up the neck muscles. Placing the magic circles on the knees, one hand on top of the other, lifting the chest, pressing down a few times to get the length in the spy. Taking the magic circle with the elbows lifted to get rid of the flappy triceps, so to speak, working the squeeze right for the upper chest as well. And last but not least, pressing down, allowing the shoulder to go down. You can feel the length coming into the neck, believe it or not, as you press down into this position. Great for telling me the arms. Great for beginners, great for advanced people, really very applicable across the boards.

Not often done, but wonderful to do so I hope you enjoy it. It's really a slight variation if you will, work much harder than you think, and it opens a lot of creativity in interpreting the exercises. So have fun. Thank you.


2 people like this.
Brilliant Niedra! I loved this workout!!
3 people like this.
Thank You so much Niedra :)
your teaching style is so perfect for me !
the added dimension of the magic circle really increased my awareness in my foot work as well as on the box !
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this wonderful workout! Your teaching is inspiring.
1 person likes this.
Wonderful class! I loved all the great new variations you taught. Brilliantly put together!
1 person likes this.
Nice session - love the variations with the ring. I would suggest watching first then practicing as it moves quickly. This is the go-to session when you just have 20 mins! Thank you
1 person likes this.
Thank for this quick vigorous workout. I am sweating! Uniques variations with the ring that is very challenging.
Thanks Niedra for a great class. I wish that I could join you at your workshops in England in Septmeber. But maybe next time! Looking forward to every new class you add.
4 people like this.
Great workout. Would have liked her to be more clear on springs but otherwise was excellent
I love how this is delivered in a clear yet refreshing manner. I've been hurting in my neck and low back and (of course) I instantly feel on top of the world. Thank you for your creativity and joy!
Niedra Gabriel
So glad you all enjoyed this fast and wild workout.
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