Class #816

Flow and Combinations

50 min - Class


A Reformer workout that is all about flow and combinations. Each series will have 5-7 exercises in a row that require minimal set up and few spring changes. Courtney teaches with clear and concise cues so you can maximize your time working out and focus on yourself and your own posture.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Towel, Hand Weights, Pilates Pole

About This Video

Sep 18, 2012
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Hi, I'm Courtney Miller. Thank you for watching. Today I'm doing a reformer workout that has everything to do with flow and combinations. I've read your responses to my previous workouts on Pilates Anytime, and one of the things that I continuously hear is that people are enjoying how well the exercises flow from one to the other. That's personally how I like to work out.

So, these exercises that I've chosen, there's going to be about five, six, or seven within a series that require minimal changes, minimal setup, so that you can just go all the way through. I do have some props, though, and remember, you can add these in, you can delete them, you can substitute them with things that you have at your studio or at your home. I'll be using the toning balls, these are about two pounds. You could use hand weights instead, I probably wouldn't go over two pounds, though. One or two is perfect.

I'm also using a wooden dowel. It's a long, maple pole, and I've used it from the combo chairs, but I'm sure that there's something in your studio, in your home, that will suffice. The other thing that I'll be using today is a pillow or a towel, something to support your cervical spine while you're in a side lying position. Let's get started. I've got the Balanced Body Reformer set up in mid-bar position, two red and one blue springs.

It's a little on the lighter side, but again, we're flowing. I will the toning balls for my leg and footwork today. For me, I'd like the headrest in the mid-position make sure its adjusted for your posture. Lying down on our backs. Shoulders are slightly away from the shoulder blocks here.

If you need to, you can use a sticky pad underneath your bottom, so you don't slide back. But on this spring tension, I don't think you will. Let's begin by placing the toes on, feet hip distance apart, equal pressure to the big toe and the baby toe, sacrum heavy, press down into the toning balls, and down into the tailbone as you lift the heels up high. We'll breathe in to prepare. Exhale, press all the way out to straight legs.

We'll wait for that train to go by. And inhale to bend the knees to come in. Exhale as I press out, and inhale to come in. So, as I'm pressing through my legs, I'm pressing down through my arms, as well. All the way out, exhale, navel drawing in, ribs closing and connecting.

Now that we've got the lower body, let's add something with the toning balls. Turning the palms in, pressing out with the legs as I lift the arms up to about shoulder height. Any further and you'll feel the shoulder blocks will get in your way, and inhale. Pressing out. Keeping the heels lifted nice and high.

So, you could play with your foot position here. I have my feet hip distance apart, in preparation for my next series that I'm planning, but if you'd like to squeeze your inner thighs together, or place the heels of the feet onto the bar, those would all be great ways to begin your workout today. Let's press out and hold the next one. And as we come in, we're gonna open the arms out to the sides and squeeze them in. Make sure the knees are tracking evenly over the mid-foot and sure that you're resisting on the in.

Tailbone down and heavy. So, I'm starting to get a warmth, starting to fatigue through my upper body, in addition to my lower body. We'll do two more. Press all the way out. Long legs, long range of motion.

Leaving the weights here, bending the elbows and turning my palms up. Take one foot off, bring the carriage in, as I press out, I press up and in. 10 on each side, so we've got eight more. And seven. Six.

Keeping the humerus still in space, so I can isolate my triceps. And a four, hips are square. Three. Two. And last time, one hold.

Place the foot down, make sure it's inline with the hip, draw the opposite leg up to the tabletop position. 10 presses, 10. And exhale, nine. So, it is a little bit of coordination here, moving the upper and the lower body together. Let's stay with it, you can do it, press.

And press. Final three. And two. And one, placing both feet on. Let's lower the arms, turn the palms up, and go into a bicep curl, pressing all the way out.

So, it's actually quite nice going from both legs to single leg, and then back to both legs again because, obviously, when I've got a single leg, the weight feels much heavier than when I have both. And since we know that deeper muscles are recruited by lighter weights, I really feel like I'm working the full spectrum of my lower body muscles. That is not just the quads and the bigger movers, but the stability muscles, the ones supporting around my ankles, my knees. And press into a lower lift. Lower the heels and lift.

Down and up. And any variations of the arm here. (deep breathing) Two more. And one. Turning the palms down, bending the knees and coming all the way in.

You may just have to inch yourself away from the shoulder blocks a smidge, press down into the weights, exhale, and then one at a time, draw your legs into tabletop. Nod your chin to prepare, press down into the weights as you roll up, inhale, and then exhale, roll back down. Let's flow. Exhale on the up, and inhale on the down. Hug your inner thighs together.

The great thing here is you can really feel the progress you're making, as you flex through your spine, you feel how your arms move, you feel how your hands roll against the weights. Last time like this, and we're gonna hold, taking the arms up, turning the palms in, let's extend arms and legs away, and bring them in. Press and pull. I line at the knees, or just above the knees. Abdominals in.

Adding a circle with the arms, press, circle, and in. Press out, circle, and in. As I circle my arms around, I lift up a little bit higher. And in. Press.

And in, last time. Press. And hold. Bring the weights over the chest, bicycle the legs, press, press, imagine you are pressing against the foot bar. And add a twist.

Twist, twist. Reach, twist. Abdominals burning. Five more. Five.

Four. Three. Two. One. Come back to center.

And release. Excellent, keeping the weights, help yourself come on up to a seated position. We can leave one. Make a quick change. So, I want you to choose the tension that you feel you can execute and exercise at its best form, best quality.

We have the options for this next series to either do a single red or a single blue. Blue's lighter, blue will be a little bit easier, and now's the time to grab something to support your cervical spine. I'm using a towel. I've got a red on, but again, make sure that it works for you. I lie down, so that my legs will go underneath the foot bar and you'll see in a second that it'll thread right through.

My head is supported, headrest is gonna be up. And head inline with the spine here. I'll use the strap and the ball in the same hand, so grab the strap first, then the grab the ball second. For me, I find it's very comfortable to hold onto the silver peg, but if you'd like shoulder block or something else, then go ahead and find that. Find your neutral spine, careful of those ribs sinking.

Lift your legs up, activate your obliques. The hand is directly over the shoulder. You pull all the way down to the thigh on an exhale. And inhale up. (deep breathing) And up.

Pulling down and lifting. So, before I actually move my humerus, I set my shoulder. Pull all the way down. You'll be able to see that quite well when I turn around. About eight to 10 in each position.

I feel my obliques. I feel my lats. And in no time, I'm gonna be feeling my triceps starting to fatigue, as well. This will be the last time, and then I'll rotate my palm towards the back, as I inhale, I extend the arm out in front of me, exhale. Be careful the collarbone doesn't roll forward.

Surprisingly, I feel a lot through my core here. Obviously, my obliques are assisting to hold my legs in this lifted position. But I feel a lot through the front of my abdominals. As I pull back, I can feel how my core stabilizes me against the spring load. Last time.

From here, holding the humerus right up against my ribs, bending, and pressing through. Now start to challenge yourself. Can you lift your legs up a little higher? Can you feel more length through your neck? How about that hourglass shape?

Can you lift your floating ribs up just a little bit? A little bit more? Final two. And final one. Bend it in and bend that bottom knee, great job.

Come up to a quick position, seated, make a change. So, I've already got a red spring on, I'm gonna add another red to that. If you had a blue spring on, I'd probably suggest adding a red. So the combination here will either be two reds or one red and one blue. The one red and one blue will seem lighter.

Lighter will be a little bit easier. Your bottom leg is long, your top foot is onto the foot bar in parallel position. Weight in hand, lift that bottom leg, and begin to press. So, remember to play with your spring tension. One day you might be feeling really strong, lots of energy, the next day, not so much.

So, make sure you adjust it so it's right for you at home. Pressing all the way out. Adding the arm, it will come up as I press out. (deep breathing) And resist to come in. And in, anywhere between eight and 10 repetitions of these I think will be perfect.

And press. And press. Come on in for a quick change. Pivot on your heel, turning the knees and toes up. Press all the way out, and come back in.

Be sure to keep the hips square, even in your external rotation. It might mean that you have to roll your top hip forward just a little bit. Let's do three more. I'm going all the way out. So, really work your length.

That last inch will really mean a lot. And then, we'll press out, hold, flip the palm. As I bend the knee, I bend the elbow. And then I press. You can see that my humerus is a little bit on an angle.

So, I'm not reaching straight up to the ceiling. Instead, I'm bringing my knuckles toward the top of my head. And press. And two. Last time here.

All the way out for one. And come all the way in. Let's try the same thing on the other side. So, I'll take that tension off. Taking off a red, it's leaving me with one red.

And I'll turn around and start with my sideline arm work with the ball. So, begin by bending the knees in, resting the head, threading the legs through and under, and then I hold onto the strap first, and then to the ball second. My legs are lifted, hips are square, abs are in. I set my shoulder and then pull down from my back. Inhale, resist up.

(deep breathing) So, there's a very obvious sequence here. You need to connect that shoulder, feel your lats, and then pull. I'll show you what it'll look like if I didn't do that. So, a little easier to do. Heres the correct version, shoulder down.

A little harder to do. Two more. Neck is long and relaxed. Turn the ball back and resist as the arm goes forward. I think about my shoulder blade staying flat against my back here.

I'll show you the needs improvement variation. So, that would be rolling my shoulder forward. So, correct, stack the shoulders. Final three. (deep breathing) Two, legs a little higher.

And one, bending and pressing out. And a press, keep that humerus hugging right into your side. Your neck long, shoulders down. Anywhere between eight and 10, listen to your body. Form always wins.

Quality of movement is always most important. And come all the way in. Bend your bottom knee. Help yourself sit up, placing the strap back, and adding a spring. We're adding a red to what we already have.

So, you'll either gonna have a red and a blue or two reds, depending on your last exercise. Foot is on, arm is long, hips are square, and let's begin just by finding our neutral spine. Pressing all the way out. Pressing through the heel. So, here's a little trick, if you feel that your shoulders are resting on the shoulder block behind you, you know you're rotated.

So, your head is between the shoulder blocks. Adding the arm, it goes up as you press out. (deep breathing) The tempo of your movement matches the tempo of your breathing. You might go a little bit slower, you might go a little bit quicker. (deep breathing) Pelvic floor up and in for three.

And two, I'm definitely feeling posterior delts. One. Rotate on the heel, find your external rotation, and continue. My knee points directly over my mid-foot. Abdominals in.

Reminding that I'm working my seat. Your bottom leg is your key to your pelvic floor, so lift it up, work those inner thighs. And press out, turning the palm, bending and extending. And press. So, activating through your inner thigh and your pelvic floor will help to stabilize you in this position.

Final four. And three, you should be feeling it by now. Two. And one. Come all the way in and relaxed.

Excellent. Let's save the weights for a little bit later and make some changes. I'm gonna go ahead and move the foot bar down to mid-position. A single red spring to start. Although, I'm gonna progressively load the springs for this next series.

Headrest down, pillow out of the way. Here's that wooden dowel I was talking about earlier. So, it's just a maple pole. I'm sure you can find something very similar to this, maybe a broomstick, something like that. I've used this from the chair.

It's what connects the two pedals. So, taking a seat. Legs are long. I take the dowel and I slide it through the straps. And what I'm looking for is that the straps are the width of the pulleys and the shoulder blocks, and that there's equal excess of dowel on each side.

If there's not equal pole on each side, it might feel like one side is a little heavier than the other, okay? So, let's start sitting nice and tall. Hands are forward, slightly wider than the shoulders, thumbs under the bar, length in the spine. Lift the arms straight up overhead and resist to about chin height. (deep breathing) As the arms lift overhead, close the ribcage.

As the arms lift up, reach up through the crown of the head. One more, we'll do about five of each here. It's a long series. And then roll back. We're rolling from the pelvis, deepening the C-curve, and chin and eye line forward.

Repeating as we lift up. And resisting down. (deep breathing) And down. Deepening the abs with each lift of the arms. (deep breathing) Let's do one more all the way up.

And down, scoop from the abdominals, roll the spine forward. Hold the dowel in the center, roll up, let's make a quick change. Adding some tension. So, I had a red, now I have a red and a blue. I've made it heavier.

Turning my palms up for bicep curls. Let's continue the same series. First set vertical, focus on your alignment and posture. Shoulders over hips. I bring the bar towards my eyebrows, and then reach.

Elbows are lifted. Be careful of the back extensors wanting to dominate when you're doing your bicep series. (deep breathing) Final two. And one. (deep breathing) You got it, we're gonna do it in a roll down.

So, initiate from your pelvis, begin to roll back, and bring the bar to your nose height. Five times. One. (deep breathing) Two, make sure the arms extend all the way long. Three.

Four. And five. Use the abdominals around all the way forward. You can hold on to the center of the dowel, and roll back up. It gets heavier.

Heavier is harder, but we're changing muscle groups. So, taking an overhand grip, sitting up nice and tall, I will lean back. So, a vertical lean, chest open, rowing. Pulling the bar towards my chest and extending the arms all the way out long. And reach.

The further I lean back, the heavier this feels. Pull and reach. And as you can feel at home, as you do these exercises in a flow, in a sequence like this, your heart rate picks up a little. Get a little warm, I know I am. Let's add a rotation here.

Pulling for five. Four, when you're rotated, you're always looking in the direction your chest is pointing. Three. Two. And other side, like you're steering a bus, you turn.

And two. Three, stay proud through the chest. Four. And five. Come through center and use the abdominals to go all the way over.

You can take a nice stretch here if you flex the feet. Reach the dowel to the bottoms of the feet and enjoy that oppositional stretch. When you've had enough, rest the pole down, and roll up without it. But we're not done with it yet. Changing the spring tension first.

Keeping the tension relatively light here, I'm gonna have a single red. What you'll notice is when you use the dowel, you're able to load this Reformer, the tension, a little bit more than you would if you were using just the straps because you're not incorporating the small, little intrinsic muscles in your hands, and you're working a little bit closer to the core. So, you'll find you can do a little bit heavier. I've got one red on for this one, kneeling in the center with my knees apart. I have the dowel and the strap about center.

I take my hands on to it, and I think of the dowel as my spine. So, I find that vertical, that length, and I try to keep my spine aligned with the dowel as I rotate through center. And exhale (deep breathing) over to the other side, through center, and back again. With a little more flow. Exhale, rotate, and inhale.

(deep breathing) The key in this one is keep the arms locked. You are not initiating from the arms, you're initiating from the rotators, your obliques. The rotators of the spine. Keep your eye on that dowel. And let's add some pulses.

We come a little to center, and a five. Four. Melt the ribs into the body as you twist, three. Two. One.

And resist. Let's go right to the other side. Although, you could flow into a forward press series from here. I'll turn around, we'll do the other side, and then we'll go to our pecs. So, turning the shape around, placing the strap and the dowel through each other.

It's right about center, and our arms are on. So, you can see from my starting position, I am rotated, but my hips are pointing straight ahead. I find center, align my spine with the dowel, and then continue through, and then all the way back to where I started. And now, we'll flow. (deep breathing) And center.

Rotate. Be careful when you rotate, you don't laterally flex. I see that a lot. So, keeping the shoulders directly over the pelvis and level. (deep breathing) You can also squeeze your heels together here, you probably saw that I did that.

The exercise can be down with the feet apart. When you connect the heels, it helps you to connect through your adductors, your inner thighs, and better enables you to connect through your pelvic floor. Let's pulse it here. And (deep breathing) five. Four.

Three. Keep growing taller, two. One. And come all the way through center. Great job! I'm going to leave the red spring on.

Play with your tension, this could be done a little bit heavier, like a green, or it could be done a little bit lighter. Mind your stability, though. If you lighten the tension, you'll be less stable, balance will be more challenging. So, what I've done is I've taken the straps and I've thread them through the dowel. I feel like I'm locked into a scary rollercoaster ride.

Holding on with the thumbs underneath and then rising up. Placing my feet back against the shoulder blocks and curling my toes underneath. Abs are in, shoulders over hips, bringing the bar to about chest height. Elbows lifted. Press forward as my abdominals draw up and in.

And inhale to bend. (deep breathing) Neck is long. Back of the head reaching up. Pushing evenly into each hand. (deep breathing) As I reach out.

Be careful that you don't release the abdominals. If you do, you'll extend, okay? Switching underhand grip, like an offering. Reach and bend. Before I lift my arms up and forward, I always set my shoulders down my back.

(deep breathing) It's as if I'm reaching my elbows down towards my knees and then reaching forward. About eight to 10 of each, I'll do one more. Leaving the arms straight, I can go straight down, and straight up. Down to the thighs. (deep breathing) And up.

And lift. Two more. (deep breathing) Last time, find that focus, find that strength. Take it down to the thighs for a quick adjustment. Taking the straps a little bit wider, I hold on to them, I secure them with my pinky a little bit, and then I bring the bar up and overhead for salute.

Exhale, press, and reach. And inhale, bend. (deep breathing) As I work my triceps, I stabilize my humerus. So, keep those elbows still in space. And they're hinging like a door would hinge on a frame.

As the arms are overhead, remind yourself to close your abdominals, connect through those ribs, and lengthen through the lower back. Two more. (deep breathing) Last time. (deep breathing) Bring it in and take it down. Good work.

I definitely feel my upper body. Let's place the dowel down. We'll use it again in a little bit. So, for this next series of exercises, no props are needed. I am gonna move the bar to high-bar position.

I'm doing this next series on a green, so that's a little bit heavier than a red. Heavier is more supportive for this next one. So, if you find that it's too challenging for you, you don't wanna go down in tension, you wanna go up in tension. Either a red and a blue, that'll probably work, or if it's not hard enough on a green, try a red, that'll make it harder. Hands are on to the foot bar, standing up.

Let's start with just a nice stretch. So, let's do our elephant and round back. Flat feet, heels heavy, toes lifted. Before you begin, you should feel that you're weight's back over your legs. It's not over your arms.

You're exhaling to draw your ribs and abs in and your head and chin down. Navel to spine, elbows soft in this exercise. Inhale as I press as far as my heels can stay heavy. Now, what brings the carriage back in is my breath. (deep breathing) My ribs draw up, my navel in.

And as I spot my Pilates clients, this is where my hand is to get them to fold and lift through the ribcage. Inhale, press. (deep breathing) And in, it's as if your spine is a mountain. You want the center of your mountain, or your spine, I'm sorry, the center of your spine to be the peak of your mountain. And pull.

Lifting the heels up from here, walking the feet back against the shoulder blocks. Let's come into a nice flat back now, so inhaling, tailbone lifts up high, elbows are still soft. I still barely need the foot bar here. So, all my weight's into my legs. Pressing back.

What initiates the forward here is the lift of my tail. Inhale, press. And lift. (deep breathing) Even weight to the big toe and baby toe, and this will become very important when we go into the single leg variation. So, be careful of supinating through the feet here.

(deep breathing) Last time. Lengthening those hamstrings. Lifting, alrighty. Scooping into our round back position that we learned earlier, drawing one knee in towards the nose. Now, the knee and the nose stay glued together, and the carriage leg presses back and pulls in.

I'm gonna do five of each. (deep breathing) Keep your weight back over your leg, not over your arms, and keep that knee in towards your nose. Think of a flamingo. Perfect, I wore pink pants for the flamingo exercise. Keep the carriage in, roll the hip open for a variation of arabesque.

I look for my foot behind my shoulder, square my shoulders, inhale, press, and exhale, pull. So, although my hips and pelvis are rotated, my shoulders are not rotated. And pull. (deep breathing) And last time. From here, my knee comes in, my leg comes out, and I go into a variation of thigh stretch.

Stay low. Keep your hips square. And your weight back over your leg. About 10. Two more.

And one. Bring the carriage in and take a nice stretch. Lean back, relax. Because we will do the whole thing all over again. Let's start from the elephants.

Flat feet, round back, soft elbows, ribs up. Five times, pull forward. And two. Feel your tailbone curling underneath you, three. Elbows are soft, neck is relaxed.

(deep breathing) Four. Five. Flat back on releve. Inhale as you press. Lead with the tail.

Five times. Find the stability through the ankle, two. (deep breathing) Three. Four. And five.

Scoop the abdominals, draw the knee towards the nose, inhale. (deep breathing) Abs up and in five times. Think forehead and knee are Krazy Glued together. This is two. And one.

(deep breathing) Lengthening the spine, lifting, opening the hip, look for that foot, square the shoulders, and lift. Now, I feel a lot of seat here. It's my glutes that are lifting up through my back leg. Two more. (deep breathing) Bring the knee in, square the hips, and get your heart rate up with a thigh stretch variation.

Nice flat back. (deep breathing) Final four. Three, stay low. Two. And one.

Bring it in and down. And enjoy a nice stretch. Excellent work. Heart rate should be up a little bit for sure. Grabbing our box.

Let's adjust the foot bar first. I'm gonna move the foot bar down to mid-bar position. I'd like this one with either a single red or a single blue. If you've got neck issues, shoulder issues, or you're trying this exercise for the first time, you might wanna go ahead and try just the blue. Otherwise, the red will work for you.

Red will be harder. As you come on, your hips come on first. Your chest is off the front of the box, and you can begin by pressing out. From here, the hips and pubic bone press down and make a triangle of pressure into the box. The legs are long, apart, and externally rotated.

I'm not going for extension here, I'm going for length, so see if you can find it. I have options with my hand. I can place it here on the box, rest it here on the Reformer, or for more of a challenge, extend the arm out. As I bend my elbow, it points towards the wooden rail, and I press, (deep breathing), all the way out. So, my elbow's about 45 degrees from my body.

Or, in scaption, which is a great position for the elbow and the shoulder just to glide beautifully without any tension in the neck. Inhale, bend. (deep breathing) It's better than doing pushups, I think. Abs in, press all the way out. I'll do two more.

Navel up and in. And last time. I'll transition while the carriage is out. And I could even do some shoulder isolation here if I needed to. So, elevation, depression, etc.

So, use it for what you need it for. Arm is out. Elbow points towards this wooden rail. And I press out. Staying long through my body.

(deep breathing) Staying long through the neck. Surprisingly, this is a lot less arm than you might think. I really feel my back stabilizers, my traps, rhomboids, (deep breathing) serratus. Three more. Three, don't let those legs die, keep on working.

Two. And one. Both hands can come on and come all the way in. Making a quick change, the foot bar goes down all the way to a flat position, and adding some more tension on. I added a green to the red I already had on.

Make sure the Reformer's relatively solid and stable for this next one. Coming off of the box quite a lot, so I inch myself forward, so my navel, which is right about here, is off of the box. Ensure that it's comfortable for you, as well. My hands are slightly wider than my shoulders, my legs are long, and now my glutes are activated. I set my shoulders and I think of my body as a human seesaw.

My legs go up, so my chest has no option but to go down. Then as my chest comes up, my legs have no option but to go down, but they never relax. Let's flow. Exhale. (deep breathing) And inhale to lift the shape.

Exhale. (deep breathing) And inhale to lift, three more. The thighs lift, navel up and in. Two. (deep breathing) And on this next one, I'm gonna hold for grasshopper, keeping my femurs still.

Three little bends, a big lift, and come all the way up. Again. Three little bends, a big lift, and glutes are on fire. Thighs up, one, two, three, lift, and the shape comes up, one more. (deep breathing) One, two, three, lift.

Come all the way up. And release down. Sliding so more of my body's on the box. From here, we can do a breaststroke variation, as if you were on the Arch Barrel, almost. Bend your knees, squeeze your heels together, legs are still externally rotated.

Taking the hands into your goalie post position. Allow your upper body to drop down. Reach the arms forward, squeeze your heels together, pull the arms to the sides. Reach. (deep breathing) Lift.

As you can see, my extension is coming from my thorax, my mid-spine. And not just from my neck, or my cervical spine. I'm squeezing my heels together, pressing my femurs down into the box, pressing my pubic bone down into the box. Two more. (deep breathing) One more.

And release. Sitting on the box, taking a few deep breaths always feels good after that extension. No, we're not done yet. Keeping the box on. Changing to a lighter tension.

I'm gonna choose a blue for this next one. For some teaser work. So, taking the straps in the hands. Sitting onto the box, so you're sitting towards the first third of the box. So, you need those two thirds behind you for when you lie back.

Abs are in, sitting nice and tall. Arms down by your sides. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, roll back from your pelvis. One at a time, draw the legs up.

Let's practice with the balance. Arms down and exhale. Arms come up, so we go down. Chest open, chin lifted, and up. Down.

And up, take your time. Thumbs and pinkies are level here as we lift. Adding a circle. Exhale up, a little loop at the top. Three in each direction.

And reverse. Don't go too wide. It's an upside down teardrop. (deep breathing) Stay long. Take a small break, resting the feet.

Rounding forward, breathe it out for as long as you need to. And then come on up. Adding some mobility here. So, movement through the spine. Again, just take a peek, make sure you've got those two thirds of the box behind you.

Lengthening the spine, hands by the thighs, roll back through the pelvis, a restless spine stays long. One at a time, the legs come up. Lifting the arms so that they're higher than the knees, leaving them here, the upper body rolls down. (deep breathing) The upper body comes up. So, inhale.

One vertebra at a time to your hundreds position. (deep breathing) Exhale up, find your balance. Inhale, roll. (deep breathing) Exhale up. Two more, take your time.

Don't let the arms drop. (deep breathing) Last time. And exhale up. (deep breathing) Take it down and relax. Excellent.

Let's hook up the straps. And one more extension exercise using the box. A variation of your cobra, facing towards the back of the Reformer, chest is hanging off the front quite a bit. Legs are apart like they were in our extension last time. This time, walking the hands forward.

Thumbs on the same side as the fingers because it's possible to run them over. And drop your forehead down. Set your shoulders, abs in, legs long. On an exhale, start to slide your shoulders down your back, lifting and threading your chest through your arms. Watch that cervical spine.

And then inhale as you release. You really have to walk those hands forward to get that range. Lift up, extend. And get back. It's more about the length and pulling the chest through the arms than it is about the height.

So, if you need to modify a little bit, listen to your body. Exhale as you lift up. (deep breathing) And inhale. Two more, set the shoulders. Length and lift.

And take it down. Last time, draw that navel up with you. Don't leave the ribs behind. And take it all the way down. Good.

Again, maybe a child's pose feels good to you. Or a shell stretch. And come on up, great job. Back into the core. I'm gonna rotate the box to short box position, but for this particular series, I'm gonna place it between the shoulder blocks and the silver pegs.

You'll have to adjust the box so that it's appropriate for your equipment. So, if you're on a different brand, the box might be in a different spot. Adding all the springs, or the majority of the springs on, so the carriage is stable and doesn't move. And then pulling our foot strap, or our safety strap out, so that it's available. Taking a seat.

We're gonna begin with tree to open up through the hamstrings and back of the hips. I'll take one foot in, and take a seat on the box. Make sure there's box behind you. So, the idea is not to roll off of the box, it's to roll your sacrum onto the box and then your spine extends behind the box. Don't sit too far back.

Your foot must stay flexed, otherwise, you'll lose the strap. Lengthening the spine, it starts off much like our teaser in that we roll back through our pelvis, but the restless spine is lengthened. The leg comes up. We're gonna take the opposite hand to leg to the knee and the same hand to leg to the ankle. Keeping the chest open, we extend the leg up three times.

So, one. Channel your inner Can-Can dancer, two. And then hold, three. Your leg is the tree, hence the name. So, you've just climbed all the way up.

Now you begin to climb down the tree as you roll your spine back. Now, you can stay here, which is your hundreds position, or your inflection. Or you can continue to roll back, dropping the head, neck, and shoulders, if it's appropriate for you. From here, the sequence is nod the chin, glide the ribs, and try to articulate up. As you walk back up the tree, inside hand to knee, lengthen up.

Three kicks, Can-Can. One. Two. Keep the shoulders down the back, three. Walk up your tree.

Climb down your tree with light fingers, like little spider fingers. Feel free to stay here. Or drop back, if you like. You can even take those arms back if it feels appropriate. The sequence is nod your chin, close the ribs as you walk back up.

Inside hand to the knee, last time. Three, sit taller each kick. Two. Hold one, climb it up. Begin to roll back, keep the pelvis square, feel the opening through the front of the hip, drop back, head has to release.

Nod the chin, coil back in, and bend the knee. We're not done. We would be, if this was just tree, but we're flowing. So, from here, leave the leg in tabletop. Hands behind the head.

The leg extends. And we come back. Out, in. Out, in. Two more.

Adding a twist here. So, we go out, rotate to the knee. And a twist. And twist. Two more.

One. Rise up, one more part to the series, rotate. Our side bends are bow and arrow. The leg comes forward. I have my body in a mermaid position, you could also choose to have your leg hanging off the box or tuck your foot behind your ankle.

Let's do two different arm variations today. Although, you can feel free to play with the variations as you continue through this class. Inhale to lower the body. Exhale to lift. Drop down, lift up.

Keeping the head inline with the spine. Navel in. Just because we're focusing on the side here doesn't mean that we can forget about what's happening in the front. (deep breathing) Let's windmill the arms. Opposite arm around, other arm up, take it down.

And up. (deep breathing) Two. I can really feel those obliques on that top side, three. Four. One more, and yes, there is one more part to this series.

Five. Go down, take a twist. Fingertips to the forehead, drop. And up, five times. Two, draw the belly in.

Three. Four. And five. Walk the hands forward, square the shoulders, drop the head, and breathe. A well-deserved break after that series.

That was a long and a tough one. Use your upper body, help yourself come up. And here we go on the other side. Beginning with tree. So, the opposite foot is in, the foot is flexed.

You've got that space to roll back. Sitting nice and tall, as if you're going into teaser, you roll the pelvis back. Draw the leg up. Opposite hand to leg goes under the knee, same hand to leg goes to the ankle. Can-Can, kick, three.

Two. Hold one, both hands come up. With light fingers and a flexed foot, you begin to roll down. Some of us might just stay right here, maybe hold the balance. Others go back.

You can keep your hands on the box, even putting them on the sides, if that helps you with stability. Nod your chin, with light fingers, begin to walk back up, climbing your tree. Bending the knee, opening the chest. Three. Two.

Hold one, climb up. Roll back, feel free to pause. Or you can even extend the arms. Don't just pop up, though. It goes head first.

Nod your chin, close the ribs. (deep breathing) Bend the knee. Last time! Three. Two. One, walk it up.

Roll back. (deep breathing) Drop. Nod the chin. Walk it all the way up. Bend the knee.

Take the hands behind the head. Here we go, five times. One. Two. Three.

Four. And adding the twist, five times. Rotate. Two. Three.

Four. And five. Taking the rotation. Let the foot come forward. Take the leg onto the box, sit up nice and tall.

We start it with the lower arm above to begin. We go up and over, lifting to the long line. Reaching through the crown of the head. (deep breathing) Two more, the foot stays lifted. Last time.

Windmilling the arms. Without missing a beat, five lifts. One. Two. Three.

Four. And five, take it down, find your rotation. Five lifts. Two. Three.

Four. And rest, walking the hands forward. Dropping the head down, breathing. (deep breathing) Enjoying that stretch. And helping yourself as you come all the way up.

Just a seated position on the box to finish with a mermaid. Feet can rest comfortably on, hands down by the sides. Inhale as you lift the arm up by the ear. Exhale as you stretch over to the side. Inhale as you rotate, knuckle to the box.

Exhale coming back to the side. Lengthen all the way up. Other arm, go up, final length. Take it all the way over. Rotate and come up.

Lengthen all the way up. Take it down, stretch the arms forward for a spine stretch forward. Pull the belly in. Nod your chin, exhale. (deep breathing) Inhale as you rebuild the spine.

Last time, exhale. (deep breathing) Abs draw back. And inhale as you rebuild the spine. Take the arms up, open the chest, look up. And release.

You did a great job today. That was a hard class. So, what we did today was put a series of exercises that worked well together. It was about five or six exercises in a row without changing the equipment. So, I know I got my heart rate up.

I definitely feel like I got a great workout. Feel free to use these sequences within your workouts that you're already doing or do this complete workout in its entirety. Thank you for watching, and I hope to see you again soon.


Courtney Miller
This workout serious made me sweat! I want to know what you think! I love being a part of Pilates Anytime and listen to your comments and feedback, so let me now what you want to see! Courtney
2 people like this.
Hi Courtney!
Loved this video. Very nice, very following and different. Great cueing and movements and just a nice workout for anyone. Nicely paced and I feel that it could really be applied towards any client. I always enjoy your videos. Keep them coming. I look forward to more. Thank you.

3 people like this.
On your rotation, did I understand you added more weight? Would that not make it more likely to use shoulders/arms rather than spinal rotators? I may have misunderstood. Also, it seems like you may be extended as it seems heavy. All those questions aside, great variations together for flow. Thanks.
1 person likes this.
Hi Courtney - jus finished and I loved the flow. I feel like I worked hard and effectively. I will be doing this session again very soon.
4 people like this.
You are quickly becoming one of my favorite instructors here! You always offer such variety along with challenging repetoire in all of your sessions. Plus I loved the flow of this one!! Keep coming back often!
2 people like this.
This was truly fanastic. So hard but so much fun. I can't wait to do it again. Thanks a hundred!!!!
Courtney Miller
Thanks everyone! So happy to hear your feedback! Angel Davis - great question! Yes, you'll feel it once you try it but a blue is far too light when using the pole. Try a red and I'm sure you will love it! If I looked extended its only because my t-spine is on the tighter side due to my scoliosis. Enjoy the workout and let me know what you would like to see next time!
1 person likes this.
Just what I needed! Thank you for being a great example in ALL areas of teaching.
1 person likes this.
Thank you for the explanation Courtney!! And yes, I saw it when viewing you from behind and that makes sense. Rotation is so difficult without extending! Thanks for the creative choreography.
Courtney Miller
Great Denee! Keep doing the class and see how much stronger you get in a few weeks - and let me know how it goes!
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