Class #995

Athletic Reformer Flow

35 min - Class


If you are looking for an athletic Reformer class, this is the class for you! Courtney Miller uses the Jump Board and Weighted Balls to get your heart rate up and to build your endurance. You will want to try this class more than once for conditioning to see if you can increase your resistance or your number of repetitions.

If you don't have Weighted Balls, you can always use Hand Weights to get the same arm workout.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Weighted Balls, Jump Board

About This Video

Mar 26, 2013
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Hi, my name is Courtney Miller. I'm so excited to back here on Pilates Anytime. I've designed a really fun workout for you guys today. I'm going to be using the jump board, I'll be using the weighted balls, and I'll also be using the box. Some of the feedback that I've had from you is that you like a more athletic, conditioning style class, and that's exactly what today is going to be.

Remember to use the resistance that's appropriate for you, and you can always build up to your intensity level. You can build your endurance in time. So take this class as a good starting place, and continue to build. Remember quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to Pilates. Let's get started! I have two red and one blue spring on, so this is a heavy tension.

And this is not a tension that you're going to jump on. But we're going to warm up the feet and ankles first. Grabbing one of your weighted balls, headrest is up if you typically have it up. Remember you can always place a pillow underneath your head instead. Lying on our backs, placing the ball underneath the arch of one foot, shoulders snug against the blocks, hands down, palms down.

The spine is in neutral, and then leg up in tabletop. Breathe in to prepare. Exhale activate through abdominal muscles. Press all the way out to a straight leg. Inhale as you come in.

So as I press out, I feel my seat muscles working. I'm stabilizing before I initiate the movement. My breathing always comes a little bit before the movement. Anticipating the challenge of stabilizing my pelvis. Adding the other leg, reach long and come in.

So this is just a nice way to warm up, not only the muscles and ligaments around the knee and hip, but just bring a lot of awareness to the feet. And the feet are so important. That's our foundation. Pressing all the way out. I don't know if I'm making it look easy or not, but it's not.

So you might feel that ball wiggling underneath you just a little bit. And if you do, that's OK. We'll do two more. And last time. Externally rotating and bringing my other leg to turn out as well.

So as I look at my legs here, I'm looking for this even turn out, or frog legs. Pressing out and coming in. So I do feel my lateral rotators, my seat a little bit more here. Press out. Notice that none of my foot is touching the jump board.

OK? So I do have that balance component here. Shoulders are relaxed, and of course I'm breathing. Exhale to press. Final four-- already starting to feel warm through the top of my knee-- three-- ribs melting down into the body-- two.

And coming halfway in for pulses. We'll do ten. Nine. Remember hips are level. Don't bounce on the springs.

Press! You want to resist every second. Four, three, two, and all the way out for one. Bend and come in. So a couple ways that you can switch. You can sit up, or you can just roll the ball over to the other side.

Try to make those transitions smooth whenever possible. Tabletop, parallel in line with my hips. Exhale as I press out. Inhale to come in. Pushing all the way out, and coming in.

It actually feels quite nice to have this tactile sensation on my foot. I can feel my longitudinal arch. I can feel the stability around my ankle, which is so important for balance. Also we know that smaller muscles recruit other smaller muscles, so as I stabilize through my foot and ankle, it helps me to fire more into my pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles adding more coordination. Out and in.

[EXHALING] And press. Don't sell yourself short. Too often I see people finish a press right about here. Make sure you activate through the front of the thigh, and press all the way out. And that doesn't mean hyper-extending the knee, or even locking the joint, but do feel those vasti muscles draw up on the patella with each press.

Coming all the way in, external rotation. Even, level hips, and pressing out as I come in. So I think it's important to warm up the knee and the ankles, and create a sense of awareness in the lower half of the body before we begin rebounding. I'm exhaling to press. [EXHALING] And I'm going to continue that same breath pattern when I'm jumping.

Exhale for exertion. We'll do two more. Be aware of the seat, it is participating. And come halfway in for ten pulses. No bouncing, sometimes less is more.

In this case, smaller is better. Little pressing. And breathing. Final five-- knee right over mid-foot-- four, three- definitely feeling it here-- two, and one. Press all the way out to feel that length, and come all the way in.

Excellent! Now we're ready to jump. So let's take some spring tension off. Remember we're building up to the appropriate level, so you can always play with the spring so that it works best for you. I'm taking one red off, so I'm left with a red and a blue. I'd say that's about medium tension.

I'll still feel the burn. Lying back down, shoulders snug against the blocks, legs glued together, neutral spine so important. And I'll tell you why in a second, but let's get moving. Inhale to prepare, exhale as I press and land. Inhaling as I come in.

Exhaling to jump. So we know that in a neutral position in the spine, we can absorb shock and impact at a much more efficient level, so no flat backs here. Don't overarch the back, but instead make sure you know where your neutral is, and maintain it throughout the jumping series. Notice with my feet I'm landing toe-ball-heel, and then springing out. So that's another reason why starting with that ball is a great beginning exercise.

I'm aware of my feet. I can feel them land lightly on the board. Adding on, jump and land wide. And jump and land together. I've got a wide jump board on here, so I can go a little wider than my hips.

I'm staying in parallel. Exhaling to jump. [EXHALE] Again notice that I'm straightening my legs with each job, so that I create longer, leaner muscles. Using my inner thighs to draw the legs in, and my outer thighs to draw the legs out. Keep the legs out, externally rotate, and continue to jump.

Some of the things that could go wrong here are the abdominal muscles releasing. The lower back would over arch. [EXHALING] [EXHALING] Jumping for five-- starting to get warm-- four, three, two, heels together. Now keep your heels together, and become aware of your inner thighs. I already feel them.

Remember that our inner thighs help us to better activate through our deep abdominals-- [EXHALING] --so they're very important in Pilates. Point your toes when you jump. Create more length. Try for five more. Four-- and if you need to take breaks, that's OK with me-- three, two and one.

Coming all the way in for a mini-break. Slide away from the shoulder blocks, just a little bit, so you have some space. Reach back, grab a hold of your straps. I'm leaving the red and the blue on. Remember this is athletic training, if you need to take it down a little bit though, feel free to.

Hands are right over the shoulders, exhale. Spine is still in neutral. Legs rise up to tabletop. I nod my chin in preparation. Exhale flex up.

[EXHALING] Inhale lower down. So continuing here, exhale to lift and inhale to lower. Just be mindful here everyone that your hip flexors are not dominating. So they're active, they were just working during those jumps, but now we want to focus more on the core initiating the movement. The more you squeeze your inner thighs, the stronger your breath, and the more you activate through the pelvic floor, the easier it's going to be for those abdominal muscles to work.

And those hip flexors to turn off a little bit. Let's hold the next one up. [EXHALING] Turn the palms in, open the arms, and as I pull my arms in, extend the legs long. Ten of these if you can. Deep abs in.

In this exercise I'm focusing on my lats. I'm really trying to squeeze from my back to get deeper into my obliques. [EXHALING] And that's going to help me come up a little bit higher. Be careful the chin doesn't tuck too close to the chest. Looking just over the height of the knees is perfect.

Final three, and two, hold one. Bend the knees in, lift the arms, take a small break. You're only here for a moment. Exhale, nod your chin, curl back up. This time as I reach my arms up, my legs press away.

And then exhale, get a little higher to curl in. The head stays up, and pull. Think of your double leg stretch on the mat. [EXHALING] Pull. Inhale to reach, and exhale to pull.

Five more. Inner thighs working, shoulders open. [EXHALING] Always trying to just get a little higher. Two-- [EXHALING] --and last time, one. Hold and lift.

And lower all the way down. My abs are definitely warm. I'm going to keep the tension that's on, lie on my side, and I'm actually going to grab the ball, although you can opt to use this or not. One red, one blue still for me. Side lying.

So what I'll often do when I lie on my side-- I use a pillow or something to raise my head a little-- but I'll press out, and I'll find my alignment. My hips are just slightly behind my shoulders here. My ribs are lifted. My bottom leg is bent in, and it's not participating. It's out of the way.

Top hand onto the silver peg. Arm extended long. Parallel jumps, ten of them. So same landing, toe-ball-heel. And finding that stability in my lower back.

Exhale to press. And press. Adding the arm once I've got the lower body down pat. I'm up, arm down. Lift.

Lift. Lift. Shoulders staying square. Two more. Leaving the arm up, change into external rotation.

See how my knee is pointing up? My toes are pointing up. My knee is directly over my mid-foot. About ten to master the lower body. And then to challenge, I add the arm.

Bend and extend. Press. Press. Press. Keeping my humerus still in space.

Final five, four, three, two, keep jumping! Place the weight down, and every time change from parallel to lateral. Now as you rotate, keep those hips nice and square. OK? So be careful of that top hip rolling back. Turn up and parallel.

Four more. Feeling the thigh and the seat. Three, two, last set. [GROANING] All the way out, one. And come in for a quick little break.

Pat it out, and let's do the other side. So this is a great opportunity, when I turn around, for you to see if I'm keeping my hips and shoulders stable or not. I'll do my best. Press out, finding your starting position. So you're lifted through your ribs.

Your hips are square. Hips are slightly behind the shoulders, bottom leg is in. My foot's hip height, parallel. Arm is long. Inhale as I come in, exhale to jump about ten times.

[EXHALING] Remember how I mentioned that neutral spine is so important while we're on the jump board? Don't forget that arch in your lower back is there for a reason. It helps to absorb shock and impact. The arm lifts. And up.

Now if you feel your shoulder hitting the shoulder block behind you, you know you're rolling backwards too much. And lift. Three, two, leave the arm, turn the knee and toe up. Be careful that top hip doesn't roll back. Jump, reach, land light, and add the arm.

Bend and press. Press it up. Keep the humerus still in space. Neck and shoulders relaxed. [EXHALING] And keep breathing.

Final three, two, arm goes down. Land in parallel. Land and turn out. Watch that hip though. Keep it neutral.

Try not to rotate in the pelvis. You're turning your femur in the hip socket. Think of a light bulb turning in a socket. Final four, three, two, and last set. Come all the way in for one.

I'm warm! Let's continue working our core. I'm going to go ahead and place the box on in long box position. Head rest down. I'm now changing to just a single red spring. Again, I encourage you to play with this, find the tension that's best for you and adjust it as you get stronger.

I take a seat towards the first third of the box, ensuring that there's room for me to roll back. Grabbing hold of those straps again. Inhaling my arms reach forward, exhaling I roll back from my pelvis. So my pelvis initiates the movement, my ribs melt in towards my body, my chin stays level. Let me just show you what could go wrong here.

The chin dominates. So it's not the cervical spine, but instead-- [EXHALING] --lower back and pelvis. Let's practice the arm movement bicep curls. This exercise will be more about your core than your arms in a second, so think of this as the calm before the storm. One more practice, and let's test the waters.

Exhale to bend. [EXHALING] Other leg. [EXHALING] Now this might be where you want to stay for a few more days. If you choose to both legs can come up. The elbows will drop just a little.

I bring the hands in towards my ears, and reach out. [EXHALING] The challenge here, aside from staying in the shape, is not extending my spine. This would be a little easier if I wasn't in the C-curve. [EXHALING] So really work to keep that C-curve the whole time. Eye-line forward, navel in.

We'll do two more. And last time. [EXHALING] Take a stretch, and take a break. Well done. Rolling all the way up, hooking the straps up.

This time changing focus to obliques and glutes. I'll be kneeling on the box. If you need a cushion for underneath your knee, grab one now. So rising up onto the knees, being mindful of balance, think of your side leg work series on the box. You higher up, different proprioception, and a smaller base of support.

The hand goes down in line with your shoulder, the leg extends long, opposite hand on your hip. The jump board makes it quite challenging, because I can't lower my leg too low to take a break. It's got to stay up. Let's pulse the leg up ten times. one, and two.

So the great thing about this particular workout that I've designed is it's not hip flexor dominant. A lot of what we do on the jump board is working the front of the hips. But you should feel pretty balanced, and very challenged through the entire body once you've done this class. Keep the shoulders open, hold the leg up, and circle it. ten times if you can.

Anytime you circle, you'll get so much more out of the exercise if you can stay stable through your middle. Up, and up. Lift and up. Reverse those circles. ten, nine-- shoulders back-- eight, seven-- leg longer-- six, five, four, three, hold one.

Flex the foot, bend the knee in and press it out as you lift it higher. Ten of them if you can. two, and three, and four, and five, six, seven, eight, nine, hold ten. Left the leg first, and then bring it in, and bring it down. Good news, before we do the other side, we'll do a stretch.

So I take the leg forward into a standing pigeon. Open my heart, step the back leg back. Either stay here, if this is working for you, or let the chest fall forward. Three deep breaths. So we're not leaning away from our stretch, we're actually leaning into it.

And try to feel a little heavier in your right hip, the one that's on the box. Roll on up. And let's repeat coming around to the other side. So kneeling, it's lightly weighted. Take your time coming up.

Rising up, find your center first. Hand comes down, opposite leg lifts, hand on hip. Roll the shoulders open. Can't lower the leg, so you've got to keep it up. Little pulses.

Up. Up. I barely have any weight on my hand. I'm really stabilizing through that knee. And remember if you need a cushion or a pad, go ahead and grab one.

I also am focusing on pulling my shoulder blades down my back, and keeping my neck in line with my spine. Hold the leg and circle. ten, nine, eight, seven-- seconds side's always a little harder. Stay with it! You can do it! Ribs are closed. And reverse, up and around.

Up! The challenge here is the lift. Up! Up! Good. Final three, two, flex the foot, and lift it the high as you extend it out. ten times. [EXHALING] Use that breath! Press kick, press kick, four, three, two, hold one.

Lift it first, and take it all the way down. Let's go for that stretch again. So you can see from the back position my leg comes up, my back foot steps back. And I can either hold with square hips, feels great, or I can lead with my heart, fold forward, and enjoy the well deserved stretch in my hip. Lean into it, and breathe into where you feel the tightness.

Roll on up. And we're ready to continue. Choosing a lighter spring tension,


4 people like this.
As always Courtney delivers an excellent routine . Thank you Courtney for this wonderful Reformer class. Your Cueing is excellent, your tone spot on and you always SMILE !!! Happy Easter from Dubln
9 people like this.
This was the whole body athletic workout. Really liked that you were so clear with the springs. THANK YOU!
Marlisa E
6 people like this.
This is such a fun and creative workout with the jumpboard. I loved the work on light challenging for the powerhouse! Also loved the hamstring work on the good to have fresh teaching ideas and it is always good to feel the depth of work in a new way just by changing spring tension. Thanks so much, Courtney!
3 people like this.
Courtney that was FANTASTIC!!! I feel like I worked every inch with flow non the less. You are one of my favs on here and although I might not be able to keep up with you it just adds challange and a goal for me.
I really enjoy working with the jumpboard for great interval cardio training. Q?? I am almost 5'7" so what gear bar would you suggest I start in? I have a Bal Body Clinical Reformer. I usually have it in 2nd to work but when i apply jumpboard sometimes i feel a bit bunched in. Thanks and I look forward to more of these type workouts.
3 people like this.
Sorry for misspelled typing... I have misplaced my readers this morning while in my studio... oops.
Paola Maruca
fantastic....this went on top of my list....more athletic reformer with Courtney!!!!! LOve it
5 people like this.
Love, Love, Love! Creative and fun. Definitely at the top of my replays! Thanks Courtney :)
2 people like this.
OMG, this really tickled my fancy! It tickled everything in the most wonderful way! Enjoy your puppydogs!
2 people like this.
Love you and always love your creativity! Thanks! XOS
Praveena C
2 people like this.
Wow. I feel so fantastic after this workout. Had to skip a few reps though) Love Courtney's creativity and cueing...
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