Tutorial #3401

Overhead Breakdown

5 min - Tutorial


Take a look at Overhead on the Reformer in this quick breakdown with Benjamin Degenhardt. He teaches building blocks that will lead you to success with this challenging exercise. He also shows how it relates to the Hundred and how you can use the Hundred to prepare your body for the inversion in Overhead.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Tower (No Box)

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Apr 01, 2018
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Hi everybody. My name is Benjamin Daegan hearts. I'm here with my good friend frank, and we're going to take a look at the overhead exercise. The overhead exercise on the reformer is originally the third exercise in the sequence following footwork and the hundred and it is often considered an advanced exercise. My goal for today is to break this exercise down a little bit and show you the building blocks that lead you to success in the exercise and also showcase where it originates in footwork in the a hundred. So you should be warmed up by the time you get into the overhead.

Overhead is an exercise that continues where the a hundred leaves us off, which is using our full body to unweight or body's wade while adding inversion into the mix. However, if rolling overhead, if bringing your hips over your head is not available to you, I'll show you how to get ready for that. Um, first I wanna actually take the a hundred and take a good look at that. Also for frank to have a chance to warm himself up so Franco hadn't and down on your back. We're on a grad suite, former currently set up on three springs. He's going to grab his handles, take his arms up to the ceiling and we're going to begin from here. The idea of the a hundred I'm, as I've explained many times here in Florida is anytime is that the legs actually extend out of the hips, lengthen across the room to unweight off the foot bar as the arms pull down as the head neck and shoulders curl up. So go ahead and move right into that position.

We're going to leave the pumps out. Just showcasing the effort that goes into this. It's the idea that we're pulling the straps down against extending the legs away from the body, which is exactly what's going to happen in the first step of overhead. Take one more breath here. Keep pushing down into the handles and then just reverse your way back out.

Legs, lower arm slip, double do that part. Just one more time just to get warmed up. The arms come down, the legs extend out of the body, finds this position here, and if you continued the idea of pulling the arms down and lifting the legs up, you would start to see a little bit how this transitions into our next exercise, which is the overhead. Go ahead and lower the legs, lift the arms, release all the way back down. All right, take the handles into one hand. You can set yourself up for a moment of rest and we'll change the springs for the overall exercise, which traditionally is done on two springs. The headpiece must be flat for this one because we might potentially roll onto the upper, back and neck and we'd want to make sure that the head piece is not lifted for that. You can go ahead and lie back down. So the first piece of overhead, again, like I said before, it continues where the hundred has left us off. We just pulled straps down, we lifted legs up from the central control of the body.

We'll just take that a step forward farther in the first variation on this, the head stays down. The arms come down, the legs lift all the way up to 90 degrees, so we'll compound those two actions just like we did in the hundred. The legs lengthen out, they lift up, the arms come down. We'll just take it farther from here. Slowly release the legs back down. Arms go back up. We'll just do that first step one more time. This is an excellent exercise in and of again, the arms pull down.

It's the pole strap, chest expansion action. The legs lift up, showcasing if the body is ready to bring the legs to a 90 degree hinge at the hip. Lower the legs back down, lift the arms up. We'll take one more like that. Arms down, legs up. This also gives us a good indication whether the next exercise, which would be rowing is appropriate for the body because if your legs don't come up to 90 degrees, you'll probably have a hard time sitting up on straight legs. Lower back down, arms lift up. We'll talk about rowing separately. The next step after you've accomplished that, and again, this might be your placeholder exercise until you feel ready to invert, is to see if we can lift the hips up a tiny little bit. The arms come down the legs, lift up, pause there.

Now without tilting the legs towards the body too much, can you lengthen your lower back so much that the hips start to unweight off the ball all while pushing into straps, pressing the head back into the headpiece and then unrolling the spine from here, lowering the legs, lifting the arms back up. That's step two. We'll do one more like that. Arms down, legs up, rolling over. So we don't bring the body yet into that full arm threatening overhead position, but rather tests, if you have the control required to eventually bring yourself there, lower the legs, lift the arms up, can take a short little break here. I will change my position to now become essentially what in the short spine exercise is the straps that support the body going up and over. So I'll give him a little assistance here, but also showcasing the kind of effort and resistance you want to find in your own body. We'll do the same exact thing.

The arms come down the legs lift up to a 90 degree angle. Now from here you find that initial lift again where the hips start to curl up, but you take that into a roll over position where the legs go over ahead without shortening the space in the front of the neck while keeping the push into the straps. Roll yourself back down. Lower the legs with control. Lift the arms back up. Do that one more time and notice how frank does an excellent job keeping the angle at the hips the same as the spine articulate up and over so that he maintains space through his upper back and through the rest of his spine. Reverse back out low or the spine with control. Lower the legs, lift the arms back up when add one more step here to make it the full on overhead, which is the jackknife action of the legs. Lifting up, arms down, legs up. You can go on your own, lift the legs up without the hips coming any closer to your head to again, maintain that space in the front of the throat and then with control, roll yourself back down. The legs may fall overhead on the way down.

Release back down. We'll take one more like that. Arms down, legs up, roll over. Now the hips stay where they are. The legs lift up towards the ceiling and then he rolls his spine down. Its supreme control as if he's trying to sit down on the springs as it releases. Now take another short break.

Ultimately what's happening is that the hips can lift before the arms even arrive on the match, so it a little bit more dynamic, a little quicker. That way you want to make sure that all the previous steps are mastered and accomplished until we get to the full expression of overhead. Go for it. Arms go down, legs go up. At the same time, lift the legs to the ceiling and then with control, roll yourself long and down, keeping the spinal lengthening on the way down. Reverse out. There's your last one. I promise. Arms down, legs up, Jackknife the legs up to the ceiling. Keep rushing into the handles. As you roll down, lower the legs, lift the arms up, and that is your overhead.

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1 person likes this.
Great cueing Benjamin thanks
Looking forward to seeing you down under ✅
1 person likes this.
Quality 6 minutes of visual and verbal details. Many clients find overhead work difficult with foot straps. I am now encouraged to guide them toward using the actual weight of the legs.
1 person likes this.
Nice tutorial. I like the way you references the exercises before and after so we better understand the sequence and progression.
1 person likes this.
Lovely tutorial, thank you! Recently I did a variation. I did not lower my arms and hands all the way to the carriage but rather hovered them in the air about 45 degrees. I left them there going over and on the return. Try it!
Becky C
1 person likes this.
Yay! You're online again! Missed you last month. Off to my reformer I go now! Always reinspired by you!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Benjamin . . . I love your breakdowns!
Thank you for clarifying the steps, checking to see if one's body is ready.
Perfectly detailed instruction. Thank you!
That was fabulous- thank you both xx
best tutorials ever! love them all. great cues without a lot of unnecessary information. you can close your eyes and just execute each piece listening to your cues. thank you so much for doing these, Benjamin!
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