Tutorial #3407

Control Balance Step Off

5 min - Tutorial


Find your way on and off the Reformer in this quick tutorial by Benjamin Degenhardt. He shows how to use your body to dismount and return to the carriage safely during Control Balance on the Reformer. He takes you through the exercise and then finds connections to other movements.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
May 13, 2018
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Hi everyone. I'm Benjamin and I'm here with Mary to go over another reformer exercise in tutorial form and today we will tackle the control balance step-off, which is not for the faint of heart, but it is a really fun way to find your way onto an off the reformer. It is definitely an advanced exercise and it is definitely worth taking a closer look at the proper setup as well as how to use your body in a way that you can get back onto that carriage safely and enjoy it as much as you should rather than worrying about where your head goes, where your hands go. We are on a grant's reformer. I have it currently set up to two springs, but it's kind of irrelevant to the exercise how many springs you put on. Just make sure that there are springs attached.

I would say at least two if not all of them. If you're worrying about the carriage moving any one way for this exercise, she will lie down on her back and in order for the neck position to be such that she can move herself on and off the reformers safely, we're actually moving the body down quite far. To start, you almost won the space in front of your shoulder blocks to be clear, so Maryann, go ahead and come down even farther than you think. We're just going to take this step by step. The first step is to just find the positioning of the hands to own the weight of the body against gravity. We're essentially going into a Jacqueline eyes, so yeah, go ahead and cup your hands behind the shoulder blocks to start. You can use your hands so that you can really pull with both arms.

Take your legs straight up to the ceiling from here, and then we'll find a rollover and jack and I first go ahead and tilt over. Pull your leg straight up. Now the upward lift of the legs is important because the suspension of that energy of the legs reaching upwards is what's going to help you pull on the brakes a little bit. Once you start stepping off, so go ahead and roll yourself back down for a moment. You will notice that your hips will not necessarily land on the carer, so be mindful of that. Go ahead and bend your knees and from here we'll just do that part one more time. You'll notice you will use your arms quite a bit here.

We'll do one more like that and we'll take it to the next step. You take the legs up into your Jack Knife, reaching up without putting any weight into the front of the throat, making sure that you stay open there. Beautiful. Pressing the back of the head down and using the arms to keep the back open as well. Once you found your maximum height, you want to start to understand how, why the reformer is for your legs so that you can safely step off. We're going to start with the left leg here. Bring it down against the opposite leg. Reaching up.

This is just like on the mat and start to feel where the frame is. Take your leg back up and find the other side. Right leg comes down, taps the frame, lift yourself back up. Let's take one more each way. Continue to pull with both arms here to keep the back of your heart against the mat and your back. Nicely rounded. One more time. Take it down. Suspend the other leg up in opposition. Scissor the legs back together and let's go ahead and take a break here.

Roll yourself all the way back down again, knowing that the character will not necessarily receive your seed here. Go ahead and bend your knees in for a moment. Xcel if you haven't in awhile, and let's do the next step, which is to step off. Now this is where things get really complicated. We don't know what direction to turn the head into. We don't know what arm to open out to the side, but you basically want to make this feel as organically as possible.

Essentially, you roll over the shoulder of the leg that's coming down towards the floor. All right, go ahead and stand. Send your legs back up, roll over, find your jackknife and we'll go right into it. Take your right leg down first. Find the outside of the frame. From here, you're turning onto your right shoulder, suspending the left leg up until you have your standing leg underneath you. You push yourself off the shoulder blocks to find your balance. Now often we add movement in here, but for now we'll keep it simple.

She is on one leg and she makes her way back down by landing the middle of her upper back along the midline of the carriage, rolling her head into that spot, right in between the shoulder blocks and then we'll go right to the other side. Left leg comes down. Notice that this arm can now open so that she can use that space for a head to roll around. While the other hand is pushing into the shoulder block to give her the stability, she needs to come back up and then you roll yourself into that same spot again, pulling with your right hand, pushing with your left just enough so you find your center, and then with control, you roll yourself all the way back down the skill. That definitely requires lots of practice and I recommend going into very slowly at the beginning, but now you have all the steps that lead you to success in the exercise.

All right, go ahead and sit up. We're done here. Of course, this is an exercise that you want to stay away from. If there's any concern about your neck, about your upper back and your shoulders, this is definitely an exercise that requires a super healthy spine and a lot of accomplishment in the variations of control balance that you will find on the mat as well.

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Bravo Meri!!
I loved!!!!
1 person likes this.
Wow!! You make it looks so easy! Great tutorial, thanks
Thanks Benjamin ! It is so good way to learn from the tutorial exercise.
1 person likes this.
Thanks, Benjamin and Meredith. Another lovely tutorial!
Becky P
2 people like this.
"knowing that the carriage will not necessarily receive your seat" best quote ever! HAHAHA
1 person likes this.
Thank you Benjamin (and Meredith) I very rarely teach this and consequently don’t feel confident in its cueing . This tutorial was so clear and layered perfectly that I had a client do it last week and he loved it!
Roberta M
I didn't hear anything regarding which hands & arms open or change in the roll off so this really wasn't detailed enough.

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