PilatesDay 4: Lengthen & Strengthen with Gia Calhoun - Class 5195

Day 4: Lengthen & Strengthen with Gia Calhoun – Class 5195



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Hi, welcome to Day Four, I’m Gia. And today we’re gonna do a Reformer class that’s focusing on lengthening your body and still just a little bit of core work as well. We’re gonna start with footwork. I have three red springs and one blue or three full and one half, my head rest is up. But you can do whatever feels good to your body and we’re gonna start with the prehensile position.


So toes are wrapped around the bar, your heels are pushing under, legs are parallel and together, and your arms are reaching long. Take a deep inhale as you push all the way out, exhale as you come all the way in. You’re just gonna keep moving, lengthening the legs, lengthening the spine, feeling your naval pulling into your spine. So you’re already getting your abdominals fired up before we get into the actual ab work. We have five more, and four.


I’m pushing the heels under the bar the whole time trying to lengthen the backs of the legs. One more. Good. Coming onto your heels, staying in parallel, both feet are flexed. You’re gonna push all the way out as you inhale, exhale to come in.


So as we’re lengthening the body, that’s the theme of today’s class, we wanna think about getting as long as we can. I am not that tall, but I’m trying to pretend that I’m six feet, and I’m only 5’4. We have four more. Gluing the legs together, finding nice smooth movement throughout each repetition. Now we’re gonna come back to your toes.


You’re gonna come to your heels together, toes apart, normally for our V we are about shoulder distance apart. Today, I want you to turn out as much as you can. As you’re turning out though, try not to let your hips come under. You want to keep your tailbone flat on the mat or your sacrum flat on the mat so your pelvis is neutral. Keeping that rotation as you straighten the legs and come back in.


So you’re really rotating from the hips, getting as much turnout as you can, just to try a little different and because we can. Five more. Keeping the heels glued together the whole time. Especially if you’re hyper-extended, try not to let the heels come apart. You really wanna focus on the lengthening and pulling up in the quad. Last two.


Now we’re gonna come back to the heels, open the feet wide to the edges of the foot bar so you’re in your second position. Again, turn out as much as you can without letting the hips tuck under. You wanna keep that pelvis nice and neutral. Knees are right over the toe so you’re not turning out the feet more than the legs, and you’ll push all the way out and then back in again. Again, finding that rotation from the hips, pushing into both feet evenly.


This is five. Pulling up in the quads. Last two. And last one. Then we’re gonna bring the legs back together on your balls of your feet, heels are lifted high.


You’re gonna push all the way out and then bend to come back in. Keeping those heels high like you’re in your highest stilettos. So again, I’m trying not to hyper-extend my legs, so I’m really pulling up on the front, pulling up on my hips and my glutes. We have four. Reaching those arms long. Three, two, so everything is active, hold this last one out, keep the legs straight, lower both heels under and lift.


Lower and lift. So as I lower the heels, I’m lengthening my spine thinking I’m growing up through the top of my head, I’m reaching to the other side of the room. Two more. Last one. Bend your legs, come all the way in, and we’re gonna sit up and change the springs.


So I’m taking off two springs, so I’m left with two reds or two full springs. We’re gonna go into some single leg work. So I’m gonna come onto my first leg, right on my heel, I want it right under my sit bone, the other leg is gonna come to the tabletop. I’m pointing that foot just ’cause when we add on, it’ll make it just feel a little bit easier. So keeping this leg in tabletop, I’m gonna push all the way out on that standing leg and then come back in.


So as I’m moving, I wanna try to focus on standing on that heel as much as I can ’cause as we add more work to this free leg, we wanna make sure that we’re nice and solid on this foot on the foot bar. Two more. Good. Now we’re gonna stretch the leg out, keep the leg straight, you’re gonna kick the leg up to the ceiling as you straighten the foot on the foot bar and then back out. So you kick up, lower it back down.


Kick. Good. And just go as high as you can. I know it’s the beginning of the class so your hamstring might not be super warm yet, so you don’t have to go to your max, just go where it feels good. We have two more.


Just keep that leg nice and long. Now you’re gonna kick up and hold just to 90 degrees. Keep standing on that leg on the foot bar, you’re gonna go into a leg circle. So you’re gonna cross over, around and up. Cross over, around and up.


So I’m trying to keep my hips nice and stable just like I would if I was on the mat. One more and reverse, around. So using the standing leg to stay nice and solid, really pushing into that heel. One more. Lower the leg down as you bend the leg to come back in, switching sides so the other foot’s right under my sit bone.


The free leg is on tabletop, flexing that foot on the foot bar as I push out and then back in. So I’m trying to keep my leg going in a straight line, I don’t want it to wobble back and forth. This is my not as strong leg, so it sometimes feels a little bit wobbly. So I’m really trying to keep it nice and strong. I don’t like to say my weak leg ’cause it’s not weak, it’s just not as strong.


One more. We’re gonna stretch the other leg out and then kick it up to the ceiling and then back out again. Then you can go a little higher if you can, or you can progressively go higher as your leg starts to warm up a bit, keep flexing that foot on the foot bar. And three, two. Hold this leg up to the ceiling, and then leg circles across it over, around and up.


Keeping the hips stable. So again, just as you would on the mat, you’re using your abdominals to control the pelvis. One more in this direction. Reverse, around, and up, around. Stop at the top each time so nothing’s moving, but that free leg, around.


One more. And then bend your leg, come all the way in, and we’re gonna scoot away from the shoulder rest, grab your straps. So we’re gonna bring your legs up to tabletop. Arms are gonna come down just over your shoulders just so your hands are right over your shoulders. Plug your shoulders into the sockets, so we’re gonna go into circles.


So you’re gonna open your arms out to a T, hands come down by your hips, back up to the ceiling. And open, come down. So as I move in the arms, I’m reaching them long as I can, trying to get full range of motion with that circle. Two more in this direction. Last one.


And reverse, push down, open out, up and down. Open out, up. Make sure you’re breathing. You can find what breathing works best for you. I like to breathe on the part that’s the hardest. Wherever I’m exerting the most energy, I like to exhale there.


One more. Now you’re gonna bring your arms down and hold, you’re gonna stretch your legs out toward the foot bar, turn your palms in to face you. You’re gonna open your arms and legs, and then as you close, you’re gonna curl your head up like little snow angel. So you’re open. Or like a beach angel I guess ’cause of where we are.


Close. Open, close. (exhales sharply) We have four more. Three, two. Last one. Now we’re gonna keep the arms going where they are.


You’re gonna keep the legs parallel. You’re gonna bring one leg up to the ceiling and then lower it back down as you close. Lift, so just single leg is moving, and lower and lift up, lower. So your upper body is the same as the previous exercise. It’s just legs that have changed.


One more each side. Good. Bend your legs, put your feet on the foot bar for a second. We’re gonna lower your head rest down, we’re gonna go into short spine. If you don’t like short spine, you can do just the legs and keep your hips on the mat.


Otherwise, you’re gonna bring your feet into the straps, legs are gonna come out toward the foot bar, arms down by your side. Again, reach those arms long. Try to keep the wrist down on the mat. A lot of times people wanna go onto their fingertips where they have break at the wrist. But you want everything to stay nice and long.


So we’re gonna bring the legs up as far as you can, get a nice stretch on that hamstrings. Once you can’t go any further, you’re gonna lift the hips up, think of reaching toward the corner where the ceiling meets the wall. We’re gonna bend your legs just in line with the shoulder rest, and then you’re gonna roll down one bone at a time, keeping your feet over your head. Once you can’t go any further, bring your feet down toward your tailbone and then push out. So legs come up and over, go for a stretch.


Once you can’t go any further, you’re gonna roll up, try to get that stopper all the way in. Keep your chin off your chest, bend your legs, knees in line with the shoulder rest. Roll down one bone at a time. Keep the feet over your face. Once you can’t go any further, bring your feet in towards your tailbone and then push back out.


We have two more. Legs go back first, then roll up, and chin stays off your chest. So I’m keeping my eyes on my feet. Bend your legs, roll down one bone at a time, try to lengthen your spine a little bit more each time. Bend your legs, feet down, and then push back out.


One more. Legs go over, hips come up, bend, and then roll down. Arms are still reaching long. Try not to break at the wrist again, just keep checking, and then bend your legs, push back out. So we’re gonna bend your legs, take your feet out of the straps and we’re gonna come on up.


So we’re gonna come up for some arm work. We’re gonna do a rowing series. So I’m gonna do one red or one full spring, taking everything off, and then I’m gonna sit facing away from the foot bar. So if you wanna cross your ankles, you can. I like to just keep my legs side by side, and then just make sure you have some space behind you, like about a hands width away.


So that way when you roll back, you don’t fall off. So you’re gonna grab your straps, sit nice and tall, elbows are wide, you’re gonna pull your hands into your chest. You’re gonna round your lower back, starting with your tailbone. Roll back as far as you can control it. Stay here. Arms open out to a T, palms face back.


Push your arms back to bring your head forward toward your knees, grab your hands if you can, and then reach up and around. Arms reach front toward your feet and then roll up. I know there’s a lot to that one, and gonna do it again. So hands to your chest, tailbone leads as you roll back with a round back, stay here, you’re gonna open your arms out to a T, palms face back as you push the hands back to bring yourself forward, head goes down towards your knees, reach your arms back in a round in a circle, reach forward toward your feet and then roll up. One more like that.


So pull into your chest, round your lower back, roll back into that C curve, arms push out. Push the arms back to bring you forward. Grab your hands if you can, up and around with the arms, reach forward and then roll up. So we’re changing the beginning, but the end will stay the same. So you’re gonna come into a bicep curl now with your arms.


You’re gonna keep this position flat back as you hinge back, keep your flat back as you come up, arms will stretch. This time you sweep your arms straight back, head dives down to your knees, grab your hands if you can, arms reach up and around, reach some wide as you reach forward, and then roll up again, flat back. Bicep curl, hinge back lengthening the spine, and then up. Spine comes back up, arms sweep back, dive your head forward, grab your hands, and then arms reach back and around, and then roll up. One more.


Bicep curl, flat back hinge, coming up, arms stretch, sweep the arms back, dive down. Abs are still pulled up. Arms reach out and around, roll up, and then we’re gonna turn around so you can keep holding onto the straps if you’d like. Legs are gonna stay in front of you. This time we’re gonna flex the feet.


So you’re gonna have your thumbs in the straps. We’re gonna start with your hands right by your waist. Sitting up nice and tall, you’re gonna reach your arms out to a high diagonal, lower the hands down to the carriage, arms come back up by your ears, circle around, back to your waist, reaching up and down, lift up, circle around back to your waist. Two more. As you’re moving the arms, try to keep the ribs in the same position so you’re not letting them lay forward, especially as the arms open out to the side.


Now we’re gonna change it again. So hands stay by your waist. So you’re gonna round forward, reach your hands towards your feet. You should feel a nice stretch on your hamstrings. Keep flexing the feet.


Roll up one bone at a time, keep reaching your hands toward the foot bar. Once you’re all the way up, you’re gonna bring your arms up and around. Circle back to your waist. So round forward, reach toward your feet, roll up one bone at a time, keep reaching toward the foot bar. Circle the arms up and around, back to your waist.


Two more. Round forward, reach. This time if you roll up, if you wanna bring your arms up by your ears when you roll up, you can. And then circle the arms around, back to your waist. Last one. Round forward, reach.


Keep reaching those arms up as you roll your spine up. Arms circle around, back to your waist. Good. Hang up your straps. We’re gonna go into a quadruped series. So I’m gonna lower the foot bar down just so I have a little bit more space and it’s out of my way, and then you can do this on a red or a blue spring.


I’m gonna stay on the red. So you’re gonna come onto your hands and knees. You want one leg right in the middle of the carriage in line with the head rest, and then your foot shifts off the back. The other foot’s gonna come onto the floor. The foot that’s on the floor, you’re gonna grab that strap and then you’re gonna put your foot inside of it.


It’s a little awkward to get it in, but once you can stand on it and get it on your arch, it’ll stay. So you’re gonna have your hands on the shoulder rest, point that foot that’s in the strap. And then the goal is to try to keep your hips as square as you can. It’s not gonna be completely square, but we’re just trying for that. So keeping that leg straight, you’re gonna pull your leg back and then bring it down by the side of the carriage.


So you’re gonna pull it back and then bring it down. So as you’re moving that leg, try not to hang into your shoulders, you wanna push up out of the wrists. If you need to do this with your hands on the carriage like with your thumb wrapped around the shoulder wrist, that’s another option, or you can even do it on your elbows. We have two more like this. You’re gonna hold this last one up.


It’s gonna be small. You’re gonna bring your leg out to the side and then back behind you. Out to the side, behind you. Try to keep weight even in both hands. And back. Last one.


And then bring your leg forward. You can put your foot on the floor so that way you can safely grab that strap, get your foot out of it, hang it up, and we’ll switch to the other side. So again, the leg that’s on the carriage is toward the middle, the other foot’s on the floor. We’re gonna grab that strap, put your foot inside of it, and you want it right on your arch. Again, this is the most awkward part.


And then once you have the foot secure, you’re gonna put your hands on the shoulder rest, point that foot to the strap, and then reach the leg back so it’s in line with your hip, and then bring it down by the side of the carriage. Bring it up and then back down. So again, I’m trying to keep my hips and square as I can. It’s not gonna be a hundred percent exact, partially because one leg is in the middle and the way the strap kind of leans, it forces you to kind of have it a little bit off. But my goal is to keep ’em as square as I can.


Definitely working on keeping the shoulder square too. One more, hold it back, keep the legs straight, open out to the side and then behind you. Open and back. So only go as far as you can control it. Last one.


And then bring the leg down. So we’re gonna take your foot out of the strap, hang it up, and we’re gonna get ready for stomach massage. So I’m gonna bring the foot bar back up, and then I’m gonna do just three red springs. I’m also putting it on a slightly lower setting, just so I have a little bit more space. I’m gonna grab my little non-stick or non-slip pad.


And then again, three red springs. If you wanna do three reds and a blue, you can, or anything that works well for you. So I’m sitting as close as I can to the edge of the carriage, and then feet are gonna come up on the foot bar, heels together, toes apart, on the balls of my feet, and then I’m grabbing onto the front of the carriage. So I’m gonna push out a little bit just so I can get my shoulders over my hips. And then as I’m in this round back position, I’m not sinking in, I wanna still focus on lengthening my spine.


So as I push out, straighten the legs, lower the heels, lift the heels up, bend in. So I’m using my arms quite a bit to help lift my spine. I’m trying to lift up out of my waist. And stretch, lower, lift. And stretch, lower.


Good. So again, just ’cause it’s a round back doesn’t mean we’re sinking in. It’s a lengthen round back. And stretch, lower, lift. Two more.


And in last one. Good. Keep the feet there. I’m gonna reach back and grab onto the shoulder rest, I’m gonna do fists today just ’cause it feels a little bit far away, and then trying to keep the shoulders and the chest open. And the same, legs push out, lower, lift. If you need to scoot back, you can.


And lift and push out, lower, lift, and push, lower, lift. Two more. And in last one (exhales sharply) and in. Now I’m gonna take off one of the springs. Keep the spine long.


This time I’m gonna reach my arms forward, keep that flat back as I push out. No lower and lift this time. So just stretch and bend, pulling into the abdominals, lifting up out of my waist. Two more. And then we’re gonna add a twist.


So as you stretch the legs, open one arm out and back to center. Twist the other side and center. Twist, center. One more each side. Last one.


And then grab onto the foot bar, turn your legs parallel, and then push out into a monkey stretch. Just breathe here. Bend your legs, come all the way in. I’m gonna go into a plank. So I’m gonna keep the foot bar where it is, move the little non-slip thing, and then I’m gonna do just one red spring.


So we’re gonna have the feet on the foot bar this time, and then your elbows on the carriage. So I’m gonna hold onto the shoulder rest, come onto my knees, and then one foot’s gonna come onto the foot bar. If you prefer to do this on the platform, you can. Push out with that leg and then come into this plank position. So you’re gonna have your heels together, toes apart like I have, or you can have ’em parallel, whatever feels good to you.


Just try to make a flat line from your head all the way down to your legs. From here, you’re gonna push your arms forward, and then back under your shoulders. Forward just a couple inches, and then back. Forward and back. Two more.


Last one. So now that your shoulders are right over your elbows, we’re gonna lift your hips up, pike, and then back up, and then pike up, and then back up. Two more. Last one. Bring one knee into the carriage, use the other leg on the foot bar to come all the way in to the stopper, and then go into a child’s pose.


Stretch, breathe, and then roll up. We’re gonna keep the foot bar where it is and we’re gonna go into a semicircle. So I’m gonna do one red, one blue spring, and then lie all the way down. So I’m gonna have my heels together, toes apart again. I’m gonna push out, getting out is the hardest part.


So my hips are off the mat, my arms are straight against the shoulder rest. I’m on the balls of my feet with my heels together, toes apart. And then I’m trying to get the stopper all the way in, so I get a nice little stretch to my quads. From here, I’m gonna try to keep the carriage still. So I roll down all the way till I can feel the springs on my hips.


Once I can’t go any further, I’m gonna push halfway out so my legs are still bent, and then I’m gonna roll up into my bridge, and then come all the way into the stopper. So roll down through the spine, keep pushing out through the arms. Get more length, push halfway out. Legs are still bent as you roll up through the spine, and then come forward. One more. Roll down.


Should feel good, nice little extension on your back. Push halfway out, roll up. This is one of my favorite exercises. And then back in, reverse. So you push halfway out, legs are still bent, you’re gonna roll down again till you feel the springs on your hips.


You’re gonna come all the way in as much as you can, and then hips come up. So you push halfway out, roll down, and then come all the way in. You might not hit the stopper and that’s okay. Knees are reaching out over the feet. One more.


Push out, roll down, heels are still glued together, come all the way in. Hips roll up. Now come all the way into that stopper as close as you can get to it. You’re gonna grab onto your feet or the foot bar, reach your knees out over your toes again and get a little stretch on your quads. Just breathe into that stretch.


And then hands back up on the shoulder rest, slide or wiggle your way back up. Just take a breath here. You can even let your knees drape over the shoulder rest or the foot bar, and just take a breath. Roll over onto one side and then come on up. We’re gonna keep the springs where they are and actually keep the foot bar where it is.


We’re gonna go into a front split. So I’m gonna have one foot against the shoulder rest. I want my heel about halfway up. The other foot’s gonna come onto the foot bar. If you want it even lower, you can.


I’m gonna come into a little bit of a hip flexor stretch on that left leg or the back leg. From here, I’m trying to keep my hip square. I’m just gonna push back and straighten that front leg, the carriage is still still, and then come forward into that lunge again. So I’m lifting the hips up. It’s almost like a, I guess, kind of like a triangle pose in yoga.


And then bend the leg to come forward. One more. Again, trying to keep the hips square. They might not be exactly, but that’s the goal. This time I’m gonna pull the hips up, legs stay straight.


I’m gonna keep the legs straight as I push back into a split, I’m going as far as I can, and then leg comes forward. So the back leg pushes out into that split, and then the carriage comes back in. One more. I’m pulling up in that back quad as I protect my knee, leg comes in. Now I’m gonna push back into that split and hold.


Keep the back leg straight, keep the carriage out. I’m gonna bend that front leg now to pull the carriage in and then lift the hips back up into that triangle pose. So back leg pushes out. Keep that back leg pushing out as the front leg bends to pull the carriage in, and then lift the hips. One more. Back leg pushes out, I’m in that split, front leg bends, pull the carriage in and then lift the hips up.


I’m gonna bring that leg back to the shoulder rest and then switch sides. So I’m finding that lunge first, trying to square off the hips. I’m on the ball of my foot on that front leg. But you can go on your arch if that feels a little bit better. So from here, straighten the leg into a little pike and then bend into your lunge.


Straighten the leg, pulling up in that back quad to protect that knee. One more. And then bend. Now from here we’re gonna push back into that pike again, keep the leg straight, and then with straight legs, you push the back leg out and then keep the leg straight as you pull the carriage in. Back leg pushes the carriage out, back leg brings the carriage in.


One more like this. And back in. Now you’re gonna push the carriage out with that back leg, keep it pushing out, bend the front leg to pull the carriage in, and then lift the hips back up into your pike. Back leg pushes out into your split, front leg bends to come into your lunge, and then hips come up. One more. And then bend the front leg, hips come up, and then come on down.


So we’re gonna finish with the little roll down. So I’m gonna lower the foot bar down. I’m gonna come on to just a blue spring. But you can do this on a red if you’d like, and I’m standing on the foot bar side of the Reformer. So legs are hip distance apart, parallel.


I’m just gonna stand up nice and tall, bring my chin to the chest. Roll forward, hands come onto the edge of the carriage. I’m gonna push the carriage out, think of reaching my tailbone back as I lengthen my spine. From here, I’m gonna pull the abs in to pull the carriage back in and then back to the center. So pushing out, lengthening the spine, coming into a bit of extension, tailbone reaching out.


Tailbone comes under as you pull the carriage back home. One more. Reaching out long. You might find that you get a little further each time, and that’s ideal. From here, pull the carriage all the way in, roll up one bone at a time.


You can keep your knees soft, if you need to. Roll your shoulders back and you’re all finished. Hopefully you feel a little bit longer, a little bit more settled, and I’ll see you for the last day, Day Five, tomorrow. Bye.







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