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Hi, I’m Ilaria from Pilates Anytime and today we’re doing leg springs madness. We’re doing a full class with leg springs, so there’s gonna be a lot of work of course for the lower body, but don’t take me wrong also for the upper body, because there is a lot of work that we’re gonna do to maintain a correct position of the upper body. So, pushing back with the arms into the poles. This is an advanced class, but we’ll start kind of slow in preparing those advanced exercise, so we’re not jumping to legs springs in the air. We’re gonna prepare it nice and smoothly.
It depends on the springs you have and what you want to work on, but I usually start pretty much at shoulder height with a hooks. Choose the spring resistance that you like the best and of course I’ll give you indication of arms bent or straight, but it’s always your call. The more you lengthen your arms, the more resistance you get and the closer you are to the pole, the easier it gets for the springs and for the legs of course. So, we’ll start on the back and the the very first movement, the very first setting more than movement is with the loops that go all the way down above the knee. So, if you have a loop that is big enough, that’s what I want you to experience.
And because we short, we make it easier. I want you to lengthen the arms, so that you have a good support from the spring. So this first setup, it’s really, it’s not to work, is to feel to understand where the movement comes from. So first, just go into tiny little circles. We are using the spring at our advantage, right?
We are gonna do a little movement from the hips and from the legs, but we use the springs to give ourself a nice massage and then we go the other way. So we mobilize the lower back, the hips, we start breathing, we start feeling the whole ribcage and body melting on the mat of the Cadillac of the tower. And make sure you also, when you push back you have long wrist and shoulders engaged. Now we go into opening little circle. So this is more for the SI joint, nice and easy.
Okay, and now that we’ve been doing a few movements, I want you to start thinking what is moving and lengthening my springs? Reverse the circles, the back of the legs, right? The hamstrings, the glutes are activating the movement of the spring down and moving the legs down towards the mat. So, keep that in mind. Also, when we change the setting and we put the feet in there and here you place the feet down onto the mat and we’re going to push the feet away.
And then you bring them in and you slide them away and you bring them in. And against slide, slide, slide. Feel the back of the legs and bring them in. Now keep your right foot down and circle the left knee around, easy, like legs circle. So, we’re gonna go into bigger one later, reverse, three.
But here again, start enjoying the movement of the hip, right? And now we change, the right knee goes up and down and around and let’s try to stabilize the left hip at the same time. And we change, we go reverse, easy. This doesn’t have to be perfect really to feel the movement and get some more information for later. Now, we bring the knees into the chest and we start with frog.
So, you lengthen out and in and you go reach and in, length and lengthen, lengthen and bring it in. That end part is really powerful. The last few degrees you really feel, everything working and engaging. Back of the legs, inner thighs, stomach. Now let’s go parallel.
We keep the knees together, let’s also flex the feet to give a little more different input. And you go reach. Now here, feel free to kind of hyper extend, meaning that with that strap above the knee, it’s not gonna be a real hyperextension, but you can feel the work of those muscles at the very end range, right? You can feel the eccentric when you extend and then contracting in and again, you reach and in and you reach, one more we go and we stay out. Let’s do very easy small scissor.
Let’s actually drop the leg down. The spring is going to support, as if you were doing this like in the water, in the pool, right? When we do exercise in the pool, our body weights less and this is very similar feeling, very similar type of work. Then we stop with the legs together and we go open, easy, slow tempo to really feel how the muscles move when we get them resistance, very, very close to the hips. And now together a little bit of down and up.
And then now we explore all the direction of the movements. We can go into circles. You go open and down together and again, circle around and easy, one more and then reverse. You go down together and circle out and down and reach. Lengthen, we do two more.
Beautiful, come all the way in. Let’s rock side to side a little bit more now, because we are warmed up, we can go with a bigger twist and reach and twist. Now for the last one, you go twist, extend the legs to create more weight. And again, twist, extend the legs and come in. And now I want you to stretch the leg all the way down.
Just one, just the left and the right does the circle. So, I want you to focus on the legs on the floor. I want you to feel the back of that leg, really holding the spring down this time. Now reverse, so three in the other direction, you go two and three and then we change, the right leg goes down, the left comes up and you go circle around. One, two, and three.
Feel the stability and the balance on the right leg. Circle, one, two and circle three. Beautiful, bend everything in. And now pull yourself back a little bit. And we shift the loops now to the feet.
Now, the real work starts, right? So, make sure that when you hold back here, we try to have even height and long wrists, right? The elbows are bent, the shoulders are down, the neck is long. Let’s do regular frogs first. So, you lengthen out and in and reach and in.
Stretch, now let’s try to remember the feeling of having the loops above the knees. Let’s try to focus on where the movement comes from as we extend longer and away. Now, come all the way in. Let’s go parallel. Really squeeze the feet and the knees together.
And you do the same thing. Lots of inner thighs now and in, those springs sometimes they’ll want, the loops, they don’t want to stay together, right? They want to move at different pace with different energy. We need to move them in one only way, in one motion. And again, reach and in and again reach and in.
On the next one we stay out. Left leg stays still, the right leg goes up and matches up with the left, down matches up with the left. Two more, up and together, down and together. Still the right, up and together or down and together. Now the left, goes up and together the right doesn’t move.
The left goes down and together and again, up, together. Down, together. Last one, up, together, down, together. Bent it in. This is to clean up all those walks that we do sometimes where everything is moving and we don’t want, we don’t even know what we are doing, right?
We lose the intention. Now, we do a little different. We go out, the left leg is still, the right goes up all the way down and then together, again, right up down below the left and together, right up, down below the left and together. Now, same thing with the left three times it goes up, down and together. It goes up, down and together.
Last time the left, up, down and together. Bend it in and take a breath. Now last one you stretch, they both move, the right goes up, the left goes down. And then they meet in the center and switch and center. Right up, left down, center, left up, right down, center.
Again, up, together. Switch, together, scissor, together. Scissor, together. One more and together bring it in. Now we explore the movement on the frontal plane.
So, from here we do that little coordination of the reformer. So, we stretch everything out. Now, only the right leg goes out and center. The left leg goes out and center. Now together, open, close, bring it in.
Now we start with the left, stretch it out. Left leg opens, together, right opens, together, both, together. Bring it in. One more set. Make sure you don’t move the standing leg.
So stretch, right leg out, together. Left leg out, together. Together and in. And now last one. You go move the left, squeeze, move the right, squeeze, together and bend it in.
Now we are ready for circles. You stretch and you go all the way around. Circle two, circle three, two more. Feel everything. Everything we’ve been using so far.
Circle reverse. two, three, four and five. Now let’s see how our walk looks like after all this work. So you go one, one, one, one, one, and up, up, up, up. Notice that I’m not doing many steps.
I’m keeping a small amount of steps, like four or five the most, so that I really have room and the coordination I need to move only one leg at a time and do a real step. Last one and up, bend it in out at 45 and beats, in, in, in, in, in, in, in, in and hold. Find that midline. Lengthen the legs out and again, open, close, open, close, open, close. Reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching and hold.
Maintain, maintain, maintain, maintain. Last set. We need all this when we go up in the air later. So, let’s prepare it now. And then you squeeze and hold, hold, hold.
Now pretend you are on a very tall bicycle and you need to look for those pedals. Far away, far away, far away. Reach, reach, reach, reverse, lengthen, lengthen. We try not to compromise the movement of the pelvis, but to move the legs and lengthen away from the hips and long and bring it in. Very good, grab your knees, rocket side to side a little bit and most importantly, release the arms.
If you need to drop them down all the way, that’s good. If you need to stretch your legs out for a little release for the inner thighs, that’s good as well. And then we take the left loop out, we’re gonna drop it down, because we are using only the right. So not easy, it’s very difficult for the alignment. So, we really need to try to push this foot down and maintain the pelvis as even as possible.
When we exercise and we have the resistance on the right leg only, we start with eight frogs. You go long and in, two and in. So, the spring wants to move my foot side to side. I try to maintain that one trajectory that I picked in the beginning. That one that goes in that diagonal but also doesn’t move out and in, right?
I want to maintain it there. I think I have one more, stretch. Now keep it long. You go up and lower and up and down. Lengthen, we did this already, we just do the same movement with one only spring at a time to challenge the alignment as opposed to helping it out, right?
Perfect, now the right leg stays up, the left lengthens with a little bit of tension. I want you to reach down in a zigzag. Go across and open, across and open, across and open. Come up the same way. Across, open, across, open, across and open.
Now circle, circle around, one, circle two, let’s cross over as much as possible. Two more. Last one and reverse. Open, bring it all the way in and across. This is hard, it’s gonna be easier later.
And circle three, circle four and five. Now we change, we are going to release the right loop and we put the left loop on. I mean the loop on the left foot. Same thing we fix with the right foot and we go out and in, two, three, reach away. Four, six, seven, stay out, eight.
And you go down and up, and reach, always that idea of lengthening both the spring and the leg muscles as I move, okay? I like to have that thought in my mind, that idea in my mind. The spring lengthens, my muscle lengthens as well. Stretch out the right and you go zigzag as you go down and as you come back up. Now stabilize and you go across, around and up.
Circle two, circle around, three, four, five. Reverse open, across and up. Two, reach long, two more, length and length and lengthen. Last one up. Now we switch, we’re going to put the right foot into this loop and we do a similar stuff with the spring cross.
Now the challenge is completely different. Instead of having to work a lot with the inner thighs, we are actually giving a nice release at the IT band, because of where the spring comes from. So, let’s go with frogs out and in, two, three, four, reach, reach, Lengthen, you see how my leg wants to move? My foot wants to move, right? I need to keep it there.
Now up and down, reach, two, lengthen away. I also like sometimes when it becomes really hard to focus on the arm, right? The more I stabilize up here is like driving the car and holding the wheel. The easier it becomes to move the legs. Now, lengthen the bottom leg and now you go right away across for circle, one, circle two, circle three, two more, reach, completely different challenge, completely different work.
Now, reverse, open and across you go. Length now is almost more passive than movement, right? I need to challenge the opening more than the closing. I need to work more on the opening. Now from here, get the leg down, glue them together, lift them up, down and up with the right, the right goes down, squeeze up above just a little bit and only the right, one more time down up.
Now the right stays there, you bend and you scrape your shin. The knee goes out and then you stretch it up to the ceiling, again, down, lift it up, down, bend, scrape your shin. The knee goes out, a leg extends. One more, down and stretch in front of you. Now, we do three stretching out to the side.
Lift, scrape, the knee goes out, extend, my foot goes to the window and then you lengthen it down. Lift and scrape. Open, big stretch. And our big work as you call come on down. And again, last one, lift, lift, lift, lift, lift and reach.
Beautiful, we take this off and we switch. Same thing with the left. So, stabilize and anchor everything. And you go out and two, reach, reach, beautiful. Two more.
Lengthen and lengthen. Now, you go down and up and reach, lengthen, lengthen away. Now, if this feels too easy, of course you can extend your arms and go farther down. If it’s too hard, pull back a little bit. Now keep the leg up, stretch your right and you go across, one, two, circle three, reach, reach, reach.
Let’s try not to have this left hip come up in hike. We want to keep it down and aligned. And now reverse, one, lengthen around, two, beautiful, two more. Good, now the leg pulls down together, lift together and up and you reach, glue them together. Together they lift.
And then only the lift goes up, one more time. Good, now from here, you’re going to lift, scrape the shin, stretch it up in front of you. And again down, up, scrape, scrape, scrape, stretch right in front and again up, reach, stretch, out to the side, lift, bend the knees already out and you continue that direction. And then you pull and you go lift and open, open, open, open and down. Last one, bend, stretch up and down and lift.
Beautiful, now we find a different type of work and different challenges as we flip on the stomach and we work specifically the hamstrings. So to set it up, the hardest thing is the setup for this exercise. I want you to put the feet into the loops. And now we turn. So as you turn, try to swirl those loops.
And you walk forward as much as you want, as much as you, if you want more or less tension. So, from this position, you can hold onto the edge of the mat, you scoop your knees up and together you pull and lengthen, you pull, lengthen, pull, you reach, you can even stay lower if you want to force the arch a little less and you go pull, pull, pull and pull, pull, pull. Now with the top spring only, you go pull, pull, pull, two more in and in. Now, turn around and we do exactly the same thing on the other side. So, now we know that the left is going to be the leg, the right is gonna be the leg that I work.
You go forward and you go together, pull, reach, for example now that I’m moving the two feet, I realize there is one leg that wants to move differently from the other, right? So, I try to get the heels together and I try to give some support and have them do exactly the same movement. Now, only with the right you go pull, pull, pull. Two more, in and in. Now we move back and we turn around again, don’t take them off yet, because here it depends on how much resistance you want.
I want you to stay sitting and drag the heels to you and then release. And again, drag, drag, drag and release. One more time, drag and release. Lie down all the way, release the body down and you do the same thing. Heel to your seat and front, bring them in and reach and in, in, in and reach.
Now in as much as you can, fix your feet, lift your hips and unroll. If you are doing it, you feel how different is this hip extension, this bridge as we are holding the springs with attention, right? It’s completely different. My feet will fly away if I didn’t work the back of the legs. And now from here we stay, you release the right foot forward and pull it in, forward and in, front and in.
Same with the left. Reach and pull, reach and pull and again reach, pull. Hopefully they have the same alignment and we roll down, lengthening, lengthening, lengthening and then stretch them long, relax them a little bit and slowly roll back up. We place now no resistance, the straps underneath the feet and helping ourself with the hands and grabbing the poles. We now stand up and we’re basically standing on the straps.
I want you to lean forward now we stand on the left strap and we prepare the right bent, but I don’t want you to stay up, otherwise we go into an arch right away. I want to try to keep the body in a nice long diagonal, so that we work without bothering the lower back. From here you go stretch and in, lengthen, in, reach and again reach and reach, stay, up, up, up, up. Lift, lift, lift and all the way into switch, either side, prepare, bend, pull the stomach, let’s fix the body. And we go, stretch and in, lengthen in, out, out and out to stay long.
And you go up, up, up, up and again, lift, lift, lift, lift and release. We can now let them go and we go back to lying down. Four more leg springs. This time if you can straight arms, because we start flying up. So, we need more distance for two reasons, because we are able to handle it, but also we need it.
Otherwise no way that we can lift up the hips. From here, frog position. Heels are tied together. Long arms pushing away, we go frog out, lift the hips, roll down, bend in, frog out, lift, down and let’s do a few times. In this first set of exercises, we are going to play with this going up and down in the next set of exercise will stay up the whole time.
So, we increase progressively the challenge of this type of work. Let’s do two more. Lift, roll down and in, reach out, lift, roll down, bend in. Now, for circles. I want you not to think too much and just maintain the body long and let the spring do the work.
So from here, if I stretch out and lift, then just move with it. Go down and up, down and up. Push into those springs. And two more reach and reach. Reverse, down and around, lengthen and around, reach, two more, lengthen.
Same thing for the walk. Small steps. And as the feet walk down, my hips move down with it and as the feet move up, my hips come up with it. One more set. One and a half actually, walk down.
And now we walk bending the knees. Float, almost like walking on the moon. Walking on the pool in the pool. Reach, reach, reach. And you go walk up, float and float down.
And again float up, and down, down, down, down, down. Reach and release, beautiful. Rest the arms for a second. Rock side to side. Lengthen anything that your body needs to be stretched.
You can go into the hamstrings, you can open out. Sometimes I also like to just open the knees and release the inner thighs as the pelvis relaxes as well. And now we are staying up the whole time. So, we start with circles again. We’re going to push knees in, stretch and lift.
Now my hips are stuck on top of the spine corrector. My feet only move. Feet. Feet. One more, reverse, down and around.
Lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. And beautiful. Now stay and you go out, out, out, out, out. Beats and hold. And again, beats and hold, hold, hold, hold, hold.
One more set. Open and close. And hold. Now big bicycle, reach, reach. Don’t let the pelvis drop.
Keep it up. Keep it up and reach with the feet. Reverse, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. And beautiful, release down. Now, it’s a little airplane over here, we’re gonna work on it later.
But we start articulating the spine just a little bit. So, knees into the chest. Let’s keep it like rolling like a ball. Let’s roll up together. Lift up and push into the field, reach away, bend.
Really breathe through and massage the spine as you lengthen. Even here there is a little massage and articulation, even if it looks straight. One more time, in, lift and reach. Reverse, up, bend, roll down. And again lift, scoop up, bend and roll.
Last one, out, lift, bend and slowly massage. Hug the knees in and stretch. Release your left spring and turn around. And we do sidekicks now. So you can choose, you can have your arm bent or you can extend it fully.
It really depends on the spring resistance. Make sure your hand, shoulder and hips are aligned. And then you go all the way down with the feet a little bit at 45 degrees. Now you co kick front and reach and kick and lengthen. And again front and reach and front and reach, reach, reach one more.
Kick to the front. Reach long push with the arm as well. And now even leg and leg, you go up, down and two, three, four, five, together up and kick the leg. Together up and like we did before when we were on the back. Two more, down and down, press together.
Down circle, one. I like to do this circle, not that small. I want really the leg work inside the acetabulum, right? You want to lengthen it out and work it all the way around. One more.
And now reverse, back and around. One, two, stable here, three, four, five. Now bicycle. You go front, bend the knee, stretch it back, reach as much as you can and lengthen that leg. One more, front bend, here stay.
Grab the foot, help the thigh stretch. Pull into your stomach, make sure the knee doesn’t come up too much. Now, keep the knee there, stretch the leg away and then we reverse, you go back, kick your seat knee to knee, stretch it up and again, back, kick, bring it forward. Give yourself yourself a little stretch first. And then you can either release or you roll onto the split.
You take the fuzzy off and you go over. And now here just open and come up a little bit. Other side, we prepare the arm, we circle the leg around and we put the left foot in the loop to do everything with the left leg. Now, here, we go front and reach and two and lengthen. Three, four, reach, reach, reach.
Last one. We did all this on the back, right? We’re just doing the same movement up and down now in a different position in space, bring it three, four, five. Now press down together, up and now single and together, left leg, squeeze together and again up together. Last one and circles, five, circle big and reach, two more and reverse, back and around, two, keep the hip forward, four and five.
Now bicycle, front, knee to the shoulder, bring the knee back, stretch, lengthen and again front, bend. Now here we help the thigh stretch. Keep the hip forward, the knee goes back. And now extend the leg in line with that knee, reverse, you go back, kick your seat, knee to knee, stretch it. And again, long, long, long, long.
We need the stretches. Bring it forward all the way up. Stretch it a little bit and then your cold. If you want to flip in the split or just release the loop. Perfect.
Now, we have one more thing. If you have an airplane board, we substitute the loops with the board. If you don’t have the board, don’t worry. You can still use the same springs you had. And what I would recommend is to use either a bowl in between the ankles or a magic circle outside the thigh.
Why? Because what’s the main difference in between the airplane board and this? Actually there are two differences. One is that I have more resistance, because the board is closer to the springs. But the other important thing is that the legs work together, because we move one thing only.
So, to achieve that goal, if you basically force the legs to work together with the magic circle or with the ball, you achieve the same goal, you get to the same result. So, here to get into more tension, you might want to raise the hooks up a little bit or make sure your arms are extended. We lie down, make sure it doesn’t fall on you. Make sure the hooks are placed correctly. Make sure the feet are also all the way in, right?
And don’t flex too much. Sometimes according to the ankle, if you flex a lot your wrist at the board is falling out. Now from here I start with my arms a little soft, a little bent and I just do frogs. So, this is not the right position. I need to flatten everything down.
The tailbone is anchored, then I’m right and I can start and I go out at 45 and bring it in, reach out and in, lengthen. And I feel right, I feel this resistance. It’s a very different work, because I don’t know if you see that my right leg wants to start a little sooner, but it cannot really continue with that pattern, because of the board, right? So, I need to make sure that I find this coordination. And now we start heading and lifting up the hips.
So, you go out, you lift the hips, you roll down this like the semi-circle in the reformer and then you bend and you go reach, curl and lift, roll down and bend in. Stretch out, lift, down and in. With this extra tension, because of the closer position, it really feels like you’re doing squats. You’re squatting down and standing up and fully extending the hips. Let’s do two more.
You go bend the tailbone is down, stretch, you float up and down again, bend, stretch out, float up and down, bend your knees in for a second, relax. Release the tension. Then we go back with the arms. I want you to stretch until the legs are 45 degrees. And without trying not to move the board, we curl the hips up, then we roll back down, a lot harder than the straight legs.
So, you curl and lift and you roll back down. Two more, curl, lift, lift, lift, lift, lift and down on rolls, some shakiness. And last one, curl, lift. Let’s try to lengthen in between the knees and the shoulders. Roll down and bend in.
Now, let’s do almost like half the airplane staying down. You stretch out to 45. Use the back of the legs, press down and scrape. Knees to chest, out to 45. Press down, scrape and bring it in.
And again, out, down, scrape and in. Now we go up. So out 45, bring them up, bend and hold, stretch out, bring them up and bend them into the starting position. And again, out, lift, bend and hold. Now the whole thing without lifting, so you go, you do the big circle, you bring it in up to the ceiling.
From here, all the way down. Scrape, bring them in up to the ceiling. Last one, reach scrapes, scrape, knees to the chest, to the ceiling. Now reverse bend. Find the floor, scrape it away and up with control.
Bend to the floor, stretch away and up. Again bend to the floor, stretch out, up and release. I think we are now ready to do the whole thing with the muscles that are ready, the coordination that should be ready, and a lot of extra awareness compared to when we started. So, from here we are going to start at 45. So, we feel the resistance.
So, actually from here I want you to go and lift. And with this line, I want you to float down and up. This is also very fun and up and again, down, down, down, and up. Now, let’s go down all the way. Scrape the floor, bring the knees in, roll, shoulder stand, extend.
And now you go, reach away, bend all the way in. Roll up onto your shoulders, not onto your neck. Stretch and reach. Let’s do one more. Bend all the way.
Roll and let’s push away then, we reverse. So from here, change, you go all the way up. Scoop. Bend your knees, roll down, find the floor, stretch out, scoop, lift, all the way up, bend and roll down to the floor. Now the last one we end differently.
So you stretch, scoop and lift. Now from here, keep pushing and melt down. Melt, melt, melt, melt and release. Beautiful. You can take the springs or the airplane board off and we are done.
So as you can see, it’s really this workout is made by different blocks that can be performed or executed together. Or you can decide to start with a few things and then build up stamina or build up a strength or work on anything you need to be worked on, before you get to the very end. So play it safe, but it is really possible to get to the execution of the full routine when you take it step by step. Have fun.