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Hi, I’m Maria Leone, and I’m here with Miku, a lead teacher at my studio. Today we’re doing a reformer workout, and we’re gonna begin with the loops hooked behind the machine, the ropes tucked into the track, and your machine on a yellow spring. Step into the well, take your feet about the distance of the machine, reach your hands forward, put the top of the wrist right on the shoulder blocks. Lift those sit bones up nice and high. So we’re really beginning with a feeling of a downward dog.
Take a couple of breaths here into the side of the rib cage. Breathing in, feeling the movement of the ribs and exhaling. One more time here. Soften your knees, take a breath in, and on an exhale, round your back, pull the carriage into you, you’re in a strong cat position. Inhale, lengthening the spine as the carriage goes out.
Exhale, round the back, tuck the tail, and lengthening the carriage out. And again, exhale, rounding the back, pushing your whole palm into the shoulder blocks. Lengthening out. Last time, round the back. That should be really good on the lower back, pressing it out, from here, shift forward onto your hands, readjust your feet together.
Belly button is in, chest goes up, you’re in a feeling of up dog now. Take a breath here into the front of the chest, and then cut those hips back, come back into that feeling of down dog. I’m opening my feet slightly. Now, let’s take this into a feeling of swan. So inhale, the chest lifts up, push the hands into the shoulder blocks, and lower it down.
Try to keep the knees cracked. Inhale to lift, abdominals are in of course, and lengthening it out. And again, inhale and lift, shoulder blades are wide, and lengthening it out. Last time, inhale to length. Stay here, now we take little pulses here from the tricep, make sure you’re not overly arching that lower back.
Push with the whole palm, for five, and four, let your toes spread. Three, and two, and one, take the carriage all the way back out. Shift back forward into that feeling of up dog. You can keep your feet wide or step them together, abdominals are in, the chest is lifting up. Cut the hips back again, bring your hands all the way down to the floor.
Drop the head, feel as if you’re pushing the ground away here. Feel that stretch into the lower spine. Bring your hands to your chest, and stand yourself up. We’re in prayer position now, you might need to scoot a little forward, let’s just go into a simple set of squats. So we inhale down, and we exhale up.
Simple, but not so simple, right? So we really wanna move from those hips, not pump from the knee. It’s a feeling of getting really vertical each time when the legs straighten. Inhaling and exhaling. Inhaling and exhaling.
Two more here. Stay here, we’re stepping out of the well. Change your machine, bring a blue spring on, and then step back into the well, we’re gonna put a row with that squat. The feet are going the distance of the machine, wrap your hands around the sides of the shoulder blocks this time, bend your knees, lift that chest up, and from the shoulder blades, begin to pull straight back and forward. Keep those hips nice and low.
The knees are pointed straight ahead for me. Always integrating the breath. And I really recommend you try to wrap those hands right around the sides of the shoulder blocks, tuck those elbows in by the side, and keep that breath maintained. We’re gonna do about two more here. And then let the carriage come out and bring your hands to prayer position.
Stand yourself up, and then bring yourself to one side of the machine. We’re gonna go do a little squat variation here. So you’re gonna pick one foot up, you’re gonna hold a balance, come to the bottom of your squat. We’re staying on this side, the knee comes up and together. And lift and lower.
And lift and lower. Really feeling like you’re pushing that ground away, finding that vertical plumb line, and maybe now you’re increasing your speed a little bit. Always maintaining control here, feeling that vertical plumb line, feeling the abdominals pulling in so you can get tall, last time here, and stay to the inside. Rewrap your hands around those shoulder blocks. Come down to the bottom of your squat, stay here.
Option to begin to move in an alternate pattern. Start moving for me. So maybe one arm at a time, maybe two arms at a time. Every time you pull, there’s that feeling of connection from the shoulder blades through to the hand. Front ribs are closed, knees over the big toes.
Again, your tempo is up to you, but keep control of that machine. You shouldn’t hear any banging, or you know, that noise the springs make. Two more here. Let the carriage go out, bring your hands to your chest, stand yourself up, scoot over to the other side of your machine. Lift one leg up, feel your balance, and stepping over the rail.
Coming vertical and feet together. And lift, and over, and lift. So it’s still a real squat at the bottom. Once you have your bearings, start to pick up your tempo. Connect your breath to your tempo.
That’s it, everybody. Keep it flowing, keep it moving. Even if it gets a little messy right now, just keep moving for me. Let’s build that heat, let’s move that energy through the body. Two more here.
Stay on the inside, come all the way up, step out of the well. Grab your loops, bring them and hook them onto the machine for me, please. Come onto your back, we’re gonna go to some neutral bridging. Headrest is down. Inhale here, exhale, press the hips straight up, dragging the heels to the sit bones.
Lower the hips straight down. Right back up for two. And lower down. Back up for three, really feeling the bumper and the carriage wheel sealing together. Press and lower.
Maybe taking the hands up. That’s just a way to make sure you’re not overly using those arms. And lower, and lift, and lower, last time, lift and lower. Stay here, arms can be up or down. Press the hips up, find your neutral bridge, begin pushing the carriage out and in.
Now the range of this is really gonna depend on you. I’m doing something pretty small, that’s all I need. You can go full range, know that the further out you go, the closer you’re gonna get to the bed. Last one here. Come all the way in, lower the hips down, then stretch the legs up to the ceiling, grab behind your thighs, and just take a quick flex and point, two, and point, three, and point, take your legs to tabletop.
Float the hands to the ceiling. Moving to our hundred. Inhale here, exhale into your best hundred. begin your pumping, Breathing in for five, and out, two, three, four, five, inhale and exhale, and maybe those legs are at tabletop today for you. Choose what feels right.
Give me a nice full breath pattern. Out, two, three, four, five, we’re almost done here, guys, it feels like a long hundred, though. Last time. Knees in, hug them into you. Lower the head down, inhale here.
Exhale, lift yourself right back up. Take one leg to the ceiling, the other leg right over the foot bar, drop the elbows, drop the shoulders, and taking scissors, inhale and exhale, and inhale, and exhale, option to put the hands behind your head, option also to take the hands all the way back, and reach them to the wall behind you. That’s gonna create a little bit more challenge for three, two, one, knees in, head and shoulders go down. Release your head from side to side. Take your legs back to tabletop, hands to the ceiling, back to your hundred position, we’re gonna do a little bit of walking.
So the legs are gonna begin to flutter, tapping the bar, the hands can be behind the head. The hands could reach all the way up over your head to the wall behind you, but we want this a little brisker, a little smaller and a little brisker, for five, and four, and three, and two, and one, the knees pull in, lower the head down, and then rock yourself up. Go ahead and bring your foot bar down, and take a spring off, leave the medium spring. Let’s grab your box. Place your box so that it lines up with your shoulder block.
Have a seat on your machine, facing me. Grab the loop that’s closest to you. It’s going up and over your knee, as gracefully as you can. And then come onto your back, onto your forearms. Push the machine away, bring your legs to tabletop.
Squeeze the legs tight together. From here, we twist from the hips, twisting towards the foot bar, and coming back center. Exhale to twist, and back center. Really keeping those legs stacked. Keep pushing your ribcage to the thighbone.
And that opposite forearm, it’s gonna really help you if you press down through that forearm. We’re adding something on. So we twist, we hold, the legs go out straight, check the leg lengths, in and center, and we twist, don’t sink, stretch it out. Back to tabletop, back center. And twist and lengthen, tabletop, center, last time, twist, that hip comes up, tabletop, back center.
Rock yourself up, put your two feet down. The hands go behind you, you can choose the direction of your hands. Roll the shoulder heads together, and lift into a tabletop position. Hold it here, gaze to the ceiling, and lower back down. Here we go again.
The knees track forward, tuck the tail, try to open the front of those hip flexors, and take it down. Last one, lift. Hold it here, and all the way down. Now all the way down to your back. The hands are coming behind the head, bring one leg up to tabletop, the other leg to tabletop, squeeze your legs tight, and just notice what this does to the trunk.
From here, we’re gonna slowly tap one leg down and up, and then the other leg down. And I do want you to move slowly at first, because I really want you paying attention to what is happening in the trunk, not what your leg is doing. Nice and slow. Try to keep your carriage absolutely, positively still. Always inhaling and exhaling, keeping that breath just flowing and moving.
Last one here. Knees in, rock yourself up. Two feet go down, let’s go back to that tabletop. Maybe flipping your hands, shoulders roll together first, that’s gonna help you, and lift. And lower it down, carriage is more or less still.
And lift, slide the knees forward, and lower it down. Last one like that, lift, and lower it down, back onto your back for me, please. Some of you are just gonna repeat what you did in the first set, so let’s begin with that. One leg down, and then the other leg down. Some of you are gonna begin to do this with two legs.
I’m gonna continue with that single leg option. Remember that whatever you’re doing, don’t get distracted by the legs, right? We tend to let the mind go to the moving part. We put more importance for whatever reason on that action, put all of your focus on what you’re feeling in the trunk. Strong exhale is always gonna help you draw that leg back in.
Last one here, knees into your chest. Rock yourself up. The loop is coming off the knee now. Very new setup. You’re coming onto your box on your hands and knees.
The hands come right to the front edge of your box. Your knee is gonna create a triangle pattern with those hands. The opposite hand is gonna reach over to the other shoulder block. The knee is turned out and lifted. Stay here and get your bearings.
Hips square, pushing with the heel, start to take that leg out and in. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “This is so light, I don’t even feel this much in my leg.” And that would be correct. But just use this as your setup. Stay in, now.
The opposite hand now, is gonna tent up onto your fingertips, you feel that? And now let’s move that leg out and in. So, not meant to be a leg exercise. This is a crazy core exercise, I know it doesn’t look like it. Some of you are gonna take that hand completely away.
I’m putting mine back down. Honestly, just the fingertips does make for a pretty big challenge. Check in with the alignment of your head. Make sure the pelvis is neutral, and of course, you’re using that breath. Come all the way in.
Let’s come to child pose right on top of your box. Take a deep breath into the back of the ribs. Long, slow exhale. Slide your hands back to the center of the box, and step into your plank. Hold it here, I always want a perfect plank.
From here, many of you are gonna go into a walking push up. Miku’s gonna do that, so you’re gonna take one arm down, the other arm down, and then step up, up. Continue alternating your arms as you do this, choose whatever tempo you wanna work at, or join me for this very mindful meditative plank that I’m doing. And wherever you’re at, lift your hips up, take a little feeling of down dog, and then come back to that little triangle setup, so we’re doing another set. The leg goes to that opposite shoulder block, and notice my shin is really not supported by the box.
We’re gonna add a little something. The carriage goes out, the carriage comes in, stay here, stretch that leg out straight to the side, put the foot down. So we push, we pull the knee in, we lengthen the leg, flex the foot, put the heel down. Option to take the hand to fingertips, or remove the hand completely, you can follow Miku for that. We push, we pull, we lengthen the leg, and down, last one here, push slowly in, lengthen the leg, put the foot down, come back to your child’s pose.
Hold it here, take that nice full breath into the back of the lungs. Slide the hands back halfway, and go into your downward dog. Step forward, pick up your box. And we’re going over to the other side. And we got, we’re gonna go all the way back to the top and begin with that twisting exercise.
Set up your box nicely, have a seat, grab the loop that is closest to you, it’s going up and over your knee. You’re gonna find yourself down on your forearms, legs to tabletop. Push through those forearms, squeeze the legs, and then twisting to the foot bar, and back center. And exhale, twist, and back center. Making sure you are not sinking as you move.
Exhaling and inhaling, and really moving from the lift of that hip, not the action of the legs. Last one, stay center. we’re gonna add on, so we twist, the legs go straight, check ’em out, bend the knees and come back center. And twist, stretch the legs straight, tabletop, back center. And again, twist.
Lengthen the legs, tabletop, center, twist, lengthen, tabletop, back center, knees in, lift yourself up, two feet to the box, hands go behind you, lift into your tabletop position. Open up the front of those hips, have a seat down, stare at the beautiful ocean, lift the hips up, slide those knees forward, open the hips, and lower yourself down, all the way down to your backs for me, please. Legs to tabletop, hands behind the head, and begin floating one leg down, and up, and we’re moving slow, I almost have to fight with my brain to get it to pay attention to my trunk. Carriage, ideally still as a statue here. Notice, I said ideally, ’cause this is a practice after all.
Inhale and exhale, wherever you’re at, pull your knees in, rock yourself up, place your feet onto the box, we’re going back to that tabletop, shoulder blades together, chest is open, as you lift into that beautiful tabletop, lower the hips down, track those knees forward, push the carriage away to lift the hips, lower yourself down, let’s go back onto your back for our last set here. Hands behind the head, begin moving the legs, you can do either single or double. Also an option here for some of you to reach and just kinda support yourself with your hands behind your thighs. So that’s very individual choice of what works for you, choose what gives you the most sensation in your trunk. Inhaling and exhaling, pressing the back strongly into the carriage.
Last one here, pull the knees into your chest, rock yourself up, remove the loop. Okay, we’re going into that leg series. Remember that triangle. Hands are at the front of the box, the other knee is in the center, making that triangle, and then reaching over to the shoulder block. Shoulders are square, pelvis neutral.
And I always do like, just the first couple, just to get my brain adjusted to what it is we’re doing. Feel the abdominals lift, as soon as you’re able, fingertips or hand all the way off. Up to you. Now I want you to stay nice, and smooth, and controlled here. And let’s also remember, Pilates is about concentric and eccentric contraction, right?
So the way in is as important, I would say more important than the way out. I’m kind of distracting you here a little bit while you do this, you notice that? Last one. And all the way in. Miku’s really huffing and puffing, by the way.
Come all the way down into child’s pose. Stay here. Hands come halfway back. Step yourself into your plank. Hold it here, make sure you have some space to pull one knee in, and then changing sides, and the other knee in, and changing sides.
Now some of you are gonna begin to really quicken the pace and take this to a run, you’ll follow Miku for that, you can stay slow and deliberate, or really push that speed, really pushing that speed. I’m cracking that whip on Miku. (chuckles) One more each way, keep running if you’re running, faster, faster, faster. And two feet down, and lift into that downward dog, and come back onto your knees for our second set. Find that triangle set up again, reach the foot across to the shoulder rest, and we’re pushing the carriage out, in, and then extending that leg out, and the foot goes down. Push it out from the glute and in, extend and lower.
Now try tenting up the fingertips, maybe even taking the arm completely off. Pushing from that hip, controlling it in, abdominals lifted as you reach through that heel, last time here. Put the foot down, let’s take a quick child’s pose, bring yourself up, and bring your foot bar up. And we are going into mermaid next. Have a seat facing me, your two feet can be on the ground, or you can have one leg behind you.
One hand right in line with the shoulder, the other arm is up, and here we go, side bending up and over. Pause here, really taking the breath into that top lung for me, inhaling and exhale, come back to center. And again, lengthening up and over, really using that bottom waist, connecting to that bottom lat, and all the way up. Last one here, up and over, and all the way up, and let’s side bend the other direction, too. Notice how the two things feel a little bit different.
And let’s spin around to the other side. Do that as gracefully as you can. The hand on the bar about in the line with the shoulder, the other hand is up, feel where your head is here. Side bend up and over, I really wanna see like you’re between these two panes of glass here, and all the way up, the tendency is for the head to go forward. And up and over, keeping space between the shoulder and the ear for me, please.
And all the way up, and again, up and over. Such a nice place to find that breath here in the top lung. And all the way up, and now that side bend the other way as well. Keeping that head in line, really reaching all the way through the fingertips for me, please. Come on off of there, add a red spring to your machine.
We’re gonna end with some leg circles as your cooldown. So come on to your back, loops are gonna come onto your feet, you can have your headrest up or down, and start with your legs all the way up at 90 degrees, we’re gonna pause and just hold this for a moment. Really allowing the carriage to do that stretch for you, right? So kind of give into the carriage. The sacrum is gonna stay down.
Hold it there. Press those legs away from you, not too low. Allow the legs to come up again, and you might need to soften the knees here, and press the legs away from you. Last time, taking the legs up, really folding at the hips, small circle. Legs are gonna open the distance of the machine.
Circle the legs down and together. Take the legs slowly up, bigger circle this time, open, and down, and together, last time, and the biggest of all, so you can really take this into your full range as you open, pull the legs down and together. Take the legs up, stay here, push the ropes away from you, bring the bottoms of your feet together, and then allow the knees to bend and bring your feet down to a butterfly position. So your feet may be on the carriage, or just past the edge of the carriage, palms are up, roll the shoulder heads back, allow the back to arch. Stay here and take a couple of breaths, noticing how really wonderful that feels on the back.
You should feel a sense of traction in your lower back. And I recommend that if you have time, that you just hang out here, and you enjoy this, and take a breath. and I’ll see you at another time, on Pilates Anytime.