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Hi, everybody. This is Maria Leone. And today, we’re doing a sort of unusual workout. We’re gonna stay on the short box the entire time, and we’re gonna keep one spring setting. We’re gonna try to keep one spring setting. So I have my machine on one blue.
You might wanna take your machine to a red, slightly upper, slightly down as we go through this. And my box is in the extra short position, which means that it is in front of the shoulder blocks. And again, you might need to adjust depending on the style of reformer that you are moving on. This is my client, Elizabeth. She’s been doing Pilates for over 40 years and she and I will be doing the same workout, but of course, at slightly different levels.
So let’s begin. Let’s start standing. Your feet are flat against your box. Inhale, lift the arms up over your head and circle the arms back behind you. And again. Inhale, lift the arms, lift the chest, pull the abdominals in.
And exhale, press the arms back. One more time here. Inhale. Pull the abdominals and lift the chest. Circle the arms and bring the hands into prayer position in front of you. We’re gonna warm up with some squats, simple squats, bending the knees down, press the arms back to come up, down and up, and using this moment as a warmup, really feeling the feet spreading into the carriage, really coming up from those glutes.
Using your breath, inhale and exhale. Last time, inhale and exhale. Pause here. Bring your hands down onto the bar, shoulder distance, soften your knees. We’re gonna do a cat cow. Exhale, round your back as fully and completely as you can.
Inhale, open the chest, almost feel like you’re pushing the foot bar into you. Exhale, round the back. Again, I’m keeping my knees soft. And inhale, open the chest, heart moves forward. Exhale, round the back.
Feel the tail bone point straight down. And inhale, heart goes forward. Round the back and stay here. Now, straighten your legs and come up onto the ball of your foot, nothing too high to begin with. Bend your knees deeply.
We’re going into our first chair position. The back is flat. The belly is tight. Some of you will keep your hands on the foot bar. Hands can also be in prayer. Hands can also be up over the head.
Breathe deeply. Take your hands down onto the bar and press yourself out into a perfect plank position. Shoulders are over the hands. Heels are strong. Belly lifted, one straight plumb line. From here, drive the right knee into your chest as tightly as you can.
Keep contact with that back heel to the box. Let’s change sides. And the other leg comes in. Tuck the tail, shoulder blades wide. Take that foot back.
Changing sides, right leg draws in. Tuck the tail, and press the foot back. And the other knee drives in. Take the foot back. We’re gonna transition back to chair.
Bend the knees, the sit bones lower. Get your bearings. Maybe the hands come off, maybe the hands stay on the bar, maybe the arms go over the head. Make sure you’re not overly arching the back. Take the hands back down to the foot bar. Take yourself back to that perfect plank.
And again, my shoulders are staying right over my hands. Stay here. We’re gonna do five pushups, inhale, down, exhale, up. And I don’t care how big these are. So really pay attention to your form here.
Two more. Using your exhale like Elizabeth on the way up. Stay here. Bend your knees. Transition back to your chair. Get your bearings.
Slide those shoulder blades wide on the backside of your body. Now from here, balance challenge. We slowly stand up all the way. Bring your hips forward. Bring the hands down in front of you. And now, like you’re sliding down an imaginary wall.
Slide down. You determine how low you wanna go. Then you may use your hands, maybe you don’t. Tuck your tail. We’re sitting down onto the box into teaser, whatever your teaser is.
So your legs might be straight. The legs might be bent. You might even opt to use your hands here for a little support. Crown of the head to the ceiling. Bend your knees. Come into rolling like a ball shape. Hold it here.
And we’re going back down and back to your chair position. Take yourself up. Maybe you use your hands, maybe you don’t. And the belly is tight. From here, the hands come back down.
Push out to your perfect plank position again and hold it here. This time, we twist. The right knee drives across the body, twisting the pelvis and changing legs. And the other knee pulls across, shoulder blades are wide. And changing legs.
Carriage is more or less still here and take it back. Other knee pulls across. Take the foot back. Transition back into your chair. Find your balance.
And now from here, let’s slowly take yourself up right. Stand beautifully tall. Bring the hands in front of you with the height of your shoulders. Slide down that imaginary wall again. You determine how low you’re gonna go.
Maybe you use your hands right now, maybe you don’t. Tuck and then come up to your teaser position. Maybe the knees are bent. Maybe the legs are straight. Keep lengthening the crown of the head. Come into a tight ball shape. Hold it here.
Place your two feet down. We’re just gonna transition. Hands to the bar and stand up. New series. The back is flat. The knees are soft.
The abdominals are lifted. Without shifting it all, the right leg goes directly side. Lift it up. Hold. And lower it down. Other side.
No shifting, the leg goes straight side, flex the foot. Use your whole body to generate power and lower it down. Repeat again or add. Right leg lifts. You stay with that, Elizabeth. I’m gonna lift my right arm and I’m gonna spiral stretch to the sky and everything lowers down.
And then the other side, the other leg lifts, and maybe you add a spiral, grounding down through the hand and the foot, lifting the chest and the gaze and all the way down. All together, we lift the right leg side. Hold it here. Carry the leg back behind you into Arabesque. The leg is turned out. The toe is pointed. From here, that back leg lowers and touches the box.
And up. Lower, two. And up. And three. And up.
Be light on your hands for me. Be soft in the standing leg. And lift. The leg is getting longer and longer as we move. Long spine. Last time.
Hold the leg up. Pause. Option to do a little balance check and take a hand off any old way. And now, reach around and catch your foot. Some of you will just hold a quad stretch here. Some of you will kick the foot up, open the chest and take a dancer stretch.
One breath here wherever you’re at. Release everything. Carry the leg aside, all the way side with that leg. Lower all the way down. Setting for the second side.
The other leg lifts straight side, hold it there, turn it out, carry it up and behind you. Feel the relationship of the foot to the hip. Lower that leg down and up. And now, make sure you’re not clenching the bar with the hands. Effortless effort in the body, guys.
It’s a long leg. I don’t care how high it is. Listen for your breath. And now, hold the leg up. Stay here and take one hand off. Check in with a little balance or just come to your fingertips.
Bend the knee, catch your foot. Pause and stay here or press the leg up. Lift the chest, open the heart, take a breath into the chest, release everything, carry it all the way side and lower it all the way down and have a seat. Okay, moving on. Slide off your machine.
We’re gonna lay down onto your belly. You’re gonna have my feet to you for a moment. So we’re setting up for swimming. Reach the arms behind you, lift your whole shape up off the mat. And we’re just gonna swim the legs.
Breathing in for five and out for five. Nice and vigorous. If you wanna take the arms up over your head, knock yourself out and do it. Inhaling and exhaling. Pubic bone is pasted to the box. And last time here and lowering down, pushing yourself back and taking a quick downward dog stretch here.
And then turn around and we’re transitioning. So sitting right at the edge of your box, grab the rope closest to you, and it’s gonna go up over your knee. And then you’re gonna lay yourself down. Notice I push myself forward so I have room behind me on the box for my body. The knees come up, hands behind the head, and the legs go straight to the ceiling.
Option to have your legs straight or bent. Inhale, open, and exhale, close, and squeeze the legs. Inhale, open. Focus on the stability of that trunk. Squeeze tight here. Inhale and exhale.
Continue with this just listening to your breath, never losing tension on the machine. Last time here. Knees in, rock yourself up and just release your head from side to side. Okay. Some of you are gonna follow Elizabeth on this. Come on to your back, hands go behind the head.
The legs go straight up. Some of you are gonna scissor your legs like Elizabeth. Some of you follow me. So I’m doing helicopter. Go ahead and begin, Elizabeth. So I’m gonna open and I’m gonna pull around to a scissor and then I’m gonna open and I’m gonna pull around to a scissor.
And once you get that sensation, you helicopter people, go ahead and overcross the legs. And now, the chest is staying high. Regardless of what exercise you’re doing, if you’re scissoring like Elizabeth, the machine will be still. Last time, everybody. Keep that chest up, knees in, rock yourself up.
Take that loop off your knee. Some of you are gonna keep it in your opposite hand. Some of you will go without the strap. And we’re gonna go to sword, pressing out and in. Right back out, two and in.
Some other options here are to do external rotation. Three and in. Four. Or you can also use this hand here as a little assist ’cause it is a little bit heavy for a single arm. And press.
And come on in. Okay, we’re gonna repeat all that on the other side. So let’s walk around our machine and set up for swan. Abdominals are lifted. Reach the arms back, lift the heart, and begin your swim.
Vigorous breath here. I like to think of the swimming as a bookend to the hundred. Keep pulling the heart forward. Add the arms in if you’d like. Abdominal stay away from the box.
The pubic bone is so weighted. Last time. Pick up your temple just for a moment and lower down and push back into a little down dog. So the hips go up. The shoulder blades are wide.
Lift the sit bones and enjoy that stretch in the hamstring. And then we’re spinning around. So you’ll have my back for a moment. The loop is gonna come up and over your knee. It’s the loop closest to you, guys.
Sit really far forward on your box. Take yourself down. Hands behind the head. The legs are up all the way straight or bent and slowly open the legs and pull close and squeeze tight. Now, this isn’t about how wide you can open your legs.
So I do want you to keep tension on the machine throughout. Inhale and exhale. Squeeze tight. Inhale, keep the height of the chest. Exhale. Put your focus on the trunk.
And exhale. Last one, inhale and exhale. Knees come in. Rock yourself up as gracefully as you can. Give your head a little moment to release. And moving on, back onto the back.
Some of you will follow Elizabeth and scissor your legs. The legs are up straight, hands behind the head. I’m going into helicopters. So the legs are gonna open and then they’re gonna pull around to a scissor and they’re gonna open and pull around to a scissor. Once you get acclimated to that action, go ahead and try overcrossing the legs.
The chest stays still. Nice and smooth. Never having slack on that rope, guys. Control the machine. Last time.
Knees in. Rock yourself up. Take that loop off your knee. Prepped for sword if you’re joining me. So the opposite hand goes into loop. And here we go, pressing that arm out and in.
Out, two, and in. And again, here, controlling the out, but controlling the in as well. keeping the crown of the head lengthening to the ceiling. Check in with your sit bones, equal weight on both sides of the body. Press. Find the posterior shoulder.
And last time here. And let’s put that rope down. Okay. We are going to transition. We’re gonna lay onto our bellies right on top of the box. So scoot yourself forward.
You might have your legs open. You might have your legs together. It’s gonna be a little bit more forgiving with the legs apart. Hands on the frame if you need it. Go all the way down into the well.
Use your legs in your hamstrings and lift up either to a flat line or up into extension, and then all the way back down. And again, reaching out and up. So working, but within your comfort level, guys. And again, reach out and up. And lower down.
And again, reaching out and up. And maybe you’ve taken your hands off, maybe your hands are still supporting. And reaching out. And now, come all the way down into the well and bring your hands behind your head. From here, rotate to the right as you lift up, any amount and down.
And to the left, any amount and all the way down, Rotate to the right, lift, and all the way down. And to the left, lift, and all the way down. Hands down. Slide yourself back into a little child’s pose right like so. Okay. So for the next series, you have your choice.
Some of you are gonna set up here on the platform like Elizabeth. Some of you are going to set up here. So put one foot back and everybody push out and find your plank and hold it here. Squeeze the leg, shoulders out of the ears. From here, round your back, tuck your tail, bring the carriage in.
And then shoot out to plank. And again, round your back, pull the carriage in tight, shoulders out of the ears and back out. Pull in. Pause. Shoot out. Glue those legs. Come in, round the back. Pause.
Shoot out. Last time. Come in and hover here. Lower your knees or step your feet to the carriage if you’re following me, and sit. Come up onto your knees. Follow Elizabeth. Lift the arms up, open the arms, open the chest.
And we’re going back down. So you’re either gonna follow me or I don’t know. I might go back down. I’m not sure yet. Reset your hands. The hands go to the box. Press yourself in, out into your plank.
Glue your legs. Hold it here. And from here, push your box out and in. And two and in. Glue those legs. Three.
And four. And five. And last time, six. Round your back. Bring yourself in. Tuck your tail.
Come down to your knees or your feet. Have a seat or lift your hips up. Lift the chest up. So we’re back in our little transition and open the arms. And one more set here. Come down to the elbows.
Now, of course, you do not have to move on, but push out and find your plank. Some of you will just stay on two feet or try drawing one knee in and then pushing the box out and in for two, for three, last time, four. Changing legs, other knee in. And then pressing out and two and three and four. Back to your plank.
Bring the carriage in. Round the back. Move to your transition, coming up on the knees or sitting up, lifting the chest, opening the arms. And then everybody down on your knees, together. Big transition here. Quarter turn to your right.
So think about this being kneeling side kick set up. Your foot is gonna come right in line with your hip on the ledge. Put your forearm down away from you on the box and then just press your leg straight. And you want a really straight line from your hip to your foot. The hand is behind the head.
From here, rotate down and rotate center. And rotate down, stay there. And open. I’m gonna change my setup, down, just to show you a little different setup of the same exercise. Down and open. Stay right here.
Now, here’s a big transition, another big transition. Bring your hand down to the box. Step into your foot. Lift the bottom leg up. So hold plank here. And then if you’d like, take the hand away.
Just hold this, Elizabeth. Don’t move, Elizabeth. Or you can add a rotation for three, for two, for one. We’re out. Hand comes down. Knee comes down, bring the carriage in. Turn and face the back of the machine.
Inhale, lift those arms up and open the arms. Turn and face the other direction. You should be better at this on the second side. Place the foot in line with your hip on the ledge. Put your forearm down away from you on the box.
Push the leg straight. And then just kind of take a moment to settle into this side shape. Knee is still down. Knee is still down, Elizabeth. Hand comes behind the head. And from here, rotate down to the box and then to center.
And you see I’ve changed my foot position ’cause eventually, most of you will try it here. Rotate down and up and stay here. Bring your top hand down onto the box. Use your hand to help you. Lift the bottom leg up and hook it under the leg.
You can stay here with the hand down. You can take the hand away and then I’m just gonna add a little rotation. Just keep breathing, Elizabeth. Keeping the hips still regardless what you’re doing. And then take your hand down, take the knee down, bring the carriage in.
Good. And we’re gonna turn around and we’re gonna face forward again. So we’re kind of back to where we started. Place your feet. You know what’s coming. Be up nice and tall.
And from here, come into your chair position, your beautiful chair. And again, maybe your hands are down, maybe your hands in prayer. I really don’t care. Oh, it’s a rhyme. Stay here. Hands go down to the foot bar and then push into your plank position again and hold it here.
We’re going into something I call Can-Can. So pull the leg in tight and hold it there. Flex the foot, reach it under the bar, and pull it in. Back under the bar, two, and in. And your foot might be going down here to the floor.
That’s fine. Let’s do one more. Reach and in. Let’s change legs. The other leg comes in tight. And then flex the foot, push it through, and in.
Two and in. Three. Think about the placement of those shoulders for me. Four and in. Put the foot back, bend your knees. Take a second. Just stay right here.
This is your little rest. Don’t move. Back to plank. Plank. We do the same thing with a twist. So pull the right knee across your body and stop, and then push out, and in. Two. Notice the shoulders are still square.
The rotation is in the pelvis only. One more. And let’s change sides. The other knee goes across the body and pressing out and in. Try to keep the machine still. Don’t twist your head.
Last time. Take the foot back. Bring the carriage in. Stay here. Pause. From here, push out to plank.
Hold it there. Straight line, crown of the head to the heel. The right knee pulls in tight. Stay there. The left leg comes in and out. So single leg stretch, single knee stretch feeling.
Two more here. And push. Last one. And push. Take the right foot back. Pull the left knee in. Stay there. The bottom leg comes in and out.
Now, don’t lift that booty. Keep that booty where it was. Connect with the heel. It’ll really help you. Last one. Two feet back. Come all the way in. We’re gonna go through the whole flow, the whole little transition here.
So we’re coming into chair. Chair. From here, slowly stand up, getting vertical, getting long. Bring the hands in front of you. Imaginary wall, you slide down.
We’re heading into teaser. You might need your hands, maybe not. Tuck your tail. Lower yourself down. Find whatever teaser you’d like to find. Keep your breath.
Keep your intention. Bend the knees into ball shape. It’s a tight ball shape. Bring the feet back down. And lift back to your chair. Chair.
Whatever chair you want. (laughs) Hands to the foot bar. Come out to plank. Stay here. Pull the right knee into your chest tight.
Listen carefully, stretch the leg out straight and put it down on the platform. Isn’t that nice? Now, one big, long stretch. Enjoy this. Enjoy this. Enjoy this.
And now from here, the front knee bends and it comes forward and it hits the bar, sort of in a little lunge. Stay here. Just feeling that nice opening through the front of the hip, maybe you take the arms up, maybe you don’t. From wherever you’re at, put the weight into the hands and take the front foot all the way back to the box. You’re in plank.
The other knee pulls in tight. Stretch the leg out straight. Put it down on the platform. Push open, open, open, open, enjoying that stretch. Maybe if you’re super Gumby, your hands might need to come all the way down to the frame.
Wherever you’re at, begin to bend the front leg. It’ll touch the foot bar. Hold it here. Maybe hands are up, maybe they’re not, super straight back leg. Hands to the foot bar. Take your two feet back to plank.
Hold it there. Bend your knees in. From here, stretch your leg straight and stand on your feet. Some of you will sit right away. We’re doing a figure four. Let’s take the right foot and cross it over.
Bend the standing leg. Let’s really make sure this is flexed. And now, maybe you just sit down on the carriage. That’s fine. Maybe you stand here. Wherever you’re at, try to make your spine as long as you can.
Maybe the hands go over the head, maybe the hands are in prayer, but let’s just be here for a moment and find stillness and let your standing foot just melt into the carriage. Okay. The hands go down. Let’s change sides. The other leg comes up and over, flex the foot, bend the standing leg. And again, maybe you have just decided to sit and keep your back straight, which is lovely too.
Wherever you’re at, you’re in a place where you feel a good stretch and you’re able to release, you’re able to get into that zoning, let go. From here, hands to the foot bar, the legs are straight. Open your feet, hip distance. From here, round your back into cat. And inhale, open the chest into cow.
Heart goes forward. And round the back, really changing the spine. Inhale into cow. Shoulders out of the ears. And round your back.
And inhale into cow. And bring your hands to prayer and bend your knees into the bottom of a squat and stand yourself up, hands by your side. And back down, two. And up, hands by the side, getting tall. Three. Bringing those hips forward, getting vertical.
Four, and up. And last time, five and up. Stay here. Inhale. Lift the arms up over your head. Chest goes up. Circle the arms down.
Anything that feels good works for me, guys. And inhale. There’s not a right or a wrong way here. It’s just up to what feels good on your body. And last time. Inhaling to lift. Exhale, press the arms down.
Have a seat, cross your ankles, get comfortable. Bring the palms down onto your knees. Close your eyes. And observe the effects of your practice. And remember, that it’s this internal feeling that brings us back to our practice, Pilates, which is a practice and a process.
Thank you guys for joining me. I hope you enjoyed it. I really enjoyed putting it together. Take care.