Spring 2021 Reformer Series

This is the SECRET PAGE for my Spring 2021 Reformer class students; please don’t share the page or the links with other people. I’ll update it each week, after class has occurred. You won’t have to search in your emails for links — they’ll all live here!

How to get to the Zoom class (same info for all classes for the entire semester!)

Welcome back, my friends! For notes on spring weights, scroll to the bottom of this page.

New Focus for this semester

We’re exporing ways to activate more of the muscles around your 3-dimensional pelvis and legs. Generally, most bodies tend to use front & back muscles quite a bit and side muscles far less. Activating inner and outer thigh muscles takes the burden off front/back muscles, creating better balance, stability and mobility. That means: tight folks will gain more movement; loose folks will gain more stability. 

Class 1 

This is a great series for when you need to baby a cranky knee — it happens!

New exercises for this week: front split with airplane arms TWIST; front split with airplane arms TILT; standing Crescent lunge + Twist + Tilt; Long Box Prone (face down) straight leg lifts; Long Box Prone bent leg lifts; swan push-ups; Box on Floor Teaser Progressions; strap stretch “crouch to cross.”

Click Here for Class #1 Video

Class 2 

There were no cranky knees today, so we added some work for strengthening & stabilizing your knees! Generally, controlled small range pulses during footwork will help build the muscles surrounding your knees. Standing lunges are also great for this — totally ok to add some hand weights if you’re wanting to increase your muscle mass (muscle burns more calories than fat, just sayin.)

This week, we’re adding an advanced position to the Classic Short Box series: Diamond Legs. Like most Pilates exercises, it’s weird at first! Changing your leg rotation in the hip socket asks your body to control your movement using different muscle fibers — the ones on the inner & outer thigh. Tip: I like working on this position sitting on the short box on the floor, which means you’ve really gotta press your feet together and down (there’s no strap to save you!) Yeah, we could do that up on the reformer, but there’s some risk in falling off when you’re not using the strap. Better to practice on the floor, where you can’t fall very far.

New exercises for this week: 100 with footloops; semi-circle legs with footloops; Short Box in Diamond Leg position; Evil Seat series all-4’s using the short box; Shoulder rotations.

Click Here for Class #2 Video

Class 3

This class added more hip focus by turning you on your side. TIP: the spring weight is heavier when you put your foot on the footbar and lighter when you’re using the foot strap. The change in difficulty is an example of Open Kinetic Chain vs Closed Kinetic Chain.

New exercises for this week: Side-lying footwork; side-lying leg strap, Stork; Down stretch; Front Split with side tilt; Front Split with twist;  Barrel stretches on the Long Box

Click Here for Class #3 Video

Class 4

This class starts out with some play comparing narrow foot position to hip-width position. Then we move to working the midline, and LOTS of Long Box exercises.

New exercises for this week: supine triceps pulldown; supine Y pulldown; supine T pulldown; reverse knee stretch; Star 1 (elephant with feet turned to the side);Seated shoulder rotations, Zena pulls

Click Here for Class #4 Video

fridge
My newly organized fridge! Game changer items: lazy susans and stackable glass containers from Rubbermaid that all use the same size lid.
elaine malbin reformer
Oh, cool — things we don’t often see in Pilates studios these days! See that fab hand-grab bar that Elaine is using while Joe gets her foot position just right? Who wants to make some of these for my studio???
elaine malbin backbend
Elaine Malbin working on Spread Eagle on the Cadillac. Where else do we see this position in Pilates?
elaine malbin side leg
Internationally acclaimed opera singer Elaine Malbec using leg springs at Joe Pilates’ studio in NYC.

Spring Notes:

Peak springs: Red = Extra Heavy; Yellow = Heavy; Blue = Medium; Green = Light

BB Springs: Red = Heavy; Blue = Medium; Yellow = Light

Spring Settings for Exercises We’ve done this semester:

  • Footwork: all springs or drop 1
  • Side-lying Footwork: 1 Red + 1 Blue for all spring manufacturers
  • Iron Legs Footwork
    • Peak Springs: 2 Yellow + 1 Red
    • BB Springs: 2 Red + 1 Blue
  • Bridging
    • Peak Springs: 1 Red + 1 Blue + 1 Yellow
    • BB Springs: 2 Red + 1 Blue (if that feels too heavy, swap the Blue for a Yellow)
  • 100
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue (heavier option: 1 Red + 1 Yellow)
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue (heavier option: 2 Red)
  • Rolldown facing the pulleys: 1 Red + 1 Blue for all spring manufacturers
  • Coordination
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue (heavier option: 1 Red + 1 Yellow)
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue (heavier option: 2 Red)
  • Backward Row (round + flat)
    • Peak Springs: 1 Yellow
    • BB Springs: 1 Red
  • Forward Row (Hug a Tree + Shaving)
    • Peak Springs: 1 Yellow
    • BB Springs: 1 Red
  • Long Stretch
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green (lighter option: 1 Red only)
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow (lighter option: 1 Red only)
  • Down Stretch
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green (lighter option: 1 Red only)
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow (lighter option: 1 Red only)
  • Up Stretch
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green (lighter option: 1 Red only)
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow (lighter option: 1 Red only)
  • Elephant & 1-Leg Elephant
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green (lighter option: 1 Red only)
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow (lighter option: 1 Red only)
  • Knee Stretch Round/Flat/Knees Off:
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow (lighter option: 1 Red + 1 Blue)
    • BB Springs = 2 Red (lighter option: 1 Red + 1 Blue)
  • Running:
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow + 1 Blue
    • BB Springs = 2 Red + 1 Blue (always ok to drop a spring)
  • Long Box Pull Straps + Letter T + Seated Rotations
    • Peak Springs = 1 Yellow
    • BB Springs = 1 Red (lighter option for BB: 1 Blue + 1 Yellow)
  • Long Box Upper Body moves: criss-cross row + biceps curls + parallel row
    • Peak Springs = 1 Yellow + 1 blue
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow
  • Long Box Upper Body moves: straight arm pull back – alternating 1 arm
    • Peak Springs = 1 Blue
    • BB Springs = 1 Blue
  • Long Box Seated Sideways: rotations
    • Peak Springs = 1 Yellow
    • BB Springs = 1 Red
  • Long Box Seated Sideways: Swakatee (1-arm pull and arch)
    • Peak Springs = 1 Green
    • BB Springs = 1 Yellow
  • Short Box
    • Peak Springs = 2 Yellow + 1 Red
    • BB Springs = 2 Red + 1 Blue
  • Leg Straps: Frog, Circles, Stag, Short Spine (use medium setting when using squishy ball under hips)
    • Peak Springs = medium setting is 1 Red + 1 Blue; heavy setting is 1 Red + 1 Yellow
    • BB Springs = medium setting is 1 Red + 1 Blue; heavy setting is 2 Red.
  • Front Split
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow
  • Eve’s Lunge
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow
  • Supine Arm Pulls (straight + Letter T)
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue
  • Evil Abs (single leg stretch, double leg stretch, single straight leg, double straight leg, helicopter)
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue
  • Long Box using Posts (pole pulls and shoulder stretches)
    • Peak Springs = 1 Blue
    • BB Springs = 1 Blue
  • Lunge Series (Eve, Scooter, Allen)
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green (Lighter option: 1 Yellow + 1 Green )
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow (Lighter option: 1 Red only)
  • Round Stretch (part of Elephant series)
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Green
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow
  • Single Leg Footwork
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Yellow + 1 Blue
    • BB Springs = 2 Red + 1 Blue
  • Backstroke
    • Peak Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue
    • BB Springs = 1 Red + 1 Blue
  • Teaser
    • Peak Springs = 1 Yellow
    • BB Springs = 1 Red