Summer 2021 Reformer Series

This is the SECRET PAGE for my Summer 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.

Class 1

A nice, solid full-body workout without any total surprises. Thanks so much for rolling with the hybrid format and working out in tandem with the in-studio folks. 

Tip for the 100: you can try the prep move that we used in today’s class. Tabletop your knees, pull your handles down toward your hip and try lifting your head to get your upper abs to kick in. If your neck grips or is uncomfortable, today is a “head down” day.  

Tip for Short Spine Massage: whenever you’ve had a break from reformer work, it’s ok to NOT lift your hips in Short Spine Massage. For my body, I usually don’t lift on rep #1 — I just see how a conservative movement feels and then decide if I want to go for the lift. 

Click Here for Class #1 Video

Class 2 

We used Class #1 as our base, and changed up a few things:

  • Footwork switched from Double leg to Single Leg
  • We added V-drops to Footwork
  • We swapped out Single Arm Pulls for the Evil Abdominal series (use the Single Arm Pull technique when you finish each exercise in this series)
  • Added: Scooter
  • Added: a twist to your kneeling lunge. A great way to boost your hip flexor stretch! 
  • Added: Poll Pulls
  • Added: Swan Push
  • Short Box Stab a Viking — we added a front reach

Tip for Single Leg Footwork: don’t allow your working knee to wobble. OK to drop your spring weight until you can control that joint.

Tips for Eve’s Lunge & Scooter: if either of these exercises is a bit hard to control, try lowering your spring weight — ok to just use 1 Red spring.

Click Here for Class #2 Video

Class 3

Today’s class starts with side-lying footwork, a great way to get the seat to engage. We used foot loops for the 100 to support the legs — nice to be able to focus on the upper abdominals!

New Exercises:

  • Scissors with foot loops. Do this one on 1 Red + 1 Blue Spring (everyone.) Ok to start with the legs lower than vertical, if it’s tough to get the movement to happen
  • Down Stretch (knees down, hips forward) Do this one on 1 Red + 1 Green Spring. (Rhonda, do: 1 Red + 1 Yellow) The point of this exercise is to LENGTHEN the spine, so keep sending energy out through your arms and legs.
  • Up Stretch (Hips UP!) Do this one on 1 Red + 1 Green Spring. (Rhonda, do: 1 Red + 1 Yellow) Think, 1, 2, 3 when you do this exercise — 1) lower the hips, 2) close the shoulder to close the carriage and 3) keep the carriage closed as you lift the hips up.

Click Here for Class #3 Video

Class 4

We used Class #3 as our base, and changed up a few things:

  • warm up using “Jack style” footwork — 1 press with narrow feet followed by 1 press with wide feet
  • Evil abdominal series. OK, using the loops on the hands was a bit of a train wreck for some students! Here’s what can happen: if your hands don’t have enough intrinsic (internal) musculature, the loop bends your hand into an uncomfortable shape, putting pressure on nerves. If that’s you, ALWAYS USE THE HANDLES ON THE HANDS.
  • Instead of Scooter for working the Glutes & hamstrings, we used the short box for a leg press. In later classes, I adjusted the carriage farther away from the footbar for students with long legs — it fixed 99% of the issues we had in the 9:15 class.
  • Rocking Swan on the long box. The position is: face down in the box, navel just off the box. Some folks don’t like the pressure on the low belly, in that case, OK to skip it.

Click Here for Class #4 Video

Class 5

Today’s class adds a BOOSTER to footwork: V feet, heels on the bar. Press out halfway, then do ten 1-inch pulses. Engage the seat! You’re pulling extra bloodflow into your hips to help you loosen up lower-body tightness.

New Exercises:

  • V Power Pulse (footwork)
  • Backstroke with and without handles
  • Low Row
  • High Curl
  • Short Box Arms Swimming

Click Here for Class #5 Video

Class 6

Class 6 is based on class 5, with some detours!

New Exercises:

  • Long Box Rolldown
  • Long Box Backward Row Round
  • Long Box Backward Row Flat

Click Here for Class #6 Video

Class 7

New Exercises:

  • Rolling Bridge
  • Standing Rotation
  • Teaser Balance
  • Teaser Leg Lifts
  • Seated Chest Expansion (highly recommended: heat the collar bone zone before chest expansion and Teaser leg lifts)

Click Here for Class #7 Video

Class 8

New Exercises:

  • Footwork in wide plie
  • Beginning Semi Circle
  • Backstroke breathing (fun times!)
  • Short Box in Diamond Leg Position

Click Here for Class #8 Video

Class 9: Hips & Hamstrings Re-set

I’ve been noticing some tight people these days, so that’s the class focus for this week. IMO, hamstrings get a bum rap — when you can’t hinge over….it’s not always the hamstrings that are limiting movement in your hip. We’ll hit the hammies AND the other usual suspects 

New Exercises this week:

  • Sippy Bird as an assessment
  • Standing Magic Squat
  • Footwork Power Pulses
  • Footwork Heel drop & lift
  • Footstraps Wide Frog
  • Footstraps Semi Circle legs
  • Standing Straddle stretch
  • Knee Stretch Knees Off
  • Long Box Push Ups
  • Short Box in Diamond Leg Position
  • Hamstring MET

Click Here for Class #9 Video

Class 10: Hips & Hamstrings Re-set, part 2

Continuing our theme of un-locking your hips from Class 9. Did you know: when your hips are locked, your spine will compensate for that lack of mobility? That means: your spine will move inappropriately — in a way that poorly affects your discs and nerves. 

I SO wish that I’d taped the 10:30 class on July 22. 1 guy in class, plus 6 gals. After I explained that the Wide Frog is often a better hip opener for those with a female pelvis, I asked the 1 guy if he felt any difference. Nope. Then I asked the gals: 100% said they got more hip stretch! (why? female pelves are broader than male pelves, so aligning the legs for that changes the stretch. now you also know the plural of pelvis.)  

New Exercises this week:

  • Advanced Magic Squat, using the short box (BIG change here!)
  • Allan’s Lunge
  • Saw on the Short Box
  • Power Line concept (this concept kept coming back in many exercises)
  • Crunch concept (this concept kept coming back in many exercises)
  • Click Here for Class #10 Video

Class 11: Neuro tricks for getting allll the muscles online

We’ve got the Magic Squat, and it IS phenomenal. This week, we’re adding more neurological tricks to all of your muscles to engage, which also means: the over-workers will begin to work at a more appropriate level. I like to use the Arm Check or Sippy Bird Check to assess your body’s response to all of these tricks.  You could also try checking: leg length, ability to forward bend or the ability to turn your head left vs right. 

New Exercises this week:

  • Magic Push up
  • Coordination
  • Backward Row on the Box (no straps)
  • Pole Pulls

Click Here for Class #11 Video

Class 12: Neuro tricks for getting allll the muscles online, part 2

Tony had a good comment in class: hey, has “scoop up the kittens” gone away? Lol – some phrases just get put on the back burner from time to time….yet the CONCEPT is STILL THERE!  The last week or 2, I’ve been talking about the CRUNCH concept to help students get more out of their upper abdominals. Whenever I say CRUNCH, please DO also SCOOP.

New Exercises this week:

  • Short Box Round Back – use your upper ab crunch!
  • Short Box Flat Back – tiny chin tuck! You’re barely nodding your bowling ball head, yet this turns on the upper abs.
  • Short Box Stab a Viking – wide elbows! The idea here: LOW ARMPITS = better access to your upper abdominals.

*YOU MIGHT BE SPECIAL: If wide elbows (vs elbows pointed forward) causes your armpits to lift, then you’re SPECIAL and should go more narrow. 

Click Here for Class #12 Video

joe and clara
Joe and Clara sitting on a Devana — this was a cover that went over a reformer to make it more of a chaise lounge in your home. The barrel at the end was functional!

My sleuth-friend, Elaine Ewing found more archival Pilates pics and articles! The focus of her posts today was using Pilates apparatus to increase vocal endurance and projection. While we were talking about it on Facebook, one of our Pilates teacher friends said, “oh yes, when I was 14 and singing in The Sound of Music, Roberta Peters taught me Mr Herman’s breathing techniques AND Mr Pilates’ breathing techniques.” (for the Opera fans in the house, this is SO cool — Roberta Peters is a legend!)

Click here for some fab articles about famous voice coach William Herman with pics of Pilates equipment

Click here for fab articles about actress Mary Martin with pics of Pilates equipment

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