[Austin, Texas] Try These Pilates Reformer Exercises at Home in Standing WITHOUT a Reformer

Stephen: All right. All right. Hey what’s up guys? It’s Stephen from CORE Therapy & Pilates and today we’re going to be doing a quick class with Mrs. Julie, the wonderful Julie. And she basically said anything you can do on a reformer, you can do standing up.

So with that said, Julie’s gonna take over and teach about an eight to 10 minute little class so enjoy.

Julie: And good afternoon everybody.

Yeah. A lot of times people will come in and say, “Oh my gosh, I just love doing Pilates and I love being on a reformer, but I wish I had one of these machines at home.” Well, actually you can do the work standing up in a different plane of gravity than you often do your reformer workout, but working the same muscles, doing the same breathing pattern is moving the joints and mobilizing the spine. So we’re going to play around with it today.

So just think about doing your footwork. So I’m going to ask my lovely assistants to all stand in parallel about fist width a part on your feet, feeling all the toe knuckles on the floor. Still trying to find that elongation in the spine, neutral pelvis and now just start mobilizing your ankles, your knees, and your hips by folding and coming into gravity closer to the floor and now pushing away.

Yeah, you can play around with the breath. I personally like to use an inhale. I think it helps me get taller and then find that exhale of firing the abs, giving myself that kind of compression around the torso, like a huge big internal hug as I’m just mobilizing ankle, knee, hip, and then getting nice and tall. Now also, you can make this a little more interesting if you actually … yeah, let’s turn out the right legs. So take the right leg into a Pilates V position. The left leg stays in neutral, stay equally weighted. And now again, take an exhale as you come into gravity and inhale as you come away. This sort of movement I find very interesting because it does give you that feedback of real life, of often we do turn one leg out and keep one leg forward.

Also, think about if I decided that I wanted to turn and start going towards Cheryl, I would turn that leg to turn my body. So I love this idea of working asymmetrically, having one side of the body working one direction and the other side working the opposite.

So now come back guys and turn that left leg out and bring the right leg forward. I, of course I’m a nerd and I would do this standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. But if you would prefer not to do this in public, I would suggest, do it as the coffee is brewing in the morning or the water is boiling to make your oatmeal. So again, go through your footwork and in various positions, go a little wide, turn out, find that sumo wrestler squat and again, concentrate on getting a nice range of motion and each one of these joints still using that exhale, firing the abs.

So let’s see, we’ve done a little bit of a parallel. We’ve done some wonky turned out positions. And then also in this wide stance, I would be willing to bet that everybody kind of starts feeling like you’ve got a little looseness in your hips. This is the other piece that I really love to that I often ask my clients to do when they’re standing and starting to feel the low back get tight, is just come back into a little bit wider than parallels. So maybe the feet about is what is your body, and then start weight shifting as if you were making a figure eight and so you come through the center of the body and then weight shift to one foot, and then roll back and then come through the center, and it’s just a weight shift. Then start practicing of can you mobilize the legs around in the pelvis too.

I love this one when I get up first thing in the morning and feeling a little cranky. I think it also starts, especially if you’ve been standing for a while or actually seated for a while, of just getting some movement in that joint. I’ve actually had one client who said, “Hey, I had to stand for a while and I felt my back seizing up and I just started doing these really subtle little figure eights” and it was a really nice way of keeping the strain out of her low back.

Now, continuing on, I mentioned, I’m also wanting to stress to you that we need to move our spine, not just our legs and our arms, but also our spines. So if you’ll think about sometimes, when we do the hundred on the reformer, when we have just that chest lift and a little bit of a curl, do that in standing. It’s very interesting where you can feel where you are in space here of getting that elongation. Think about hollowing the belly, pulling the ribs down towards the hips and can you feel that space that you get in the back of the ribs? And then just come back up to upright now.

So just the chest lift becomes a completely different sensation when you’re doing it upright and just learning to mobilize that thoracic spine. It’s also interesting where you’ll learn where your head is. A lot of times when you curl up on our back, we tend to lead with our neck. See if you can now find that chest lift in the uprights by just bowing.

We can also do rotation in this position. I love it with my hands together at my heart, pressing into the feet, getting very tall, and now can you just feel the ribs rotating east and west? Think about taking your hands to one thigh and then another in the opposite. Just inviting that little bit of rotation while you’re still keeping the pelvis. Very stable and very level, so hips forward, elongate, and just go side to side.

Okay, I’ve had you all do that was in my classes sitting on the box or just sitting upright, but now even do them as you hip hinge forward. So send those thighs back flat back, hinge forward. Still bring your hands to your heart and now rotate in this plane, trying to keep the spine in a very elongated … so find that space between the tailbone and the crown of the head.

Again, it’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? It’s the same thing as if I had had you do it on the reformer, just a lot more interesting. Now come back up and the last thing, let’s talk about a little bit of an extension. It will feel great if you’ll put your hands on your hips, elbows wide, push into the feet, lift the heart, the collarbone and your eyes up to the ceiling, and now let the hips go just a little bit forward as you continue to pull your heart up to the ceiling, and get that sense of inhale and expansion through the rib cage.

And now as you exhale, try to lengthen the back of the neck and drop your eyesight to the horizon. Hold that elongation and that stretch for a couple of breaths, and you’ve actually built some tone in this standing position.

So guys, do you feel great?


The only thing that I would add, because we’ve got a couple of minutes, don’t cut me off.

I think you sound like me.

Stephen’s trying to cut me off.

Let’s actually do one side bend. Okay? So just take the right arm up to the ceiling, disconnect that shoulder, try to reach that top shelf in the closet. And now think about picking that corresponding rib cage up to the ceiling as you side bend over your grounding through the foot. Take a big inhale into that rib cage. And now, lift yourself back up and let that left arm just slide down to the floor. Feel how much longer you feel on that right side. Now, do it on the left. Elongate, side bend, take an inhale, and exhale now. You’re coming back up to the ceiling nice and tall.

All the moves that we always do in a reformer workout, a little footwork, spinal mobilization in all planes. Flex, extend, side bend, and rotate. It’s a reformer workout on just upright in standing. So give it a try. Thanks for joining us today. Bye-bye.

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