Pilates Reformer – Lower Body Exercises

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 62,845
    Fitness Expert Tanya Merryman demonstrates how to do pilates reformer lower body exercises.

    Tanya Merryman: Hi! I'm Tanya Merryman and we are doing the full body workout on Pilates reformer machine. We are going into the clip, which is going to be our lower body exercises. Before I begin, I want to make sure I adjust the resistance. I am going to use all resistance on, for this exercises, laying my foot bar down, and again, laying back on to the carriage having the shoulder pads resting against my shoulders. I am taking my feet to a parallel position. These are going to be our leg presses, I am pushing my heals into my foot bar, relaxing my arms down, preparing with a nice big inhale breath, exhaling as I send the carriage away, inhaling back down, exhaling out, inhaling back down, exhaling out. As we learned in the warm up, we want to make sure we are in proper alignment. I am going to press my hands against those hip bones making sure that they remain flat. As I am sending the carriage away, I am focusing on my core muscles, so I feel my lower belly, nice and tight. I feel my ribcage engaged, I am going to release and relax right there, as I go into another position. Dropping my toes down, so my heels are resting below the foot bar, and I am going to turn my toes out, we call this first position, keeping my heels together. I am going to feel this more through my inner thighs. I am going to take a breath in, exhaling, sending the carriage away and now I am starting to zipper through those inner thighs, lengthening, feeling a nice strengthening of my legs, the same time my body temperature is going up, always aware of what my core is doing. So my rib cage is engaged, pressing into the carriage, I am not putting any tension into my shoulder pads, and then I am keeping my hip bones nice and flat and I want to think about getting longer and stronger as I go through the movement pattern. We are going to release it back down, bringing my feet back to parallel and then taking them wide on my foot bar but pointing my knees apart, and as I extend on this one, I am still feeling like I am zippering through the inner thighs, but again, lengthening in a different position which we are going to feel more on the outer thighs. I like to keep the hands right on the hip bones, making sure they are pressing into the carriage. Ribs are nice and strong, breathing gets louder to increase the strengthening through the core, always be aware of a nice long neck. Exhaling out, bringing you back down. Into another variation, we call this high heel, as if you are wearing high heeled shoes, I want to keep those heels up nice and high, keeping those hip bones pressed down, inhale to prepare on all of our movements. Exhale to send the carriage away. I can also make this harder, by going a little bit slower. As we go slower, you hit those muscle fibers a little bit more intense because they have to control the movement pattern and then as you get better and more efficient, you can feel all those same muscle fibers working, by going out at a little bit faster pace and staying in that nice high heal position and again, it's nice to keep the hands on the hip bones, just to make sure those hips are leveled and I send it away and I bring it back down. I am going to stay extended around this one, I am going to drop a heel down, as I go into my calf raises, this is a nice extreme stretch, push up nice and tall, extending the other foot back down, below the foot bar and just going to a nice stretch, but again, we are always aware of the rib cage, the breath, and on our alignment. So you never want to have any tension in the neck and the shoulders and as you learned that on the reformer, you can take that into what you do everyday, sitting at your desk, handling your day-to-day stress and being very aware of your core controls. So these are our calf raises, I am going to bring it all the way back down and then I will see you for our standing leg work.