SAW + ROWING VARIATION
This is not the only saw variation I do on the reformer. I actually have several that I love. I think if you can give a little feedback in this classical mat exercise, it reframes it for the client for a whole new experience. This is one reason I love transplanting mat exercises to the equipment. A few notes about the exercise: I've choked up on the rope so I have tension throughout the full range of movement. I like this on a blue or a red spring. A blue to slow down and feel every inch and a red to really work the rotation in both directions. I would sequence this with my spine stretch variation (below) and some rowing back variations.
I love anything that plays with a two-way stretch. And I love being forced to slow down. Here, I'm on a yellow spring, moving from a standing lunge to a (very yoga-esque) long line. My goal was to maintain neutral and the stability through the centerline. I'm conscious of the effort to root to reach - in order to feel stable and strong here. I'm inhaling on my way down into the lunge and exhaling on the lift & reach. If you are comfortable here, you could progress into some standing arm circles, holding the lunge low or "serving" variation. ***With all standing work, move slowly and use a spot if this isn't part of your existing practice.
SPINE STRETCH & EXTEND
I love playing with a very simple mat exercise, like spine stretch, rearranging it slightly - without losing the principles. With a blue spring here, I'm feeling some nice work through the upper back. I like to use this as a "posture-teaching" tool as well as a "posture strengthener". The flexion forward with the support of the core and axial length contrasted with the extension back feels really nice. And the contrast itself is a great awareness tool. I'm exhaling forward, inhaling back. I like the straps crossed for some scapular stability & awareness. This is awesome on a lighter or heavier spring to change the emphasis. You can also keep this very simple to start by simply teaching the spine stretch portion, bringing the back upright.
SIDE SPLITS WITH DISCS
I started using the rotation discs addressing my own SI Joint dysfunction. Internal rotation is so important for this. I use the discs in a number of ways for this purpose. Here, it's an abduction in medial rotation and adduction in lateral. I like to cue the femur to "spiral in the hip". I'm focusing on the glute strength here so I'm on a high red spring, exhaling on the abduction. I find it really valuable to do this on a lighter spring to get that inner thigh connection. Taking the springs off completely and holding the carriage in while rotating in and out is a great challenge. The discs present endless options and are a great indicator for what's going on in the hips.
MERMAID RIB ROLL
I've been giving a lot of attention to the ribs lately - because of their role in Postpartum healing and just core function in general. So I've been exploring different ways to get the ribs moving. This has been one of my favorites so far. I'm on a blue spring, initiating from my pelvis with the intention of articulating through my ribs like I would through my spine. The breath is an exhalation on the roll back, inhalation on the lift. Think of the heart leading you up. The infinity bar is on the second from the last notch. I like to prep for this one with a reverse mermaid, pulling on the sideband toward the bar. You can play with mermaid to get the ribs ready to move.
Detailed work through the feet and spontaneous movement make this a favorite of mine. I like to use two to three springs, depending on the person/intention. On a lighter spring I will move in slow motion, cueing to "move through mud". And on a heavier spring I will cue for spontaneity, not overthinking it. I will typically prep for this one with some pinkie ball rolling and feet strengtheners with the small black Yamuna balls. The most basic challenge is obviously to keep the pelvis still, while the feet and ankles are working hard against the springs. Something about the coordination on this one is always so much harder that I expect. This is a great progression from a prance or a single leg press. You can add in more beats of calve raises to test the brain too.
SINGLE LEG JUMP
This is something I started doing to reintroduce supine jump board repertoire, for myself, postpartum & its now a staple with all my PP clients. What I love so much about this is the isometric contraction to create stability in the pelvis. I'm actively pressing the lifted leg into my hands. For someone who is having trouble connecting to deep stabilizers, this is a great tool; anything where you can create stability and sensation. I'm on a red and a yellow spring for a focus on pelvic stability and core connection. Exhale to jump. Play with straightening the lifted leg on the jump, without moving the thigh and progress bringing arms along your sides.
STOMACH MASSAGE JUMP
Challenging that deep abdominal connection is always hard to do because it seems like as soon as we add load or intensity, the rest of the body takes on more of the work. That's why I like this so much. Here, I'm set to one red spring - but this would be a fantastic challenge the lighter you can take it. I would definitely work up to this with a small ball placed behind the sacrum. Playing with the breath opposite of stomach massage, exhaling on the way out feels great here and sends the message to all those deep stabilizers. It would be really easy to prep for this with stomach massage and advance into one leg jumping, one leg over the board.
ROTATION WITH THE DOWEL
I like the simplicity & the inner heat of the breath on this one. With two extended arms, I'm not tempted to pull or push from my arms. And seated in mermaid, I'm working very hard to find my center, find balance, find my core. I like to cue spiraling to rotate knee to knee, limiting the range, and reaching both sitz bones straight down (even if you can't level them completely). Once set up, I mostly focus on the breath leading the rotation; making sure to inhale way back into the ribs. exhaling on exertion. That breath is what brings the heat so make it strong and percussive. Just one blue or red spring for this one. For the client that wants to be challenged, you can use this mindful preparation to lead into the same rotation in a teaser position.