Pilates Exercises with Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez | Cirque It Out #7 – Reformer Workout

Hi, I?m Laurie Hernandez and welcome to Cirque It Out from Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas Usually, we workout with artists from various Cirque shows but today, we have a special guest, me! I?ll be working with Sarah, a Pilates instructor from The Beatles LOVE

I may be a gold medalist in gymnastics, but I still have a lot to learn if I want to work out the CirqueWay Ready to workout the CirqueWay? Let?s Cirque It Out [Cirque It Out A Fitness Series by Cirque du Soleil] [You should consult your physician before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs Do not start this fitness program if your physician or health care provider advises against it If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising, you should stop immediately

] Hey Sarah, I?ve never done Pilates before so what can I expect for today? Well, the great thing about Pilates is that it?s an amazing tool for ensuring that we?re using the right muscles, the right actions We?re gonna work today on exercises to strengthen your core and use it generate movements We?re also gonna do some upper body work focusing on really stabilizing through your shoulders The goal is to build good habits to your body allowing for stable supported movement and muscles that work with ease and efficiency no matter what the activity – That sounds incredible, let?s get to it

– All right Before beginning Pilates just like any other exercise program, you do want to consult your physician and make sure it?s ok for you to do Also, like any exercise program if at any point you don?t feel right doing it or something feels painful, you do want to stop We?re gonna start on this main piece of Pilates equipment, the reformer If you don?t have access to a reformer, it?s all right, you can do most of these movements on the floor

All right Laurie so I?m gonna have you lie down on the carriage You can set your feet up on the bar We?re gonna begin by just locating some of the deeper core muscles We?re gonna start by resting the hands on the low abdominals below the bellybutton and just taking a few deep breaths What you?ll notice is the abdominals rise on the inhale, fall on the exhale and what you?re gonna start to do is maintain that pulling in on your inhales, let the abdominals fall even more on the exhales

What you?ll notice is a little bit of gentle work happening low and deep in your abdominals; in Pilates we call this the scoop or the naval-to-spine, it?s gonna support the majority of the movements that you do Keeping that scoop, that pulling-in, bring your hands behind your head Ok so maintaining that scoop, that pulling-in through your low abdominals, I?d like you to take a deep breath and on your exhale, you?re gonna curl your upper body up like a crunch but I?d like you to try to pull all the way up off of your shoulder blades Keep going A little more

Good And then back down Good So, this movement should initiate with the scoop and then follow through the torso Again

Great And back down One more time, this time I?m gonna have you hold it Fantastic I?d like you to take another breath and on your exhale, you?re gonna add a small tailbone tuck to this movement using the lower abdominals

That?s perfect Drop the tailbone down, and then you can roll down to your upper body Let?s do that again Uh-huh And you can really go piece-by-piece on this one, drop the tailbone and roll down

One more time This time I?d like you to really focus on keeping the shoulder blades off of the mat as you tuck the tailbone, the tailbone tuck can be tiny Great Drop the tailbone and roll down Beautiful

So now we?re layering abdominal muscles and core muscles on top of each other, let?s layer even more Curl up into that upper body round again On your next breath, I?d like you to twist away from me Now from here let?s add that tailbone tuck-in Great

Drop the tailbone and now I?d like you to come up to center as high as you can through your upper body before you come back down Beautiful You can untwist and roll down Let?s go to the other side So, we?re gonna curl up to the upper body, rotate through the rib cage, tuck the tailbone, drop the tailbone, contract back to center and roll down

Beautiful It?s a lot – Can we do one more set? – Yes – This one is a nice one because it really uses every layer of abdominal muscle that you have All right, let?s go again

Upper body curls, rotate and then tuck the tailbone Good Drop the tailbone, round up to the middle and roll down Last one towards me Good

Rotate You can use your legs to stabilize, that?s ok, yes Up to centre and down If you don?t have a reformer, you can do this with your feet up on the chair or even straight up in the air I?d like to add on a little bit of upper body resistance for you

– Sounds good – So, let?s have you bring your legs off of the bar into a tabletop position so your knees will be over your hips, feet straight up from that and I?m gonna give you these fancy handles to hold on to You can just put your hands in the loops, good, and take your arms straight up to the ceiling Ok You?re gonna do the same upper body curls but this time you?re gonna pull with your arms a bit too so now you?ve got some spring tension resistance

Let?s use an exhale Uh-huh, so you can reach your arms down by your sides and curl up Yes, come back down Good Now what I?d like you to do, now that you know how the machine is gonna move, I?d like you to really pull down with your lats here, right away

You feel the difference in the movement? – Yeah – Great And then rolling back down Very nice So, the goal is to get the pull to happen kind of from your armpit instead of from your pecs

– That?s different – Yeah, again Very very nice And back down On the next one, I?m gonna have you hold it

Beautiful So, we?ve got two contractions working here The lats pulling the arms down from underneath and we also have the abdominals curling up You?re gonna take 5 deep breaths and as you breathe, I want you to keep increasing both of those contractions so you?re gonna reach longer with the arms and the armpits and curl up higher with the upper body every breath Uh-huh, and this works completely without equipment either, we?re just giving Laurie a little extra resistance to fight

Come on down Very nice All right, that?s one chunk [Something about spinal articulation?] All right, we?re now gonna use those core muscles and we?re gonna add in a little bit of upper body movement and spinal articulation for it So, you?ve got ropes in your hands with spring tension on them

You?re gonna pull your hands into your chest to just create a little bit of that nice stable tension and this is beautiful, you still have your lats and your shoulder blades locked down like in the previous exercise We?re gonna start with a little bit of spinal articulation and we?re gonna really generate it from the core so you?re gonna begin with that scoop we talked about in the beginning Use your exhale, curl your hips back and round back as though you were gonna lie down You?re gonna go about halfway Pull in through here around across my arm, yes, like that, good, and then you?re gonna come back up to sit, sit nice and tall once you get back on top of your tailbone, good

Again, think about really pulling back from the waist and from the abdominals rather than leaning back with your weight Exactly, use your exhale it will be so much easier And then round back up to sit Very nice, let?s do one more and you?re gonna think about really going back one vertebrae at a time Beautiful

And coming back up You can do this again without the machine with either a band around the feet which we?ll look at in a moment or just walking your hands down your legs All right, let?s now take that same spinal articulation with abdominal support and add an upper body movement We?re gonna take the hands into the chest here and begin with that same half-roll back you just did, tucking the tailbone, scooping through the abdominals From here, keep the support through the abdominals, press your arms open to the sides

Now, I?d like you to dive forward over your legs and press your arms behind your back Beautiful From here you can sweep your arms out to the side and stretch forward over your legs Round back up to sit Beautiful

Hands at the chest, shoulders are pressed down just like you had them before A half a roll-back and then press the arms open to the sides, continue pressing through the arms to round forward over the legs Beautiful Once you?re here, you can sweep the arms open and stretch forward Very nice

All right, we?ve done some upper body work so far rounding and articulating through the spine and also holding it neutral Now we?re gonna add in a little bit of extension or arching with the same stability through the shoulders So, Laurie you?re gonna walk your hands up the ropes about as far as you can reach without pulling the machine The straps will just hang open to the sides Very nice

Now this movement I?m gonna have you do on an inhale When you inhale, you?re gonna pull your arms straight back to your sides, think about rotating them open and reaching your chest forward Beautiful Exhale and lengthen back down That?s perfect

Again, so we?re really trying to rotate the arms from the shoulders, open, you?ll feel a pull through here right between the shoulder blades as you lift the chest and lengthen back down Very nice Let?s do one more and on this one, really think about keeping the neck nice and long and neutral; it doesn?t need to throw back for the movement Still rotate, still push the chest forward Beautiful

And back down Great All right, now let?s move into an abdominal exercise that takes your body from a full stretch or extended position into a contraction Laurie, let?s have you lie back in an arch over the box, you can take your arms out to the sides, extend your legs together and you can let them fall This is gonna be our starting position

So just like we?ve been working on that spinal articulation coming up, Laurie is gonna roll up to sit lifting her legs at the same time The important thing to focus on here is moving really one section at a time so the first thing I?m gonna have you do is lift your head, you?re gonna use your exhale to start to contract through your rib cage, through your low-back, staying rounded through the waist and reaching the arms towards the legs as you sit up, coming back down in exactly the reverse, tucking and rounding through the tailbone, through the waist, ribs and finally the head Beautiful And back down This forces the abdominals to work a little bit harder since they?re actually working from a really extended or stretched position

If we wanted to, we can always add arm resistance or leg weights to challenge it All right, now let?s challenge all of that core and shoulder work that we?ve done so far with some planks Laurie you?re gonna get into a plank with your feet on the headrest, your hands on the bar I?d like you to tuck your tailbone and round your spine a little bit, puff up into my hand slightly, perfect Ok, for this movement you?re gonna push out with your arms keeping really strong and connected through your core

You are in control of how far you go When you?re ready to come in again, pull in through the lats really locking down the shoulders Excellent Lift your head slightly so that the neck is inline with the spine and let?s do 2 more Pressing away, squeezing the glutes, squeezing the inner thighs, scooping in through the abdominals and really driving the shoulder blades down the back

Beautiful Now we can always change this exercise to challenge it As we add more resistance, the shoulders will have to work harder and we can also take that resistance away to really pull the stability into the core Ok, last thing on the reformer here, you can go ahead and keep your hands on the bar, we?ll move your left foot against the shoulder rest and just go ahead and put your right foot up on the bar between your hands Perfect

So far, a lot of the work that we have done has been with spinal articulation but we?ve generally been flexed or neutral through the hips so we?re gonna give you a nice hip extension and put some of the work back into your legs before I let you go I?d like you to step up on to the bar into a big lunge so you can come up off of this back leg Go ahead and straighten the knee Very nice Ok

From here, square your hips off Really important to keep everything in alignment and whatever your range of motion is there, is what we work with Go ahead and keep the back legs strong, push out with the front leg You can continue holding on Very nice

And just bending in and out Now here we still want to keep the scoop in the belly to support the low-back so that the bend really happens in the joint of the hip and not just in the low-back Let?s do one more Beautiful Want to switch legs? – That?s good

– Great All right, so again, we?re really pushing Go ahead and squeeze this knee straight, yes Square the hips so they?re both equally distant and go ahead and push out from the front leg, very nice Again, if this is too much work through the back leg, you can always lower your back knee

Very nice All right, good work Laurie – Thanks [Something again!] All right, so a lot of this work we can do on the floor Using things like resistance bands helps a lot

So, I?m gonna give you this, you can hook it around your feet and just keep a nice strong grip in each hand You can even walk your hands up to give you, I?m sorry, quite a bit of tension here All right Sit up nice and tall You?re gonna have the scoop in the belly, the shoulder blades pulled down just like we did before

Essentially, you?re gonna lie down and sit back up so I?d like you to really articulate again through the spine pulling in through the scoop trying to move one vertebrae at a time Same thing coming back up, drop the shoulder blades, yes yes yes yes yes, good And again, tucking the tailbone, scooping the belly, press through the back of your legs to anchor your feet down into the floor Excellent And rolling back up the same way

Let?s do one more Very nice Excellent Go ahead and lie down on your back now You can keep your feet on the floor for this one

We?re gonna roll up to sit now with no band and no resistance You can walk your hands up your legs, that?s actually really ok to do if it lets you move with precision and control You?re gonna just sit up but again going one vertebrae at a time beginning with the head and shoulders, moving through the rib cage and then through the waist Go ahead and walk the hands up the legs You can even grab on to the back of the thighs to help and back down

Yes, really focusing on moving one vertebrae at a time maintaining that scoop through the belly; it?s so tempting to push out through the abdominals, but that loses a few layers of abdominal work Excellent Same thing now with the legs straight up to the ceiling As you roll up, they will tip forward but it?s the same idea, rolling up one vertebrae at a time and again you can use your hands on your legs, you can push to the back of the legs Very nice

Very nice And again, rolling up one vertebrae at a time, as you get to the top keep the inner thighs squeezed and lift your chest to balance Yes, beautiful Contract and roll back down Let?s do one more

Rolling up again rounding through the spine rolling one vertebrae at a time, at the end you can lift the spine and that will find your balance and you roll back down Lower your legs We?re gonna put everything together so now this looks like a V-Up but with the same control Rolling up one vertebrae at a time tucking the tailbone, you?ll feel your low-back pressed down into the floor just before your legs lift That?s beautiful

And back down It?s much easier if you?re breathing, every contraction is easier on the exhale Fantastic Back to that extension with upper body work, if you don?t have access to a machine, we can do it on the floor with a roller Laurie go ahead and lie down on your stomach

The roller is gonna be out in front of you under your forearms just passed the elbows or I should say just below the elbows, yeah, and you can lie down with your forehead down on the floor Ok, this is gonna be our starting position Palms will face one another so that the shoulders can stay really wide and open All right, this movement is gonna begin by drawing the shoulder blades down the back, your chest will lift and you pull the roller back towards you keeping your arms straight Good

Hold down through the lats, down through the shoulder blades and lengthen back out And again, this one I?d like you to do on an inhale and again, you?re gonna begin the movement by pulling the shoulder blades down the back You can even draw them together slightly behind your back, open the collarbone, open the chest and back down Let?s do another Think about arching as you come up

Exactly And back down And last one, shoulder blades pulled down Now the scoop is still in here supporting the low-back in this extension Fantastic

As you can see, even a gold medalist can learn something new when you workout the CirqueWay Don?t forget to get active with Cirque du Soleil in our next episode See you soon [Cirque It Out A Fitness Series by Cirque du Soleil] If you enjoyed this video, don?t forget to leave a like or a comment Better yet, share it with your friends

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