Pilates Style magazine
January/February 2017, pp. 56-63
Think on Top of the Box
Leave it to Jillian Hessel to make the matwork feel new again. Her ingenious workout using just the Reformer Box will challenge your strength and stability, and thanks to the flowing exercises, your endurance, too. Plus, don't miss her insights on how two of her mentors, Carola Trier and Ron Fletcher, taught some of the classics.
BY JILLIAN HESSEL
Edited by Amanda Altman
About a year ago, I got an email from PS managing editor Amanda Altman. She said that Pilates Style would be in Los Angeles — my stomping ground — the first week of February, and would I like to shoot a story for the magazine? Of course, I would! The challenge was, Amanda relayed, they were shooting on a soundstage, so no Pilates apparatus was available for the shoot. I thought to myself, I don't really want to do another mat workout for the magazine. What can I do that's a bit different?
Then, I had an epiphany: The Reformer Box is a sophisticated, stand-alone prop that can transform any mat routine into a uniquely challenging workout. It's portable and lightweight enough to throw into my car, so I can bring it along to my house-call client who lacks equipment. Using the Box and the floor creates two different surface levels, and there are many challenging Box exercises on the Reformer we often neglect. So, why not practice those classic moves and create some fun new ones?
I decided to draw upon my hybrid background in dance, weight training and Pilates to create a full-body workout using the Reformer Box. There isn't enough space here to show all the moves I dreamed up because the sky's the limit! We start with Fletcher Percussive Breathing™, combined with Carola's posture check before activating Romana's concept of the powerhouse. We progress into squats to get the heart rate up, and then move into more classical Pilates, adding some innovative twists.
Here are some tips before you embark on your own home workout: Reformer Boxes come in different heights, shapes and sizes. In my studio, I have both 10- and 12-inch boxes, and one with overhanging lips. For this workout, I chose the 12-inch Box; I have very long legs, so squatting down to the 10-inch would have been difficult for me, but 12 inches proved to be an excellent strength-builder in the leg muscles for a woman who has endured three knee surgeries. However, if you have a longer torso with shorter legs, you should be fine using the 10-inch box. And if you feel more comfortable using a slightly larger platform, use a Box with extended lips. Once you've selected your Box, you're ready to start your workout!...