My Go-to First Session

The first thing I want to say in this blog is that to this day I’m still a bit nervous the first time I teach a new client. I want the client to enjoy the session, and I'm constantly processing whether I’m delivering what they were looking for when they booked the session. I’m a big believer that being a little bit nervous is a good thing. I think it shows that you care and are invested in the outcome of the session. Being a little nervous and being anxious and unprepared are 2 different things though. My nervousness would instantly turn into panic if I didn’t have a plan. Below is my “go-to” first session with a beginner. It's not set in stone, and I never follow it 100%. It’s just my security blanket of Level I exercises that I know people will feel but are also safe. It’s been my experience that clients get excited when they’re a little sore the next day, so I try to include at least 1-2 exercises that deliver that result. I also believe in sticking to the Level I content no matter how strong they may appear though. Sometimes the stronger someone looks, the weaker they really are, so just throwing in a super advanced exercise to challenge them isn't necessarily the best strategy. I also make sure to address all ranges of motion of the body in every session I teach. Below I've broken down the workout and given you the reasons I chose the exercises listed. Click this link to download a FREE printable PDF of the workout without the descriptions. There is another video freebie below, so make sure you read the whole post for the link to view it.

Roll Back:
I like to do this before I teach breathing or pelvic tilts because it get's the client moving right away. It also tells me a lot about their body. Whether they can articulate their spine easily, where they hold tension (shoulders?), if they’re a natural breather, a fast or slow mover, etc.

Mat (I do this one the Tower or Cadillac since I’m already there)
Breathing (fundamental)
Pelvic Tilts (fundamental)
Define Neutral Spine
100 Beats

Leg Springs: Up/Down, Circles, Frog, Low Circles, Marches, and Beats
I always teach Leg Circles and Frog on the Tower/Caddy before the Reformer. I think it’s important to teach the movement on a stable surface before the rolling carriage.
Triceps Presses:
This is one of the exercises I like to teach in a first session because it usually make everyone a little bit sore the next day. While I hate to teach a lesson that’s only geared to making my client sore, I do like to have at least 1-2 moments where they get excited about a challenge. Triceps Presses are a great exercise that's safe and can give you the “wow I felt that” experience!

Single leg stretch
Double leg stretch
Criss Cross
Flight (fundamental)
Before I leave the Cadillac I like to incorporate these exercises to lay a nice mat work foundation and to address rotation and extension. I also like to introduce Flight, so I can refer back to it when we do Pulling Straps and T on the Long Box.

Long Box:
Pulling Straps (without straps)
Pulling Straps (with straps)
T (without straps)
T (with straps)
I think Pulling Straps and T are some of the hardest exercises to teach and execute. I always introduce them without straps to experience proper form then I add the straps. On a first session I’m VERY careful not to obsess over perfect form. I demonstrate proper form, have them do it without straps, then add straps, make a mental note of how I need to work with them moving forward and MOVE ON.
Short Box:
Side Bend
Twist without curl
Twist and Curl
Climb a tree (into to Climb A Tree only)
Here's your freebie. This video explains how and why I introduce Climb A Tree in a very first session. Click here to see the video.

Bottom Lift

Ladder Barrel
Runner’s Lunge or Ballet Stretches
I like to finish all of my sessions with a standing exercise and one of my favorites is Runner’s Lunge on the Ladder Barrel. If you don’t have a barrell you can put your foot on the Reformer footbar (locked in place) or even use the chair. Click this link to be directed to my Instagram post that shows the exercise on the Reformer footbar.

6 thoughts on “My Go-To Session for a Beginner

      1. Hi! Flight is a prep for Swan. It’s just lifting your head and shoulders off of the mat without your front ribs lifting. Does that make sense?

  1. What a great post! I love how real you are with your thoughts – it’s very relatable !! I love some of the basic supine arm work at table top on reformer if the client seems strong enough as well !

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