Tanya Merryman is a certified Fitness Professional with over 15 years of experience. Her areas of expertise include group fitness manager, certified Personal Trainer and certified Pilates Reformer specialist to name a few. She is a year round professional athlete competing in the Figure and Fitness IFBB circuit. In 1998, she won the ESPN Fitness America National Championship.
In addition to her qualifications in the gym, Tanya also has an impressive resume in front of the camera. After winning the ESPN pageant in 1998, she stayed on to become the main host for the pageant. She also hosted other ESPN series including "American Muscle Magazine" from 2000-2002. Along with hosting, she can also be found modeling for swimsuit and fitness covers.
Tanya is the owner of Tanya Enterprises and also works as a group fitness director for Crunch Fitness in San Francisco. Tanya inspires others to reach their fitness goals with her mantra. "Anything is possible when a strong body fuels a strong mind."
Pilates Reformer - Core Exercises
Fitness Expert Tanya Merryman demonstrates how to do pilates reformer core exercises.
Tanya Merryman: I am Tanya Merryman and welcome to the full body workout that we were doing on the Pilates Reformer machine. I'm going into my core exercises. When I say core, it means, your abdominals working with your back to stabilize the body. So we have the upper abdominals and the lower abdominals and of course the obliques. Before I go into this movement, I'm going to take some of my resistance controls off but depending on what level you are, you can easily change those, as you go through the exercises to make it easier or harder. And I'm also bringing in just a little mat, to put some padding up against my knees. I have my foot bar up as I press my feet into. I'm using the shoulder pads to stabilize my feet and then I bring my knees about hip distance apart, dropping the shoulders down, feeling my ribcage is supported and stable. I'm going to exhale, send the carriage away, inhaling, pulling it back in on this one. And I can change the breathing pattern. But I'm really trying to stabilize and this is going to progress into a harder exercise, so I'm just preparing myself to make sure I maintain stabilization. I'm controlling my movement, it's easy to achieve and let this one go and be all over the place, but we want to have control. So only the lower part of my body is moving as I send my knees away, pointing back in, never losing the stabilization of my hips and my lower abdominals. So I send it away, pull it back in. Once you feel confident with this, you can go right into the next movement. I'm going to readjust my foot bar to bring it down, so it's out of the movement and I am going to place my hands against the platform, standing in the same position, so my knees are apart, shoulder blades are down, the hands are right underneath my chest, so I'm not back here. I'm right on top of the movement and again, I'm going to send my hips down and my feet away, inhaling. Doing that same movement but it's a little more extreme, I have to use more of my upper body control on this movement. We are going to go to the next level, we're taking those knees and making sure that we're stable, we just hover lifting up, slightly up off the mat and then we extend the legs out and pull it back in, extend legs out pull it back in, extend out, pull it back in, again extend out, pull back in and then bringing the knees back down. And then I'm going to bring that foot bar all the way up, going into some routine movements, I don't want the carriage to move on the next exercise, so I'm going to put all the resistance controls on, making it nice and tough and I'm going to remove the pad, so I sit back down. Pressing my heels into the foot bar and growing into some spinal movement using every abdominal control that I have pressing into my vertebrae, I just exhale lifting my hips up. And again, you know you're in good form if you can just turn your head right, left and there's no tension because all the work is coming through our core, not up through our neck and our shoulders. And then we just relax the chest, sink it back down and call this articulation of the spine. We'll go once and all the way down and again exhaling, lifting my hips up. And just to hold it in this position involves, tightening up those loose lower abs so again that seat belt position that we learned earlier, the rib cage is still engaged and then I release the chest, just relaxing it, back down. Always having control, this is a great awareness exercise. I'm going to add another combination. So I'm going to exhale, lift up. Once I feel stable, I'm going to send the carriage away, dropping my hips down, using stabilization of the hips, bringing the carriage back, lifting my hips up and then rolling it all the way back down. So again, I exhale it up. Extend, bringing it back in, lifting my hips up. Rolling it all the way back down and again, when you have learned how to really have a good control on awareness of your body, this movement pattern becomes easier and easier to do. But if it's your first day, sometimes you don't feel so coordinated and again, the coordination comes from the abdominals working with the back, working with the hip stabilizers and not putting the work up in the neck and the shoulders, to do the movement. So that ends our core exercises. Join me in the next clip, I'm going to be working on the upper body.