The Second Long Box Series on the Reformer is often overlooked. Amazing for teaching back extension, connection, and strength. Try Grasshopper in parts.
Focus on what the back leg is doing while also still reaching up. You’ll find a delicious split that equals a great stretch and strength in your entire body.
You will learn more about which leg is more dominant, which hip you fall more into, and your ability to reach down into your legs as much as you reach up.
The muscles around your inner and outer thighs are integral to connecting to your center. Doing Hamstring Curls will deepen your whole Pilates practice.
If you’ve got the Up and Down, Arm Circles and Leg Circles down without too much instability, then adding in Shave and a twist will be up your alley.
Similar to Tower on the Cadillac. Learn Tower and also Rolling Stomach Massage. Easier to learn on a more stable piece of equipment like the Cadillac.
It looks like it’s about your top arm and leg but it’s about your bottom leg and side body. The stronger your standing leg is the smoother this exercise is.
Similar to Corkscrew on the Mat. But now your “mat” can move. And, you get to hold your handles on your shoulder rests to help maintain a strong open back.
Control Balance Back is an incredible combination of Chest Expansion, Tree, Single Leg Circles and more exercises. It’s a great challenge for your practice.
Control Balance Front is a great challenge for your entire body and requires more than strength. You need to reach in all directions and endurance to do it.
By the time you do Pelvic Lift, you have done Running and you know what your body needs to get stronger, more connected. Which variation does your body need?
I like to think of it as a “check-in” because after Running you still have Pelvic Lift, the Control Push-Ups, the Split series and Russian Squats!
Tik Tok is an excellent tool for training your body on the twist and reach you need in your Corkscrew, your range of motion and where it all comes from.
Try this after you do Kneeling Arm Circles and gather all the strength that you used in Arm Circles. Kneeling Shave and Hug is will challenge your legs.
These variations will challenge your stamina, your strength and some of the more fundamental exercises like the Elephant and Tree on the Reformer!
There is a rhythm in Tendon Stretch. It might be a smaller range of motion than you think. As you practice Tendon Stretch on the Reformer, have fun!
Side Sit Ups are also excellent for teaching Side Leg Kicks, Star and any Tall back exercises in Pilates. They challenge your hips’ ability to remain square.
Short Box Series has all the spine shapes you need to practice – Round, Tall, Side Bend, Extension and Twist, including ways to challenge your whole body.
While there are so many exercises that lead up to the Snake and Twist that doesn’t make it any easier to do. It will challenge all those exercises and more.
If you have a friend handy, have them stand at the back of the Reformer and lightly press into your calves as you reach to help assist in this exercise.
Ideally, you will feel the back of your legs and seat working as you push and pull the carriage out and in. Not allowing your upper body to change.
I love to do the Single Leg Elephant here because it helps you with Single Leg Tendon Stretch with your leg back and Tree among other exercises.
Press your shins into the carriage to help you find your seat and hamstrings in this exercise. You’ll need them in Thigh Stretch and Arm Circles.
Channel your Double Straight Leg Stretch and your Stomach Massage you’ll discover some great nuances to the lower body reach and the opposition it creates.
If you are doing Single Straight Leg Stretch, Control Balance on the Mat, Roll Over, and High Scissors this exercise is in your wheelhouse!
Try flowing into this exercise by bending both knees to the carriage simultaneously from your Long Stretch exercise as you open your chest.
The Swan looks like it’s all about the back bend. But the truth is, it’s all about the length. How Long can you get in your Swan?
As you do this exercise keep in mind that the names of exercises can be deceiving and Pilates exercises are for the whole body! Stand in your legs.
If you’re feeling strong in your Double Leg Stretch, then challenge what you know with Coordination on the Reformer.
Horseback requires you to call upon your Spine Stretch Forward, Teaser, Open Leg Rocker, and Arm Circles to name a few.
Try to find your strength from your seat. Press the carriage away from your seat and maintain the upper body reach into your hands.
Overhead is a great way to prepare for the Rowing series. Reach you do towards the ceiling will be the same reach you need as you Row and do your Teaser.
Also, keep your heels over your toes. An easy way to cheat this exercise is to drop your heels towards the headrest to move it.
Remember to stand on your leg that is under the strap and reach your arms from your back as you round down and back up.
Looks can be deceiving! This is not an arm exercise. It’s all about the seat and reach from your legs. How far can your legs reach?
Thigh Stretch sounds like it’s all stretch but it’s a lot of strength! Your legs, center and back will need to be all systems on deck each rep.
Opening the springs is easy. It’s more important that you close the springs every rep. The final inch of closing the springs requires you to use your center.
Work the extension up your spine, reach into the blocks from your seat and this exercise becomes full body and helps your entire Pilates practice.
Pulling Straps as a name is misleading. It sounds as if you’re just supposed to pull on the straps. But, in fact, its really all about the REACH!
You’ll want to work on the part where the springs offer resistance. But, the challenge is that we should be working the closing of the springs.
As you move through your exercises notice when your ribs want to take a break this may be where your range of motion ends.
Rowing on the Reformer is a wonderful series for training our bodies and helping us connect to our back.
Once you start you need to keep your reach in both directions and remember that you and your Reformer are a partner in crime together. It’s a dance!
I promise you if you learn to love this series your Teasers, Snake, Boomerang, Hip Circles, and many movements in life will feel stronger and better
There is a way to prepare and practice training the body for this big backbend after you do your Down Stretch on the Reformer. Practice your backbends.
The sooner you are able to safely add Teaser to your Reformer repertoire the sooner you will see your Teaser on the Mat get better!
The Hundred on the Reformer will reveal what the Hundred on the Mat often cannot.
Ideally, your chest remains up and your upper abs and connection your box remains constant no matter what you arms and legs are doing.
If you can keep your whole palm pressing into the handle throughout the movement, you will be able to stay connected to your back.
When I first get on the Reformer I begin with Footwork. Like the 100 on the Mat, Footwork prepares the body for what is to come in our workout.