An incredible back strengthening exercise when done correctly. It’s easy to cheat, make it a chest exercise. As you do the hug keep in mind its for the back!
As you move through your exercises notice when your ribs want to take a break this may be where your range of motion ends.
When you get this one you really feel strong. It’s easy to cheat yourself by focusing on the choreography instead of the connections. Move from your center.
Reaching from your back is essential to this exercise and also the hardest part. Hugging your legs together make this exercise more possible and full bodied.
Controlling the carriage is the hardest part of the Rowing series.
Warm up your back connection. This helps you prepare for the first long box series. You’ll probably do many of the long box exercises before learning Rowing.
This Prep will help you practice how much this exercise is about the legs and not just the arms. Grab a set of one or two-pound weights to give this a try.
With these tips the goal is to help you feel and find the places you should be working from when you add in the springs. See what you might need to add back.
This Swan prep is great to get the benefits of doing Swan before Pull Straps. It helps you connect your arms to your back and work your two-way stretch.
I love this Backstroke into Teaser combo. It’s great if you can’t roll up into a Teaser with your legs extended and lower than your torso. And a fun combo!
An integral series on the Reformer for not only challenging your Footwork but also training your Roll Up, Teaser and Hip Circles on the mat to name a few.
The Twist will reveal everything your body is lacking in strength, connection and flexibility. Are you leaning, heels moving, twisting evenly on both sides?
Time to test what you have learned from the first two variations. If you’re working on Hip Circles, Teaser and Horseback, this is a great place to practice!
Trying to do exercises like Hip Circles, Leg Pull, and Long Back Stretch? Stomach Massage Reach Back is where you want to be. You’ll find the right reach!
Stomach Massage Round takes Footwork and Rolling Like a Ball, puts them together to help you get more out of Short Spine Massage, Knee Stretches, and more!
Before you do this prep make sure you’re practicing Swan, Pull Straps, and Double Leg Kick. These exercises will make this and full exercise more possible.
You may use the bar up as a way to challenge your connection in Semi Circle. So if you’re ready to up-level your Semi Circle, give the bar up version a try.
In this tutorial, feel the best parts of this Tendon Stretch variation and some other versions and feel the differences between external & internal rotation.
Try this on your Spine Corrector & Mat before you try it on the Reformer. This exercise not only elevates your feet and hands but also adds spring tension.
Adding the ball to this series reminds which muscles to activate during this series. Try with the ball (or yoga block) and then try this again without.
Try this variation of Stomach Massage to see which leg can reach more, stand more, and help you lift more. Then, go back to the regular Stomach Massage.
This version reveals what parts of your body are coming along for the ride. Which will help you get more out of the two-leg version of Long Back Stretch.
It’s easy to get caught up on the choreography. But, the more you focus on whats not moving supporting your lift the more lift and length you’ll find.
Use your two-way stretch you’ll find a love for Long Spine. And, you’ll be thrilled to flip your headrest up and rinse out some Frogs and Circles afterward.
Lifting your arms from your back and reaching down through your feet as you squat and stand will assist in feeling taller, stronger and of course longer!
Practicing your longest extension whenever you can in your Pilates practice will help prepare your body someday for this exercise and many others.
It’s not as big as some backbends like the one with straps on the head or bridge. It still requires an incredible amount of strength to go with flexibility.
If you feel it only in your legs, remember to work your “up reach” more. Our reach from our back is just as much a part of this exercise as our legs.
After you have done Grasshopper and Rocking on the Long Box, you’re ready to swim it all out. It’s a great series that challenges your body against gravity.
Focus on not letting the springs bend your knees in and reach into the straps as your legs circle up is key for strength, stability and Pilates practice.
Each part will challenge your two-way stretch and teach you something you need in other parts of your Pilates practice. Choose the one you need that day.
Working on your tall back and side bending? Then you’ll definitely want to explore Mermaid on the Reformer as it will teach your body and strengthen you.
The 2nd Long Box series is often overlooked and while considered an Advanced or Super Advanced series it can be done in parts and with or without straps.
If your backbends, Swan and other extension exercises are strong and the first Headstand went well, then flip yourself over and give Headstands a try.
You’ll find that the Headstand is the easier part of this exercise. Focus on your center opening and closing the springs reaching from your seat to the bar.
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!
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 Push Ups Back is an incredible combination of Chest Expansion, Tree, Single Leg Circles and more exercises. It’s a great challenge for your practice.
Control Push Ups 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!
Tic Toc 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.
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?
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.
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.
If Tree is not your favorite exercise it’s because you truly do need it. Focus on the length in your waist, and “climbing” your tree from your back.
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
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.