Arm Circles on the Reformer

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.

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Reformer, Straps (I love using the Contrology Reformer.)
  • Reps: 3 circles in each direction
  • Warning: Not ideal for someone with shoulder or neck issues. May not be suitable for some knee injuries.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Arm Circles on the Reformer

** Private online Pilates sessions available with Lesley Logan on request, click here **

Arm Circles on the Pilates Reformer may not be my favorite exercise... That's not just because it's hard, it's because the name Arm Circles indicates it might be an arm exercise; however, it's truly a leg exercise - well, a body exercise! If you think about it only as an arm exercise, it's going to be super tough for you. If you really dig down into your legs as you circle your arms, I think you'll find an inner strength to make this exercise happen without feeling like you are fighting with the springs. As you do this exercise keep in mind that names of exercises can be deceiving and Pilates is for the whole body!

Press your whole hand into the handle, connecting arms to your back.

With one spring on the Reformer, stand on your knees facing the spring side of your Reformer. Place your feet into the shoulder blocks and dig your heels into the shoulder blocks. Holding your handles in each hand and long by your side, prepare to begin your circles. Your legs are apart but if you press them down into the carriage and hug them towards each other as you reach your tailbone down towards your knees Hips over knees and your shoulders over your hips. Press your whole hand into the handle to connect your arms into your back.

As you reach your heels back press your arms forward, up, around and repeat two more times before reversing your directions. Be mindful of how your hand maintains a connection to the handle. It's easy to let the pink side of the hand disconnect from the handle to increase the range of your circle. It's better to do lower, wider circles and maintain the connection to your back than it is to do bigger circles. It's also important that your circles remain in front of your body. It's easy for the circles to go behind your body as the spring pulls your carriage close and takes over your range of motion. Essentially, you need to determine the size of the circle.

Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with Lesley Logan.

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