Chest Expansion on the Reformer

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.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate | Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Reformer, Straps
  • Reps: 4-6
  • Warning: If new to the exercise, set up with knees against the shoulder rests. Be careful when pulling and returning the carriage, make sure you have done this exercise on the Cadillac first. You can lose your balance.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Chest Expansion on the Reformer

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Chest Expansion on the Pilates Reformer has so many amazing qualities. It's treated as an intermediate/advanced exercise not because it's difficult to do but because the movement of the carriage can throw your balance off. Make sure you have been doing Chest Expansion on the Cadillac and Thigh Stretch on the Mat before you attempt on the Reformer. Once you are ready to add this into your Reformer repertoire, focus on the how your whole body can be brought into this exercise. It looks like it's all about the arms but it's really a great challenge for your legs and back.

It looks like it's about the arms but it challenges your whole body!

Have two springs on your Reformer and kneel against the shoulder blocks or hook your feet at the edge of the carriage for more of a challenge. Hold your straps in your hands and as you pull your arms back, reach down into the straps and your legs. Keep lifting your chest and hold the carriage still as you look right and left. Then reach your arms down and forward to return the spring. Repeat this 3-5 more times. Be mindful of how your body adjusts as you stretch your neck right and left. Does it move with your head?

This exercise is a great challenge on the bodies balance and coordination. It also really helps prepare you for Thigh Stretch and Arm Circles that usually come next on the Reformer. Use this exercise to challenge your back connection and establish a great down reach through your legs into your carriage. Don't forget to hug your inner thighs towards each other even though they are apart. Press your shins into the carriage to help ground you and connect to your equipment and to help you find your seat and hamstrings in this exercise. You'll need them as you go into Thigh Stretch and Arm Circles.


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

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