The Reformer is an incredible piece of equipment. I absolutely love hopping on it when I return from a long flight or to challenge my practice. The Reformer also teaches my body what I need for other areas around the Pilates studio. 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. The different positions of the foot require different parts of the legs and body to work as well as working the feet in all different ways. It’s like workout reflexology.
Feel as if you are pushing the carriage out from your seat.
Laying on the Reformer with three to four heavy springs on, place the balls of your feet on the bar. Your heels will start together and the balls of your feet will be a fist distance apart. Double check all your toes are touching the bar. We don’t want to leave any dangling behind. With the heels lifted into a position you can keep press your legs to straight and then bend your knees and repeat ten times. If you are a more advanced practitioner, use your center to lift both feet into the next position-Arches and then again for the heels. Arches, also known as Bird on a Perch, and heels is done in parallel position. After your final rep on your heels, lift both feet simultaneously and land back on the balls of your feet for the Tendon Stretch. If you are new to Pilates you can move your feet into position one at a time. With the eventual goal to switch positions from your center without breaking the flow.
Some things to watch out for as you do your footwork: if the carriage is banging as you close the springs, that is a sign that the springs are closing you and you are not in control of the springs. Resisting the springs doesn’t mean slow, it simply requires you to always be pressing your feet into the bar as you open and close the springs. Another thing to watch out for is knee locking. Sometimes we think straight is straight when it might be hyperextended. If your carriage is bouncing when you go out, then you may be “kneeing” it a little. Feel as if you are pushing the carriage out from your seat. If you can do this, then the resisting of the carriage will become much easier.