This Headstand with Straps (or Backbend) on the Pilates Reformer may look super crazy or even scary but for the right person, it's an incredible challenge of strength, two-way stretch and flexibility. Too flexible and you will feel this in all the wrong places. Too tight and you cannot get into the position. But, finding the balance of strength and stretch in this exercise will allow you to challenge your Pilates practice in a very unique way. Practicing your longest extension whenever you can in your Pilates practice will help prepare your body someday for this exercise and many others.
Stand in your hamstrings, seat, move the springs from your upper back.
With two heavy springs on your Reformer, foot bar down, sticky pad on your headrest and headrest up. Be sure your handles are waiting for you on your hooks. Scoot away from your shoulder rests a little bit so you can place your hands on your shoulder rests. And your feet need to come to the edge of your carriage. Lifting your hips up beyond the Shoulder Bridge but not quite as high as a full bridge. Press into the shoulder rests in order to make room to place the top of your head on the crook of your headrest. Grab your handles and reach up to the ceiling.
Before you begin, feel yourself stand in your feet, your handles and of course your head is part of the tripod. But, you shouldn't feel it in your neck. Once you feel fully connected to your legs, abs, seat, upper back press into your handles from your upper back muscles. Then reach out and lift your arms back up to return the carriage. Repeat this 3-5x. The range of motion will depend on your ability to remain connected to your center and the springs. Once you are done, hook your handles back up. Place your hands on the shoulder rests and lift your head off the headrest and lower yourself down. Rest.
Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!