When I was first learning how to do Pilates I used to love when my teacher would say "Running" because it meant that Knee Stretches on the Pilates Reformer was over! This exercise sounds lovely, who wouldn't want a stretch? But this series requires all of your body to work together to maintain connection and control! Ideally, you will feel the back of your legs and seat working as you push and pull the carriage out and in. As you get more familiar with the Knee Stretch series try to go from Round, Flat and Off without stopping in between.
Listen to the rhythm and focus on bringing the carriage in.
With two springs on the reformer come kneeling on the carriage and place your hands on the footbar. Reach your arms from your back into the footbar and round your back, looking towards your tailbone. Your knees and feet are about a hips distance apart with your feet into the shoulder blocks. Reach your heels back into the shoulder blocks to begin. The feet and arms will remain the same throughout all three variations. I even like to think about reaching your inner heel into the shoulder blocks to help access all the muscles around your thigh.
To begin, press your legs back into the shoulder blocks and move the carriage out about the length of your shin and then pull the carriage back in. It's important to remember that the emphasis of knee stretches is on the IN! It's easy to focus on pushing the carriage out and then letting the springs pull you in but the out is the set up for the exercise which is to pull the carriage closed. Do 5-10 reps in the round shape before switching the shape of your spine to the flat back. You can hear in the springs where you are placing the emphasis. Listen to your rhythm and focus on bringing the carriage in.
Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!