Long Stretch on the Reformer
Long Stretch is the first in a series of exercises on the Pilates Reformer. You may learn them out of order and one at a time as some of them require more strength, stamina and coordination than others. Typically the entire series is done on two heavy springs. However, you can challenge the exercises by dropping down to one or no springs! Also, depending on your height and back connection you may start on one spring and then add a second spring to challenge yourself. The Long Stretch exercise takes your plank to a whole new level. If you struggle holding a plank then practice that and then when you feel you have the endurance to hold a plank try the Long Stretch on the Reformer.
The Long Stretch exercise takes your plank to a whole new level.
To get into the position for Long Stretch place on hand on the footbar and then one foot on your headrest where a sticky pad is to prevent slipping. Then place your hand onto the football and then your other foot. It’s tempting to move the carriage to “fit” into position but the goal is to get on the Reformer without the carriage moving. As you place your hands and feet move your body forward over the footbar and find your “plank” position. Hugging your legs tight together press the carriage out and then pull the carriage in.
You will be tempted to use your shoulders! But, recall the work you did with your Pulling straps. You are reaching out with your legs and seat and then feel your back pull you in. Your heart will reach forward even as your press the carriage out.
A couple things you can check on is your elbows, if they are hyperextended then you’ll struggle to connect to your back. Also, keep your heels over your toes. An easy way to cheat this exercise is to drop your heels towards the headrest to move it. Press the headrest away with the balls of your feet and press the balls of your feet down into the headrest to connect to your lower abdominals.