Overhead on the Reformer

Overhead is a great way to prepare for the Rowing series. Reach you do towards the ceiling will be the same reach you need as you Row and do your Teaser.

  • Author: Lesley Logan
  • July 27, 2019
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Overhead on the Reformer - Online Pilates Classes
Table of Contents
Overhead on the Reformer - Online Pilates Classes
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Reformer (I love using the Contrology Reformer.)
  • Reps: 3-5
  • Warning: Not ideal for those with neck and shoulder issues.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Overhead on the Reformer

Overhead on the Pilates Reformer gets a lot of flak. Many people wonder why on earth do we do this exercise so early in the workout. But the truth is, Overhead is just like Roll Over on the Mat. And this exercise is more than meets the eye. While it looks like Jackknife, it’s a great way to stretch your spine and warm up your back. Overhead is a great way to prepare for the Rowing series. The reach you do towards the ceiling will be the same reach you need as you Row and do your Teaser and rest of your Pilates workout.

Overhead is a great way to prepare for the Rowing series.

To set yourself up for the Overhead on the Reformer have two heavy springs on your Reformer and take your headrest down. Laying on your back place your hands in the handles and reach your arms to the sky. Your legs are long on the Reformer (footbar is down). Simultaneously press your hands down to the mat and lift your legs up. Then your hips will lift overhead as you press your whole arm into the carriage. Reach your legs long behind you but not down towards the well. It’s easy to let the legs drop down. Then lift your legs to the sky and then roll down towards the carriage. As your legs reach down to the footbar lift your arms to the ceiling and return the carriage with control. Repeat three to five more times.

As your legs move in space watch out that you don’t look down towards your stomach or legs. It will change the length of our spine. Maintain your gaze to the ceiling as you move. Once the legs reach overhead it will be tempting to drop them back down but remember how you did Jackknife on the mat? Continue to lift your hips and reach your legs up as you lower your spine down. You’ll need a lot of seat for this control. As the legs lower towards the footbar press your arms and shoulders back resisting the urge to lift the head and shoulders.

Overhead is a great warm up exercise, it stretches and warms up your back for future exercises in the workout. It also has a great rhythm that helps connect you more to the exercise. You’ll go Over and Up on a 1, 2. Then you can take your time lowering down and reaching the legs long onto the footbar.


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

By Lesley Logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

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2 comments

  1. Wow!! I just got your Reformer Flashcards and I am blown away. So much hard work went into these and your related tutorials. I was a regular attendee at in-person Pilates classes before Covid hit. When things shut down, I got a reformer at home but there is nothing like the assistance and keen eye of an instructor. Your cards are a great help until I feel comfortable going back to the studio, and I am sure will be a great complement thereafter. Thank you!

    1. Wow, Jennifer, thank you!! I’m so happy these cards can support you in your personal practice at home. I hear ya on the in person. It took me some time to get used to self-practice. And, I try to make sure the way I teach exercises helps you be your own teacher. Let us know if you have any questions xx~LL

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Swan & Swimming on the mat - online Pilates classes

SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

WE GOT THE BEAT

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Alright loves, while we don't often talk about Grasshopper on the Mat or Reformer it is something we can beat those heels together on. And, another great way to challenge our connections. This week we are going to focus on our midline. And we are going to find different ways to show that we got that beat!

On the Mat have a magic circle or ball nearby to find our midline connections. On the Reformer have a ball nearby for some warm ups.

See you in class,

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a Magic Circle or ball and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a ball and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

WANNA BE A BALLER?

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

This week's workout is 30 minute reformer and mat with the small Pilates ball! Get ready to work! The ball adds a stability challenge on the reformer and spices up the classic, essential exercises. You'll also get extra outer hip recruitment, inner thigh work and more glute activation by adding in the ball. I hope you have a great time with this fun workout and feel like a baller afterwards!

If you do not have a small Pilates ball you can use a rolled up bath towel.

See you in class,

Mindi

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a Pilates ball or rolled up bath towel and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a Pilates ball or rolled up bath towel and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

ROW WITH ME NOW

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Rowing exercises are quite challenging on the Reformer. They can be done on the mat as well. But if you're missing the connections they can be all choreography and no core. So, this week we'll be focusing on the Mat how the Mat exercises prep us for a fabulous Rowing. And on the Reformer how they warm us up but then reveal themselves throughout the session.

Basically, you're rowing even when you're not!

On the Mat, you'll want 1 or 2 lb weights. Over the Reformer if you're new to rowing have them on the side.

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 or 2 lb weights and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 or 2 lb weights and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

While I never saw that movie growing up I was thinking about back bends. And how to build up to them. Now, if you're like LL I'm off back extension. Do not worry. This class will still have tall backs, side bends, twists and flexion of course. So skip what you can't do.

Whatever level of extension you can do we are going to take it and make it longer! And for some of my super flexy people, it might feel like you're not gumby anymore. However, we will create the strongest back bends ever! Always.

Props needed on the mat a bolster or a small barrel. On the Reformer we won't need a prop but we will be using our shortbox to focus on extension.

See ya in class!

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a bolster or a small barrel and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, shortbox and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

HORSES HORSES HORSES

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

If you are a lover of the Reformer chances are you have little love for the Horseback. I don't blame you. It's not that fun. If you're on the Mat you probably have no idea what this means…

And that's ok! Horseback is like a seated Teaser but harder!

On both the Mat and Reformer we will be playing with how to connect to this exercise, prepare for it and find a Horse that works for us!

Props: Mat, have light weights nearby

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, have light weights nearby and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

STUDIO 54!

Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

Tami is turning 54 this month! And we are going to bring the best that Studio 54 had to offer to all of our month-long classes. The only rules for that iconic club were:

1. Be Your Grandest Self
2. Have Fun
3. No polyester Shirts!

Doesn’t that sound just like just like OPC?

*Note: I’m thinking the focus is on being grand…finding ways to expand our range of movement throughout the exercises, on all the equipment and the Mat.

Let’s be our grandest as we expand our range of motion on the Wunda! We’ll be using variations of the Pull Up (a very centering exercise) to power us up & out to a special full range exercise at the end! To all the October babies A Happy Birthday Indeed!

Wunda Chair prop: Please bring a pair of light weights (1-3lbs) to class!

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋

DE-RANGED

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We spend a lot of time in life looking ahead to what’s next and/or working towards something instead of celebrating where we are in the current moment. We forget to look back and see how far we’ve come.

It got the OPC crew thinking about how we tend to do this with our Pilates practice, too. We are always working towards something…the nemesis exercise, a higher lift in an exercise, a longer reach, a stronger connection, etc.

How about we spend some time this month celebrating where we are each day? And maybe we even take ourselves back a touch and become a bit De-RANGED from our current practice?

“De-Ranged” meaning we reduce our range of motion and observe what happens. Reducing our range may help us gain some insights about ourselves we can use to take our practice farther this month and into the beyond.

This month, we are challenging ourselves and YOU to take a look at where you are while you decrease your range and see if you learn something about yourself - without ANY judgment!

Try asking yourself some of the questions below throughout your practice:

  • Is this making the exercise more or less challenging?
  • Is this making things more or less stable?
  • Am I finding a connection a bit more easily or is it harder?
  • Am I finding a muscle that is trying to take over the exercise?
  • Am I finding I have to focus more to get a muscle to engage/connect?
  • Am I finding an area that is a bit tight and needs a little more stretch?

Feel free to share your reflections and ask us questions this month if you are wondering what any of this means in your body!

Props needed:
For the Cadillac, have a 2x4 (Kuna board) and the long box (from the reformer)

For the Reformer: small ball, resistance band, and small weights. Resistance band will be optional and is only for 1 exercise.

For the Chair, just you and your Wunda chair.

For the Mat, thera band and weights.

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋