Overhead on the Reformer

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  • July 27, 2019

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.

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.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with OPC Teachers
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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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pop up summer tour | 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

I WANNA ROCK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

When I first started teaching another teacher in the studio I was at who had 20+ years of teaching was struggling with her client. They kept wanting to lift their head to extend. In every exercise no matter what she said their head would lift before their chest. She said "the worst thing we ever did was call the neck the neck." Now, I don't think its the WORST thing. I have some thoughts on chairs and shoes. But, its up there! If you've been struggling with Swan, Swimming, Rocking and some of our other fun extension exercises this week is for you!

Grab a magic circle for a fun warm up on the Mat and Reformer. Don't have one? No problem I've got options for ya!

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

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

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

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

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


UPTOWN FUNK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Roll Up. Love it or leave it?

However you feel about it might change over the next week as we explore how to use our side waist and leg muscles to improve your Roll Up!!

It might seem like a funky way to improve your spinal movements, but by using different variations we’ll help you connect your legs to your center. And once you do that you can listen to your body and explore where you need to create more space or find more muscles!

By the way, if you took last fall’s BOOmerang class, you’ll absolutely LOVE the mat workout this week!!

Props Needed:
Mat: Grab a Barrel or Blanket
Reformer: Reformer box & Pole

See you in class,
Rachel

I DIP, YOU DIP, WE DIP

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

I happened to hear an oldy but a goody the other day. One that when it came out my parents for sure would not have wanted me to listen to. But, I was curious about the lyrics and found an old music video. And it made me think about how we often tell you about what to do with your hip points, tailbone and even the crest of your hip. So, for a long time, we've been asking you to dip as we dipped. Ok, maybe not as dramatic or even something you'd do on a dance floor. But for this week, we'll be focusing on our pelvis, where it is in space. So you can dip wherever you are whenever you want!

No props needed.

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self 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.

UPTOWN FUNK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Roll Up. Love it or leave it?

However you feel about it might change over the next week as we explore how to use our side waist and leg muscles to improve your Roll Up!!

It might seem like a funky way to improve your spinal movements, but by using different variations we’ll help you connect your legs to your center. And once you do that you can listen to your body and explore where you need to create more space or find more muscles!

By the way, if you took last fall’s BOOmerang class, you’ll absolutely LOVE the mat workout this week!!

Mat: Grab a Barrel or Blanket
Reformer: Reformer box & Pole

See you in class,
Rachel

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

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

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

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


I DIP, YOU DIP, WE DIP

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

I happened to hear an oldy but a goody the other day. One that when it came out my parents for sure would not have wanted me to listen to. But, I was curious about the lyrics and found an old music video. And it made me think about how we often tell you about what to do with your hip points, tailbone and even the crest of your hip. So, for a long time, we've been asking you to to dip as we dipped. Ok, maybe not as dramatic or even something you'd do on a dance floor. But for this week, we'll be focusing on our pelvis, where it is in space. So you can dip wherever you are whenever you want!

No props needed.

See you in class,
xx-LL 💋

WILD SIDE

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

Pilates is one of the few movement practices that focuses on our side body! And, our side body is what keep us from falling! And, it's also integral to our posture. So, let's nerd out with our Wild Sides!

Let's have fun focusing on twisting, side bending and the spine shapes in between that help and our helped by our Wild Sides!

Mat class: Magic Circle
Reformer class: No props needed
Tower/Cadillac class: A reformer pole and the reformer box, but both are technically optional!
Wunda Chair class: Theraband or an old pair of leggings!

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

HIGH FIVE FOR ALL

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

In Pilates we often talk about the 5 spinal shapes… do you know them? No worries if you don’t yet as this month we’re going to explore them all! How tall, round, extended, rotated or bent from our sides that we can be gives us more power & control during exercise. Let’s see what we can feel when we put the focus on working toward these particular shapes… And, lookout for combo shapes!"

On the Reformer, please have a ball, Magic Circle and your pole. A couple of pillows and a Swiffer handle all make great substitutes!
Mat, Tower/Cadillac and Wunda Chair: No props needed.

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

CAN WE KICK IT?

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Side Kick Series and Kneeling Side Kicks are great full-body exercises that require a lot of connections from front to back and head to toe. In your classes this week we will work on the connection of our upper back, glute/Thass®, and abdominal strength to help with these exercises and see how your practice links together. Single leg work on the reformer as well as side body work will give you more information to help you in your Side Kicks. No props needed for this class.

See you in class,
Mindi

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self 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.


I WANNA ROCK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

When I first started teaching another teacher in the studio I was at who had 20+ years of teaching was struggling with her client. They kept wanting to lift their head to extend. In every exercise no matter what she said their head would lift before their chest. She said "the worst thing we ever did was call the neck the neck." Now, I don't think it's the WORST thing. I have some thoughts on chairs and shoes. But, its up there! If you've been struggling with Swan, Swimming, Rocking and some of our other fun extension exercises this week is for you!

Grab a magic circle for a fun warm up on the Mat and Reformer. Don't have one? No problem I've got options for ya!

See ya in class,
xx~LL 💋