Pull Straps on the Reformer
Pull Straps on the Pilates Reformer can be done with or without Straps! And, is a great first exercise on the Reformer to challenge your connection against gravity! This exercise, like most Pilates exercises, can be deceiving. You’ll want to work on the part where the springs offer resistance. But the challenge is that we should be working the closing of the springs. As you do this exercise work the return twice as much! If you have been doing Swan or Swan Prep on the mat well, then try to add Pull Straps into your Reformer repertoire. If it goes well, add 2.
Watch those Elbows! Pull from your back as you open and close the springs.
With one spring on your Reformer, lay on top of your Long Box with your shoulders at the edge of the box. It can feel like you need to move forward and for those over six feet, you may need to. The goal is not to fully support your legs with the box. But, instead, to allow the box to support your center. Grab your straps as high up as you can, make sure there is zero slack in your straps. Legs are long, behind you and hugging together. For beginners and those with lower back issues I recommend you have the legs parallel or feel as if the thigh bones are turning in. Reach your tailbone nice and long to help engage your lower stomach and then pull the straps down to the floor at back towards your hips. Your chest may lift if your reach into the straps asks it to. But don’t anticipate this and lift your chest sooner than you need. Just like Swan it is not about going backward. Reach your heart/sternum forward. Return to start with long reaching arms and repeat 3-5 times.
This exercise can be done seated for those where lying on their stomach is not available. It can also be done with 1 and 2 lb weights.