Rowing 1 and 2 on the Reformer

If you can keep your whole palm pressing into the handle throughout the movement, you will be able to stay connected to your back.

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Reformer
  • Reps: 3-5 each
  • Warning: Not Ideal for those with shoulder Issues
  • Questions: Contact us here

Rowing 1 and 2 on the Reformer

** Private online Pilates sessions available with Lesley Logan on request, click here **

Rowing is one of my favorite Pilates Reformer series! There are six different exercises in the series and they all have a lot of moving parts. It’s normal to learn the Rowing Series in sections and out of their traditional order. Rowing 1 and 2, also known as Into the Sternum (or Chest) and 90 degrees (or Tall Back), are usually the last two of the Rowing Series one learns. They are all for the back and challenge what you know about the Roll Up, Tendon Stretch and your Pulling Straps. Interestingly, this series helps you prepare for your first long box series but you will probably do many of the exercises on the long box before you learn Rowing 1 and 2.

Controlling the carriage is the hardest part of the Rowing series.

With one heavy spring on turn and face your shoulder blocks. Place your legs between your shoulder blocks and hold your handles into your chest fist palms down. Sit tall. As you round back towards the springs pull your handles into your sternum from your back. Pressing into your handles to keep the carriage from closing open your arms wide to the side and round forward like your Roll up on the mat. Without changing anything, press your hands back towards the footbar, reach for your springs and try to hook your thumbs. Lift your arms up, up and up and then circle the arms around and reach towards your toes before you sit up and repeat 3x.

After Rowing 1, sit tall with bent elbows the height of your shoulders palms facing you. Without dropping your elbows, lean back with a long tall back. Then Sit up and lean forward reaching your arms long and forward. Then round over your legs and press your arms down towards the floor and back towards your springs. Hook your thumbs and lift your arms up and up and up and then circle them around and sit back up and repeat 3x.

Controlling the carriage is the hardest part of the Rowing series. If you can keep your whole palm pressing into the handle throughout the movement, you will be able to stay connected to your back.


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

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