Rowing 3 and 4 on the Reformer

Rowing on the Reformer is a wonderful series for training our bodies and helping us connect to our back.

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

Rowing 3 and 4 on the Reformer

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Rowing on the Pilates Reformer is a wonderful series for training our bodies and helping us connect to our back. In the second section of Rowing exercises, the challenge is to work and move with the springs. It can be very easy to cheat your way through these exercises, but if you can focus on growing tall out of your hips, you may achieve something I have yet to do in both From the Chest and From the Hips. There is part of these exercises when your arms are reaching wide to the side and pressing down. The goal being to reach from your back and press the arms down without moving the carriage at all! This really is easier said than done. However, it is possible so a goal to reach for!

Reach your arms wide to the side and grow taller as your arms lower.

With one heavy spring on, sit facing your footbar, legs long and hugging together. You are sitting against the shoulder blocks but not resting against them. Hook your thumbs into the handles and with a tall back bend your elbows back and hold the handles in line with your chest. Reach your arms forward towards the high diagonal and then lower your arms towards the carriage and then lift your arms up towards the ceiling and then open your arms wide to the side, pressing your palms down, resisting the springs and growing tall until your arms are down then re-bend your elbows and repeat 2-4 more times.

After you do From the Chest, place your hands on the carriage by your hips and round forward and slide your hands along the carriage and reach from your back towards the springs. Leaving your head down, lift your arms up and feel the weight of the carriage connect you to your center and back more and sit tall. Reach your arms wide to the side and grow taller as your arms lower towards the frame. Repeat 2-4 more times.

Fine tune this exercise by maintaining connection to your handles with your whole palm. It’s easy to let the pinky side of your hand leave the handle and then allow your shoulders and pec’s to take over. Hug your legs tight together in both of these exercises to help you lift out of your lower back and work your seat. Typically you will learn these two after you have gain understanding and connection to your Shave and Hug, Rowing 5 and 6.


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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