Rowing 5 and 6 on the Reformer

As you move through your exercises notice when your ribs want to take a break this may be where your range of motion ends.

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

Rowing 5 and 6 on the Reformer

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Rowing 5 and 6, Shave and Hug, are the final two Rowing Pilates Reformer exercises in the Rowing Series. Done on one heavy spring they are often the first two Rowing exercises you will learn. Sitting up against the shoulder blocks, legs crossed, handles in your hands reach your hands forward like you are serving a platter and lift your arms up, overhead and place your hands behind your head. Press your index finger and thumb into each other and then from your back reach your hands up and forward and then bend your elbows and resist the spring closed. Repeat 2-4 more times. On the final one you will transition into Hug.

Challenge these Rowing exercises and sit away from the shoulder blocks.

For the hug, reach your arms up like Shave but instead of bending continue to reach up and then without leaning back switch the cross of your legs and open your arms wide to the side. Then Hug your arms towards each other and then press your arms apart. Repeat 2-4 more times.

To challenge these two Rowing exercises sit slightly away from the shoulder blocks. Like all the Rowing exercises maintain full contact to the handles with your palms. Find the work from your back to open your arms for the Hug. The Hug is an easy exercise to turn into a pec/chest exercise. But there is incredible footage of Eve Gentry training with Joseph Pilates after a radical mastectomy and you can see her doing the Shave and Hug and her back muscles are in control of the whole movement.

Press your knees down towards the carriage to help you ground down against the weight of the springs. As you move your arms in the Shave and Hug its tempting to allow the front ribs to “pop” out. Connect your front ribs using your center similarly to how your connected to your center in your Footwork. As you move through your exercises notice when your ribs want to take a break this may be where your range of motion ends.


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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