Hug on the Reformer is part of the Rowing series and often known as Rowing 6 or Hug a Tree. It's an incredible back strengthening exercise when done correctly. However, it's so easy to cheat this one, make it a bicep and chest exercise and wonder what it's all about. There is incredible video of Eve Gentry doing this exercise and other Rowing exercises after a radical mastectomy and all you see is her back muscles doing the whole thing. As you do this exercise keep in mind this is for the back!
Press the pinky side of your palm firmly into your handles throughout.
While it's the 6th in the series of Rowing you will likely learn it with Rowing 5 "Shave." And transitioning from Shave into Hug is how you traditionally set up for this exercise. Sitting crossed leg on your Reformer, hips against the shoulder rests, hands pressing into the handle reach up as if you are doing another rep of the Shave. As you open your arms to the sides switch the cross of your legs. If possible do not use your hands to tuck your legs closer. Make sure your whole hand is touching the handle. Especially the pinky side.
With your arms long, not locked, elbows slightly lower than shoulders, hands slightly lower than elbows. Sit tall and as if you were reaching around a big tree hug your arms from your back towards each other. Go as far as you can keep reaching from your back. Then push your arms open as if pushing two boulders out of the way. Repeat. Play with the breath on this one. Inhale to close your arms for 2-3 reps as you exhale on the open. Then switch. Exhale on the close and inhale as you open.
Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!