Russian Squats on the Reformer

Lifting your arms from your back and reaching down through your feet as you squat and stand will assist in feeling taller, stronger and of course longer!

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Reformer, Straps
  • Reps: 3-5
  • Warning: May not be suitable for some knee or shoulder issues.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Russian Squats on the Reformer

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Russian Squats on the Pilates Reformer, not to be confused with Russian Splits, is going to feel like you're getting ready to water ski before get your squat on. It looks scarier than it really is. Yes, Russian Squats will require you to really stand in your legs and work from your entire center. Your arms must work from your back to make this exercise happen in its fullest form. Lifting your arms from your back and reaching down through your feet will assist you in feeling taller, stronger and of course longer! And, when it's over you'll be thrilled to stand on stable ground.

Press down through your legs to squat, connect your arms to your back.

Place two heavy springs on your Reformer, footbar down, handles on your hooks to begin. Stand on your carriage near your springs with your feet parallel. You'll begin in a deep squat to reach down and grab your handles. You may think you should just stand up but there is a delicate balance of standing and moving the carriage simultaneously that will make this exercise feel more balanced. Imagine you are a water skier (even if you're not) and press into your feet not just down but feel as if you're pushing forward. Your arms follow your body as you rise up.

As you squat down, lift your arms forward and up. Go as low as you can lift. Then stand up as you slightly lower your arms. You'll maintain tension on your straps. It requires a bit of timing so that you don't pull too fast with your arms or go too fast with your legs, like a dance. Repeat your squats 3-5x. On your final one, squat all the way down and reach your hands forward to hook your handles up. Then step all the way off your carriage and feel yourself feel strong in your feet.


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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