If there is one exercise most of my clients request its Short Spine Massage on the Pilates Reformer. And, if there is one exercise I receive the most questions about on the Reformer, it's Short Spine Massage. Not only is it tricky to do, it requires strength, coordination, and flexibility. Short Spine massage also requires the balance of strength, stretch, reach and timing! This isn't an exercise you want to half do. Once you start you need to keep your reach in both directions and remember that you and your Reformer are a partner in crime together. If you try to overpower or let the Reformer take over, this exercise will not be as juicy as you want or need.
Hug your heels tight together as you reach your seat into your straps.
Before you begin, make sure your headrest and footbar are down and you have two springs on your Reformer. If you have a choice in spring tension pick two heavy springs. Using your short loops on your straps place both feet simultaneously into your straps. Have your heels hugging together and your toes apart. Your head is on your headrest and arms are pressing down by your side. Press your legs to straight and reach so much from your seat into your straps that you can lift your hips up off the Reformer. Do not look down as this happens.
Continue to lift your hips as you reach your spine long towards the ceiling and over your head. Ideally, you create a long arc and end with the springs closed, hips over shoulders, tension on your straps and length in your spine. Without dropping your hips or losing tension in your straps, bend your knees and pull your knees into your shoulder blocks. Your hips will want to drop, but continue to lift your hips as you bend your knees. Leave your feet over your face and roll your spine down the carriage. When you can no longer roll down, pull your heels towards your seat and use your stomach to roll you down the carriage. Repeat 3-5x. If applicable you can go into your High Frogs after 3 Short Spines.
Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!