Contrary to what it looks like, Side Splits is not just about squeezing your inner thighs together on the Pilates Reformer. It may feel like that is its purpose in the beginning but it's truly a full-body challenge. You will learn more about which leg is more dominant, which hip you fall more into, and your ability to reach down into your legs as much as you lift up from your center as you try this exercise. Especially, when you add in the forward folds and the twists. If you need a different challenge, try it with 2 springs or no springs at all!
Stand in all four corners of your feet and lift up in your center.
Normally done with one heavy spring should you want to learn it on two or challenge the resistance of two springs you can try that as well. But, with one heavy spring on step both feet onto the carriage. Place your foot on the frame of the Reformer and "heel-toe" your carriage foot out towards the shoulder rests. You may or may not get all the way there. Check that both legs are parallel and that your weight is equal on all four corners of your feet. Stretch your arms wide to the sides and lift tall in your center as you press down in both legs.
Press the carriage out and then lift up and hug the carriage in 3-5 times. If that is going well, then holding the carriage out lean your body forward without sticking your seat out. Then, fold forward over your legs and roll up to standing tall. Do not let the carriage close. Find an extension at the top with your arms forward. Then open your arms up and close the spring. Repeat with the spring closed. "Heel-toe" your leg in turn around on the carriage and switch sides. After 3-5 on the opposite side, hold the carriage out and "saw" to the right and then left with the carriage open. Return the carriage closed and repeat. Maintain evenness in your hips.
Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!