Elephant on the Pilates Reformer is such a great exercise for teaching you how to find your two-way stretch and not lose it while you are opening and closing the springs. And, once you've got that theory under control, you can challenge your two-way stretch and help prepare you for more advanced exercises by doing Single Leg Elephant. There are many variations to the Single Leg Elephant including ones that have you doing external rotation and arabesques. All single-leg variations are welcome. I love to do the one you'll see here because it helps you with Single Leg Tendon Stretch with your leg back and Tree among other exercises.
Keep your 100s curl in your ribs and reach from your seat to your feet.
Generally done after you have completed a few reps of the Elephant on two heavy springs or one heavy and one medium spring. Take one leg back through your shoulder rests and lift it only as high as you can maintain the lift in your upper abs and center. The leg you are standing on will want to take most of the weight feel as if you are reaching your hip away from your shoulders. The hip of the leg behind you will want to open up. Maintaining a square pelvis, use your center to hold your back leg up.
Press the carriage out with your standing leg and pull it in from your heel, seat, and center. Repeat 3-5x and then switch. I love to think about maintaining my hundreds curl in my ribs and a strong reach from my seat into my feet. My back leg is reaching only as high as it keeps me connected. This will help you when you go to do your Tree or Tendon Stretch on the Reformer leg to the side or behind. If you find you have a weak side repeat the weak side again. Then go ahead and try your Tree or Tendon Stretch!
Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!