Swan on the Reformer

The Swan looks like it’s all about the back bend. But the truth is, it’s all about the length. How Long can you get in your Swan?

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Reformer, Long Box, 1-2 pads
  • Reps: 3-5
  • Warning: Not suitable for those with lower back issues. Please make sure you can do this on the Mat and on the Ladder Barrel well before attempting.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Swan on the Reformer

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This may be my favorite Swan in the entire Pilates Reformer studio. There are so many variations on how to do this exercise on the Reformer. In this video, you will see one arm variation. I like this one because it's basically what you already do on the Ladder Barrel. If you want to learn the other variations, we can do that online together! The Swan looks like it's all about the back bend. But the truth is, it's all about the length. And our legs work more than you think! As you do this exercise get LONG before you go back.

Round your lower back as you return back to the start position.

With 2 middle springs on your Reformer, footbar down, long box on and a pad at the edge of your long box (and maybe one on the frame of your Reformer, place your hands on your box and your feet on the frame. Lower the top of your thighs onto the box, the pad that is there will help keep you from slipping. Originally, the feet would go under the strap to help keep them in place. This may or may not be available to you. Your knees will be bent out to the sides, feet are heels together and toes apart. Drape your body over the long box, arms forward. Depending on your body length and flexibility your knees may be bent inside the frame of your Reformer or outside the frame. Double check that you are wrapping your seat around the front of the box and not sticking it up in the air.

Reaching your seat down and lifting your stomach up, keep the carriage still and lift your arms, head, and upper body. Feel the strength in your legs and length in your spine. Then, lower your body halfway down, find a long line and reach your legs towards straight, pressing the carriage out. Hold, lift your upper body forward and feel the back bend in your upper back. To return, stand in your feet, reach your tailbone down, lift your stomach up and return to your start position. Repeat 3-5x.


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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