For those of you who are adventuring to the last part of the Reformer list … here are some thoughts…  

Knee Stretches

Much like Elephant on the Reformer or Pull up on the Wunda chair, success here looks like your torso is frozen and the legs are doing the work… but we know that in Pilates, looks can be deceiving .

TIP: Connect with the apparatus – toes down, heels back and pull up on the footbar with the finger tips

To maintain the billowing curve of the spine (in round or flat) Reach the critical point of spring tension to press the Reformer carriage back without ‘popping up’ in the pelvis 

OUCH? Over-worked in your legs? Next time, try pushing from your sit bones or top of leg rather than just the front of your thighs. Put a hand there (yes, on your butt) and see if you can initiate the carriage moving on the tracks from this region rather than your knee or thigh. It will make a difference

‘Knees off’ considerations

Often we lose the round spinal shape because of the load on our abdominal musculature … it’s hard work to keep the curve AND move the Reformer carriage … so our brain prioritises the leg pushing. If this is the case for you, think of ‘knees off’ as just ‘unweighting’ the knees rather than being up so high and in time, you’ll be able to maintain the c-curve for longer.

TIP – if it’s not working for you, try putting your hands on the crossbar of the Reformer frame and focus on the ball shape while pressing the carriage back and forth

Knee Stretches and Snake – an unlikely pair? 

In Pilates we are often obsessed with the spine and shapes of the upper body, but actually the true connection here is the motivation to push from the lower body; the legs are somehow the anchor and also the motor.

Once we have the strength and foundations in the leg from knee stretches, you can then concentrate on the shaping of the spine for Snake and Twist and you start to realise that the movement of the body is more important than the movement of the Reformer!

Snake drills

Drill 1 – Kneeling on the carriage (hands and knees) but have one foot on the footbar in the ‘snake’ position. The spine position can be relaxed and isn’t the focus. Press the foot into the footbar to move the carriage out maintaining the spine position  (1 spring)

Drill 2 – Work on the mount, even with a bunny hop. Do your best to get up and when ready, wrap the inside leg and hold for up to 10seconds  (2-4 springs)

Drill 3 – In the starting position, push the body and carriage in and out a few inches only maintaining the shape of the mount/starting position (1 or 2 springs)

The Twist 


If you feel stuck in the twist, you may need a little TLC before the Snake/Twist or before you commence the workout. Mermaid (anywhere) and rib typewriters might be a good place to start, sing out if you’d like something more personal created for you. 


Barely press the carriage out and remember to look over your shoulder as if you are reverse-parallel parking your car. Your goal is to have the body in an upright L-sit position with a twist! 

Enjoy your time at The Movement Refinery this week – it’s our last week in North Melbourne before we head down the road to our new West Melbourne studio!