Pilates Reformer – Upper Body Exercises

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 47,792
    Fitness Expert Tanya Merryman demonstrates how to do pilates reformer upper body exercises.

    Tanya Merryman: This is Tanya Merryman and we're in the middle of our full body workout using the Pilate's reformer machine. I'm going into my upper body exercises and this is going to be the laying down exercises for your upper body. So when I again adjust my resistance controls, I'm using the two thick resistance bends which are red, but you might you want to go lighter depending on what level that you're at.

    I consider myself to be, this is an intermediate advanced level. Close the platform down. Again, I'm going to lay back down, taking my feet to the foot bar, but then this is where we get to use our straps. I am holding on to the smaller strap. These are hand straps. I am making sure that they are the same length, and then from point one knee and on the other knee.

    So I start to feel the resistance. You want to make make sure you always have those ribs heavy into your carriage and that's how maintain stabilization through the core for this particular exercise. From here I exhale as if I am shooting the energy out through my fingers, inhaling back up, exhaling out, inhaling.

    I just want to make sure I'm through the proper body alignment and you know your form is not perfect, if your ribs are popping towards the ceiling. So I really feel my ribs heavy into my matte. If I need to I exaggerate the breathing, it gives me more power on the movement.

    These are arm extensions. I'm working my upper body. Even though my shoulders are pressed into the shoulder pads, I'm not adding tension through the neck and shoulder. So I keep repeating that through the entire workout. That's very important. Going to my next movement pattern. I'm going to bring the elbows down, pressing into the carriage, this is for your triceps. Again, notice that my hands are pointed out, shoot the energy out through the fingers as I exhale, extend the arms, always in control. So this is a nice controlled movement. I'm not too fast. It is harder if I want to go slower. And really press and squeeze through the muscle fibers and I can make this even harder by extending my legs out, keeping those ribs pressing into the carriage, pulling my knees back in, if it gets too extreme. I'm going to change the angle, it's like 45 degree angle.

    So I just open those hands out just a little bit. Again, that triceps extension pressing the palms down towards my feet, always lengthening, being aware of my ribs, bringing it back. Again, I am turning my palms facing down, checking my ribs to make sure they're stabilized, inhaling back up, exhaling back down, inhaling up, exhaling down.

    Then I'm going to an iron cross. My palms face each other. So if you remember a male gymnast, they do this on the rings. We can get away with that on the reformer. I can extend my legs out, challenging the entire core, body temperature heats up, arms extended, legs extended, hips are stable, going into my combination inhaling and bringing arms up, open and then exhaling squeezing through the armpits back down, inhaling up, open, exhaling, inhaling, open, exhaling, inhaling, out. You are challenged to control the movement. You don't want to have any jerking movements, nice and smooth as if you wanted to look effortless, even though it's not.

    When I'm done, I'm going to find a foot bar releasing the straps back down, ending my upper body section. Now all we have left is some great stretching that we're going to be doing in the next clip.