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essential

Reformer A FULLY ILLUSTRATED MANUAL

second edition


Original copyright © 2003 by Merrithew Corp. Toronto, Canada. Reprinted 2013, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including photography, may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher. STOTT PILATES; Intelligent Exercise. Profound Results.; Fitness Circle; Flex-Band; Merrithew Health & Fitness; SPX; Stability Chair; STOTT PILATES Network; The Professional’s Choice, CORE Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training; V2 Max and ZEN•GA are trademarks or registered trademarks of Merrithew Corporation.

INTELLIGENT EXERCISE. PROFOUND RESULTS.®

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basic principles PELVIC PLACEMENT PELVIC PLACEMENT PRINCIPLE EXPLAINED

emphasizes stabilization of the pelvis and lumbar spine in a variety of positions. Two positions most often used to achieve stability are neutral and imprint. In neutral placement the normal curve, slightly convex anteriorly, of the lumbar spine is present. In most cases when supine, the triangle formed by the ASIS and the symphysis pubis should lie parallel to the mat. This is the most stable and optimal shockabsorbing position and a good place from which to promote efficient movement patterns. If the pubic bone is lower than the ASIS, an anterior pelvic tilt results; if the pubic bone is higher, a posterior pelvic tilt results. Neutral alignment should not be achieved by forcibly arching the back, but rather by allowing the weight of the sacrum to rest on the mat resulting in a natural lordosis of the lumbar spine. While breathing and engaging abdominals in this position no strain should be felt through the spinal extensors in the lumbar area. If muscular tension occurs, shift the pelvis slightly toward an imprinted position. It is more important for the abdominal wall to be engaged and the lumbar area to be stable and unstrained than for the ASIS and pubis symphysis to lie in the same horizontal plane. For example, someone with large gluteal muscles might actually create an exaggerated lordosis in the lumbar spine by trying to have the ASIS and pubic bone lie in the same plane. Imprinted placement refers to a slight posterior pelvic tilt with slight lumbar flexion. The normal curve of the lumbar spine lengthens toward flexion by engaging the oblique abdominals to approximate the pelvis toward the rib cage anteriorly.

When supine, the pubic bone will be slightly higher than the ASIS. The pelvis is not so tilted that the sacrum curls off or loses contact with the mat. It is not necessary to press the lower back all the way into the mat or to tuck under by overusing the rectus abdominis or gluteal muscles as this may decrease stability. The degree of contact between the lumbar spine and the mat will differ from person to person. An imprinted position should be used to ensure stability of the pelvis and lumbar spine if neutral alignment cannot be stabilized. When the load is greater than the strength of the abdominals, placing them in a shortened position will provide the mechanical advantage to maintain engagement and stabilize the lumbo-pelvic region. This will often be useful when certain postural tendencies are present (for example, lordosis). When the lower limbs are secure on the mat or other apparatus in a closed kinetic chain, the pelvis and spine are ideally neutral. Performing an open kinetic chain exercise with the pelvis and lumbar spine in an imprinted position will increase stabilization. Once enough strength has been developed through the abdominals to stabilize, a neutral placement can be maintained in an open kinetic chain. When describing the position and movement of the pelvis, we use neutral to refer to the spine or pelvis being neutral in the sagittal plane, i.e. no flexion or extension through the lumbar spine. Sometimes we may be laterally tilting the pelvis or laterally flexing or rotating the spine, but we still refer to the spine and pelvis as neutral as long as they are neutral in the sagittal plane. When looking at pelvic placement, we need to consider the relationship of the pelvis to the lumbar spine and hip joints, as different starting positions and movements will affect its alignment.

Pelvic Placement

neutral

6

BASIC PRINCIPLES • ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL

imprint Š 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.


PELVIC PLACEMENT PRINCIPLE EXERCISES

The following movements demonstrate the principle of pelvic placement. STARTING POSITION

Supine, pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed, feet abducted hipdistance apart on mat. Arms long by sides, palms down. 1. ROCKING PELVIS

Rock pelvis through anterior and posterior tilts to explore range of movement. Neutral placement will be somewhere between the two. 2. NEUTRAL TO IMPRINT INHALE

maintain neutral alignment.

EXHALE

contract oblique abdominals and imprint spine.

INHALE

maintain imprinted position.

EXHALE

return to neutral.

Transversus abdominis remains engaged throughout while obliques shorten as pelvis and ribs move toward imprint, and lengthen as pelvis and ribs move toward neutral. 3. LEG SLIDES INHALE

to prepare.

EXHALE

imprint spine.

Then … INHALE

maintain imprint and slide one foot along mat as far away from seat as possible, maintaining pelvic stability.

EXHALE

return to starting position.

Repeat with other leg, then with both legs. Exercise can be performed in neutral alignment if stability can be maintained. 4. LEG LIFTS INHALE

to prepare.

EXHALE

lift one foot off mat, maintaining imprint.

INHALE

return foot to mat.

Repeat with other leg. Can also be done lifting legs consecutively (lift one leg, then other to join it) or simultaneously (lift both legs together). Exercise can be performed in neutral alignment if stability can be maintained.

© 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL • BASIC PRINCIPLES

7


exercises FOOTWORK

continued

3. HEELS ON BAR footbar position #1, 3 or 4 springs, headrest adjusted for individual STARTING POSITION

Heels on footbar, ankles dorsiflexed. Legs parallel and adducted, knees flexed. EXERCISE

To prepare, inhale.. . EXHALE

keep feet still in space and extend knees to push carriage out.

INHALE

flex knees and hips, controlling return of carriage.

Complete 10–12 repetitions. FOCUS ■

all those listed on page 22

keep soles of feet as though on an imaginary floor, still in space; allow movement at ankle joints

maintain inner thigh connection, with legs parallel

Heels on Bar

1. starting position

2. press out

24

EXERCISES • ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL

© 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.


exercises BEND & STRETCH 1. PARALLEL

2. LATERALLY ROTATED

footbar position #1, 2 springs, headrest adjusted for individual

footbar position #1, 2 springs, headrest adjusted for individual

STARTING POSITION

STARTING POSITION

Supine, pelvis and spine neutral. Feet in straps, legs parallel and adducted with knees flexed and ankles dorsiflexed (keep feet just above knees so straps do not rub). Arms long by sides of body, palms down.

Supine, pelvis and spine neutral. Feet in straps, heels together, toes apart. Legs laterally rotated with knees flexed and ankles dorsiflexed. Arms long by sides of body, palms down. EXERCISE

EXERCISE

To prepare, inhale...

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

keep inner thighs connected with legs parallel and press feet into straps, extending knees to move carriage out. Simultaneously, imprint, plantar flex ankles and gently point toes. Reach legs as low as imprint can be maintained.

INHALE

flex knees and hips and dorsiflex feet, moving pelvis toward neutral as carriage returns.

Complete 10 repetitions.

EXHALE

keep heels connected and legs laterally rotated and press feet into straps, extending knees to move carriage out. Simultaneously, imprint, plantar flex ankles and gently point toes. Reach legs as low as imprint can be maintained.

INHALE

keep heels connected, flex knees and hips and dorsiflex feet, moving pelvis toward neutral as carriage returns.

Complete 10 repetitions. May be done starting in and maintaining a neutral position once strength is gained and ability demonstrated. NOTE:

May be done starting in and maintaining a neutral position once strength is gained and ability demonstrated. NOTE:

Parallel

1. starting position

2. extend knees

3. flex knees

2. extend knees

3. flex knees

Laterally Rotated

1. starting position

36

EXERCISES • ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL

Š 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.


exercises BACK ROWING PREPS

continued

MODIFICATIONS (EXERCISE 4)

4. BICEPS CURLS

1. PALMS FACING DOWN.

footbar position #1, 1 or 2 springs, headrest flat 2. PALMS FACING IN.

STARTING POSITION

3. SUPINATION OF FOREARMS.

Seated upright, pelvis and spine neutral. Legs straight and adducted between shoulder rests, ankles plantar flexed (ankles may be crossed). Arms long, held out in front of body level with shoulders. Hands in straps, palms facing up, wrists and fingers long. Scapulae stabilized.

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

supinate forearms, then flex elbows to draw hands toward ears.

INHALE

extend elbows, then pronate forearms to starting position.

EXERCISE

4. PRONATION OF FOREARMS.

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

INHALE

keep scapulae stable and humeri still in space, flex elbows and draw hands toward ears to move carriage out. keep scapulae stabilized and extend elbows to control return of carriage.

Start with palms facing down.

Start with palms facing up.

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

pronate forearms, then flex elbows to draw hands toward ears.

INHALE

extend elbows, then supinate forearms to starting position.

Complete 5–10 repetitions. FOCUS ■

keep upper arms at a constant height during elbow flexion without overusing upper trapezius

Biceps Curls

1. starting position

52

EXERCISES • ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL

2. flex elbows

3. return © 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.


exercises ARMS PULLING STRAPS

| LONG BOX

1. PLOW footbar position #4, 1⁄2 or 1 spring, headrest flat

Position box lengthwise on carriage, pressed up against shoulder rests. NOTE:

STARTING POSITION

Prone on box, head toward pulleys. Pelvis neutral, upper body and head relaxed forward off end of box. Legs straight, adducted and parallel to floor. Arms straight, reaching down by sides of carriage and forward as far as scapular stabilization can be maintained, hands holding ropes, palms facing in. EXERCISE INHALE

slide scapulae down, pull arms down and back to start moving carriage out and lengthen spine to neutral, parallel to floor.

EXHALE

continue to pull arms back, hands to hip level, and extend upper spine, palms facing in.

INHALE

reach arms toward floor to start to return carriage, and lengthen spine to neutral parallel to floor.

EXHALE

reach arms forward to fully return carriage allowing upper body to relax off end of box.

Complete 5 repetitions.

Plow

72

1. starting position

2. neutral spine

3. thoracic extension

4. neutral spine

EXERCISES • ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL

5. return © 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.


exercises ELEPHANT 1. ROUND BACK

2. STRAIGHT BACK

footbar position #1, 1 or 2 springs

footbar position #1, 1 or 2 springs

STARTING POSITION

STARTING POSITION

Stand on carriage, feet against shoulder rests and hands holding footbar. Spine flexed with pelvis over feet as much as possible, ankles dorsiflexed. Back of pelvis drawn toward back of femurs. Heels of hands on footbar, shoulder-distance apart, scapulae stabilized. Arms slightly bent with elbows angled back.

Stand on carriage, heels against shoulder rests and hands holding footbar. Spine as neutral as possible (imprint slightly if hamstring length does not allow neutral or if stabilization cannot be maintained). Pelvis over feet as much as possible, ankles dorsiflexed. Heels of hands on footbar, shoulder-distance apart, scapulae stabilized. Arms slightly bent with elbows angled back.

EXERCISE INHALE

EXHALE

stabilize torso and arms and extend hips to move carriage out as far as possible without changing pelvis. keep spine flexed and flex hips to pull feet back under pelvis and return carriage.

Complete 10 repetitions.

EXERCISE INHALE

stabilize torso and arms and extend hips to move carriage out as far as possible without changing pelvis.

EXHALE

keep spine long and flex hips to pull feet back under pelvis to return carriage.

Complete 10 repetitions. ESSENCE TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; rectus abdominis and obliques isometrically to stabilize torso in flexion; hip extensors concentrically to press carriage out and eccentrically on return; hip flexors concentrically on return; scapular stabilizers STABILITY:

torso in flexion; scapulae and arms

MOBILITY:

hip extension and flexion

Modification 1

move feet forward (shown in Round Back position)

Round Back

1. starting position

82

EXERCISES • ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL

2. press back

3. return © 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.


ESSENCE

MODIFICATIONS (EXERCISES 1-2)

transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; erector spinae and obliques to stabilize spine; hip extensors concentrically to press carriage out, eccentrically on return; hip flexors concentrically on return; scapular stabilizers

1. MOVE FEET FORWARD.

TARGET MUSCLES:

STABILITY:

torso in straight back position; scapulae and arms

MOBILITY:

hip extension and flexion

Position feet slightly forward on carriage. Ideal for shorter torso lengths; allows stabilization of scapulae with majority of weight over feet. If necessary, stand on a gripper mat to prevent feet from slipping.

Standing on balls of feet with heels against shoulder rests. To reduce tension on hamstrings. 2. HIGH HALF TOE.

FOCUS (EXERCISES 1-2) ■

maintain spinal flexion with abdominals especially as hips extend in 1

maintain long spine so hamstrings must lengthen, and avoid lumbar spine flexing as hips flex in 2

maintain abdominal support in both round and straight back positions to help stabilize spine during movement of hips

maintain scapular stabilization throughout

isolate movement at hip joint to move carriage; avoid allowing movement from shoulders or spine

avoid overextending wrists on footbar

keep heels down so weight is on entire foot, especially as carriage is pressed out

avoid ‘locking’ or overflexing elbows Modification 2

high half toe (shown in Straight Back position)

Straight Back

1. starting position

2. press back

© 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

3. return ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL • EXERCISES

83


exercises SIDE SPLITS 1. ABDUCTION footbar position #4, 1 or 2 springs STARTING POSITION

Stand on Reformer, facing side. One foot on wooden standing platform, one foot on edge of carriage (if using platform extender, feet should start hip-distance apart). Spine and pelvis neutral. Legs straight and parallel. Arms straight, reaching out to sides, palms down or forward. EXERCISE

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

maintain pelvis and spine neutral and weight equally on both feet; press legs evenly away from midline to move carriage out.

INHALE

maintain pelvis and spine neutral and weight equally on both feet; return legs evenly toward midline, controlling return of carriage.

Complete 8–10 repetitions on each side. ESSENCE TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; obliques and erector spinae to stabilize torso; abdominals and hip extensors to stabilize pelvis; hip abductors concentrically to press carriage out, eccentrically on return STABILITY:

torso

MOBILITY:

hip abduction and adduction

Abduction

1. starting position

100

EXERCISES • ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL

2. press out

3. return © 2013 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.


essential REFORMER ✽ asterisk indicates exercise to be accomplished within first five sessions ✽ FOOTWORK 3 OR 4 SPRINGS 10 TO 12 REPS

✽ ✽

1⁄ 2 OR 1 SPRING

5 TO 10 REPS

SIDE TWIST SITTING

1 ⁄ 2 OR 1 SPRING

5 REPS

FRONT ROWING PREPS

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

10 REPS

1

INTERNAL ROTATION

2

WRAP TOES ON BAR

2

EXTERNAL ROTATION

3

HEELS ON BAR

3

ADDUCTION

4

HIGH HALF TOE

4

ABDUCTION

5

LOWER & LIFT

SECOND POSITION

3 OR 4 SPRINGS

10 TO 12 REPS

✽ ✽

1

PARALLEL

1

STRAIGHT FORWARD

2

LATERALLY ROTATED

2

SECOND POSITION

3

MEDIALLY ROTATED

3

OFFERING

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

5 TO 10 REPS

STOMACH MASSAGE

1

ONE LEG BENT

2

BICYCLE

1

ROUND BACK

3

SINGLE HEEL

2

PREP

STRAIGHT BACK

HUNDRED

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

10 SETS

BEND & STRETCH

2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

LONG BOX ARMS PULLING STRAPS

1

PARALLEL

1

PLOW

2

LATERALLY ROTATED

2

AIRPLANE

3

MEDIALLY ROTATED

3

TRICEPS

LIFT & LOWER

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

SHORT BOX

1 ⁄ 2 OR 1 SPRING

5 REPS

2 SPRINGS

1

PARALLEL

ROUND BACK

2

LATERALLY ROTATED

STRAIGHT BACK

5 REPS 5 REPS

ADDUCTOR STRETCH

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

TWIST

5 REPS

SHORT SPINE

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

TREE

3 REPS

PREP

ELEPHANT

FULL

1

ROUND BACK

2

STRAIGHT BACK

MIDBACK SERIES

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

MERMAID

1 SPRING

STRAIGHT DOWN

LEG CIRCLES

2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

FORTY FIVE DEGREES

1

PARALLEL

4

SIDE

2

LATERALLY ROTATED

5

CIRCLES

3

MEDIALLY ROTATED

2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

1

TRICEPS PRESS

2 3

BACK ROWING PREPS

✽ ✽ ✽ ✽ ✽

SIDE ARM PREPS SITTING

TOES APART HEELS TOGETHER

SINGLE LEG

✽ ✽

1

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 TO 10 REPS

KNEE STRETCHES

1

PLOW

2

OPEN ELBOWS

1

ROUND BACK

3

AIRPLANE

2

STRAIGHT BACK

4

BICEPS CURLS

5

TRICEPS

6

3 TO 5 REPS

PREP

✽ ✽

RUNNING

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

HIP LIFT

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

10 REPS

ROLL-DOWN

HIP ROLLS

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

5 TO 10 REPS

7

ROLL-DOWN WITH BICEPS CURLS

8

ROLL-DOWN WITH OBLIQUES

20 TO 60 REPS

PREP FULL

SINGLE THIGH STRETCH

2 SPRINGS

SIDE SPLITS

1⁄ 2 TO 2 SPRINGS

1

ABDUCTION

2

ADDUCTION

5 REPS 8 TO 10 REPS

m e r r i t h e w. c o m 2 2 0 0 Y O N G E S T R E E T, S U I T E 5 0 0 , T O R O N T O , O N , C A N A D A M 4 S 2 C 6 . 4 1 6 - 4 8 2 - 4 0 5 0

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ESSENTIAL REFORMER MANUAL • WORKOUT CHART

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Essential Reformer Sample