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intermediate

Reformer A FULLY ILLUSTRATED MANUAL

second edition


Original copyright © 2003 by Merrithew Corp. Toronto, Canada. Reprinted 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 HEAD & CERVICAL PLACEMENT HEAD & CERVICAL PLACEMENT PRINCIPLE EXPLAINED

The cervical spine should hold its natural curve and the skull should balance directly above the shoulders when vertical. This relationship should also be maintained in all other starting positions. If there is a kyphosis (overflexion of the thoracic spine) or forward head posture, pads or foam cushions may be necessary in supine position to prevent the cervical spine from overextending and creating unnecessary tension. In most instances, the cervical spine should continue the line created by the thoracic spine during flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation. The idea of cranio-vertebral flexion should be incorporated anytime the thoracic spine moves into flexion. When flexing the upper torso from a supine position, focus on creating thoracic flexion and not overemphasizing cervical flexion. Cranio-vertebral flexion should come from lengthening the back of the neck away from the shoulders and flexing the cranium on the first two vertebrae of the cervical spine. Once cranio-vertebral flexion has been achieved, continue to slightly flex the cervical spine and then develop thoracic flexion.

In ideal cervical flexion, avoid jamming the chin into the chest. There should be enough room between chin and chest to fit a small fist. When extending the upper torso from a prone position, pay particular attention to maintaining an even extension from the thoracic through the cervical spine. Avoid lifting the head too high and creating overextension and compression of the cervical spine. Be aware that the eyeline will affect the cervical placement. When flexing the upper torso from supine, the eyeline should be appropriate for the amount of flexion to maintain proper alignment through the cervical spine. In thoracic extension, the focus should follow the same guidelines. When sitting in neutral, and through all movements, the gaze should ensure that the head, cervical and thoracic spine remain aligned.

Head & Cervical Placement

12

neutral cervical alignment

cranio-vertebral flexion

correct upper body flexion

overextension of cervical

B A S I C P R I N C I P L E S • I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L

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


HEAD & CERVICAL PLACEMENT PRINCIPLE EXERCISES

3. MODIFIED BREAST STROKE PREP

The following movements demonstrate the principle of head and cervical placement.

STARTING POSITION

1. CRANIO-VERTEBRAL FLEXION (HEAD NODS) STARTING POSITION

Supine, pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed, feet abducted hip-distance apart on mat. Arms long by sides, palms down. To practice creating cranio-vertebral flexion before flexing spine off mat. Avoid jamming chin into chest, which results in overflexion of cervical spine. INHALE

drop eye focus slightly and tip head forward, leaving head on mat.

EXHALE

return to neutral.

Prone, pelvis and spine neutral. Hands on mat by shoulders, legs parallel and adducted. Place nose directly down toward mat using small foam cushion if necessary under forehead to support cervical spine (placing forehead on mat will create too much flexion of cervical, chin on mat creates too much extension). INHALE

stabilize scapulae on the back.

EXHALE

maintain scapular stabilization and reach top of head away from tailbone to begin extending thoracic spine. Allow rib cage to open and maintain bottom ribs in contact with mat.

INHALE

maintain extended position and breathe into sides of rib cage without losing abdominal engagement.

EXHALE

stabilize scapulae and lower upper torso to mat, maintaining length of cervical spine.

2. MODIFIED ABDOMINAL PREPARATION STARTING POSITION

Supine, pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed, feet abducted hip-distance apart on mat. Head resting in hands. INHALE

lengthen back of neck.

EXHALE

while maintaining length through back of neck, stabilize scapulae, contract abdominals to slide rib cage toward pelvis and flex thoracic spine. Maintain pelvis neutral throughout exercise, ensuring engagement of transversus abdominis.

INHALE

hold flexion by maintaining abdominal contraction while expanding back and sides of rib cage. Allow weight of head to drop into hands, maintaining length in back of neck.

EXHALE

return upper body to mat, allowing cervical spine to return to neutral once head is on mat.

correct upper body extension

overextension of cervical

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

overflexion of cervical I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L • B A S I C P R I N C I P L E S

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exercises HUNDRED footbar position #1 or #4, 2 or 3 springs, headrest adjusted for individual

To finish...

STARTING POSITION

INHALE

remain in upper body flexion, flex knees and continue to reach arms.

EXHALE

flex elbows and return upper body to carriage. Legs remain in the air.

Supine, imprinted position. Legs parallel and adducted in air, knees flexed (tabletop position). Elbows flexed by sides of body. Hands in straps, fingers long, palms facing away. Scapulae stabilized. EXERCISE

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

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

ESSENCE

lengthen back of neck, keep scapulae stabilized and contract abdominals to flex thoracic spine. Simultaneously, extend elbows, reaching arms by sides level with shoulders, and extend legs on a diagonal as low as imprint can be maintained.

Then... INHALE

for 5 counts, keeping upper body flexion, scapular and pelvic stability, while doing small vertical pulses with arms.

EXHALE

for 5 counts while continuing to pulse arms.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; rectus abdominis and obliques concentrically to create and isometrically to maintain thoracic flexion and stabilize pelvis; latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major to stabilize arms challenged by resistance from behind; hip flexors, adductors and quadriceps isometrically to maintain position of legs; scapular stabilizers STABILITY: lumbo-pelvic region against weight of legs; upper body in flexion; scapulae during arm movement

abdominals to maintain thoracic flexion and stabilize pelvis throughout

ENDURANCE:

Complete 10 sets (a total of 100 counts).

Hundred

36

1. starting position

2. flexed position

3. flex knees

4. return

E X E R C I S E S • I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L

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


FOCUS ■

maintain imprint throughout exercise

stabilize thoracic flexion, rib cage and scapulae throughout to avoid neck tension

stay wide across front and back of shoulder girdle with equal emphasis on anterior and posterior shoulder stabilizers to avoid protracting shoulders (carriage movement indicates loss of connection through shoulder stabilizers or pulsing from elbows)

initiate movement of arms at shoulder joints rather than elbows

avoid overworking rectus abdominis and flexing too high giving the appearance of popping abdominals

avoid overextending or ‘locking’ elbows

keep wrist long without any ‘breaking’

MODIFICATIONS

To practice breath with arm movement. Focuses on scapular stabilization and full breath pattern.

1. HEAD ON CARRIAGE.

2. TABLETOP POSITION. Maintain knees flexed in the air. Ideal to release hip flexors or as an intermediate stage for those not strong enough to stabilize pelvis and lumbar region with legs fully extended.

Perform Hundred just as in Matwork, to reduce work of latissimus dorsi, scapular stabilizers and abdominals.

3. NO STRAPS.

To reduce workload on abdominals, making it easier to stabilize lumbo-pelvic region.

4. FEET ON FOOTBAR, NO STRAPS.

5. BREATHE IN STACCATO RHYTHM. Helps promote full breath pattern and avoid holding breath. 6. FLEX HIPS AND KNEES for 5 counts on inhale (to tabletop position), then extend legs for 5 counts on exhale. Challenges coordination. 7. USE A SPACER. Insert a rubber pad, foam cushion or small ball at knees and ⁄or ankles to help maintain activation of hip adductors.

Place Fitness Circle resistance ring between ankles to add lower body resistance. Use in combination with modification 6, flexing and extending legs, or keep legs straight.

8. FITNESS CIRCLE.

Modification 2

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

I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L • E X E R C I S E S

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exercises STAG ESSENCE

A.K.A. PAS DE CHAT footbar position #4, 2 springs, headrest adjusted for individual STARTING POSITION

Supine, pelvis and spine neutral. Feet in straps, ankles plantar flexed, toes gently pointed. Legs straight, adducted and laterally rotated, on a diagonal as low as pelvic stability can be maintained. Arms long by sides of body, palms down. EXERCISE INHALE

EXHALE

maintain pelvic stability, legs laterally rotated, equal tension on both straps, and abduct one leg straight out to side. Simultaneously flex opposite knee, dorsiflex ankle and bring heel directly toward seat along a center line, as carriage moves in. extend flexed knee, plantar flex ankle, gently point toes and simultaneously adduct opposite leg, bringing legs together along center line to starting position, to move carriage out.

Complete 5 repetitions on each side, alternating. NOTE: If stabilization cannot be maintained in neutral, begin in imprint and move pelvis toward neutral as legs abduct, return to imprint as legs reach on diagonal.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; obliques to prevent spinal extension; obliques and multifidus to prevent pelvic rotation; hip extensors, quadriceps and adductors eccentrically as knee flexes, concentrically as knee extends; hip extensors and adductors of straight leg eccentrically as leg reaches to side, concentrically as leg adducts; lateral rotators to maintain rotation at hip STABILITY:

torso

MOBILITY:

hip abduction and adduction; knee flexion and

extension COORDINATION:

different but simultaneous movement of legs

FOCUS ■

maintain pelvic stability so one hip does not hike toward rib cage and pelvis does not rock or rotate

maintain sacrum area on carriage as legs move toward body

engage abdominals to maintain pelvic stability, as legs move away from torso

keep equal tension on both straps so both legs, although doing different actions, are involved in controlling movement of carriage

Stag

1. starting position

2. stag legs

3. press out

4. stag legs to other side

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

5. press out I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L • E X E R C I S E S

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exercises MERMAID

| SHORT BOX

continued

FOCUS

3. BOW AND ARROW

keep pelvis, rib cage and head square to side, do not allow rotation

prevent spine from flexing or extending, i.e. move only in coronal plane

maintain scapular stability

emphasize length of spine through diagonal position and a strong abdominal connection

footbar position #4, 2 springs, headrest flat STARTING POSITION

Rest bottom hip on box facing side. Neutral pelvis and spine, with body in a long diagonal from feet to top of head. Top leg straight and parallel, foot hooked under footstrap. Bottom knee flexed slightly with foot hooked around back of top ankle. Bottom arm wrapped around waist. Top arm reaching overhead. Scapulae stabilized. EXERCISE INHALE

laterally flex spine toward floor.

EXHALE

lengthen from tail to head to return spine to diagonal line.

Complete 3–5 repetitions on each side. ESSENCE

transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; internal and external obliques of side closest to footbar eccentrically as torso laterally flexes toward floor, concentrically to return; obliques and multifidus to prevent rotation; obliques and erector spinae to prevent forward flexion or extension TARGET MUSCLES:

STABILITY:

spine during articulation; scapulae

ENDURANCE: BALANCE:

lateral flexors working against load throughout

on side of hip

Bow and Arrow

1. starting position

90

2. laterally flex

E X E R C I S E S • I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L

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


exercises REVERSE EXPANSION

continued

4. SALUTE footbar position #3 or #4, 1 or 2 springs STARTING POSITION

Kneel on carriage facing footbar, feet against shoulder rests, ankles dorsiflexed. Femurs vertical in space, spine and pelvis neutral. Hands in straps, fingers long. Elbows flexed with hands forming a diamond shape behind head. Scapulae stabilized. EXERCISE

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

maintain stabilization of scapulae, torso and pelvis on femurs, press hands forward and up into straps, extending elbows and moving carriage out. Keep fingers touching as far as possible without elevating scapulae, then stabilize humeri in space and open hands to continue extension of elbows.

INHALE

flex elbows to return to starting position, controlling return of carriage.

Complete 4 repetitions. MODIFICATIONS (EXERCISE 4)

Hands starting from and returning to forehead. To accommodate less flexible shoulders without pushing head forward. 1. HANDS AT FOREHEAD.

Begin with hands apart, elbows angled directly forward. Keep humeri still and extend elbows to press hands forward. Allows focus on and isolation of triceps. 2. ELBOWS POINTING FORWARD.

Salute

1. starting position

118

2. extend elbows

E X E R C I S E S • I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L

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


exercises BACK SPLITS footbar position #1, 1 or 2 springs, headrest fully raised

ESSENCE

transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; erector spinae to stabilize spine in slight extension; obliques to prevent overextension of lumbar spine; obliques and multifidus to resist rotation; gluteus maximus and hamstrings and lateral rotators and quadriceps of back leg isometrically to stabilize hip and knee respectively; scapular stabilizers

TARGET MUSCLES:

Trained professional must spot throughout exercise in case balance is lost. NOTE:

STARTING POSITION

Lunge, facing pulleys. One knee flexed with ball of foot in crease of headrest, directly under knee. Other leg straight, hip as extended as possible and laterally rotated, with as much surface area of foot as possible on footbar. Pelvis low and as level as possible. Spine in extension with upper body upright. Arms reaching out to sides, palms down. Scapulae stabilized. EXERCISE INHALE

EXHALE

keep torso, pelvis and back knee stable, and extend front knee to press carriage out. keep torso, pelvis and back knee stable, and flex front knee to bring foot directly under knee, to control return of carriage.

hamstrings of front leg eccentrically as carriage moves out, concentrically to pull carriage in

[ONE SPRING]

[TWO SPRINGS] quadriceps of front leg concentrically to press carriage out, eccentrically on return STABILITY:

torso; back hip in extension

BALANCE:

in lunge position

ENDURANCE:

to stabilize position throughout exercise

Complete 5 repetitions on each leg.

Back Splits

1. starting position

144

2. press out

E X E R C I S E S • I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L

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


exercises STAR PREP ESSENCE

footbar position #1, 1 or 2 springs

Trained professional must spot throughout exercise in case balance is lost. NOTE:

STARTING POSITION

Kneel on carriage, facing side. Leaning on a diagonal toward footbar, propped up by underneath arm holding footbar. Top knee against front shoulder rest, bottom knee on carriage with pelvis, spine and hips neutral to make one line from knees to head. Scapula of supporting arm stabilized, arm straight with heel of hand on footbar and fingers long (preferably with fingers and thumb wrapped over bar so weight is resting on top of footbar). Top arm straight resting along top side, palm facing thigh.

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 spine in neutral; underneath obliques and hip abductors to prevent pelvis sinking toward floor; gluteus maximus, hamstrings and abdominals to stabilize pelvis in neutral; scapular stabilizers of supporting side, especially serratus anterior; deltoids and supraspinatus concentrically to initiate press out; latissimus dorsi, and teres major eccentrically to control shoulder abduction, concentrically to initiate shoulder adduction; obliques and multifidus to prevent rotation of spine STABILITY: torso; pelvis on femurs challenged by lean; supporting scapula MOBILITY:

EXERCISE INHALE

EXHALE

shoulder abduction and adduction

all stabilizers to maintain lean position during movement

ENDURANCE:

maintain one line from knees to head, maintain scapular stabilization, and abduct supporting arm to press carriage out. Simultaneously, abduct top arm. maintain one line from knees to head, maintain scapular stabilization, and adduct supporting arm to pull carriage in. Simultaneously, lower top arm.

FOCUS ■

keep both sides of body even, both sides of waist equally long and pelvis in a line between knees and head, neither lifted toward ceiling nor sagging toward carriage

keep pelvis and spine neutral, neither flexing nor extending, anteriorly or posteriorly tilting

keep hips neutral, not flexed

keep pelvis and torso squarely facing one side, avoid rotation

maintain scapular stabilization of supporting side throughout; do not sink into that shoulder

avoid locking or overextending supporting elbow

Complete 5 repetitions on each side.

Star Prep

1. starting position

2. press out

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

3. return I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L • E X E R C I S E S

155


intermediate REFORMER

FOOTWORK

3 OR 4 SPRINGS 10 TO 12 REPS

LONG STRETCH

3 OR 4 SPRINGS 10 TO 12 REPS 2 OR 3 SPRINGS

5 TO 10 REPS

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

10 SETS

ELEPHANT

2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

SEMICIRCLE

SHORT SPINE

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

BEATS

2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

FROG

2 SPRINGS

STAG COORDINATION

12345

SECOND POSITION SINGLE LEG

123

1234

HUNDRED BEND & STRETCH

BACK ROWING FRONT ROWING

123

12 1234

STOMACH MASSAGE

1234

123

BACKSTROKE PREP

FEET PULLING STRAPS

1234

5 REPS

DOWN STRETCH

2 SPRINGS

2 SETS

UP STRETCH

1

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

12

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

2 SPRINGS

3 REPS

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

6 REPS

SIDE ARM PREPS KNEELING 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

5 REPS

SIDE TWIST KNEELING

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

REVERSE EXPANSION

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

4 REPS

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

MERMAID

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

LEG CIRCLES

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

LONG SPINE

2 OR 3 SPRINGS 5 TO 10 REPS

LONG BOX ARMS PULLING STRAPS

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

1 SPRING

5 REPS

2 SPRINGS

10 REPS

1 SPRING

10 REPS

CHEST EXPANSION

SHORT BOX 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

STRAIGHT BACK

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

TWIST WITH ROUND BACK

2 SPRINGS

3 REPS

LEAN

2 SPRINGS

3 REPS

TREE

2 SPRINGS

3 REPS

2 SPRINGS

3 TO 5 REPS

123

12345

1 SPRING 2 SPRINGS

123

2 OR 3 SPRINGS 1234

2 SPRINGS

3 TO 5 REPS 10 REPS 3 REPS 10 REPS

RUNNING

2 OR 3 SPRINGS 20 TO 60 REPS

HIP LIFT

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

10 REPS

HIP ROLLS

2 OR 3 SPRINGS

5 TO 10 REPS

SINGLE THIGH STRETCH

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

FRONT SPLITS

2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

BACK SPLITS

1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 REPS

STAR PREP

ROUND BACK

12

12

KNEE STRETCHES

SIDE SPLITS

MERMAID

PREP

1234567

1⁄ 2 TO 2 SPRINGS 8 TO 10 REPS 1 OR 2 SPRINGS

5 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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I N T E R M E D I AT E R E F O R M E R M A N U A L • W O R K O U T C H A R T

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Intermediate Reformer Sample