Exercise #2188

Knee Stretches

4 min - Exercise


Muscle Focus: Abdominals.

Objective: Strengthening the abdominals.

Reformer Setup: Start with two medium springs depending on the amount of resistance desired. The footbar is up.

Start Position: Kneel on the carriage, facing the footbar. Place both hands on the footbar, shoulder distance apart, and both feet against the shoulder rests with the toes curled under onto the carriage. Hips will hover off of the calves as you find a round C-shaped spine from the top of the neck to the tailbone curling down. Hands are pressing down into the footbar to avoid a collapse in the shoulders and upper back. Abdominals are drawing into the spine.


Roundback: Without moving through the shoulder joint or the upper body, inhale as you press the carriage back (using the glutes and the abdominals) just as far as the knees are under the hips. The back will maintain the C-curve through this movement. Exhale to use the abdominals to return to start position. Repeat seven to nine more times.

Flatback: From the Roundback position, simply flatten out the spine to create a straight line from the base of the neck to the tailbone. Repeat the Roundback movement (with a flat spine) by inhaling to press the carriage out, exhaling to bring the carriage back. Repeat seven to nine more times.

Knees Off: Resume the Roundback start position. Changing the position as little as possible, simply hover the knees off of the carriage a few inches. Using the same movement as in Roundback, inhale to press the carriage out and exhale to bring the carriage in, ensuring that the knees stay hovering just a few inches above the carriage. Repeat seven to nine more times.

What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Jun 12, 2015
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Read Full Transcript

Let's take a closer look at the knee stretches. I think the knee stretches are a wonderful exercise, but sometimes a little misunderstood. So first I want you to pay attention to the setup. Toes are tucked under and I really never missed an opportunity to get a good foot stretch. So enjoy really getting to know that foot position with the feet up against the shoulder rests and the toes bent. And then here, notice that uh, Meredith is sitting back on her heels. Also, I'm on one red spring at the moment here. We're going to round through the back, still keeping the the bottom on the heels here and really create that wonderful flection supporting with the abdominals here.

Now the shape of the back stays the same as she lifts up and the carriage will sort of move out from underneath her just a little bit here. Now the goal here is to keep the body completely still. Let's exhale to pull Ian and inhale to go out focusing on the exhale in inhale back, exhale in. Notice that there's a lot of stability, that the the core is very stable. The shoulders are stabilizing, the abdominals are controlling the movement, but the hip flexors are in fact doing the movements. So it's quite complicated here to get all the pieces together. I will say that if you don't yet feel the abdominals here, chances are you're not quite using them the way that you need to.

So pause for just a moment right here. One thing you can think about is this idea of drawing the thigh bones just a little closer together and pulling them in toward your nose. When you pull in. Inhale to go back. Exhale, thighbone, squeeze. Inhale to go back. Exhale, just do one more like that please. And then pause in the middle range of motion here.

We're going to organize a long spine, so I'm not going into back extension. I am looking for the natural integrity of the lumbar spine here and then ironing out a little bit the thoracic spine, but not necessarily going into extension. The same movement, the same focus in how back. Exhale. [inaudible]. So if you think a little bit about drawing the thigh bones together, you may find that your abdominals or your gut, if you will, wakes up in a different way, which is quite nice. Another feeling here to pay attention to is oftentimes people round the pelvis underneath them, which isn't what we're looking for.

We want this nice straight back. It kind of feels a little bit like you have to aim your tailbone back while you pull your legs in. Let's pause there. And so once you've really mastered these exercises, the next place to go is to the knees off. Now for knees off, I highly recommend adding a blue spring. Perhaps if you need more spring than that you can, and then you're going to reorganize that exact same position we started with in the round back. So we're pressing essentially the arms away from the foot bar.

We've got a beautiful rounded back and then here press the carriage out from underneath you. Now we're going to maintain the shape of the spine perfectly and simply hover the knees away from the carriage. And now this once again, stays perfectly stable as you exhale and pull in. And what I want you to pay attention to is not allowing your knees to appear to be off of the carriage too terribly much. There's just an inch or two or three of space rather than lifting the body up so high. So the integrity of the position has been maintained. Pull in and hold.

We gracefully placed the knees down and come to rest and that was the knees stretch round back, flat back and knees off on the reformer.

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5 people like this.
love these breakdowns....learn something new every SINGLE time. Thank you!
Hi Jennifer, So very happy that you find the breakdown useful...Thank you!
2 people like this.
Thank you very much. Very well explained.
Sarah you are a rare gem when it comes to translating your understanding to others. Thank you so much for sharing so freely on PA too! xoxo
Thanks ladies! Kristi, you are too kind. I feel lucky to be a part of PA. Such a wonderful unifying resource. Xoxo
Natalia D
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much. Well explained!!!
1 person likes this.
great explanation! xoxo
thanks nicoletta 
1 person likes this.
Thank you very much!

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