Pilates Reformer Fun

Here’s a great way to work your upper body while having fun. This series integrates the arms with the torso and can help release tension in the upper body while building strength.

We’re using a Pilates Cadillac today, but you can do this in a gym or even at a playground.


Hanging series to integrate arms into torso from video

  • Stand with arms holding a horizontal bar at eye level or slightly higher
  • Hold with underhand grip
  • Bend knees and let arms stretch down. Feel the motion through the arms
  • Switch to overhand grip. Keep bending and stretching knees
  • Switch hand grip so one hand is underhand and one hand is overhand
  • Keep switching as you continue to bend and stretch the knees
  • Back to overhand grip
  • Bend legs and swing your hips forward they hang below you shoulders. Turn your legs right then left so your torso turns between the arms.
  • Repeat the sequence again with the overhand grip and then the underhand grip. Note, the exercise may look the same, but this time your range of motion may change. You also want to use your feet and legs less while using upper body more.

A few notes:

  • When you bend and stretch, don’t completely release in the shoulders. Feel work down through the arm pit and side of torso so you keep integrity in the arms. You should always control the motions you are making.
  • When your grip is underhand, you will be working more through the back of the body. When it’s overhand, you will be working more through the front.
  • Although there is a lot of work in the upper body, you are also working your legs too. If you feel a bit of a burn, that’s ok.
  • Notice we only do a couple of reps in each position. You can do a few more, but don’t do too many in a row. Make sure to switch before any tension builds.