Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 8!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 8!

Welcome to the 8th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

We’ve been working our way through the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises.

Post SemiCircle and into the Chest Expansion

This was THE most important transition for my workout.

I had gotten into the habit of just hanging out for a bit after the SemiCircle. Perhaps it began as a blip in my memory about what comes next.

Or perhaps I'd never been a big fan of the exercises to come: Chest Expansion, Thigh Stretch, Arm Circles, Snake/Twist

All of which brings me to my first piece of advice to get into Chest Expansion:

Get off the Reformer!!

I was amazed at how much time I could shave off my workout just by *ahem* not stopping.

What a concept.

Know where you're going and get there

From the moment you approach the Reformer, know where you will place yourself for the exercises.

Chest Expansion

  • Pick up your handles from the pegs. (Option 2: The Make-Your-Future-Self-Happy way transition will ensure your handles are exactly where you need them to be).
  • With one handle in each hand, place yourself into your kneeling position for the exercise. No hands, please!
  • And go!

Thigh Stretch

  • Place your handles into one hand.
  • Reach back to add 1 spring (you will now have 3 springs total)
  • Take one handle into each hand and kneel up against the shoulder blocks.
  • Go!

Arm Circles

Here, efficiency is very important.

Though it may be tempting to stay on the carriage and turn around, you'll save time (and your knees) if you step off for just a moment so you'll be able to return again into the precise position.

  • After Thigh Stretch take your handles into one hand.
  • Step off to the same side as your hand with the handles.
  • Use your free hand to remove 2 springs (you now have just 1 spring remaining).
  • Take one handle into each hand behind your back (similar to getting on for Backstroke).
  • Place each foot and knee into its proper position.
  • Begin!


  • Post Arm Circles, take your handles into one hand and step off.
  • Place the straps and handles into the well of the Reformer.
  • Take your position for Snake/Twist: One foot, grab the carriage in your hands, other foot.
  • Go baby!

Post Snake Twist and into the Corkscrew

Before you lie down for the Corkscrew you'll prepare the straps if you plan to do the Long Spine Massage.

Set up the straps now while you are up, even though there are several exercises before you'll be needing them.

With the straps ready for you, you'll not interrupt the flow of the exercises by getting off the Reformer in the midst of the next few lying down exercises (Corkscrew, Tic Toc, Control Balance).

Setting up the straps for Long Spine Massage

Use the long black straps to extend the length of the leather straps (= Long Spine Massage) and you'll include the handle in the black straps as well so it will not drop down and hit you.

Take care not to twist the black straps when you clip them. Place the black straps onto the pegs, so they'll be ready and waiting for you.

Hey! Good for you!

Excellent, you've gotten the Chest Expansion mini-series all whipped into efficiency. I think it helps to move along and not think too much about it. I've spent many years trying to make these exercises perfect and I find it more helpful to do your best and move on.

Otherwise you'll never get to my very most favorite exercises in the next installment of Transitions! Transitions!

Enjoy this short video tutorial. 

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thank you so so much for watching!

In case you’ve missed one…

  • Check out the first Transitions! post to learn the purpose of an efficient Pilates transition.
  • Catch up on the 2nd post as well and move smoothly through the Rowing Series.
  • The 3rd installment will enhance your scoop and take you successfully into the Backstroke.
  • We hashed out the Big Transition into the Long Stretch Series into shape in post 4.
  • Transitions! 5! took us deep into the rhythm of the Stomach Massage Series.
  • My favorite, the Short Box Series gets the royal treatment in post 6.
  • The hits just keep on coming in post 7…yum, the Short Spine Massage!
Subscribe to receive a Special Bonus Blogpost
How to Fall in Love with the Exercises you Hate
We respect your privacy and never share your information.