Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 9!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 9!

Welcome to the 9th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

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

Post Snake/Twist and into the Corkscrew

As we discussed in an earlier post, immediately preceding the Corkscrew you'll need to set up your straps for the Long Spine Massage, which you'll do a bit later on.

Before you head off to the straps, scan your Reformer starting at the footbar end:

  • Add 1 spring. You now have 2 springs for Corkscrew.
  • As you walk to the back of the Reformer, put the headpiece down. VERY important!

Now let's review the strap set-up for the Long Spine Massage:

  • Leather straps and handles go together.
  • The long black extension strap goes through both the leather loop and the handle.
  • Be sure not to twist the black straps when clipping it up. #nomobiusinpilates
  • The clips should be free from any other straps and will face outward toward the sides of the Reformer. This way they will not be able to get caught up and potentially un-clip themselves.
  • Once you've finished your set up, place the black straps onto the pegs. They'll be ready when you are.

I have actually seen a clip come undone, take care to set up the straps neatly and safely.


Long Spine Straps?


Okay, now you're ready to lie down for the Corkscrew.

Roll down after your last Corkscrew and begin your Tic Toc.

Finish your Tic Toc and slide down the carriage into position for the Control Balance.


Post Control Balance and into the Long Spine Massage

  • Slide yourself back onto the carriage and against the shoulder blocks.
  • Reach for your straps and put them onto your feet for the Long Spine Massage.
  • Remember to lift your feet up into the straps – the carriage should not move!

Post Long Spine Massage

You've just done an amazing Long Spine Massage. Now we'll discuss how best to extricate yourself from the straps.

Here you've got some options:

1. Stretchfest 2015

A lovely ending I learned from Romana gives a nice stretch for the inner thighs and hips. Make it extra delicious by elongating the tailbone onto the mat and using your *gasp!* seat.


  • Let the legs open up and out to the side for the stretch. Your hands can hold onto the straps or your inner thighs to guide you. Try to let the legs be passive.
  • Now hold the straps in your hands and use them to bring the legs together and straight up to the ceiling. Keep the hips down and the tailbone long and on the mat.
  • Reach your heels to the ceiling and pull gently down on the straps for greater stretch of the back and back of legs.
  • Follow with either (2) Strap Disposal 2.0 or (3 ) My Personal Favorite.

2. Strap Disposal 2.0

If you didn't select this option earlier after Short Spine Massage, you can opt for it here.

  • Lift your lower body up and over a la Overhead.
  • When legs are parallel to the floor, reach the heels away (flexing your feet) and let the straps fall off. Voilà!
  • Roll back down with control and step off.

3. My Personal Favorite

Although I find the extra transition tidbits above to be enjoyable, I prefer to use my post-Long Spine-Massage-time to be extra nice to my back.

Here you can place the Frog and Circles.

  • You've already got the straps on.
  • Lift up the headpiece before you begin your Frog.
  • After the Circles, simply take one set of straps in each hand and take them off your feet.
  • Deposit straps into the well of the Reformer and step off.

I love to feel how deeply one can get into these 2 foundational exercises at this point in the workout. Do just a few Frog (3-5x) and the same amount of Circles.

A little nice-nice for your back and a moment of calm before the next vigorous bit, the Knee Stretch Series.

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 to 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 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!
  • Transitions 8! keeps us moving from Chest Expansion to the strap set up for Long Spine Massage.

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  1. Good morning and nicely demo’d ! So…you do a 2nd set of Frog/Circles or do a switcharoo and place them after Long Spine Massage?
    I’m going to attend StretchFest 2015 (get your tickets now!) after Frog/Circles cuz it looks so good! Like, not officially placing it there but…you know, just gonna go after that hammy stretch 🙂

    • Hey there – Happy Monday morning 🙂

      When I do my Reformer workout I go straight from the Hundred to the Overhead. Then after Long Spine Massage I do 3-5 Frog and 3-5 Circles in each direction. It helps me regain my center and really be nice to my back after the exertion of the Long Spine exercise, which is super challenging for me. But even if you have the Frog/Circles at the beginning before Overhead, you can still do a few after Long Spine – perfectly fine in my book…such a multi-purpose exercise!

      Even if you are not doing Long Spine Massage, you can still place Frog and Circles before the Knee Stretch series if you do not do it before Overhead. You’ve got some options.

      And yes, go for the StretchFest 2015 – try to find your seat so the hips and hamstrings get a nice stretch. With the tailbone long and down you’ll get into the seat here too. Yay! Have fun. I am working on the Mat in my lesson today – my request from last week, but I am still sad I will not get onto the Reformer – so I did Reformer yesterday…

      I look forward to seeing you tomorrow xo

  2. StretchFest 2015 was a success! Hope your Mat was rock-n-rollin’ 😉 cu tomorrow!

  3. Roberta caldart says

    hello Andrea,
    thank you so much for all of yours tutorial videos, they are so clear and so helpful for us!
    Please keep posting them as we are waiting for the next one.
    take care, smiles from Italy

    • Caio Roberta 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and watching. Your kind words on the blog are so appreciated. I am happy you find the video tutorials to be helpful. Yes there are few more to come in the Transitions on the Reformer series.

      I should ask you – would a series on Transitions on the Mat be helpful to you as well? Just curious. You know I love the Mat exercises very much – LOL.

      Cheers to you for being an awesome Pilates person. I. Love. Italy!

      • Roberta caldart says

        Ciao Andrea,
        your’re quick!! yes, we definitely would love more, a transitions on the mat series would be great and we shall use it every day!
        anything you feel like sharing with us IS a present you give 🙂
        It’s a long way but maybe one day you’ll come over to visit us!!
        take care, till next time

  4. Thanks Andrea, great video…i’m off to try the ‘stretchfest’ now : )

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