The Universal Reformer: A Tutorial on the Up Stretch COMBO!

The Universal Reformer: A Tutorial on the Up Stretch COMBO!

For Andrea, Rachel and Corrie

A recent post included a video tutorial on my current nemesis the Up Stretch.

Congratulations! Now having mastered the Up Stretch I hope you'll join me for a look at its fraternal twin, the Up Stretch Combo

The Up Stretch and the Up Stretch Combo bear a striking resemblance to each other but look close and you'll see they have traits decidedly of their own.

Essentially a variation on the Up Stretch, the Up Stretch Combo is a staple part of the Long Stretch Series. Combining elements of all the exercises which precede it – Long Stretch, Down Stretch and Up Stretch – the Up Stretch Combo also foreshadows many of our super advanced exercises, notably Snake/Twist.

Enjoy this short video and see how you do.

Thanks for watching!

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  1. OH man, thank you so much for this post Andrea! I’ve watched this about 10x’s now. I will say, just holding the carriage out and pulling the sternum through has been a game changer for me. Just doing THAT…and just that. I did manage to bring the carriage in about and inch and get it back out! Whoot! I love this actually because talk about highlighting what part of the body one isn’t using = lower. You’ve seen me collapse plenty in this exercise but I really feel like I will get there with these tips! 🙂 xo

    • Corrie –

      So glad to hear it – I feel so much more connection to my lower body with just that same moment of stillness and holding the carriage – it’s like – hey! There’s my butt 🙂 Finally a moment where it seems willing to play along LOL… Good for you and so glad you are feeling more connection and success in this exercise – it’s a doozy! xox Happy Christmas 🙂 See you next week!

      • Yes, indeed. just stopping for a sec and not letting momentum/springs do the work but instead firing your bum creates…wait for it…CONTROL (and extreme effort)!!! If only I could get that in everything…you know thinking more about this…Pilates really is such a treat for mental control too. It’s easy to get a quick workout in and just plow through, which I admit, sometimes has it’s place and there is discovery in that too. Pilates makes you cultivate that head space, slow the F down and really think about what is doing what in your bod…that’s why I heart it so much 🙂 #alwayslearning
        Have a great xmas too, cu soon! xo

        • Exactly! CONTROL. Who would have thunk it? So our 3 best friends on the Pilates Path: Lift, length and CONTROL. Sweet. xox

          • Love Cor’s comments about pilates,mental control, finding headspace and slowing down! So so true… ???? .. #unitedinJoswork ????

  2. Hi Andrea, in case of less control and strength 😉
    is it another option to change the 2 springs to the second gear?

    • Hi Chris,

      Your question is a good one. The Up Stretch itself should be strong and solid before adding the combo variation. The combo is a challenging variation especially because of the Down Stretch component. It’s easy to fall out all over the place – with the additional space created by the 2nd gear, it may actually increase the challenge depending on the size of the student. So unless the student is super tall (like over 6’5″) they should not need 2nd gear. But please know that when the carriage comes in it is not necessary at first that it come all the way in, which may make the exercise a bit more manageable. See what you think…

      Thanks for your question and I hope that my response is helpful to you 🙂 Thank you for reading and watching! xo

  3. Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! I was so excited to see my request so quickly answered! I’ll be busy practicing/digesting this exercise in hopes that it will help my snake/twist!

    • Rachel,
      You are so welcome!! Thanks for the request – you were not alone – and I hope the tutorial is helpful to you 🙂 And yes, then on to the Snake/Twist! xox

  4. Whoa!! This is definitely tricky! ???? … Totally agree with Cor???? Holding the carriage still and pulling the sternum through is a great tip as it helps to set the back shape to arch, but then I’m kind of stuck! ???? … Bringing the carriage in is a whole other story!
    Think we might have to tackle this one in a Skype session!!
    Nice to have a challenge though….maybe a Christmas martini might help! ????????????
    Happy Holidays ????
    Great post as always????

    • Of course – let’s add this to our Long Stretch Series when we get to it – we can gradually begin to work on it 🙂 Happy Holidays and martinis to you as well! 🙂

  5. Thank you very much for posting this one, Andrea. Love that hip extension in this, love you tips, I watch your videos over and over. Have a wonderful Christmas season.

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