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Reformer: Short Box Series Side to Side


Reformer Short Box Series: Side to Side 

Much more than a side bend, you’ll be looking for equal strength, lift and length on both sides of the body…!!


What’s it good for?

  • This stretches the whole of your side and rib cage (for the technically minded: transversus abdominis, external and internal oblique abdominals, intercostalis and quadratus lumborum).
  • If you’re doing it right, you’ll be stretching & mobilising the opposite side because you are “side bending upwards”
  • Gaining length against gravity rather than collapsing downwards.


Related exercises?

Matwork: Side Bend.
Try the whole Short Box Series on the Ladder Barrel.
Reformer, Spine Corrector & Ladder Barrel: Side Sit Ups
Cadillac: One Armed Roll Down, Water Skier, Mermaid
Wunda Chair: Kneeling & Seated Mermaid


The Set Up

  • General set up for the whole short box series can be found here.
  • You’re holding the bar in exactly the same way as you were for the flat back variation click here.


Short Box: Side to Side – “how to”

  • Springs = all
  • Repetitions = x3-5
  • Headrest = down
  • Footrest = down

Put your abdominals inwards.
Bend to the right and elongate the body to open out the left side.
Repeat on the other side

Hints and Tips

  • Imagine sending the pole across the ceiling rather than side-bending.
  • Imagine you’re reaching over a large dirty ball- don’t get your gym clothes dirty!
  • Think of growing tall without collapsing down.
  • Keep your eyes looking straight ahead without your head coming forwards.
  • The movement comes from the spine & rib-cage rather than the shoulders.
  • Imagine your arms are the frame of a painting. Keep your portrait in the centre of the frame.  Your ears maintain the same distance from your arms at all times.
  • Begin with two metres of length and as you sidebend, grow get taller.
  • Imagine being between two sheets of glass – don’t touch them..
  • Imagine you have paintbrush eyes and looking straight ahead allow the movement of your spine to draw an arc on the wall in front.
  • The opposite sit bone from your bend will want to lift off the box.  Imagine pushing that sit bone in the opposite direction.


Variations & Modifications

  • Cross your arms and with open palms position them over your chest.
  • Interlace your fingers and with elbows wide, place your hands behind your head pressing your head into your hands in your hands into your head.
  • Instead of a pole, try a roll towel a rope or a fellow band or even a magic circle if you have sufficient shoulder mobility.
  • Try placing the box in a long box position and while still sitting at the front of the box put your feet on the football or the carriage instead of the strap. Practice your side bend only as far as you can get back up safely without lifting the opposing hip or leg or foot.



If you’re suffering from osteoporosis use a lesser range of movement and yet more focus on finding length.

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