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Reformer: Short Box Series Twist

Reformer Short Box Series: Twist

The Twist is the first bit of rotation that we do in the Basic Reformer Series …

…but you discover that there’s more “reaching” that rotation!

What’s it good for?

  • The Short Box Twist strengthens and stretches both the muscles of the back and abdomen (transversus abdominis & internal and external obliques).
  • Strengthens and mobilises your shoulders.
  • Mobilises the spine.

Related exercises?

This exercise is a starter exercise for rotation – there are others, but this is an excellent way to begin rotation.


Reformer Short Box : Quick “how to” …


The Set Up

  • See separate post (here) for the Short Box Setup.


Short Box Twist – “how to”

  • Pull your abdominals inwards and upwards. Reach towards the sky.
  • Initiate the twist from the bottom part of your ribs on the left which rotate upwards towards the right.
  • This is the best way of lengthening the body. The head follows the spine, rather than the spine following the head.

Exhale: to rotate
Inhale: at the the end of the rotation to resist the squeezing of the ribs.

  • Maintaining the length in the spine, return to the starting position.
  • Release the reach momentarily and reach toward the sky again and rotate to the left, again by initiating the rotation form the left lower ribs.


Hints and Tips

  • Imagine rotating like a screwdriver or a corkscrew.
  • The body is not fully reaching before starting the rotation.
  • The head initiates the movement rather than the spine.
  • The arms and shoulders move further than the rotation allowed by the spine and ribcage. Maintain the alignment of you body – more easily said than done!
  • The rotation of the spine moves the pelvis which in turn moves the legs and feet. Keep your legs and feet totally still. That’s why it’s called Contrology!
  • Rotation and side-bending get confused. This is Contrology – and it’s supposed to be difficult.
  • You might find that you’re leaning backwards, or you’re leaning backwards – maintain alignment of your spine. Again: it’s Contrology!
  • One of your sit bones starts to elevate – keep equal weight in each sit bone.


Variations & Modifications

  • Try this on the Ladder Barrel
  • Cross your forearms over each other positioning the open palms of your hands over your shoulders.
  • “Genie Position”: hold your arms out in front of you bend your elbows to press your forearms against each other.
  • Instead of a bar, use a rolled towel a thera band or a rope.
  • Instead of putting the Short Box in the short box position, put it lengthwise in the long box position and, with bent knees, put your feet on the footbar instead of using the straps.


  • Try experimenting with the breathing:
      • Inhale to twist and exhale to return.
    • Try double exhalation
      • Exhale to prepare and inhale whilst you are twisting.  Exhale and rotate even further inhale to return.
      • Inhale to prepare and exhale whilst you’re twisting then inhale to rotate even further and then return.



If you suffer from osteoporosis either avoid the exercise if you cannot perform the exercise without grinding your vertebrae whilst rotating. Or you can lessen the range of movement in the rotation and focus on the elongation and lengthening of the spine.

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