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Reformer: Stomach Massage Reach Up



Reformer Stomach Massage Series: Reach Up aka “Reach” 

– Strengthen your abdominals and massage your internal organs!!

In this series, we revisit the Footwork that we started with (have we ever left it – I wonder?) but now we’re sitting up and trying not to allow the Reformer to push us off our sit bones!

What’s it good for?

  • Massage of the internal organs.
  • Strengthening & stabilising the spine around moving and pushing & pulling legs and feet.
  • Strengthening the abdominal area – especially the “transversus abdominis”.
  • Strengthening and stabilising the back extensors and deltoids.
  • If you’re tight in the hips you will benefit from the hip opening effect of this exercise.
  • There is an element of footwork to this exercise so you will be strengthening your calves and mobilising your ankles.


Related exercises?


Spine Corrector: Teasers

Wunda Chair: Footwork Modified with Reach

Cadillac: Bottom Sprung Push Through Bar / Teasers 

Single and Double Leg Pull on the Mat.





Stomach Massage Reach Up: Quick “how tos” …

  • Springs = 2
  • Repetitions = x5-10, typically x10
  • Headrest = down
  • Footrest = up


The Set Up

  • You’ve just completed Stomach Massage Hands Back here…
  • Your arms are extended forwards and stretched diagonally forwards.
  • If once in this position the springs should be closed.  If not, try an alternative sitting position slightly further back.


The Stomach Massage: Reach Up – “how to”

  • Sit in the position described in the setup section.
  • Pull your abdominals inwards and upwards whilst sitting as tall as you can.

Exhale: without allowing your heels to drop press out of the carriage by straightening the legs.
Inhale:  with fully straight legs, lower your heels keeping them together and ankle bones separate.
Exhale: push the carriage out again by lifting your heels and keeping them lifted.
Inhale: bring the courage back in  to close the springs whilst keeping your heels up.
Once you’ve mastered this sequence try working with a brisk rhythm but without losing precision or flow

Hints and Tips

  • If you can’t sit upright from the start – move slightly further back on the carriage.  As you gain more mobility and longer hamstrings, you ‘ll be able to sit closer and closer….
  • Keep your body still as you push the carriage backwards and forwards – no rocking and rolling!  Keep your shoulders over your hips.
  • Keep your shoulder blades down and together to prevent rounding of your upper back – easier said than done!
  • Imagine you are sitting on two inverted mountain peaks – your sit bones – don’t fall off them.
  • Keep the final push out of your heels crisp and separate from the bringing of the carriage in.
  • As in the whole of the Stomach Massage Series: keep your knees open and heels pressed together.


Hints and Tips: Wardrobe Malfunctions 🙂

Pants falling down!!!
It might happen that during this lovely Reach Up, you start to slide back on the carriage and your wardrobe start to… well, malfunction…

Or, you start sliding backwards…
The natural inclination is for your teacher to:

  • Blame it on your wardrobe: “it’s the clothes you’re wearing” – the suggestion is that if you were to do the Stomach Massage in your Birthday Suit, the problem wouldn’t…. let’s stop there, shall we?  – I haven’t tested out the theory in the name of science btw ))) #lifeskills…
  • Another easy suggestion is to: “use more stomach” – I’ve tried it and suggested it, but here’s more:

How to keep your pants up…

  • Push out with control – you can move quickly, but keep everything under control.  Squeeze…
  • Remember the “toe” variation in the Footwork series?  Push against the footbar as you bend your knees, bringing the carriage in.  Pull it in.
  • Press your heels hard against one another.  Then, press even more!
  • Find your upper stomach and your seat. Use them to push into the footbar and move the carriage.
  • If you can work primarily in the powerhouse (stomach and seat) and less in the legs, you’ll have a great chance of keeping your pants on.
  • Once again it’s footwork that isn’t footwork!


Variations & Modifications

  • Try leaning the Short Box against the Shoulder Rests and using as a temporary support until you get stronger.


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