Backbending Reformer

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In this Reformer session Alisa takes you through the workout that she is currently working on in her sessions with Jay Grimes. She moves at a calm but quick pace through Advanced exercises with a few Super-Advanced exercises thrown in such as Tendon Stretch & Snake/Twist variations, Headstands, several advanced Backbends like High Bridge and the cues that have allowed her to add those to her practice.

What Others Are Saying


  1. rshall 3 years ago

    It’s always great to revisit older sessions. I just got a Fitbit and remembered that this was a strenuous workout, that got my heart rate up. Sure enough! I am dripping with sweat, and my Fitbit tells me that my heart rate was elevated, to my “fat-burning zone” practically the whole time! Just what I need right now!

    Thanks again for sharing your workout, and for Pilatesology!

  2. rshall 4 years ago

    Alisa, this was another great workout! It really felt like working out “with you.” For the ones I didn’t want to attempt by myself, i.e., the Crazy Exercises, it was fun to watch. Thanks.

  3. Gina Papalia
    Gina Papalia 6 years ago

    You are amazing!! Love this workout!

  4. MKB325 7 years ago

    Wonderful workout Alisa, and perfect for me as my workout nemesis is thoracic extension. I almost (almost!) have high bridge without a spotter. Someday! Thanks for reminding us that it can take years to get there (and congrats on a beautiful one with the camera rolling!)

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Beautiful Mariska! It’s a honor to have you working out with me! That darned High Bridge is a mercurial exercise for me too–some days I go up with no problem and others my arms feel like spaghetti, lol! Pilates always has a way to keep you humble.

  5. PilatesJuliet 7 years ago

    This is one on my favorites! You have such clear explanations and positive energy. Thank you:)

  6. pilatesangel 8 years ago

    Lovely to see, very inspiring. I love that you explained how long you have been working to open your spine for many of these exercises. That is what is so wonderful, we always have a journey for our bodies. I have many to master and look forward to executing as fearlessly one day as you. Thanks for sharing!

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Thank you so much! I really had a lot of fear about backbending and it took a lot of trust in my teacher to make these feel doable.

  7. Reb 8 years ago

    I have tried but am still completely unable to take the wooden handles in one hand after the hamstring curls. So kudos to you. I’ll keep trying!

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Hi Reb, Yeah that transition is funky isn’t it? There’s no specified transition there–I just tried that one day and it worked out. Check out the Original Reformer workout that Jay Grimes teaches. His student Ken has another way of getting up that I want to try.

  8. HighBridge 8 years ago

    Wonderful workout, really great job! It’s a pleasure to see rhythm, smooth transitions and advanced exercises, as well as your positive energy.
    I’m not sure whether it’s the angle of the camera or if it’s really there, but I notice some a-symmetry in your body – specifically, that your right shoulder is lower than the left and that your spine is a little laterally flexed to the right. If that’s really the case, I’d love to hear/see how you deal with it in your pilates workouts. And then again, maybe it’s just the camera angle…

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Ooh what a good eye you have! I’ve been playing a lot of volleyball and notice the right side of my body is more developed and hikes up at the hip–if you think of the movement you make to serve a ball overhead, that’s what you see in my body here. In my workouts, I focus on lengthening my back evenly on the mat, keeping my arms at the same level whenever they are moving and pulling my ribs in evenly. It’s much better after a workout and then I go play and need some more Pilates. The professional volleyball players I work with exhibit the same imbalance–you can check out what I do with one of them in the ‘Pilates for Volleyball Full Studio’ class.

      • HighBridge 8 years ago

        Thanks for your answer! I will definitely watch that video.

  9. GAILE 8 years ago

    Finally the down stretch makes sense,it really is a backbend.Not sure why I’ve never been allowed to do it that why but it feels good

    • Alisa Wyatt

      It’s so good right?! I remember Romana teaching it that way too but it was Jay Grimes that brought it back. We learn it smaller because you have to be really strong to not dump into your low back when you go down that far.

  10. Reb 8 years ago

    Great job, Alisa. I’m impressed, not only with the workout, but that you also manage to explain everything while you’re doing it.

  11. melanie 8 years ago

    Brava, Alisa! Beautiful! I hope to be there some day.

  12. Alisa Wyatt

    Hi Arlene! I should mention that I needed a spotter for all of those backbends until very recently. Please practice with a teacher who knows these exercises in their own body so they will know how to tell you what to do :).

  13. arlene

    Nice to emphasize the backbends. Really inspiring for me to watch this one so I can start practicing these. I would love to be able to do the backbends!! Thanks Alisa for such great demonstrations.

  14. Alisa Wyatt

    Thanks Lauren!!

  15. lghammerle

    Great workout Alisa! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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