Semi-Circle Tips with Jay

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Learn the details about the Semi-Circle exercise that Jay learned from Joe Pilates. There are several specifics that Jay remembers that will make this exercise brand new for you, including foot placement, what part of your body moves first and how far the carriage should go out (hint: not as far as you think!). Filmed at Vintage Pilates in West Los Angeles, CA.

What Others Are Saying


  1. juaraujo
    juaraujo 7 months ago

    Thank you so much for subtitle in Portuguese!

  2. SuzyBondoc 2 years ago

    Love this! Thank you. Where can I get those tights?!

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Hi SuzyBondoc! Melanie got those tights from Chuck Rapoport who took the photos of Joe Pilates which were used in a Sports Illustrated article in 1942. You can contact him via his website:

  3. What do you do with a really tall client whose long arms position the shoulders right at the edge of the carriage, instead of the upper back??

    I love the first cousin link! Learnt something new today. Yay. Thank you!

  4. joelcrosby

    I got my Jay Grimes fix for today. 🙂 Love this. Thanks Melanie and Jay!

  5. Jeri_McD 3 years ago

    My brain is exploding with delight as I look towards trying out semi-circle and long back stretch Jay’s way 🙂

  6. Centropilatesgranada
    Centropilatesgranada 3 years ago

    I love this video because with Melanie’s work in the Reformer, the real difficulty of the exercise is demonstrated

  7. Yasmin95 3 years ago

    Thank you Jay and Melanie, This video changed the way I practice these two exercises, especially the position of the heels, in semi-circle heels not touching the frame, whereas in long-back stretch keeping reaching into heels – ouch! – are also part of my main focus. Another great tip from Jay which makes them challenging yet fun. On the other hand they are not Disney rides anymore 🙁

  8. Luz Alejandra Lovern

    Thank you very much Jay and Melanie for made this exercise very hard and I love it! going to keep my practice alive here! 🙂 and avoid the caca hahaha

  9. catedavies 3 years ago

    I love the way you explain exercises, Jay. I was going too far out on the semi-circle & you’ve really made sense of why not to. The tip about tilting the pelvis has made such a difference. I know when I’m doing it right because I really feel the quadriceps stretch here and the glutes working big time. True MIND-body teaching!! More videos please!

  10. jszachara 3 years ago

    I was always taught to use a stopper and to reach into the stopper. Reaching into the stopper helps me get more articulation in the spine. I’m confused…. maybe that is step 1 and then step 2 without the stopper where you use the ribs to stabilize more? Love the correlation to long back stretch. Never thought about it. So helpful!! Thank you 🙂

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Hi jszachara, thanks for asking about the purpose of the stopper. The way you learned may have been for the purpose of opening up a tight upper back or as a beginning stage in the exercise. The way Jay teaches it requires control in order to stop halfway out and hold the carriage in space (no help from a block) while articulating the spine. It’s also worth noting that Jay prefers using an 80 inch Reformer which don’t require stoppers (the stoppers were made for the longer 86 and 89 inch Reformers which were built to accommodate jumpboards). Personally, when I first practiced this exercise with Jay, it felt new to me too but in my case the change was in not allowing the heels to touch the edge of the Reformer–whew, tough stuff! Try it out and and see what you discover :).

  11. catedavies 3 years ago

    Thanks Jay. Been really struggling with this, so will put your tips into practice later this morning. Suspect I’ll be re-watching this one!

  12. Olelovepilates 3 years ago

    I wanna do the training where can I do it I’m from Singapore

  13. soul_eil

    Hmmm, of course there is more to the story;) Thanks Jay????

  14. Centropilatesgranada
    Centropilatesgranada 3 years ago

    I love this video!!!!!!!

  15. Jean Klein 3 years ago

    Thank you, Jay. I now understand why it is called the “long back” stretch.

  16. susan h lawrence
    susan h lawrence 3 years ago

    Oh Melanie, I could feel that! Jay looked like he was having fun!

  17. jessicasvensson 3 years ago

    I love this! Thank you!

  18. Julie Winters
    Wintersjuju 3 years ago

    Well, I definitely have some work to do! Wow, thanks, Jay!

  19. joesmat 3 years ago

    Very special detail included here.
    As an observer only of apparatus, I have not come across such detail before.
    Thank you indeed – Jay Grimes.

  20. Andrea Maida

    Thank you so much for this video Jay! I love this exercise but it’s getting harder 🙂

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