Pilates Reformer Rowing Exercise Overview with Jay Grimes

The Original Rowing Series

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Having learned to teach in the original 'Studio for Body Contrology' as Joe Pilates called it, Jay Grimes knows what the Rowing series on the Reformer should look like. As Clara Pilates said, you want to “squeeze the juice out of it,” but what Jay sees demonstrated by many of those new to the work is, well…, no juice at all. To help shed some light on what’s missing, Jay takes his student Ken Heizman through the series offering his techniques for getting more out of it. Jay then demonstrates how Mr. Pilates taught him to break the exercises down for a beginner. For those who are more delicate due to injury or weakness, Jay also shows how to teach these exercises on the Arm Chair because it is more supportive, uses lighter springs and allows for better access for the Instructor. This is an absolutely invaluable class for anyone looking to improve their teaching or technique in the Rowing Series. Filmed at Vintage Pilates, West Los Angeles, CA.

What Others Are Saying


  1. Tracy Sue Du Plessis 2 years ago

    Fantastic!! Thank you!

  2. catedavies 2 years ago

    Thank you for really helping with understanding what the exercises are about & where you should feel them.

  3. Luz Alejandra Lovern

    Thanks very much Mr. Jay Grimes, superb class of the “Rowing for a reason” as you said. Also break down the Rowing series with the Arm chair give the opportunity to everybody to move with freedom. I am really like when you said “Arm are extension do the back” thanks you! Luz A. Lovern

  4. susan375 7 years ago

    Why does holding the straps the other way lock your shoulders?
    Thank you for breaking the series down! Love it!

  5. marcelle@propilates.co.za 8 years ago

    Thank you Jay – the sharing of your knowledge and experience is invaluable to me!
    Question: What do you do with a client in the rowing series who cannot sit with a straight back and legs straight out in front of them? would you raise them by allowing them to sit on a prop (as then they can access the arm to back connection) / would you keep them on the baby chair / would you challenge them to keep sitting tall without a prop?

  6. regina
    regina 8 years ago

    Jay, you are wonderful to watch and listen to! We all have so much to learn from you! Not just the form and function of the exercises themselves but also as a teacher your hand queuing, body location, position and use of words (and silence!). I particularly liked the imagery of a corkscrew you used – I use that often, and how you break down the exercises for teaching clients who are being introduced to rowing on the reformer for the first time.

    20 minutes, 1 series of exercises and Ken is sweating and out of breath – Pilates is awesome!

    Thank you!

  7. Melanie Petri
    melanie 8 years ago

    This is fantastic! Thank you, Jay!

  8. joesmat 8 years ago

    Really enjoyed obsering this session. The key point that kept coming across time and time again, was to remember to take the exercise into the back muscles, and I shall strive to retain this focus on my apparatus – the mat! Thank you Mr Grimes.

  9. Andrea Maida
    Andrea Maida 8 years ago

    Thanks Jay – this is a wonderful class on the rowing. I love the extra added bonus of doing these exercises on the arm chair. So helpful. Thank you so much – and yay Ken!

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