Tree on the Reformer involves flexion and extension of the spine, flexion and extension of the hips and knees. But is also requires control, strength, and very good body awareness. It is great for strengthening the abdominals and working to lengthen and strengthen the hip flexors against resistance. It can also performed on the Ladder Barrel, which is a great place to teach it, because of the fixed rungs to secure the feet, as well as the rounded surface of the barrel to fully support the back. Then progress to the Reformer where there are beginner, intermediate, and advanced versions of this exercise. A trained professional should spot the client during this exercise.Equipment Set Up:Place a box over the shoulder rests (width-wise) and slide it as far forward as possible to rest against the shoulder rests. Stopper and Gear Bar set for footwork. Attach the foot strap around the platform end. Use 2-3 full tension (heavy) springs, marked red on the STOTT PILATESÌÎå«Ì´Ìâ Reformers, so the carriage does not move during the exercise.Start Position:Begin in a seated on the box in as close to a vertical position as possible and with slight flexion in the lumbar spine. You should have about a handÌÎÌ_Ì´å«s width distance between your seat and the edge of the box. Secure one foot under the foot strap. That knee should be bent with your achilles tendon pulled against the edge of the carriage. Hold the opposite leg in your hands. That knee should be bent and your outside hand is holding the ankle and inside hand is supporting the thigh. To Perform the Exercise:Exhale and extend you gesture knee, inhale and bend. Repeat that for three repetitions keeping your knee extended on the third rep. Then reach both hands to that ankle as you inhale. Then, exhale and engage the glutes and hamstrings to roll your pelvis back and keep your foot secure in the strap, but the achilles tendon may leave the carriage. Simultaneously flex the spine from tail to head to sink back all the way until your sacrum is secure on the box. Continue to roll back as far as possible in spine flexion by extending your support leg hip and then inhale and extend your spine from tail to head with your head being the last thing to release. Your hands will slide or walk down the top leg and / or reach to the sides of the box. The top leg points to the ceiling. Then exhale flex from head to tail climbing back up your top leg with your hands. Then start to lengthen your spine from tail to head as your weight goes just back of your sit bones to the start position. Simultaneously, pull your achilles back against the edge of the carriage to help engage the hamstrings and release the tension on the hip flexors. Inhale as you flex your top knee back to the start position. On the following reps, only extend the knee one time to begin. Complete 3-5 repetitions on each side.
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