Best Value as a Reformer Cheat Sheet

The Nike Pilates program uses a Passport system.  Passport holders can attend the group machine classes at no cost and can use the reformers in the Mag Scrambler when classes are not in session.  Making the leap to independent Pilates training can be a bit daunting.  While  I strongly recommend learning exercises from a trained professional, having photos and notes readily available is a huge plus.  That’s exactly what you get in this book by Rael Isacowitz

The book is divided into sections for each of the Pilates machines plus matwork; it’s well worth the price for the section on reformer exercises alone.   Isacowitz covers 75+ Reformer Exercises with detailed photos and descriptions.  Most of the Passport exercises are covered, making this a great resource for new Passport holders who want to feel comfortable using the reformers independently. 

Since there is a slight downside in the instructions — spring weights are listed as “light” “medium” and “heavy” — I’ve prepared a key for the proper springs to use on the Nike Allegros

Passport Exercise Page # Springs
Hundred pp 123-124 2 red
Footwork pp 112-121 3 Red or All Springs
Armwork: hug a tree p. 175 1 Red or 1 Blue
Armwork: salute p. 176 1 Red or 1 Blue
Armwork: open elbows n/a 1 Red or 1 Blue
Feet in Straps: leg raises n/a 2 Red
Feet in Straps: leg circles pp 136-137 2 Red
Feet in Straps: frog p. 135 2 Red
Feet in Straps: short spine prep n/a 2 Red
Feet in Straps: short spine  pp.146-147 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue
Long Box: pulling straps p. 203 1 Red
Long Box: T-pull p. 204 1 Red
Long Box: teaser n/a 1 Red
Short Box: round p. 126 3 Red or All Springs
Short Box: tilt p. 127 3 Red or All Springs
Short Box: sidebend p. 195 3 Red or All Springs
Short Box: tree pp 128-129 3 Red or All Springs
Stomach Massage: round p. 158 3 Red  
Stomach Massage: twist n/a 2 Red
Stomach Massage: hands behind p. 159 3 Red  
Long Stretch p. 164 1 Red + 1 Blue or 1 Red + 1 Yellow
Down Stretch p. 161 1 Red + 1 Blue or 1 Red + 1 Yellow
Up Stretch n/a 1 Red + 1 Yellow
Elephant Round n/a 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue or 1 Red + 1 Yellow
Elephant Flat pp 162-163 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue
Knee Stretch: round p. 156 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue
Knee Stretch: flat p. 157 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue
Knee Stretch: knees off n/a 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue
Armwork Kneeling: chest expansion p. 177 1 Red or 1 Blue
Armwork Kneeling: scoops p. 178 1 Red or 1 Blue
Armwork Kneeling: teardrops n/a 1 Red or 1 Blue
Armwork Kneeling: side n/a varies
Running n/a 1 Red + 1 Blue
Pelvic Lifts (aka Bridge) pp 142-143 2 Red or 1 Red + 1 Blue
Standing Splits: adduction/abduction (aka: skinny jeans) p. 191 1 Red or 1 Blue
Standing Splits: front 1 & 2 pp. 153-153 1 Red + 1 Blue or 1 Red + 1 Yellow

For those memorizing spring weights, here is a shorter key to the logic behind springs:

Exercise Type Spring Options
Arms straps: hug a tree, shaving, teardrops, boxing 1 Red Easier: 1 Blue
Leg Straps: frog, circles, frog circles, evil magic circle 2 Red Easier: 1 Red + 1 Blue
Leg Straps advanced: leaping stag, rockette legs/scissors, helicopter 1 Red + 1 Blue  
Short Spine 2 Red Harder: 1 Red + 1 Blue
Short Spine forward/backward 1 Red + 1 Blue  
Stretches: Eve’s lunge, cheerleader split, leg strap stretches 1 Red + 1 Blue ok to do on 2 Red
Short Box: rollback, flatback, twists, tree 3 Red  
Long Box: pulling straps, teaser & prep 1 Red ok to add 1 yellow for teaser
Booty Straps: presses, bicycle, salad plate circles, big circles.  2 positions: neutral and turnout. 1 Red 1 Blue is a different kind of difficult

Other sections that you’ll enjoy in Isacowitz’s book: mat exercises, magic circle exercises, and cadillac moves that can be adapted to be performed with stretch cords.  Borders carries it; you can use your Nike discount there.  It’s also available on Amazon for $13.57.  By comparision, professional manuals covering reformer exercises typically sell for $70.

Need help working on other exercises independently?  Ask me in class or schedule a private session where we can work on your individualized routine.

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