Virginia Nicholas, M.A., R.N.
Pilates Core Integration/Moving Breath Pilates
1801 S. Jen Tilly Lane, Suite C-20
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Bringing the Carriage Home, by Virginia Nicholas, M.A., R.N.
When the Universal Reformer carriage is closest to the foot bar it is called being “home”. The “home” position allows for a complete range of motion of the muscles, bones, and joints when executing the Pilates exercises. When doing exercises such as footwork, it is important to press the carriage away from the foot bar until the client’s legs are fully lengthened, and to bring the carriage completely “home” on the bending of the legs. This allows for a full range of motion of the hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet when completing the exercise.
Frequently clients attempt to work an exercise without returning the carriage to the “home” position. Kneeling Chest Expansion is an example of this problem. In order to feel as though they are “working hard” clients hold the ropes or leather straps higher than is appropriate. This tends to move the carriage away from the foot bar, out of the “home” position. In order to fulfill the complete range of motion of the shoulder joint, the carriage must begin and return home after each repetition of the exercise. If clients feel as though they are not working hard enough when the carriage returns “home”, add resistance for the exercise. This will maintain the integrity of the exercise, move the joints through their full range of motion, and produce more organized movement patterns.
Exercises such as Long Spine require use of strap extenders and ensuring the carriage is “home” before beginning the exercise. In order to find the Jackknife position required by the exercise, the carriage must begin “home” for the client to successfully find the Jackknife position.
The Pilates equipment functions as an extension of the body, and must be viewed as a partner in each exercise. Movements on the Universal Reformer must demonstrate fluidity, control of the carriage, equal rhythm and appropriate tempo of springs and straps without jerking, pulling, and uneven use of the carriage and straps. Imagine the machines as dance partners. Any overuse or underuse of the connection between the client and the machine are akin to unnecessary, disorganized pulling and pushing on the dance partner.
Remember to bring the carriage “home” between each repetition of exercises to fully complete and properly execute the Pilates exercises.