Side Overs on the Pilates Reformer

Semprose Pilates-Side-Over-2

Ever found yourself perched on the short box in a Pilates class, foot securely hooked under the fluffy strap, leaning sideways with a mix of trepidation and determination? If you’ve pondered the purpose behind this challenging exercise, rest assured, we’ve got you covered.

Side overs, a staple in Reformer Pilates sessions at Semprose Pilates at Smeaton Grange and Gregory Hills, offers more than just a core workout. It’s full-body strength builder, enhancing stability, balance, and spinal flexibility as you gracefully flex your torso against gravity.

Setting Up for Success

In preparation for side overs, ensure all springs are securely fastened to the reformer bed for safety. Position yourself sideways on the box, with the foot closest to the fluffy strap flexed and securely hooked beneath it. Trust in the strap – it’s designed to bear your weight. Rotate the hooked leg to a parallel position for optimal stability.

Maintaining proper alignment is crucial. Picture two laser beams extending from your hip bones straight ahead. Throughout the exercise, keep these imaginary lasers pointed forward to ensure your pelvis remains square. This alignment targets the obliques and lateral muscles effectively, avoiding undue strain on other muscle groups.

Executing Side Overs with Precision

Begin by sitting tall on the box, elongating your spine. Place your hands behind your neck, out to the sides, or extended overhead. Inhale to prepare, then exhale as you lean your torso away from the anchored foot, engaging your abdominal muscles to support the movement. Avoid crunching – focus on lifting through the obliques as you return to the starting position, ensuring your hips remain steady throughout.

Targeted Muscle Engagement

Side overs primarily engage the obliques, the muscles along your waistline. Strengthening these muscles enhances torso rotation, stabilises the spine, improves posture, and reduces lower back discomfort. As Joseph Pilates famously noted, “A man is as young as his spinal column.” Additionally, you may feel activation in the glutes, hip abductors, and adductors, especially in the leg secured under the strap. These muscles work tirelessly to stabilise your body and prevent imbalance.

A Multifaceted Workout

Like many Reformer Pilates exercises, side overs offer a comprehensive workout, targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It enhances core strength, spinal and pelvic stability, and promote spinal elongation, all while challenging your body’s lateral movement against resistance.

Embrace the Challenge

The next time your Pilates instructor cues side overs, approach the exercise with newfound confidence. Armed with knowledge of muscle engagement, proper setup, and the exercise’s benefits, you’ll navigate it with precision and purpose. Embrace the burn in your obliques – it’s a testament to your hard work and dedication to your Pilates practice.

We’re passionate about side overs, and we hope you are too!

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