Why the Semicircle Deserves a Class of its Own

The semicircle on the reformer is my favorite Pilates exercise. I love the way it feels to wind my way through space while undulating my spine with arms overhead.  The feedback from the reformer shoulder rests, carriage, and footbar support me just right, so I can worm my way through space—in a more refined (and much safer) form than I did in the early 80’s when I was a break-dancing fool.

Teaching this exercise, on the other hand, is not always so lovely—especially in a multilevel reformer class where students struggle with complex choreography. But there are hidden gems to be found inside the semicircle on the reformer, and many good reasons to break it down from time to time. By teaching the component pieces of the semicircle exercise, students begin to understand and fully embody the details of spinal articulation, correct shoulder positioning, and undulating their spine all while balancing on the balls of their feet.

Deconstructing the semicircle opens a path to its mysteries and pleasures. For example, I teach the details of spinal articulation using an exercise I call The Wave. To understand how The Wave preps your spine for the semicircle, watch the video below. You’ll see and feel what I mean and, as a result, get so much more out of your next semicircle session.

Then, of course, there’s the loaded 180-degree range of motion in shoulder flexion and external rotation required for the semicircle… which is no easy task! That’s why I introduce the exercise I call Elbows Forward-Hands Back. It allows the student to practice strengthening the external rotator cuff muscles while simultaneously stretching pec major and friends. Watch the next video below to see what I mean.

I include dozens of other exercises and progressions to help with semicircle in my online Pilates Deconstructed® workshop called Undulations & Innovations.

In addition to giving you a deeper understanding of semicircle, this workshop will teach you how to safely challenge students in a multi-level reformer class and will give a framework for deconstructing movement patterns to better serve your students in private sessions.

This continuing education workshop has been approved by the PMA for 3 CEC’s

I include dozens of other exercises and progressions to help with semicircle in my online Pilates Deconstructed® workshop called Undulations & Innovations.

In addition to giving you a deeper understanding of semicircle, this workshop will teach you how to safely challenge students in a multi-level reformer class and will give a framework for deconstructing movement patterns to better serve your students in private sessions.

This continuing education workshop has been approved by the PMA for 3 CEC’s

Click here to learn more about this workshop and purchase it.