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Working Toward Tendon Stretch

My long standing nemesis is Tendon Stretch.

It doesn't matter where I try to practice it, Reformer or Chair, it's so dang HARD for me!!! However, I LOVE all the options available to me to try and get me there some day. Pilates is all about practice, exploration, and consistency.

Picture below: Start position of Tendon Stretch using the Jumpboard

Finding the work for Tendon Stretch elsewhere

We have so many exercises that already exist within the work to help us build up to Tendon Stretch. We can be preparing ourselves as early as prep or level I exercises.

Here's a sampling of some of the exercises that help us prepare for Tendon Stretch, broken out by type.


  • Roll up

  • Spine Stretch Forward

  • Open Leg Rocker (legs together; fingertips to toes)

  • Teaser

  • Rollover

  • Leg Pull

  • Twist II

  • Boomerang


  • Pike on Floor

  • Spine Stretch

  • Standing Push Down (Hamstring I)

  • Standing Push Down (1 arm)

  • Cat

  • Reverse Tricep Press

  • Tricep Press

  • Upside-down Push up (Hamstring II or Pull up)

  • Horseback

  • Tendon Stretch (position hold only)


  • Round back on Short Box

  • Elephant

  • Teaser

  • Up Stretch

  • Rowing 1 [nose to knees; arms pressing back]

  • Rowing 2

  • Overhead

  • Horseback

  • Longback Stretch


  • Front Push Through

  • Reverse Push Through

  • Longback Arms

  • Teaser

  • Monkey

  • Ballet Stretches (front and back, especially)


Spine Corrector

You can use any type of Spine Corrector. I typically use the Balanced Body Arc for my husband and clients.

*Not the Clara Step. The Arc has many more uses available.

  • Stand inside the seat, try to get legs straight.

  • Roll down to stretch out the back of the body.

    • Roll down similar to Wall exercise [you can even hold light hand weights]

  • Try to get nose to knee as you reach arms back to try and touch the barrel hump.

  • Hold.

  • Roll up to standing.

    • If you opted for hand weights, press the arms back as you roll up

  • Repeat 3-5x.

What does this do?

--This simple exercise stretches the back of the body, which will hopefully help with some flexibility.

--It makes you work your center as you roll up and down with your feet in the seat.

--It has a balance factor to it because of the way your feet are positioned in the seat.

--It helps stretch the arms as you reach back.

The thing I love the most about this, besides the amazing body stretch, is that we are putting ourselves in the Tendon Stretch position to prepare our brains for the real thing.

Tendon Stretch Prep Options on the Reformer:

Prep Option 1:

  • Stand on the Reformer box, in front of the Reformer

    • Arches on edge of box [may need to add sticky pad]

    • Facing away from Reformer

  • Hands reach behind and are positioned on the footbar

    • Same idea as in Tendon Stretch, but note that the footbar will be at a different angle

  • Curl forward into flexion, reaching nose towards the knees

  • Hold and think of lifting center up [as if you are trying to lift your feet off the box]

Prep Option 2:

Note: may want to add extra spring(s) so the carriage doesn't move during prep.

  • Stand on a sticky pad on the edge of the carriage

  • Hands start on the carriage in front of you with some weight in them, if necessary

  • Head is down - nose to knees

  • Reach one arm back to the footbar and reach it back to the carriage

  • Reach opposite arm back to the footbar and reach it back to the carriage

  • If feeling comfortable with reach and safety:

    • Reach one arm back to the footbar and leave it [thumbs with fingers]

    • Reach opposite arm back to the footbar and leave it [thumbs with fingers]

  • Actively pull up through your center and breathe [5 breaths or so]

    • Strong arms reaching

    • Strong legs reaching and standing on arch

  • Take arms back to carriage and step off the Reformer

Jumpboard Option:

  • Put your Jumpboard into position to see if it is more accessible

    • I can do my best variation of Tendon Stretch using the Jumpboard. It makes it more accessible.

    • *May want to add an extra spring to play with [HOLDING] until you are ready to give this a try.

As you can see, even if we can't do the "full out version" of an exercise, it doesn't mean that we can't do a variation of it! In fact, doing variations will help our bodies in a bunch of different ways, so we can be even better at what we can do! AMAZING!!

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