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Exercise 3: How to use the Vertical Frame with rehab and post-rehab clients for Bend and Stretch

In this new blog series, we’ll be looking at how instructors and health care practitioners can make the most of the Vertical Frame on their Reformer to assist rehab and post-rehab clients.

What is the Vertical Frame?

Exercise 3: Bend and Stretch

Practicing the STOTT PILATES® Bend and Stretch exercise on the Reformer with the Vertical Frame and Mat Converter provides a different experience than your clients may be used to. Without the movement of the Reformer carriage as usual, they will experience fewer perturbations or movements of the torso, allowing them to concentrate on stabilizing the lumbar spine.

Merrithew® Lead Instructor Trainer and physical therapist Jacqueline Gallant uses this exercise with clients who have hip, knee and foot issues, and to stabilize the lumbo-pelvic area. This exercise helps train clients for the pushing motion required when getting up from a seated position, sitting down from a standing position, or climbing stairs. She recommends progressing to this exercise after the client has practiced Leg Slides on the mat and Footwork on the Reformer.

Since the springs on the Vertical Frame are further apart than the ropes and pulleys on the Reformer, which we usually use for Bend and Stretch, the client will have to engage the adductors, or inner thigh muscles, to keep the legs in a parallel position.

Having direct contact with the springs, rather than going through the pulley system, will create incrementally more resistance as the legs are stretched away from the Vertical Frame, engaging the glutes and hamstrings more effectively. Additionally, the springs can be adjusted to alter the angle of resistance; and, since the springs are independent, it will be more noticeable if one leg is working harder than the other.

This exercise can also help clients open up and stretch the posterior capsule of the hip joint, allowing them to re-center the femoral head in the hip socket.

Watch more
Exercise 1: Scapula Isolations
Exercise 2: Swan Dive

Health experts suggest you talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
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