DIGGING DEEPER - Get to Know Your Pilates Exercises: Running


By Amanda Turner

Happy May, everyone! With the warmer weather, I’m finding myself outside much more and, while I’m not a runner, I thought this would be a great time to dive into Running ;). Running is such a great exercise and it shows in the reactions of students when I tell them it’s time for Running - I’m met with a response of relief, excitement, or a combination. Performed on the Reformer near the end of the Reformer workout, it’s a great time to focus on alignment, lengthening the spine, and reminding yourself to use the powerhouse. This is a beginning level exercise and you will most likely be introduced to it in your first or second session. I love this exercise as a teacher because it tells me so much as to what we should work on to balance your body. I’m able to look at the foot, knee, ankle, and hip alignment. I’m able to see if you have a tendency to lock or hyperextend your knees. I’m able to see what needs improvement and if you’re able to integrate the glutes, abs, and inner thighs. And while I’m assessing all of this, for you, the practitioner - it just feels so good!

Starting Position:

Lie down on the Reformer with your feet parallel and together and all 10 toes on the footbar. Be sure your heels are lifted, inner thighs are squeezing tightly, arms are pressing into the Mat, and you’re reaching through the crown of your head.


-Stretching out to straight legs, lower one heel while bending the opposite knee (make sure not to lock or hyperextend the knee and continue using the glutes)

-Return to a high heel position with both heels

-Lower the other heel, bending the opposite knee

-Repeat for 10 sets

Common Cues:

-Do not lock the knees, keep them soft 

-Use your glutes, don’t let your hips sway side to side 

-Press down through the arms, shoulder to palm 

-Reach through the crown of your head and lengthen your neck

-Keep your tailbone down and pelvis stable

-Knees pointing up to the ceiling as you bend them

-Accent is on the up/lift action 

Want to strengthen your Running or not back in a studio yet? Try it standing! Standing parallel with your feet together and arms pressing back into an imaginary Mat, bend your knees, lifting both heels off the Mat (really squeeze the inner thighs for balance). Straighten your legs and then lower one heel while bending the opposite knee (don’t let the hips sway, reach through the crown of your head), come up to high heels and then switch. Repeat for 10 sets total. Finish with both heels high, bend the knees, lower both heels to the ground, and straighten the legs.  

Happy Running, everyone!