Move the carriage out with your arms, move it back in with your butt.
There is a rhythm to the Teaser on the Reformer, and if you cannot find it, it is next to impossible to perform. Press into your arms to get the carriage moving, If you use the muscles of your upper back to get the carriage moving you will have the support to work with the resistance of the swings to lift. This will actually help and make the exercise easier. Next, make sure your eyes are in line with your toes as you lift. If you legs start to spend ahead of your eyes, you will start to tip backwards. So if you cannot come up because you are stuck back, use more upper back strength to move the carriage, and it you’re coming up too fast and fall out of the Teaser when you lift, slow down and make sure your legs are at eye level.
It’s also super important to move your carriage back in with your butt. Using a pelvic curl to close the carriage, try to keep the carriage still until your waistband is on the carriage. People often focus on coming up into Teaser, but if you don’t focus on slowing down the carriage on your return, you won’t build the strength to come up into Teaser.
2. Plan your exit strategy.
Teaser on the Reformer is scary. I kept my knees bent for a long time in this exercise, and at one point, my Master Instructor asked me why (as my legs were straight when I did Teaser on the Mat). I replied that I was scared. “Why?” she asked. “This is lower than your car.” Yikes. So true. But I was scared. A lot of Pilates is scary, maybe we don’t like to be upside down, or balancing on our tailbone on a moving carriage. So plan your exit strategy. What if you start to fall? What do you do? You put your feet down. You stand. So if fear is making you pull back and not try your best, plan what to do if you start to fall, so you can try Teaser on the Reformer with confidence. If we’re scared, we won’t really try. Maybe it’s the mind part of the mind/body exercise that you need to conquer.
3. Do Teaser III on the Mat.
In this age of Instagram, it’s easy to see videos of exercises and we want to try them, maybe before we’re ready. Pilates is visual, and fun, and we can sometimes feel like a kid on a playground. But don’t skip the steps that lead up to the fancy stuff. Can you do Teaser III on the Mat? Backstroke on the Box? Jumping into a new exercise before you’re ready can lead not only to frustration, but to injury.
So be safe, be confident, and enjoy the rhythm of the Teaser on Reformer!