Author: Jen Metcalf

Pilates Has Your Back | 3 Reformer Exercises for a Strong Back

Everyone knows that Pilates is one of the best ways to strengthen your core, but did you know that your core isn’t just your abs? ” Your core is made up of your abdominals, gluts, and back muscles,” says physical therapist and studio owner Jen Metcalf. “If a student has lower back issues, it’s important to strengthen the muscles that actually attach to the spine, not just work on your 6 pack!” Try out these 3 Pilates exercises that anyone can do on the Pilates Reformer to improve strength, and mobility in your spine!

  1. Swan Stretch : Start by lying on your stomach on top of the long box facing the foot bar. Press away from the bar to straighten the arms, keep your arms straight and direct the box inward towards the football creating extension thru the spine. Be sure to keep your hips pressed down into the box. Repeat 10 repetitions
  2. Pulling Straps : This is the same set up as Swan, but facing the other direction. Hold your Pilates loops on the outside of the Reformer with your arms straight. Press your arms back, and raise your chest. Keep your chin tucked slightly to maintain good neck alignment. Repeat 10 repetition
  3. Bridge with Hamstring Curl: Lie on your back with your feet hip distance apart on your Reformer footbar. Roll your hips and spine up into a bridge, then slowly extend the Reformer carriage out, draw the carriage back in and roll down one vertebra at a time. Repeat 10 repetitions

We hope to see you in a Pilates Reformer Class soon!

Love, and Planks!

Higher Terrain

Higher Terrain Teacher Spotlight: Jen Metcalf

Higher Terrain studio owner Jen Metcalf, a Miami native, was brought to Aspen as a physical therapist and quickly became addicted to the healthy lifestyle in Colorado. When not in the studios she can be found spending time with her 2 kids, hiking, running, and skinning in the mountains.


What inspired you to open Higher Terrain studio?

I wanted to open a Pilates studio that offers workouts that are both challenging, and form focused. Pilates, and Lagree are both amazing methods that can practiced in compliment to all the outdoors sport we do here in Aspen whether you’re looking for a workout, or rehabbing an injury.


How many times a week do you get to practice on the Megaformer?

I try to make Pilates or Lagree a part of my weekly exercise regimen. With 2 busy studios, it doesn’t always happen but I try to spend at least 2-3 workouts a week on the Megaformer. It’s such an efficient way to maintain core strength, and you can get an amazing workout in a short amount of time!


Where’s your favorite spot to grab a pre/post Pilates snack?

I love to grab a smoothie from Spring Cafe, or a Turmeric shot or protein ball at Jus Cafe!


What’s your favorite method to teach, Pilates or Lagree?

Both! I was a personal trainer before being introduced to Pilates, and I find it really inspiring to create contemporary, athletic classes on the Pilates Reformer where you can get a great workout, but have the support of the Pilates equipment. Lagree is equally fun to teach, and is so different to Pilates. Any legit Pilates studio, or certified instructor wouldn’t confuse the two methods. I generally teach Lagree to my clients who are looking for that intense workout, that leaves your muscles shaking that you can only get on the Megaformer!









3 at-home Lagree Moves to Stay Strong

Everyone dreads that first Lagree class after being out of town, and missing your regular Megaformer workouts. Stay Lagree fit while hitting the road this summer with these 3 Lagree Moves you can do anywhere!

Equipment: sliders ( or even a dish towel or paper plates! )

  1. Bear – Get into a plank, with sliders under your feet. Slowly draw your knees under you hips, and extend back into a plank. Perform for 1 minute!
  2. Single Leg Squat – Stand with slider under your right foot. Bend your left leg, and slide the right leg out to the slide keeping that leg straight. Push down through your left leg in order to stand up. Perform for 1 minute !
  3. Single Sided Bear – Get into a plank position, with one slider under both feet, bend your knees and aim them toward one elbow, perform 30 seconds on one side, then switch!

We look forward to seeing you in a Lagree class soon!

Love, and Planks!


Pilates 101 | What to expect from a Reformer class

What Is Reformer Pilates? 

Created by Joseph Pilates, and initially used with dancers, Pilates entered mainstream fitness with the help of the Madonnas, Gwenyths, and Giseles of the world. While Pilates can be done on a mat, the traditional method is performed on a piece of equipment designed by Joseph Pilates himself: the Reformer. “A reformer is an apparatus designed with a system of springs and pulleys that allows an exercise to become more or less challenging based on the setup of the Pilates exercise. The Pilates Reformer is an amazing piece of equipment, as it allows you to get an amazing workout in a supported environment,” explains Jen Metcalf, owner and founder of Higher Terrain studio. “Many of the exercises are performed lying down, decompressing the spine, and allowing students to work deep muscles with the support of the machine.”

In a traditional Pilates workout, there was an “order” to the reformer Pilates exercises. “Our Pilates Reformer classes are very contemporary. We honor Pilates principals, while offering new versions of older Pilates exercises, and variety to routines. I love to incorporate planks in my Pilates classes, and I rarely perform the hundred. I feel there are better ways to target core muscles,” explains Metcalf who is physical therapist, and also owns Flex Pilates, a private Pilates studio.

A Reformer class is a great way to get a full body workout, as well as improve flexibility. Each exercise is performed with full range of movement in mind, to create long muscles, improve posture, and body alignment, as well as muscle symmetry.

We hope to see you in a Reformer class!

Love, and Planks!

Higher Terrain studio

Anatomy of the Megaformer™

You’ll hear the terms carriage, front platform, back platform, as well as others as your Lagree instructor runs you through class, but with the focus on quick transitions in our Lagree classes it can get confusing on where you’re headed on the Megaformer. Follow these tips to be able to breeze through moving from one end of the Megaformer to the other like a pro!

  1. The FRONT platform is on the opposite side of the springs.
  2. The BACK platform faces the springs.
  3. There are 2 sets of cables, RED and BLACK.
  4. The CARRIAGE is the moving part of your Megaformer, and where you make changes to your springs. Tip: It is always easier to transition from the front to the back of your machine while staying on the carriage.
  5. There are 2 sets of RAILS, one on either side of the carriage, and one set on the back platform. Your rails allow you to create a stable grip with a neutral wrist position.
  6. There are 3 sets of GRENADE handles, one on the front, and 2 on the back platform. Your grenades again allow you to create a stable grip with minimal compression on your wrists.

We look forward to seeing you on the Megaformer!

Love, and Planks!

Higher Terrain studio

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601 E. Hyman Ave.
Aspen, CO 81611
Entrance on S. Hunter St.
Basement Level

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Aspen's only Lagree Method Megaformer studio.