The Magic of Feet-in-Straps

Feet-in-straps is one of our favorite exercises – and one of our most requested! The integration of feet-in-strap exercises in reformer pilates is a fantastic way to support the legs, relieve tension in the hamstrings and hip flexors, and build core strength. What’s not to love?

Feet-in-straps exercises are important because of the way that they target a multiple muscle groups through different variations. The body is not a series of individual components – it’s a complex system of interconnected units that work together. Many of our critical muscle groups connect with the hips, and any imbalance in these groups can have a significant effect on other parts of the body. Alongside daily wear and tear, office lifestyles that revolve around sedentary positions can lead to tight hip flexors and weak hip extensors.

Like many of our exercises, feet-in-straps focuses on stability and precision, bringing our clients into a deeper state of concentration and awareness of their body. The work we do in these positions helps to create balance in the body, which builds strength while preventing common aches and pains.

A Clear Crowd Favorite

Our clients love feet-in-straps, and it’s definitely an all-star exercise series. As such an efficient, effective way to target multiple muscle groups, we often start or end our classes with a 7-10 minute foot-in-straps session that goes through 4-6 different exercises.

The feet-in-straps variations on our Allegra II Reformer both challenge and support muscle groups. Our clients often experience a number of benefits, including:

  • Reduced hamstring tension
  • Release in the hip flexors
  • Increased stability
  • Reduced lower back pain
  • Improved strength in the glutes
  • Activation of the core and abdominal muscles
  • Improved muscle tone of the inner thighs
  • Stabilized pelvis

Over time, our clients see increased mobility in the hips and strength in the glutes, so the hamstrings don’t have to work so hard throughout the day. Furthermore, foot-in-straps exercises like leg circles help stabilize the lower back and pelvic. These results can also alleviate back pain which is often caused by imbalances elsewhere in the body.

Experience the magic for yourself!

Feet-in-straps exercises are a staple here at RTR Pilates, and we frequently feature this exercise series in order to maximize the benefits for our clients.

Join our community at RTR Pilates and experience the benefits of foot-in-straps for yourself! Get your first month of unlimited classes for just $129.


Meet Your New RTR Instructors!

We are so excited to announce that the newest graduates of our training program are ready to join our studios as certified RTR Pilates instructors! These fantastic instructors passed RTR’s rigorous 8-week training program with flying colors, and we can’t wait for you to meet them.

Newest Members of the RTR Team:

Quintus C.

Danielle B.

Mufeng L.

Barbara B.

Alyson A.

Regina D.

Rachel B.

RTR Training Program

Crafted by our founder, Reina Offutt, the RTR training program teaches the essence of what it takes to help people transform their bodies and their lives. While most instructor training programs only focus on teaching exercises by muscle groups, we take that focus and add in the a bit of engineering. The program is taught by our Director of Training, Sara L.

Through our unique training program, we empower instructors to create programs that integrate their own style and personality with efficient flows and effective exercises. The result is a group of instructors prepared and empowered to lead fantastic classes from day 1.

We offer more than 300 classes/week, varying from 6:15am – 7:15pm, across our 5 DMV locations, so there are plenty of opportunities to meet our new team members!


The Essential Wellness Pyramid

Regular exercise, like Pilates, is an important component of our holistic health and wellbeing. Regular exercise improves muscle tone, and can make dramatic changes in our quality of life through changes such as improved confidence, increased self-awareness, and reduce the aches and pains that are commonly associated with aging.

That said, exercise is just one component of a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to create room for balance in our day-to-day lives, even in the crazy hectic DC area.

Breaking Down the Essential Wellness Pyramid


Sleep is, without a doubt, the most important component that goes into how we live our daily lives. Science suggests that most adults need somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It depends on the person – one person may be able to get by on 7 hours regularly, while others really do need a full 9 hours to function at their best.

That said, the CDC estimates that at least 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. This statistic is scary, because lack of sleep is associated with a whole host of increased health risks (not to mention, general irritation).

“Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.” – The CDC

Lack of sleep has also been associated with memory loss and decreased brain function in the areas of logical problem-solving, reaction time, and decision making.

In the same vein, getting enough **sleep has incredible benefits, including improved focus, mental health, mood, stress levels, immune system, and heart health, alongside decreased inflammation.

Sleep is your body’s best tool to repair itself – so let it do its job.

✨ “I often find it tricky to fall asleep when I’m anxious. When I need to calm down and get to sleep, I break the thought spiral cycle using this technique from the Navy Seals. Afterwards, I feel relaxed and ready to fall asleep!” – Reina Offut


After sleep, water is the next, and perhaps most obvious, step in the pyramid of overall wellness. Water makes up the vast majority of our bodies – it is integral not only to our survival, but also to the optimization of our body as an operating system.

Even though we all know how important it is to drink water, 43% of adults drink less than four cups of water a day. In general, studies suggest that adults should consume somewhere between 2.7-3.7 liters of water per day.

“Mentally and physically, we’re better off being hydrated. The human body is about 70 percent water; we need it. It helps our circulation, makes us feel better, helps rid our bodies of toxins and prevents constipation. And drinking water before meals helps you eat less if you’re trying to lose weight.” – Paula Burke, clinical dietitian at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island

Water helps every single part of our body. Sufficient water consumption:

  • Supports healthy joints
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Supports the liver’s detoxification process
  • Protects key body parts, especially the brain and spinal cord
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces inflammation


Nutrition is probably one of the most talked-about health topics. In general, the most important thing to figure out is a way of healthy eating that doesn’t feel like a diet – because diets are often unsustainable.

Experts suggest building your diet around the 80/20 rule: roughly 80% of your diet should revolve around nutritious food, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and limited healthy fats. The other 20% should be foods that you truly enjoy, but might not have much nutritional value.

So many of us just see food as something that increases or decreases our waistlines. But food is also the fuel we need to operate our bodies. It’s critical energy. Nutritious foods make it easier for our bodies to process and consume that energy, and obtain the nutrients we need to power our mind and bodies throughout the day.

If you are thinking of altering your eating habits, or have a specific goal in mind, we always recommend working with a qualified nutritionist who can help you identify strategies and plans that will help you achieve your goals based on your specific lifestyle and needs.


We use fitness in quotation marks above because, well, fitness can sound scary. When we think of fitness, we often think of long runs, push ups, and lots of sweat.

While moderate- to high-intensity workouts are an important part of our body’s health (like an RTR Pilates class!), fitness can also apply to the general level of activity that we have in our lives.

Maybe you don’t have time to work out 5 days a week – but with so many of us working in sedentary office jobs, it’s critical that we find ways to move our bodies throughout the day. There are some easy steps to increase your step count, such as:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Parking further away from the store
  • Taking a 10 minute walk at lunch

Our bodies are built to move – so let your body do what it does best!

In addition to daily activity, we suggest a balanced fitness routine that includes some forms of cardio, stretching, and strength training.

Pilates is an effective, efficient full-body workout that takes less than an hour a day. Try it out for yourself and feel the difference immediately!


Finally, at the top of the pyramid, our habits are the things that help us to automatically make healthy choices as we move throughout consistently inconsistent lives.

Habits are the unconscious decisions we make without thinking, and 40% of our daily behaviors are driven by habit.

Healthy habits are critical to lowering the barriers to the lifestyle choices that make us feel good, inside and out. When we make habits automatic, we create something called “habit loops.”

Habit loops are great ways to program our minds to reach for that 10 minute walk, 10pm bed time, and extra glass of water before our morning coffee.

Learn more about habit loops here

Small steps make a big difference

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to get things “right” 100% of the time – even 80% can be a stretch some days. When it comes to wellness, the goal is small, attainable changes that lead to a more well-balanced life.

Here at RTR, we’ve worked to remove as many barriers as possible to joining a class, so it’s easy to say yes to your health and wellness.

With five locations across the DMV, we’ve purposefully chosen locations that are 20 minutes apart. We offer more than 300 classes/week, varying from 6:15am – 7:15pm. All of our class packages apply to any class in any RTR studio location, and we’ve focused our membership pricing towards making regular classes affordable, with both monthly class packages and student pricing.

💡 No matter where you are or when you have the time, there’s a Pilates class that can work with your schedule.

Join us today and learn how RTR Pilates fits into your consistently inconsistent life.


Pilates for Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common issues that we encounter with our clients. Think of our backs are like the overachievers on group projects in school – when one part of the group doesn’t do the work, the back is the first one to pick up the slack. Our backs are the parts of our body most likely to overcompensate when there’s disfunction or underdevelopment elsewhere in the body.

Because the back bears the brunt of so many other parts of the body, it’s important to include regular full-body workouts in your exercise routine to protect your back and alleviate unnecessary aches and pains.

How Pilates Can Eliminate Back Pain

Back pain is increasingly common in for those who work in office jobs. Sitting at a desk all day, leaned over to stare at a computer screen, creates repetitive wear and tear on the body.

When back pain does appear, whether in the short-term or as a chronic condition, many people think that they just need to strengthen the muscles in their upper or lower back. In reality, the best way to reduce and prevent back pain is by activating other parts of the body – and that’s where pilates comes in.

💡 “So many times when people have back pain, they want to just focus on that area. But back pain is often an indication that there’s disfunction elsewhere in the body as well.”

Pilates focuses on the core to create a strong foundation for movement in the body. In every class at RTR Pilates, we work to build up the abdominals and surrounding muscle groups. Through pilates’ emphasis on alignment and mobility, our clients find greater mobility, improve their posture, and become more aware of their body throughout their daily lives, all of which alleviates joint stiffness and muscle tightness.

There are a number of muscle groups that we target in our classes to reduce and prevent back pain, including glutes, abs, and hamstring flexibility. While abs provide stability, the glutes can compensate for the back, while hamstring flexibility can ease tension in the lower back.

At RTR Pilates, some of our favorite exercises include planks, bridging, and doing hundreds in the table top position. All of these exercises, combined with techniques designed to enhance flexibility, can make a noticeable difference in daily quality of life.

In addition to being a fantastic workout, pilates also acts as an hour in your busy day when you are completely, solely focused on how you feel in your body. This awareness and concentration is a powerful tool that impacts how you feel not just in class, but throughout the rest of your day and week.

💡 “For back pain, I believe in bridges off the foot bar and inner thigh work with the ball between the knees. Lounges (scooters) alongside the carriage are great for opening up the hip flexors. And, of course, our wonderful leg circles with the feet in straps, and clamshells with the band around the knees. Then stretch and breathe.” – Lisa, RTR Instructor

Safe, effective exercises

All of our instructors are trained to assist clients with modifications to accommodate for any sort of ache or injury, including back pain. In addition to our fantastic instructors, our Allegra II Reformer enables us to provide assistance on exercise resistance until a client is strong enough to hold an exercise on their own.

From there, we can use the reformer to slowly build resistance and strength.

The result? You never become complacent or comfortable – with every single class, you have the opportunity to become stronger.

In order to build consistent, long-term results to reduce and prevent back pain, we recommend clients attend class 2-3 times per week, allowing 3 months in order to see results. As with any exercise, the more frequently you attend class, the more likely you are to see results.

“Pilates improves strength, flexibility, and suppleness of the muscles of the hip and shoulder girdle. […] The Pilates program also teaches awareness of movement habits that may stress the spine, and helps the patient change these habits to those that preserve neutral alignment. Awareness of excessive tension and the use of proper focus helps the patient[s] use the body efficiently.” – Beth Glosten, MD

See the results for yourself

Join our community at RTR Pilates and experience the power of pilates firsthand! Get your first month of unlimited classes for just $129.