Pilates Breakdown: The Roll Up

If you have taken any of my Pilates classes or even my Barre classes, you probably have done some sort of variation of the Roll Up. It’s certainly one of my favorite exercises for many reasons!

PURPOSE

The Roll Up is an awesome way to warm up the spine and abdominals. It teaches us about our own bodies by helping us learn about core connection and spinal articulation. This exercise helps increase strength in the abdominals and find balanced strength in the core. It also helps increase flexibility in the hamstrings if you opt for the straight leg variation. We will be lengthening and strengthening the whole way through because that is what Pilates is about!

STEPS

  1. Find a flat surface and lie down supine (on your back) like a good morning stretch. Take a big inhale through the nose to prepare and lock your heels down. *My feet are propped up to fit myself in the picture, but it also added a nice challenge for those who have been doing this for while!
  2. Bring arms (shoulder width) straight forward so that your wrists are stacked over the shoulders.
  3. Ok the juicy stuff! Begin to exhale through your mouth as you tuck your chin toward your chest. Activate the glutes by squeezing your seat together. Activate the core by tucking the pelvis under. Slowly start to “roll up” by peeling the spine off the mat vertebrae by vertebrae without using momentum. Begin scooping the abdominals by pulling the belly button in towards your spine. As you roll up, you want to create an opposition in your torso by reaching the fingertips forward as the rib cage tries to stay behind. Continue to find the height and length in your Roll Up by lifting your torso higher as your round your back!
  4. As you finish your exhale, continue to roll forward and bring your nose down toward your knees. You should feel a nice hamstring stretch at the same time.

Reverse the motion by rolling down and repeat!

MODIFICATIONS

    If you have tight hamstrings, you can execute this exercise with bent knees.
    If your core is feeling too shaky to sit all the way up, begin by sitting on top of your sit bones. Then, roll down only halfway instead.
    Props are great not only for extra challenges, but for modifications as well. If you have a small stability ball at home, you can prop it behind your lower back for extra support.

Happy rolling! I love hearing from you. Please let me know if you found this post helpful by leaving a comment below or on Instagram. Thank you!

Love, Megan

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