Pilates roll up exercise

Pilates exercises for beginners: roll up

Pilates roll up exerciseI have a lot of flat areas in my back (where there is little articulation between the vertebra) additionally, my glutes are far from flat, so if I am not working in imprint (which you don’t generally do in this exercise) a chunk of my lower back will not touch the mat. So this exercise requires a lot of work and concentration for me. I often do it too fast, the key, is to slow it right down and make sure that I can feel the movement happening bone by bone on the roll up and bone by bone on the way down. But it is worth the effort, it feels good when it’s done right.

The point of this exercise is that you learn how to use your abdominal muscles to control your spine’s movement.

How should it look? Slow like the sun rising, slow, smooth and deliberate “controlled elegance” not forced and ballistic. The contact between spine and the mat looks like the tracks of a tank, rolling along the ground.

Want to see the full exercise? OK here you go.

How it should feel? You should feel every individual vertebra peel off the mat (to roll up) then slowly touch the mat (to roll down). Visualise your spine in a C shape and roll up (imagine you are curling over a large beach ball, to bring your spine into the perfect C shape) then down again.

If you get the chance, come to a class with me and we’ll work out which parts of your back are moving in tune with your abdominal muscles. I now have spaces in my small group classes in Willesden Green on Thursday evenings.

When you do your roll up, ask yourself, are you rolling up and down bone by bone?


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