Exercise #1425

Roll Up

2 min - Exercise


Muscle Focus: Abdominals.

Objective: Strengthen abdominals and increase spinal articulation.

Start Position: Lie flat on your back, legs together. Arms are reaching overhead and shoulder distance apart, with palms of hands facing forward.

Movement: Inhale as your arms reach overhead and curl your head and shoulders off the Mat. Exhale as you peel your spine off the Mat, rounding forward and bringing the crown of your head towards your knees. Keep the arms parallel to the Mat and the abdominals drawing into your spine. Inhale and roll back down to the Mat to start position.

Precautions: Avoid using momentum or forceful movements as you roll up, but rather use the breath to assist the abdominals, and continue to maintain the breath throughout the exercise.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

We're looking at the Roll Up today. The Roll Up is the second exercise in Return to Life or the mat repertoire. It's something you'll see in most of the mat classes, although you'll see a lot of different variations. So the abdominals are the primary focus of the exercise, but there's a lot more to look at, too. For the set up of this exercise, lie on your back.

Legs are straight and feet together. Engage the abdominals a little. Sometimes all you have to do there is exhale relatively consciously or deeply, and you'll feel the sense of the ribcage closing and some energy in the abdominals. Once you've done that you can just reach the arms overhead. And the way we're doing it-- although, again, you'll see variations in class-- but Amy's going to have her palms forward as Joseph Pilates teaches it in his book.

But you will see those variations. Her arms are shoulder distance. She's going to inhale to raise the arms up to 90 degrees and flex her feet. She lifts her head, exhales, and rolls all the way forward, holding the abdominals strong. So now she gets this benefit of stretching her spine.

What's really nice about this exercise is when you engage the abdominals, you also get this lovely release in the back. So when you're in this position, you're not resting. This is a sense of really deepening your contraction. When it's time to inhale, when you need to inhale, you start to roll back, softly point the toes, and reverse the pattern. Inhale, bring the arms up.

Your head follows, flex feet, exhale. And reach forward, holding the hips back ever so slightly. But keep trying to stretch more, more, more. Inhale as she rolls back and exhaling down. We'll do a couple more here.

Things you want to watch for is try to keep your breath consistent. If the breath pattern in any class doesn't work for you, just keep going. You want to make sure that you're not holding your breath. Sometimes there's a real tendency to hold it right here, and you start tossing yourself forward. And that defeats the whole purpose.

You kind of miss the whole ab section and go straight to the hip flexors and consequently straight to your low back. So let's do one more. Keep it fluid. Take all the time you need. And then if you need more help, check out our modifications and variations section.

This is the Roll Up.

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2 people like this.
This is great review. Thank You!!!
I wish there was a way to connect the videos so I didn't have to mess with resetting every couple of minutes.
Where is the modifications and variations section that you mentioned?
Virginia ~ The modifications and variations sections will be coming in the near future. They will be separate chapters within the same video, so you will find them here once they are complete. I will look into having a continuously streaming playlist for the exercises.
Hi Virginia, I'm not sure why you would have to re set every few minutes. The videos are designed so that you should have to do that. As it happens we are working on redoing the entire Exercise section so at the moment we don't have a specific place to go to just modifications. That said, you might enjoy browsing the tutorial section which covers all sorts of topics including ways to modify exercises. Here is one modification video that includes the roll up. Modification video
Here is a link to the Tutorials
Dianne H
1 person likes this.
Thank you the continuous streaming from the Rollup Tutorial through the 3 Modifications - easy viewing!
I can't thank you enough for all these video's. They are so helpful for adding to my pilates knowledge. All my clients benefit from the modification section at some point.
Hi Kristi...can you address the tendency to slide the feet forward and back during the roll up/down? How do you minimize this? I just watched a video of Deborah Lessen talking about how Carola taught it with minimal foot slide and pelvis staying in place. Thanks
Bern T
Great video! However, why I cannot download this video?
I love how you give the simplest instructions and it works!
Even though there are variations this version you demonstrated seems to be the basic. Perfect for my clients who are beginners!
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