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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