Pilates Exercise of the Month: OPEN LEG ROCKER

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Purpose:  This exercise challenges balance, flexibility, and strength. It massages the spine, stretches the back, and works the powerhouse; plus it’s fun!

  1. Sit toward the front of your mat with your knees bent in toward your chest.  Open your knees shoulder width and gently take hold of your ankles.
  2. Pull your navel into your spine; tilt back slightly until your feet come off the floor and balance on your tailbone.
  3. Straighten both legs up to the ceiling in a V position and balance. Keep your arms straight, chest lifted, and eyes focused toward feet.
  4.  To initiate the ‘rocking’, inhale, pull in your abdominals, curl the tailbone under, and begin to roll back.  Roll only to the base of the shoulder blades, head barely touching the mat.
  5.  Exhale, roll back up to your balance point (tailbone); keep the V shape.
  6.  Repeat 6-8 times.

Visualization:  Imagine rolling your spine against the floor in the same way a wheel rolls smoothly back and forth.

Modifications:

  • Try straightening your legs and balancing without rocking back and forth.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Place the hands closer toward the calves (never under the kneecap).
  • For more challenge, hold the toes and roll back or add a fitness circle resistance ring between the ankles.

Head to Toe Checklist:

  • Don’t initiate the movement by tossing your head back.
  • Keep your rhythm—don’t stall at the bottom of the roll.
  • Avoid “whipping” up. Roll up smoothly with strength and control.
  • Don’t roll onto the back of the neck.
  • Pull in your abdominals to rock back and to rock back up.

Note:  A sensitive tailbone may be further irritated by this exercise.

 

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