Day: August 1, 2012

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Roll Up

Purpose: To strengthen and stretch the spine and challenge abdominals.

  1. Lie flat on the mat and reach your arms overhead. Press your legs together slightly, squeeze your buttocks and flex your feet.
  2. Inhale, reach arms toward ceiling. Bring your chin to your chest.
  3. Exhale; curl your body up off the mat as you aim your fingers toward your toes. Pull in your abdominals and articulate each vertebra as the spine rolls slowly up.
  4. Inhale, pull the waist in as you round over toward your toes. Arms should be parallel to the floor.
  5. Exhale, begin rolling down, one vertebra at a time, squeezing buttocks and sliding your pelvis underneath you. When your head reaches the mat, return the arms overhead.
  6. Complete 8-10 repetitions.


  1. Half Roll Up: lift only upper body, keep chin down and feet flexed.
  2. Half Roll Down: sit tall on mat with knees bent; feet flat as possible; arms long, reaching parallel to the floor. Inhale to prepare; exhale, squeeze your buttocks and curl your pelvis under you, aiming your lower back toward the floor, pulling your abdominals in. Tilt chin down and look into your stomach, shaping your spine into a C-curve. Inhale, stay, exhale, and curl back up to starting position.

Head to Toe Checklist:
Lower down to the mat one vertebra at a time, first the lower back, then middle, and finally lower back.
During the roll up, arms should not rest on your legs; think of fingers in line with toes.
Don’t roll up using the neck and shoulders. Use the muscles of your abdominals.
Reach heels away from upper body to anchor legs.

Visualization: Peel your spine up off the mat as if you were peeling a banana.