The Roll Up is an essential Pilates exercises for beginners, and it can be performed at home on an exercise mat. It requires no other special equipment or expertise. This exercise is mainly for your abdominals, but it also works on your spinal articulation. Follow along with the instructions below and watch the accompanying video, featuring instructor Jaime Rutt.
Start by lying back on an exercise mat, with your legs extended out straight and arms raised toward the ceiling, straight above your shoulders.
- Inhale from your prep position.
- Exhale and tuck your chin as you roll up one vertebra at a time, bringing your arms forward and reaching out to touch your toes. Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Hold this position for a moment and inhale again.
- Exhale as you roll your body back down to the mat, rolling through your low back and scooping your abdominals in. Do your best to roll one vertebrae at a time and end with your arms back above your shoulders.
Repeat this several times, making sure to keep your heels anchored to the mat to avoid bothersome lower back strain.
If you find you're having trouble getting all the way up off the mat, you can try a variation of The Roll Up. To prep, keep your arms raised toward the ceiling, but bend at the knees and position feet flat on the mat. Perform the same steps shown above, but just take the Roll Up as high as you can, even if that's just a few inches off the mat. With time and practice, you'll be able to get all the way up and perform the full Roll Up, with your legs straightened back out.