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Roll over on the Mat to mobilize the spine into flexion

Will I Ever Be Able To Do Roll Over?

exercise tutorials Oct 28, 2019

Roll over is a fun exercise to mobilize the spine into flexion. When the legs are overhead, you get a wonderful stretch in your hamstrings and the muscles that run along your spine. As you slowly lower your spine back down, you’re building abdominal strength and control. 

To perform Roll Over correctly, a lot of lumbar flexion and abdominal strength is needed. Many students will need some modifications to build up to the full exercise. Fortunately, Pilates can always meet the student exactly where they are. 

Here are a few suggestions to help you make progress towards mastering the Roll Over:

  • With your legs extended to the ceiling, practice lowering and lifting your legs while lying on your back. Go as low as the spine can be kept in an imprinted position. This will strengthen your abdominals and prepare for harder movements.
  • For some, extending the arms overhead can be easier, as the extra weight toward the head helps to counterbalance the weight of the legs. Do you have a raised mat with dowel or a springboard with a dowel maybe? Alternatively, use your Tower or Trapeze Table poles. Anything that can stabilize your arms in the overhead position (that you can pull on) will make it easier.
  • If you are unable to lift your hips with strength alone, it’s okay to push your hips up and back with your hands. Once your legs are overhead, lower your arms back to the mat and use them to assist a smooth roll down movement.
  • If you have them available, practicing Tower on the Cadillac or Roll Over on the Spine Corrector will help you get your body ready for the Roll Over on the mat.

Are you going to practice or teach Roll Over this week? What are your favorite tips for this exercise? 

In the Pilates Encyclopedia, we look at every detail of Roll Over, from head to toe, to help you get the maximum benefit from this exercise.


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