The Pilates roll-up is 30% more effective, as opposed to the standard crunch when it comes to targeting the rectus abdominis. Colloquially speaking this is often called the “six-pack” muscle. As the move challenges your abs through a broader range of motion, it recruits more muscle fibres. This exercise aims to promote stability and strength to the entire abdominal region. It also promotes mobility and strength to the spine and back muscles.
Starting position for the roll-up
Lie supine on the mat. Make sure that your legs are parallel, extended and adducted. Your arms must be above your shoulders and over your head. In addition, your palms should be facing upwards towards the ceiling.
Inhale and lift your arms towards your ears. Keep your scapulae stabilised and well connected.
Exhale and start rolling your entire body up, articulating vertebra by vertebra. This motion starts with your cervical vertebra (which are those closest to your head) through all the regions of your spine. Remember to articulate one vertebra at a time. Keep your abdominals stabilised and connected as you flex your spine forwards over your legs.
Inhale and hold your position.
Exhale and slowly lower your body down to your starting position. Remember to articulate your spine into the mat while still keeping your abdominals well connected.
Watch points for the roll-up
While you do this exercise keep your scapulae depressed and stable. Make sure that you keep your feet on the mat and your abdominals contracted throughout the exercise. Work through your entire spinal region when lifting and lowering your body.
Like most of the Pilates exercises, to do the roll-up properly you need a good amount of ab strength. More precisely, you need your rectus abdominis muscles and obliques to start the exercise. Once you peel the upper portion of your back off the mat, it is necessary for you to begin bending at the hips so to do this, you need your hip flexors as well as even more abs.
Why people struggle with the roll-up
An incredibly common problem that people run into when they begin their spinal articulation is having their legs lifting off the ground. You may have extremely powerful abs and hip flexors however if you are unable to ground your heels into the mat, it is impossible to do a proper roll-up. For you to do a proper roll-up you need hamstring strength to anchor the lower part of your body as you roll up the rest of the way.
All Pilates exercises need you to have some level of flexibility as strength without mobility just isn’t practical. In order to execute a good roll up, you’ll need flexibility in your spine as well as the back of your legs. The more you have the ability to curve your spine, the easier it will be for you to roll up. Curving your spine gets your weight forward and moves you in the direction that you need to go.
Leg flexibility is just as important, and not just so that your roll-up looks nice when you complete the movement. Maintaining straight legs ensures that weight is kept in your heels and assists with anchoring them. When you have tight hamstrings and are required to bend your knees, your heels get nearer to your body and much more difficult to anchor.
If you want to learn how to teach others fundamentals Pilates moves such as this one then you need to take our Pilates Instructor Course. For more information, please follow this link.