Pilates is popular for improving your overall flexibility. You might find yourself putting your body in positions that it is not used to twisting itself into. It takes your body back to moving like a little child. Think of how a child plays. There is no thought or fear of what might go into spam, what might feel stuck or what might hurt. They just play. Today’s exercise is the Roll-Over and when you see the exercise, you will immediately be able to visualize a child or even a baby doing this movement. Roll over brings your body back to freedom of movement, the flexibility of joints, spinal release, and hip mobility.
The Pilates Roll Over
Have you ever found yourself on the bed and just wanting to flip your legs over your head? Maybe you have not, but can you imagine how relaxing it can be to comfortably reach your legs over your head without any twinges in your body. Today I will take you through the Roll Over. This Pilates exercise is going to mobilize your spine, stretch your hamstrings (back of your legs), and work your abdominals all at the same time. The Roll Over is done with control. There is a sequence to it that gives it that meditative flow. It awakens your body to opening up and flexing deeply.
What to do
You are going to lie on your back on your mat. Remember the Neutral Pelvis that we have learned, that is where the pelvis is parallel to the floor. In other words, it does not tilt back towards your ribs or tilt away from you which forces you to arch your back.
Start with the pelvis in a neutral position with your arms resting by your sides. Always raise one leg up at a time to a 90° angle to ensure a stable pelvis. Inhale prepare, then exhale extend both your legs to 45°. At this point, you want to ensure that your abdominals are holding your pelvis so that you do not arch your back. From there, inhale and raise your legs to an extended 90°. Exhale and roll over with your legs and spine until your legs are parallel to the floor.
You will now feel an intense stretch in your back and in the back of your legs. If you can, gently take your legs down to the floor as you inhale, open them slightly as this will ease the stretch, and then, with control from your abdominals, exhale and roll back down until your legs reach back over to 45°.
Please be aware of any previous spinal injuries that you have had. If you have had any disc issues or spinal fusions, this exercise could be contraindicated for you. You will need to check with your Health Care Professional whether you can do this roll over. Also, be aware of the position of your neck. Allow it to naturally allow your chin to drop inwards so that the tension at the back of your neck is reduced. Remember to keep your shoulders as relaxed as you can.
The Roll Over is going to take your body into a new dimension, it is going to get you to play more with movement and feel movement on a different level. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Remember the Pelvic Curl, Single Leg Stretch, Teaser Prep, and Hundreds that we have learned. Now you can add the Roll Over to your Pilates Repertoire. Each of these exercises has a purpose. Pilates is known for stretching your body but it is totally underrated for how well it works and tones your body.
How to do the Pilates roll over
Tanya Thompson, founder of Pilates Unlimited and Of-Course Online, demonstrates how to do Pilates Roll Over exercise at home.
Take a mind-body journey with Pilates. I would like to invite you to discover the movement differently. Take this time to be still, feel, and embrace what your body has to offer you. This week we will be looking at how you can train your body in Pilates with the Pilates Roll Over.
The focus of this exercise is to work your abdominals, stretch your back and hamstrings while you literally fold your body in half. Think fully extended knees, legs pressing up against each other, and smooth flow through your spine as you roll over. Think of creating really long movements with your limbs whilst transitioning from a neutral spine to a deep curve in your spine. The movement should be calm, the exercise should look effortless and the intensity should be transferred throughout the body. As we embark on this Pilates journey, we will introduce you to both Pilates Mat and Pilates Equipment repertoire. Enjoy!