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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tip of the Week: The Pilates Roll Up

The Pilates Roll Up is designed to engage your entire body and usually is performed near the beginning of any Pilates mat class. It strengthens your entire Powerhouse (trunk, from your shoulders to your hips) while increasing the flexibility of your spine and lengthening your legs. Perfecting the Pilates Roll-Up and performing it mindfully, with breath, can inform how well you manage every other Pilates move. Let's break it down:
START by lying on your back with your arms and legs stretched in opposite directions, toes pointed.

INHALE and bring your straight arms over your shoulders (hands to ceiling) until they are perpendicular to the floor, flex your feet.

Lift your head off the mat, bring your chin to your chest and EXHALE as you roll your spine up and off the mat, one vertebra at a time. Keep pulling in your powerhouse as you continue your Roll Up, with the eventual goal of placing your forehead on your legs and your hands on either side of your heels.
Continue pulling in your navel as you REVERSE the exercise. Point your toes as you INHALE and roll down, one vertebra at a time.
Begin to EXHALE when you are about halfway down. As you finish exhaling and rolling down, your arms extend overhead.
The Roll-Up is usually repeated five to eight times in sequence.
Additional Tips: Keep your legs together, thigh on the mat, as you roll up with control. This is a "sit up" without momentum. It helps to think of lifting through your neck and chest (as if you had a helium balloon lifting your sternum) as you peel your spine off the mat. You are welcome to bring ankle weights to class as these can help keep your heels on the floor.
Modification: If you have a hard time keeping the momentum out of The Roll Up, try it with bent knees, feet flat on the floor at hip distance apart. Sit tall and roll your spine down as far as you can control. You can walk your hands up and down your legs as you lower and lift your spine, progressively increasing your range of motion. 
I hope you'll join in one of the new Hot Pilates Express classes (M,W,F at 11:45 am, M, W 8:15 PM) to learn more about and perfect your Roll Up! Following class on Wednesday, June 21, I'll offer a 20-minute workshop on The Roll Up for those who'd like to know more -- we'll work with some props and fundamentals that can make your Roll Up experience more successful. See you then!

By Susan Rickman, Certified Pilates Instructor. Susan teaches the Monday and Wednesday 11:45 am and Wednesday 8:15 pm classes each week.

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