Fitness Expert – The Pilates Roll Up

The Pilates Roll Up

If you are looking for a great way to strengthen your abs, and create a more flexible spine than you must try the Pilates Roll Up. While the Roll Up is considered one of the standard Pilates exercises, it is also known as being a more challenging movement if you have limited abdominal strength, tight hamstrings, hips, or a tight back.

To give you an easier option try the version below. Once you have perfected this add on by straightening your legs.

Set up:
• Lie on your Yoga mat face up with your knees slightly bent and together, feet flat and on the mat. (The more advanced version has your legs straight out in front of you, flat on the mat, and together.)
• Draw your eyes forward over your knees, so that you have enough space under your chin for your fist.
• Your arms are at 12:00 so that your wrist, elbow, and shoulder are in complete alignment, and your palms face forward.
• Shoulders are relaxed away from your ears.
• Draw your navel down and back away from your clothing towards your spine, and “knit” your ribs close together.
• Create a tiny pelvic scoop by tipping your pubic bone upwards toward the sky as you keep your navel to your spine, and ribs closed.
• Keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.

What to do:

1. Inhale to prepare, and exhale as you lengthen through the back of your neck and start rolling up, one vertebra at a time, reaching your arms towards your knees.
2. Continue to roll up, working to bring your palms towards your ankles. Inhale and hold this position for one breath.
3. Exhale and roll down one vertebra at a time, making sure to keep your shoulders down and back throughout the entire movement.
4. Do 8-10 reps

***Additional options, add a small light weight ball to your hands. Sometimes adding additional weight helps to create the action, and offers a bit of assistance by counter balancing your weight. This may make the exercise easier or more challenging depending if your legs are bent or straight, and based on the weight of the ball.

***If you have back trouble, only work to curl your torso off the floor to the height of your shoulder blades, while maintaining your core, head, and shoulder alignment.

For more information connect with Amy at or

~ Amy Lademann
Fitness Expert, Campus Calm™
Amy Lademann

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