Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Workout Wednesday: The Roll-Up

I'm not quite sure how it's already Wednesday...I think between having two little ones and trying to keep caught on laundry and dishes- the days slip away. But before I start rambling about how many loads of laundry I have left to fold, let's talk Workout Wednesday.

Last week, I gave you step by step how to do The Hundred, which is the first exercise in the Pilates mat.  Read about it here. I've been on a mat kick lately, especially since the weather has been perfect lately. I mean highs in the upper 60s in February?! So I've been rolling out my mat outside and doing some Pilates. I highly suggest it.

So for Workout Wednesday today, let's stick with some mat work again with the second exercise found in the Pilates Mat- The Roll-Up. Totally makes me think of the Fruit Roll-Ups I ate all the time as a kid (the food dye and high amounts of sugar in them makes me cringe now...) Before you do the Roll-Up, do yourself a favor and get your core nice and activated with The Hundred. Remember- 10 repetitions total and 1 repitition equals inhaling for 5 counts and exhaling for 5 counts.

The Roll-Up
Again, this is the second exercise you'd typically do in a mat class. This exercise helps you learn to articulate through your spine, stretch your hamstrings, and of course strengthen your powerhouse.

1. Following The Hundred, fold your feet into your chest, then staying lying flat on your back- press your feet into the mat with knees bent. Arms extend long by your sides. (This is a great place for Beginners to start practicing this exercise.)

2. To advance The Roll-up, begin with your legs extend out long with feet in Pilates stance (heels together and toes apart.)
3. Bring your arms lifted above your ears. Do not let your arms rest on the mat over your head.
4. To begin The-Roll Up, inhale and begin to roll up into a seated position, making sure your chin relaxes into your chest. Keep your arms lifted as close to your ears at possible. (Drop your shoulders here...I'll credit my raised shoulders to my little photographer assistant, who had me hold this position awhile before she took the picture haha..)
5. Round forward over the legs, pulling your abdominals up and in, sinking navel to spin. Exhale and reach towards your toes. You should feel a stretch through the hamstrings here. (If you modify the exercise by keeping knees bent and feet pressed into the mat, be sure to stretch your legs out long during this part of the exercise.)
6. To roll back down onto your mat, inhale and pull the belly in. (If you modified The Roll-Up, go ahead and bend the knees again with feet pressed into the mat.)
7. Using your exhale, roll back down onto your mat imagining you are placing one vertebrae at a time back down onto the mat. Chin drops down into the chest.
8. Shoulders and then the head are the last to arrive back down to the mat.

9. Arms float back lifted above the ears before beginning the next repetition.
10. Do 3 to 5 repetitions of The Roll-Up. One repetition equals rolling all the way up and rolling on the way back down to the mat.

1. Start working on this exercise first by keeping the knees bent and feet pressed into the mat.
2. You may grab on to the backs of the thighs to help you roll up into a seated position, as well as roll back down onto the mat. This is a perfect way for beginners to learn to articulate through the spine. This modification can also help take any strain you feel out of the neck.
3. As you build powerhouse strength, extend your legs all the way out long with feet flexed in Pilates stance. If you work the exercise this way, be sure to not allow the feet to come up off of the mat and avoid jerking yourself up off of the mat- use your core!

Teacher Tips:
1. Your breath will help you keep the exercise fluid and give you power. Use your breath, especially the exhale, as your start to roll up and feel stuck.
2. Try working on this exercise by hooking your feet under a couch with legs extended out long. This gives you some support.
3. Don't use your head and shoulders to pull you up- activate those deep abdominal muscles by creating an oppositional force with the navel sinking back into your spine.
4. Keep the lower body (hello inner thighs!) engaged by keeping the heels together and gluts squeezed in- remember your powerhouse includes more than the abdominal muscles.
5. Also, imagine the lower body is taped down to the mat- it should not move.
6. Enjoy the stretch you'll find in this exercise.
7. If you do your mat outside, be prepared for the wind to catch your mat!

Thanks for joining me for Workout Wednesday! Join me back next week for another Pilates Mat exercise. (Then we'll know a good portion of the Beginner's Mat!)

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