My Version of the Pilates Roll Up

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The pilates roll up.

All exercise is yoga. That’s my basic take. Yoga is more than 5000 years old and everything that follows flows from that spring.

Pilates, from my perspective, is a specified form of yoga, taking a laser-like approach to the core.

While I have never taken a pilates class (I had a private once), I have learned endless pilates exercises on youtube and use them in my practice and my classes all the time.

The roll up is a particular favorite and an exercise I have done daily for the past couple of years and taught in every class.

Of course, as it turns out, my version is not quite the pilates version but what’s a boy to do.

In the video above I have my palms facing each other. In most pilates videos I watched the palms are facing down.

This actually impacts the roll down quite a bit. With the palms down, the latissimus dorsi isn’t involved and the roll down is smooth.

In my version with the palms facing each other the journey of the roll down is more complicated due to the engagement of the lats.

I also do slightly different things with my feet in terms of pointing and flexing.

But all that aside, the pilates roll up and changed my practice and my core profoundly over the last couple of years.

How to do my version.

  • Lie on your back with your legs out straight and your arms extending behind your head with the palms facing each other.
  • Bring the arms up towards the ceiling keeping them parallel.
  • When the fingertips are pointing up at the ceiling begin to lift the head.
  • Roll up to a sitting position and even to a forward bend to the best of your ability.
  • If rolling up is particularly difficult, focus more on rolling down as a way to develop facility in the pose.

At the end of the video above, I show off what my first roll up looked like a couple of years ago. It ain’t pretty but hopefully, it will inspire you to put in the time and effort yourself.

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