Pilates: Roll Up
A Pilates exercise which is great for strengthening your abdominals and hip flexors. The full version is said to be more effective than doing 6 simultaneous sit ups. Follow the Pilates roll up and enjoy stronger and more flexible muscles.
Step 1: To prepare
Lie down on your mat with your knees bent, feet hip distance apart and back in neutral.
Now being careful not to let your rib cage pop or shoulders rise, reach your arms over your head.
This is the starting position for the most basic version of the roll up, recommendable to beginners and people who have an over-exaggerated arch in their lower back.
Step 2: The exercise version one
Inhale lengthen the back of your neck and reach your arms towards the ceiling, exhale reach your arms forwards as you flex your upper body off the floor, inhale start to roll back down and exhale to return the arms to the start.
Repeat this 4 times, being aware of keeping your shoulders down throughout and bring your arms down to your sides to finish.
Step 3: The exercise version two
Start by moving your feet a little further away from your body and reaching your arms over your head.
Now inhale lengthen the back of your neck and lift your arms to the ceiling, exhale reach your arms forward and flex your torso off the mat to sitting.
Inhale, and starting from the base of the spine begin to roll back down to the mat, then exhale to lie down completely and return the arms over your head.
Repeat this 4 times, keeping your shoulders down and neck in line with the back. To finish, relax your arms by your sides.
Step 4: The exercise version three
This is the complete and most challenging version of the roll up. So to begin, stretch your legs out. Have your feet hip distance apart and flexed back and reach your arms over your head.
Inhale, lift your arms to the ceiling, exhale reach your arms forwards and flex your entire torso off the mat to curve over your legs.
Repeat this 4 times concentrating of keeping your abdominals firm throughout, heels anchored to the floor and shoulders down.
When you finish, hug your knees into your chest to relax.