Forum / Let's Discuss! / Rollup Advice

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On: May 06, 2013 06:54 AM
I have the hardest time getting my clients to do the rollups correctly. What props or cueing can I give them to make this a more accessible exercise?
On: May 07, 2013 19:31 PM
Hi Jerri, Yes, the rollup exercise is a difficult one for clients to do in its entirety. I never teach the advanced version especially in group classes. It is just too painful to watch because it is never done well and the chance for straining and injury is huge with this one! The solution is to build skill sets for you clients. Number one is ribcage arm work. This is a precursor to the ab curl if taught well. Teach clients to pour their front body and lift their back body as the arms travel up on the inhale and travel down on the exhale. This visualization and sense of their back ribs lifting and opening with the breath as the arms lift and lower will be key when they add the ab curl. Next? The actual skill of how to find thoracic flexion in a balanced smooth way. So in short your clients must have a really good ab curl with the knees bent and the feet on the floor before they think about rolling up through the whole spine with the legs straight! Another great way to approach this exercise is from the back end! Start by sitting up ( with the knees bent and feet on the floor) and rolling down. Use as many breaths as you need to plant one disc at a time down while keeping the shoulder girdle heavy. Not an easy task! When they are down just have them roll to the side and come up again. This way we take out the part of the exercise that most people strain on ( the coming up) and work on our deceleration skill ( the going down) and articulation. My favorite prop to use to modify rollups is the theraband or the Smartspine. The Smartspine is amazing tactile reenforcement. I have had a number of clients that could never figure out how to perform a rollup until they did it with a smartspine. We will put it on the list to do both these modifications in an upcoming podcast. Thanks, Jen
On: May 08, 2013 09:06 AM
Here are a couple of other suggestions. You can place a small rolled up towel behind their low back. It gives them something to press into when they get to that area. Another thing that helps some people is to hold small weight (2lbs works well) in each hand. As they roll up, they reach the weights forward; as they roll down, also reach the weights forward. It will help to control the movement on the way back down. Different things seem to work for different people. I have not found any sure-fire solution.
On: May 08, 2013 09:35 AM
These are great suggestions Vicky! Love, Jen
On: June 12, 2013 19:07 PM
I agree with everything Jen stated. I've also had great success using the sacral wedge placed in the lumbar curve with the point toward the pelvis. A number of clients in group class that were having a hard time with roll up, peeled themselves all the way up with ease. Vicky, I have also found when people have something in the hands (I like using the pilates circle) they roll up much easier?
On: June 30, 2013 18:11 PM
Please help me find where to buy smartspines - I've googled and saw an ad in an old pilates style magazine but cannot find a place to purchase. Thanks for any help in advance.
On: July 01, 2013 04:51 AM
Hi Beth - you can get those in our store at: thanks! angelo
On: July 24, 2013 05:56 AM
I've noticed that ~locked elbows~ can be a real trouble maker in performing both directions of a rollup (with or without a dowel). Cueing to imagine weights hanging from elbows encourages a softening . This opens the chest and allows the shoulders to 's amazing to feel the core reflexively respond to the weight of the arms!
On: July 25, 2013 13:05 PM
I love that image Jenny! I just popped on the floor to try it, and the sensation really allowed me to expand and flex my ribcage and spine. I am using that one in class tomorrow! Thanks!
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