5. Rolling Back
Also referred to as “rolling like a ball”, for obvious reasons. It’s a fun one and the first of three rolling exercises. It can feel like a little spine massage when performed efficiently. You really need to spread the motion out equally throughout the whole spine for this exercise. Many folks have difficulty reversing the curve in their lumbar spine and hit an audible “speed bump” on the roll back portion. Also important to note, do not use momentum (from kicking legs or throwing head back) to roll backwards or to return to upright. Rolling like a ball increases spine mobility and stability, head/neck/shoulder organization, and effectiveness of breath. Mastering this exercise with ease will be beneficial when attempting seal and open leg rocker moving along down the Pilates road.
Classical start: grasp legs tightly with locked arms, bring thighs to chest, bend head forward and down.
Recommended start: grab front of shins with hands (push shins into hands, hands into shins), round spine into flexion, float feet off of the ground, bring gaze to knees/thighs.
1. While balancing on sitz bones, tip pubic bone towards/away from nose.
2. Exhale tip pubic bone towards nose to initiate roll back to shoulder blades. Let gravity rock you back one vertebrae at a time.
3. Take a small inhale when rolled back. Exhale push hands into shins/shins into hands to roll back up without touching feet to floor. Repeat six times.
Modifications: Use a thicker mat or perform on carpet, if painful on spine or sacrum. Just perform rolling back portion or just pelvic tilts when upright
Tips: Head might touch, but do not push off with head. Use sitz bones coming together to initiate movement and sitz bones apart to put on the brakes when returning to upright. Find muscles in armpits to complete horizontal circle of rib cage/arms/shins. The smaller the ball, the more challenging the exercise. Keep head in line with spine.
Challenge: roll like a ball up to standing or transition from standing to rolling like a ball, with control.