15. The Neck Pull
The Neck Pull, like the roll up is designed to increase spinal stability and mobility, stretch the hamstrings, and access the hip flexors efficiently. Since my bod has struggled with the roll up, neck pull has also been extremely challenging for me. Not everyone's body has that issue and this exercise might seems pretty easy to them. I prefer not to talk to those people, they cannot be trusted. To perform neck pull, one needs to be proficient with roll up. In general, neck pull is a harder than roll up because you cannot utilize the arms as levers or counterweight to peel off the mat. You also have to access serratus anterior (muscles in the armpit, outside border of the shoulder blade) with arms overhead, which is harder to do as well. Not even sure I can get a decent one to video. Those with osteoporosis, acute lumbar disc injuries, difficulty with arms overhead due to shoulder issues should avoid or modify.
Classical/recommended start: lie on back with hands clasped behind head. ankles should be flexed (my ankles are not flexed in the picture--point deduction. wait until you see the mess happening on video)
1. Exhale to curl head, neck and shoulders off the floor, peeling spine off the floor one vertebrae at a time until torso is rounded over the legs and arms reaching towards/past ankles. Inhale.
2. Exhale to tip pelvis towards ceiling to initiate the roll back towards the start position. Repeat 4-6 times.
Variation: after step 1 stack spine vertically into long-sit, continue to step 2
To aid in spine articulation: use a small towel roll under low back, hold small weights in hands, be sure to position head in line with spine (not in front of spine)
Modifications: bend knees, shorten range of motion, start in sitting and roll down. In the classical version, Joe directs clients to keep elbows wide and shoulder blades locked down and back.