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How to Do the Rolling Like a Ball Pilates Exercise

Learn how to do the rolling like a ball Pilates Mat exercise from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


Next is rolling like a ball. Rolling like a ball is an exercise that's meant to massage your spine. Now don't get too excited here, because you're still exercising. But it is a very nice way of feeling articulation through the back in a different way.

So we'll start with the ideal of the position. Every time I teach an exercise, I start with the ideal, because that's what we're working toward. But then, if you feel you can't do the ideal, then you'll modify.

So in rolling like a ball, you're sitting up on the mat. You're in a C curve position. You hover your feet up off the mat just a few inches, so you're definitely not touching the mat with the toes. Now, your knees are actively pressing into your elbows. Your elbows are pressing into your knees. And this is the shape you hold. So at this moment, imagine you are a ball. When a ball rolls, it does not change its form, and neither should you.

On an inhale, roll back just to the tips of the shoulder blades. Then, exhale, rock up and find your balance at the top. And again, here, inhale, roll back to the shoulder blades. And exhale, come up. Hold it there for a second. So whenever you roll on the mat, it's extremely important that you only roll to the base of the shoulder blades, not up onto your neck. Because that's--that's a no-no. You don't want to go there. You could hurt yourself. Let's try one more in the ideal, Madeleine. Inhale, roll back. Exhale, rock up, and hold it. And just lower your feet for a second.

So, if you felt like you tried that and you're wobbling, and it's not working out for you, try this modification.

Hold behind the back of your thighs, Madeleine, and now lift your feet up. Still, the knees open and the heels together, the toes apart. So basically, just the same thing, but you're holding behind the thighs. This will give you a little more space. So you went from being a baseball to, now, like a--you know, a huge Physioball. Inhale, roll back to the tips of the shoulder blades. And exhale, rock up. And again here, two more. Inhale. And exhale, lift up. One more time. And lift back up. Now hold the feet, lower them down to the mat.

The other thing to be aware of is that, if you have back issues--lower back or neck issues--you may be advised not to put direct pressure on the spine. So this exercise would not be for you. You don't want to put all your body weight back on your spine.

And that's our rolling like a ball.

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