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How to Do the Neck Pull in Pilates

Learn how to do the neck pull, a Pilates Mat exercise, from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


Following Swimming we have Neck Pull. So from here, Madeline, come up to seated. Bring your legs in front of you and then lie down on the mat with control. Neck Pull is an advancement of the Roll Up. So bring your hands right behind the back of your head. Again, one on top of the other, stacked.

From here your feet are open, inner hip distance apart with the heels are flexed. Feel your whole spine press to the mat. So there's no neutral pelvis here. You're completely gluing your spine into the mat. Inhale to prepare then exhale, curl the chin towards the chest, roll up over the legs then hug your elbows in towards the knees. Inhale, stack your spine up to seated.

From here exhale, curl the chin toward the chest, tuck your tailbone and roll back into the mat. And let's do it again. Take an inhale. Exhale as you begin to move working through the abdominals and hug your elbows towards your knees. Inhale. Sit up here nice and tall.

Now, this is the reason why the exercise is called Neck Pull because she's lengthening through her hands, her neck here. It's not neck pull here. That's like neck jam. And there's none, none of that in Pilates. Then from this place you'll inhale, exhale, curl your chin toward your chest and articulate your spine back down into the mat one vertebrae at a time.

Last time. Take an inhale then exhale. Roll up off the mat, hug your elbows toward your knees. So in this position you're still in a c-curve, not collapsing and remembering not jamming the neck. Inhale. Stack your spine up to seated. Widen the elbows. Then this last one, hinge back a few inches. Exhale, curl the chin towards the chest and lower the spine back into the mat. Then lower your arms next to your sides.

So if you're having a hard time doing this exercise with your legs totally straight and if your heels keep popping up off the mat or you feel like you have to force your body up off the mat, you can try a modification. Also if you have a hard time with the Roll Up, that's a good indication that this could be hard for you too. So you might want to just start with it.

So to modify Neck Pull bring your hands behind your head. That's it. And then start with your knees a little soft and actively press your back into the mat. Inhale here then exhale, curl the chin towards your chest. When you get stuck reach your arms forward, round over then hug your elbows right toward your knees. Inhale, extend your torso then exhale, curl the chin towards the chest, tuck your tailbone and roll all the way back down. Inhale. Curl the chin up towards the chest. Exhale.

Now, if you got stuck reach forward, bring the hands back behind your head. Extend the legs so you still are getting that stretch through the back of the legs. Inhale, lift the spine up here nice and tall. Exhale, curl the chin toward the chest, tuck the tailbone and articulate your spine down into the mat.

And that's the Neck Pull.

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