If you want to feel simultaneously stronger and more stretched, Pilates is the perfect workout for you. With its emphasis on lengthening and toning the muscles, it’s a great supplement to almost any workout program. And if you want to strengthen your core while stretching your spine and back muscles, these are the exercises you’ll want to try:
- Seated Roll Up
- Standing Roll Up
In the rest of this article, we’ll go through each exercise in detail so you can do them for the greatest benefit. All you’ll need is some comfy clothes, a mat or blanket to lay on, and some space to move. Let’s get started!
4 Pilates Exercises That Work Your Abs And Spine
Seated Roll Up
Start by lying on the mat with your legs extended straight and arms overhead. Inhale, then exhale, engage your abs, and start slowly peeling your upper body off the mat, starting with your arms and followed by your head, shoulders, and ribs. Find yourself in a seated position, legs extended in front of you.
If you’d like, you can take a forward fold stretch here. When you are finished, exhale, tuck your tailbone underneath yourself, and slowly roll down through your spine, moving vertebrae by vertebrae.
Start lying on your back, knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Inhale, then exhale and boost your hips over your face, using your hands to help if necessary. Straighten your legs so they are as parallel to the ground as possible. Next, flex your feet, open your legs shoulder width apart, and then slowly roll down through your spine, moving vertebrae by vertebrae.
After your hips are on the mat again, engage your abs and slowly lower your straight legs to the ground.
Sit up tall with your legs about mat width apart, and extend your arms into a T position. Inhale, engaging your abs and sitting up a little bit taller, then exhale and reach your right hand toward your left foot. Inhale and hold this position, then exhale and return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Standing Roll Up
Stand up tall, feet hip width apart and arms by your sides. Take a deep breath in, then exhale and, leading with the top of your head, roll down your spine until your hands are as close to the floor as possible. Inhale, then exhale, bend your knees just a little bit more deeply, engage your abs, and slowly roll up through your spine. Your head should be the last thing to come up.
Do a few of these exercises each day, and you’ll be feeling longer and stronger in no time! Consistency is key, so try making it part of your morning or evening routine.