Challenge Your Abs with Neck Pull

If you don’t feel like you’re challenging your abdominals in Roll up, Neck pull is the exercise for you! Neck pull lacks the extra weight of your arms to help you roll back up. So, if you’re looking for a more challenging way to find spinal articulation, Neck pull is a great choice.

That being said, I like to modify Neck pull slightly to make it more accessible for people. This is a great ab exercise, so I don’t want anyone to miss out. Of course, if Neck pull is still too challenging, you can always practice Neck pull prep.

Neck Pull

I like to teach this exercise a little differently from the STOTT Pilates manual. In the manual, this exercise starts when you are on your back, extended in a straight line. I find that starting from this position makes it more difficult to complete the rest of the exercise. Unless you are very warmed up, starting on your back will make your first roll up seem almost impossible. Therefore, I start at what STOTT might consider the end of this exercise.

Also, I teach Neck pull with your hands on your forehead instead of behind your head. I find that this modification is more appropriate for people with tight shoulders or a forward head. With our society so geared around electronics, most people fit into either one or both of those categories.

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. neck pullSit up straight and feel your SITs bones connect to the mat. Extend your legs in front of you with your feet flexed at the ankle. You can either have your legs together so you can recruit help from your adductors or you may have your legs inner hip distance apart. Place your hands so that your fingers overlap on your forehead.
  3. Inhale here.
  4. Exhale, and roll down one vertebrae at a time. Keep your collarbones broad, and try to keep the backs of your hands attached to your forehead.
  5. Inhale, tuck your chin slightly, and quickly begin your exhale to start rolling up. You don’t want to lose this momentum that you have right now.
  6. neck pullExhale, and lift your head to initiate rolling back up. Move sequentially through your spine, and maintain spinal flexion. Again, try to keep your collarbones broad and your fingers attached to your forehead.
  7. Roll up until you feel your SITs bones connected to the mat.
  8. Inhale to lengthen through the spine one vertebrae at a time. You should find yourself in our starting position.
  9. Complete 5-8 reps.

If you find that this exercise is too challenging for you right now, practice Neck pull prep to build your strength.

Neck Pull Video

Here is a video for visual learners. Videos can be particularly helpful to teach some of the more involved Pilates exercises. Since this one involves some choreography, you may want to watch the video first.

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Which exercise do you prefer–Neck pull or Neck pull prep? Let us know in the comments.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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