Roll Over to Build Core Strength

roll overNormally, in ab exercises, we move in one direction–from the ribs to the hips. Crunches, Roll ups, The Hundred, and numerous other ab exercises help us strengthen our abdominals by working from origin to insertion. Roll overs are different, though.

With Roll overs, we are moving the hips toward the ribs. In other words, we’re working from insertion to origin. This is important because, as we challenge our muscles in different ways, we can build greater strength.

Also, Roll overs are an excellent exercise to build core strength because they use the adductors (inner thighs). Many people don’t realize that their adductors play a role in their core strength, but they do. Because of its ability to strengthen the abdominals in a different way and engage the adductors, Roll over is an excellent core strengthening exercise.

Roll Over Prep

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Begin on your back with your knees bent, heels in line with your SITs bones. Broaden your collarbones, and let your arms reach straight by your sides.
  3. Exhale to go into Imprint.
  4. Inhale and lift one leg to table top, then the other.
  5. roll over prepExhale and lengthen your legs toward the ceiling. Laterally rotate from the hips, keep your knees soft, and cross the right ankle on top of the left.
  6. Inhale here.
  7. Exhale and use your abdominals to lift your hips off the ground. Think of initiating the lift by going deeper into Imprint, lifting your pelvis, then sequencing through your spine one vertebra at a time.
  8. Complete 5 repetitions with your right leg crossed on top. Pause and switch so that your left leg is crossed on top. Complete another 5 repetitions.

Roll Over

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Begin on your back with your knees bent, heels in line with your SITs bones. Broaden your collarbones, and let your arms reach straight by your sides.
  3. Exhale to go into Imprint.
  4. Inhale and lift one leg to table top, then the other. Make sure your feet are pointed. They should stay pointed throughout.
  5. Feel your adductors work and connect your inner thighs to each other as you exhale and reach your legs on a low angle while you maintain Imprint.
  6. Inhale to start bringing your legs up toward the ceiling.
  7. Exhale, tilt deeper into Imprint, and roll one vertebra at a time off the mat as your legs go overhead.
  8. Inhale and separate your legs to shoulder-width.
  9. Exhale and reverse sequence, rolling one vertebra at a time back onto the mat. Keep rolling and extending until your legs are on an angle, but your low back is still in Imprint.
  10. Inhale, bring your legs together, and start hinging your legs toward you.
  11. Follow steps 7-10 to continue this direction of Roll over. You want to do 3 or 4 Roll overs this way before you switch.

Switching Directions

When you finish and extend your legs on an angle, instead of closing your legs, leave a shoulder-width distance.

  1. So, you’ve just reached your legs on an angle and left them shoulder-width.
  2. Inhale to bring your legs up toward the ceiling.
  3. Exhale to roll over, moving one vertebra at a time.
  4. Inhale, engage your adductors, and connect your inner thighs.
  5. Exhale and roll down one vertebra at a time. Keep Imprint as you extend your legs on an angle.
  6. Separate your legs to shoulder-width.
  7. Follow steps 2-6 to complete more Roll overs this way. You should complete as many this direction as you did the first, so 3 or 4 is appropriate.
  8. To finish, stop when your legs are out on an angle. Bend one leg to table top at a time. Then, set one foot down to the mat at a time. Finally, release Imprint.

Roll Over Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

Thank you for reading this article. If you enjoy the information that you read, please consider supporting this website! Your support means more Continuing Education classes and more exercises to share.

Reverse sequencing ab work is a great way to challenge your core. What’s your favorite reverse sequence ab exercise? 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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