Pilates Obliques Roll Back–Another Fantastic Pilates Ab Exercise

obliques roll backObliques roll back is one of my favorite Pilates exercises. Plus, it’s a multi-tasker’s dream. All in one exercise, you have lumbar and low-thoracic spinal articulation coupled with spinal rotation. When I do this exercise, I feel like an ice cream scoop has removed all of my ab flab.

That being said, I want to let you know that a while ago, Obliques roll back and I had to temporarily part ways. I had a tendency to sit with my tailbone tucked under me. This led to stability issues with my sacrum. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but when I practiced this exercise, my dysfunctional muscles made it feel like I was grinding my tailbone into the mat.

That feeling is creepy and gross, so I highly recommend that if you have a tendency to sit with your pelvis tilted under or if you have discomfort around your sacrum (tailbone), don’t do this exercise now. Instead, I would work on those issues (start with your piriformis and psoas muscles) and come back to this exercise later.

Obliques Roll Back

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Begin seated with your knees bent and heels in line with your SITs bones. Make sure that you feel your SITs bones connect to the mat beneath you.
  3. Root through your SITs bones to help you lift through the top of your head.
  4. Broaden your collarbones, and reach your arms straight in front of your with your palms facing the floor.
  5. Inhale and draw your belly button toward your spine.
  6. Exhale. Tilt your pelvis to roll back one vertebrae at a time. As you’re rolling back, rotate your chest to the right and allow your right arm to open and reach on a diagonal line toward the floor behind you. Make sure that you’re still lifted through the top of your head. You should feel a lightness as you move through your spine and pelvis. Glance back toward your right hand.
  7. Inhale, and reverse sequence to bring everything back to your starting position.
  8. Exhale and, this time, articulate back and rotate open toward the left. Allow the left arm to open at the shoulder and reach toward the floor behind you. Glance back toward your left hand.
  9. Completing the right and left side equals one set. Do 5-10 sets.

If, at any point in time, you feel a grinding in your sacrum (tailbone), stop what you’re doing. In my experience, the grinding feeling means that some crucial stabilizers are not acting correctly. The grinding feels gross but, more importantly, the tight muscles causing this feeling can pull the sacrum out of place. Trust me, nobody wants that.

Obliques Roll Back Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your favorite Pilates ab exercise? Let us know in the comments.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.