Dynamic Pilates Manly take your workout to the next level by providing additional resistance to your normal routine, on top of the same or similar techniques found in traditional Pilates, rapidly increasing tone, strength and flexibility. What You Need to Know about the Rolling Like a Ball Exercise. This quintessential exercise stretches and massages your entire spine, strengthens your core, and helps you breathe deeply as you move through the mat-work series, notice that the order of the exercises requires you to change positions frequently, keeping your entire body active and moving-flexing, stretching, twisting, turning over, sitting up, lying on your back, then on your stomach, then your side-just as you do in life.
Joseph Pilates purposefully designed the mat-work series to support and strengthen natural human movements. For instance, when you do the Single Leg Circle, you keep your spine straight and stable throughout the exercise. Consequently, this follow-up exercise requires you to flex and roll your spine, so your muscles continue to grow stronger and more flexible without tightening or bulking up.
As part of your warmup, you work your body in these first Pilates exercises much the same way a baker kneads bread dough. By flexing, stretching, and warming your muscles, expanding your breathing, and boosting your circulation, you prepare your body for all of the action that lies ahead-both in the Pilates studio and in your daily activities.
What Is the Rolling Like a Ball?
Performing the basic Rolling Like a Ball movement involves sitting up, bending your knees to your chest, holding your lower shins with both hands, and curling your spine and head up and over your knees until you feel round like a ball. In this position, you roll backward and forward, up and down your spine, in order to massage your back on the mat. As you roll, your spine is fully curled and your eyes remain focused on your belly
What the Rolling Like a Ball Exercise Does
Rolling Like a Ball is a great exercise for articulating and strengthening your spine, but its benefits go well beyond that important function. This exercise is an excellent way to develop deep, healthy Pilates breathing. As you roll back, the movement pulls air into your lungs, causing your back to inflate and your vertebrae and ribcage to expand and decompress. Your forward rolling movement pushes the air from your lungs in a deep, healthy exhalation. Each repetition strengthens your belly as you squeeze your abdominals to push the air from your lungs. The massaging action of the rolling encourages healthy circulation as it elongates the muscles in your back, hips, and shoulders. Here are some other benefits of this amazing exercise:
o A stronger integration between your Powerhouse and pelvis (gluteals, pelvic floor, inner thighs, hamstrings, and back muscles). o Better shoulder girdle stabilization and integration skills. o Improved balance and coordination. o Better full-body integration to facilitate a strong mind/body connection.
The Basic Rolling Like a Ball Exercise
The steps in the following section outline the basic procedure for performing the Rolling Like a Ball exercise at an intermediate level. Again, this exercise can be very difficult, and many people find the backward-rolling movement a bit disorienting, so take your time and play with the exercise to get comfortable with it. And never fear-this exercise can be modified in a number of ways. You’ll find modifications for beginners and advanced Pilates students following the presentation of the basic steps.
Step by Step Through the Basic Exercise
To transition from the Single Leg Circle, inhale to bend your left knee and squeeze it into your chest with both hands, then, as you exhale, keep both hands on your left shin and curl your head, shoulders, and upper body forward as you roll your spine up off the mat, vertebra by vertebra, to a sitting position. Inhale as you bend your right knee into your chest and hold both lower shins; your knees are shoulder-width apart, heels are touching, and your elbows are high and wide. Exhale to curl your spine even more, pulling your belly deep into and up along the front of your spine as you curl your head between your knees, eyes on your belly Imagine that your belly is massaging your internal organs and spine. Carefully rock back onto your tailbone just far enough to balance; your softly pointed toes should be hovering slightly above the mat. Now, follow these steps to perform the basic intermediate Rolling Like a Ball exercise:
1. Inhale, letting your breath lengthen your spine up and over like a wave curling over a surfer, as you curl your tail under you and roll your spine backward, one vertebra at a time; roll with a smooth, flowing motion down the mat, until you’re on your spine between your shoulder blades. Suspend your hips as high above you as you can without rolling onto your neck.
2. Exhale to roll back down your spine, returning to your original balancing position on your tailbone with your toes just off the mat. As you roll forward use your arms to pull your legs in to you to further strengthen and challenge your belly and to help you exhale. Keep elbows lifted and wide.
3. Repeat steps I and 2, five to eight times.
If you feel any strain or discomfort in your neck, mid-back, or lower back during Rolling Like a Ball, stop and assess your movements. Perhaps you’re rolling up too far, putting pressure on your head or neck. Or perhaps you need to modify the exercise to make it more accessible for your current condition. Modify as necessary but don’t work through the pain!
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