Come join me and Pilates enthusiasts around the world in celebrating Joe Pilates’ mat exercises — we’re calling it March Matness! Each day this month, I’ll post an exercise from Joe’s book “Return to Life.”

Day 2: begin at the beginning with The Hundred, then proceed to The Roll Up. 

The Basics:

  • Assume the position: lay down on your back and reach your arms back by your ears.
  • Lift your arms up toward the sky and peel one vertebra at a time up off the mat.
  • Continue reaching forward until your finger reach or pass your toes.

Pilates Magic Happening here:

  • 2-way reach: right from the get-go, I’m scooping up the kittens and lengthening my body loooong. My feet are pushing away from my waist. Pretend there is a wall in front of you to push those feet against.
  • Power Leg: the backs of my legs are pressing down into the mat. This turns on more muscle fibers throughout my entire body, than if I just flopped my legs down on the mat. Squeeze more work out of your exercises by incorporating more muscles.
  • Super Hero Shoulders: notice how my shoulder stays lined up with my earlobe; it doesn’t slide forward into a hunch. (yep, I should have tucked my hair back in my folded position so that you could see this better….) Create this shoulder by dropping your armpits toward your hips. It will help you eliminate neck tension.

Teaching Tips:

  • If you have access to studio equipment, use the rolldown bar on your tower or Cadillac. Push the feet into the poles and your legs into the table as you roll down, taking the rolldown springs with you. Lengthen away from the springs on the way down; keep that length in your spine and legs as you peel up.
  • Immediately after using the rolldown bar, take a shot at the Roll Up without using springs. Create the same work using just your body.

Want to follow on Facebook or other social media? Look for the tags #marchmatness2017 #rollup #EffortlessMovementPilates