It is getting harder to come up with Pilates themes as the classical system is limited in terms of themes, especially in comparison to yoga where there are infinite possibilities for teaching themes, so I have decided to go into fundamentals of individual exercises and building them up.
This month I am focusing on ‘The Roll Up’. It is great to break it down and build it up slowly to give your students the experience of greater ease or new found success in this challenging exercise.
So you will first teach the modified basic variation, but even before you teach roll-back, sometimes called roll-down, in neutral position get your students to pelvic rocks/clock to feel the difference between tilting the pelvis forward and tilting the pelvis backwards, then focus on the backwards tilt which is imprinting the spine and then going to neutral position, after 5 repetitions of each, have your students roll onto one side and use their hands to push the floor away to transition in to ‘roll-back’.
Teach roll back progressively, once press point at a time, in other words, exhale to tailbone a couple times, then powerhouse then third press point, reminding them at the start of the exercise that they are going to roll the pelvis back just like you just finished with in the ‘pelvic rock warm-up.
Then teach ab prep as usual, emphasizing the 4th press point knitting the ribs and anchoring down as you relax the elbows side.
Then do ‘arms up down warm-up’, isolating it from fingers to the ceiling and exhale as the arms go back to the floor focusing on knitting the ribs and anchoring the 4th press point explaining to your students that all that is missing from roll up at this point is how to use the 4th press point to get from c-scoop to the end position of roll-back/down where the 3rd press point is on the floor.
Then do the modified roll up, inhale fingers to the ceiling, exhale chin nod lift the 5th press point off the floor arms parallel to the floor into c-scoop and reach forwards as you anchor the 4th press point to get it off the floor, keep the arms parallel to the floor as you roll up and as you roll down, widening the collar bones so that the movement is from the pillar rather than the shoulders.
Repeat 5-6 times.