THE ROLL UP
The Roll Up focuses on spinal articulation, pelvic stability and core activation. This exercise should be done slowly and methodically, peeling each vertebrae off the floor one at a time. At the beginner level you want to focus on developing a smooth transition between the abdominals and the hip flexors as the abdominals instigate the movement and the hip flexors complete it. With practice the body will gain the strength to move between this transition smoothly and gracefully.
1. Start lying on your back, legs stretched out in front of you and arms laying behind you. Point your toes and squeeze your inner thighs together drawing your kneecaps up your thighs. Keep your spine in a neutral position, back of your neck long.
2. Breathe in, curl your head and shoulders up and lift your arms overhead reaching your fingers towards your toes.
3. Breathe out and slowly peel each vertebrae off the floor one at a time.
4. Maintaining the C-curve in your spine, finish with your arms parallel to the floor.
5. Reaching your hands towards your ankles, drape your body over your thighs stretching your spine and your hamstrings. Breathe in and hold the stretch. Breathe out and pull yourself closer to your thighs deepening the stretch. Breathe in and hold.
Breathe out and roll your spine back down one vertebrae at a time until your are back in your starting position.
Progression - From your C-curve (position 4), breathe in, straighten your spine, sit tall and reach your arms out to the side with your palms facing down.
6. As you breathe out, flex your feet and hinge forward at your hips maintaining a straight spine. Lift your arms in line with your ears with your palms facing each other.
Breathe in and return to your C-curve (position 4). Breathe out and roll your spine back down one vertebrae at a time until you are back in your starting position.
N.B. The Roll Up is not suitable for anyone who has a lower back problem including, but not limited to, bulging or herniated discs.