Surprise: Doing standard crunches day in and day out is probably not the most effective way to carve out that six-pack. Instead, try Pilates roll-ups, which could be as much as 30 per cent more effective for building “six-pack” abs than crunches are. All you need is a mat and the right attitude.
Pilates is about controlled movements, so learn the proper technique to really reap the benefits.
How To Do A Pilates Roll-Up
Lie on your back with your legs flat and your arms extended above your head. Keeping your arms straight, bring them forward and curl your upper body until your fingers touch your toes. Then slowly return to the starting position, using your glutes to control your descent. Repeat 8 to 10 times for one set.
What Are The Benefits Of Roll-Ups?
Like crunches, roll-ups work your abdominal muscles and are a great core workout. They promote deep breathing, which increases blood flow and circulation. Roll-ups also help you strengthen your spine, increasing its flexibility and alignment. Plus, they stretch your calf, neck, and underarm muscles, as well as your hamstrings. You can do sets of roll-ups before your workout begins to keep yourself limber and flexible.
Tips And Tricks For Pilates Roll-Ups
Keep your arms and legs straight. It may be tempting to bend your arms to help you pull through, but remember that pull-ups are about your abs and back. Keeping your arms and legs straight will help your spine articulate sequentially and provide greater benefits.
Try holding an elastic band looped around the soles of your feet to help you lower yourself back down slowly and evenly. Just make sure the band is secure on your feet so it doesn’t snap off and cause you to jolt your back.
As you’re pulling yourself up, relax your chest and keep your eyes on your stomach. Your movement will naturally follow the path of your eyes, and keeping your chest relaxed will encourage your body to use your abs instead of your arms to lift yourself up.
Remember to breathe. Inhaling and exhaling can help you move through tough spots in the roll-up. Don’t hold your breath, because that will cause your body to stiffen and hesitate. Exhale to control your descent or push through a difficult moment in the exercise.
An exercise like the roll-up doesn’t always come easily to everyone. It can be tempting to sacrifice form just to do the exercise. If you’re not sure exactly how to do a roll-up, watch a video tutorial or find a local Pilates class. As with many exercises, roll-ups can be dangerous if not performed correctly. Know the limits of your own body and learn proper roll-up technique to do the exercise safely and effectively. Pilates is all about control, so knowing your body and being conscious of your movement is paramount. Above all, find the method and pace that works best for you, and have fun!