The rollover may sound like a lazy exercise, but it's actually a vigorous Pilates activity that challenges both beginner and advanced exercisers. You'll feel your abs burning after a few reps, but you should notice your core getting stronger over time. The rollover requires strength and coordination, so work your way up to it by performing some other movements that will prepare you for the big time. Fit the rollover and other Pilates exercises into your workout regimen two to three days per week and don't forget to give your abs a day off between each session so they have time to heal.
Perform hip lifts. Lie on your back on a mat with your arms down by your sides. Lift your legs so they’re pointed directly toward the ceiling. From this position, exhale as you press your arms into the mat and lift your hips up about 2 inches off the floor, while simultaneously squeezing your thighs together. Inhale and lower your hips slowly to the mat, then repeat the exercise. Complete a set of five to 10 repetitions.
Complete the ball exercise. Once you feel comfortable with hip lifts, move onto the ball. Sit upright on an exercise mat with your knees bent and thighs against your chest. Wrap your arms around your legs and pick your feet up off the mat so you’re balancing on your butt. Exhale as you slowly rock backward until you’re lying on your shoulder blades, then inhale as you roll back to an upright position. Complete a set of five to 10 repetitions.
Move on to the rollover exercise. Lie on your back on a mat with your arms down by your sides. Lift your legs so they’re a few inches off the floor, squeezing them together. Exhale and roll back. As your legs roll over your head, separate them so they’re hip-width apart. Continue rolling until your hips are off the mat and your toes make contact with the floor over your head. Inhale as you slowly roll back onto your spine, lowering onto one vertebra at a time. Continue until your legs are inches off the floor, then exhale as you move onto the next repetition. Perform a set of five repetitions.
- Keep your arms firmly set on the floor so you can push them against the mat. This helps you control your hips as they move up off the floor and back down onto the mat. Avoid using momentum to roll back and forth. Your legs should not flop over your head. Instead, focus on forcing your abdominals to handle the work.
- The rollover can place stress on your neck and lower back, so avoid incorporating it into your workouts until you've fully recovered from any neck or back injury. Always avoid rolling back onto your neck.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.