The video above is an advanced version of the Pilates Roll Up (in LuciFit Style).

Core exercises like the Pilates Roll Up

when done mindfully, will give you great looking abs and better posture. And there’s more-  with a strong core and good posture you can reduce or eliminate back pain.

Not many abdominal exercises work the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles) as intensely

and stretch the spine as well as the Pilates Roll Up. It’s important to take this exercise at your own pace, starting with beginner levels first (see my video for beginners here) before advancing the exercise.

In the advanced version, the twist,

we hold our back in neutral (straight) posture as we twist to either side before rolling down. This adds intensity to the lower abdominal connection, below the navel.

In the second advanced version, the pulse,

we pulse at the first and second half of the roll up exercise, intensifying two crucial points of the movement. Read on for more about that.

Why the Pilates Roll Up works so well:

1.) The first half of the roll up is a great stretch for the middle back (thoracic spine) and excellent work for the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle) at the top where it originates at the ribcage and sternum. We do this by pulling the lower ribs back as much as possible to get the full curve of the upper and middle spine.

In everyday life, this produces better posture by aligning the ribs over the hips and preventing “splaying” of the lower ribs forward. This, in turn, allows the middle and lower back to lengthen and alleviate pain or pressure from overarching there. This movement also enhances the six-pack at the top, near the ribs.

2.) In the last portion of the roll up we maximally contract the rectus abdominis and stretch the entire spine. This happens when we have most of the lower back off the floor and spine curved, before lifting the back of the hips. At this point we intensely activate the “lower abs” (lowest part of the rectus abdominis at the insertion of the muscle into the pubic bone and hips).

A strong lower abdominal area helps to hold the lower belly in. When done intensely enough it’ll bring out the lower part of the six-pack.

This core strength also helps to rid the low back of tension and pain because it lengthens the lower spine and helps hold the hips in neutral (their optimal alignment).

3.) We’re strengthening our natural girdle, the transverse abdominis, throughout the entire exercise while holding our belly in towards our spine. Just like any other girdle, a strong transverse abdominis holds our entire belly in as we go through life. And just like a girdle, it naturally protects the low back from strain, relieves and potentially eliminates low back pain.

Questions about the Pilates Roll Up for abs?

Put them in the comments below. As always, I’m here to support you in your fitness and health.