When the Roll Up Becomes The Roll In

pilates roll up körperbewusstseinstraining

[cs_content][cs_element_section _id=”1″ ][cs_element_row _id=”2″ ][cs_element_column _id=”3″ ][cs_element_quote _id=”4″ ][x_custom_headline level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”false” style=”text-transform:none!important;padding-bottom:10px;”]What does the Roll Up do?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]

Surely, you know this situation: You drop a pen, bend down to lift it and suddenly feel a tension in your back. Or you bend down to your toddler feeling this slight tenseness in your discs. Sounds familiar?

If so let me tell you that this unease is a result of tight back fascia. The question is: How to make our fascia in the back more flexible and prevent unnecessary back pain? The Roll Up can help. So. let us make sure we do not make a Roll In out of the Roll Up. I will explain and show you how.

When the Roll Up exercise becomes the Roll In exercise. To release tight fascia the Roll Up should be done by rolling forward and upwards – away from the mat. Unfortunately, though so often it is done by sinking inwards and downwards into the mat, and so rather creating the Roll In exercise, which does not contribute to the release of your fascia.

Let me show you a tactic how to get around this faulty practice of the Roll Up and explain the method with the aid of a test case. But first …

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The Roll Up exercise challenges the ability of the two main centers of the body (the deep muscle corset system and the shoulder girdle stabilizers) to maintain spinal and pelvic stability during flexion. The Roll Up is important to our body because it decompresses our discs by releasing tenseness in our muscles along our vertebral column via a controlled and articulated flexion in its full range of motion.

I am going to examplify this with a test case study. Let us take a look at our starting position.

[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”false” style=”text-transform:none!important;padding-bottom:10px;”]The issue with our posture[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]

To understand the challenges our client in the video below faces with the Roll Up, we must take his posture into consideration.

Does he lie in a functional position or not? Is the whole spine imprinted and grounded onto the mat? Is his pelvis in a functional neutral position; meaning, is his pelvis in a position that anchors him to effectively oppose the movement of the ribcage during the rolling up of the spine? Are his arms extended overhead via the eccentric contraction of the shoulder girdle stabilizers? Is the extension of his arms independent of the elevation of his ribcage? Is his DMCS – deep muscle corset system – ready to fire? Watch the beginning of the video to see how he starts ..

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Let us now examine in detail what our client is doing.

On the way up: As we can see in the video, his head is in the correct chin-to-chest position and his shoulder girdle stabilizers are firing.
However, his upper body is inhibited from moving forward and his chest is forced to sag in due to the collapse in the DMCS – at the junction, where the hamstrings, adductors and gluteus meet the pelvis. The result is a dysfunctional posterior pelvic tilt. In this position, he needs to overcome 2 forces: gravity and his own body weight. To do the Roll Up in this position, he needs to press his back unnaturally onto the mat and lift his legs into the air, which forces his DMCS to work inefficiently.

On the way down, then, because of the dysfunctional posterior tilt, his whole body weight is thrown off-center towards his neck (7th cervical spine) and upper back (12 th dorsal spine), which forces his arms to hyperextend. Additionally, the distance from shoulder to shoulder is narrowed. This way, he cannot experience the benefit of the Roll Up. Now, watch the whole video (above) to see this faulty principle in action before we get to the solution.

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Before our client starts the Roll Up, he needs to establish a functional neutral pelvic position.
This means he needs to adjust his pelvis via his deep muscle corset system (DMCS) and not via his lower back until his two hip bones and pubic bone are on the same level.

When he begins to roll upwards, he needs to activate his DMCS to stabilize his pelvis in a functional posterior tilt. At the same time, he needs to fix his pelvis via his pubic bone to anchor his pelvis to his ribcage, which will inhibit the collapse in his lower back and the dysfunctional tilt of his pelvis. As he then continues to roll up, he also needs to activate his shoulder girdle in order to anchor his ribcage to his pelvis, too.

When he begins to roll down, he needs to simultaneous lengthen his legs and torso and scoop his lower abdominals (DMCS) in to move his pelvis via his pubic bone. This way of practice will sequentially articulate his spine onto the mat, ground his legs, and activate his shoulder girdle (which will ground his ribcage to his pelvis) so that he can efficiently continue to roll down.
This manner of doing the Roll Up will prevent the collapse of the 7th cervical spine, especially on the way down. See the solution in action now in the video below.

[/cs_text][x_video_embed no_container=”false” type=”16:9″][/x_video_embed][x_custom_headline level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”false” style=”text-transform:none!important;padding-bottom:10px;”]Epilogue[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]

Our client due to his postural and functional habits needs to subcortically negotiate with two physical malfunction patterns

1) the collapse of the 7th cervical spine and
2) the sagging of the lower back.

This malfunctions most likely exist because he sags into the chair in front of the computer or TV, which can cause his back fascia to be tight. A regular practice of the exercise principle proposed in this blog will be significantly beneficial in alleviating his physical malfunctions and also create more awareness for movement in day to day life. Now to you!

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Try it & fly with it!

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