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The Roll Over is an abdominal flexion exercise where the legs are extended straight and levitate parallel to the ground. You will learn how to contract the retus abdominus to articulate the spine from a supine position. This exercise will also teach the relationship between the shoulder girdle, thorax, spine and pelvis.
Muscles Used:

Flexion of the neck and Spine:

  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longus_capitis” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]Longus capitis[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longus_colli_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]Longus_colli[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rectus_capitis_anterior” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]Rectus capitis anterior[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sternocleidomastoid” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]Sternocleidomastoid[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transversus_abdominis_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]Transversus abdominis[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rectus_abdominus” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]Rectus Abdominus[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdominal_internal_oblique_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]Abdominal internal oblique[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdominal_external_oblique_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Abdominal external oblique[/popit]

Extension of the legs:

  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliopsoas” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Illiopsoas[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadriceps” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Quadraceps[/popit]


  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deltoid_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Deltoid[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pectoralis_major_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Upper pectoralis major[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teres_major_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Teres major[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicep_brachii” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Bicep brachii[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coracobrachialis_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Coracobrachialis[/popit]
  • [popit url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triceps_brachii_muscle” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]Triceps brachii[/popit]
Set up:
  • Lie on your back with your spine in a neutral position.
  • Place straight arms next to your side, palms facing down.
  • Have your legs straight with feet in plantar flexion (pointed). External rotation of the femur and pilates first position of feet is optional.

Level 1:

  • Begin by peforming the Hip-up exercise or by performing on f the modifications below.

Level 2:

  • As you become more proficient at the Hip-up you can begin straighten the legs and rollover completely.
  • Inhale: through your nose to prepare.
  • Exhale: through your nose as you energize your pelvic floor, squeeze your inner thighs, co-contract your abdominals. Continue to lift your legs up and over until they are over your head.
  • Inhale: Separate legs to shoulder width and flex feet to[popit url=”http://www.eatrunrehabilitate.com/2013/03/ankle-dorsiflexion-what-why-and-how.html” height=”400″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”no”]dorsi flexion[/popit] by pulling the toes towards the knees and reaching the heels across the room.
    Level 3:
  • Perform the level 2 version of the Rollover but begin to lower the legs towards the ground after returning your spine back to the floor. This will increase the abdominal challenge. You can lower your straight legs a little at a time as your strength increases. Maintain an imprinted spine until you gain complete core control and are able to achieve a neutral supine position.

Level 4:

  • To increase to an advanced level your legs will be hovering above the ground about 2 inches while you maintain a neutral spine. You must find a balance between your head and legs so that your lower rib cage does not leave the ground and your lumbar spine stays off the ground and the pelvis remains neutral.
  • To add a challenge with the breathing you can do a percussive breath where you sip the air in with five short breaths and exhale the air out with five short breaths.
The Rollover can be performed with different choreographies as well as a  variety of props.
  • Rollover for a stretch:
  • Rollover with foam roller:
  • Rollover without arms :
The Rollover is challenging exercise no matter your level of fitness. Choose what is best for you that day. Exercise is about finding what works for you and what your body needs. If you have a tight low back, neck strain or injury you may have trouble performing this exercise. If you are unable to perform this exercise with precision and control please become proficient with how to do the “Hip-up” exercise.

What you may feel:
  • Having the shoulders curl forward plus having the head and hands lift off the ground is common when learning how to do this exercise (especially if you have tight spinal muscles). You can help alleviate this by push the triceps, wrists and palms strongly into the floor. This will help de-activate your pectoral (chest) muscles.
  • Do not roll onto your neck the junction between your thoracic and cervical spine is not meant to bear the entire weight of your body. Doing so repeatedly, haphazardly, and without proper mobility can lead to paralysis, pinched nerves, bulging or herniated discs. Take care to be mindful of your body in this exercise by moving slowly, methodically, and with purpose.
  • Make sure your abdominal muscles do not push out like a bread loaf. Let your transverse abdominus pull tight like a corset to stabilize your spine and keep your organs from pushing against your abdominal wall. This engagement will allow you to create a flat abdomen and create the maximum amout of stretch in the spine.
  • Do not roll onto your neck. Instead balance on your thoracic shelf between your shoulder blades.
  • To create more of a challenge do not let the thighs touch the chest or let feet drop to the floor.
  • Keep your movements slow, precise and fluid in order to articulate the spine one bone at a time back to the floor.
  • Do not roll over with momentum or with the use of your hands.

*** There are many schools of Pilates which have many different techniques and choreographies applied to the same exercises. The information contained within this website by no means is meant to replace the advice, judgment and expertise of a fitness professional. If you are ever unsure about how to perform an exercise contact a fitness professional who can guide you and watch your body move through the exercise. As with all physical activity consult your physician before beginning a regimen, use sound judgment, listen to your body, and know your limits. ***
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May 4, 2015

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Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
Friday, December 4th, 2020 at 9:47am
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