What’s your favorite piece of Pilates equipment?
I receive this question a lot. I have to say that I love everything about Pilates, including the various equipment, but when I’m asked which piece a client should buy first, I always recommend the foam roller. It’s inexpensive and so incredibly versatile. So in this blog and in my next few postings, I’m going to discuss some fantastic moves using the foam roller.
I prefer a medium-density, 6″ x 36″ (15cm x 91cm) roller. You can find this version just about anywhere for about $30. Once you’ve got the roller in your arms, try this first:
Sit on one end of the roller and carefully roll back until you’re completely flat on top of the roller. Make sure your head and sacrum are both on the roller. Now, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be on the floor with your palms facing up so you have a slight external rotation of the shoulder. Reach the base of your skull toward the roller, so you’re in a cervical nod (but don’t jam your chin into your throat!).
Now the hard part. Are you ready?
Do NOTHING for three to five minutes. Just breathe.
There are many beneficial styles of breath, but in my opinion, the best style for this move is to inhale deeply through the nose and exhale deeply from the mouth.
This short time on the roller may feel uncomfortable, but some corrective exercises are not going to feel like a dreamy massage. I do promise that when you are done you will feel taller, broader across the chest, and you will stand straighter.
Most of us have some kind of posture issue—curved back, flat back, sway back—and all of these issues may be combined with a forward head.
So no matter what your posture issues are, you will feel better upon completion of this move.
Once you have completed your breathing exercise, walk your feet in so they are about three inches apart. If that’s easy, bring your feet and inner thighs together and slide your hands closer to the roller. This will challenge your balance and you should start to shake. Don’t freak out. This is normal.
Now, wrap your ribs without rounding your shoulders forward. Maintain the balance about another two to three minutes.
To dismount the roller, I do not recommend rolling up. Instead, widen your feet so they’re about shoulder-width apart. Then just slowly tip to one side until your butt is on the floor. Let the roller slide out to the opposite side and stay on your back for about two minutes, then take your time getting up.
Now walk from one side of the room to the other. How do you feel? Please try this move and let me know how it worked for you…I want to hear what you think about it.
My next couple of blogs will pick up right here. I will explain wrapping the ribs if that’s something you don’t know about. There are several roller moves I want to share with you. See you next time!