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How to Do Rolling Like a Ball in Pilates

Rolling Like a Ball is a Pilates exercise that requires patience and persistence to be performed correctly. You should practice it at least once during your Pilates program. Depending on your level of flexibility and strength, this can be a fun move to practice. It can be more challenging for those with tight lower backs, so perform a modified variation if needed. This pose massages your spine and improves balance. It also challenges your ability to maintain a C-curve in your upper body throughout the pose, which will strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. Remember to breathe smoothly throughout the move, connecting your breath with your movement in a seamless flow.


  1. Begin seated at the top of your mat. Bend your knees in toward your chest and hold onto your ankles. Extend your elbows and press your heels together. If you can't clasp your ankles, hold onto your shins and bend your elbows slightly.
  2. Pull your navel toward your spine, strongly engaging your abdominal muscles.
  3. Spread your knees slightly, then lift your feet off the mat to balance on your tailbone.
  4. Tuck your chin slightly and gaze at your navel. Round your spine into the shape of a "C".
  5. Breathe in and rock backward onto your spine, while maintaining the C-curve of your upper body. Sink your belly in deeply as you roll back and keep your head slightly lifted off the floor. Lift your hips high and point your toes toward the ceiling.
  6. Exhale as you rock forward to the starting position, again keeping your spine rounded and your chin tucked. Balance on your tailbone when you come up; don't rest your feet on the mat.
  7. Repeat up to 10 times.
Hot Tip: Watch Your Head

Don't let your head drop back and forth during the movement. Tuck your head between your knees on the backward roll and maintain the curve of your spine with your head tipped forward as you roll up.

Modifications & Tips

Rolling Like a Ball will help you build control, balance, and precision. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this move:

  • Practice this move on a thickly padded surface, such as a Pilates mat, a stack of blankets, or a stack of two or three yoga mats.
  • Those with stiffer low backs can hold onto the backs of the thighs instead of the ankles.
  • Stay in a rolled position throughout the move.
  • Gaze at your navel throughout the move.
  • Focus on the midline of your body to prevent rolling unevenly.
  • Keep your shoulders dropped away from your ears.
  • Keep your toes pointed and the arches of your feet long.
  • Do not initiate the movement by throwing your head or upper torso backward.
  • Do not roll all the way onto your neck. Keep your head lifted off the mat.
  • Synchronize your breath with your movement.

Have a Ball

Rolling Like a Ball is a classic move that can help prepare you for more advanced rolling exercises, such as Open Leg Rocker. Remember to breathe along with your movement to create a rhythmic flow that will help you maintain momentum. Over time, Rolling Like a Ball will become a fluid motion that will tone and strengthen your spine!

Rolling Like a Ball is an essential Pilates exercise that massages the spine and builds control. Read this guide to learn more information about this move!
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