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Pilates Mat Exercise: Open Leg Rocker


Updated December 05, 2007

Open Leg Rocker - Adv. Beg./Intermediate
Pilates mat exercise

Open Leg Rocker

(c) 2006, Marguerite Ogle

Open Leg Rocker is a great abdominal workout. This exercise provides an opportunity to practice using sequential control between the upper and lower abdominals. You will need to keep your abdominals engaged in a deep scoop, and use the breath, to keep this rolling exercise flowing and controlled.

*If you have back or neck problems, or tight hamstrings, use this exercise as a balance exercise (see Open Leg Balance) and do not do the rolling.

You may want to review Tips for Rolling Exercises before doing open leg rocker.

To Do Open Leg Rocker:

  1. Prepare: Sit up tall on your sit bones with your knees bent so that you can grasp your ankles.

    As you balance between your sitbones and tailbone, keep your abdominals activated as you lift and extend one leg, then the other, to shoulder width apart.


  2. Inhale and Roll: On an inhale, use a deepening scoop of the abdominals and the fullness of your inhale to propel your roll back onto your shoulders.

    Stay in your C-curve as you roll, leaving your head and neck off the mat.


  3. Exhale and Return: Remain in your C-curve and use your abdominal muscles, along with a strong exhale, to bring yourself back to an upright balance.

Tip: Rolling exercises are initiated and controlled by the deepening of the abdominals, the breath, and expansion of the back in relation to the breath. They are never accomplished by throwing oneself backward from the shoulders and head. Stay in the C-curve until you come up for your balance!

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