Rolling Out the Red Carpet – Slowing Down the Descent

Every client loves the starting point for Roll Up – lying on the mat, heavy neutral spine.  Clients know that the rolling up part is a challenge, but are in such a hurry to get back down to that lovely inhale at the bottom, that they forget that some of the best benefits of this exercise come from the eccentric use of the muscles during the descent.  Maintaining the c-curve of the spine while slowly articulating each vertebrae individually into its place on the mat until, finally, the full length of the body is on the mat creates an incredibly challenging eccentric muscle contraction.  Not only are you asking the muscles to contract while in an elongated state, but you are also fighting the force of gravity.

For some clients, focusing on slowing down the descent is so challenging that the c-curve is lost or the segmental spinal movement becomes a bit muddled and rushed.  Try giving the clear, familiar image of slowly unrolling a long VIP red carpet (or yoga mat or other rolled up thing that comes to mind) to clients and see if the visualization of their spine as the unrolling carpet gives them a bit of perspective, helps maintain the c-curve and slows down the “rolling out” of the spine.

This cue can be useful anytime you have a client rolling down from a seated position and want them to both maintain a c-curve of the spine, and slow down the descent in order to achieve more length and control through the spine.

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