Nixing Momentum in Rolling Movements

Rolling like a Ball, Seal, Crab, maybe even Open Leg Rocker have a few things in common, but today we’re going to focus on just one: momentum – how to cut out the bad habit and harness it for the good.

The fix for cutting out momentum serves a dual purpose of giving clients tactile feedback they can utilize to engage the proper forces to get back up withoutmomentum.  The cue for today is actually a prop: the Pilates ball, about 8-10 inches in diameter and partially inflated.

Start with Rolling like a Ball (the learning here in Rolling can then be transferred to the other related exercises).  Place the Pilates ball between the heels and the back of the thighs and ask the client to keep it there as she rolls back and then up again.  If your client relies heavily on momentum and the classic “throwing the legs” cheat, she will struggle to get back up from the mat now that you’ve taken away the ability to open and close the angle behind the knee (or she’ll drop the ball).  Allow this struggle to happen to illustrate to her just how much she has been depending on the swing action.

Then give her the cue to use the heels to squeeze the ball into the backs of her thighs as she begins the ascent back to the top of the movement.  This allows the client to maintain the intention of the “leg throwing,” without actually using the common cheat. The mere intention of pulling the legs back toward the sit bones will create enough “force” for the client to use to complete the movement.


As with any new movement patterns, this one will take a few times to master, but successful mastery of it will enable the client to perform the many Rolling variations without the aid of momentum – opening up a whole world of benefits they were missing out on before.


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