Pilates has many different type of exercises, such as foam roller exercises. Foam rollers are long tubes that are used during Pilates and yoga sessions to help with posture, stability, flexibility and strength. Below are a number of foam roller exercises you can do to improve arm strength.
Before You Begin
If you’re new to Pilates, there are a few terms to define before you can start many of these foam roller exercises.
Neutral spine: This is the optimal position and alignment of your spine in a straight line to your lower back, which will be curved slightly. To achieve neutral spine, tilt your pelvis to slightly curve your lower back, move your shoulder blades back and down to straighten your upper back and tuck in your chin and make sure your eyes are looking straight ahead.
Activating transversus abdominis: The muscle known as transversus abdominis stabilizes your lower back and pelvic regions. When doing any Pilates exercise, it is important to keep your transversus abdominis activated. To do this, start in neutral spine and tighten your abdomen by moving it up and in.
Activating pelvic floor: Like transversus abdominis, the muscles of the pelvic floor help stabilize the pelvic region and lower back. You need to activate these muscles when performing Pilates exercises. Begin in neutral spine and lift the muscles in your pelvic region.
Exercise #1: Arm Elevation
To begin this exercise, lay on your back in the foam roller and achieve neutral spine. Place your hands parallel to your side. Activate transversus abdominis and pelvic floor and hold it for the duration of the exercise. While breathing normally and keeping your spine and pelvis still, raise your arms straight up in the air. Return your arms to the starting position and repeat as many reps as needed.
Exercise #2: Overhead Arms
As with arm elevation, lay on the foam roller with your back in neutral spine. Your arms should once again be parallel to your side. Activate and maintain transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. Keeping your spine and pelvis still, lift your arms above your head and return them to the original position. Perform as many reps as you need. Don’t forget to breathe.
Exercise #3: Open Arms
Just like the prior exercises, lay on the foam roller with your back in neutral spine. This time place your arms straight up in the air. Once you activate transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles, lower one arm so that it is perpendicular to your body. Return it to its original position and repeat with the other arm. Do as many reps as needed. As always maintain activation of your transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles, keep your spine and pelvis still and continue to breathe.
Exercise #4: Pushup on Roller
For this exercise, set yourself in a traditional pushup position with your hands placed on the foam roller. Your hands should be just outside your shoulder blades. While keeping your back straight lower your body with your arms. Repeat as needed.
Foam roller exercises come in a variety of forms. These are just a few examples of some arm exercises you can do with your roller. Experiment and see which exercises work best for you and your workout regimen.