How to Do Pilates Upper Abdominal Curls

By Ellie Herman

The Upper Abdominal Curls movement is a fundamental exercise in Pilates, generally used as a warm-up for your upper back and neck and to get you to feel your Pilates Abdominal Position. This exercise may be difficult for you if you have weak upper abdominal muscles or a very tight upper back and neck. In either case, keep trying. If you get frustrated, just move on to the next exercise and revisit this one after a few weeks of other Pilates exercises.

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1Lie down on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor about hip distance apart.

Relax your back into Neutral Spine. Interlace your fingers and put your hands behind your head.

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2Exhale: Pull the navel in toward the spine and lift your head, pulling your chin in toward your chest as if you are squeezing a tangerine under your chin, as you roll up to your Pilates Abdominal Position.

You should roll up just high enough that your shoulder blades are barely off the mat.

3Inhale: Hold this position.

Don’t let your lower back flatten; keep your tailbone anchored to the mat. Don’t strain your neck.

4Exhale: Control the movement back down to the mat.

Complete 8 slow repetitions.