Happy New Year and welcome to Newstalgia for 2020!

This year we will look at the ‘newstalgia’ mat exercises in groups or families. You’ve probably realised already that many exercises are related. The first family we will look at is what I’ve called the Rollover family after the exercise we will do this month.

This family also includes, Corkscrew (which is also related to Leg Circles we did in April 2018), Boomerang and Control Balance.

Let’s start with Rollovers, for this you will need a strong neck and back. There is quite a bit of pressure on the neck so please don’t do this if you have any neck issues. I want you to imagine a scorpion lifting its stinger over its back. I’ll admit it’s not the nicest image but it’s the curve of the lower torso that I want you to keep in mind.

Start by lying on your back, arms at your side and active, legs reaching to the ceiling. Legs should also be active and pressing together so that they move as one. You can point your toes if you wish, for some of us that helps with keeping adductors (inner thigh muscles) strong and active.

Gather your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles as you would normally. Inhale, then exhale to lift your legs overhead until they are parallel with the floor. Inhale to flex your feet and separate legs to shoulder width. Exhale to roll spine back down to the start position. See if you can do this slowly, imagining that each vertebrae touches the mat one after the other. Inhale to circle your legs around to come together and back to the start position. Next time you can circle your legs in the reverse way to come back together.

Things to watch out for when you are not doing this exercise under supervision:

  • If your neck hurts, please stop. Try Roll Up (March 2018) and Leg Circles (April 2018) instead
  • You use your pelvic floor and abdominal activation to lift the legs overhead. Your legs are not travelling upwards as in a shoulder stand but folding back over your head, remember the scorpion. This means that you won’t use momentum to heave your legs over!
  •  Press the backs of your arms into the floor to give a strong, stable base
  •  Can you do this in a controlled manner? You can then try doing it with your arms out to a T position, or overhead on the floor. This is much more challenging!
  •  Squish a soft ball between your ankles to help with inner thigh activation and connection

What you will feel:

  •       I can tell you that when I learned this, the best tip that I got was to make sure that my shoulders were broad and stable on the floor and that my arms were pressed into the mat. I also was trying to lift my legs too high instead of folding them over at the hips. Once I had that worked out, hey presto it was much easier! It’s all about connection and activation
  • Your abdominals will feel very warm and your hips and deep back muscles will feel stretched and elongated