Roll-outs and roll- ups (jackknives) are designed to increase core stability, improve core strength and limit back extension. Back extensions are designed to improve strength in the muscles that extend the back.
Roll-outs. Roll-outs can be performed using a roller, barbell with rolling plates or stability ball (SB). Beginners should start with SB roll-out and gradually progress to an ab-roller or barbell roll-outs.
- SB Roll-outs
- Kneel on the floor or mat facing a SB at arm’s length.
- Place fists of both hands on a SB with thumbs up.
- Set your abs, push your hips out and roll forward on the ball until you reach full extension.
- Keep a straight line between your knees and shoulders and don’t let you head sag or look upward.
- Keep elbows nearly straight throughout exercise
- Pull with your hands and return to the starting position.
- Movement can be made slightly easier by performing exercise on a larger ball or harder by working on a smaller ball.
- SB Roll-ups
- Assume a push-up position with arms straight, hands on the floor and knees on top of a SB
- Set the abs, tuck (pull) the knees under the chest and pull the SB forward.
- Roll ball back to return to the starting position, and repeat.
- Keep the back flat and head up on the way up and maintain a straight line from shoulders to feet on the way back to the starting position.
- AB-Wheel Roll-outs
- This is an advanced exercise. Make sure you can do SB roll-outs correctly before progressing to the ab-wheel.
- Kneel on floor or mat and grasp the handles on the wheel with overhand grip
- Place the wheel near front of the knees and lean over the wheel with arms extended downward and supporting the upper body
- Set the abs and, keeping the arms straight, extend the arms forward, roll the wheel out as far as possible and slowly lower the body to the floor.
- Pull the body back up by flexing the hips and pulling the arms back to starting position and repeat.
- Always lower your body in a controlled manner to protect the low back from arching excessively.
- Back Extensions
- Place feet on foot stand and thighs on the pad so that your body is free to hinge at the hips.
- Cross the arms at your chest, and keep your back as straight as possible and your head and neck in the with the spine.
- Set the abs and slowly bend forward at the waist.
- At the bottom, reverse the movement and return to the starting position.
- Keep your lower back flat, make sure it does not arch (hyper-extend beyond the mid-line of the body).
- Keep your head and neck relaxed into the support.
- If you do not have an extension machine available, perform the exercise on a SB or do the superman exercise below.
- Full Superman
- Lie face down on the floor with your legs together and straight, arms straight and extended above your head.
- Keeping your head/neck in a neutral position, limbs straight (but not locked) and torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form a gentle curve with your body.
- Hold for a slow 10 to 30 counts and gradually return to the starting position.
- Raise and lower the body in a controlled manner.
- Initiate and control the movement from the hips (i.e. Glutes), not the low back.
- Avoid raising the upper torso and chest higher than the height of the feet in the top position.
- To keep the neck in line with the spine, be sure to look down at the mat/floor, and not up or to the sides
- Beginners should lift on the arms arms off the floor.
- Intermediates should lift both arms and legs off of the floor.
- Advanced athletes can start by lifting the opposite leg and opposite arm, then repeat on the other side, and finish by lifting both legs and arms at the same time.
“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should do about it: Admit It, Learn From It, and Don’t Repeat it. -Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant