How to do the Open Leg Rocker

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Pilates Blog

The Pilates Open Leg Rocker is a phenomenal abdominal workout, which benefits trunk stabilisation as well as spinal articulation. It is a Pilates exercise which requires balance and control. This Pilates exercise provides an opportunity to practice using consecutive control between the upper and lower abdominal muscles.

You will need to maintain your abdominals in an engaged state and a deep scoop for the Open Leg Rocker. Use your breath to keep this rolling exercise flowing and controlled. The Open Leg Rocker should only be attempted once rolling like a ball and the teaser have been perfected. This exercise requires a considerable amount of flexibility.

Starting position for the Open Leg Rocker

Sit on your sitting bones holding onto your shins. Maintain a straight back and posteriorly tilt your pelvis slightly and straighten one leg at a time. Both legs need to be straight and not abducted wider than your shoulders.

Inhale and maintain the hold of the shins. Rollback and lift your hips up. Exhale and return to your starting position. Perform between six and eight reps per set.

Muscles worked:


  • Avoid rolling further than your shoulder blades
  • Do not use momentum
  • Do not lose abdominal control


  • Hold on behind the knees or the heels depending on your level of flexibility.
  • Bend your knees slightly to accommodate shorter hamstrings.
  • Use a prop such as a small ball or magic circle
  • To make the exercise more challenging, hold onto your ankles or toes

What are the benefits of the Open Leg Rocker?

Make use of the Open Leg Rocker in order to massage as well as stretch your back. This exercise also helps you to train your core muscles to remain engaged. The Open Leg Rocker helps to cleanse the lungs and, as a result, helps you to sleep restfully. It is a move that also permits you to practise the control that is central to Pilates.

Common mistakes in the Open Leg Rocker

Not Doing Preparatory Exercises

Don’t try to do the Open Leg Rocker until you can perform the Open Leg Balance while maintaining your back in a straight angle as well as your legs completely extended.

Throwing Yourself Back 

Rolling exercises are never completed by throwing yourself back from the shoulders as well as the head. Remain in the C-curve, until you come up, to maintain your balance. Your roll is started and regulated by the deepening of the abdominals, the breath in addition to the extension of the back in relation to the breath.

Coming Too Far Forward

After you roll back, don’t bring the legs too far back in the air. They should go no farther than just over your shoulders.

Sloppy Line

Prevent the pelvis from rocking or tipping when going back to the starting position. Focus on your midline.

If you are being troubled by back or neck issues, or tight hamstrings, make use of this routine as an open leg balance exercise and do not perform the rolling. You might also avoid it if you have a sensitive tailbone.

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