The Seal is a fun as well as challenging Pilates exercise which is done on a mat. This full spinal rolling exercise requires that you to control your body in addition to avoiding momentum while – at the same time – moving back and forth. You must also work your body symmetrically in both directions while relying only on abdominal strength. The Seal is a phenomenal way to test your core strength in addition to your control.
The Seal is a similar movement to rolling like a ball which is done in the basic section, except that the Seal challenges coordination and balance more. The spine will still remain in a ‘c’ curve flexion during the entire exercise.
Sit balancing on your sit bones with your back flexed in a ‘c’ curve position. You legs will be bent at the knees and your feet will be elevated off the floor. Your hands are placed on the inside of your legs and hold onto your ankles.
Inhale and carefully roll your flexed body backwards into the mat, one vertebra at a time. Clap your feet together, three times, and do not let your cervical spine or head touch the mat.
Exhale and keeping the abdominals contracted, roll back articulating your vertebrae onto the mat and return to your starting position. Clap your feet together three times when you have returned to your seated position.
Perform between five and 10 reps per set.
- Hamstring group
- Hip adductors and abductors
- Keep flexion in your spine during the entire exercise
- Do not let your cervical spine or head touch the mat
- Keep your abdominals connected during the entire exercise
- Do not allow your feet to come into contact with the floor
- Do not roll all the way back (practise rocking on your sit bones)
Benefits of the Seal
The Seal will task you with maintaining your C-curve and abdominal contraction. You will develop the ability to regulate your movements in addition to finding your balance point. Like other rolling Pilates exercises, it helps to massage your spine and make it more flexible. This helps with posture and possibly even injury-prevention.
Common mistakes made with the Seal
Losing Your C-Curve
Ensure that you remain curved during the whole time that you’re doing the Seal. Never throw your head or shoulders back.
Go backwards by deepening the lower abs. Return up by working the abs and the breath, not by tossing your legs or pulling up with your back.
Too Much Padding
You will want to use a mat that offers you adequate padding for your spine, but not so very much that it throws you off your line.
Steer clear of this exercise if you have back or neck problems, or are suffering from osteoporosis. When performing this routine, make sure that you are rolling onto your shoulder blades and not onto your neck, head, or – alternatively – your shoulders.
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