Dynamic Core on Roller

Dynamic Core on Roller

You know what they say about appearances, don’t you? When I first saw videos of celebrities working out on the Pilates reformer, I thought to myself “Well, that looks easy!” Anyone who has been anywhere close to one knows I couldn’t BE more wrong! The Foam Roller is equally deceptive. It looks like a simple log, popularly used for “rolling” on or massaging sore muscles. But this long cylindrical prop of varying lengths and densities is going to take you on one hell of a ride, that will shake you to your core #iykyk! Read on to know how…

What is the Roller used for?

The foam roller is popularly used for self-myofascial release by athletes and those who do strength training. The different types of foam rollers have been discussed in an earlier blog, and so have their uses for muscle recovery, increasing the range of mobility, temporarily reducing the appearance of cellulite and relieving soreness. However, for decades, the Pilates community has used the foam roller for much more than stretching and fascial release.

Our bodies are meant to move in an environment, that itself, is forever changing. This kind of dynamism needs to be translated into the regular training that we put our bodies through.

The Roller is a prop that can simulate a multitude of functional movements and help us train more effectively. The use of the foam roller and MOTR (a roller with spring tensions and straps) in strengthening the core and training for balance and control are lesser known. But we, at Moushu’s Pilates, can help you incorporate it into your training.

How does the Roller aid in dynamic core training?

The Roller has a completely different effect on the body in different positions that you use it in. Lie on it supine with your spine along its length to challenge your core control. Add weights to this posture with the arms of a MOTR or dumbbells and you have a strength challenge for the upper body. Stand on the foam roller for a balance-challenge, engaging the proprioceptors in our feet and work on ankle stability; or stand next to it and use it as an unstable support for a Barre workout. Use it to add a larger range of mobility in Swan in prone.

The foam roller can also mimic exercises we do on Pilates Equipment on the mat. Adding dynamic movements into your training regimes will ensure your core will be able to deal with anything life throws at you.

Exercises that you can do on the Roller

1. Shoulder scapular mobility on Roller:

Lying on top of the foam roller, with your head resting on one end and your tailbone on the other gives a bigger range for shoulder scapular mobility while adding a balance challenge. Here we can do an entire series of exercises:

  • Scapular glides
  • Hug a tree
  • Goal Post Arms
  • Book Ends
  • Angels in the snow

2. Hip Mobility on Roller:

Using the foam roller to elevate the hips allows for a bigger range of movement in the hip joint. Placing your tailbone on a foam roller that is perpendicular to your body, we can do hip mobility and abdominal exercises in this position. However, make sure you are not placing the foam roller on your lower back.

  • Cycling
  • Double leg extend
  • Single leg stretch
  • Double leg stretch

3. Foam Roller in All 4’s:

Using the foam roller under our feet, we can do movements that duplicate the exercises on the Reformer and add a balance challenge.

  • Opposite arm leg reach
  • Plank prep
  • Plank prep to plank
  • Plank to downward dog

4. Bridge on Foam Roller:

An entire series of Bridge can be done with our feet on the foam roller. This increases engagement in the hamstrings and glutes, while also making the core work overtime to keep the roller in place.

  • Bridge
  • Bridge with footwork
  • Bridge marching
  • Single leg bridge

5. Roll down on MOTR:

Using the handle of the MOTR as an anchor, we can do roll downs on the MOTR along its length. The straps can be added for arm work in roll downs. Spinal articulation

  • Roll down
  • Roll down with bicep curl
  • Roll down with rows
  • Roll down with oblique curl


The popularity of Foam Rollers is fairly new, and academic interest in it has stirred many studies to look into its benefits. One such study tested participants after 8 weeks of training on the Foam Roller and found improved range of motion and improved balance.

If you want to experience the multiple ways in which the Roller can make your workouts fun, join our classes. Contact us.

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