This is the fifth in our series of essential Pilates exercises will give you all the information and explanation you need to practice at home for health, wellness and holistic body conditioning.

Balance, co-ordination, deep core control, and a nice back massage if you’re lucky!

An essential exercise, unique to the Pilates Method, works wonders for centering and control. With a key focus on the body’s proprioceptive and neuromuscular systems, the Open Leg Rocker offers the sense of deep inner control and full body activation.

Start the Open Leg Rocker in a V sit balance position, slightly back off the sitting bones onto the back of your pelvis and with the your focus on the scoop in of abdominals and:

  • Deep abdominal contraction with lengthened spine
  • Both legs fully extended and shoulder width apart
  • Open shoulders and straight arms, hands holding the front of the feet/ankles or where you can reach with straight arms.

For the movement:

  • Deepen the low abdominals, round the back, and roll onto your shoulder blades
  • Scoop to roll back up into the V sit balance position and lengthen the spine

Breathe: IN to roll back, then OUT to return. Use the breath to instigate the roll and return, and maintain a controlled pace – don’t pause in the Open Leg Rockerroll back position, only in the V sit. Keep a controlled pace for 6-10 repetitions

 You should maintain the arm and leg position the same throughout - straight. Bending the arms will release the control and moving your hands will leave the upper body hanging.

Avoid rocking onto your sitting bones at the top by scooping deeply into the abdominals as you return to sit – lengthening just the waistline upwards of the spine and lifting your sternum high.

The more you can keep the low abdominals curving into the low back, you will find a ‘round’ low back to roll you over and up again and allow the muscles of the back to be massaged.

 Modify: If your hamstrings or back extensors are a work in progress, try bending both legs and holding behind your thighs. Keep this position strong as you do the movement.

 Breathe * Centreing * Control * Concentration * Flow * Precision



Sally Anderson is often referred to as ‘Australia’s expert in Pilates’. A renowned author, Pilates educator and guest speaker on the subject of Pilates on the global circuit, Sally is the founder and director of Pilates International, which incorporates both the Pilates International Studios and the government accredited teacher training centre, PilatesITC.
Visit Sally on her website or join Pilates international on Facebook.