Top 5 Tips to Performing Rollouts Properly

Alright so we’re talking about roll outs.

And while these are a great exercise I see so many people doing them wrong. So I had to write this post to help all those people with great intentions but mis-guided efforts.

So here we go. My Top 5 Tips for Performing Roll Outs Properly.

Tip #1 – Maintain a Tall, Neutral Spine

Think from your tail bone through the back of your head you want to have the greatest length possible.

Notice I didn’t say the top of your head.

This is where many people make a mistake. They think that by being tall they have to lift their chin up as high as possible.

Instead what we want is the most height up the back of the head. And this involves keeping a level head, with the chin tucked somewhat. We don’t want the chin on the chest. But tucked so that it gives you a double chin.

Tip #2 – Lock the Rib Cage on the Hips 

This is a core stability exercise. And therefore it involves stabilizing the lumbar spine (low back) so that it doesn’t move.

If when a performing a rollout the distance between my rib cage and the front of my hips increases I haven’t stabilized my lumbar spine.

For many, there will be  a lack of core stability and we will see an increase in the arch of the low back as the distance between the front of the hips and the rib cage increases.

Tip #3 – The Hips Take You Out

As you roll out your hips should move forward at the same rate as the implement whether it be an ab wheel, your hands on a slideboard a stability ball or whatever.

When your hips move at the same rate you maintain the neutral spine you established at set up. If your hips are early you risk falling in extension. If your hips are late you push back into flexion.

Tip #4 – Your Arms Bring You Home

Lift our arms in front of you to shoulder height. Have a partner place his hands under yours. Push down into your partners hands.

Did you notice your core fire? Yes? Good for you. Did you have to think of firing your core? No, you didn’t.

This is the reason to press your hands down through the floor to return to the starting position.

Tip #5 – Know Your Limit

Too many people use too great of a range of motion on their rollouts.

How far should you go?

Only as far as you can maintain a neutral spine and a normal breathing pattern.

Because what happens for many people is that they:

* push too far

* alter their head position

* which alters the position of their hips and pelvis

* which increases the arch in their low back

* which puts additional stress on their low back

* which causes them to struggle to complete their set

* and results in laboured breathing

* and shifts the breathing pattern from the diaphragm to the chest

* and then there is a further loss of neutral spine and an engraining of a poor movement pattern

So what’s the answer?

Stop at the point where you can still maintain neutral spine. Stop before you feel the position of your back change. Stop before you notice your breathing change from diaphragmatic to thoracic.

Give these 5 tips a try and see the improvements rollouts will have on your core stability, posture and sports performance.

All the best,




2 Responses to Top 5 Tips to Performing Rollouts Properly

  1. Russell Reding says:

    I totally agree with you chris. Great exercise for the core by keeping stability in the lumbo-pelvic area while creating movement with the arms. I also see many individuals thinking more is better and roll too far out and having their lumbar spine extend.
    Great post

    • Chris says:

      Russell: Thanks for your feedback. Hopefully more will catch on that it is more important to do a drill to the point of technical failure rather to the point of muscular exhaustion.


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