facebook google-plus linked-in twitter youtube Instagram Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Instagram
machines matwork small-equipment

exercise of the month

The Seal with Emma Newham

April 2017


To work the abdominals and massage the spine

Starting Position

Sit upright with the knees bent. Place the arms in between the legs and hold on to the outside of the feet. The soles of the feet are together and you are balancing just back of the sit bones.


Inhale - To engage the core abdominals, tuck in the chin and roll backwards through the spine as far as the shoulder blades. Before rolling back up again, quickly clap the feet together 3 times
Exhale - Maintain the momentum to roll back up to the starting position and clap the feet together 3 times again before going into the next roll

Target Muscles

Rectus abdominis, core abdominals, spinal flexors


Try to maintain the “ball” shape throughout (i.e. the distance between head and knees as well as the distance between the buttocks and heels should remain the same throughout)

Maintain an even curve throughout the entire spine

Ensure that the head does not tip backwards into extension on the roll back

For The seal, the 3 claps must be performed in that small time window when the body has stopped rolling back but before the body rolls forwards again (without stopping the roll)

Contra Indictions

This exercise is unsuitable for those with osteoporosis of the spine. For certain disc related back problems and spinal fusions where it is hard to articulate the spine and therefore maintain a decent spinal flexion, this may be unsuitable. If it feels uncomfortable or the spine cannot maintain a decent flexion then avoid this exercise.

Share this exercise

The Seal

July 2022

A lovely exercise for spinal articulation to open the back of the body and assist in coordination

View exercise >

Post a classified advert

Members of Pilates Union can list classified adverts.

Post an advert