OH…….The Neck Pull – by Guest Blogger, Julie A. Schonfeld

by | Aug 20, 2009 | Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips | 2 comments

This post is brought to you by guest blogger, and Pilates Teacher,  Julie A. Schonfeld.  Julie owns Pilates-Barre Studio in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  To read more posts on Julie’s blog go to:  http://pilatesforthepeople.blogspot.com


Is this exercise everyone’s nemesis or what? Is it because the abs are tired by the time we get to it?  Let’s break this one down a bit.

Start lying down on your back with feet as wide as your mat flexed (or slightly wider than hip width apart). There are two different placements for the hands. Place your hands to your forehead elbows wide or behind the neck.

Start to bring the chin to the chest on the inhale and then exhale to round all the way up and over into a round back with the head towards the knees and the belly in. Gently stack the spine to an upright, seated position on the inhale and then gently roll back down one vertebrae at a time till your laying flat on the mat. Exhale at about the halfway point of the rolldown. I’ll save the flat back and twist variations for another day.

I’m taking a guess that most of you got stuck at the chin to the chest part right?

Here’s some helpful hints to get up past that hump. 

1. Watch the position of your pelvis. It should be gently flattened with the ribcage closed.

2. Make sure to let out that exhale as soon as you begin the roll up. It is the exertion portion of the exercise.

3. Still having problems? Try securing your feet under something to keep them down. Maybe a strap, under the couch or have someone hold them down.

4. Use light weights (2 or 3lbs.) and hold them in the hands.

Keep in mind that this one is tricky for most people. Mat thickness, core strength and spinal articulation are other factors that make it tough to roll up.

Practice makes perfect. Keep pulling away at it.


Thanks Julie!  Great Tips!!  Learn more about Julie and check out her  Pilates blog

Do you have any helpful hints that make it easier for you to do or teach Neck Pull?  If so, please leave a comment below and share your tips.  Help your fellow Pilates enthusiasts learn to love Neck Pull!  And change that “OH……” to “AHHHHH – that was Easy!”

Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


  1. Neck Exercises

    When I’m rolled up is when I should feel a stretch?

  2. Aliesa George

    Yes, you are correct! It’s possible that if you are very flexible, you may feel more work to get up and down, than a stretch. But for most people, bending forward to try and put the head on the floor between the knees is a flexibility maneuver.

    While the name is “neck pull” there should not be any neck pulling going on throughout the exercise!

    It’s work to roll up, a stretch for the whole back (and legs if they’re tight) when bending forward, strength and articulation to sit with tall posture, and work and control to roll back to the floor.

    A marvelous exercise – and definitely a challenge to do well. All the Pilates Mat exercises that preceed it in the order help to prepare the body to do an effortless and efficient Neck Pull.


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