The Foam Roller Fitness Workout

Emily Zachary-Smith
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength , Total Body Workouts, Foam Roller

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The Foam Roller Fitness Workout by the Pilates Sports Center

This DVD is from the Pilates Sports Center and it uses a long foam roller. It does not use the roller primarily to roll over the muscles in order to loosen them. Instead it uses the roller as a tool to make Pilates style moves more challenging than they already are, and does it very effectively.
The DVD is about 55 minutes long and is divided into parts. Each part has its own chapter so you only have to do a portion of the workout if you prefer. There are two exercisers, a woman and a man, in a plain room with industrial carpeting on the floor. All instruction is given in voice over. Normally I hate voice over instruction, but it's very well done here so I've had to adjust my attitude a little.
The first section is devoted to the abs, and has the exercisers lying on the foam roller from head to pelvis. That is why a long roller is necessary. The male exerciser does the more advanced options, but even the intermediate options are challenging. In this section, various Pilates style moves are done while lying on the roller. For example, you move your arms and legs in various ways, though at least one limb always touches the floor so you can stay on the roller. Even teaser style moves are done while balancing on the roller.
The next section covers the upper body and uses light dumbells along with the roller. For the advanced variation, you hold your head up during all the moves. I didn't even try this as I have neck issues. The exercises work your triceps, biceps etc. with the weights. The Pilates one hundred exercise is done holding hand weights and lying on the roller. It is very challenging.
The next section is Core Articulation. The roller is placed under the feet and you roll it back and forth doing various core exercises with an emphasis on breathing. Many of the moves are similar to ones done with a stability ball, but the roller only moves in two directions which makes things a bit easier. For example you hold the bridge position with your feet on the roller. Sometimes you are required to move the roller and other times you hold it still in order to work your stabilizing muscles.
The next section is Stability Stretch. The roller is used to help you stretch. It includes the Quad Plank Series. You hold the plank position with the roller under your hands. The advanced exerciser is on his feet, the intermediate on her knees. You also do push-ups with your hands on the roller and moves where you extend the roller in and out. There are further plank variations where the roller is held under your shins and you do knee tucks and pikes. You also do back extensions with the roller under the forearms as you roll it back and forth.
The next section is standing balance work and is really tricky. You stand on the roller holding a wooden dowel for balance, and roll back and forth slightly.
You also stand against the wall with the roller behind your upper back and do various moves such as squats. One of the hardest moves is a one armed wall push-up with your hand on the roller instead of the wall. The advanced variations in this workout are truly advanced.
The final section is again on the floor and here you use the roller to relax the muscles. You place the roller under your hips, upper thighs, glutes and upper back. There is a warning never to roll into the area of your back where your kidneys are. After a few more stretches such as the Pilates Mermaid where you roll out to each side, the workout is done.
This is definitely for the intermediate, advanced exerciser with a fair amount of Pilates experience. It really tests your balance and stability. I was not able to do the whole thing at once. I had to approach it piecemeal, and that's what I would recommend to anyone attempting it. The advanced variations truly are advanced and many of them I don't think I'll ever be able to do. However, if you're up for a challenge and a change of pace, and you like stability exercises, you would enjoy this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
Itís hard to say anything about the instructors because the entire workout is done in voiceover. She does an excellent job, but you never see her. The man and the woman who actually perform the exercises demonstrate them well.

Jane P


This 52 minute workout is done in voiceover with two exercisers, one showing advanced modifications. You will need a foam roller, light hand weights, & a dowel or chair for balance. The workout really targets the core and includes a floor section, a weighted upper body section, a standing section, and a stretch.

I would consider this workout foam roller pilates and is quite diverse in its offerings. They do a great job of using the roller in a variety of ways: lying on it, under the hips, under the feet, standing on it, and behind your back on the wall. Exercises include: crunches, toe taps, teaser, helicopter & scissor legs, plank variations series, pushups, swan, squats while standing on the roller, wall squats w/ the roller behind your back against the wall, wall pushups, mermaid, side lying oblique series, table top exercises, bridge work, and concludes with a stretch section.

I am new to foam rolling and I felt this was a pretty challenging w/o, hi intermediate with the option to go advanced. The addition of the roller to traditional pilates work added a nice balance challenge and upped the intensity. Great cuing & form pointers and lots of variety in exercises. I received this dvd to review.