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  Pilates exercise:   the perfect abdominal curlup (or PAC)
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Pilates Alexander Technique
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Note: Proceed with caution if you have neck pain.
Perfect Abdominal Curl Ups:- Start Position
  1. Lie in the Relaxation Position.
  2. Roll your neck from side to side as in preparing for Chin Tucks.
  3. Lightly cradle the base of your skull with the fingers of one hand and perform the chin tuck.
  4. Place your other hand on your lower abdomen to check that it does not bulge upward.
  5. Anchor the scapulas.
Perfect Abdominal Curl Ups:- Action
  1. Breathe in, and zip and hollow.
  2. (Breathing out): try to lift your chest off the ground. This is a subtle movement- only the spine at the lower end of your chest bends, and then only a little. Even with this small movement, your upper body has sufficient weight to really challenge those "abs."!
  3. Keep the length and width in front of the pelvis, and make sure that the tail bone stays down on the ground (pelvic neutral).
  4. (Breathing in): slowly curl back down.
  5. Repeat three to five times each side.
(Benefits of Curl Ups Scroll right>>>>....)
Start Position and Action
You have to be really careful with what you are doing when you perform Curl Ups! Professor of Physiotherapy Shirley Sahrmann lists a total of 13 safety considerations to do with the standard Trunk-Curl Sit-up(1). In my mind that is a good reason to avoid the standard Curl up! The Perfect Abdominal Curl Up is the best alternative that I know of. It's not as spectacular as the Trunk-Curl Sit-up, but it is definitely better! In fact it is so good that Pilates Instructor Alan Menezies labels it the "Perfect Abdominal Curl Up" or "PAC"(3)!

Benefits of Perfect Abdominal Curl Ups
  • Strengthens the abdominals without the "six pack" muscle (Rectus abdominis) dominating the other muscles.
  • The abdominals are worked at their natural length, not at the length they have in the "foetal position" of the Trunk-Curl Sit-Up.
Watch Points
There is only one safety watch point for the "PAC", and that is to do with not forcibly flexing the neck:-
  • Cradle your head and neck gently, and keep the back of your neck long.
  • Release your neck tension by doing neck roles first, and anchoring your scapulas throughout the exercise.
  1. Shirley A Sahrmann: Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes; Publ. Mosby 2002
  2. The Official Body Control Pilates Manual Available from:
  3. Allan Menezies: The Complete Guide to the Pilates Method. Available from

© Bruce Thomson, EasyVigour Project
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