Ashley Graham is a longtime fitness buff who isn’t afraid of complex and challenging exercises. BOSU curtsy squats, banded hip bridges, and double-banded sumo deadlifts are just a few of the many tough workout moves the model has shared with us over the years.
Now, thanks to a recent Insta share, there’s another move we can add to that very long, very impressive list: the tuck-n-roll, an on-the-floor, core-centric exercise that requires serious abdominal strength.
On Wednesday, Graham posted an Instagram Story series documenting part of her workout with celebrity trainer Kira Stokes, New York–based fitness instructor and creator of the Kira Stokes Fit app, and the tuck-n-roll seemed to be, hands-down, the most difficult of the day.
Why it works
As Stokes mentions, the tuck-n-roll demands serious core strength. “It makes you feel like a kid,” Stokes tells SELF of the tuck-n-roll, which she also refers to as the roly poly. “It’s one of those moves you feel is ridiculous as you are doing it.” Performing it correctly is definitely not child’s play, she adds.
The move involves placing a mini stability ball (also sometimes called a Pilates ball) on your thighs and then compressing yourself around it as you rock back and forth. To do it correctly, you need to keep your elbows and quads firmly connected to the ball as you rock and use the strength of your abs—and your abs alone, no outside momentum—to drive that movement. “When you tell people to take momentum out of it, it becomes a totally different beast,” says Stokes.
This movement pattern will likely feel odd at first. You may feel “like you don’t have control of your body,” says Stokes, particularly at the bottom of the move, when you’re on your back. The natural tendency in this position will be to flail your arms and kick your heels to power your body back up, says Stokes, but the goal is to fight that and keep your body compressed as tightly around the ball as possible. Then, at the top of the movement, you’ll attempt three micro rocks back and forth, which is sneakily the most difficult part of the exercise, says Stokes. Throughout the move, you’ll continually engage your abs with no break. This time under tension makes the move a great core challenge, says Stokes.
Though the move is pretty low-risk, she adds that because it does involve a rounded back, if you have a history of any back pain or injury, check with your doctor or physical therapist before attempting it.