How to Do the Boomerang in Pilates

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Woman on yoga mat doing the boomerang exerise, an advance Pilates move

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Back muscles, abdominals, core

Level: Advanced

Boomerang is an advanced Pilates mat exercise that comes near the end of the classical Pilates mat sequence. It is an opportunity to put many skills together in one flowing sequence of moves. Teaser and roll over are part of this exercise, and it involves the kind of abdominal muscle control that you call on in other exercises such as rolling like a ball.

Be sure to have the choreography well in mind before you start. Breath and flow make the Pilates boomerang a joy near the end of your workout.

Benefits

The boomerang and the rolling exercises that follow it in the classical sequence are more dynamic than less-advanced Pilates moves, and you may even find yourself working up a sweat. This exercise will build strength and flexibility throughout your core and back for good posture. It also builds long and strong legs and is a true test of coordination.

Step-by-Step Instructions

This is a mat exercise. You can perform this exercise at home or at your Pilates studio.

Start Position for Boomerang

Begin the boomerang by getting into the correct position.

  1. Sit tall on your sit bones with your legs outstretched and crossed.
  2. Seal your legs together and feel the sense of midline moving from your legs up your spine and through the top of your head. Maintaining that feeling as you move will help you keep the boomerang shape and give you a line of energy to move along.
  3. Place your hands on the mat by your sides.
  4. Take your body into a Pilates C-curve.

Rolling Back

Now do the roll over part of the boomerang:

  1. Exhale: Deepen your C-curve and roll back, taking your crossed legs overhead as you would in the rollover exercise. Your body has taken a boomerang shape and will keep that shape through the exercise.
  2. You are between your shoulders; the backs of your arms press against the mat, adding stability.
  3. At the top of the roll, uncross your legs and re-cross with the other leg on top.

Come Up to Teaser

Inhale: Bring your whole body up to the teaser position. Keep your boomerang shape. This is an abdominal control move—not a drop of the legs and then a regroup.

Sweep the Arms to the Back

Continue the inhale as you hold your teaser shape and sweep your arms around to the back. Keep your arms high and perform it with your palms up.

Extra credit: Clasp your hands behind you as pictured.

Legs Down, Arms Around

Exhale: Stay in control of the shape as you smoothly let your legs come down and sweep your arms wide to the sides.

Stretch to the Front

Continue your exhale as you let your arms come all the way to the front (shoulders down, neck long) as you curve over your legs and prepare to begin the sequence again.

Start from here with a deep scoop of the belly. Your hands can come back to the mat along your sides to help you.

Repeat 5 more times. Boomerang is followed by the seal.

Common Mistakes

Because this is an advanced exercise, you need to avoid any mistakes in order to prevent strain or injury.

Avoid going too fast. Execute each movement slowly and retain control throughout.

Modifications and Variations

This advanced exercise has a small number of variations for those who need it to be modified and those who want more of a challenge.

Need a Modification?

If you have a weak lower back, you can modify the teaser portion of the move. Start with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the back of each thigh to assist as you roll up into teaser.

Up for a Challenge?

As arguably the toughest Pilates exercise, simply perfecting boomerang is usually challenge enough. But one variation you might try is to do an oblique twist at the top of the teaser portion. Reach across your body to the left, then back to center, then to the right.

Safety and Precautions

You should not do this move if you are pregnant or if you have injuries to your back or neck.

Boomerang should also not be attempted if you haven't yet mastered teaser and roll over. Work with your Pilates instructor to ensure you have the strength and technique needed. Do not continue with this exercise if you feel any pain or strain to your back or neck.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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