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How to Do Lower and Lift on the Pilates Arc Barrel

Inside: Lower and lift might be a familiar exercise, but practicing this exercise on the Pilates Arc barrel offers greater protection for your low back.

Anyone who has done Reformer exercises will recognize the name Lower and lift. This classic Pilates exercise is a staple on the Reformer, but it’s also done on other pieces of equipment.

Honestly, this exercise is so simple that it can be done almost anywhere. And, it’s so beneficial that it should be practiced regularly.

Still, you need to make sure to pay attention when practicing this exercise so you don’t hurt your back. When you first lower your legs, only go a short distance. This caution reduces the likelihood that you might overreach and hurt your back.

Start off by lowering a short distance. As your strength and confidence grow, you can increase your range of motion. Here’s how to do Lower and lift on the Pilates Arc barrel.

lower and lift on the pilates arc barrel

Lower and Lift on the Pilates Arc Barrel

  1. Place the Arc barrel so that the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
  2. Sit on top of the barrel.
  3. Scoot forward a little bit, like you’re sliding halfway down the barrel.
  4. Carefully, lower yourself back one vertebra at a time. As you roll your spine onto the barrel, you will notice that you slide down a little bit. This is normal. You should end with your hips at the apex of the barrel, your spine mostly connected to the barrel or the floor, and your shoulder blades and head resting on the mat. It should feel relatively comfortable.
  5. Broaden your collarbones, and press the palms of your hands into the sides of the barrel.
  6. Use Pilates breathing to inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.
  7. Inhale to lift one leg up to Table top.
  8. Exhale to lift the other leg. Feel your low back reaching toward the barrel. Straighten your legs toward the ceiling. Point your feet. Make sure your legs are parallel with your knees facing you.
  9. Draw your belly button toward your spine, and feel your low back press into the Arc barrel. Zipper your inner thighs together.
  10. lower and lift on the pilates arc barrelInhale to hinge your legs straight away from you. Only lower to the point where you can still safely keep your pelvis neutral and your low back connected to the barrel.
  11. Exhale to bring your legs back to center.
  12. Complete 5-10 reps in parallel. Then, laterally rotate from your hips. Now, your heels will be connected (your toes will not), and your knees will face away from each other.
  13. Inhale to hinge your legs straight away from you. Only lower to the point where you can still safely keep your pelvis neutral and your low back connected to the barrel.
  14. Exhale to bring your legs back to center.
  15. Complete 5-10 reps in lateral rotation.
  16. To finish, fold your knees toward your chest and slide back to come off the barrel or stay put to do more leg exercises on the barrel.

Finding the Best Arc Barrel

If you’re in the market for an Arc barrel, I recently compared the top five Arc barrels on the market. Here’s who made my top five list and which barrel I’d buy.

Lower and Lift on the Pilates Arc Barrel Video

Remember, when you let your legs lower, keep your pelvis in neutral the whole time. Don’t let your legs lower so far that your back starts to lift off the barrel. If you do find that you accidentally lowered your legs too far, consider bending your knees and setting your feet on the floor instead of trying to force your hip flexors into lifting your legs back up.

I find Lower and lift on the Pilates Arc barrel to be really straightforward and beneficial. What do you think? Comment below.

Also, I just want to let you know that if you’re interested in learning the basics of Pilates and yoga, I offer a FREE 30-day challenge. Click here to sign up today!

Here is a video of how to do Lower and lift on the Pilates Arc barrel for all the visual learners out there.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

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