How to Do Scissors on the Pilates Arc Barrel

Inside: Scissors on the Pilates Arc barrel is one of my favorite Arc barrel exercises. It makes me feel strong, graceful, and skinny. Read below to learn more.

Ever since I started learning Arc barrel exercises, Scissors has been one of my favorites. I love how my abs naturally hug toward my spine, making me feel stronger and more in control of my body than I am when I’m just on the Mat. I love how this new-found strength makes me also feel super-skinny. But the main reason why I love this exercise is because I feel like a ninja (or Rockette, depending on my day) when my legs scissor away from each other.

There’s something about being on the barrel that allows me to really feel the length and energy in my legs. As one leg reaches toward one wall, the other leg reaches toward the other wall. Both legs are committed to moving and my abs, which are caught in the middle of this tug-of-war, reach toward my spine for safety. The movement is controlled and practically effortless–it’s beautiful.

Scissors 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. scissors on the pilates arc barrelUse Pilates breathing to inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips. The cadence of your breath will be a little different with this exercise, though.
  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.
  9. Inhale here.
  10. Use two exhales to bring your straight right leg closer and closer to your face as your left leg reaches further and further away from you.
  11. Inhale to come up to center.
  12. Use two puffs of your exhale to bring your left leg closer and closer to your face as your right leg reaches further and further away.
  13. Inhale back to center.
  14. Complete 5-10 total reps. Remember, you must do both sides to count one rep.
  15. To finish, bring your legs back to center. 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.

Scissors on the Pilates Arc Barrel Video

I hope you enjoy practicing Scissors on the Pilates Arc barrel as much as I do.

If this exercise isn’t your favorite, what is? Let us know in the comments 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 this exercise for all the visual learners out there.

About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.