How to Practice Rotation with Port de Bras on the Arc Barrel

Inside: Rotation with port de bras on the Arc barrel is a great way to strengthen your abdominal and spinal muscles. Plus, you get to feel like a dancer!

Rotation with port de bras on the Arc barrel is my favorite Arc barrel exercise. I love the gracefulness and fluidity of the movement. It reminds me of practicing ronde de jambe in ballet class. Our legs would trace a half circle on the floor as our arms would move in a smooth port de bras.

With the Arc barrel, instead of having leg movement, we have spinal rotation and flexion. As my torso rotates away from and toward the barrel, I feel my abdominals cinch, lifting my ribs away from my hips. It gives me a great skinny feeling like no other exercise does. Truly, this exercise is unique. Here’s how to practice Rotation with port de bras on the Arc barrel.

Rotation with Port de Bras on the Arc Barrel

  1. Place the Arc barrel so that the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
  2. rotation with port de bras on the arc barrelSit beside your barrel with your left thigh along the edge of the barrel and your knee bent. Your left heel will be in line (relatively) with your right shoulder. Now, bend your right leg so that your knee is somewhat in line with your hips and your right foot reaches behind you. Make sure that both knees are bent at 90-degree angles. This formation is called a “Z-sit” by some, but it reminds me of how the high school cheerleaders would sit when they were waiting.
  3. Place your left hand on the barrel, and reach your right hand slightly in front of your shoulder.
  4. Use Pilates breathing throughout.
  5. Inhale into the sides of your ribs and lightly activate your transverse abdominis. Rotate to the right. Allow the left hand to gently slide along the Arc barrel as you move.
  6. rotation with port de bras on the arc barrelExhale, and rotate toward the barrel. Bring the right arm into a low hoop as your left hand moves to the outside edge of the barrel. Lift the ribs, then flex the rib cage up and over your right arm. You will fold toward the barrel.
  7. Inhale. Stack your spine back to neutral, and rotate open to the right. As you move, allow your right arm to open naturally as your left hand slides on the top of the barrel.
  8. Complete 5 reps on this side.
  9. Switch sides. Complete steps 2-8 with your right thigh along the edge of the barrel. Make sure you rotate to the left.

As you practice this exercise, make sure to stay grounded through your hips. Resist the urge to let the outside hip lift and tip you toward 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.

Rotation with Port de Bras on  the Arc Barrel Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What do you think of Rotation with port de bras on the Arc barrel? Do you love it, too? Let us know in the comments below.

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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.