Open Your Upper Back with Arm Circles on the Arc Barrel

arm circles on the arc barrelWhen you practice Arm circles on the Arc barrel, the structure of the barrel helps you really stretch and open your upper back. With your upper back draped over the apex of the barrel, you place yourself in spinal extension before you even start working. For someone who might sit at a desk or work at a computer for hours a day, this position can feel very rewarding.

Then, you add movement. As your arms circle, you’ll feel the stretch in different areas of your body. Just make sure you don’t lose your form. Here’s how to practice Arm circles on the Arc barrel.

Arm Circles on the Arc Barrel

  1. Place the Arc barrel so that the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
  2. Lean back on the Arc barrel so that your upper back is near the apex of the barrel. You should feel like your head is supported and your heart is opening toward the ceiling.
  3. Broaden your collarbones.
  4. Bring your arms straight above your chest, shoulder-width apart. Keep your elbows straight and your palms facing each other.
  5. Use Pilates breathing throughout.
  6. Lightly activate the muscles along the bottom of your rib cage to ensure that your ribs don’t pop open toward the ceiling. Your ribs will be angled somewhat toward the ceiling, but you should still feel muscular engagement throughout.
  7. Reach both arms toward your ears as if you are doing Arm reaches.
  8. As you get to your deepest point, rotate from your shoulders to open your palms to the ceiling. (Did you guys see that I put that in bold? Yeah, it’s that important.)
  9. Bring your arms with the palms facing the ceiling by your sides.
  10. From your shoulders, rotate your palms to face your thighs.
  11. Bring your arms back to your starting position above your chest. At no point in time should your arms be sliding on the ground. 
  12. Complete 3-5 circles this direction.
  13. Then, switch directions.

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.

Arm Circles on the Arc Barrel Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

Do you prefer Arm circles on the mat, Arc barrel, or foam roller? Let us know in the comments below.

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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.