The Best Way to Do Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc Barrel

Inside: Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc barrel is a challenging exercise, but it’s fun. Here’s how to safely practice this Intermediate exercise.

Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc barrel is one of the more challenging Arc barrel exercises. If you feel like Roll over just doesn’t work your abs enough, this is the exercise for you.

To begin Corkscrew on the Arc barrel, you get set up to do a Roll over. Then, you add a slight amount of spinal rotation–just enough to make your abdominal muscles think you’re crazy–as you challenge all four of your abdominal muscles simultaneously. In particular, this slight twist helps to work the internal and external obliques.

If you think that sounds intense, you’re right–it is.

It’s also really fun. Once you get the hang of this exercise, you’ll want to add it to your regular routine.

However, be aware that this exercise is not for everyone. If you have a bad back, weak abs, or poor coordination; you may want to skip this exercise today. Instead, work on other Arc barrel exercises that can help build your strength like Side breathing, Port de bras with rotation, and Roll over.

For those ready to give it a try, here is the best way to do Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc barrel.

Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc Barrel

Getting into Position

  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.
Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc Barrel

Pilates Corkscrew

  1. Inhale to lift one leg up to Table top.
  2. Exhale to lift the other leg and connect the knees. Point your toes.
  3. Inhale here to prepare. Make sure to really let your abdominals reach toward your spine.
  4. Exhale and reach your legs on a diagonal line.
  5. Inhale to bring your legs right above your hips.
  6. Exhale to roll one vertebra at a time off of the Arc barrel. Start by lifting your hips and roll until your legs are parallel to your face and you feel your weight rest on your upper back. (This is just like getting ready for Roll over on the Arc barrel.)
  7. Inhale and start rolling down the right side of your spine. You will be slightly rotated as you do this.
  8. Approximately when your hips lower onto the Arc barrel, you will switch over to an exhale. Continue to exhale as your pelvis comes to neutral and shifts to the left. Then, roll up along the left side of your spine until you get to your upper back. Bring yourself to center.
  9. Inhale and start rolling down the left side of your spine. You will be slightly shifted to the left as you do this.
  10. Start to exhale around the time your left hip lowers to the barrel. Continue to exhale as your pelvis comes to neutral and shifts to the right. Keep exhaling as you roll up along the right side of your spine until you come back to center.
  11. One clockwise and one counter-clockwise circle is one rep. Complete 5-10 reps.
  12. To finish, fold your knees toward your chest and slide back to come off the barrel or stay put to do more core exercises on the barrel. 

Find 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.

Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc Barrel Video

In order to maximally challenge your obliques, it’s important to roll down one side of your spine and up the other. This little bit of twist helps you really strengthen these deeper ab muscles.

Be careful, though. If your abdominals start to relax or if you move into too deep of a twist, you can end up hurting your back. No one wants that. So, make sure to keep your circles small as you learn what is appropriate for your body.

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 Pilates Corkscrew on the Arc barrel 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.