The Best Way to Do Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc Barrel

In this post: Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc barrel strengthens and tones your spinal muscles and glutes. Here’s how you can use this exercise to feel better.

It wasn’t until I started learning barrel exercises that I discovered Pilates Grasshopper. This whimsical Pilates staple soon became one of my favorite exercises.

Not only is this exercise fun to do, it’s also an efficient way to strengthen your spinal muscles and glutes while stretching your abdominal and psoas. This means it’s a playful, core-strengthening exercise that will help you relieve back pain.

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Why You Should Do Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc Barrel

Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc barrel is a fantastic way to strengthen the back of your body. In this one whimsical exercise, you can:

This exercise is a wonderful way to strengthen muscles on the back of your body while stretching muscles on the front. Overall, this will give you a stronger core and, as you may know, a strong core will help keep you safe from potential back injuries.

Now that you know why you should do this exercise, here are the directions for the best way to safely practice Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc barrel.

How to Do Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc Barrel

the best way to do pilates grasshopper on the arc barrel
  1. Place the Arc barrel so the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
  2. Carefully, lower yourself onto your stomach over the Arc barrel
    Your hips should be near the apex of the barrel. You will probably feel your knees on one side of the barrel and your forehead on the other side.
  3. If it feels like your pubic bone (the front part of your crotch) is painfully pressing into the barrel, slide a towel or piece of foam under the front of your hips. This should help alleviate any discomfort.
  4. Make sure your legs are about hip-width apart and straighten them. Laterally rotate them from the hips so your knees face out to the sides.
  5. For a moment, place your forearms on the Mat in front of the barrel. When you do this, your upper body will lift.
  6. Use Pilates breathing.
  7. Inhale through your nose and lift your low belly to your spine to create support for your low back. Broaden your collarbones and slide your shoulder blades away from your ears.
  8. Exhale through pursed lips and engage your glutes to lift your legs as you extend through your spine and lift your upper body away from the Mat.
  9. Inhale to bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the Mat. As your upper body comes closer to the Mat, your lower body must work a little bit harder to stay lifted and engaged.
  10. As you exhale, bend your knees and cross your ankles three times. For example, you might cross right on top, left on top, then right on top again.
  11. Inhale and straighten your legs. Really reach through your toes.
  12. Exhale and straighten your arms to return to your starting position.
  13. Complete about 4 reps, alternating which ankle crosses on top first.

For Visual Learners…

Here is a video of how to practice Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc barrel for all the visual learners out there.

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.

Before You Practice Grasshopper, Don’t Forget…

You shouldn’t feel low back pain when you practice this exercise. If you do, stop and lower to the barrel. Take a moment to correct your alignment.

In particular, make sure your belly button lifts toward your spine and your upper back muscles extend. Frequently, one of these two areas working incorrectly is the cause of any low back pain. However, if you still have pain with correct form, lower to the barrel and don’t do this exercise today.

It doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do Grasshopper ever; it just means that today is not your day for this exercise. It’s okay to try again tomorrow or some other day in the future.

When you practice Pilates Grasshopper on the Arc barrel, you can strengthen important posterior muscles while providing a good stretch for anterior muscles. This will help you build and strong core and keep you safe from spinal injuries.

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!

What’s your favorite way to strengthen your spine? Let us know in the comments section below.

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.