In this post: Practicing Pilates Plank with an Arc barrel is a great way to modify this classic core-strengthening exercise for anyone with wrist pain.
Pilates Plank is a wonderful way to build core strength. However, for many people, this exercise is a no-go because of wrist pain.
I can remember when I first started practicing Plank. After years of bad typing habits, I tried to practice Plank and failed.
I had to stop shortly after I started because of wrist pain. My abs and arms could have kept going, but the intense pain I felt in my wrists brought me to my knees.
Years later, when I was in teacher training, I discovered the Arc barrel as a perfect modification for anyone with wrist pain. By placing the heels of your hands at the apex of the barrel, you reduce the stress on your wrists.
Here’s more about why and how to practice Pilates Plank with the Arc barrel.
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Why You Should Do Pilates Plank on the Arc Barrel
Pilates Plank is a great exercise to build core strength. When you’re working on building core strength you’re wanting to strengthen your:
In this one exercise, you get to strengthen all those muscles! This makes Plank perfect for multi-taskers.
How to Do Pilates Plank on the Arc Barrel
- Place the Arc barrel so the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
- Position your hands so the heels of your hands (back toward the wrist) are on the apex of the barrel. When you place your hands this way, it allows your fingers to relax down one side of the barrel and the angle isn’t 90 degrees like it would be if your hands were flat on the floor.
- Make sure your knees are on the
Mat,and step them back so you have a straight line of energy from your knees, up your spine, and out the top of your head.
- Broaden your collarbones, and press the Arc barrel away from you.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine.
- Hold and breathe in the Pilates Plank Prep position. Use Pilates breathing to inhale through the nose and exhale through pursed lips.
- When you are ready, curl your toes under and extend one leg at a time. Make sure that, as you straighten one leg, your pelvis doesn’t shift. If it does, it means your abs are not working appropriately to keep your pelvis lifted and in neutral.
- Once you are sure your pelvis is in the correct position, straighten your other leg.
- Hold and breathe in the Pilates Plank position. Use Pilates breathing to inhale through the nose and exhale through pursed lips. You can hold this pose for as long as you’d like.
For Visual Learners…
Here is a video of how to practice Pilates Plank 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 Pilates Plank on the Arc Barrel, Don’t Forget…
When you have the heels of your hands in the correct position on the top of the barrel, it should alleviate write pain. However, if your hands are placed so your fingers are at the apex of the barrel, you will increase the stress on your wrists.
This increased stress is completely undesirable. You are never meant to use the Arc barrel as a means to stretch your wrists. Instead, it is a prop designed to reduce pain.
If you feel pain in your wrists while practicing Pilates Plank on the Arc barrel, take a moment to ensure your hands are in the correct position. If you are in good alignment and you’re still in pain, lower your knees to the ground and stop doing Plank.
Just because you have to skip out on Pilates Plank one day doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do it in the future. In the meantime, do stretches to open your wrists so you’ll be prepared the next time you want to try this wonderful core-strengthening exercise.
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What modifications do you use to practice Pilates Plank when you have wrist pain? Let us know in the comments below.