Get Rid of Your Wrist Pain When You Practice Pilates Pushup on the Arc Barrel

In this post: Pilates Pushup is a wonderful exercise for strengthening arm and core muscles. Unfortunately for some, wrist pain can be a huge obstacle. Here’s what to do to relieve your wrists and reap the benefit of practicing your Pilates Pushups.

pilates pushup on the arc barrel

Oh, Pushups. I like to think all of us have a love/hate relationship with Pushups, but maybe it’s just me.

As someone who has always lacked upper body strength, I have struggled with Pushups my whole life.

I’ll admit–part of the reason I started practicing Pilates in the first place was because I didn’t think we’d do any Pushups. Wrong!

In Pilates, though, you don’t do a normal Pushup. No, you have to add choreography and a breathing pattern.

Friends, the Pilates Pushup is quite simply a step above the rest.

So, if you have wrist pain while doing Pushups (like I sometimes do), the task of lowering and lifting while practicing a specific breath pattern doesn’t just seem daunting–it seems impossible.

Luckily, Joseph Pilates was always thinking and created a barrel. This barrel would be adapted into the Arc barrel that we use today. And, this Arc barrel is the key to alleviating wrist pain while you’re practicing Pilates Pushup.

Here’s more about why and how you should practice Pilates Pushup.

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Why You Should Do Pilates Pushup on the Arc Barrel

Pilates Pushups are a great way to build core and upper body strength. To strengthen your core, you want to strengthen your abdominals, spinal muscles like the erector spinae, glutes, and adductors. These muscles are targeted as you hold yourself in a Plank position at the start and end of the Pushup.

Then, as you lower yourself to the ground and press yourself back up, you are using your pectoralis major (on your chest) and triceps (on the back of your arms). Overall, Pilates Pushup is one of the top ways to multitask and build core and upper body strength simultaneously.

How to Do Pilates Pushup on the Arc Barrel

pilates pushup on the arc barrel
  1. Place the Arc barrel so the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Broaden your collarbones, and press the Arc barrel away from you.
  5. Draw your belly button toward your spine.
  6. If you’d like to do your Pushup with your knees down, skip to step 9. Keep reading if you’d like to have your legs fully extended.
  7. 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.
  8. Once you are sure your pelvis is in the correct position, straighten your other leg.
  9. As you move, you will use Pilates breathing to inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.
  10. Inhale and lower toward the barrel on as you count to three.
  11. Exhale and straighten your arms, returning to your starting position. So, when I do a Pilates Pushup, I think Inhale down, two, three. Exhale one.
  12. Complete 5-10 pushups.

For Visual Learners…

Here is a video of Pilates Pushup 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 Pushup 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 is completely undesirable and should be avoided. Remember, the Arc barrel is supposed to decrease the angle of your wrists not increase it.

If you feel pain in your wrists either before or during your Pushup, stop what you’re doing and double check your form. Once you’re certain you’ve got good form, try again. If your wrists still hurt, stop doing Pushups for today.

Just because you have to skip out on Pilates Pushup 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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Are there any other tricks or tips you have to relieve wrist pain while you do Pilates Pushup? Let us know in the comments 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.