What You Need to Know to Do Pilates Roll Over on the Arc Barrel

Inside: After pregnancy, I discovered how wonderful Pilates Roll over on the Arc barrel is. If you’re searching for a great way to build core strength, this is it!

Back in the day, I used to be able to do Roll overs on the Mat perfectly. With ease, my abdominals lifted my hips from the floor. As other people heaved and finagled their bodies into this exercise, mine moved as if it were always meant to do this one motion.

Of course, this was before I had ever been pregnant, before either of my large babies kicked a hole through my abdominal wall. When I returned to Pilates after the second child, it was as if the Universe had doled out a healthy dose of humility.

My Roll over skills were completely gone, and I was now lucky to get my hips to lift half an inch in the air. All hope of lifting any higher than that were futile.

Quickly, I discovered that the Arc barrel offers a perfect modification for anyone who is still in the process of developing core strength. Whether you have been injured or whether you have been neglecting your core muscles, the Arc barrel is a great tool to help you practice your Pilates Roll over.

Because the barrel provides such an initial lift for your hips, it doesn’t take nearly the effort to Roll over. This is means you can practice your Pilates Roll over on the Arc barrel to help build your strength. After a while, you can remove the barrel and try to Roll over on the Mat unassisted.

Here’s what you need to know to do Pilates Roll over on the Arc barrel.

Pilates Roll Over on the Arc Barrel

  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.
  7. Inhale to lift one leg up to Table top.
  8. Exhale to lift the other leg and connect the knees. Point your toes.
  9. Inhale here to prepare. Make sure to really let your abdominals reach toward your spine.
  10. Exhale and reach your legs on a diagonal line.
  11. Inhale to bring your legs right above your hips.
  12. 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. Make sure that, as you roll, you don’t let yourself fold and collapse. You want to have a nice “C” shape to your spine.
  13. Inhale and separate your legs to shoulder-width apart.
  14. Exhale and roll down one vertebra at a time. Finish with your legs reaching on a diagonal line still shoulder-width apart.
  15. Inhale to close your legs and bring them right above your hips.
  16. Follow steps 12-15 to complete two to four reps this direction.
Pilates Roll over on the Arc barrel
Legs on a diagonal line, shoulder-width apart.

Switching Directions

Now that you’ve completed your reps this direction, it’s time to reverse it.

  1. End your final rep with your legs reaching on a diagonal line, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Inhale and bring your legs right above your hips with your feet still shoulder-width apart.
  3. 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. Make sure that, as you roll, you don’t let yourself fold and collapse. You want to have a nice “C” shape to your spine.
  4. Inhale and bring your legs together.
  5. Exhale and roll down one vertebra at a time. Finish with your legs together and reaching on a diagonal line.
  6. Inhale to separate your legs to shoulder-width apart and bring them right above your hips.
  7. Follow steps 3-6 to complete two to four reps this direction.
  8. 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.

Here’s what shoulder-width looks like from another angle.

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 Roll Over on the Arc Barrel Video

As you practice Roll over on the Arc barrel, make sure to take your time and focus on your form. By practicing Roll over on the Arc barrel, you’re building the strength and muscle memory to be able to do Roll over unassisted on the Mat one day.

If you have difficulty doing Roll over on the Mat (even if you’ve been practicing on the Arc barrel for some time), don’t get discouraged. Building core strength takes time, so be patient.

What do you think of Pilates Roll over on the Arc barrel? Do you prefer to use the Arc barrel or just go for it on the Mat? Let us know in the comments below.

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 Roll Over on the Arc barrel for all the visual learners out there.

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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.

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