Use This Pilates Spinal Rotation Exercise to Strengthen Your Spine

spinal rotation exercise

In this post: Spinal rotation is essential for a healthy, pain-free spine. Rotation prone on the Arc barrel is an easy-to-do, therapeutic exercise. Here’s how to do it.

Truth be told, I forget that there are two Arc barrel spinal rotation exercises. With its flowing choreography and multi-directional movement, Rotation with port de bras has always been my preferred spinal rotation move.

However, there is another excellent spinal rotation exercise on the Arc barrel. Rotation prone doesn’t have any confusing choreography. There are no other spinal movements. Plain and simple, you rotate your spine. Here’s more about this straight-forward, therapeutic, spinal rotation exercise.

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Why You Should Do Rotation Prone on the Arc Barrel

Simply put, Pilates doesn’t offer a ton of spinal rotation exercises. So, when you happen to come across one, you want to add it to your workout for the day.

Each Pilates workout you do should contain a combination of spinal flexion, extension, rotation, and side flexion. By moving the spine in all directions, the muscles will get stronger. This will lead to a stronger core, which means less low back pain.

Plus, all exercises with rotation also massage your internal organs and reset your central nervous system. These benefits help you feel better physically and mentally.

How to Do Rotation Prone on the Arc Barrel

spinal rotation prone 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. Straighten your legs behind you and press the balls of your feet into the Mat. Make sure that your feet are hip-width apart.
  5. Allow your upper body to round over the barrel.
  6. Stack your hands so that your forehead rests on top of your fingers.
  7. Use Pilates breathing.
  8. Inhale and lift your low belly toward your spine.
  9. Exhale, press down through the balls of your feet, and lift your upper body. Try to lift so your spine fully extends and you end up looking at the wall in front of you. If your spine isn’t that strong or flexible yet, work on lifting so your body is in a straight line with your gaze down at the Mat.
  10. Inhale here.
  11. Exhale and rotate to the right.
  12. Inhale and rotate back to center.
  13. Exhale and rotate to the left.
  14. Inhale and rotate back to center.
  15. Complete 5-10 reps. One rep has a rotation to each side.

For Visual Learners…

Here is a video of how to practice the Pilates spinal rotation exercise Rotation prone on the Arc barrel.

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 This Spinal Rotation Exercise, Don’t Forget…

Before you practice Rotation prone on the Arc barrel or any other spinal rotation exercise, it’s important for you to remember that this should not cause any back pain. If any part of your back hurts when you do this exercise, stop immediately.

Take a moment to correct your form before you try again.

  • Send energy from the top of your head through your heels.
  • Slide your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Draw your belly button toward your spine.
  • When you rotate, think of lengthening away from the part of your body that is twisting.

Then, once you have reestablished your good form, try again. If you still feel pain, stop and don’t try practicing this exercise any more today. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to do this exercise; it just means it isn’t right for you in this moment.