Strengthen Your Glutes with Hip Rolls on the Arc Barrel

Inside: I love practicing Hip rolls on the Arc barrel because I think that it’s an easier way for me to find and engage my glutes (which are sometimes on vacation without the rest of me). Here’s how to practice this effective toning exercise.

hip rolls on the arc barrelI can remember when I first started taking Pilates. My glutes wanted to do everything.

Move the pelvis? Check! Lift a leg? Check! Control movement from my shoulders? Check!

My glutes were overachievers, and this complete misunderstand of what exactly they were supposed to do and when they were supposed to do it led to terrible pain and misalignment of my sacrum.

I had to take a step back and relearn how to correctly use my gluteal muscles. When I did this, my stubborn muscles protested. It was like they got up and left for vacation without even leaving a note.

As I practiced Hip rolls on the Mat, I would have to poke myself in the butt cheek to get it to start working. But when I tried Hip rolls on the Arc barrel, it was like the skies parted and all the angels sang, “Hallelujah!”

Finally, my glutes showed up to work! I stuck with the Arc barrel for a long time, using it to help my glutes remember exactly what they were supposed to do. Maybe this is because the slight lift of the barrel moves my legs into a better position for glute activation, or maybe I just notice my glutes more because adding an Arc barrel makes my body think it’s doing something new.

Either way, I love the results from practicing Hip rolls on the Arc barrel. Here’s more about how to correctly practice this exercise.

Hip Rolls on the Arc Barrel

  1. Place the Arc barrel so that the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
  2. Make sure that the barrel is slightly toward one end of your mat so that you have enough room to be on your back with your feet on the apex of the barrel.
  3. Broaden your collarbones, and bring your arms by your sides. Press your palms into the mat.
  4. Use Pilates breathing throughout.
  5. Inhale into the sides of your ribs and lightly activate your transverse abdominis.
  6. Exhale to move into Imprint. Then, engage your gluteus maximus to help your further tilt your pelvis. Let your hips lift as you peel one vertebrae at a time up off the mat. Keep your shoulder blades firmly planted on the mat, and stop rolling up when it feels like you can’t keep the scooped feeling to your abdominals and pelvis.
  7. Inhale into the sides of your ribs and hold. Notice how you’re working your gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and adductors.
  8. Exhale and reverse sequence to roll down one vertebrae at a time. Once your pelvis lowers, return it all the way back to neutral.
  9. Complete around 5 reps.

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.

Hip Rolls on the Arc Barrel Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What do you think of Hip rolls on the Arc barrel? Do you like it as well as, less than, or more than Hip rolls on the Mat? Let us know in the comments below.

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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.