The Best Way to Do Pilates Oblique Can-Cans on the Arc Barrel

Inside: It’s important to use correct form when you practice Pilates Oblique can-cans on the Arc barrel because it has the potential to cause low back or hip pain.

If I’m being completely honest, Pilates Oblique can-cans on the Arc barrel is not one of my favorite Pilates exercises. Back when I was fit (and hadn’t had two C-sections), I thought the exercise wasn’t terribly effective. I never could seem to feel the oblique muscles that were supposed to be working.

Then, when I tried the exercise in a post-natal workout, it seemed to be almost too challenging for me at the time. Because I have experienced both ends of the spectrum with this exercise, I feel like it’s one of the more unreliable Pilates exercises.

With other exercises, you can try it out, notice how you feel while you do it, and expect that other people will feel similarly when you have them try it. However, I just can’t be certain how people will feel when they try Pilates Oblique can-cans.

As you try this exercise, be sure to be particularly mindful of how your low back and abdominals feel as you move. If you feel any pulling on your low back or if you feel your abdominal muscle start to lift away from your spine and grip, you should stop immediately.

Here’s my advice on the best way to do Pilates Oblique can-cans on the Arc barrel safely.

Pilates Oblique Can-Cans 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.
  9. Inhale to rotate onto your right hip.
    pilates oblique can-cans on the arc barrel
  10. Exhale to straighten your legs away from you on a diagonal line. Make sure that your rib cage stays connected to the barrel and the Mat. Only your lower body should rotate. When you extend your legs on an angle, make sure that you can still feel your abdominal muscles hug toward your spine. If it feels like they are trying to lift away from your body, try bringing your legs closer toward you and reducing the degree of your angle. However, if that doesn’t help, stop doing the exercise.
  11. Inhale to bend your knees.
  12. Exhale to return to center.
  13. Inhale to rotate onto your left hip.
  14. Exhale to straighten your legs away from you on a diagonal line. Again, make sure that your rib cage stays connected to the barrel and the Mat and that your abdominals hug toward your spine.
  15. Inhale to bend your knees.
  16. Exhale to return to center.
  17. All of the above steps are for one rep. Complete 5-10 reps.
  18. To finish, fold your knees toward your chest and slide back to come off the barrel or stay put to do more leg exercises on the barrel.

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 Oblique Can-Cans on the Arc Barrel Video

I hope that you enjoy Pilates Oblique can-cans on the Arc barrel. Remember, if your low back starts to hurt or if you feel like your abdominals are lifting away from your spine, try reducing the angle of your legs or just stop doing the exercise entirely.

I never know how people’s bodies are going to react to this exercise, so proceed with caution.

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!

What do you think of Pilates Oblique can-cans on the Arc barrel? Is this one an exercise that you do or skip? Let us know in the comments below.

Here is a video of how to do Pilates Oblique Can-Cans 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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