Now there are two ways to do this exercise. One is similar to how we might do the semicircle on the Reformer and the other is more like a bridge into extension.
Let’s look at the first. The first variation the feet are dorsiflexed and hooked under the top rung to anchor the body and stop you from sliding over the edge of the arc. As you can see from the video below.
The hardest part of this exercise is the initial bridge as the hamstrings need to work to keep from sliding back over the arc. Once the peak of the bridge is found, then the knees extend as the body slides back over the arc, following the shape of the barrel.
This exercise works with full spinal extension and works the core. It is not recommended for pregnancy, blood pressure issues or people who suffer from dizziness.
Like the semicircle on the reformer, you lift up into the bridge and then extend the knees. Unlike the semicircle on the reformer this is followed by a roll up to sitting, and then sliding back down into the start position with the spine extended and hips and knees flexed.
This is an intermediate to advanced exercise and improves spine mobility into extension, hamstring strength and core control. The shape of the arc really supports and encourages the extension of the spine.
I love this variation of the Pilates semicircle on the Ladder Barrel as it works so many different parts of the body and you don’t have to worry about the springs catching you as you might on the Reformer. Also I feel like it balances out all the flexion based exercises in the Pilates Repertoire, and all the flexion we do generally in our daily lives.
Now if you would like to learn more, please book into my online course for Pilates teachers Barrels of Fun.