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Pilates Step Barrel Workout


Updated October 08, 2013

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Intro and Reach on Step Barrel
step barrel exercise
(c)BASI Pilates, licensed to About.com

For our Pilates step barrel workout we are very fortunate to have a tutorial contributed by Pilates master instructor Rael Isacowitz. Rael is the founder of BASI Pilates, the creator of the Rael Pilates DVDs, and an award winning author. His book, Pilates, won the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Award for best book about Pilates. Rael teaches internationally through BASI Pilates and at Pilates conferences. More about Rael after the workout (step 10).

Workout Introduction
The step barrel, sometimes called a spine corrector, is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment originally created by Joseph Pilates. The equipment you see here is the Avalon Step Barrel that Rael Isacowitz adapted based on the original. All of the exercises here can be done on the classic step barrel. Many of the exercises here are based on Pilates mat exercises and those notes have been added to the instructions. Also, some of the exercises can be done on the foam roller as well.

From Rael:
While performing this workout, pay attention to all the Pilates principles, in particular to the precision of the work and the flow of movement within each exercise as well as the flow of the entire workout.

Reach on the Step Barrel

  1. Inhale: Focus on the deepening of the “C” curve by engaging the abdominals. As you deepen the abdominal contraction, think about keeping the space open while not shortening the space between the ribs and hips.
  2. Exhale: Roll down while lifting the arms overhead and simultaneously straightening the legs
  3. Inhale and pause: With the body in a straight line from ankles to your fingertips, extend the thoracic spine over the barrel, taking the arms further back.
  4. Exhale to roll up, arms reaching forward, draw legs in and return to start.
  5. 8 Repetitions
Tip: The “C” Shape is when the shoulders are directly above the hips. The exercise starts and ends with a C-shaped spine. Remember to establish a straight line with the body when in a supine position prior to extending further over the barrel.

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