Other innovating pieces of equipment from Joseph Pilates are the various Barrels. They take on different names like Small Barrel, Baby Barrel, Arch Barrel, Ladder Barrel, etc. However, whatever you decide to call them, they remain Barrels full of fun!. Like the Wunda Chair, the Ladder Barrel is the brainchild of Joseph Pilates and has seen many dynamic changes since its original inception from a wooden barrel! It has become a large and imposing piece of equipment crafted from leather and wood. The Ladder Barrel is used as a way to facilitate deep stretching. For an advanced student, the curve of the Barrel provides a surface to perform dynamic, full-body exercises that challenge and advance their Pilates skills and their mind-body connection. The Barrel’s rounded design helps the spine move into extension and flexion (to backbend and forward bend) in a supported way. Additionally, the Barrel can also be used for side-bending exercises that challenge the core, specifically the obliques.
Barrels were designed to align the spine. Its function is to decompress the spine, promote flexibility between each vertebra, and stabilize and strengthen the muscles supporting the spine. It can be used during matwork to increase the challenge or offer support during exercises, and it’s a great tool to assist rehab clients. Each of us has a healthy natural alignment in our spine, but our daily tasks and work tend to destroy it. We sit incorrectly behind our desk on chairs and couches. We pick up heavy objects incorrectly, and very quickly, our natural alignment of the spine is disturbed. A healthy spine is central to a healthy mind, soul and body. Speak to any person suffering from acute spinal pain daily, and you will quickly understand the suffering and misery they have to deal with.
The Ladder Barrel challenges the core stability and strength of Pilates enthusiasts of every level. The Ladder Barrel’s broad arc creates a safe and more easily attainable environment to practice extension and side bending for even the most novice Pilates student. The surface is ideal for stretching and strengthening exercises, and the wooden rungs provide versatility for shorter or taller users.
Your healthy spine enables you to breathe and move powerfully. It provides central support for your body’s limbs and organs. Barrel exercises are designed to correct poor posture, open and stretch the chest, stretch the connective tissue around your internal organs, lengthen and strengthen the hips and hip flexors. It massages the lower back, stretches, and balances the legs. On top of that, it develops solid abdominal muscles by requiring you to stabilize your core muscles, i.e. your powerhouse. It releases tight lower-back muscles as the spine is rounded forward, sideways, or backward over the curving surface of the Barrel during the exercises, Training on the Barrel works the abdominals in that unique Pilates way of developing length and strength simultaneously.