Back Stretch on the Ladder Barrel is absolutely more than just a stretch and yet sometimes it's just as good to use it as a stretch. It's a big stretch! Amazing for every person who can do extension safely and for those who teach, drive a lot or sit in front of a computer should be done twice. This stretch will open your front, strengthen your back and help with shoulder flexibility too! Great for any time of the day and especially at the end of Pilates workout. The Back Stretch can turn into the Leg Circles after you are able to walk your hands further down the rungs.
Maintain connection to your upper abdominals even when in extension.
Standing facing away from the barrel place your sacrum against the barrel and your feet parallel on the floor a little more than a hips distance apart. Wrap your arms around your waist and round backward. As you continue to round back over the barrel be sure that you do not skip articulating through the tight parts of your spine. Especially your upper back. If you are tight it may be difficult to go all the way back and you may stop and not reach the ladder. But, if your flexibility allows you to rest your head back on the barrel, reach your arms overhead and grab the rungs.
If you can grab the first run stay there and reach your arms from your mid back into your hands an on the ladder. Feel the stretch open your front, feel your back muscles contract to pull you further over the barrel as you stand in your feet and reach in two directions. Then lift your arms up, round forward, do the Roll Up as you come off the barrel and round over yourself. In a forward fold with your hips against the barrel pulse your arms through your legs 3x and then repeat the exercise. If you can try to walk down to the second run, roll up, pulse forward 3x and then round back over the barrel and continue to walk your hands down until you no longer can. 3-5 reps total. If going well, add in the Leg Circles.
Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Ladder Barrel exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Ladder Barrel training!