Swan on the Ladder Barrel

The beauty of the Swan here is that it really helps you learn how to use your legs to help yourself create length and space in your backbend.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Equipment Needed: Ladder Barrel
  • Reps: 3-5x
  • Warning: May not be suitable for some back issues.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Swan on the Ladder Barrel

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Swan can be done on almost every piece of Pilates equipment. And here on the Ladder Barrel, it might be one of my favorite places to practice it. There are several ways you can set yourself up to do Swan depending on your abilities. The beauty of the Swan on the Ladder Barrel is that it really helps you learn how to use your legs to help yourself create length and space in your backbend. Swan is not about how much you can bend back but how long can you get in your extension. Play with the different ways of doing it to find the one that works for you.

Find the extension in your upper back as you reach through your legs.

The ideal set up for Swan on the Ladder Barrel is for you to place the balls of your feet on the bottom rung a fist distance apart and your heels together on the next rung up. Your thighs are on the barrel and you drape over the top. Don't get comfy! Find your arms connected to your back, your tail reaching towards your feet and your front ribs in. You'll need your entire body on and ready to lift off!

To begin, lift your upper body up and towards the ceiling. The more you stand on your feet, lift up in your center and your heart the more you can climb your backbend up your back. It's easy here to dump into your lower back. Instead, try to continue to lift up as you go back. Then, lengthen back out over your barrel, long like you're flying and then stretch your legs straight. Bringing your center with you lift your chest up. Again, find the extension in your upper back as you reach through your legs. To return, lift up in your center like you would for your Roll Up and as you bend your knees pull yourself onto the barrel. I like to imagine it's the return to your Double leg stretch but upside down. Repeat 3-5x.


Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Ladder Barrel exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Ladder Barrel training!

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