If you’re ready to elevate your Pilates practice, the Ladder Barrel is an essential piece of Pilates apparatus to take you up a notch. Its unique design allows you to experience Pilates exercises in new ways. Keep reading to discover what it is, how to use it, and its fun origin.
What is the Pilates ladder barrel?
The Pilates Ladder Barrel is a piece of Pilates apparatus that’s what its name describes. The ladder typically has five rungs attached to an adjustable standing platform with a raised barrel surface on the opposing side.
Joseph Pilates, who created the Ladder Barrel, was a beer drinker who had his beverages delivered in barrels. His innovative and resourceful nature drew him to experiment with the beer barrels and metal rings that held the barrel together. He created the Ladder Barrel and Magic Circle by playing with both.
What are the benefits of the Pilates ladder barrel?
The Ladder Barrel, like all Pilates apparatus, is excellent for building core strength and improving mobility. Throughout the Pilates method, you can take one exercise and execute it on several pieces of the apparatus. Taking the same exercise to each apparatus is not only a fun way to keep your practice challenging but can change the intention of the movement. Doing so activates new muscles and deepens the mind-body connection as you learn the exercise in a new environment.
For example, Short Box Series on the reformer is excellent for overall core strength utilizing flexion, extension, and rotation. The Short Box Series suits beginners and those with tight lower backs and hamstrings.
Move the same series to the Ladder Barrel, and you’ll experience a much more challenging core workout. The rounded platform of the barrel requires increased core engagement and mental concentration, an essential principle in Pilates. Taking the challenge further, moving the feet to higher rungs on the ladder requires additional flexibility in the spine, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
All movements on the Ladder Barrel allow for a more extensive range of motion in every direction. Additionally, rounding over the barrel on your stomach and back helps stretch the spine and further your spinal articulation. Both are essential for a healthy and pain-free back.
How do you use a Pilates ladder barrel?
Understanding the six main principles of Pilates, along with a solid foundation in Pilates alignment, is vital with any piece of Pilates apparatus, including the Ladder Barrel.
Core exercises like Short Box Series, oblique ab lifts, and Tree are great on the Ladder Barrel. In addition, extension exercises learned on the mat, like Swan, have the potential for more range of movement while lowering and lifting.
The Ladder Barrel is effective for static stretches. Practice a hamstring stretch by placing one leg on the barrel, holding onto the ladder behind you. Next, keep your leg on the barrel while rotating to the side. To stretch the quadriceps, face the ladder, bend one leg and place the front of the shin against the barrel. These stretches help increase flexibility in the legs, hips and back.
If you’re interested in trying the Ladder Barrel for yourself and live in the Peachtree City, GA area, visit ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates studio. Private Pilates and classes are available in person or online. Schedule a class today!