Barrel Exercises on the Squishy Ball

Oh, Squishy Ball, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways….  The Squishy Ball exercises we do at Effortless Movement are based on Joe’s arc barrel and spine corrector exercises. They are awesome for working your entire abdominal wall, lengthening the legs, and getting control over your ribcage. I just taught a private session the other day where we addressed the relationship between your ribcage and the rest of your posture — it’s all connected, folks!

Barrel ex

This series is for my ongoing Group Equipment class peeps — homework for the semester break!  Feel free to ask me for pointers when you see me in class, as this post isn’t meant to be a complete online tutorial.

THE LIST:

  • Frog – remember to create the “power leg” sensation from class.
  • Circles – small range of motion on this one! Smaller = more control
  • Double Leg Lift – 6-12″ range of motion is plenty.
  • Bridge – bonus points: do all 3 foot/leg positions: neutral, turn out, and turn in
  • Kick your Big Brother – a single leg weighs less than two legs…you can probably aim lower
  • Helicopter – lol – your brain is getting bigger!
  • Bicycle – try to touch your mat with your foot AND reach that straight leg high over your head. You only need to bicycle forward, not backward.
  • Super Psoas – add in the magic booster that I taught you in class.

SUCCESS TIPS:

  • Golden Rule: If your legs are moving, your torso stays still. No rocking from side to side!
  • Use your corset muscles to lock that back ribcage down. If it’s moving, you’re aiming your leg(s) too low or your range of motion is too large.
  • Yes, your low-back will be off the mat when your hips are on the ball. Your “anchor point” is your back ribcage. (yep, I talk a lot about Anchor Points in my best selling book, Ageless Pilates)

REALITY CHECK

Of course I think my squishy ball is the best, but really, use what you have!  Got another brand of 9″ squsihy ball? Use it! No ball available? Roll up a large towel to create a 9″ lift for your hips — or just grab a thick pillow off your couch. I would avoid using anything too hard though, so please no hard rollers, basketballs or weighted gym balls.

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