Tutorial #5460

Ladder Barrel Strength

15 min - Tutorial


Mariska Breland provides you with tools to expand your horizons in this Ladder Barrel tutorial. Through creative strength training that targets the entire body, you will be able to make the most of your Ladder Barrel. These exercises will provide an exciting challenge for advanced-level clients!
What You'll Need: Ladder Barrel, Barbell Pad, Hand Weights, Theraband

About This Video

Jan 04, 2024
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Hey, I'm Marisca, and I'm here with Chanda who's gonna be my student today for this little tutorial on things you can do with your ladder barrel of you might not know that you can do. I know a lot of us just drape our yoga mats over them, and maybe we do a swan. And otherwise, it takes up a lot of space. So since we're celebrating strength training, in this visit to Pilates anytime with me, I'm gonna show you how I use my ladder barrel, to do strength training exercises. This is a barbell pad.

So this is the kind of pad that you would put around a barbell if you were doing like hip thrusts, Or sometimes if you have it on your shoulders, if your shoulders are uncomfortable, it fits perfectly around the top run of a ladder barrel or any rung of the ladder barrel. So we're actually gonna use that. If you don't have that, obviously, just use pads, We have this in really tight because Chandra is not, all that tall. So we wanted her to be able to fold over as much as possible. We also have a weight down there, which she's gonna reach for. So if you wanna climb on the barrel, you're gonna end up sliding your feet in so that your heels are under the pad.

And then you scoot yourself as far forward as possible. So we're gonna start with, like, a flat back lift. So, go ahead and lift up. And then lower back down. So in a even more perfect world than this world, she would be able to fold over more. Like, you wanna be able like, literally just hinge right at your hip.

Now we're gonna up that ante a little bit by giving you a weight. So go ahead and grab the weight. You can hold it in front of your chest. I like to just kinda hold it like this, and then you lift up and down. And you should really be feeling glutes hamstrings in this exercise. Is that accurate?

She says yes. And then you can play around with some, different variations. So You can lose the weight for these, but let's do some round back variations. So for these, I like to just bring my hands behind my head. And then think about, like, just pulling away from the barrel a little bit. So it's almost like you're keeping your pelvis tucked and you're just lifting up.

And then you can uncurl your spine a little bit, but not too much. And I feel like when you go here, it goes a little bit more upper glutes. And a little less hamstrings, and you can kind of keep that roundness. And because we're not doing weight, you can probably do, you know, quite a few of them. You'll also notice that your low back muscles are working, and that is fine.

They are muscles, and they need to be exercised. Let's do a single leg variation. We won't do very many. So unhook one leg, and that leg is just floating above the bar, and then you just let's do the flat back lift. Let's just do 2 each side.

Lift up and down, and then we can do a little switcher with the feet and then lift up and down. Nice. And lift up. And, yeah, go ahead and maneuver your way out of there. And we can say goodbye to the barbell pad. We don't need the barbell pad anymore, but we're actually gonna keep the weight for an exercise called a reverse hyper.

The thing about this is it's really hard to get the weight by yourself. So if you have somebody who can give you the weight, that's great. Otherwise, you have to kind of maneuver yourself pinching the weight between your ankles, but I'm gonna be handing it to her. So, you'll fold yourself over the barrel. And then kind of same deal as before scooch back towards me. You wanna have this like, kind of a flat back here, and you just really have that hinge to feel your pubic bone pressing into the barrel a little bit. Yes. And your ASIS. Now lift your legs up a little bit, and I'm going to give you the weight, and she's gonna squeeze it between her legs.

Got it. And then go ahead and let your legs lift up and then lower them down almost to the floor. Good. And lift up. And then lower them back down. Good. And lift and lower them down. And, obviously, you're also getting some arm work here as well.

If you are trying to pinch the, weight and it doesn't work, like leg weights work. Like, there's the little ankle weights those can work as well as these do. Good. Go ahead and lower down. So when if you lower all the way down to the floor, the weight kind of just will come out and just kind of be careful about that. And then, let's go ahead and do some tricep dips. So walking around to this side.

Do we wanna widen the barrel a little bit? Do you feel like it's a little bit too close? Or just gonna give her a little bit more space for her legs So, you can scoot it forward. Not too too much because there's other things that we wanna do, and we don't want it to be too far away, but I think that'll be good. Go ahead and you're just gonna come up when you're done, and you'll sit on the ladder part. And then you're gonna bring bent knees, feet, to the barrel and then hands on the the latter part and kind of scooch yourself forward. And then you're just gonna do a tricep dip down.

Nice and press. Tricep dip and press. Good dip down and press dip down and press. It's more fun, though, due to straight legs. So when you dip down, your legs kind of fold in towards you. And then you lift up fold in towards you and lift up. And, you know, if you have a ladder barrel, chances are You either are a Pilates person or you know a Pilates person. So we can do like a leg pulse.

So if you wanna lower down and then add a leg pull in any part of that, you can to get to get a little bit of the Pilates, activity in here as well. Go ahead and make your way off. We're gonna do, a weird kind of squat sort of in the barrel. So feet are gonna go on. So face me. Feet are gonna go on the third rung, and then you're gonna push your knees into the barrel and start with your body upright.

Okay. So this is a very, very, very hard hamstring exercise. If you feel like you can't get all the way back up, we're gonna show how you can kind of send your butt back, but it's gonna look a little swan like in the first iteration. So you go out but then you're gonna pull yourself back in. Good go out and pull yourself back in.

Now I want you to go out too much. Go out to there. Now when you can't pull yourself back in, see what she's doing, butt back, and then you lift yourself back up. I'm going to be mean and ask you to demo that again because you did it so beautifully butt back and then lift yourself back up. And it'd be a good transition to then do some swans here and do your regular kind of ladder barrel workouts. Go ahead and work work your way around to the other side.

And then let's do a little handstand prep, but your knees are going to be on the barrel, and your hands are gonna be on the floor. So I basically just walk my hands down the ladder, jump right hands to the floor. And then you kind of have to scoot your knees in. And our goal is not where we usually go, I think, in ladder barrel handstands, which is that you're touching the ladder I want you to reach away from the ladder. So think chest is going through your arms. Now see if you can take one leg and reach it up towards the ceiling.

And then lower it down. And this is just purely working on that overhead pressing strength. Good. And then lower that leg down. And then you can make your way out of it the same way that you made your way into it. Now let's go ahead and try a couple of kick up handstands.

Now options for your hands, hands on the floor, is going to feel better for a lot of us if you're a little bit narrower. If you do your hands on those outside rails, sometimes that feels like it's a little bit far. But what I really like about that is it takes the wrist out of the equation, and it's almost like you're holding on to parallettes, which to me feels like I have more range of motion because the tightness in your wrists can impact your overhead range of motion. So, we're gonna do the outside. Right? So we're just gonna do a kick up, and I want you to over kick so that you're going to the barrel. Okay. I want you ending up on the barrel. Now our goal is then going to be to lift away from the barrel, which is a lot of squeezing the hell out of your butt.

And then you can dip towards the barrel. So you're dipping towards the barrel as your break and then moving away, gorgeous. And she's way better way way better at this than me, which is why she's doing it, and I'm not. Great. Now we're gonna do, a very It's a great ladder barrel exercise called candlestick, but we're gonna turn it into more of a calisthenics exercise called dragon flat. So in candlestick, you have you sort of do a backbend towards one of the ladder runs, and we're gonna take it into a rollover.

I wouldn't go that low. I would stay actually pretty high. I think that's gonna be good. And then I do this with Venis. She is very flexible, way more well than me.

So she could probably go straight legs without her hurting her back, but I can't. So you're gonna take that shape and let's go, straight up towards the ceiling. And basically where you wanna be here is, like, you're in this kind of nice straight line. We're gonna bend one knee and then keep this shape. So bring this foot down so it's closer to your knee.

Yep. So we're basically locking this shape together, and then you're gonna lay the shape down. And then see if you can lift it back up. Good. Take your right leg and your left leg together towards me. Good. And then lift back up.

Go ahead and switch sides. This is actually much nicer to do than if you were doing it like, on a weight bench or something because the ladder barrel is round and padded and soft and much, much, much more comfortable then the other way. Go ahead and just bend your knees in, and then you'll slowly lay your spine down bone by bone, I feel like you should be able to have a little hang here because, I mean, that's really what I use my ladder barrel for other than the storage of yoga mats. Then obviously these exercises. Coming up carefully, because you were just upside down for a while, we're gonna do an exercise called a Nordic curl, A nordic curl is a really kind of tough hamstring exercise, and we're gonna use a pull up bar You can get pull up bands, like, on Amazon, just look up pull up bands, and they come in all sorts of different, tension.

I like them better than Therabance because they actually don't really break and they're, like, really sturdy and you can use them for lots of different things like what we're gonna do now. So, Chandra, if you'll come over here with me, I'm gonna drape this over the top rung, and then you'll kneel facing that direction. And then we're gonna put the straps on her shoulders. So one on each shoulder. And an important thing here is you want the feet to be able to press into the barrel. If your feet aren't pushing into anything, you can't use your cabs to help you up because it's gonna be a hamstring slash calf muscles are gonna get involved as well. So you're gonna do, like, a face plant dive forward Obviously, your hands can always reach out if you need to and then lift yourself back up. Good. Again, reaching out.

And then lift yourself back up. Good. Reaching out. And lift back up. Good. Let's just do two more. And I don't know if you can tell, but her feet are really pushing in to kind of the base of the barrel.

And that, like, really assists you in, like, when you're coming up, you'll feel you will feel your calves like, after you do this exercise, almost as much as you'll feel your hamstrings. Let's go ahead and take this off. This is not a strength training exercise. This actually a Pilates exercise that's done on this, stall bars or Swedish ladder, and you can do it a variation of it on the ladder barrel. And I think people just haven't realized that.

So we're gonna do a variation of an exercise called bat as our sort of grand finale here. This ladder is obviously very low to the ground. This does not work for everyone because it's very height dependent. So if you have really long arms and you're reaching your arms and your head ends up touching the floor, it's it's not gonna be bad at that point. But if you are lucky to be dimensionally accurate for this exercise, you'll be able to do it. Okay. So we're gonna do sort of a fold forward towards the top of your head and then reach your hands towards one of the Now we don't want her weight to be in her head, so she's gonna be hanging here.

Let's do a bent knee entry. So right knee bends, left knee bends, and then you're gonna send your legs straight up towards the ceiling. Take your feet and lower them towards the floor. They don't have to go all the way, but try to keep your butt touching that ladder wrong. Nice. And then lift yourself back up.

And then again, we're lowering down and lifting back up. Good lower down and lift up. And here, if you've got a good grip, you can do shapes, you can do bicycles, you can do whatever your heart desires. When you come out of it, make sure that your shoulders feel okay. It's a really big shoulder extension exercise. I think it feels great, but I think some people might think it's, like, a little bit too much.

And then obviously be careful when you're standing up because you were just upside down if you were doing that exercise. So, hopefully, that gave you some ideas on things that you can do with your ladder barrel other than just have it take up space in your pilates studio. There's other classes that are looking at other pieces of equipment and how you can do strength training exercises on those. So check those out too.


1 person likes this.
This is awesome and very hard! Thanks for this class
1 person likes this.
1 person likes this.
Thank you! Love this 
Conni Ramsey
Loved this😬I’m on it today getting my ladder out of the corner
Katherine W
1 person likes this.
Absolutely love this work out, Mariska. You are brilliant. So thoughtful and energizing and fun. 
Conni Ramsey that’s what I want to hear! 💕
Michele M
1 person likes this.
Loved this!! Please add more Ladder Barrel classes! As always, so much fun working with you, Mariska! Thank you for sharing!:D 

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