The Best Pilates Back Posture Correctors

Pilates, formed in the 1900’s by Joseph Pilates is a low impact body workout. Working to tone and strengthen those muscles without the risks of other sports.

This workout is perfect for anyone regardless of your age, body type or fitness level. It has quickly become a modern day trend for those looking for a low impact, high result workout.

All of the benefits without the stress of joint pain, injury or a mass of equipment. Pilates can be done at home or more favorably in a studio.

Along with toned muscles, increase in strength and overall health, pilates offers something everyone can benefit from. Posture correction.

After days of sitting in chairs, hunched over computers, we could all use a little posture correction. But what equipment do you need?

Keep reading to find out the top pilates posture correctors. Whether you have severe back pain or just want to stand a little taller, this guide will help you discover what posture corrector you need to up your pilates workout.

Origin of the Posture Corrector 

Making training equipment out of everyday materials was nothing new for Joseph Pilates. He was born in Germany in the late 1800s and became interested in bodybuilding to better his health and appearance.

Pilates enhanced his health and strength through a combination of boxing, weightlifting, and martial arts, leading to a lifetime belief in the benefits of exercise.

During the 1902’s, Pilates had infiltrated the United States. As the body weight phenomenon grew, the equipment needed to support the training became more inventive.

Along came the Pilates Chair, the Cadillac, the Wunda Chair, the Guillotine and the Tower. All used for specific movements and areas of the body. The one we are focusing on today is the Step Barrel.

Aside from its history, the step barrel is an excellent piece of equipment for any Pilates practitioner or anyone looking to improve their physical fitness and quality of life.

The results you’ll get from this piece of equipment may appear simple, but the investment will be well worth it. Working out on an arc allows you to bend your body and target muscles that you wouldn’t be able to target otherwise.

Pilates Posture Corrector Specifications 

Now you know the beginning of pilates and the creation of the step barrel but what does it do? Why do pilate practitioners use them?

Although its name implies that it is only an appliance for correcting poor posture, a posture corrector has other advantages.

In fact, because all Pilates exercises are designed to improve posture and spinal alignment, the posture corrector can be thought of as yet another tool in the Pilates toolbox.

The posture corrector can help you restore the natural curve of your spine, relieve back discomfort, and enhance your balance.

It can also help you stretch your back muscles to improve flexibility and give you a structure to execute particular strengthening exercises for core strength and overall health.

It’s also useful for yoga practice, recuperation, and personal training. Overall, a step barrel is a great complement to any Pilates workout.

When it comes to your workout, there isn’t much of a difference between the various arcs, handle options, and materials. You will, however, most likely have a preference for a specific arc that best matches your back’s natural curve.

When purchasing an arc barrel, think about how long it will last, how well it will fit your body, and your own preferences for manufacturing materials and grips.

Make sure you do your homework before making a purchase. If feasible, test out a few different barrel models at a nearby Pilates studio to see which one best suits your needs.

The Step Barrel vs The Ladder Barrel 

It is beneficial to compare the different barrels utilized in the Pilates approach for those who are just starting out. Pilates practitioners use two different types of barrels to support their technique. The above-mentioned step barrel and the ladder barrel are the two mechanisms.

The ladder barrel, as its name implies, is constructed out of a raised half-barrel fixed on a frame, next to a ladder with multiple rungs. The ladder barrel’s form, like that of the step barrel, provides for stretching and strengthening of the back muscles, spine, neck, and core muscles.

The ladder’s rungs are designed to keep the body stable while performing a set of movements. Depending on the area of the body you’re addressing, you can attain this stabilization by either grasping the rungs with your hands or interlacing your feet.

This piece of equipment can be adjusted to fit people of all heights and builds, and it should give anyone a good exercise.

You are unlikely to mix the two when purchasing equipment for your home. Although ladder barrels are substantially larger than step barrels and are often exclusively found in Pilates studios.

The Barrel family includes the Step Barrel, Spine Corrector, and Half Barrel.

The semicircular component of the Step Barrel is of a medium size, with a tiny step in front,as opposed to the Barrel.

A step barrel is used on the floor, on a Cadillac padded surface, or on a Reformer carriage;the Step Barrel is most commonly used at home or in a pilates studio.

AeroPilates Spine Corrector Barrel

The AeroPilates Spine Corrector Barrel is a simple type that is designed to open the chest, strengthen the abdominals, and restore the spine’s curve. This wood and leather arc-barrel is one of the more economical options for Pilates barrels.

Consumers who use the device love the curvature and the pain alleviation they feel from using it on a daily to weekly basis. The unit comes with an instructional DVD and has handles on both sides of the barrel.

The AeroPilates Spine Corrector Barrel is ideal for pilates beginners. Allowing the practitioner to get comfortable with the movements and bring the spine back to its original, natural curve.

With a lower barrel for less bendy practitioners and side handles, the AeroPilates spine corrector barrel is a great starting point. The small, angled step will open up the tightness in the hips as you get to bending and stretching.

You can see this pilates back posture corrector here

AeroPilates Precision Series Spine Corrector

The AeroPilates Precision Series Spine Corrector step barrel is padded and upholstered over the entire surface for more comfort, and it has cutaway handles on either side.

It’s meant to help you improve your posture and tone your core and abdominal muscles, but it may also be used to tone your thighs.

This spine corrector is for slightly more advanced practitioners than the AreoPilates barrel. Due to its steeper curve, it required more balance and strength in order to complete the movements.

Many opt for a full body workout with the precision series spine corrector as it is a good height for lunges, crunches and stretching.

With a higher curve than the barrel you will notice a deeper stretch as you begin performing spinal extension movements. Not to mention you’ll find more control over your breath as you relax and find confidence within the exercises!

The ArePilates Precision Series spine corrector is a great purchase if you’re looking to up your pilates game outside of studio classes. With two DVD instructional videos, you’ll learn how to correct your posture and some new moves to show off in your next class.

You can see this pilates back posture corrector here

Stott Pilates Merrithew Spine Corrector

The Stott Pilates Merrithew Spine Corrector boasts the trusted name for Pilates enthusiasts, promising to align and mobilize the spine while improving posture.

The item has a solid wooden barrel with thick foam padding and handle bars on both sides for added comfort. It is claimed to strengthen the legs, back, torso, and shoulders.

The curve of the spine corrector is slightly larger than that of a barrel. This will require you to have a little more flexibility in your spine and back muscles, however the step will give more support to the hips allowing you to feel that full stretch all the way through your spine.

Looking to advance your pilates even further? The side bars are designed to let you spread your shoulders further apart,providing more balance and neutralizing the spine during certain movements.

You will also feel less tension in your wrists as they stay in a neutral position whilst grabbing the handles.

The Stott Pilates Merrithew spine corrector is a great addition to your studio or home equipment, even with its heavier price tag.

This piece of equipment is geared towards those with a higher level of confidence and knowledge of pilates as the higher curve requires more range of movement.

However, with the padded foam, baltic verge handles and the hip assisting step all come together to provide a well rounded workout with just the right amount of support.

You can see this pilates back posture corrector here

Exercises for Posture Improvements

Now that you know the basics when looking for a spine corrector to add to your collection, what moves can you use it for?

Below are some moves that will get you started on your pilates journey. Whether you have basic skills or know nothing other than lying on the ground to stretch out your back, try some of these exercises and you’ll start seeing improvements!

Spinal Extension

There are a range of exercises which fit into the spinal extension umbrella. With, of course, a focus on stretching the spine and opening the chest. We’ll focus on the beginner movements.

  • To begin, find a comfortable sitting position on the step of the barrel with your back straight.
  • Slowly reach your arms out, bending forward slighting to fully stretch the spine forward, raising your arms up above your head and begin rolling your back on the barrel. Ensuring to take the shape of the barrel.
  • Inhale as you stretch.
  • Once fully extended back, slowly bring your arms back to your front through the sides as you find your seating position.
  • Repeat for up to 8 reps.

Lip Abdominals 

You find some discomfort within your lower back throughout pilate workouts, this is due to a lack of muscle. Lip Abdominals focus on strengthening those lower back muscles to give you a stronger core.

  • Start by  sitting at the edge of the step. Knees bent comfortably and feet spread hip-distance apart.
  • Keeping your palms facing each other, extend your arms out in front of your chest at shoulder height. Take a nice deep breath.
  • Exhale as you begin rolling your spine back to the barrel, tightening your core muscles or abs.
  • As you inhale, use your abdominal muscles to bring you upright.
  • Repeat this exercise for up to 8 reps.

Well Abdominals 

Again we are focusing on those core muscles with a nice, deep spinal stretch. Extending the mobility of your spine and giving your core muscles a workout.

  • Find a comfortable sitting position on the step, hips and back resting lightly against the arch of the barrel.
  • Knees should be bent with your heels touching.
  • Place your hands behind your head, deep breath in and exhale as you slowly roll back onto the barrel. Keeping to the shape of the barrel.
  • As you begin to inhale, you should feel your back begin to extend down the arc of the barrel.
  • Slowly exhale and begin your ascent to your upright position.
  • Repeat for up to 10 reps.

Remember to hold this position for a few seconds to fully let your spine decompress within the stretch.

Side Bend 

This exercise is great for stabilizing the pelvis and increasing spinal flexibility.

  • Sit sideways on the step. The barrel should be on your right side and hook your right leg onto the step for extra balance.
  • Keep your left leg straight.
  • Sitting tall with your arms outstretched, inhale and pull your back into a straight, fully aligned position.
  • Slowly exhale as you begin bending your right side over the curve of the barrel. Reach your right arm above your head for that added stretch.
  • As you inhale slowly pull yourself, using your abdominal muscles, to your original position.
  • Repeat for up to 6 reps on each side.

Side Sit-Ups

Side Sit-Ups will support you by beginning to correct your bodily imbalances and helps upper back flexibility or thoracic flexibility.

  • Begin in the same position as your side bend. Sitting sideways on the step on your right side and hook your right leg on the step of the barrel.
  • Place your hands behind your head and slowly start to lower your mid section of the barrel. The point of your elbow should be pointing forward and lightly touch the barrel at the end of the movement.
  • As you exhale push your lower ribs into the barrel, lifting your torso until your spine is in a neutral position.
  • Inhale and return to your starting position.
  • Repeat for up to six reps on each side.

Shoulder Bridge and Scissors 

This exercise is for the more advanced pilates practitioner. Working your glutes for that lovely booty pump whilst working to mobilize your lower back. If you are a beginner you may wish to invest in a smaller arc barrel or attend a pilates class to learn proper form from an instructor.

  • Begin sitting on the tip of the barrel, facing the step and slowly lay back onto the curve of the barrel so your head and shoulders are on the ground with your shoulders resting as close to the barrel as possible.
  • Hold onto the handles to increase stability.
  • Inhale and bring your legs up.
  • Exhale to get comfortable.
  • Inhale as you slowly stretch one leg down, stretching the hips and squeezing the glutes, the other leg is being used as a counter balance whilst you stretch.
  • As you exhale, bring that leg back to the top and start to stretch the other.
  • Repeat for up to 8 reps per leg.
  • Once completed slide out towards your head and begin to sit up into an upright position.

There you have it! A full beginners workout guide to get you started on your pilates journey. With a full range of motions using your spine corrector barrel to start working on your posture, back pain and strengthening those muscles.

Final Thoughts

Tired of the slamming of weights, spin classes or just looking to try something new? Pilates is a great way to strengthen your muscles and joints whilst increasing flexibility.

Many with joint pain, back pain and tight hips tend to opt for the low impact workout of pilates. But it can be daunting to start.

Getting yourself down to a pilates studio is a great way to begin. Although, that can be intimidating if you prefer to workout alone. That’s where a pilates spine corrector barrel comes in.

Before going out and grabbing one, it’s important to know what one will work best for you and how you can use it! Have a read of the spine corrector barrels chosen above and check out our quick beginners guide to toning your muscles and correcting that poor posture.

A barrel can give you the muscle definition you never knew possible and build your spine flexibility to absolute perfection.