Before I started training with Jonathan Goodair & Christina Howells at the Total Body Plan gym at Home House, the idea of doing any exercise was anathema to me. I ride my bike around the city, which I love, and walk P Bad in the park, but I lack the drive to exercise on my own. I haven’t got around to buying a TV yet, so there’s zero chance of me doing an exercise DVD either.
But I am so fired up by the incredible results I am seeing through their intensive training, and the discovery that there is a set of stomach exercises I can do without straining my back & neck (the reason I hate doing ab work that involves sit ups), that have gone and bought myself a Pilates barrel
This truly is an invention of genius. When Jonathan first produced it, I was doubtful – it looked both far too simple but also worryingly so…(In my experience it’s the simple gym tools that are the most evil.) A wooden arc, covered in padded leatherette, it looks innocuous enough, but it gets the most amazing results. And, best of all, it actually helps my back.
You use it by draping your body over the barrel, with the curve of the barrel supporting your lower back. Your upper back and shoulders are flat to the floor – no straining your neck here. Doing that alone gives a brilliant stretch to the lumbar region – so I often just lie on it at the end of the day, but its genius lies in the workout it gives to your abs. By simply lifting your legs up and down like a pendulum, it gives a deep workout to the abs. I also bicycle my legs on it, and do scissor stretch sideways and forwards. It’s hard work, but not painful. I roll out my yoga mat, turn on the Radio 4 Today programme and keep my mind occupied by shouting at politicians. The whole exercise is enormously therapeutic.
I found mine on Amazon for about £135 and it arrived within three days. Thrilled, isn’t the word.
Pilates-Mad Stacking Arc Barrel £135.95