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Exercise of the Month: STOTT PILATES® Foot and Ankle Mobility on the Mini Stability Barrel™ Lite

With 28 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in each one, the feet are the body’s unsung hero. They hold us up, yet they receive very little care.

This month’s Exercise of the Month video, featuring Merrithew® Master Instructor Trainers Moira Merrithew and PJ O’Clair, is all about giving our feet and ankles the attention they deserve. You can do this exercise as a warm-up before any workout, but it would be especially effective before footwork on the Reformer.

The tissue in the foot and ankle area can become very rigid and stiff, so this exercise is intended to counter that inactivity by mobilizing the joints, stretching out the muscles, and encouraging you to bring a spring-like quality back into your step.

This exercise comes from the STOTT PILATES® Breathing & Mobility on the Stability Barrel Lite workshop, which will be available at the Mindful Movement Symposium in New York this March, but it can be applied to any class or modality.

The reason we use the Mini Stability Barrel Lite is because of its unique design. With its gentle curve, padded surface and rounded edges, it is the perfect tool for gently stretching and rolling out the kinks in our feet and ankles.


  • Explore where you feel tension and tightness in your feet, and press into those areas to get a bit of a massage
  • Move your foot from side to side, working through inversion and eversion
  • Move the foot up and down along the Barrel’s padded arch to stimulate the ball of the foot, the arch and the heel
  • Drop the heel to get some length through the Achilles tendon and gastrocnemius, and then bend the knee to feel a stretch through the soleus, getting into the lateral aspect of the calf and shin
  • Spend about two to three minutes massaging your feet on the Barrel and let us know how much more connected and grounded you feel!

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