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Magic Circle Exercises

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Magic circle, also known as a Pilate ring is a Pilate exercise tool that can enhance your Pilates training by adding resistance to your exercise regimen. Magic circle is an effective Pilate workout accessory that will help you find your center and work on huge muscle groups with better and faster results.


Magic circle is made of either flexible metal or rubber, normally measuring fourteen inches in diameter, with comfortable foam pads on either side to facilitate better grip. It comes in various models and sizes. However, the material and weight of the magic circle determine the degree of tension or resistance of the prop - the stronger the material, the greater the resistance. Pilates is named after its founder, Joseph Pilate and it is believed that he also chose the ring as a prop and made his first magic circle from the ring on a keg.


Magic circle and Pilates


  • Magic circles add challenge, assistance or variety to a regular Pilates workout.
  • It adds light to medium resistance to your Pilates workouts and challenges multiple areas of your body including your core, upper body, and lower body.
  • They work on the right muscle group and activate dormant muscles that have not been doing their job.
  • Pilates with Magic circles enhances the Kinesthetic (Kinaesthetic) awareness and is ideal for isometric training to increase strength at varying joint angles.
  • Magic circle as a prop ensures that you have correct posture and offers a deeper stretch during warm up.
  • Using Magic circle helps you keep your form which results in fewer injuries.
  • It is portable, lightweight and quite easy on pocket.

Magic circle exercises

Straight arm press


  • Sit on a mat with your back straight.
  • Place the circle directly in front of your chest, holding it with both hands.
  • Bring your hands together by squeezing the ring in and then release it.
  • Do 10 squeezes then hold for 3-5 seconds.
  • Likewise, one can do minimum 5 reps.

Leg lifts


  • Lie upside down with the stomach flat on the mat. Place the magic circle between your legs, positioning it between knees and ankles. Rest your forehead by bringing your hands under it.
  • Bend knees until your underside of the feet is parallel to the ceiling.
  • Gradually raise your legs keeping the thighs firmly on the ground. Hold for few seconds and lower, and repeat.
  • Complete three sets of 10 reps.

Magic circle roll ups


  • Lie flat on the floor with your legs straight.
  • Place the Pilates between your hands and straighten your arms above your chest pointing them towards ceiling.
  • Keeping your arms straight; roll up slowly using your abs and not back.
  • When your upper body is sitting up straight; roll back down slowly, keeping the same straight arms and tight abs.
  • Do 10 Roll-Ups.

Hamstring stretch


  • Spread the mat and lie on your back with both knees bent.
  • Place one leg along the floor and the ball of the other foot into the ring and lengthen that leg up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold the ring with both hands. Now draw the leg closer to your chest on each exhale.
  • To bring it to a next level, you can cross the leg towards your shoulder. Make sure your both hips are firmly placed on the mat.
  • Complete 8 to 10 reps and complete the series with other leg.

Side-Lying Shoulder Press


  • Lie on your side, with knees bent. Rest on your elbow with hand supporting your head.
  • Stretch your top arm out in front of you firmly placing your hand placed on the cushioned pad of the circle.
  • Without moving, tighten your arms and press down on the magic circle, bringing it to an oval shape, and then with just as much control, bring the circle back up to your starting position.
  • Complete 8 to 10 reps, repeating on the other side.


Bridging


  • Lie on your back and place the arms firmly on the mat, on either side of your body.
  • Hold the magic circle between your thighs just above the knees.
  • Start to lift yourself into a bridge position, keeping your body in one line from your chest to your knees.
  • Hold the position and squeeze the magic circle 10 times. You should feel it in your inner ­ thighs and glutes.
  • Complete three sets of 10 squeezes.


Magic circle buying guide

Many brands of magic circles are available in the market.Though the Magic circle is a simple Pilates equipment, the benefits it provides are enormous and any wrong choice may throw your exercise regimen out of gear. Invest some time and look for all the required features before buying the ring.


  • Ensure that the ring is provided with dual cushioned pads on both sides of the ring to allow you to perform a full range of exercises involving your lower and upper body. The padding should be thick enough not to hurt your palms and legs.
  • The ring should have a diameter of at least 36cm (14 inches) so that it can be used by those of all heights and shape.
  • Magic circle should be flexible and yet strong enough to be able to provide good resistance to the user.
  • Ideally, one should be able to squeeze the Magic circle 2 to 3 inches inside. Do not opt for a ring that gets crushed easily.

A word of caution

Magic circle should be used to assist a client in improving his or her awareness of body and aid in its movements. When using the ring, take care that you are not controlled by prop rather your body should be controlling it. The aim is to load more resistance onto your own muscles than would be minimally required by the piece of equipment in order to create the desired movement.


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Magic Circle Exercises
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