The Pilates Magic Circle, also known as a Pilates ring, fitness circle or workout ring, is a tool used to enhance the effects of Pilates exercises. It provides resistance in order that you control the movements inwards and outwards, stabilizing your core and working on larger groups of muscles as oppose to individual muscles.
I had never heard of a Pilates Magic Circle when I began Pilates workouts. However, researching the various methods of carrying out Pilates exercises and getting the most out of each routine, I found that this was not a common method of doing Pilates, but growing in popularity and I can see why.
The Magic Circle is designed to be firm and used in a variety of ways. It can be used to tone arms, chest and back as well as abs, hips and thighs. It is also useful for stabilizing the pelvic floor and targeting the glutes. At first I found it too easy to squeeze, but soon realized that I was not doing the exercises properly! Pilates is all about the whole body, stabilizing your core, opening out your chest and back and carrying out the exercises with precision control, which if done properly is not easy at first! I love how versatile the Magic Circle is; the accompanying video is a good beginner's guide, demonstrating how it could have been integrated into your regular Pilates routine, but there are countless more exercise instructions and workouts on the Internet that you can use to enhance your workouts or simply to add variety to your exercise sessions . I find that the Circle is a useful way of not only toning muscles throughout your whole body, but also it gives me a reference point in being able to see how my body develops over time with regular use. Before using the Magic Circle, I began to think that Pilates was not really doing much for me as, whether in a class or on my own at home, I did not actually feel as though I was working hard. The Circle does not tire me out, but I can certainly feel that Pilates is doing me good and the exercises become easier over time, which was not easily measured without the aid of the ring.
In addition to the versatility of the Magic Circle on its own, it can also be used with an Exercise Ball. An easy exercise, and one that came naturally to me as I was playing about with the Magic Circle, is the Seated Legs routine, which engages abs and pelvic floor in order to squeeze the ring between your legs. Pair this exercise up with a fitness ball and you are further stabilizing your core as your body automatically counteracts any rolling of the ball due to slight movements and minute changes in position and posture.
I love the Magic Circle! It makes Pilates fun, worthwhile and it feels like a real workout from the comfort and privacy of your own bedroom. It hides easily under the bed or in the wardrobe when I am not using it and I would highly recommend that any Pilates fanatic adds this simple piece of equipment into their routine. It is sturdy and resistant to wear and tear, lightweight and fun to use. They come in a range of colors and sizes and are an inexpensive tool to achieving a lean, toned body.