Pilates Leg Circles

The Pilates Leg Circles are one of the best ways to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the hips and help to flatten the tummy by working the deep pelvic floor muscles.



Most people like to hate this Pilates exercise because they can “really” feel the work in their upper thighs.


This is a well known Pilates leg exercise in the classic repetoire and to execute it correctly isn't as easy as it looks.


That's why I have included 3 levels of progression for the leg circles here and compiled with over 20 other exercises in the newly revised Pilates ebook.


Advanced Level Pilates Leg Circles:

pilates leg circles image
Pin It

Position: (as shown above)


Lie on your back and extend one leg away by pushing your heel out to the end of the mat and feeling the leg anchored to the mat. Extend your other leg toward the ceiling at about an 80-degree angle to your trunk.


Action: Keeping your pelvis neutral(even with the ceiling) and abdominal muscles tight, feel your thigh bone slide down into your hip socket.

Circle your leg about 6 times in each direction. First, reach your leg across the midline of your body, around and up. Then circle the other way, reaching out to the side, around and up.

Inhale as you circle your leg and exhale as you pull it back to the top.


Notes: Keep your torso and opposite leg anchored to the mat. Also, be sure your pelvis stays still as you circle (no rocking hips).

Once you are able to increase the range of motion in the hip flexors and let the leg swing then you will really feel the deep pelvic floor and abdominal muscles acting as a stabilizer for the pelvis and torso.


Find more Pilates thigh exercises to get rid of saddle bags here.


Intermediate Level Leg Circles with Band:

leg circles exercise image
Pin It

Use a rope or stretch band around the foot of your extended leg.

Keep your elbows anchored at your sides and let your leg circle freely, so as not to pull with your hands.

Repeat this Pilates leg exercise 6-8 times each direction.

You may be able to increase your range of motion due to the tension of the band supporting the leg.



Beginner Exercise Pilates Circles:

beginner exercise pilates circles imag
Pin It

Bend your knee in the air keeping your thigh bone perpendicular to the floor and with your opposite leg extended on the mat.

Make small circles with your knee like you are stirring a pot.

Focus on the sensation of your thigh rotating in your hip socket.

Repeat this beginner exercise Pilates each direction for 6-8 repetitions keeping your hips stable and the rest of the body acting like an anchor.


Leave Pilates Leg Circles and find out more about Pilates Exercises and how they can benefit you.





Check out all of the Pilates Exercise of the Month Moves!



Recent Articles

  1. SI Joint Pain Improved with Pilates!

    Aug 11, 17 12:29 AM

    Dear Jennifer, I just wanted to reach out and thank you for dramatically improving and changing my life. About a year ago, I woke up in debilitating

    Read More

  2. Hip pain after 4 months of Reformer Pilates

    Jul 12, 17 06:44 PM

    Hi, I had a total right hip replacement 8 months ago; I rehabbed really quickly, although I was also (and still am) dealing with L4 spondylolisthesis.

    Read More

  3. Exercise for People with Scoliosis

    Jul 01, 17 08:28 PM

    The best exercise for people with scoliosis will depend on what type of curvature you have. With an "S" stabilize the spine, with a "C" stretch one side and strengthen the other.

    Read More

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
Visit Jennifer's profile on Pinterest.
Check Out Our #1 Recommended Ebook For Lasting Relief!

Get Instant Access to Loads of Color Pictures, Postures, and Information Designed to Increase Comfort and Happiness.

Learn to Enjoy Life Again!

Learn More!