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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.