WHAT IS A MAGIC CIRCLE?
What the heck is a magic circle, or Pilates ring? Is it really essential for health? I’ve always tried to be a minimalist Pilates instructor. An instructor for the hard working masses, if you will. It’s essential for everyone to have good posture and balanced muscle groups and it shouldn’t take a lot of stuff or expense to achieve this! The magic circle, or Pilates ring is a useful, lightweight piece of resistance equipment that helps activate the muscles that draw your shoulders down when used for the upper body. For the lower body, it helps activate little used muscles around the hips. That’s all. I used to say it was non essential. I’ve really started to change my tune as I’m aging, though. This post is focusing on the essential lower body benefit.
WHY DO I NEED IT?
The muscles around the hips and glutes are in need of a serious wake-up call. We all only walk and sit far too much. These muscles are made to rotate, stabilizers are supposed to stabilize and adductors and abductors are much like unemployed willing workers in these areas. Many of us even rotate our hips too internally or externally while walking, creating spinal problems from simply everyday walking. We all need to become aware of healthy hip rotation.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MAGIC CIRCLE: MEDIUM CIRCLE ROUTINE
Above, Michelle is doing an essential routine that improves functionality and gives any athlete an edge! Focus on stabilizing the spine and hip bones by gently activating your pelvic floor muscles.
- Draw 8 slow motion basketball sized circles forward than backward, linger in each angle. I mean slowww!!!
- 8 in neutral forward, 8 in neutral backward
- 8 in external rotation forward, then backward
- 8 in internal rotation forward, then backward
- take a break in between each set, do other leg
ESSENTIAL MAGIC CIRCLE ROUTINE
Jeff is improving his hip functionality in much less time by adding the Pilates ring resistance
First, put Pilates ring on the outside above ankles and maintain a gentle press outward (pictured)
- lift up and down 8 counts of 8 in all 3 rotations then…
Next, put Pilates ring on inside and maintain gentle press together
- lift up and down 8 counts of 8 in all 3 rotations
There really isn’t such a simple piece of equipment out there that can give us this result. When I started instructing, magic circles were about $30. Now the trend has died but the usefulness has not. I see them for $5 lately, and it is well worth the investment! I hope I don’t shatter my minimalist reputation over this, but if I do I believe it is worth it!