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What is a Pilates Magic Circle?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated Feb 24, 2024
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The pilates magic circle is a lightweight, portable fitness tool that is used in the traditional fitness art of pilates. Pilates relies on some underlying concepts about how the body works. This practice provides agility, range of motion, balance, core strength, and other fitness benefits through a mix of body positioning and force vectors.

The pilates magic circle, also called a windsor ring or pilates ring, is a circular piece of plastic that the user holds for poses during a pilates session. It may include two padded handles on the side to accommodate some common poses. This flexible ring helps to provide some of the light resistance that is key to getting muscle tone with pilates.

Resistance happens whenever the body encounters a physical challenge. The pilates magic circle provides resistance when the user presses in on it. Its flexible design provides a specific amount of resistance that experts have calculated after testing various models for their long-term fitness benefits.

Some common uses of the pilates ring include pushing in on the ring with both arms. The user can also press against the pilates magic circle with the thighs or other areas of the lower body. This tool can be used for both upper body and lower body pilates work, and it's a frequent addition to a simple pilates tool kit.

The pilates ring and related exercises may be part of an individual pilates session or group pilates training. Pilates group classes are offered in many gyms and public health clubs. Although pilates is in some ways similar to the fitness art of yoga, pilates tends to rely less on conceptual poses, and more on specific body challenges.

In addition to small tools like the pilates magic circle, those who choose pilates often use larger items. The biggest piece of equipment for pilates is usually the pilates reformer. A reformer is often a full size machine that individuals use to train multiple upper and lower body muscle groups. The reformer provides hooks, bars, and other attachments for hooking up the body in a variety of different poses. It is the comprehensive "helper" or training tool that guides the body through the range of pilates poses.

Along with the pilates reformer, a trainer can use smaller equipment items like a pilates table or a pilates chair to provide comprehensive guidance for the body. Some choose to use a reformer or larger machine. Others rely solely on tools like the pilates magic circle that they can carry with them wherever they go.

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