Pilates Exercise of the Month: Single Leg Circles

Purpose: To improve flexibility and range of motion at your hip joint and challenge abdominals.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.
  2. Press your shoulders and arms (palms down) into the mat and keep your neck long.
  3. Straighten one leg to the ceiling and turn it out slightly from the hip.
  4. Draw a circle with your leg. That is, move your leg across the center of your body, then lower it, bring it around the other side and up; pause at the top.
  5. Do not let your leg swing too far right or left (outside your hip joint). The motion of the leg should not cause you to roll off to one side or arch your back.
  6. Repeat 5-8 times on each leg, inhaling as you circle your leg, exhaling as you pause. Then, reverse direction.

Checklist:

  • Anchor your pelvis and do not shrug your shoulders.
  • Avoid lifting your chin and crunching the back of your neck.
  • Remember to draw your navel in and up, hollowing out your midsection.

Goal: Remain very still in your upper body, keep pelvis level and control the circling movement of your leg from your core.

Progression: Straighten your floor leg (not bent anymore). And, make your circles of the straight leg a little bigger each time if you can keep your back and pelvis still.

Note: If any popping of hip occurs, bend your knee and draws the circles with the knee bent.

Visualization: Imagine drawing circles on the ceiling with your leg.

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