Pilates Exercise of the Month: Side Kick Series: Small Circles

PURPOSE:  Small Circles (or Top Leg Circles) work the buttocks and thighs. This the 3rd exercise of the Side KIck series.

SET UP:  Lie on your side and align your body against the back edge of the mat.  Prop your head up on one hand and place the palm of the other hand on the mat in front of you.  Position your legs in a 45 degree angle in front of your body.  Feet are slightly turned out in a Pilates V.

1.  Lift your top leg so it is in line with the hip.  Begin circling the top leg in a small and swift motion, brushing the top heel past the bottom heel each time around.

2. Complete 5-8 circles, then repeat in the opposite direction.  End by resting the heels together, toes turned out in Pilates V.


If you experience discomfort in your shoulder, wrist or neck, lay your head down on your arm.  You can also use a rolled up towel under your neck for added support.

Head to Toe Checklist:

Upper body is flush against the mat.

Use your abdominals to maintain stability in your upper body so you don’t rock back and forth.

Top leg is straight as you circle; keep your heel down; toes and knee face up.

Don’t let leg rotate inward (toe to floor).

Think of controlled movements; working the circles from the hip joint.


Imagine you are circling your leg inside a small hula hoop.

Small Circles




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