We all know how much we love the magic ring! Here are a couple of pointers to get the most out of the ring for your next workout! Thanks Pilates Style Magazine for the pointers! PILATES STYLE - LIVE LIFE TO THE CORE December 11, 2012 Ring of Fire: Feel the Burn with the Magic Circle! Web Editor by Kris­ten Matthews

Every time I tell my clients we’re going to use the Magic Cir­cle, more often than not the response I get is “there is no magic in the circle,” and we all laugh. They view it more as a nec­es­sary evil, know­ing it pro­duces results. So when I was try­ing to think of a name for a Pilates Magic Cir­cle work­shop, Ring of Fire seemed apro­pos, and because I per­son­al­ly love John­ny Cash, I couldn’t resist.

While the Cir­cle, one of Joseph Pilates’ inven­tions, doesn’t actu­al­ly offer magic, it can add vari­ety to your work­out, chal­lenge your core, help to increase your flex­i­bil­i­ty, tone your arms, back and chest, and sculpt your butt and legs. The best part is you can buy one at any sport­ing goods store. If you want­ed, you could prob­a­bly bring it with you on vaca­tion and not skip a beat with your Pilates work­outs!

I per­son­al­ly love the Cir­cle as I truly feel it helps to tar­get hard-to-reach areas. When I want an intense work­out but don’t have a full hour to spare, I’ll grab the prop and choose exer­cis­es I feel are the most effec­tive for the whole body. I always add in a stretch that I find extreme­ly help­ful for tight­ness in the legs and hips. So grab your Cir­cle and be pre­pared to feel the burn with this work­out, cen­tered around the “ring of fire.”

PART 1

The Hun­dred

1. Lie on your back, and place the Cir­cle between your ankles. Bring your knees to table­top

2. With your arms long by your side, lift your head and shoul­ders off the floor, and extend your legs to 45 degrees.

3. Start to vig­or­ous­ly pump your arms between your hips and knees, breath­ing in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts. Do 10 rep­e­ti­tions.

Tips:

• Work the backs of your thighs toward one anoth­er.

• Length­en your legs out of your hips as you pull your low ribs toward your spine.

• Have ener­gy reach­ing out of the tips of your fin­gers and your toes the entire time.

Double-Leg Stretch

1. Lie on your back, and place the Cir­cle between the heels of your hands so that your thumb and fin­gers are on the same side.

2. Bring your knees into your chest, lift your head and shoul­ders off the floor, and hover the Cir­cle over your shins.

3. Inhale to stretch your arms back so your biceps end up next to your ears as you simul­ta­ne­ous­ly extend your legs out to 45 degrees.

4. Exhale to bring your knees back into your chest and your arms toward your shins, this time thread­ing your legs through the Cir­cle and extend­ing them out to 45 degrees.

5. Inhale to bend your knees again, tak­ing your legs from between the Cir­cle so that you can reach your arms back up by your ears and your legs back out to 45 degrees. Do 8–10 rep­e­ti­tions.

Tips:

• Use your biceps to press the Cir­cle and watch that you don’t lock your elbows.

• Keep your inner thighs glued togeth­er as if they are one unit.

• Work your low ribs into the mat to help pre­vent your upper body from falling back.

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