How to Do a One Leg Circle in Pilates
As a beginner, you want to
Hi! This is Katrina Hawley for About.com. Today, we want to demonstrate how to do the single leg circle in Pilates.It's very important to have a mat that's very firm, but also soft so that when lying on your spine, your back is protected. The purpose of this exercise is to use your abdominals to keep your spine stable and still, moving your leg independently.As a beginner, you want to lie on your back. You'll have one leg bent, with the foot planted on the floor, and pick up the other knee and hold it in a 90/90 position.Begin circling the thigh. Inhale as you bring the leg toward you, exhale as you open it out and roll it around. Very easy - you want your femur bone to move easily in the hip socket, using your abdominal muscles to keep your pelvis stable.The first way to progress this exercise as you're going is to straighten out the leg that's on the floor. So you have one leg - the leg that's still in the air, still bent. Inhale, circle that leg towards you and open it out, exhale, bring it around. You can go in both directions. You can inhale as you open it out, exhale as you come up.Remember as you do these exercises, you want to protect your low back - use your low abs. You don't want your pelvis to rock from side-to-side - you want your pelvis to remain still.If you want to continue progressing this exercise, the next step is to have both legs be long and straight, stretching through your toes and your heels. Inhale still as you circle your leg towards you, exhale as you lower it down. Inhale and exhale. As long as you can keep your pelvis still, you can begin to make the leg circle bigger. You can circle it towards you more, open it out more, lower it down more. The bigger the circle, the more important it is to keep your pelvis stable. This protects your low back, this protects your ribcage. You also want to be easy in your head, neck and shoulders. Open your shoulder and your collarbones as you inhale, keep them open as you exhale.You can also use the Theraband. This turns the exercise into more of a hamstring stretch than a quad workout. You still use the same breath - inhale as you circle your leg, exhale as you lower it down - only this time, you're reaching your heel for the ceiling, to really find all the length that you can in the hamstring. It makes it more of a dynamic stretch as opposed to a static stretch.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.