Do you have a treadmill that just sits and collects dust or maybe functions as a clothes hanger? We’ve all bought some home fitness equipment thinking we would use it only have it sit collecting dust. My favorite home fitness equipment are things that are inexpensive, don’t take up a lot of room and can easily be used in lots of different ways!
One of my absolute favorite pieces of at home fitness equipment was created by Pilates creator Joseph Pilates. This inexpensive prop can usually be purchased for $20-$40 and can easily be used to help you build and maintain strength and fine tune your Pilates practice! It also fits nicely in your suitcase when you travel!
Here’s how it works:
- By placing the magic circle between the palms of your hands when your arms are straight you give your upper body something to press into helping the muscles in your arms, shoulders and back activate and engage. When you keep this engagement throughout an exercise you are strengthening all of those muscles and building endurance in them. I’ll warn you…this seems simple but when you do it you’ll feel feel your muscles working and tiring to keep the engagement( which is never a bad thing!) In the videos below we show how to do this for a variety of Pilates exercises. As you could imagine, the possibilities are endless of where you could add this technique into exercises you are already doing.
- To change the “work” and strengthen some of the opposing muscles in your shoulders, arms and back simply put your hands on the inside of the circle and gently press outward, a s if you were trying to turn your circle into an oval!)
- Similar to placing the circle between the palms, we can place the magic circle between the lower legs to work on engagement, strength and endurance in the muscles of the legs and hips .
- Just like we did with the arms we can take our legs inside the circle and press gently out which will take the focus to the muscles that open our legs ( abductors) giving you a nice balanced strengthening routine!
- Besides enhancing your Pilates exercises the Magic Circle can also be used for a variety of general strength training exercises (We are pretty sure Suzanne Summer’s Thigh Master got it’s inspiration from the Magic Circle!)
Want to do strengthening and toning exercises at home but don’t want to have a bunch a free weights around and fitness equipment around? The magic circle can be used to strengthen and tone arms, shoulders, inner thighs, outer thighs with some very simple exercises.
Check out the videos below for some ideas on how to use your Magic Circle!!