Pilates has the advantage that the exercises can be carried out not only in the gym or in a sports course, but also at home. Depending on whether you prefer to train on your own or in a group. All you need for the full-body workout is a non-slip mat and comfortable workout clothes. You can use suitable fitness accessories to support this, such as a Pilates roller or a Pilates ring (also known as a Magic Circle). The latter was specially designed to intensify exercises while standing, sitting or lying down. You can find out exactly how this works below.
As the name already suggests, it is an elastic training ring, usually made of non-slip fiberglass or plastic and rubber. What all models have in common: They have two curved handles that face each other and are intended to make it easier to use the Pilates ring with your hands or legs. Depending on the manufacturer, the inside and outside of the handles are usually additionally padded with foam to increase comfort when training the abdominal, leg, arm, back, chest or pelvic floor muscles. And that's not all the advantages.
Since a Pilates ring is suitable for both beginners and experienced athletes, it can be seen as an ideal supplement to intensify training. This is not the only advantage that the fitness gadget offers:
Lie on your stomach on the Pilates mat, take the ring and place it behind your back with both hands. Make sure your legs are flat on the floor and your gaze is on the mat so that your spine is lengthened by your neck. Now comes the hard part: exhale and tighten your abs and back muscles while only slightly raising your torso. Push the Pilates ring away from you towards your feet. Exhale and let the muscles relax again.
Tip: Repeat the exercise 15 times in two sets.
Sit on the mat with your bottom and feet touching the floor. Take the Pilates ring in both hands and push it away from you at shoulder height (with your arms outstretched). Your head is straight and you are looking straight ahead. Now inhale and as you exhale lower your upper body towards the mat until it touches the floor. Breathe in again and come back to your starting position. Throughout the exercise, make sure your shoulders remain down and not up.
Tip: Repeat the exercise ten to 15 times in three sets.
Your arms can also be trained with a so-called Magic Circle. To do this, hold the Pilates ring with both hands (your arms are not fully extended) over your head. Tighten your abs and glutes and as you breathe out, pull the ring apart as far as you can – then squeeze it back in tight. During the exercise, make sure that your back always stays straight during the workout.
Tip: Repeat the exercise five times in two sets.
Lie on your back and plant your feet so your knees are bent. Take the Pilates ring with both hands and push it straight away from you. Raise one leg and place the corresponding foot in the inner ring. The exercise now consists of pushing your leg against the ring with each exhalation – and then releasing it again. Always switch legs one at a time.
Tip: Repeat the exercise 15 times in two sets (per side).
If you want to train your thighs, you can use another exercise: Lie back on your back and bend your legs. Then clamp the Pilates ring between your knees and squeeze them together as you exhale. Hold this position for a moment and release as you inhale.
Tip: Repeat the exercise 20 times in three sets.
Sit cross-legged on your Pilates mat and again grasp the ring with both hands. Hold it in front of your upper body in such a way that your arms form a right angle to it. Keep your back straight, look ahead, and engage your abs (the power house). Now squeeze the ring for a few seconds while exhaling and release it again while inhaling.
Tip: Repeat the exercise 20 times for two or three sets.
Lie sideways on the mat and clamp the Pilates ring between your legs at ankle height. Use your arms to stabilize your torso. Take a deep breath and lift both legs up on the exhale. Inhale again and lower your legs back to the floor. Relax your arms or pelvis from time to time if you feel tense. You decide the pace yourself.
Tip: Repeat the exercise 15 to 20 times with two sets per side.
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