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Video:How to Use a Magic Circle to Tone Your Inner Thigh

with Laurie Johnson

The magic circle can intensify Pilates inner thigh exercises and help ensure proper form. Watch this exercise video from About.com to learn how to incorporate the magic circle in your Pilates routine.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Use a Magic Circle to Tone Your Inner Thigh

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Hi! This is Laurie Johnson for About.com, and today we're going to talk about how to use a Pilates magic circle to tone your inner thighs.

Incorporate the Magic Circle in Mat Pilates

The circle is a fantastic piece of small apparatus that you can use to make Pilates exercises more challenging. You're going to want to do these exercises lying on a mat - firm enough to help you keep your alignment, but soft enough to be comfortable for your body.

Proper Form for Magic Circle Exercise

You're going to place the circle between your knees and walk your feet out wide, and place it so it's comfortable. In this position, you're going to want to keep a neutral spine, so Jenny's tailbone is heavy on the mat and her lower back is nice and light. So keep that position the whole time.

The Pilates Bridge with the Magic Circle

Take a great big inhale to prepare. As you exhale, you'll use those upper abs to curl your head, neck and shoulders, and give that circle a squeeze. And then inhale and release down. Now as you're squeezing the circle, squeeze from up high on your inner thigh - no so much that the circle is actually touching your knees. Again, as your head lifts and you're squeezing the circle, keep everything in your pelvis neutral and stable. As you exhale, you're going to roll the pelvis toward you, pressing your lower back into the mat. Slowly start rolling yourself into a bridge.

Once you're at the top of the bridge, you'll squeeze the circle three or four times - again, initiating with those upper inner thighs. Then nice and slow, you're going to roll down one vertebrae at a time. And exhale. Engage those abdominal muscles, roll the pelvis towards you, and all the way up your spine. This is exercise is working both the abdominal muscles and the inner thighs and looking to find spinal mobility. Give the circle three or squeezes and bring it down.

Side Pilates Exercises with the Magic Circle

Now beginners can angle their legs forward about 30 degrees to aid their stability. Once you become more advanced, you can bring your legs straight back beneath you. Your head can be lying down on your bottom arm, or your head can be propped up - whichever position is more comfortable.

The important thing is keeping the stability by keeping one hip stacked on top of another. Don't let this hip roll forward or back at any point. As you exhale, you're going to engage these abdominal muscles to hold your stability, then squeeze your inner thighs. And release. And as you exhale, belly muscles pull in, inner thighs squeeze, keeping the pelvis stacked.

To make this exercise slightly more challenging, you can lift both legs up, keeping your weight in your bottom hip, keeping your bottom waist nice and light. Scoop the belly muscles and then squeeze.

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