Pilates teachers (and yoga teachers) let’s make the simple leg circle a more effective, more interesting, more creative exercise!
Feel the weight of your sacrum on the ground.Move back and forth until you’re aware of the feeling of your skin meeting your pants, and then how your pants meet the mat.Slooooowly lift your leg, using the strap to take the weight. Don’t worry about how high your leg goes. Put all your attention to feeling for how and when your sacrum moves. When is the moment your pants shift on the ground? When do you roll towards your waistband, even a little bit? Do your circles there, even if that means your leg is nowhere close to vertical. We’re adding variety to your movement vocabulary by circling in a place that isn’t your habit.
Start by just circling the way your brain wants you to go. Don’t worry about doing it “right”, just make circles. Notice how that feels and how your body responds.Now go fast. Circle quickly and see what happens. What are your core, leg and hip muscles doing now. How much does your torso rock back and forth? Pay attention to the position of your bottom hip, shoulder and ribs on the floor. Are they staying still or shifting?Now keep your torso totally still. Imagine your whole upper body encased in a supportive wrapping that keeps it heavy and still. Keep equal length between your ribs and hips on both sides. Now circle your leg as fast as you can WITHOUT letting that wrapping unroll, without letting yourself rock back and forth. Now what do your abs do? How much hip work are you getting?Now slow it down. Imagine your leg weighs a thousand pounds and you’re drawing a circle on the wall. You have to reach your leg long to get to the wall and it’s so heavy! How does your torso move? Or not move? What happens when you add your imaginary wrapping back on? Does that change your stability? And how much hip work are you getting now? Is it the same or different as when you moved quickly?
I’m the owner of Boomerang Pilates and creator of the Move SMART program. I teach teachers how to incorporate sustainable movement and authentic teaching in their classes.