It doesn’t matter if you enjoy Pilates or yoga, learning how to use a Pilates ring during ab exercises will have huge benefits for your core muscles.
Also known as the “Magic Circle,” a compact, lightweight piece of equipment helps activate and strengthen your abs during exercises. The best part is, you don’t need a gym or heavy weights for this ab workout, just your pilates ring, one of the best yoga mats, and these bodyweight ab exercises.
Here are the benefits of Pilates rings and five ways to burn your abs in less than 20 minutes from anywhere, whether you’re home for the holidays or traveling on vacation.
What are 5 Pilates Ring Ab Exercises to Strengthen Your Core?
These five beginner Pilates ring exercises increase 360-degree core activation, helping you target more muscles than your abs, such as the obliques and deep core muscles responsible for posture and stabilization.
The Magic Circle Ab Series by Jeni DelPozo doesn’t specify reps or sets, so we created a short 15-minute workout to follow. Remember to work within your current capacity and scale reps and sets if necessary. If you are returning to exercise from an injury or pregnancy, always seek medical advice before starting a new exercise routine.
Here are the Pilates ring ab exercises:
1. Pilates Ring Single-Leg Stretch
Begin on your back by bending your knees and lifting your legs off the mat. Press your Pilates ring against your left thigh, then extend your right leg away from you while engaging your abs and pushing against the ring. Return your right leg to the starting position and complete reps on one side before switching sides.
2. Pilates Ring Single-Leg Lower Lift
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet off the floor, and the Pilates ring pressed against your left thigh. Engage your abs, then raise and lower your right leg with control. Complete reps on one side before moving to the other side.
3. Pilates Ring Leg Raise
Lie on your back and place the Pilates ring between your thighs or above your ankles. Press against the ring to engage your legs, then brace your stomach, lift your upper body off the mat, and place your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together, then drive your legs up and down with control to perform your leg raises.
Set the Pilates ring against your left shin above the ankle and press your right palm to the other side, extending both legs into the air and lifting your upper body off the mat. Keep your right arm straight above you and hold the position. With control, raise and lower your leg while pressing your back to the floor. Switch sides. Here’s how to do scissor kicks in more detail to help level up your technique.
Lie on your back and place your pilates ring against your right thigh with your right leg bent in the air. At the same time keep your left elbow opposite, holding the ring on your stomach. Lift your upper back, engage your core, and extend your left leg into the air with the toe pointed. From this starting position, try to crush your circle using your elbow and knee using a pulsing motion. Switch sides.
A 5-move 15-minute Pilates ring ab workout to try from your yoga mat
Watch the video above to keep your form in check and learn how to do each Pilates ab exercise correctly. Engage your abs and control the movement without keeping your lower back off the mat or putting pressure on your lower back.
Work for 50 seconds, switching sides after 25 seconds for single-sided exercises. Rest for 10 seconds, then move on to the next exercise and complete 3 rounds.
Add rounds for a more intense ab workout. If you don’t want to switch sides halfway through, do one round on your left side, then one round on your right side, and join in the last round.
Pilates rings are easily accessible pieces of resistance equipment made of rubber. They have small cushions on either side and can be placed between your arms, hands or legs to help activate each major muscle group and your smaller stabilizer muscles. The same goes for yoga blocks, although they give less, which is why this yoga block ab workout is worth trying if you’re traveling or short on equipment.
Using one regularly will help you build strength and muscle tone throughout your entire body, including your arms, shoulders, back, core, chest, thighs and glutes, as well as build balance, stability, flexibility and mobility. We recommend engaging in resistance-based training several times a week for the best results for your abs.
Squeezing your Pilates ring hard in or pushing inward to the outside will help the muscles work harder. You can add a Pilates ring to help increase the intensity of any bodyweight exercise, ab routine, or warmup. During this exercise, practice squeezing as many muscles as possible and press against the pilates ring at all times and remember to breathe deeply into your belly, not your chest.
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