How to do a Pilates One leg Circle Exercise

One leg circle Pilates exercise

What does Pilates One leg Circle Exercise do?

This exercise challenges the rotatory control of the spine and pelvis with multidirectional movement of the leg. It also engages the body’s anterior oblique sling (consisting of internal and external oblique’s and opposite adductor muscles).

One leg circle can also be used as a great exercise to mobilise the hip joint. This exercise will also stretch the hamstring and iliopsoas muscles when the leg is in an extended position.

Description

Starting position; Lying on your back with both knees bent, arms down by your side, pelvis in a neutral position and core engaged.

Inhale to prepare. Exhale to float one leg into single table top position. Inhale to hold. Exhale as you circle the leg away in a clockwise direction and inhale as you circle the leg back. Repeat for 30 seconds. Then repeat in an anti-clockwise direction. Repeat on each side.

The knee remains bent (in a flexed position) throughout the movement. ‘Imagine there is a pencil on the end of your knee and you are drawing a circle onto the ceiling’.

Video demonstration

Progression with leg extended

Starting position; Lying on your back with both knees bent, arms down by your side, pelvis in a neutral position and core engaged.

Inhale to prepare. Exhale to float one leg into single table top position, and then extend the knee. Inhale to hold. Exhale as you circle the leg away in a clockwise direction and inhale as you circle the leg back. Repeat for 30 seconds. Then repeat in an anti-clockwise direction. Repeat each side.

Progression with both legs extended

Starting position; Lying on your back, arms down by your side, pelvis in a neutral position and core engaged, extend the right leg towards the ceiling and extend the left leg along the mat.

Inhale to prepare. Exhale and circle the right leg away from the midline, keeping the leg long. Inhale as you circle the leg inwards to complete the circle. Repeat for 30 seconds then change direction.

Variations

– Rest the ankle of the unsupported leg on a swiss ball to reduce the load through the hip joint.

– Use resistance band to assist and stretch the extended circling leg.

Top Tips

– Imagine you are drawing a circle on the ceiling with your toes or knee

– Watch for rotation of the pelvis as your hip is circling

Avoid Doing this exercise if:

– Sciatic nerve sensitivity or irritation in your leg.

– If you have acute low back pain or sacroiliac pain

– If you have an acute groin strain

– If your hamstring length is severely limited

If you are unsure whether this exercise is suitable for you, you should always seek professional medical advice.

See more Pilates exercises


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