Updated: Apr 18
The magic circle is an iconic piece of mat based Pilates equipment and is often seen in Pilates photographs.
Have you ever used a magic circle before?
Ever wondered what it actually does?
Read on to discover everything you need to know about this famous piece of equipment.
This strange looking piece of equipment barely makes my favourite top five. It is an odd piece of equipment and I really, really want to love it as much as all the others. But unfortunately it mainly makes my list because of how recognisable and photogenic it is because, lets face it, it looks very good on camera.
I personally find it a little unwieldy to use, and it is definitely amongst the more problematic pieces of equipment in terms of bulk, storage and transportation.
I have, however, used one in a couple of films for my gold members on the website. For me it has its limitations, it can't really be used to assist, adapt or modify an exercise only really to progress. It is often used as a focal point but I don't find it as easy to use in this way as the mini ball. Because of these facts it's not something i've yet bought for use in my group classes.
You mainly use the circle between your hands, thighs, ankles or feet and push in as you are performing an exercise. It can also be used the other way by placing it around the outside of the hands, feet or thighs and pushing out. I do quite like it for upper body and arm work as it adds in something that can often be lacking in a mat based Pilates class.
Despite my misgivings it is a popular piece of equipment to use in home workouts and there are many different brands and colours available to buy. Since I don't have a great deal of experience with the magic circle I did my research before buying one for The Studio. It doesn't seem like there is a lot of variety in style/type other than some are covered/padded and some are not, the resistance and size seemed to be very similar across the board.
The difference I found was mainly in price so it really depends on your budget as to which one to buy. I went cheep as I didn't want to waste money if it didn't get used and I went for a covered circle as I thought it might just be that little bit more comfortable but to be honest since you mainly push or squeeze on the handles I don't think it actually made much difference.
Buying a magic circle might be a little trickier than other pieces of equipment. Being a slightly more specialised piece of equipment you are less likely to find it in the supermarkets but there are quite a few on Amazon and they can be found on websites dedicated to sports, PT and Pilates equipment such as The Physical Company. Surprisingly I did once see it in the middle aisle of Aldi. I haven't seen called anything other than a magic circle, Pilates circle, Pilates ring or exercise circle.
What do you think of the magic circle?
I in no way looked this graceful when using my magic circle so if you ever see the film please don't judge...
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