Workout that targets your glutes and your abs
Hello, if you are looking for a 30-minute Pilates magic circle workout that’s going to target your glutes and your abs you’ve arrived. This workout is going to work your entire body though, we’ll have to strengthen everything from the center on out. We will be using a magic circle. If you don’t have one, we’ve got a link below so you can join us in the next round.
I’m Lesley Logan. I’ve been teaching Pilates since 2008. Yep, that’s over 14 years at this point. I’m so excited to get this workout in your body. We have lots of reformer, mat, tower, wunda chair workouts here on this channel. But this is your magic circle workout. And I’m excited to get you moving. If you have any questions, comments, wonders or worries during this workout, put them in the comments below. I will talk about them in my next live every Sunday at 9am Pacific Time. Make sure you subscribe to this channel. So you never miss one of our workouts or tutorials or tips.
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Alright, we’re gonna get started with the magic circle, I promise that we’ll have time without the magic circle as well because it’s important for you to see how your glutes and abs are working without the prop. So we won’t torture you with the circle for the whole 30 minutes.
Follow this exercise list:
- 1. Hundred on the Mat
- 2. Double Leg Stretch
- 3. Spine Stretch Forward
- 4. Hamstring Curls
- 5. Thigh Stretch
- 6. Roll Up
- 7. Shoulder Bridge
- 8. Spine Twist
- 9. Jackknife
- 10. Rolling like a ball
- 11. Side Leg Kick
- 12. Teaser
- 13. Hip Circles
- 14. Swimming
- 15. Leg Pull
- 16. Table
- 17. Kneeling Side Kicks
- 18. Seal
- 19. Push Ups
Ankle on top of the Magic Circle
But we’ll start with the ankle on top of the circle. So I love to do this is a wake up what I call your thass where your thigh meets your booty and you push down into the circle and you lift up and it’s not about trying to break the circle, you want to feel like I’ve got my hand here where my thigh meets my booty. And I’m just going to push down from my thigh, not my knee so I can get this area to turn on. Because whether or not you have to feel like you have this connection, these muscles do exist in your body. And these are the muscles that we need to turn on in every Pilates workout without the magic circle so we can stay out of those hip flexors. Not that we’re not going to use them, but just so they’re not burning and freaking out. Let’s do two more. And then go ahead and come all the way up and switch your legs. So ankle goes on top, and we go down and up. So some people like to do with their feet. I personally like to sit up it’s just another setup. Right? So may as well get it in. And we press and again, it’s tempting to try to jam your knee down to do this. It’s not about breaking the circle, just feel the hamstring and glute turn on. This will lift your booty I promise you. I promise you, I managed to keep mine up for forty years now. Alright, we’ll do a couple more. And then come all the way up.
Now place both ankles. So move the circle to the center of your mat, and place both ankles. And I like to just do this to kind of teach us how we stretch both legs away. So squeeze the back of your leg some of the circle down and up. Two more. So it’s not like the burden of doing like tons of squats, but you can feel like it’s way more engaging. It’s getting a lot deeper muscles, not just our big ones. And then go ahead and come all the way up. Now we’ve got the back of our legs turned on. Let’s place a circle between our ankles, you can place your hands underneath your hips here. Especially if you’ve got anything on your lower back or behind your head. It makes it harder to curl your head and chest up hello abs. Push the legs out and in. So you’re just going to attend to these and the legs are not falling into us. Our abdominals are helping us pull those legs in and then those glutes we just turned on are supporting those legs as they go out. The chest stays up for 10 of these. If your chest keeps dropping down, you’re losing your abs. Last one and bend it in.
Try to destabilize your abdominals using your arms
All right, place the circle off to the side just for a moment. Take your legs long on the mat, and squeeze them tight together. And then feel like you’re pushing your heels down into an imaginary circle. Arms come up, lift the head and chest up pump your arms for your 100 here. So use the arms to try to destabilize your abdominals, your abdominals or help hold you up. You’ve got obliques working here. And then those heels are digging down so that we actually can keep our outer hips and our glutes on. Sometimes when we lift our legs up if you’re not used to keeping those hips, working it can go and can take it out of the glutes here. So I’m keeping this in the glutes by having our leg stay down. Two more cycles of breathing and rest. Grab the circle. Roll on up. Place your feet inside the circle make sure the circle is like a Saturn ring. Flex those ankles.
So I have a strap on my mat. If you don’t, this particular version of the magic circle can make the ropes way more accessible. So arms go up to the sky and push the circle apart when you push a circle apart from your thighs you’ll feel your glutes turn on. Press out on the circle and the hardest part is you round for it and the pulses are little crunches 1 2 3. How nice of Joe Pilates to give us these little pulses to help us work our abdominals a little bit more. And again roll down and pulse 1 2 3. You want to make this more abdominal workout, then what you do is you keep your arms by your ear. So as your head and chest come up, your arms stay by your ears, that makes your upper body heavier, your abdominals have to work more. And on the way down your arm stand by your ears, and you have to resist that. Let’s do two more together. So our hips are working. Abdominals are working. Last one, ooh, little shakes on the bottom, I love that. I do I love it. That’s what it means anything more or less if you have them or you don’t. Find more arm exercises using the magic circle here.
Take the Magic Circle underneath the ankle
Okay, so sit up again, we will take the circle underneath the ankle one more time. And you will take your arms down by your side, or if you have handles, you can use the handles, and then the leg goes up to the sky. So here’s the deal. If you have hip clicks, that means your glutes off. So you want to take your leg lower and keep it in a range where you can work your glute. And eventually, I’m gonna push down into this magic circle, as my other leg does the circles only as big as I can keep my glute holding on. So I’m circling more like an oval, five circles across the body. And then I reverse and then leg it’s on the magic circle is trying to press down to the magic circle the whole time and not get pushed around or bumped around. And your abdominals are still working, they’re keeping your upper body from moving around, go ahead and sit on up, switch the circle. And push down, find that glute other leg goes up, it should be a little easier on the second side because you’ve been pushing down into that magic circle. If you don’t feel your abdominals engaged here, then there’s a chance that they’re off. Right. And then I want to talk about let’s put it in the comments below. Because I do want to help you with it. It’s not about bracing, right, we do want to feel like they’re engaged the whole time. It might be a breath situation, you might have to watch my breath work video.
Okay, come all the way up. So I know I promise that we do some exercise without the magic circle. We’re not there yet. We’re still warming up the glutes. So put the circle around your knees, and then heels together, toes apart. Let’s do three here, just pushing out on the circle the whole time. That’s going to get all this to turn on. Okay. So once you know that you’ve got this rolling like a ball exercise down with your knees pushing out then what I want you to do is put your elbows on your knees, and then go back and up. And if your elbows come off your knees, it means we lost your abs. So the elbows have to push down onto the knees as we come up and the knees have to push into the elbows as we go back. Last two, last one. Awesome.
Work our glutes on our abs without the prop
Okay, so take the circle off to the side just for a moment, we’re going to do our abs series. I will bring the circle back in just a moment. But we’re gonna see if we can work our glutes on our abs without the prop. Okay, so lift your head and chest up. Pull your elbows wide stretch one leg out that leg that’s out. Can you turn that glued on, pull on this leg, one, two, switch. So every time that leg goes out, see if you can get your glute to isometric contract to support that leg while it’s out there. Your head and chest is curled up supporting you in this position the whole time. One more time each side and bend your knees and going rest for a second double leg stretch. This is a really good challenge for abdominal. So lift your head and chest up heels together, toes apart. First, just read your arms back by your ears and keep your chest up. Cool. Circled arms around, pull it in. Do that again. So you can feel how your chest wants to drop down, your hips go back, it’s got to stay up. So you got to use those abs. Now, the legs, arms and legs reach away, circle around and in. As those legs go out the outer hip squeeze and so you can feel those glutes working. Two more. Last one, rest. Shake that out. Turn your head side to side.
All right legs go up to the sky. Big stretch of the legs here we need to do that. We don’t want to just only work the hamstrings but to stretch them too. Lift your chest up. Grab as high as you can. On your ankle, pull this leg in towards you with your upper back. But push your leg into your hands like it’s a magic that your hands are a magic circle and pull pull switch. The leg that’s free is pushing into an imaginary magic circle down there to work the glute to hold the leg up. And then of course your abs have to hold you up. One more time each side. All right, and release those hands behind your head or place them underneath your hips to protect your lower back, lift your head and chest up. Squeeze the legs together. Push those legs down and lift them up. Remember that magic circle we did the beginning push into an imaginary magic circle to turn those glutes on. We have one more.
Put the Magic Circle on one knee
All right now for fun, because that’s what this is gonna be. It’s gonna be fun. You’re gonna put the circle on one knee. We’re gonna take the elbow opposite elbow to the circle. Hands go behind your head in our lace and push the knee and elbow into the circle and resisted open. And again push, push, push, push, push, and resist, push, push, push, push, push, and resist, we got 5 4 3 2 1. Oh that’s deep. I was at some deep abdominals I get hit there. Awesome other side and again press, press. Five more. All right, if you’re loving this magic circle workout already, let me know below. Let me know if you want more. We like to do magic circle stuff over on our members on my channel, it’s amazing to play with. So place the circle around your feet, we’re going to do a couple spine shorts forwards here so you can feel the glutes. So hands go between the legs or just like above them in a push out in a circle and pulse 1 2 3 and you lift up. Okay, so you feel how your glutes are working as you sit on top of them. That’s important because we’re gonna take the circle away. I know they’ll take it away. And then go ahead and open your legs a little wider. Just about why did your mat and put the circle up? And now can you feel your glutes turn on? Yeah, good.
Use the Magic Circle to get our abs
Now pushing to the circle as you round your upper body. So now we’re using the circle to get our abs after it taught our outer hips and glutes how to work. So if when you’re sitting your hip flexors have a freakout moment, it just means that you need more glutes. And the magic circle is super fun, but we want to use it to teach our body what we need. And then we want to give our body the opportunity to do it on his own. One more time. Okay. So now, place the circles aside and to see can you turn those glutes on and find your abs as you pulse 1 2 3. Oh yeah. If you can’t yet don’t stress out about it. Let me know I’ll talk about it on a future live on a Sunday at 9am Pacific Time because sometimes you just have to build up the connections. And sometimes it’s like a little trick you might be sitting too far back or you might be trying to put your hands past your feet. Last one. Amazing.
Okay, go out into the soles of the feet. Do that just for a moment. And then put your hands behind your head. Push your feet together, fill your glutes turn on, boom, now twist and bend and come up. And twist and bend and come up. So a different way to work your glutes right here. And we’re going to stretch out if your hip flexors have a little freakout of your inner thighs. Last time each way. And you can feel your elbows pushing down into imaginary magic circle. Yeah, boom. All right. So flip onto your stomach, we can work our abs and our glutes without lying on our back, we can actually do it on our stomach too.
Put the Magic Circle out in front of you
So put the circle out in front of you. Put your hands on the circle. Now if this bothers your shoulders, you don’t have to do the hands on the circle. They can just be by your shoulders. You know, reach your tailbone super long, span your inner thighs up, I get a lot of questions what that means it means internal rotation, pigeon toed of the thighs, not the toes but the thighs. And then push into the circle to lift the chest. Lower the chest to lift the circle. And again, pushed into the circle to lift the chest. Lower the chest to lift the circle. So if you are pushing your feet down, reaching your tailbone long, your hamstrings and glutes will fire just enough not so much that you dip into your lower back and they lift your legs but just enough to engage everything equally and evenly. And then your abdominals have to lift up as you push in the circle. So it’s almost like a button you push into the circle your abs lift. Doesn’t mean they’re not touching the ground, but that the energy of the muscles are lifting up. One more ooh, back body’s working.
Put the Magic Circle to the side
All right, put the circle to the side. And now you get to test this out. So you’re propped up here on your forearms, but your abs are working away from gravity. So you’re really pulling that up. And then you kick one heel towards your seat. That’s not hamstring curl. That’s a glute workout, you should feel your glute glute and glute glute. If you don’t I want to know. Let me know. If you’re an OPC member, you can send a video of yourself doing this and I can actually look at your body and give you personal feedback on that. One more time each side. All right, come all the way down. We’re gonna work against gravity here. You can actually hold the magic circle behind your back. I’m gonna be really honest, this is a little bit mean. So you’ll have your hands on the circle so you’re not wrapping your fingers or just long kick three times. So three hamstring curls hello glutes. Then reach the circle up. Oh my God. Hello triceps. And come down and kick 1 2 3 reach. If you’re like Lesley that was really mean. Take your hands behind your back kick three times. So you get that glute work and then when your legs come down, the abdominals have to work away from gravity as you lift your chest. So we’re not letting those abs go kick three times, our core or whole center is working. And rest. Sit back head towards your knees, around your spine, you work your abs away from gravity here. Awesome.
Glutes all the way
Okay, thigh stretch. This is a glute workout, glutes all the way. So, knees work towards each other, even though they’re apart, arms are up. As you lower the arms down, your chest stays open, we’re not back bending, so the abs are working to hold us in a straight line. And then our glutes support us as we lean back, lower the arms lean and lift. And again, lower the arms lean and lift one more time. You should feel all that. Okay, let’s work those glutes and our abs in an advanced version of the roll up. So I like to call the neck pool. It’s not the same but it is so the circle goes back around your feet. Again, if you don’t have a strap, this is a really good way. If you have a strap, you can use a strap just like a magic circle. And then your hands go behind your head. So we’re going to make our upper body heavier by having her hands behind her head. Push your head into your hands. So abs have to work harder to sit on up over those legs. Push out in the circle from your glutes, pulse 1 2 3. Sit tall. And then pull the waist back, back, back. Tap down, up and over and pulse 1 2 3. Sit on up and then pull the waist back, back, back. Last one. Holy moly. And pulse 1 2 3 sit on up. And then pull the waist all the way back. Okay? Hello glutes.
Now, let’s just do a shoulder bridge without a prop for just a second. I just want you to test and see if you can access your glutes without it. So arms down by your side. Roll those hips up. And then march your feet. So little foot lifts 10 really fast on each side. Can you feel the glutes turn on a little bit? If so, way to go. Right, you’re doing a great job. If not, let’s talk about it because maybe your tailbone is tipping down, we lost the abdominal support there. So put the circle outside your knees. So it’s like a little crown. And then you roll the hips up pushing on the circle and you roll them down. So this is a really great way to teach those outer hips how to turn on but you do want to make sure that your inner heel is still pushing into the mat, because we want to work the glutes but not by losing the inner thighs. Okay, one more time.
Let’s test our glutes
Okay, now let’s test our glutes. We’re going to sit up for our spine twist. And we should be able to sit on top of our glutes, not freak our hip flexors out and then work our obliques to twist 1 2 3 center and twist 1 2 3 center and twist 1 2 3 and twist 1 2 3. Okay, jackknife, you can make this a little harder by using the magic circle on the two with the magics are going to without just so you can follow along. Again, we don’t want to use the prop all the time. On this workout, I’m showing you different ways to use it. But our goal is to use it to turn things on and then remove it and test our strength. That’s why Joseph Pilates created the process to teach you a connection. And then you’re supposed to challenge yourself without it.
So jackknife, you don’t have to go all the way up. You could just go overhead. You’ll take the leg overhead parallel, squeeze a circle and then squeeze the outer hips in to squeeze a circle to lift the legs up. And then roll it down. Stretch the legs overhead if you’re like, Are you kidding Lesley, I’m not going overhead. Then you’ll do rolling like a ball or double straight leg stretch or anything else that was a challenge for you. So that was two with now I’m gonna do two without and see if I can get that same strength. So arms can be down by your side if you don’t have the handles. Right. I like to see him a little wider than my mat. So as you can see the abs pull me over my glutes, pull my legs up and my glutes and abs come all the way down and then I reach those legs away into an imaginary magic circle. So glutes and abs to make all that happen now, side legs.
Take your magic circle, bring it to the front of your mat, put your bottom leg inside and then your top leg on top. Okay, so then we’re here and we don’t want our abs just to hang out. So our abs are still working. In fact, you might even be lifting your waist away from the mat depends on the shape of your hips. Okay. So we’re gonna push the circle down 10 times the bottom leg is pushing down to the circle as well. So that glute on the bottom leg is holding the circle up. And then the glue the top leg isn’t just off because it’s gonna help lift this leg up to lift the circle up. Right. Then after 10 take the top leg, put it inside and push out, out, out 10 of these. I swear my, I swear I know my circles not weren’t moving, but I’m my glutes are burning.
Okay, then ready, you’re gonna lift the circle up with both legs and down. So your abs have to support your spine. And we’re not pushing with this hand so that you little spider fingers, and we lift it up. Ooh, hello, glute. Okay, now, top like on top of the circle. Okay, this outer hip is this glutes gonna hold this leg up as I lift and lower my bottom leg. So the top leg doesn’t get to push into the circle for me to lift and lower my bottom line because we got to use the glute to hold the leg up. Magic. Alright, one more thing ready, hot potato to the front, and to the back to the front to the back. Just three more. Oh, my goodness. I know we have to the other side. You’re abs still working. And rest. I asked you because I think mine wanted to take a break. Because it’s hard. It’s so hard. That’s what’s so fun about Pilates. It’s a full body workout in every exercise, I’m telling you about the abs and the glutes. But I’ve already been working in your upper back, I’ve already been working your arms and every other part of your body, we just haven’t focused on it. But it’s they’re still working because otherwise you couldn’t make the exercise happen doesn’t work like that. So we set up on the other side, push that bottom leg down, and then down and up with the circle. It’s why I like it. Because I can do a mat workout and work my entire body out in 30 minutes. And I don’t need to have access to a gym or equipment. And so when I’m traveling, it’s like it’s there for me, right?
Take the leg, put it inside and push out on the circle. And yes, it’s nice to have access to the equipment when we have access to uh, but I don’t have to have access to kettlebells or barbells. I love those training activities but they can be limited right especially if you’re traveling. Now the top leg goes on top, the glute turns on to hold it on my abs are supporting my upper bicep not sinking into my waist and the bottom leg lifts up and down. All right, and the top leg goes up and over half potato five times. And rest. Okay, so we are going to put the circle to the side you are going to do teaser. Teaser is not a peak pose and Pilates but it is a way to do a barometer checkup like how strong we’re getting. How much we’re working the abs and the glutes, right. So you can do a rolling like a ball, squeeze the glutes reach out and land into your teaser. Or here we go, straighten the legs out. Squeeze them together. Roll up past your 100 into your teaser. Now leave the legs out of the glutes hold on to them arms go up and your upper body goes down and up three times. Hello abdominals. And then you hold your abdominals up into you to lift your body up as the legs go up and down and then the glutes take the legs down and lift them up three times and then everything down. So everything’s working everything up. Everything down everything up. One more time. Rest. Okay.
If you want to do some hip circles here, it’s a great way to test your glutes otherwise your foot onto your stomach. Just in case you are advanced and you want to have access to that. You’re warmed up. Take your arms out in front of you lay on your stomach, and you can have the magic circle here. If you want to swim higher. I just want us to focus on our abdominals working away from gravity though. So can you reach your tailbone long, feel your abdominals engaged and then lift your legs up and swim and really swim the inner thighs upset pigeon toed feeling and your femurs so your glutes are working, but your abdominals are working away from gravity. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale, one more and sit back around your spine. So now the leg pull exercise you can do in all four arms and legs and just reach one leg out and one leg out. Okay, those kickbacks will be your glutes and your abs working from gravity. Otherwise, you’re in a plank. And without lifting our hips, we lift the leg so our glute turns on we rock forward and back switch. So those legs are doing what they didn’t swimming, but now we’re working even further away from gravity. So our abs really have to work. Our glutes are working to keep our hips still and then we flip over. So you can do table here. That’ll open the hips and work the glutes or shoulder bridge we did already or feet together, lift the hips up, lower the hips down. This is another level.
Challenge your glutes and abs
If you want to challenge your glutes and abs, here we go. So abdominals are holding your hips in place, reach one leg forward, stand on the glutes have the other leg. And then once you’re even come down into kneeling for kneeling sidekicks. So you can go back to sidekicks or your tip over. Your obliques are holding everything together, tailbone is nice and long hips over the knees. And we take this leg up and down. Just so many different ways to work those glutes. And then, other side and tip. And we don’t work the abs only in like doing situps. They’re always working in Pilates, to help control our center so that our arms and legs can do different things. Okay, like a side plank. So if you want to do a, on your forearm bent knees, this is going to be a great glute work, your hip comes up, right and then that way you’re not do anything with your shoulder for about shoulder stuff. Otherwise, the feet are staggered or steps, stacked arm in line with the feet. And we come up and the glue lifts our body up. And we come down so it’s not the shoulder ready again, glute. And then last one, glute. Whoo. All right, kick those legs over, other side. So repeat what you did on the first side. Can you feel that outer hip, hug everything in.
We’ve got one more thing with our magic circle. So sent around, place it back around your knees. So there’s an exercise called seal. And seal tends to get really hanging out in the hips. So we’re gonna do a couple of those rolling like a balls with the ideas seal here. So we’re gonna push out in the circle 1 2 3, rock back, balanced, push out, 1 2 3 come up. And again, push on the circle 1 2 3, rock back, push out on the circle 1 2 3. Come up. You can stick with it if that was hard. Otherwise, you take the circle the side, take your hands, dive it in. So your abdominals are holding this round shape. You’re not sinking, you’ve got your abs in a sit up position. And then you push your legs out into an imaginary magic circle three times. Hello, glutes, your abs hold you up here. And again, three pushes into an imaginary magic circle. Again, push, push, push, and push, push, push. One more time. All right, last thing. So push ups. They are a great core exercise actually a great full body exercise. Take this magic circle, place it down, place it between your like on your sternum. And then you can have your knees down. Or you can be in a full plank. And we’re going to do five push ups elbows back. So the magic circle can help you come up and down and work on getting lower. And your whole core is working. So you don’t sag in your lower back.
Do you want more?
Hello, how your glutes and abs feel how has that magic circle workout? Do you want more? Let me know in the comments below. And also, at OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. We have accountability. So actually, we really do make sure you do the workout that you sign up for community. That community that really helps you understand you’re not alone the questions you have the struggles you have, you’re not alone, you can feel very alone, when you’re taking things out here in this atmosphere. But in that OPC community, you have reminders from your friends in the community to take class, you also hear what they struggle with, you’re like, oh, so with that, too, that informs us what the workouts are going to be, what props we use, and you can film yourself doing an exercise and get feedback on it. So maybe there’s an exercise today that you did not feel the glutes so you did not feel the abs. Well, if you’re an OPC member, you could send the video in. And I could actually see oh, it’s your setup, or oh, it’s this or actually, you need a little bit more support here. You do this exercise instead. So you get to be in charge of your body of your practice. And that’s what OPC is all about to help you empower yourself to do your life better. So if you want to try that out, check us out here. And again, join us Sundays at 9am. Pacific Time to for me to answer your questions. I would love to do that. Pilates is a such amazing thing. And it’s my favorite thing to bring into people’s lives. So hope you had a really great time with this magic circle workout. Have an amazing day.