Arm Exercises with the Magic Circle on the Mat

Challenge your arm and back connection using the Magic Circle and recreate some of the Cadillac exercises with the roll back bar and neck stretcher.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Equipment Needed: Magic Circle, Mat
  • Reps: 5-10x of each variation
  • Warning: May not be suitable for some neck issues.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Arm Exercises with the Magic Circle on the Mat

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Connecting your arms to your back in Pilates is easier said than done. The Magic Circle in Pilates is a great prop for teaching us how to connect, activate, and engage muscles that we need to use in order to make Pilates a workout. In this Pilates Mat tutorial, find plenty of ways to challenge your arm and back connection using the Magic Circle. Plus, recreate some of your favorite Cadillac exercises with the roll back bar and neck stretcher. Try each of these out and then do your Mat practice and see how much you are connected!

Focus on pressing from the heel of your hands and not your elbows.

There are several ways to connect your arms to your back:

Sitting with your legs crossed place the circle upright to the side of you and press the heel of your hand on the circle 5-10x to connect your arm to your back. Repeat on the other side.

Standing place one pad of the circle on your hip so that your arm is almost straight. Make sure you are standing strong in your legs and hugging your hips in as you lift up tall in your center. Hug the circle into your side with the heel of your hand. Do 5-10x and switch sides.

Bicep press: standing tall place on pad on your shoulder and the heel of your hand on the top of the circle and press down. Do this 5-10x without raising your shoulder up and switch sides.

Side of your head: place the pad on the side of your head and the heel of your hand on the other pad. Press your hand and head into the pad. Do this 5x on each side.

Front of your head: Place the pad on your forehead and the heels of both hands on the other pad and press your hands and head into each other 5-10x

Chin: Place your chin on one pad and both hands on the bottom pad. Lifting up through your center, curl your chest into the pad. This will help you feel your upper abs engage instead of using your neck muscles to pull your chin to your chest. 5x.

Hands behind your back: you'll want to make the circle squeeze. It's almost impossible. Instead, focus on the heel of your hands holding the circle behind your back with your arms straight and do 3 sets of 10 pulses.


Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with Lesley Logan.

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