Hip Circles on the Mat

The key to this exercise is not thinking that it is all about the legs circling but more about the seat circling the legs. Reach your arms back and go!

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Mat (The mat shown in this video is the Contrology Folding Mat.)
  • Reps: 3 circles in each direction
  • Warning: May not be ideal for some shoulder or back issues
  • Questions: Contact us here

Hip Circles on the Mat

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I strive for the Hip Circles on the Pilates Mat to be one of my fortes! I mean it, I feel like I should be able to do it bigger and better than I do. But, I will be honest, this exercise is not one of my best. And, it truly challenges your endurance. Hip Circles comes after you have done three sets of the Teaser. The key to this exercise is not thinking that it is all about the legs circling but more about the seat circling the legs. As you do this exercise channel your Stomach Massage reach back!

Hug and reach your legs as you feel your seat muscles steer your legs.

After you finish your final Teaser 3 hold your posture and then circle your arms back to the mat. Do not rest on your arms! They are reaching back but not holding you up. Your legs are still at your Teaser level, about the height of your eyes. Hugging your legs tight together feel the wrap of your legs around your hips. The more your seat is connected the easier and better this exercise will go for you. If you let your glutes go and your quads take over this will become a very difficult exercise and you will not have control over your legs.

From your start position maintain a lifted chest and strong arms circle your legs in one direction and then down around to the other direction. Repeat 2-3 times. The goal is that your circles are as big as you can make them that day from your seat! So, if as you circle your legs your elbows bend, your shoulders come in your ears or your legs circle out of control then you lost the juice of this exercise. Squeeze those legs, reach from your center, and imagine the muscles around your hips can steer your legs in all directions. After you are done reach forward and find your Teaser and then lower all the way down!

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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