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If you are looking a for a quick pilates reference, take a look at this pilates animation. This a quick & easy, clearly explained diagram of the pilates mat exercise: Classical Pilates for Beginners: The One Leg Circle. Pilates exercises focus on breathing, alignments of the spine & build strong torso muscles.
Setup for the One Leg Circle:
* Zip and hollow (engage the Powerhouse).
* Anchor your shoulders arms & head to the mat.
* Right knee to chest, and lengthen the leg long to the ceiling.
* Turn the whole leg out very slightly, and keep it soft.
Action for the One Leg Circle:
* Breathe in and cross the leg over the body to the opposite shoulder.
* Breathe out and circle the leg down and around to the start.
* Five repetitions!
* Breathe in as you (reverse direction). Leg circles down and across.
* Breathe out to circle back to the start.
* Five repetitions!
Classic Pilates Cueing:
* Cross over, circle up!
* Zip and hollow! Stabilize your pelvis!
* Down cross over and up!
* To keep the pelvis motionless in face of a moving leg challenge (requires a strong "powerhouse").
* Works the hip flexors and quads in opposition to the hamstrings.
* Scoop your abdomen deep and "glue" your shoulders and arms to the mat.
* Concentrate on a stable pelvis.
* Finesse the circle: Relax the butt muscles & do not lock the knee.
Don't let an injury or weakness stop you! There is always a modification. Take your time and find the right one for you. If in doubt, seek advice!
* Pain in the groin/anterior thigh; hip arthritis -bend the knee 90-100 degrees and relax the leg muscles. Keep the abs & glutes firing.
* Tight hamstrings -bend the knee 5-20 degrees.
* Popping hip - Circle the leg in a small range & turn the leg out as far
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