The Pilates magic circle has become quite a popular accessory in the world of Pilates. It offers a great resistance workout on many fitness levels. It is also quite affordable and easy to tote around. There are different styles and varying levels of quality when it comes to the magic ring, so you must know what you are looking for in terms of your workout. After all, they vary in price from $25 to $100!
Joseph Pilates, the father of Pilates, also invented the magic circle. It was said the very first one was derived from the metal ring of a wine or beer keg barrel! It has certainly come a long way with the current style being 12-14 inches in diameter and made from flexible metal or sturdy rubber with two padded handles on areas on opposite sides from each other.
Resistance for Workouts
The magic circle provides resistance during a workout and creates responding feedback by stimulating the muscles and nerves. This flexible ring with pads is used for toning muscles in the thighs, arms, chest and hips. The pads provide cushioning for the arms which are placed on either side, the same as with the legs.
By squeezing, you are creating a resistance against this movement. The goal of the magic circle is not intense resistance exercises but rather gentle to moderate resistance. Too much physical effort could break the magic ring or cause injury to you.
While rubber has been used to create magic rings, the best material by far is flexible metal. Rubber provides too much mushy resistance while the metal is more pliable yet still strong enough to provide resistance and then bounce back into its original shape.
If you are already rather strong, a magic ring might not be the best Pilates accessory for you. However, if you are just starting out or don’t have much physical strength, the magic ring should suit your exercise resistance needs for quite some time.
Traveling with Pilates
The good news about magic circles is that they are great travel companions. They are lightweight, don’t take up much space and they lay flat. You can easily pack them up if you do not want to lose your momentum in Pilates when you have to travel. You might want to invest in two magic rings – a “lite” version for traveling and a regular heavy duty metal magic ring for continuous use, like what Pilates Studios invest in.
At one time, there were only pads on the outside of the magic circles. However, now you can find them being marketed with pads on both the inside and outside of them. This adds increased versatility in its use. You will want to test drive a few magic circles during your Pilates shopping excursions.
As there are many varying levels of quality, you want to ensure you get the one you can grow with. Choose a sturdy one; you do not want one that is too pliable at the start because you may wear it out quicker. Consider purchasing one through your Pilates studio or one similar to the one you use there. Your Pilates instructor can point out a good magic circle candidate for your personal Pilates exercise program.