Class #4730

Core with Magic Circle

30 min - Class


Learn creative ways to use the Magic Circle with this quick Mat workout by Ilaria Cavagna. She uses it to find the midline and deepen the lower powerhouse of the inner thighs, pelvic floor, and lower abdominals. She uses this mighty tool in almost every exercise like her fun progression for the corkscrew and so much more!
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Hi, this is Ilaria and today we'll work on the core on the midline with the help of the magic circle. Well, most often we use it in between the ankles, in between the thighs, but then we'll play around with it and we'll move it around a little bit. So let's start sitting in front of the mat and we place the magic circle in between the thighs above the knee joint. Make sure it's not on the joint. And now we'll go back to the work we did on the feet last week, and we'll lift the toes up to really fix those feet and connect them even more, thanks to the circle, to the body above.

And here we just warm up. We go back. We find articulation mostly if it's early in the morning and the first thing you do, you need to make sure that your joints are ready for the work. Let's do three more. You'll tilt the pelvis.

You go back as far as you can, you don't need to get all the way down. Just listen to the body and you go for two more deep and roll it up. One more time, roll back, stretch, open up the spine, and all the way up. Now we shift the magic circle in between the ankles. And we go on the back for the hundred.

So curl up, reach out. Now engage the circle. And let's only pump the arms first. You go in and five. And I always like to say longer than five, really empty the lungs.

Make sure there is no air left. And again in, and you pump it out, out, out, out. Now stop the arms and beat. Inhale and exhale. And again, in and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, hold in five and exhale out.

And again, in and exhale. Exhale long, move the arms, pump the blood. And again, only the legs. One more. Together (breaths in deeply).

And exhale. Last one, and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, and bring it in. Very good. Now we're warm. Now let's turn the circle with the soft part inside the ankle.

The black part, if you have the same magic circle I have. And here you flex the feet and as you engage the midline, as you find the connection with your pelvic floor and pelvis, you come up and you go over to stretch and then you pull back. Again, find that connection as you roll down to prioritize and help the spinal articulation. And again, curl up and over, pull back deep and deep and deep and deep and stretch it. Open the front body, arms up to the ceiling, head in between your arms.

Up and over, pull, control, control, control, and reach. Let's do one more complete. Reach forward, relax the shoulders, deep and back. The stomach is pulling you back and you open to stretch. Then one more time we come up and over.

Now let's put the magic circle vertical and we place it the left leg on it. And the left leg will be straight. The right foot is on the floor. And again also here, let's lift the toes up. Let's connect this leg.

Opening the arms as if you were holding the lungs on the Pilates mat. And now here pull down, squeeze the circle to the floor and release. Feel and maintain this connection as you're pressing to the circle. We do three more. Press down, hold, hold, and release, lengthen down.

Feel the work of the back of the leg, the glutes, the abs. Last one, press down and hold, bend the right knee into your chest, stretch it up. And now you go across around and hold, circle around and hold. One more time. Circle around then hold, reverse.

So don't do it too big. Prioritize the stability as opposed to the range of motion. Now you bend the knee into your chest to give yourself a stretch. And now you switch. We place the back of the right leg on top of the circles.

And I suggest to shift the body slightly to the left so that we are back to being aligned with the circle. Left foot on the ground, toes up, nice and open at the chest. Then you go, press down, hold, and release. And again, press, hold, hold, release. Feel the work going from the back of the leg all the way up to the shoulders.

And again, press down, maintain, maintain, maintain, and release. Last one, you press down and stay. Bend the left knee into your chest, stretch it up and you go across around and hold. Circle around and up. Three and reverse.

All up and cross it over, hold. Open, cross it over, hold. Last one, circle around. Bend the left knee into your chest and now you try to roll the circle so that you can grab it with your ankles and you bring it into your chest. If you need to come up and do it, that's absolutely fine.

If you're here with me, you grab behind the thighs, you curl up and we start rocking a little bit small. And from this rocking motion, we come up to rolling like a bowl. Go on the side of the ankles, squeeze it in, pull back and go rock and up, and again, roll back and come up and freeze, pull, pull, pull back. We try to stay behind the tailbone, and again, back and lift. Last one, pull back into your stomach and hold.

Roll back down, knees into your chest, and we go for double leg stretch. So as you stretch out, engage the circle as much as you can, and then you just hold as it comes in, and again, squeeze and just hold it in and squeeze and in and deep and in. Now we do the opposite. And as you're in, you're really engage. And then you lengthen and hold, really engage, lengthen and hold.

Two more, in and out and in and out and bring it in. Head down for a second. Lengthen the legs up, hold your head behind for double leg straight. So same thing here. As you go down, you engage, you squeeze and bring it up.

Press down, hold and up and go deep on the way down and up and deep, deep, deep, and up. And now the opposite. Deep when you're up and just hold down. Deep up and down. Of course, the range of motion should be what you usually do.

Don't go below what your range of motion is. Hold at the top. Now roll towards the computer. And we go for the crisscross basically. So from here, I want you to engage the circle and then you go up.

Two, three, four, five. Now maintain it engaged, and you go shoulder. Two, three, four, five. We go through the double leg straight to go to the other side. And now here, engage and you go up.

Two, three, four, five. Circle stays down, and then we go shoulder up. Two, three, four, five. And again double straight. We go to the first side and now guess what?

Together, up and down. Two, three, four. Last one as high as you can. And double straight, go to the other side and up. Two, three, four, feel those obliques and up.

Bend the knees in. We have a little something extra here. I want us to get into the upper abs and still work on the obliques a little more. So tabletop position with your legs. I want you to really go into the midline in a very, very deep way and consistent way.

Now reach for your shoulders. You curl and you reach higher, higher, higher. So just little pulses where we do our backstroke. So we want to feel that connection from the ankles all the way up to the sternum and release down. Now one arm on the chest, the opposite elbow higher.

And now the top elbow goes across with a little mini crisscross elbow to knee. Just two more. And we change. We go to the other side up, two, three, four, and five. Very good.

Now let's take a little break. We come up and if you want, you can face me for spine stretch forward. So let's place the right hand right on top of the circle and your left hand on top of the right one. So from here, let's do that one, the chair spine stretch. So we don't really go over.

We just lift. We find that powerhouse from the pelvis all the way up. So press down, hold, and then release. As you press down into the circle, you grow super tall and the top of the head goes up towards the ceiling and release. Now let's switch the hands.

Your left goes down, the right on top, and now you go press. This time, curl over, soften the elbows and find that seeker. And then you'll come back up. And again, you'll lift and you go curl over, over, over, and lift. Now bring your right hand behind the head in a neck pull position.

And you go lift tall, press into the circles side bam to the left and up. And again, lift, press down into that circle. Find the connection below the shoulder as you go over to the side bam. And now, same thing with a twist, you press tall and now twist the way. Open, open, open, open, and back to center.

Again, lift and open that back elbow, back shoulder. Rotate and home. We switch. Your right leg goes down, left leg behind the head. Press down and side bend to the right and up, and again, lift and you go reach, get taller as a side band.

Remember the side bands from last week, keep them hankered. And up, and now we rotate away. Press lift. Find a connection with the circle with the lats. Lats have big role in connecting the shoulder to the pelvis.

Lift and you go twist away, again more, more, more, more, more, and release. Now let's just hold the circle for a nice soft. From here you lift. Let's go to the right and you go, reach outside foot and scope it up into the center. And I lift, go twist left, and you got reach, reach, reach, and up.

All the way up of our head lift, here is harder to squeeze. Let's try lower the circle, go over beyond the little toe if you can. Pull back all the way up again. And again, tall, twist and you go reach, reach, reach, and all the way up. Now let's turn sideways again for open leg rocker.

So in between the ankles, we go back to the inner thighs connection. You scoop back and you lift. Hold just below the circle or anywhere you need to hold. Find that connection. Right away as I squeeze, I feel that response into the abs.

And then I go roll back and come up, hold. And again, rock to the back, rock up to the balance position. And again, rock back and up to balance. Last one, you go rock and up to balance. Now let's climb down the leg.

Legs stay up. And we're going to play with different orientation of the legs. I want you to turn out the legs as much as you can, and we place the arms nice and open. Engage the inner ties with the maximum turnout that you have and then release. And again, press and then release three more.

And again, pull, pull, pull, and release, deepen, deepen, deepen, deepen. And one more time, pull, pull, pull, and release. Now we bring the legs parallel. We have many different inner thighs muscles. We need to have them all work.

From here, pull the two legs closer together, release. Really squeeze that circle made in an oval and release. And three and open and two and release. One more time. And release.

Now, guess what? We also going a little internal rotation and you'll go. Pull and release and you'll go pull and release, deepen and deepen and deepen. Bend the legs for a second. Bring them into your chest.

And now we go to a parallel position, maybe is lowly turnout, but not much. And we placed the hands behind the neck. Now we are going to work specifically on the lower, lower abs. From here, engage the circle slightly and lift the table up and drop it down. It's going to be small and very frustrating.

You go up and down and lift and down. Just that lower part of the abs, up, up and down, lift and lower. Last one, and down. Open the arms to the side, engage the circle a little bit more. And now we go to the right.

We'll lift the left hip up. Tick tock, back the center, go to the left, lift the right hiccup. Back to the center and you go tick and tock and tick and tock and home. Now we put everything together. So we do the little hiccup of the lower abs, up down, tick tock to the right, circle around to the left, center, hiccup.

Tick tock left, circle around to the right, center, hiccup, and you go right, circle and center, hiccup. And you go circle and center, little hiccup. Beautiful. Now from here, slowly roll up into teaser. Lift, grab the circle and we place it down and we're swinging the legs around to go on the stomach.

So you lower yourself down. You hold the circle with the hands. We gave a little bit of a break to the legs. Again, feel free to keep the legs slightly apart. And from here, you lift the chest up.

You lengthen the collar bones. You engage the circle with your arms, with your hands. And now we go look to the left, circle around to the right and center. And now you look right, circle around to the left, scoop your stomach up and center. Now here, lift one leg up, kick, kick, reach down, lift the opposite, kick kick, reach down.

Lift up the first, kick, kick, lengthen. Open up more as you reach back, and again, up kick, kick, reach and down. Now magic circle behind your back. Lie down the face. One side of your face on the mat.

Lift up both legs and you go kick two, three, and reach, reach, reach. Other side, you go kick, two, three, and stretch, stretch, stretch. And again, kick, two, three, and engage the arms. Last one, kick, two, three, and stretch. Now let's place a magic circle in between the ankles and we do two more over here.

We go one, two, three, lengthen. Let's get into that midline again, open and three, two, one, and open and stretch. And again, one, two, three, and reach. Last one, three, two, one, and pull back. Now grab the circle, place it in front of you with a smooth part on the side.

Sit back in child pose. And now here you go, tuck and your stretch up in a little downward dog lengthen. And then we walk forward. We do the elephant. We walk through.

We walk closer to the hands. If you can, you walk through the hands and then you go sit on the mat. And here we are ready for neck pull. Back to the midline, lengthen up, and you go deep down, open and come up and over. And again, lift and again, pull, pull, pull, pull, pull, and you come up and over, two, three, and lift.

And again, scope, scope, scope, scope, scope, feel free to close the elbows as you roll down. Now let's open and then elbows on the mat when we're down on the floor. One more time, your curl and you go over, you lift up to the sitting position, and now let's try to keep them wide and open as we roll down the last time. Now we go to this side for sidekicks, and this time we'll place the bottom leg inside the circle. So bottom leg is there.

Let's find the position first. So help yourself with the top leg to find the right position. And here we bring the top leg right in front of the circle, and we go kick, two, three, four, and or the circle and back. And now here you go back. Two, work with that bottom leg.

Four, five. Now we alternate. We go to the front and to the back and to the front and to the back, and three and control and four, control back. Feel that connection. Last one, and reach.

Now top leg on top. And we go pulling with the inner thighs. I want you to fill it in and going all the way up to the side of the hip, release. And again, press and release, press down, hold, and release. Let's add a little something.

You go up and press and kick and pull and up and pull. Now something more, press down. Join with the bottom leg. Feel that midline again. And two more, kick, press, join.

And again, kick, press, join. Last, you go press down, join with the bottom leg. Lift the bottom shoulder up. We did work on this movement on the crisscross variations, that we did today, right? So we can incorporate it here because we prepared.

Good. And now we beat. We got five, four, three, two, one, and up five, four, three, two, one, and kick and five, four, three, two, one, and lift. And you got four, three, two, one up. Four, three, two, one, lift, and top two, three, four, up, and three, two, one, up.

Three, two, one, lift. And you go three, two, one, up. Only two, lift, two up, and press, press for the single and up and up and pull. Rock the circle back. Try to grab it with the ankles.

If all works out, we go on the stomach and you'll go with a forehead on the mat. You squeeze in two, three, four, relax the shoulders, keep beating the legs and then you bend. Flex your feet and you pull up, up, up. Make sure your lower back is okay. Don't lift up too much and keep scooping your stomach up.

If you know that it's sensitive and release, and now we flip over. You can turn around, but I'm going to flip over to the other side for the other side of the side kicks. So bottom leg inside the circle, you lie down, stabilize for a second with the top leg, and we're ready to go. Leg in front, and you go five, four, three, two, and over and back. You go back two, three, four, and we alternate.

You go front and back and kick to the nose and back, and kick and reach. Last one, front and back. Leg on top of the circle. We just find that midline again and release. Remember, the bottom leg is pushing down as the top one is pulling in.

Last one, press and release. Now kick and pull and kick and press and up and in. Now up and press, join with the bottom one. And you go up and press, join with the bottom one. Last one, and pull, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and last variation.

Bottom leg, shoulder, release. And again, up and press, bottom leg, shoulder release. And for the very last one, hold it and hot potato. Five, four, three, two, one, and kick. Five, four, three, two, one, and up.

And you go five, four, three, two, one, and kick it up, and you go four, three, two, one, up, four, three, two, one, kick, and four, three, two, one, up, and three, two, one, faster, three, two, one, faster. We slow down the one on top a little bit, because I want those bits to be precise. And you go two, kick, two, up, two, lift, and one, and one, and squeeze. Now take the bottom leg outside the circle. And we go on the back.

If you need, you can adjust the circle again right in between the ankles and we slowly roll up to teaser. Feel that connection, release the arms and you go down to the lumbar spine and up. And again, pull down and roll up, and again, down, down, down. Feel each back touching the floor and lift. Now from here, bend your knees.

Pretend you're on the reformer doing backstroke. You lengthen up, squeeze the circle. Scope into the backstroke position or somebody for you is dropping one spring and you can reach and come up into teaser. And then pull down, feel that midline is helping you the work. Up, open the arms, circle around, and float up to teaser.

And again, bend in one more time. You go up, open scope, and you go reach, reach, reach. Now go inside your legs, outside your ankles and you go beat. We squeeze one, two, three. Rock back, one, two, three, come up and you go up, two, three.

Rock back one, two, three, up to balance and you go three, two, one back. We do two more. We don't stand up today. You go back, beat come up and hold. Now since a shoulders challenge will come up in a few weeks, we are getting into the upper body a little bit.

We work a lot with the midline. We work a lot with the inner thighs, pelvic floor, and abs. Now let's go ahead into this push-up variation that I love. We're gonna place the sternum up on top of the circle. Hands in front.

You can do this on your knees or up on the toes. The circle will help you a lot. So even if you usually do on the knees, try it out on the feet. It's gonna be probably easier than you would think. From here, lower yourself down and then you push up, and again, down, down, down and push.

Of course, we work on the midline the whole time. So feel those eels, feel the knees, the inner thighs, feel the work all the way up to the pelvis and above. Two more. Down, down, down, and lift. And again, scoop, no collapsing with the lumbar spine and up.

Beautiful. Thank you so much for joining me today, and I'll see you next week for another journey around the body.

Pilates at Home: Around the Body in 8 Workouts


2 people like this.
Loved this class. Thank you Ilaria.
2 people like this.
Wow Ila, this was a very special and advanced, beautiful class!! Thanks
Jodie You are very welcome Jodie! Happy you like it!
mimito Aww thank you! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
1 person likes this.
I loved this class Ilaria! Those side legs with circle were great- no fiddling around with circle position yet I felt so much of my hamstring, glutes and hips! Thank you
1 person likes this.
Great class Ilaria. For 30 minutes this class gives you a challenging workout and includes innovative moves with the circle. Thank you.
Kirsti V Yes! The magic circle never forgives ☺️ Happy you liked the class Kristi!
Judy P You are very welcome! Love this routine when I only have half an hour and still want to get a good workout in! happy you like it Judy! 
1 person likes this.
Thank you Ilaria! This is really an outstanding class, challenging, complete, efficient and fun! I'm glad to see a very good Instructor from Italy too! Grazie mille :) Lisa
LisaS Aww Thank you Lisa! Grazie! Happy you enjoyed the class 🤗
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