Exercise #1427

One Leg Circle

3 min - Exercise


also known as Single Leg Circles

Muscle Focus: Abdominals.

Objective: Pelvic stabilization and mobilization of hip joint.

Start Position: Lay flat on back with arms by side, one leg straight on the mat with the foot flexed and the other leg straight up to the ceiling.

Movement: Circle the top leg across the body, down, and around while keeping the pelvis stable for five circles. Reverse the circle in the other direction, circling the leg away from the body, down, and around. Repeat on the other leg.

Precautions: Ensure the pelvis is level and stable and avoid tipping it to one side as the leg extends out. Shoulders remain relaxed while maintaining the mobility of the hip.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

So we're taking a look at the fourth exercise in the list. This is the Single Leg Circle or the One Leg Circle. So I would like to first address this long body. So feel yourself stretch out long on the mat. The exercise really is for pelvic stabilization, so the less wiggle the better.

And mobilizing the hip joint. It could be about breathing, it could be about the feet, other things as well. But we're mainly going to be watching the pelvis and its stability and the motion in the hip. So Kristi is long and stretched out, a really nice set-up. I want you to raise your right leg straight up over the hip.

And we will do this exercise with slight external rotation with a soft pointed foot. And I will preface the exercise to say that you'll learn and hear different breathing cues from your teachers and possibly different foot set-up. But again primarily it's pelvic stabilization and hip mobility. So the first motion is going to cross over-- hugely important-- being able to take the leg over the body but not the hip. That's your first motion.

Continue the circle all the way down to the other ankle around and back up to the top. So we're going to find a flow here as she circles. There's the mobility. And notice how nice and stable the pelvis is, but yet the hip motion and the mobility in that socket. She gets the crossover, she gets the swing-- one more this direction.

And pause. And we will do the other side. Or you should still do the other side. And around. So we're going out to the outside of your mat, working within the framework of your mat.

The crossover of that leg. Why the crossover? You're going to get an inner thigh contraction. You'll get some tone in your inner thigh. The abdominal muscles are still playing a very important role of stabilizing-- through the pelvis, one more time.

Usually there are five circles one direction, five the other way. And simply lower the leg. And you will do your other side. And here we go. Getting the crossover and a swing down to the other ankle and around up.

Cross, swing around and up. I'm going to kneel down and just take a look at how nice and stable the pelvis is. The shoulders are relaxed. She's maintaining a nicely stretched out body. But again, the mobility in that hip.

You want a little bit of a swing in there. Last one this direction. And then five coming the opposite way. Breathing could be-- an inhale and an exhale. You're going to hear different things.

You might have a whole breath in one circle. Today it's an inhale as she starts, and the exhale to complete the circle. One more time. And simply lower your leg, at that's the Single Leg Circle.


What is the best way to prevent hip popping during this exercise?
1 person likes this.
Hi Lisa....I would approach this exercise knowing that a small range of motion is best, deep abdominal engagement to help hold pelvis still. The size of circle doesn't always matter most....it's stability and mobility without 'popping' that are important. Let us know how this goes!
Yes my hip clunks when I circle out, then it's very painful at night sleeping as I can't sleep on that side & sitting on that hip is also painful. I hoped Pilates would help but I found after a break of a week over Christmas I didn't have the pain in my hip when sitting or sleeping on that side. So just to confirm, I'll do as small a circle as I can before the clunk? What is happening to my hip? I'd appreciate any advise ... Thank you
Ange ~ I've had this problem before as well. It seemed to go away by itself, but I still wanted to know what was happening just in case it came back. I found that this tutorial by Shelly Power gave a very detailed explanation of what is happening in the hip when it pops. I hope it helps!
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Gia
That was so informative, I will try everything advised.
Wow I'm so impressed with Pilatesanytime.... Best investment I've made in a long time!
1 person likes this.
Keep it up Ange....and thank you too Gia! We're in this together team...!!
1 person likes this.
Wow.... I've been doing everything Gia suggests & it's worked!
No more hip clunks.... It's all about the position!
1 person likes this.
Ange.....this is fantastic! And Gia...thank you again for sharing your experience with Ange also. :)
And of course a special Thank You to Shelly Power for giving us the tutorial..... ??
Exactly....Shelly Power...thank you! Many hips are smiling right now I'm sure! No more clunks and pops= happy hip joints!
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