Pilates is practiced by lots of people and it is practiced using lots of different tools and equipment, ranging from mat work to using a Pilates band, Pilates machines, Pilates chairs and Pilates rings.
In this article, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about the Pilates fitness ring, also called the Pilates magic ring. But first, I’ll discuss Pilates, and what constitutes a proper Pilates workout. No matter what equipment or tool you choose to exercise Pilates, the basic principals stay the same. It is thus very important to know and understand these Pilates principals.
Let’s look at these basic principals of Pilates, what benefits it can hold for you, before moving on the most commong questions about the Pilates Ring (or magic circle):
What Is Pilates And What Benefits Does It Hold?
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on your core area (your abs, lower back, buttocks and hip flexors).It was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates as a way to rehabilitate war veterans. According to Wikipedia, it was practiced by 11 million people in 2005.
It holds numerous health benefits including:
- Increased blood circulation
- More energy
- Greater muscle flexibility
- Increased mental focus and relaxation
- Much better muscles control
- It is also excellent for toning and strengthening the muscles, especially the muscles of the core.
Now that you know a bit more about Pilates, let’s look at some of the most common questions about Pilates rings.
The Pilates Ring
In the following sections, I’ll look at the Pilates Ring and how you can use this ring to benefit your workouts. I will also look at its pros and cons, and at which body parts it works, as well as some sample exercises. Let’s begin by looking at what the ring is:
What Is The Pilates Fitness Ring?
The Pilates ring, or Pilates magic ring as it is sometimes called, is an exercise tool that will help you practice Pilates. Pilates rings usually have to following features:
- Added resistance to create a more intense exercise than mat work alone could give you.
- Padded grips to ensure comfort of handling
- A Pilates toning ring usually comes in different sizes and resistance, and some of them also have multiple resistances.
- They are usually sized between 10 to 14 inches, so they are compact and can be taken anywhere to exercise.
What Are The 6 Elements Of A Proper Pilates Ring Workout?
No matter what method you choose to practice Pilates, and whether you choose to do Pilates ring exercises, or just normal Pilates exercises, it is very important to make sure that you include the following elements into your workout:
Always focus on proper breathing during your Pilates ring workout
Make sure that you are breathing properly throughout your exercise, as this will aid in blood circulation and help flush waste out of your system. If you don’t breathe properly, there is definitely an error in your Pilates practice, that you need to address.
All movements should originate from your core when exercising with your Pilates resistance ring. If you don’t keep your core intact throughout the exercise, you may hurt yourself, and you won’t get the full benefit of your workout.
Intense Focus and Concentration
You should conduct the movements with the Pilate ring with focused concentration on the exercise that you are performing. This will require an intense focus, and means that you have to cut out all distractions while you are execising.
Make sure that you execute proper muscle control while exercising. You should never jerk your body, all your movements should be smooth and controlled. Remember, always try to move with perfect control of your body!
You should practice the moves until you can do them with precision. This means having your timing, posture and movement correct and in sync.
When you get your movements precise, you can then practice to get your flow right. What this means is that you should conduct your exercises one after another – one exercise should flow into another.
What Body Parts Does The Pilates Ring Exercise/Focus On?
The main focus of any Pilates exercise is on the core area. But a Pilates fitness ring can be used to exercise your whole body. You can do regular Pilates exercise with it, like the roll up and the hundred. And then you can also do other exercises on it to exercise your core, your lower body and your upper body.
Which Are The Most Popular Pilates Rings?
You get a lot of different makes and manufacturers of Pilates rings, but the following are some of the more popular Pilates ring products:
Everlast Pilates ring
The Everlast Pilates ring, available from Amazon (click here to visit them) , is a popular choice. The only problem is availability, as it can be difficult to find one of these in stock.
The package available on Amazon includes the following:
- The Everlast Pilates ring
- Instructional DVD
- The ring comes with a soft grip for maximum comfort
- It includes a 6-inch cord, which provides you with resistance, as well as the ability to adjust the resistance
- One-year warranty
Stamina Pilates magic circle rings
Stamina is a well known exercise equipment manufacturer, and their Pilates exercise equipment usually come highly recommended. The Stamina Pilates Magic Circle package available on Amazon includes the following:
- The Pilates ring (about 15 inches in diameter)
- Instructional workout video, which includes instructions to help you use the ring to its full potential
How Do I Use A Pilates Ring?
To get an idea of how the Pilates ring works, have a look at the following Pilates Ring videos:
Pilates Ring Shoulder Press
The Pilates ring shoulder press is a great exercise for your arms (especially shoulders).
Pilates fitness ring inner thigh exercise
The pilates ring inner thigh exercise is great for working your core and your inner thighs
Pilates Ring Triceps Press
A great workout for your triceps
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Using The Pilates Fitness Ring?
- It is compact (you can take it where ever you go) and relatively inexpensive
- Unlike heavy [Pilates machines](pilates-machines], it can easily be stored away when you are done with it
- Regular use of it will improve your strength, endurance and flexibility and muscle tone.
- It can relieve pain and tension (consult your doctor first before using)
- It involves no cardio exercise (you would still have to do cardio)
- It is not as effective as weight training for building lean muscle mass.
- You can get easily bored with the ring (if you don’t have enough Pilates videos and DVDs to guide you)
- If it is not used correctly, it can lead to injuries.
What Are The Different Types Of Pilates Rings?
There are a few different types of Pilates rings. In this section, I’ll discuss the different types, as well as some examples in each category.
Light to medium resistance Pilates Rings:
- Isokinetics Pilates exercise ring – This Pilates ring has extra big padded handles for a firm grip. It provides medium resistance.
- Stamina Pilates Magic Circle – This ring is about 14.75 inches in diameter. The Stamina magic circle is one the most popular Pilates rings on the market.
- Medium tension Pilates resistance ring – This ring is double gripped for added muscle balance.
Adjustable Pilates fitness ring:
The above Pilates fitness rings only have one resistance level, but the Multitoner ring have more.
- Multitoner Pilates Ring with two different resistance levels – This ring has two different resistance levels built in to the product. You also get instruction cards with it, as well as a shoulder bag to carry it around in.
Pilates is a great exercise to do, whether you do it with Pilates tool and equipment or if you do it alone. If you add tools and equipment (like the Pilates Ring), there will be added resistance and it will also increase the effectiveness of the exercise. If you do decide to buy any equipment, read more about the product first to make sure you make a sound investment.
But whether you decide to use any equipment or not, the important thing to do is to exercise regularly and to eat healthy. Doing so will make sure you have a long and illness free life. Just stay motivated and dedicated to your fitness goals and you will succeed.