Fitness · Health

The Pilates One-Leg Circle

brooke22This is another post in our series of Fitness Saturday exercises and workouts appropriate to women in the second half of life. Personal trainer Brooke Marrone, president and founder of Brooke Marrone Fitness, in New York City, is our fitness guru.


The Pilates One Leg Circle exercise is a fantastic way to work your core and tone your thighs. All you need is a mat. Then, you can get to work on achieving a long, lean and strong Pilates body!

1. Lie on your back with your legs extended out straight on the mat. Place your arms by your sides, palms down, and keep your chest open. Anchor your shoulders and pelvis into the floor and engage your abdominals. If you have a sensitive back and do not feel safe or stable with your legs out straight, modify this exercise by keeping the non-working leg bent throughout the move.

2. Bring your left leg into your chest and extend it up straight towards the ceiling with a pointed toe. If you find it difficult to keep your leg straight and or your hips and pelvis anchored, slightly lower your leg so you are able to maintain proper form. Next, cross your straight leg over towards the opposite hip as far over as you can while keeping your pelvis stabilized. Go slow and controlled as you continue your circle across your body and slightly down towards the floor before bringing your leg back up the center of your body to your starting position. Think almost like you are drawing a capital letter D.

3. Do 5 – 10 reps each direction on both legs. Make sure not to allow your back to arch or your body to rock during the movement. Beginners should start with a small circle until you feel more comfortable advancing. It’s much more important to have proper form than a gigantic, out of control circle.

4. Lastly, breathing on this exercise is necessary and extremely helpful. Inhale when your cross your leg over your body and circle down. Exhale as you bring your leg back up to your starting position.

Muscles Worked: Abdominals, quads, lower back, hips, and inner and outer thighs.

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.