How To Do Magic Circle Exercise - Arms Back

Magic Circle Exercises
Magic Circle Exercises. Seth Joel / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The arms back exercise with Pilates magic circle is a standing exercise that opens the chest and shoulders as it tones and strengthens the arms and upper back. It is especially good for the back of the arms, the triceps. This is an area that many of us want to tone to firm up when we see sagging after weight loss or as we age. It is of average difficulty, and can be done without equipment for those who need a modification.

  • Difficulty: Average.
  • Time Required: 5 minutes

What You Need to Perform the Arms Back Magic Circle Exercise

You will need a Pilates Magic Circle to do this exercise. You can perform this exercise at home or at the studio. It doesn't require any other equipment.

Here's How to Perform the Arms Back with Magic Circle

  1. Take Your Stance
    Check points:
    • Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart. Your knees can be either slightly bent or straight, but do not lock your knees.
    • Activate the abdominals by pulling them in and up.
    • Your shoulders are dropped away from the ears.
    • Your head reaches for the sky 
  2. Position the Circle
    Check points:
    • Grasp the magic circle behind your back.
    • Your elbows are bent and your arms are parallel.
    • The chest opens but the ribcage does not pop forward.
    • Keep the circle low at first. Only go as high as you can keep the arms parallel and the ribs dropped 
  3. Pulse
    Use a pulsing motion to push the circle in and release it. Control both the inward push and the release. Try to keep the arms parallel and the shoulders dropped. Feel the action in the upper back and triceps.
  1. Repetitions
    Start out with 5 pulses in 5 sets. Gradually work your way up to 10 pulses in 8 sets.

Tips for the Arms Back Exercise with Magic Circle

  1. Remember to breathe! Breathing is important in every Pilates exercise, you shouldn't hold your breath.
  2. If you have shoulder problems or a very tight chest, you may want to start with an imaginary circle rather than using the magic circle equipment. Just do the moves without a magic circle to get the feel of opening the chest and shoulders while keeping good posture.
  1. Add challenge to this exercise by raising the magic circle farther up the back. Do this only if you can continue to meet all the posture check points. Form is very important, you will not get the best benefit if you sacrifice it when adding challenge.
  2. The Straight Arms Press with the arms held in front is a good counter balance for this exercise. It targets the arms, back, shoulders and chest using the magic circle in front of the body.

More Magic Circle

What to Know Before You Buy a Pilates Magic Circle: Here are the features to look for if you want a circle of your own.

Upper Body Toning Exercise with the Pilates Ring: Move through a series of seven Pilates ring exercises for the upper body.