How to Do Standing Leg Press with the Pilates Ring

Pilates Studio. Credit: Seth Joel / Getty Images

The standing leg press with the Pilates ring is an inner thigh exercise and much more. When you perform this standing Pilates exercise with good posture it will work your whole leg. In addition, you will challenge the pelvic floor, the core stability muscles, the abdominals and back muscles.

  • Difficulty: Easy, this exercise can be done by beginners and all levels of exercisers.
  • Time Required: 2 minutes are needed for this exercise.

    What You Need to Perform the Standing Leg Press

    You will need a Pilates Ring (traditionally called a magic circle). If you are not yet familiar with the Pilates ring, you may want to read Before You Buy a Magic Circle. There are different options and it's good to know before you buy.

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    How to do the Standing Leg Press with Pilates Ring

    1. Set the Pilates ring aside and just stand for a moment with good posture. Your feet and legs are parallel and legs hip distance apart (review this leg position). Your legs are straight but the knees are not locked.
      • Balance your weight over your feet.
      • Make sure that your sit bones are pointing straight down so that if you picture your pelvis as a bowl of water, it won't spill front or back.
      • Pull up and in with your abdominal muscles, lengthen your spine, and send the top of your head toward the sky.
      • Relax your shoulders and your neck.
    2. Place the padded sides of the Pilates ring just above your ankle bones. Adjust your leg position to the width of the ring. Resume standing with excellent posture.

      Notice the engagement of the abs and inner leg that you can activate just from this position.
    1. Pull up through your middle and engage your inner thighs, drawing them in toward the midline of your body as you shift your weight onto one foot. Find your balance.

      As you practice you will gain strength and balance, but you can stretch your arms out to the sides (shoulders down) or lightly touch a wall or a piece of furniture to aid your balance.
    1. Squeeze the ring in and release slowly 3 times. Ensure that you are using control.

      Stand up straight. If you lean forward it throws the energy into the front of the leg and you miss the engagement of the glutes (think butt toning) and core-stabilizing abdominal and back muscles.
    2. With control, return to standing on both feet. Establish your posture, then shift to the other foot.

      Repeat the press 3 times on that leg.
    3. Do two more sets.

    Tips for the Standing Leg Press

    1. Take your attention to your sit bones. Think of pulling them together. That will help you balance, engage the pelvic floor, and work your glutes in a butt shaping way.
    2. Side-lying leg press with magic circle is similar to the standing exercise, but poses less of a standing balance challenge.
    3. Seated legs with the magic circle is another great inner thigh exercise, targeting what is a problem area for many of us.

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