top of page

Mat Pilates- Beginner Exercise - Single Leg Circles

This beginner level Mat Pilates exercise is one of my favorites.

The purpose of this exercise is to work on pelvic stabilization, loosen up and mobilize the whole hip joint area, strengthen the hip flexors, and improve scapular stability by anchoring the shoulders down to the mat. One also gets a bit of arm work by actively pressing the back of the arms down on the mat, getting that posterior arm work in.

In this video, I show two versions of this exercise. The first version is to keep the hips down on the mat as you sweep the leg away from the body in a leg circle. This version is best for beginners.

The second version is called Joe's version Large Circles. This version allows the hip to lift off the mat but keeping the shoulders down on the mat. Remember to anchor the hip back down to the mat as the leg sweeps away from the body.


Keep the back of the standing leg rooted down on the mat

Press the back of the arms down into the mat

Think shoulders down, neck nice and long

Keep the front of the hips as soft as possible while doing this exercise

Maintain the spine and pelvis in a neutral position

Imagine the standing leg is rooted down on the mat as if you were glued to the floor

The accent on the movement is to sweep up in a dramatic fashion


Knee Stirs- Lying down on the back, bring the legs into table top, place your hands on the tops of your knees and stir/circle the legs. This will help warm up the hip sockets

TheraBand- There are many ways to assist this exercise using either a light and or medium TheraBand. The most obvious is to place the band around one arch of the foot and hold the ends of the band with your hands. Anchor the upper arms into the mat and circle the legs, keeping the hips anchored down to the mat. Please read my blog post on different resistance bands.

Tight hamstrings- Keep a slight bent at the knee throughout the exercise.


For hip and lower back injuries- Limit your range while circling the leg in motion and use either modifications listed above.


😊Pilates Blog:

📹Subscribe to my YouTube channel at:



👍 LinkedIn:


Paola Karroum and My Crazy Pilates Life, recommend you consult with a physician before starting any new exercise program.

The information given here is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please stop if you feel any pain or dizziness.

You understand that physical activity can pose a risk and by watching this channel and these videos you assume all risk and release Paola Karroum and My Crazy Pilates Life, from all liability.


bottom of page