Why a Pilates Ring Is a Must-Have for Working Deeper into Your Core

Why a Pilates Ring Is a Must-Have for Working Deeper into Your Core

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Just as a yoga block can scale your movements on your mat, a Pilates ring can help you adjust your workout to your fitness level. Essentially, this tiny tool can amp up the resistance of Pilates movements just enough to tap into and work deeper levels of your core.

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What Is a Pilates Ring?

“The Pilates ring, otherwise known as a ‘magic circle,’ is a circular ring made of flexible metal or rubber with small pads on either side,” explains Openfit Live trainer Nicole de Souza. It’s not required for a Pilates session, but there’s good reason to consider investing in one for your at-home practice.

“You will always get a good workout in a Pilates class, but adding the Pilates ring will definitely add some spice to your matwork class,” de Souza says.

The spice she’s referring to is that hurts-so-good burn you’re familiar with from Openfit Live classes. The Pilates ring is able to get this reaction because it will “recruit and target smaller, deeper muscles you might not necessarily use in a matwork class,” de Souza explains. Showing up for that kind of a workout consistently can help you see results from your XB Pilates program.


How Do You Use a Pilates Ring?

In a workout session, the Pilates ring helps tap into deeper muscles or make moves more challenging, says de Souza. You may push against the pads by squeezing the ring or press outward on the ring from inside. You can try squeezing it with your arms to fire up your biceps and chest or with your thighs to recruit your quads and glutes.

“When light pressure is applied to the Pilates ring during an exercise, the resistance can target specific muscles to create a more dynamic workout, as well as challenge coordination and balance,” she says. But the magic circle goes beyond intensifying movements.

“It can also be used to aid with stretching and help increase flexibility,” de Souza adds.

The Pilates ring is also good for working and conditioning your pelvic floor. “Whilst doing Pilates exercises such as bridges, hundreds, and C Curves, the added resistance of the Pilates ring will definitely draw more attention and focus to the core, which in turn will help activate and work the pelvic floor muscles,” de Souza explains.


The 8 Best Pilates Rings to Buy

When shopping for a Pilates ring, de Souza wants you looking for three things: padding, size, and durability. Although 13-inch rings are common, the best size comes down to your comfort. That might vary depending on your height and frame. She also says “they should never be so soft that they bend out of shape when you squeeze them.”

We dug through the reviews for you to get the good ones.

1. MANTRA SPORTS 14″ Pilates Ring

pilates ring by mantra sports | pilates ring

You’ll get a card with Pilates ring exercises to do at home when you get this Pilates ring (in case you want to brush up before tackling your next XB Pilates class). They also bundle it with a carry bag so you can tote your magic circle to in-person Pilates classes or take it when you travel (ah, memories!).

Price: $22.97
Available at: Amazon

2. Ninonly 15″ Pilates Ring

ninonly pilates ring | pilates ring

This Pilates ring comes in gray, green, pink, and purple so you can personalize your Pilates practice. It’s 1-2 inches wider than most other options for people who have found magic circles a little too small for them in the past.

Price: $9.99 (Prices of colors vary)
Available at: Amazon

3. 5-Piece Pilates Ring Set (14″)

5 pcs pilates ring | pilates ring

You’ll get everything you need to take your Pilates and yoga workouts to the next level with this set. It includes a durable 14-inch Pilates ring, a resistance band, a stretch ring, a fitness ball, and yoga strap. Certain Pilates exercises require both strength and flexibility, and this set has all the tools you need to build both.

Price: $29.98
Available at: Amazon

4. Balanced Body Ultra-Fit 12″ Mini Pilates Ring

balanced body pilates ring | pilates ring

The right Pilates ring for you is what feels most comfortable. For some people that might be this smaller, 12-inch magic circle. It’s also more convenient to take with you if you like to keep up your Pilates practice while away from home.

Price: $27.00
Available at: Amazon

5. Yogalo 14″ Pilates Ring

yogalo pilates ring | pilates ring

Choose this Pilates ring if you’ve found others uncomfortable in the past. Rather than plastic-coated pads, this magic circle features foam-cushioned pads to keep you comfortable.

Price: $17.90
Available at: Amazon

6. Yoga EVO 12″ Pilates Ring

yoga evo pilates ring | pilates ring

This Pilates ring combines features from two of the other options on this list: It comes in a smaller size and uses foam padding instead of plastic to make sure it doesn’t dig into your hands or thighs during your workout.

Price: $17.95
Available at: Amazon

7. Superior Unbreakable 14″ Pilates Ring

With over 2,000 five-star reviews, it’s safe to say this Pilates ring is Amazon’s favorite. It comes in five different colors and the company offers a replacement within 90 days (though it’s supposed to be unbreakable).

Price: $24.95
Available at: Amazon

8. JBM 13″ Pilates Ring

jbm pilates ring | pilates ring

This in-between sized ring adds just enough resistance and comes in black and purple. Reviewers love the no-slip grip on the pads that makes them feel secure. That means the ring won’t go anywhere while performing your Pilates ring exercises.

Price: $15.98
Available at: Amazon


Linnea Zielinski is a writer specializing in nutrition, wellness, food, and fitness. She was previously the site director at Eat This, Not That! and her work has appeared on MSN, The Huffington Post, Yahoo Health, Refinery29, and Serious Eats. She prefers weight lifting to cardio, swears by CBD massages and dry shampoo, and blogs about living a drama-free life in her spare time.