Typically, Pilates is considered a mat or Reformer exercise. however, Pilates also uses various other pieces of equipment such as resistance bands and rings to make the exercises more challenging and engage different muscles.
The Pilates ring is a soft, round ring that is flexible enough to give slightly but rigid enough that you can't bend it too much. There are small pads on either
Ring Side Press
Use this ring exercise to target your upper arm muscles, the large latissimus dorsi muscle in your back and your chest muscles.
How to: Start standing with the padded part of the ring against the outside of your right hip. The ring should be parallel to the ground. The heel of your right hand should be on the other padded side of the ring and your arm should be straight. Squeeze the ring by pushing your right arm in toward your body. Squeeze the circle eight to 10 times and breathe normally.
Lunge with Rotation
Integrate your legs, core and upper body with this all-encompassing ring exercise.
How to: Start standing with your arms out straight in front of you, squeezing the ring between your hands. Lunge forward with your left leg and lower your right knee down until it almost touches the floor. Twist to the left while keeping your upper body upright and squeezing the ring together with your hands, and then come back to the center and step with the other leg. Complete five repetitions on each leg.
Obliques Roll Back
Use the ring to help stabilize your body and force your inner thighs to work a little harder during this ab exercise.
How to: Start sitting on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Put the ring in between your knees and push into it, activating your inner thigh muscles. With your hands on your knees, lean your upper body back and turn to the left as you reach your left arm back behind you with your palm facing up. Return to the center and then switch sides, reaching back with your right arm. Perform 10 repetitions with each arm.
Read More: The Best Home Pilates Equipment
Bridge and Ring Squeeze
Squeezing the ring with your knees adds an extra element of difficulty to the traditional glute bridge exercise.
How to: Lie on your back with your feet planted and knees bent. Your heels should be 6 to 12 inches from your butt. Put the ring in between your knees and squeeze it as you drive your heels into the ground and press your hips up into the air. Slowly lower your butt back down to the ground to complete one repetition. Perform 20 repetitions.
With the ring, you can add extra tension to your upper body and abdominals as you scissor kick with your legs.
How to: Lie on your back with your arms reaching up to the ceiling and the ring in between your hands, squeezing it in. Your legs should be out straight with your toes pointed down. Inhale and lift your shoulders and head off of the mat with your ab muscles and hold them there. Then, exhale and lift your left leg up as high as you can. Inhale as you start to switch legs, lowering your left and raising your right, and exhale as your right leg goes as high as it can. Perform eight to 10 repetitions on each leg.