To say that pilates is an “intimidating practice” would be an understatement if we’ve ever heard one. Through low-impact movements, each session works to tone and strengthen your core, improve your flexibility and torch major calories. In other words, pilates is going to put your body weight to work in ways you’ve never imagined possible. But for anyone brand new to the practice, props like toning balls and cords can play a significant role in getting you accustomed to this level of muscle work. If you’re having trouble finding your center, however, rings for pilates, also called “magic circles,” are the most essential tool.
Reports show that the first “magic ring” was actually invented by none other than Joseph Pilates himself. The story goes that Pilates constructed the prop from the metal ring around a beer keg — how’s that for being resourceful? Since then, rings have become one of the most popular pilates props to date. They offer low to moderate resistance, help to strengthen your muscles, improve your alignment, balance and overall posture.
When it comes to purchasing the best pilates ring for your practice, there are a few things to keep in mind: First, the materials. Rings for pilates are generally made using either metal or rubber. Both are flexible, but rubber is almost too malleable, so if you’re looking for optimal stability, seasoned pilates practitioners recommend sticking with a metal ring. Second, pilates rings come in different sizes, with loops ranging from 12 to 16 inches wide. Choose according to the height and weight chart recommendations by the manufacturer, and get ready to take your practice to the next level with these picks.
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1. URBNFit Pilates Ring Fitness Circle
The URBNFit Pilates Ring is a thing of genius. The pilates prop is so indestructible and yet incredibly lightweight: Made from fiberglass with a rubber outer sleeve, the accessory weighs less than one pound and measures 12 inches wide. It’s 100 percent crack-resistant and doesn’t break under pressure, nor does it lose its shape overtime. Available in three colors — black, pink and teal — choose your shade and toss it in your pilates bag on your way to the studio or store it next to your mat so you never miss a full body workout without this thing again.
2. ProBody Pilates Pilates Ring
ProBody Pilates ring isn’t totally unlike the thigh master — it’s meant to target, tone and shape problem areas (think inner thighs, abs, and even your arms and neck). Unlike other rings, the ProBody pilates ring is made from composite material, not heavy metal or steel. It’s wrapped in plastic laminate and soft foam, with water-resistant grip pads that stay in place as you work. It also comes with a travel pouch, so you’ll always be prepared when exercising on-the-go.
3. ProsourceFit Pilates Resistance Ring
Just tapping into your inner pilates goddess? The practice definitely requires a lot of strength and flexibility that, as beginners, you might not have (yet). The ProsourceFit pilates ring was designed to help novice practitioners get their bearings and find their center (not to mention their strength). The 14-inch loop is made of steel and coated with rubber, with foam padded handles promoting a more comfortable grip. In the same way that you shouldn’t underestimate your strength going into the practice, don’t underestimate this small tool. It yields significant results.