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Single Leg Circle, why do you hate me? From Basic to Advanced - By Jon Hawkins

Updated: Sep 1, 2018

It always amused me that clients are almost shocked to discover there are some exercises that I hate with a passion. I’m obviously giving the impression that I’m a living Instagram perfect practitioner of all the exercises in the system. To be fair my Instagram is carefully curated to show the exercises that I perform well and that also look interesting. See the occasional “Because no one ever posts pictures of themselves doing footwork.” posts. However there is one exercise that you will NOT see on my Instagram. I’m going to say it here loud and proud, I hate Single Leg Circle on the mat.

I can do many of the advanced exercises, I’m even starting to get a decent Balance Control Off where you start off upside down in a shoulder stand on the reformer and flip yourself over onto the floor on one leg. Then if that’s not fancy enough there’s some dancer-ish business before you flip back onto the reformer into another shoulder stand and repeat on the other side.

However, its Single Leg Circle one of the very first basic mat exercises that gets me every time. It has all the things that make Pilates challenging, you have to really anchor one part of your body in order to provide another with the stability that allows freedom of movement. There are many people who do it and make it look beautiful, their circling leg cutting through the air like a hot knife though butter. I’m not one of those people.

For me its a very humbling experience and one that always makes me feel like a complete beginner. Yes, you’ve come a long way but there is still much work to be done. Some of the basic exercises are in fact insanely hard as you can not cheat them and if you do manage it you are only cheating yourself as they are the building blocks of more complex movements further down the line. One day I’m sure I’ll have that one hundred and eighty degree reversal and will be evangelising about how much I love Single Leg Circle and trust me it will be all over Instagram.

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