The Best Way to Tone Your Bum on the Pilates Arc Barrel

In this post: If you’re looking for the best way to tone your bum, try Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel. I guarantee you’ll feel the burn!

The first time I learned this exercise I was in certification class, and the instructor was teaching all the prone Arc barrel exercises. By the time we got to this one, we had already learned prone Single leg extension and Lower and lift.

My little buns were twitchy and tired, but my ego was determined. I would not take a break and embarrass myself in front of my classmates.

As we started Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel, my legs lifted, jerked to the bottom of my circle, came together, and promptly refused to budge any further. I was done.

Not used to actually doing anything, my glutes were fed up with all this work, so they quit. This was the first time that I realized how truly weak my posterior muscles were.

By practicing Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel, you can tone your bum and strengthen all three of the gluteal muscles plus the adductors (inner thighs). This exercise offers a ton of strengthening and toning, but let me warn you, it’s hard work.

At least, it is for me because I have weak glutes.

Of course, this could just be me. Maybe you have really strong glutes and this will be a piece of cake. Regardless, Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel is one of the absolute best ways to tone your bum and build strength in an important posterior core muscle.

What Are Core Muscles?

Core muscles are the group of muscles around the midsection of your body that work together to help you move and keep your low back pain-free. Although the abdominals are the most popular of the core muscles, they’re not the only ones working. Your core muscles consist of your:

In this one Arc barrel exercise, you work all of your core muscles. Here’s what you need to know to get the most benefit from Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel.

Click here if you want to learn the basics of Pilates and yoga with me in a FREE 30-day challenge.

How to Do Leg Circles Prone on the Pilates Arc Barrel

Set Up

  1. Place the Arc barrel so the curve seems like a bump in the road on your mat.
  2. Carefully, lower yourself onto your stomach over the Arc barrel. 
    Your hips should be near the apex of the barrel. You will probably feel your knees on one side of the barrel and your forehead on the other side.
  3. I like to stack my hands on top of each other and rest my forehead on top.
  4. If it feels like your pubic bone (the front part of your crotch) is painfully pressing into the barrel, slide a towel or piece of foam under the front of your hips. This should help alleviate any discomfort.
  5. Use Pilates breathing. Inhale through your nose to lift your abdominals away from the barrel.
The Best Way to Tone Your Bum on the Pilates Arc Barrel
This is how your legs should look with they’re parallel, lifted, and together.

Outward Circles

  1. Exhale through pursed lips to straighten and lift both of your legs so that they’re approximately in line with your hips. Feel your adductors (inner thighs) hug toward each other, and make sure that both of your kneecaps are facing the mat. This means your legs are in parallel, and they should stay in parallel as you move.
  2. Inhale to lower your straight legs slightly toward the mat.
  3. Separate your legs to shoulder-width apart.
  4. Exhale to circle your legs back up to hip level. When you reach hip level, close your legs. Notice how this feels like you are drawing small circles on the wall behind you.
  5. Complete 5-10 reps circling this direction. As you circle, you should not feel any changes to the curve of your low back. You also shouldn’t feel any low back pain. If you do, take a break to relax, re-engage your abdominals, and try again.
  6. Finish with your legs at hip level.

Inward Circles

  1. To switch directions, inhale to separate your legs to shoulder-width apart and circle your legs toward the ground.
  2. Exhale to bring your legs together and lift up to hip level.
  3. Complete 5-10 reps circling this direction.
  4. After circling in parallel, you may laterally rotate your legs from the hips and complete leg circles in lateral rotation. Make sure you go both directions.
  5. To completely finish, lower your legs to the ground, and bend your knees.
The Best Way to Tone Your Bum on the Pilates Arc Barrel
This is how your legs should look when they’re laterally rotated, lifted, and separated.

Leg Circles Prone on the Arc Barrel Video

Here is a video of how to do Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel for all the visual learners out there.

Finding the Best Arc Barrel

If you’re in the market for an Arc barrel, I recently compared the top five Arc barrels on the market. Here’s who made my top five list and which barrel I’d buy.

When You Practice Leg Cirlces, Don’t Forget…

As you practice Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel, make sure that you’re not trying to lift your legs with your low back. This is not correct, and it will cause low back pain. Furthermore, you still won’t be toning your tush!

So, remember to keep your abdominals lifted toward your spine, and lift your legs with your glutes. If they don’t seem to want to work, just poke the cushy part of your tush with your finger to help wake up the muscle.

Use Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel to strengthen your glutes and adductors, tone your bum, and help you build a stronger core. All of these perks will help keep you pain-free.

Also, I just want to let you know that if you’re interested in learning the basics of Pilates and yoga, I offer a FREE 30-day challenge. Click here to sign up today!

You have got to feel the burn! Let us know what you thought of Leg circles prone on the Pilates Arc barrel in the comments below.

About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.