Just as a yoga block can modify certain poses to make them more accessible, a Pilates ring can help you adjust your workout to your fitness level. Essentially, this tool can amp up the resistance of Pilates movements just enough to tap into and work deeper levels of your core.

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 certified Pilates teacher 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 XB Pilates 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 a class or program like XB Pilates.

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 also 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

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.

Price: $25.97
Available at: Amazon

2. Gaiam 15″ Pilates Ring

This Pilates ring comes with foam padded handles for extra comfort and grip. It’s an inch or two wider than most other options for people who have found magic circles a little too small for them in the past.

Price: $14.99
Available at: Amazon

3. YXILEE Pilates Ring Circle Set (12″)

You’ll get everything you need to take your Pilates and yoga workouts to the next level with this set. It includes a durable 12-inch Pilates ring, five resistance bands, a pair of Pilates socks, a fitness ball, and yoga strap.

Pilates exercises require both strength and flexibility, so this set has all the tools you need to build both.

Price: $26.98
Available at: Amazon

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

Isolated Image of Balanced Body 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: $35.00
Available at: Amazon

5. Yogalo 14″ 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. Comes included with mini exercise ball and 3 resistance bands!

Price: $28.90
Available at: Amazon

6. URBNFit 12″ Pilates Ring

This Pilates ring combines features from a couple 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: $18.75
Available at: Amazon

7. Superior Unbreakable 14″ Pilates Ring

With more than 6,000 five-star ratings, 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. WEASEU 13″ Pilates Ring

This in-between sized ring adds just enough resistance and comes with a large resistance band. 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: $26.99
Available at: Amazon