Circular Movements to Re-Shape the Derierre

Movement is my medicine,  my drug of choice and my daily mantra.  As a result, I have earned a reputation for being an active-oriented teacher.  “Action Jackson” has been a nickname for longer than I can remember, and I have been told that it seems my “ever-ready” batteries almost never seem to run down.

It may, therefore, come as no surprise that I have fallen madly in love with the Balanced Body Pilates Orbit. As a tool in the studio, the Pilates Orbit in my opinion, is a perfect compliment to the reformer in facilitating circular, rotational movements for the upper and lower body.  I use the Orbit quite a bit in concert with my cycling activities and love the lifted, toned shaping I feel of my 50+ derierre with each use.

Essentially, the Pilates Orbit is a “mini-mat on wheels” and given the curves and shape of the lion share of our client’s bodies, I find it the perfect compliment to the “length and depth”  as well as the “vertical and horizontal” alignments we use on the reformer, tower and Cadillac equipment of the studio.

Challenging stability while moving “on wheels” is a sure-fire way to fire up the powerhouse.  It surely feeds my need for continual, active movement.

There are a myriad of Pilates exercises for which the Pilates Orbit can used for to strengthen the core abdominals.    A creative instructor will easily find a way to translate and transfer the classic Pilates exercises used on the mat and/or reformer to the Orbit.   It didn’t take long for my ”action-orientation” to find a number of challenging toning exercises to support re-shaping the bottoms of those walking into my studio.

Loving the Curves & Shaping the Butt

As a 50+ woman with clients that are also fighting the gravitational pull of life on their bodies, I wanted an additional way to shape, tone and stretch the muscles of the hip and legs while encouraging core balance and control and this little tool does the trick perfectly.  Students of all ages have joined me in loving not only the flow of movement, but the toning and balance control achieved with a few specific “circular movements” facilitated by the Pilates Orbit.

I spend no more than 10-12 minutes with the Orbit in a session hour.   After the abdominal series, I generally start with Orbit “knee stretches,” add a few push ups and oblique rotations just to get the blood flowing with the ease of the tool and then transition to a kneeling sequence that targets the quads, hamstrings, abductors/adductors as well as the internal and external rotators.

One particular movement, single leg adduction/abduction, garners quite a few “oohs and ahhs” from students.   In fact, many of my senior client/students beg to do this exercise just for the opening it helps to facilitate through the pelvis, hips and joints (Pictured).

Transitioning from kneeling to a supine, I encourage use of the Orbit for “frogs.” Assuming the “frogs” foot position and planting the sides of the feet on the Orbit, students are encouraged to perform 5-8 frogs with the pelvis stationary on the mat and then challenged to lift the hips (keeping the sides of the feet planted) and “frog” in/out for 5-8 more repetitions.   The last supine exercise I use is a bridge, whereby the feet are planted solidly on the Orbit and the torso bridged without moving the Orbit for 5 reps and subsequently performed in a controlled, slow movement away from the Orbit while still engaged in the “pelvic lift” for greater intensity and work on the hamstrings.

I always end in a standing position and use the Orbit for single leg balance work.  Challenging balance and stability on wheels – with controlled rotational sequencing through the internal and external rotators of the glutes – fully integrates the mind and body and yields a few more “oohs and ahhs” as we roll through the circular movements. [Picture supplied – Standing Balance]

Students end the session smiling with their spirits, as well as their rear ends, lifted a little higher.



  • Knee Stretches 8-10 reps
  • Rollout, Plank to PushUp (Hands on Orbit) 5-8 reps
  • Single Leg Abd/Adduction 5-8 reps [picture supplied – Single Leg Abduction]

Supine Bridge


  • Frogs 5-8 reps
  • Pelvic Lift 5-8 reps

Standing – Balance, Control and Abduction


  • Single Leg Lunge 5-8 reps
  • Single Leg Lunge with Circle 5-10 reps [picture supplied – Rotational-Lunge]

Post Author: Gina Jackson

Gina Jackson, Director/Owner, Pilates4Fitness Movement Space, West New York, NJ, has been teaching, coaching and training for more than thirteen years and loves the challenge of helping others find their center with Pilates. Certified by Power Pilates, New York, NY, you can connect with Gina via Twitter [], Facebook [] and her website [].