Video Fitness

Pilates Circle Challenge

Bernadette Giorgi

This workout runs approx. 45 min. in it's entirety. There are three premixes: Core Challenge (23 min.), Side Kick Challenge (29 min.), and Butt Challenge (23 min.). There is a brief introduction by Bernadette, or you can choose to just skip that and start right out with the workout.

The setting is in a room with wood floors, light gray walls, some chairs, flowers, etc. Bernadette is alone on a mat. I believe this is the same set as in many of the CIA videos or Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Min. to Fitness, which would make sense as it's filmed by Greg Twombly.

The workout starts with a warm up/stretch. Bernadette reminds you to focus and release tension. The next section is focused on the core. She incorporates common pilates moves such as the hundred, rollups, corkscrew, bicycle, rollover, V-sits, etc. using the circle. There are brief stretches between.

Then it moves into a side-lying series which really works the legs. Again, she does some stretches just when I needed them.

The next section is a prone lying series that really works the butt and hamstrings.

The final portion is the cool down stretch where she uses the circle during the stretches. On all the stretches, I liked that she held them long enough to feel them, but not too long for my tastes.

Everything is on the mat except the final couple of stretches which end in a standing position. Bernadette emphasizes that the circle helps focus on form and work targeted areas. She gives frequent reminders on form and some tips to modify are either given verbally or briefly shown by her.

I would not recommend this workout for anyone new to pilates. I think you really need a basic understanding of the breathing and engaging the core. I think she assumes some prior knowledge of this. It would have been helpful in some cases to have a modifier shown, but it wasn't a deal-breaker for me. If you're someone that needs lots of modification, then it probably would be. The music was 'there' - quiet and in the background and I barely noticed it. This is only the second pilates circle workout I've done, but I really liked it and think I'll be using it a lot. I also appreciated that it wasn't too long, and I can always do a premix to add on to another workout.

Instructor comments: Bernadette's dance background is obvious in her graceful movements. She has a very soothing voice and manner.



With one main workout and several lower body premixes, you are sure to tone and sculpt the lower body. The use of a pilates circle intensifies the work.

The main workout runs about 50 minutes. The premixes are as follows:

*Core Challenge-23 minutes
(w/up, core and all stretches)

*Side Kick Challenge-29 minutes
(w/up, inner/outer thighs 2 sets and all stretches)

*Butt Challenge-23 minutes
(w/up, hips/glutes 2 sets and all stretches)

Bernadette filmed with CIA Studios so the set and production quality are well done. She uses soft music to inspire calmness.

A very gentle stretch opens the body and prepares you for the simple but effective exercises. You'll begin with the 100 which will continue to warm the core. All the basics are here--roll downs and straight leg lifts. Next you'll move into glute work with the circle between the knees for glute lifts. Next you'll perform knee drops with knees inside the circle. Moving circle between knee you'll do a modification of criss cross-a great move for the obliques! Move circle to ankles for corkscrew. Then you'll reverse the motion with circle inside the ankles. Quick transition-move circle to around ankles again and perform a roll over. Stretch and then sit up placing one ankle inside circle and other on top of the circle to work the top of thighs (quad muscles). Put foot inside circle and lift up against circle. Next you'll leave foot on top of circle and perform partial roll downs working the abdominals. Put hands inside circle and perform big circles leaning back and to the side. Lay back down and place ankles inside circle. Then raise both legs up and then bring them down twisting to one side, then back up, then twist to the other side. Another fluid abdominal exercise follows. Feet outside circle, legs push down, arms come down and around. (using circle increases concentration) Next is the side kick series. You'll really get into the inner and outer thigh areas. Following this you'll roll onto your stomach and place circle at back of leg and bend leg and place foot onto pad and press into it, working glutes. Then you'll place circle between both feet and perform tiny lifts, contracting the hamstrings. Moving circle to ankles you'll lift arms and legs simutaneously. Bernadette concludes the workout by using the circle as a tool to aide in the stretches, enhancing flexibility.

Instructor comments:

Denise R

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