Stott Pilates Fitness Circle

Moira Stott Merrithew
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

This tape is quickly becoming one of my favorite tapes for days when I want to do something different or additional. It uses the Circle; I use the Karen Voight Resist-a-Ring; I have used both and they work equally well. I have had the advantage of learning this workout from Moira Stott at a live workshop, so that may influence my opinion of this tape. I really, really like the workout. It feels very good and what is even better is that it is effective and works most muscles in the body along with increasing flexibility.

It is about 30 minutes long and has a large variety of exercises; the cover says 30 exercises. The time goes very quickly and you change from one move to the next. There is not a lot of instruction on this tape because there is another Stott tape that contains all the instruction (similar to the live workshop I attended). I think it is a big advantage to have the instructional tape to understand the form and the reason for the different exercises.

Moira starts out with some breathing. The workout consists of some moves for strength and some for flexibility (some moves combine both elements). Moira uses the circle in creative and wonderful ways. There are roll-ups (Pilates style) and you squeeze the circle between your knees.. There are variations shown for all the exercises (intermediate and advanced versions). There are hamstring stretches using the circle (you lie on your back and place your foot inside the circle, bend the knee and straighten it) There is also one where you are seated and place the circle around your foot and pull. There are seated twists where you hold the circle against your sternum. There is an exercise where you are seated and place the circle down on the floor and press down (you use your core stabilizers), another where the circle is to the side and you press with one hand (using the lats and core stabilizers). You do exercises in every position; some on the side, where you put one leg inside the circle (which is at ankle level) and one on top and you press down on the circle with the top leg, and then you lift the inner leg up to meet the top leg. There are exercises on your stomach, in which you hold the circle between your ankles with the knees bent and squeeze in that position. You also do some upper body lifts for the back. I love these exercises. She has a number of arm exercises, where you move the circle up and down while squeezing it at varying tempos. You work your chest, shoulders, triceps and lats using the circle. There is abdominal work, of course, all incorporating the circle (oblique twists, crunches and an exercise where you sit with the circle between your knees and roll half-way down and come back up).

It's a lot of variety for such a short workout. You basically work every part of your body. I like the fact that flexibility is an additional component to the exercises. It is truly unique and wonderful. I highly recommend it if you enjoy using props and want something different that feels really great.

Moira Stott is a very knowledgeable instructor. I like her personality; she is in wonderful condition herself (she is a mother of 2 adorable kids who were doing the exercises next to me at the workshop--with amazing form). I also like Karen Voight, whom I would say is similar to Moira in being more on the serious side. There are 2 participants, one man in the back doing the intermediate level and one woman in the front doing the advanced level. Moira is talking them through the workout and doesn't do the exercises herself. The woman in the front is obviously very conditioned (looks like a dancer or Pilates instructor), and is super-serious. At one point in the tape, Moira says to smile while doing one of the exercises, and the woman barely can manage one. This does not change my high opinion of this video, of course.