Stott Pilates Fitness Circle

Moira Stott Merrithew
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

Like the Flexband workout, this tape features Moira alone, one on one with us. It features less introductory comments than most Stott tapes, and she gets right into the 25-minute workout.

A fitness circle is required for this tape, and it is quite a fun fitness toy. When I had a brief lesson from Moira in a live demo, she used the circle to help me stabilize my torso during a crunch, and correct my alignment during a spinal twist. In those types of exercises, I see the circle as being a useful prop for modifying a traditional matwork routine. There is a bit of that here (she does a modified hundred with thigh squeezes), but Moira seems less interested in traditional Pilates exercises here. Most of the moves seem calculated to spark your imagination regarding possible uses for the circle, and a large majority of the moves did not involve the "core" significantly. For example, there are several thigh exercises where you squeeze the circle between your knees, and you are completely prone for that. There are also quite a few upper body exercises: a biceps pushdown (lie on your back, prop circle behind your head, bend elbows and press down with hands) a similar standing triceps move where the circle rests on your shoulder to alter the focus, several chest and shoulder moves and some back presses. Several of the moves are quite innovative, and there is a very effective glute move where the exercise was only a bit harder than getting the ring into position was!

I had a lot of fun with the circle and can see myself modifying other tapes to incorporate it. In some places, it was a bit awkward; I can see height being a factor here, and clearly those with longer legs and greater flexibility in the hip flexors will have an easier time maneuvering the circle. I was using a circle from a company called "Balanced Body" and their promotional materials claim their ring is narrower than other Pilates circles, so clearly I am not the only one who has trouble in that regard.

I am not sure where this workout would fit in a traditional rotation. It involves strength work, but I wouldn't put it on a lifting day. It involves core work, but not the way traditional Pilates does. I generally have one day a week where anything goes, but it is too short to really fit that bill either. It is so fun and relaxing that I would almost classify it as the perfect cool-down to a weight training day: it involves stretching, and it works the muscles in a way that stretching wouldn't. It's a bit long for a cool-down, but if you have the extra half-hour, it would be just fine.