Stott Conditioning: Intermediate MatworkMoira Stott Merrithew
Year Released: 1999
Categories: Pilates/Core Strength
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it two or three times since getting it a month or two ago.
Note: I’m reviewing the recent DVD release of this series, which is now labeled as “Pro Series” or “2nd edition.” Since I’m only a home exerciser, not a Pilates instructor, I’m reviewing it as a vidiot.
General workout breakdown: This Stott Pilates routine lasts just under 45 minutes; you can cut out almost 10 minutes by skipping the warm up exercises and starting in with the hundred.
The warm-up includes breathing, imprint & release, hip release (i.e. half bridge), spinal rotation, cat stretch, hip rolls, scapula isolation, arm circles, head nods, and elevation & depression of the scapula. The workout consists of ab prep, breast stroke prep (2 variations), shell stretch, the hundred, half roll back, roll up, one leg circle, spine twist, rolling like a ball, single leg stretch, obliques (i.e. criss cross), slow double leg stretch, double leg stretch, scissors (i.e. single straight leg stretch), shoulder bridge prep, rollover, single leg kick, breast stroke, shell stretch, saw, open leg rocker, neck pull, obliques roll back, jackknife, side kick series (front & back, single side leg lift, little circles, the exercise where you hold your upper leg straight and bring the lower leg to meet it, double side leg lift, and double side leg lift with torso also raising), double leg kick, shell stretch, spine stretch forward, teaser, swan dive, swimming, shell stretch, leg pull front, hip twist, seal, side bend, push up, mermaid stretch, spine stretch forward, and thigh stretch (i.e. low lunge to stretch the hip flexors).
Moira moves at a brisk but not rushed pace that leaves you just enough time to set up for and perform each exercise fully. She includes a good number of repetitions, enough so you feel your muscles but not so many you’re bored.
Stott Pilates puts a slight twist on the Classical Pilates routines and exercises. They claim to have modified a few exercises and the overall order in keeping with more recent medical research. Moira specifically mentions their attempts to balance forward bends with backbends.
Level: I’d recommend this to someone practicing Pilates at the intermediate level. Moira does include some instruction, especially for the moves new to this series, and reviews Pilates principles, but she assumes you’re familiar with basic Pilates moves and doesn’t cue a lot of breaths. She does suggest a few modifications. (If you’re a true beginner, some of these moves may require more strength and flexibility than you have right now; any of Stott’s Level 1 or even 2 videos would be better suited for you.) I consider myself almost a solid intermediate; I have about three years of Pilates experience but am still working on improving my flexibility and strength. This is perfect for me right now, with just the right amount of challenge.
Class: Moira alone, instructing as she demonstrates the moves.
Music: very soft instrumental music.
Set: interior set with raised platform for Moira’s mat and blue-lit walls. (The oval shaped platform and thing hanging on the wall with “Stott” across it makes it look sort of like Moira’s performing in a clam shell.)
Production: good but not spectacular picture and sound (this is a VHS transfer). The camera almost always shows all of Moira, which is helpful.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent). Moira is barefoot.
Space Requirements: You should be able to lie down with arms and legs extended as well as to sweep your limbs to each side. Make sure you won’t stub your toes on anything behind you during the rollover.
Moira has a wonderful knack for including an incredible amount of instruction and pointers. She demonstrates “what not to do” a couple of times, which I found helpful, especially since most Pilates instructors don’t make the distinction obvious. She has a rather quiet personality and soft voice, but she exudes grace, intelligence, and some humor. If you need your instructor to be peppy and perky, Moira’s not for you. I personally like her mellow persona.
Stott's Intermediate Matwork video is designed for experienced Pilates students who have already mastered the beginning Pilates moves, either through use of the Stott Beginner's video or elsewhere. Instructor Moira Stott explains that in this new second edition, the sequencing of the exercises has been revised based on the latest research.
Moira begins with a 9-minute sequence of opening stretches which review the major Pilates principles, including breathing, imprinting, and articulation. This section also includes warm-up exercises for the hips and shoulders as well as prep moves for the abs and back. Although the warm-up moves at a slow, leisurely pace, once Moira begins the workout--starting with the classic hundred move--she picks up the pace, transitioning quickly between moves. In order to keep up, it is necessary for the viewer to have not only previous knowledge of the exercises themselves but also a basic understanding of Pilates sequencing. Furthermore, because this is an intermediate routine, some fairly challenging moves are added to the traditional Pilates matwork, including the rollover, the open leg rocker, the full teaser, the jack knife, hip twists, side bends, and Pilates push-ups. The 35-minute matwork section ends with a few simple stretches.
This is a nice routine for those Pilates students who are ready to advance beyond the beginner level. The fast pace intensifies the workout, and the intermediate movements are challenging yet doable for those who have built up some core strength. Although the total workout time is 44 minutes, the warm-up stretches could easily be skipped for a relatively quick and thorough 35-minute Pilates workout. Recommended for all intermediate students of Pilates.
Moira, a calm, competent instructor, works out alone here. She is very matter-of-fact but not overly dry in this video; she even makes little jokes at times (which she also did in the Power Fitness Circle workout).
I think Moira Stott really knows her stuff, but she is far from being "Ms. Charisma." A few smiles would go a long way in making her seem more friendly.
This is a fairly tough Pilates workout which includes some exercises I haven't seen in the Method tapes. However, it's very boring. Someone on the forum used the word "clinical" and that describes it perfectly. Moira Stott lectures while another woman demonstrates the moves. The exercises are very good, and I definitely feel afterward that I've worked my "core" pretty good. But I have trouble making myself finish the workout because there's just no fun factor. Moira never smiles or offers any sort of encouragement or motivating words. She does a good job explaining what you're supposed to be doing, but just doesn't put the fun into it. I will continue to do Pilates work, but will use The Method tapes or Breakthru Training. Grade C.