Stott Conditioning: Power Mat WorkoutMoira Stott Merrithew
Year Released: 2000
Categories: Pilates/Core Strength
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I hate ab work and I hate Pilates. But somehow, I still enjoy this tape. Moira seems to really know her stuff. You won't get any talk here about how sexy you'll look, or how toned you'll be. Instead, you will get very teachery, well-explained moves that focus not only on ab toning (the hundred, the bicycle) but on core stabilization (pelvic tilts) and back strengthening. She spaces the moves so you aren't doing too many crunch-type activities in a row. There were some moves here I haven't seen, such as one where you have your hands on your forehead and lean back as if to the floor, but stopping halfway. The hand position prevents you from balancing your arms and forces your abs into stabilizing you in a half-balance.
Moira does not do the workout herself, but instructs two others who perform the moves on raised mats. Each of them is apparently performing different variations of the move, but Moira does not explain what these variations are. This is not the type of workout that you can really be looking up at the screen all the time though: I had my mat on the floor and tried to follow on verbal cues alone to keep my head aligned properly. If you've read a Pilates book or had prior Pilates experience you should be able to follow along, but it is best to preview a tape like this at least one.
I felt pleasantly relaxed after finishing this tape, and will definitely try to incorporate it into my routine. Moira leaves nothing out, and explains each move very carefully. You only do a few reps of each exercise, which makes the workout move quickly. And doing only a few reps forces you to focus on form and make every move count. Moira is at times a little dry, and her inflection is rather monotone. But the 30-minute workout is so briskly paced that this is less a detriment than it might be during a longer routine.
This is a 35-minute Pilates workout that is good for someone who has completed Essential Matwork but is not quite ready for Intermediate Matwork.
The production quality is so much better than Moira's first matwork series, which is very clinical. The set in this tape is very pretty and the soft music is nice, too.
Moira starts off with a brief overview of breathing and proper body positioning. Although she does give form pointers throughout the workout, the moves are done in a fast, flowing manner, so it is helpful to have some knowledge of basic Pilates' exercises like the Hundred, Roll Up, etc. You never do more than 10 reps of each exercise, so Moira packs a lot of different movements into this time-crunch workout.
The only thing I find disconcerting about this tape is that the two exercise demonstrators are on an upraised platform, so when they dangle their legs over the edge, I don't know if I should be crossing my legs, putting them out in front of me, or using some other position.
Moira Stott is a little looser in this tape than in her first matwork series. Her style is similar to Karen Voight.
I generally find Pilates work very challenging, and seldom get through a whole tape. Most of my experience thus far has been with the Method tapes which are broken up into short sections. They never function as my sole workout for the day, but are a nice add-on, and although they challenge me I find them relaxing. The Stott tape is different in a few ways.
First, it is the first Pilates tape I have ever gotten all the way through. BUT....and this is a big one...I don't think it DID anything. I did not break a sweat. I did not feel sore. Nothing at all happened to me. I just did it then it was done. I think this is telling me that I need more work on each body part than this kind of stand-alone tape can offer me. When I split up a Method tape, for example, I am doing only the abs section, or only the back section or whatever. So I am getting 15 minutes of ALL that body part. By trying to cram the whole Pilates experience into 35 minutes, I can't be getting as much attention for each part. It would be like doing a 5-minute yoga tape.
Maybe I need to concentrate more, or move more slowly or something, but I don't see why I should when I can do a Method tape and feel results with that. It's not a bad tape: Stott is very thorough, and explains things well. But for me, this tape felt very...not me.