West Coast Pilates: Magic Circle Program

Kathy Corey
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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This is a VHS tape I got off of Amazon.com. The West Coast Pilates group has a web site that sells it, but I got it for the same price at Amazon and free shipping. It is a workout using the Pilates fitness circle Ė and the circle is used in some way with every move. The circle seemed like an integral part of the workout, not a prop, as I found with some other fitness circle workouts.

Anyway, this workout is led by Kathy Corey and has three background exercisers. Each one of the background exercisers demonstrates one level Ė beginning, intermediate, or advanced. The intermediate exerciser also demonstrates the proper breathing for each move (loudly) Ė something that turned out to be quite helpful to me throughout the workout since there are different breathing patterns for different moves. The set is simple and was something I didnít really notice throughout the workout. The exercisers stand in front of a purple wall with the West Coast Pilates Groupís logo on it. The floor was a light color Ė off white. I canít remember and made absolutely not notes about the music, so I donít think there was any. It just occurred to me as Iím typing this review.

Kathy Corey leads the workout. She gives lots of instruction and is very precise in describing the moves. This includes a description before the actual workout on how to hold the body and a description of how it should feel to draw the navel in, etc. I would not, however, consider this a workout for beginners to Pilates. She doesnít give the complex and in-depth descriptions of how the moves should feel and how to hold yourself with each moves that I would find in workouts like Pilates for Dummies or Ana Cabanís Beginning Mat Workout. It would be, however, a good workout for people new to using the fitness circle. She does lead the workout and then, with extra form instructions, a voice over is also used. It is Kathyís voice that does these additional instructions. I thought it was a very effective technique. Some people might think she talks like a schoolteacher. I would agree, but then I get drawn into the workout and appreciate the precision of her instruction. Finally, each moveís title is posted in the lower right-hand corner of the screen (in text) as it begins.

The first few exercises are standing moves. Then, the workout moves to the floor and stays there for the bulk of the workout. The last few moves move back upright and are done standing. I clocked the workout at 47 minutes.

She does moves I havenít seen before in this type of workout. For example, she starts out with foot rolls. This workout is done at a slow, gentle pace. It is not a ďkillerĒ workout. At the end, however, I feel pleasantly worked out. The pattern of the workout is that she will get you in a position and then do a series of moves and variations of moves in that position. There times when some of the series seem to go on a bit longer than I would prefer. On the other hand, she equally works the different sides of the body and she does the same moves with slight variations (like pointed toes and then flexed feet). There are a number of moves which are definitely ďdance inspiredĒ and add another layer to the workout. She also gets in more upper body work than I have seen with some of these workouts, sometimes sneaking in pulses with the upper body while doing a lower body move.

Overall, I like this workout. Itís a bit longer than I would prefer. But, itís a good workout for those strength days when I canít talk myself into lifting weights. I do enjoy working with the Pilates fitness circle and this is a solid workout for it.

Instructor Comments:
She is "mature" for the average video fitness instructor. If you can get past the somewhat "school teacher-ishness" of her manner, she gives precise, detailed, clear instruction. I really liked how she led the workout after the first five minutes.

Laura S.