Winsor Pilates Advanced Circle Workout

Mari Winsor
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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This advanced Pilates offering from the Winsor circle series is peppy, challenging and flows better than most Winsors (although Mari’s love of “hang time” rears its head in the Series of Five). It is a full 36 minute session with very little down time. I’m reviewing it after doing it 3X and liking it more each time. Dina modifies the moves, but is not always in-camera. A fair amount of modifications are cued but not every exercise.

Here is the breakdown:

~100 w/circle between ankles
~Rollup, circle held in hands
~Rollover, circle between ankles
~Single leg circles with non-working leg propped on the circle, making it a wobbly working leg – challenging!

~Rolling like a ball, circle held in front of shins
~Single leg stretch, circle held straight up over face
~Double leg stretch, circle between ankles
~Single straight leg, circle straight up over face
~Double straight leg, circle between ankles
~Cross-cross while holding circle and moving it knee to knee

~Spine stretch forward, circle pressed into mat with outstretched palms

~Open leg rocker with circle between ankles – a tricky move

~Jack Knife, circle remains between ankles, then right into Corkscrews

~Flip over for single leg kicks with circle on mat, squeezed between elbows, then double leg kicks with circle squeezed behind back – second move is awkward – then back into a brief “little piece of heaven”

~Saw holding circle in hands and reaching beyond ankles (nice)

~Side leg series features side-lying pulses, first with foot on top and pressing circle down, then slide foot inside circle and pulse upward, then a nifty little rolling movement is demonstrated to get the circle between the ankles with no assistance from hands, and squeezed between both legs, finally side crunches are added to this move (here I’d have liked cueing as to spinal alignment because I crane my neck forward every time)

~Lie back, knees-to-chest stretch with circle over shins and prepare for a killer ...

~Teaser series, brief but intense. Begins with circle between ankles for a few Teasers, then one with legs raising and lowering, then three Teasers where you pass the circle from ankles to hands and back while Teaser’ing (oye), and when final Teaser is complete the hands sweep behind for Hip Circles, circle remaining between ankles.

~With great relief lie on back for a quick lying side twist, once to each side

~Arm work, squeezing the circle in various patterns while sitting cross-legged or in butterfly. The actual strengthening of these movements is questionable - these arm series with the Winsor circle remind me of my sister many years ago with her Mark Eden bust developer – but I make the moves worthwhile by focusing on perfect posture, breath of fire and really squeezing. Gives a little “glow” in the upper body.

~Legs out straight for spine twists

~If you didn’t work hard enough, the penultimate is a bridging series with lots of squeezing and pulsing of the buttocks.

~Seal and then some brief side and forward stretches from a cross-legged position.

I love the workout, for me it provides more intensity than 20 minutes can offer and I feel great afterward. A lot gets accomplished and the circle adds an element of challenge, yet uncannily acts as a guide with some moves. I caution anyone dealing with groin or hip flexor issues, however – the apparatus is often squeezed between the legs and it might aggravate any injuries in this area. I give Mari an A for this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
Mari cues well in this video, with good voice. Cues are primarily for exercises, though - there aren't many form pointers. Arguably, this a good thing - the workout is clearly labeled “Advanced” and if you are familiar with the moves, constant form pointers become annoying. However, certain moves begged for alignment pointers, and those who are not 100% new, yet venturing to attempt this offering for the first few times, might feel a little lost. In that case I’d recommend a thorough preview and backtracking if needed.