Stott Pilates Intermediate Bosu

Moira Stott Merrithew
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Bosu and Balance Disks/Boards, Pilates/Core Strength

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Just as an FYI, the full title on my DVD is Stott Pilates Ė Intermediate Bosu Pilates for Athletic Performance.

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it twice.

General workout breakdown: This DVD contains a Pilates matwork routine adapted to use the Bosu plus some additional exercises, for a total of 46.5 minutes of workout. Kathyís already described the workout well, so Iíll just list exercises and a few other comments.
- The warm-up (9.5 min.) takes you through breathing, side breathing, transversus connection, imprint & release, hip rolls, scapula isolation, arm scissors, arm circles, head nods, ab preps, and imprint & release on the Bosu.
- The mat portion (28.5 min.) includes ab prep, breast stroke prep, rotation prone, hundred standing, half roll back, roll up, one leg circle, spine twist standing, single leg stretch, obliques (or criss cross), double leg stretch, shoulder bridge, breast stroke, saw, side scissors, side leg lift series, side kick kneeling, beats, lift & lower prone, leg circles prone, swan dive, swimming prep, leg pull front, side bends, push up, port de bras prep, port de bras, and spine stretch forward.
- A segment using the Bosu for standing exercises (8 min.), including forward step up, side step up, balance, step up & lift leg, balance 2, squats & jumps, step up & over, push ups, and roll down from standing, closes the workout.
As you might expect, the emphasis is on quality over quantity, with only a few repetitions (2-8, where relevant) of each exercise. The pace worked well for me: not too fast, not too slow; also, there wasnít a lot of down time, with just enough time to readjust myself with regards to the Bosu.

Level: Stott rates this a level 4 (out of 5, with 5 being the most advanced), or as the accompanying pamphlet says, ďYou have established a strong mind-body connection and are ready for a more demanding workout.Ē I think this is best suited for those at least at the intermediate level of exercise who are also comfortable with at least the intermediate level of Pilates. Even though there are reminders of Pilates principles before and during the video you really ought to have prior Pilates experience to get the most out of this. Prior experience with the Bosu is helpful, too!
Iíve been practicing Pilates for about 7 years now and consider myself an intermediate / advanced in Pilates; however, despite having had my Bosu for a few years now Iím still a relative novice when it comes to working with that piece of equipment. Adding the Bosu to this intermediate Pilates routine made it a suitable challenge for me, with an emphasis on the challenge with regards to balance and coordination!

Class: 1 man and 1 women (who drops out for the final standing exercises) demonstrate the exercises while Moira walks around and instructs live, often pointing to the live models to emphasize her points.

Music: soft instrumental piano thatís repetitive but relatively non-intrusive.

Set: bright studio with wood floors and white walls with windows onto nowhere.

Production: clear picture and sound, with the instruction much louder than the music. The camera angles are helpful, with the close-ups showing exactly what youíre supposed to be doing and reinforcing Moiraís instruction.

Equipment: mat (or equivalent) and Bosu (make sure itís well inflated Ė mine seems to be a little flat right now, and some things donít seem to work as well).

Space Requirements: maybe a bit more space than usual for a matwork routine because of the Bosu; if you only have enough room to lie down with legs and arms extended and sweeping around, you might have to move the Bosu around more. Also, if you want to do the final portion make sure youíll be OK if you hop off of the Bosu (as in no kids, pets, fitness toys, etc., underfoot Ė and make sure the floorís clean, as Iíve found out the hard way that kitty litter thatís magically appeared only to adhere itself to my feet makes the following exercise unpleasant).

DVD Notes: I have the repackaged DVD, but I think everythingís pretty much the same as before. You still have to agree to the terms of use and then sit through the standard Stott intro (which I canít fast forward or skip on my DVD players) before you get to the main menu, which has these options: Getting Started, Audio Options (instruction on or off), Workout Principles (breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement & stabilization, head & cervical placement), The Workout, Chapter Selection, and Special Features (bonus! try the next level which here are short clips from Ultimate Balance and Ultimate Body Sculpting, Stott Pilates equipment, meet the instructor, get in touch, Stott Pilates education, Stott Pilates Professional titles, Stott Pilates At Home titles). The workout is chaptered by exercise.

Comments: The incorporation of the Bosu into the traditional (well, traditional Stott) matwork is done intelligently, although I agree a few exercises work better than others. In keeping with the Bosuís full name, both sides are used. Kathyís right that this means lots of fiddling with the Bosu plus shifting your body on or around the Bosu, but Iíve come to expect constantly changing positions with Stott videos.
I have to admit this doesnít have a huge fun factor for me, and I canít see myself doing the extra standing portion many more times. On the other hand, the back extension exercises on the Bosu leave my low back, which is currently recovering from a mild strain, happy. Iím also appreciating the emphasis on stabilization as I rehab that one portion of my core.

Even though I have great respect for the classical Pilates tradition, I happen to be very fond of the Stott Pilates method, mainly because the two live Pilates instructors with whom Iíve worked have been Stott trained. As someone who has some physical limitations (including in flexibility) I find the Stott modifications more often than not work well for me.

I donít have the Essential Bosu Pilates, which is the beginner-level version of this, but I didnít feel I needed it given my level of Pilates (although given my weeble wobbling maybe I should have rented it beforehand to get used to working on the BosuÖ). Moira does say, ďIn this level we increase the challenge by doing this standing,Ē for example. From what I can see of the standing portion on Collageís clip of this workout, itís the same on both videos.
I havenít (yet) done any of Stottís videos with the stability ball to see how they compare. I have done one or two other Pilates videos with a stability ball, and while I appreciated the fact that the Bosu didnít roll away, that didnít seem to make things any easier when it came to executing the exercises!

Instructor Comments:
Moira, as always, manages to include an incredible amount of information with her cuing, although I wish she had spent more of the time between exercises just mentioning the basic starting position for the next exercise (since Iím still learning the routine, I find myself looking to the screen to see whatís next somewhat often, but the more I do this the less I should have to). The two modelsí impeccable form complements Moiraís detailed instruction well (although I was glad to see such experts have some difficulty with staying perfectly balanced on the Bosu, too). I like that in addition to cuing the exercises as well as including so much form tips and reminders - and some additional modifications to boot - Moira also mentions what youíre working. Moira doesnít use a lot of directional cues; she tends to say ďReach one leg forward, the other backĒ or ďMove onto the other sideĒ rather than name right or left. Iíve always liked Moiraís low key and professional demeanor, but sheís not going to appeal to those who need more of a cheerleader type or at least more personality to get them motivated.



This video is 50 minutes long, but I usually do only the middle 30 minutes. Moira Stott instructs while two others do the workout (a man and a woman). It is similar in format to other Stott Pilates videos with a long warmup (about 10 minutes)where you practice correct breathing and form and get your abs and back warmed up a bit. For the next 30 minutes, you move on to the usual pilates mat exercises but they are done with the BOSU. The final 10 minutes consists of working on your balance with standing exercises on top of the dome.

You use the BOSU with both the dome and the flat side up. You do some exercises with your hands on the BOSU, some with your feet, some standing on top, some with your front or back draped over the dome, some sitting on the dome, etc. Some examples: side leg scissors with your hip resting on the dome, a roll up while resting on the top of the dome, single leg circles sitting on the flat side of the dome, and pushups with your hands on the flat side. To me the most challenging are the single leg pulls and v-sits while balanced on top of the dome.

Using the BOSU for Pilates exercises changes the flavor of the exercises a lot for me. I have a lot of trouble with the swan dive but I'm able to do one pretty easily with the BOSU. Some exercises are much more difficult for me. The single leg pull requires a great deal more abdominal strength and balance while you're on top of the dome, especially when she adds rotation.

I enjoy using this video. It doesn't flow as well as some other pilates videos because you are changing the position of the BOSU a lot, but I find it challenging. The BOSU lends itself quite well to a lot of the pilates mat exercises but there are a few where it seems as though they had to think long and hard about how to integrate the BOSU. I may go back to the mat for a few of them after I've done this a few more times.

Grade: A

Instructor Comments:
She knows her stuff! Others complain about her lack of warmth but I happen to like her presence on camera. She is calm and precise and teaches good technique and form.