Stott Pilates Fitness Circle/DVD Gift Pack

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With a massive bank of educational and workout DVDs, Stott Pilates has established itself as a leading source for both the instructor and, of course, the consumer for education and workouts -- from stretching to balance, from foam rollers to rubberized resistance, to matwork and stability balls. Now the gear and DVDs are also available in gift packs with the equipment needed for the workout, such as a rubber band, stability ball or resistance ring, packaged together with the DVD or video.

Aimed at beginners to moderate exercisers, the Fitness Circle resistance ring and DVD kit is a solid package with an unintimidating DVD presentation of about 25 minutes of exercises. What's nice is that the DVD itself has a fold-out brochure that details the level, length and equipment needs in a grid format for all the current titles available. Another brochure describes each section on the DVD so a user knows what is coming without guesswork.

Another plus is the inclusion of a small fold-out poster called EasyStart that illustrates and explains several key exercises on the DVD, allowing a user to go back and be reminded about each one without shuffling through the DVD. In addition, the DVD is in small chapters so users can select only the exact exercises he or she wants to see or do.

The exercises are pretty simplistic and common sense really. The ring is sorta springy so if you press or pull on it, it resists you and gives your muscles a workout. Throughout the DVD, company founder and lead instructor Moira Stott-Merrithew leads you quickly through the workout, both strengthening and stretching. Emphasis on quickly. The transitions between each one are so quick that until you get to know them -- or unless you keep the remote handy to hit pause -- you'll be left behind as you try to get the circle into the right place.

A former professional ballet dancer, Moira is beautiful to watch and is a no-nonsense instructor. That means if you're looking for a chirpy, chatty cheerleader to keep you going, you better look elsewhere. Moira is direct and never really smiles. It's all business here.

Although most people would be able to follow what she is doing, there are occasional bits of instruction that slip into the verbiage that could leave someone confused: "Try not to hyperextend the knee." (Not everybody knows that means to lock it or over-straighten.) "Slide the shoulder down." (She tried to show what this means without a lot of success.) This will work your "pecs." (In case you didn't know, this is short for pectorals, which is the chest area.)

Realize this won't be your whole workout, but likely more of a supplement to what you already do. You'll still need other exercises to create a balanced muscle workout since the circle itself has certain limitations that don't allow it to comfortably target some areas.

All that aside, if you can play follow-the-leader, you can likely do this and enjoy it if you are a woman who is a beginning or moderate exerciser looking for a little targeted toning, especially for the inner and outer thighs, abdominals, back and chest.

SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail:
$35 (Fitness Circle alone, $34; DVD alone, $20)

For more information:www.stottpilates.com or 1-800-910-0001

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