Resistance is a vital part of any workout and Stott Conditioning have invented a three band strength sprung steel Fitness Circle (based upon the Joseph H. Pilates “Magic Circle”) to give you a deeper muscle workout than the Stott Pilates Matwork program alone can provide. The Fitness Circle has latex-free injected foam molded handles for easy use. The Stott Fitness Circle helps you target leg abductors, adductors, pecs, lats, triceps and biceps without building bulk. In this review, I will examine the Fitness Circle itself as well as two videos that will assist you.

Neither of the videos are Closed Captioned.

Review Lights
I will rate each piece of the Fitness Circle Workout individually with our standard system of one to five Go Inside Magazine Review Lights. Five green GO lights are best while all red STOP lights are the worst. The results and comments I share along the way should not be taken as a guarantee of product or a promise of performance and before starting any new exercise regimen, consult with your doctor first to review your potential for working with the Pilates program. I’ll also place a text tag under the Review Lights so you’ll know the colors of the lights in case you choose to print out this review on a black and white printer.

The Fitness Circle
2 lbs.
14″ diameter
The Fitness Circle reminds me of the first piece of workout equipment I had 25 years ago: The Bullworker.

The Bullworker, if you remember, was a monstrous self-contained exercise device with a giant spring inside two metal pipes. Attached on either side of the tubes were steel cables encapsulated in plastic. To exercise your muscles and legs with a Bullworker, you would either compress the spring by pushing in on either end of the pipe (gauging your strength progress by watching a plastic marker on the pipe that tracked your furthest compression) or you’d pull out on the steel cables (which still compressed the spring) using the opposing muscles of your arms and legs.

Alas, the Bullworker is no more, but a Magic Circle is just as good as a Bullworker and it is certainly a lighter and a more talented piece of exercise equipment because it’s kinder to use and more compact: You’re either compressing the steel circle or you’re pulling against it. Simple.

The resistance created with the Fitness Circle gives you a great muscle massage deep inside the core of you and the stretching and compressing of the Fitness Circle brought me back 25 years ago when I originally learned to feed and recognize the good twitch of muscles being challenged. My Fitness Circle squeaks when I compress it. I’m not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad sign — and the sound is quite annoying — but it does serve as audible evidence that we’re both getting a good squeeze out of the workout. Simpler!

The Fitness Circle can also accompany you on the road. It’ll pack in a suitcase or satchel with ease. I must warn you that the Fitness Circle is a bit heavy at 2 lbs., so exercise care when you use it because if it falls on you, your body is going to feel the triple bands of sprung steel as you get whacked. Another pointer to remember is to NEVER wear long pants when using the Stott Fitness Circle because it can slip and then pop out from between your legs when you compress it into an oval.

When a Fitness Circle is between your legs and it slips, the direct line of inclusion at the conclusion of its flight down is your groin. I got knocked right in good parts the first time I used the Stott Fitness Circle and I quickly got rid of my thin sweats and went bare-legged. Luckily, getting nailed in the nuts by the Stott Fitness Circle isn’t a mistake you’re likely to make twice.

(three GREEN, two RED)

Fitness Circle Workout
25 Minutes
The key to many of the exercises is to compress the Fitness Circle and HOLD that position and that’s harder done than said! That holding compression is where you really begin to feel the wonderful burn of your muscles responding to your command. My quivering thighs and arms (even in the relaxed position) are pointed evidence that I’m not as fit as I’d led myself to believe.

The Fitness Circle doesn’t let you hide your flaws — you are revealed instantly where you’re strong, where you’re stiff, and where you can survive. The hamstring pull is my Achilles’ Heel, but each time I workout with the videotape, my hamstrings get looser and looser. I started out very tight back there and, although I can’t quite get as good a stretch as Moira, I do notice I can get a longer stretch with each subsequent attempt.

The key is to accept the tightness, embrace it as a mark of being alive, and not force yourself into “perfect position” like Moira. Eventually, your hamstrings will loosen up and you’ll be able to follow more closely. I also like the ability to incorporate the Fitness Circle into my regular Stott Pilates Matwork routine. The routine is briskly paced, but rather short overall.(two GREEN, three RED)

Power Fitness Circle
38 Minutes
This videotape gives a more advanced workout than experienced in the first videotape and it serves as an “intensification of the Essential Matwork routine.” Double models return in this tape with Moira positioned between them. Moira coaches the models as they workout.

Unlike the original Fitness Circle video, Moira takes a moment to demonstrate how to hold the circle and that is highly appreciated. You use long, open, hands with your fingers together, out-stretched and long. You don’t grab the Fitness Circle or squeeze it between your fists. You need to keep your elbows bent a bit and to religiously “slide your shoulders down” as you move them.

Finally, Moira warns you to never hyperextend your knees or elbows. Good advice, because the temptation is to always have a straight arm or a straight leg even if it hurts. The transitions from exercise to exercise are smooth.

(two GREEN, three RED)

If you’d like more information on the Stott Fitness Circle please visit Stott Conditioning.