23 June, 2008

Pilates Magic Circle

Resistance is a vital part of any workout and Stott Conditioning have invented a three band strength sprung steel Fitness Circle to give you a deeper muscle workout. The Fitness Circle has latex-free injected foam molded handles. It has a diameter of 14inches. It helps you target leg abductors, adductors, pecs, lats, triceps and biceps without building bulk. It reminds me of the first piece of workout equipment I had 15 years ago: The Bullworker.
The Bullworker, if you remember, was a monstrous self-contained exercise device with a giant spring inside two metal pipes. The Bullworker is no more, but a Magic Circle is better version of Bullworker and 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. It 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 Fitness Circle because it can slip and then pop out from between your legs when you compress it into an oval. As to how to hold it in hands, 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. Let me warn you to never hyperextend your knees or elbows because the temptation is to always have a straight arm or a straight leg even if it hurts. The transitions from exercise to exercise should be smooth.
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. 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, my hamstrings get looser and looser. The key is to accept the tightness, embrace it as a mark of being alive, and not force yourself into "perfect position".


  1. There are several versions of a lighterweight but still sturdy magic circle out on the market. Balanced Body does one that I have used in a studio setting, but there are other brands out as well. Easier to travel with!


  2. What I use is also by Balnced Body