Video Fitness

Energy Boost Pilates

Ana Caban

Energy Boost Pilates is kind of different in that it begins in a standing position with a few aerobic-type moves such as jogs, knee lifts, jumping jacks, and jumping lunges. This segment is very quick--no more than 1-2 minutes--and is designed to warm you up, but you could easily skip it if needed. Instructor Ana Caban then proceeds to the floor for some traditional Pilates matwork moves. Using voiceover instruction, she leads you quickly through reclined exercises such as the hundred, the roll-up, and part of the stomach series. Moving to a seated position, Ana then performs an additional series of moves, some of which I had never seen before (and I've done A LOT of Pilates videos). Then it's a quick stretch and you're done, for a total of about 11 minutes. This video struck me as sort-of a shorter, more fast-moving version of Ana's PM Pilates workout; it's a nice alternative for getting in a full-body Pilates workout in a limited amount of time.

Instructor comments: I generally find Ana to be a warm, likeable instructor, although I think her personality gets lost in the voiceover--I prefer her live instruction. In this video, Ana works out alone in a pleasant setting by a pond (the same setting as her bodyring workout).

Beth C

April 8, 2005

I’m reviewing this workout after having done it at least half a dozen times since having gotten it several months ago.

General workout breakdown: While standing in Pilates stance you breathe with arms reaching up and down, then do side stretches with arm extended overhead. To warm up further, you alternate between jogging and marching, then do some jumping jacks (without arms) and lunges, then “jump rope,” finishing up with jumping jacks again. (This section is brief, deliberate, and not the highlight of the workout for me!) You then do a controlled sit down, and the matwork consists of the 100, roll up, single leg stretch, double leg stretch (both with and without the arms), something Ana calls “ the short box series” (you sit up with your legs extended and arms crossed over your lower torso, then scoop your belly and lean back, then pull yourself back to the starting position with abs still scooped; you then do this with your back flat and arms behind your head; then you bend to each side with the flat back and arms in the same position), “the tree” (beginning with stretching the leg, then rolling down and back up using your hands on your straight leg, which stays in the air), shoulder bridge (the last two times with one leg extended up), mermaid, boomerang, and final stretch (one leg bent in front, one behind; you then do a forward bend). You end seated cross-legged, having accomplished a lot of Pilates in 11 1/2 minutes!
Ana performs a decent number of repetitions, and the routine moves at a brisk but not rushed pace. She only pauses long enough between exercises to announce the upcoming move, so you need to be mentally and physically prepared to keep moving.

Level: I’d recommend this for a solidly intermediate Pilates practitioner. Ana gives little instruction here, even if her cues of movements and few form pointers are great, and the exercises are challenging, so anyone new to Pilates would have a hard time completing the workout. Also, no modifications are shown or even suggested. A more advanced Pilates practitioner might find this good for a lighter or rushed day. I personally find it challenging but not impossible. (I consider myself at the stage where I’ve crossed over into intermediate territory with respect to Pilates. I’ve had almost two years of Pilates experience, including a live class, but my strength and flexibility are still limited.)

Class: Ana alone with voiceover

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: Outdoors in a natural garden or nature place (It reminded me of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens) near a small lake. The atmospheric instrumental music is pleasant but forgettable. Since this is a Gaiam production, the picture and sound quality are excellent.

Equipment: mat (optional). Ana does this barefoot.

Comments: You don’t need a lot of space to do this workout. You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs extended. Make sure you’re not going to hit anything when you rock back for the boomerang! (I stubbed my toes once on a bookshelf. Ouch!)

DVD Notes: You can find Energy Boost Pilates on two different DVDs: “Energy Boost Pilates,” which only contains this routine, and “A.M. and P.M. Pilates Mat Workouts,” which also contains Jillian Hessel’s AM Pilates and Ana’s PM Pilates. It’s the same on either DVD: no chapters for the workout, and you’ll have to deal with Gaiam’s long intro.

Conclusion: This is a keeper for three reasons: a) this short workout packs a lot in, so it’s a great choice as an add-on or for days when you don’t have a lot of time; b) there are some different exercises that don’t often appear on Pilates videos, such as the “box series” and boomerang, and c) Ana is always a pleasure to work with. I originally got the Energy Boost Pilates DVD as a trade; now I have it on the AM/PM Pilates DVD. I’m not sure the DVD with just this workout is worth it, but Ana’s PM Pilates is also a great routine, so I’m keeping that one.

Instructor comments: Ana Caban, a former dancer who turned to Pilates following an injury, is a true Pilates instructor who trained under Romana K, one of Joseph Pilates’ original students. She is serious about classical Pilates, yet she comes across as an encouraging, friendly, approachable instructor. Her form is excellent, her cueing solid, and her form pointers helpful.

KL (KathAL79)

July 27, 2005

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