Iím reviewing this workout after doing it several times over the year or so that Iíve had it.
General workout breakdown: This 13 minute routine combines a couple of aerobics, balancing, and stretching moves with an abbreviated Pilates matwork routine. It contains breathing, marching & jogging, balancing (standing on one leg with other out to the side), standing side stretch with bounce, controlled sit down, the 100, roll up, single leg stretch, double leg stretch, single straight leg stretch, double straight leg stretch, criss cross (slow and double time), teaser/open leg rocker series (set up like rolling for a ball, pulse your legs, straighten your legs, walk up & down an imaginary rope, hold teaser position, do open leg rocker, bring legs in, and pulse legs), and seal. The pace is fairly swift but controlled. Ana doesnít take too long to set up moves, and she gives you enough time to set up and execute moves properly. (Her double time is probably half a beat slower and more controlled than Mari Winsorís.) She doesnít do a lot of repetitions of each exercise, but I felt that she does just enough to give me a burning sensation in my core (especially during that teaser/open leg rocker series).
Level: Iíd recommend this to someone whoís at least at an intermediate level of Pilates. You definitely need to know what youíre doing because Ana includes little form or breath instruction, few form tips, and no modifications. I consider myself a low intermediate at Pilates (about 2 years of experience but still limited strength & flexibility), and I find this challenging.
Class: Ana alone, with instruction via voiceover.
Music: soft instrumental synthesizer-y stuff.
Set: Ana is on a platform on a grassy hill overlooking a rocky beach, with a mountain visible across the ocean waves. Itís a bright, sunny day.
Production: Gaiamís usual high quality sound, picture, and camerawork. The voiceover matches the moves well enough.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent). Ana is barefoot.
Space Requirements: enough space to move your arms and legs around while lying down.
DVD Notes: As far as I know, this is currently only available as a bonus on Gaiamís Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout DVD. Itís all one chapter.
Conclusion: Iím definitely keeping this one. I like Ana, and this interesting routine is perfect for a day when Iím short on time.
Iíd rank Anaís current matwork videos in this order, from easiest to toughest: Beginning Pilates Matwork, Easy Pilates, Quick Start Pilates for Weight Loss, Cardio Pilates, Intermediate Pilates Matwork, PM Pilates, Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss (both routines), the Energy Boost Pilates (I and II), and Pilates for Abs. I canít decide whether Energy Boost I or II is more challenging, because just when I decide one isnít so bad a move comes along and challenges my core strength and flexibility to their limits. Energy Boost I has moves adapted from the reformer, so itís more unfamiliar to those who normally do matwork only, but the teaser/open leg rocker series in II is super tough.
I enjoy Ana as a Pilates instructor. I think she presents the classical Pilates matwork in a way that makes the same old, same old seem fresh, interesting, and doable; here she mixes some elements up to create something a little different. Although cardio activity is not her forte, she cues the Pilates moves well, focusing just on cueing Pilates (with no side chatter).
January 30, 2006