Video Fitness

Pilates on the Ball

Colleen Craig

When I first watched it, I thought that it would be quite enjoyable. The workout is divided into several sections, beginning with some traditional Pilates exercises adapted for use with the ball then moving onto some arm work, standing work, posture and stretching, and strength and coordination.

It is filmed in yoga studio and the set is simple with no music.

When I actually did the dvd I had mixed feelings. I like to do a lot of mobility exercises to loosen my joints first but with this dvd you practically go straight into roll ups - not too comfortable if you have a tight lower back like me. The model being used to demonstrate had a few problems here too, throwing herself up rather than rolling through each vertebra.

The arm work section was very short, with Colleen Craig herself demonstrating. The exercises seemed to be based on reformer movements but in using dumbells instead, the resistance is different which changes the feel and focus of the exercises.

After this came the footwork, or standing work. The idea is good here - you use the ball against the wall and do reformer-type movements as though the ball was the sliding platform of the reformer. There was not enough here to challenge me but gave me some good ideas!

Next CC used a male model to demonstate some postural exercises and stetches using the ball. Good instruction but the movements are made a lot easier by using the ball (spine stretch, the saw, spine twist). Good for beginners or those with injuries/lack of flexibility. She follows this with some extension work for the spine which is a little trickier but she explains it well.

CC herself demonstrates some strength movements at the end, some of which are again influenced by reformer work. I was a little confused as to why this section came at the end when I'd already been stretched out and relaxed in the previous section. This section is quite short but the wrists do a lot of work here which might be a problem for some people.

All in all, I felt that there were good foundations to this dvd, i.e. that CC seemed to be an experienced teacher (there is an info section on her also) and she gave modifications for a lot of the exercises. It is also useful to have several models so that you can see how different people interpret the movements.

However, I felt that each section was too short and the whole workout was a little erratic. This might be a good "taster" workout for a beginner who likes variety, although there is no explanation about neutral spine etc. (this is all outlined in her book - I am not sure if they are sold separately). There were some nice ideas that could be incorporated into other workouts and the ball really complements traditional Pilates exercises.

Instructor comments: I had not heard of her prior to using the dvd but she has a nice way of teaching and a calming voice.

Anna T.
3rd January 2003

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