With strength work, I am an intermediate exerciser, who doesn’t really want to move up to advanced work. Most of the time, I do traditional strength work with weights. However, I have enjoyed branching out into Pilates and workouts on the ball as well. I have been looking for a Pilates workout with short segments that I could use as “sparks” or “add ons”. I think I have found it in this DVD.
This workout includes five sections: Pilates for Abs, Pilates for Buns & Thighs, Sculpting Pilates, Pilates Burn, and Pilates for Flexibility. Each section is ten minutes and she packs a lot into each ten-minute segment. I found some of the sections hard, especially the one for buns and thighs. The DVD allows you to choose a number of segments, repeating a segment if you wish, in any order you like.
This is NOT a beginner’s workout where she teaches you how to do the moves. However, she does give descriptions I haven’t heard before and that clarified some of the moves for me. Some of the sections were not pure Pilates, but veered into Pilates-like moves. However, many of the moves were standard Pilates moves.
She is straight forward and descriptive.
November 10, 2004
Workout time: Five 10 minute sections
Set: Workout studio, pretty basic, Lara alone
*I think I might have reviewed this before, but I can't find it, so here goes.
There isn't time for tons of form pointers, so it is probably better if you have some background in pilates.
There are 5 sections:
Pilates for Abs-Most of the tradition pilates ab stuff-hundred, criss-cross, straight leg stretch, even a teaser try at the end. A great workout if you are not a huge fan of pilates or if you want some quick ab work.
Pilates for Buns and Thighs-Includes traditional pilates leg work as well as bridge work. This is one of the sections I use the most.
Sculpting Pilates-Includes shave the head, circles, bicep curls up high (which is harder for some reason), and the superman lunge. I use this segment a lot as an add-on. I only use 3 lb weights, but something about the moves makes it hard still.
Pilates Burn-I have only done this one once. It is a flowing style section.
Pilates for Flexibility-I haven't done this one as the dvd I bought from the Swap had a glich and that section won't play. I'd really like to try it. From looking at Collage, it has some yoga stretches and looks nice.
I really like this dvd. I find myself using it often. There is no dread factor when it is only 10 minutes. It is easy to pop it in and squeeze in another 10 minutes here and there. Great if you are not a huge pilats fan, but still want the benefits of it.
Straighforward, to the point, but friendly. Doesn't make a ton of appearance comments, which is nice. Encouraging, without being annoying.
18 Sept 05
I'm reviewing this workout after doing it a number of
times since getting it just about when it first came
out. I've probably only done it the whole way through
once, maybe twice. But I have used the Sculpting
segment at least a dozen times, maybe more, and the
Abs segment almost as many times.
General workout breakdown: This Pilates workout, with
some yoga elements thrown in, consists of 5 10 minute
segments, each featuring the following moves:
*Pilates for Abs: Begin on floor with short boat pose,
hundred, roll up, double leg stretch, stretch, double
straight leg stretch, knee drops, criss cross, single
straight leg stretch (i.e. scissors), corkscrew,
rollover, teaser, and forward bend.
*Pilates for Buns & Thighs: Begin on floor with side
leg series (up & down, circles, ronde du jambe)
followed by inner thigh lift and hip stretch,
grasshopper (i.e. heel beats), bridge (without and
then with leg extended, staying in bridge position
while raising and lowering leg, then pulsing with foot
across other leg), open angle stretch, and butterfly.
*Sculpting Pilates (i.e. arms & shoulders): Begin
standing with zip up, biceps curl (to front and side),
arm circles (to front and side), shave the head,
triceps "press back" (i.e. kick back), triceps and
shoulder stretches, boxing (up & down and front &
back), hug (while standing and then while bending from
hips), rear delt pulse, superman lunge, chest stretch,
and forward fold with arm circles (without weights).
*Pilates Burn: Begin standing with series where you
curl down, leading up to walking out into plank and
then doing heel press and push ups; series on hands
and knees while you extend opposite arm and leg, then
tuck both in, moving into a pulsing lunge, then
pulsing with straight leg extended and finally push
ups; shell stretch / child's pose; swimming, side
plank with one knee down (lifting up and then "under
the bridge"), kneeling side kicks (front & back,
circles) ending with hip stretch, and child's pose
with arms extended.
*Pilates for Flexibility: Begin on floor with cat
stretch, thread the needle (?-it's the twist while
still on all fours), downward facing dog (with one
legged calf stretch) leading to lunge (with knee
down), child's pose with arms extended, mermaid-type
side stretch, saw-type forward bend / twist, around
the world, and breathing while standing.
Lara includes a good number of repetitions for each
exercise. There is often a short pause between
exercises, but it's never very long. At the same time,
the exercises never feel too fast or too slow.
Level: I'd recommend this to an experienced beginner
(with existing knowledge of Pilates and some strength
& flexibility) to intermediate Pilates exercisers.
This is not an ideal tape for beginners, as Lara
doesn't include a lot of form instruction, even if
there is some, and there are several solidly
intermediate exercises (e.g. rollover and kneeling
side kicks). Few modifications are shown or suggested.
I first got this when I had just about finished my
transition from beginner to intermediate, and it was
fairly tough. Now that I consider myself low
intermediate (about 2 years of experience but still
limited strength & flexibility), I find this to be a
more appropriate challenge.
Class: Lara alone.
Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The music is
nice but nothing spectacular. It's instrumental, with
a bit of a beat. (Actually, the Buns & Thighs segment
music sounds like something from the Liz Gillies
Progressive Pilates series.) The workout takes place
in a bright indoor studio with hardwood floors, light
walls, and potted plants on the back "stairs." The
sound and picture quality are very good.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent). A pair of light
dumbbells (1-3 lb. each) is needed for the arms
segment. Lara performs all segments barefoot.
Comments: You don't need much space for this workout.
You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs
extended and have a little room around your mat.
DVD Notes: The DVD allows you to play all, select just
one workout, or program any of the segments in any
combination that you like. There's an introduction,
but you can hit skip.
Conclusion: I've raved about this workout, and yet
when I did it again lately it didn't live up to my
high notions. That said, it's still good. It's great
to have the option to do just one 10 minute segment. I
like Lara as an instructor, and the series is well
done. So I'll keep this, mainly because I love the
upper body segment, preferring it to the one on Liz
Gillies' Progressive Pilates 4 10 Minute Target Tone
Workout. It's more compact with more traditional
Pilates than the upper body segment from Jennifer
Kries' Pilates Method: Precision Pilates. For what
it's worth, I do get a little sweaty during the "burn"
segment, but the only burn that happens for me is a
nice buzz in my abs the next day, rather than fat
melting off. And I'm not sure you'd gain a lot of
flexibility from using just this segment, but it does
make a nice addition if you're adding this on to
another workout. (In other words, it's a great way to
end a session.)
I would rank the Pilates workouts with 10 minute
segments from easiest to hardest as follows: Quick Fix
Pilates (found on the Quick Fix Total Mix Pilates &
Yoga DVD), Progressive Pilates 4 10 Minute Target Tone
Workout, 10 Minute Solution Pilates, and Quick Fix
Pilates Abs. In other words, if you don't have much
Pilates experience, I'd recommend starting with the
first Quick Fix, then working up to this one.
Lara cues well but
doesn't focus a lot on instruction or form and even
less on breath. She is young but seems relatively at
ease in front of the camera, despite a tendency to
repeat some phrases a lot ("Nice," "Very nice," etc.,
and she loves the idea of "yawning"). I like the way
she comes across: relatively low key yet still with
enthusiasm. There are a few mentions of appearance /
suggestions that you'll see almost instant results,
but these are more in the scripted intros /
conclusions and don't appear in the workouts
themselves. Lara's form is very good. She is very
flexible, but somehow I didn't feel intimidated by
it-more like inspired.
This DVD is part of my rotation and I do try to do all five sections once a week.
Abs: Basic Pilates abwork (double leg stretch, scissors, etc.) Gets the job done. There are a series of rollovers where you roll back into almost a yoga plow position and roll down. I've yet to do these without having to physically push my butt up higher with my hands. My abs just aren't that strong yet.
Legs: A very good section. Leg circles, rond de jambes, bridges, grasshopper -- all of these exercises really work the legs for me and stretch them at teh same time.
Arms: A series of arm exercises using 2 to 3 pound weights. The reps are fast and light intensity, so light weights do the job just fine. As Lara points out, the object is to tone the arms, not to create muscle.
Pilates Burn: This one always makes me sweat. A series of flowing moves involving planks, push-ups, leg lifts and circles, etc. Very effective.
Stretch: My favorite section of all. This is one of the best 10 minute stretch series that I've done. It thoroughly works all of the kinks out, particularly in the back, legs and side waist.
I highly recommend this DVD. I only do it once a week because I am more focused on cardio and circuit training, but I like to do this one, even if I'm in the mood for something more that day. It gives my body a chance to relax from intense cardio and weights but I'm still doing some challenging stuff at the same time. Also, after all the stretching, I'm usually all refreshed and ready to go the next day for a fresh new week of exercise torture!
Lara is very calm, precise and no nonsense with her instructions. Not overly chatty, pleasant.