I’m reviewing this workout after previewing and doing all segments once each.
General workout breakdown: This Pilates workout, with some yoga and ballet elements thrown in, consists of 5 10-min. segments. Most exercises are repeated half a dozen times, but may have 3-8 reps. The pace varies from exercise to exercise; for the most part it feels appropriate to allow attention to form. The exercises don’t really flow together, but there’s not a lot of dead time between them.
*Super Toned Buns & Thighs begins on back with parallel frog (footwork), parallel bridge into bridge w/ bicycle, turned-out frog, turned-out bridge into pulsing bridge w/ leg extended, knees to chest, side leg series (develope, heel beats), cobra, double leg kick, heel beats, cat side kick; rolls up to standing for plie series (deep plie in 2nd position, lifting up onto toes, standing up, and down – then opposite direction; deep plie squat w/ rotation & pulse).
*Arm & Shoulder Shaper begins seated with tray, bicep pump, hug a tree, shave the head, saw, twisting bicep curl, rowing to the sternum, and shoulder rolls. Moves up to knees for thigh stretch with arm circles and lunge with triceps press; then stands for fencing and roll up – swan down with reverse flyes and shoulder rolls.
*Waist Slimmer begins on back with chest curl, single leg toe tap, double leg toe tap, knees to chest, hundred (w/ leg variations: start bent, alternating extended legs, extending both legs), coordination (w/ heel beats), side twist (w/ leg pulse), full body stretch, single leg teaser w/ twist, diagonal toe taps, can can, hip circles, held teaser position, seated forward bend (low back & hamstring stretch), and sphinx (abdominal stretch).
*Total Body Blast begins on back with single leg stretch, double leg stretch, criss cross, rollover – coordination, star, snake twist, child’s pose, plank curl into plank – down dog into balance with one arm & leg on floor while the others are extended, slow triceps push-up, swimming, table top into triceps dips, seated forward bend, and shoulder rolls.
*Slim & Sleek Stretch begins on back with hamstring and inner thigh stretches, climb a tree into twist w/ leg extended into forward bend, tick tock with arm circles, knees to chest, mermaid (side-lying version), cat into down dog, standing forward bend w/ arms stretch overhead, standing stretch w/ arm overhead, standing side curl, and slight plie with breath.
Level: I’d recommend this to an experienced beginner / intermediate (existing knowledge of Pilates and some strength & flexibility necessary) to mid- to high intermediate Pilates exercisers. This is not a video 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. can can, hip circles, rollover). Few modifications are shown or suggested.
Class: Lara alone, instructing live.
Music: instrumental with a beat. I don’t usually notice or care about music, but in a couple of segments the synthesized stuff didn’t do much for me.
Set: a large interior space painted with neutral colors and w/ arrangements of fitness equipment, glass objects, & plants. Let’s just say that close-ups of sets don’t always give the same effect as a shot from the proper distance away…
Production: high quality picture and sound, mostly helpful camera angles.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent). A pair of light dumbbells (1-3 lb. each) is needed for the arms segment. Lara performs all segments barefoot.
Space Requirements: enough room to lie down with arms and legs extended and to sweep your limbs around. You’ll need some space behind you as well if you’re doing the rollover.
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: If you have the original 10 Minute Solution Pilates DVD, this has the same basic set-up (abs-focused, lower body, upper body w/ weights, total body - basically a challenging full core routine -, and stretch) but a number of different exercises. In fact, it has a number of different exercises from what you find in most Pilates videos, going beyond the basic matwork repertoire to include some of the apparatus moves as well as exercises from ballet, yoga, and other floorwork. RRP will alternate well with the original 10 Min. Solution Pilates. I’d recommend the original first, especially if you’re less experienced at Pilates, because RRP moves at a slightly faster pace with less set-up.
I would rank the Pilates workouts with 10 min. segments as follows from easiest to hardest: 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, Quick Fix Pilates Abs, and 10 Minute Solution Rapid Results Pilates. If you enjoy the reformer moves on the mat, try Sarah Picot’s More than Mat Series, Mari Winsor’s Maximum Burn Super Sculpting & Body Slimming, or Jodi Brennan’s P3 Pilates Plus Power; you can also find a couple in Ana Caban’s Energy Boost Pilates 1, Liz Gillies’ Progressive Pilates for Weight Loss (most of which are also on the bonus section on her Target Tone video), and Kristin McGee’s MTV Pilates. If you like the mix of ballet and yoga in w/ Pilates, you might also enjoy Jennifer Kries’ Pilates Method, especially Precision Pilates.
Lara has a pleasant demeanor and is at ease in front of the camera. She’s upbeat without being too perky, etc. She cues well (she’s usually on her side, but she usually mirror cues where appropriate), but doesn’t focus a lot on instruction, even if she does include some good form and breath reminders. She tends to repeat some phrases a lot (“nice,” “really,” “really, really great”). There are a few mentions of appearance and suggestions that you’ll see almost instant results, but these are in the scripted intros and conclusions only. Lara’s form is good. She’s flexible, but too intimidatingly so.
October 8, 2006