This is a 3-part workout that you can do all together or individually. Parts 1 and 2 are 20-minute upper and lower-body Pilates workouts. They're the typical Jennifer Kries style routines -- pleasant and effective. Part 3 is "Flow and Flexibility" -- a 15-minute stretch workout. (The box says 20 minutes, but it's only 15.) This is pretty neat. It's a little different than regular stretching. It has some yoga influence and some dance influence. At the beginning, Jennifer tells you it will seem like dancing, and I was afraid it would be too choreographed which I don't like in stretching. But it wasn't that way at all, and it wasn't "too dancy" either. It's very nice and relaxing. The only thing about this segment I didn't particularly care for was the music. The music itself is fine, but it didn't seem to go with the stretching. Grade A.
This is one of the three videos in Jennifer Kries' New Method or Pilates Method set. I'm guessing the name change reflects the lawsuit in 2000/2001? Not sure. She said in an interview that this is the video she recommends beginners use to get acquainted with the work.
The video is broken into three sections: Upper Body, Lower Body and Flow and Flexibility. Upper Body is the Pilates Standing Sculpting Series as well as the Rowing Series, yoga presses and active moving cat. She finishes with a nice stretch- some kind of side plank with the knee down. I don't recommend going higher than3 or at the most 5 lbs.
Lower Body is a series of yoga chairs integrated with a sun salutation, a yoga lunge sequence (similar to Denise Austin's Power Yoga Plus, but I have a feeling Jennifer came up with it first), ballet plies and the Pilates Side Series, six variations of it, I believe. You definitely feel this in your legs and butt after you're done.
Flow and Flexibility is about fifteen minutes long and always makes me sigh when I'm done. It opens with a dancy stretch where your legs are open, you swing your upper body down and point one arm up, then reverse. A little difficult to describe! Then a lunge/hamstring stretch sequence, followed by standing and seated wide leg stretches (I think). It finishes with a forward bend. I thought this sequence was similar to what Hilary Burnett's Zen Stretch was trying to do, but done much better.
Just going by the title, one might think that you could alternate the first two sequences every other day. You could do that, but as I've said before, I feel the Standing Sculpting Series in my glutes quite a bit- sometimes even more than my arms! And with the Sun Salutations you use in Lower Body, you feel this in your arms as well. I would definitely work in a rest day after if I alternated the two back to back.
There is no matwork in this tape but it does include Pilates elements. It's a good tape to grow with- you can use it to help build up to the matwork, and then keep it to supplement.
Another A for Jennifer Kries.
Strong, flexible and very competent (as always).
Deb (aka dnk)
As other reviewers have mentioned, this workout does not contain any of the traditional Pilates mat work, so those who want this will need to look elsewhere. However, if you are looking to try some of the lesser-known Pilates exercises (particularly, the arm series) blended with other methods such as yoga, this is a nice, full-body workout.
This video consists of three separate 20-minute workouts which break down as follows:
1) Upper Body Sculpting--This is the first time that I have ever seen the Pilates arm series featured in a video (the exercises can also be found in Brooke Siler's book The Pilates Body). Instructor Jennifer Kries works out with two others and starts by completing the standing arm series. After a few yoga sun salutations, the workout moves to the floor for variations on the Pilates arm work, and the segment ends with some additional yoga stretches. The Pilates arm series is meant to be done with light weights--the instructors here used 3 lbs., and I used 5 lbs. which made it difficult for me to keep up by the end.
2) Lower Body Sculpting--Jennifer works out solo in this section, which consists of both yoga and Pilates moves. The first half begins with sun saluations and other standing yoga poses. After some brief ballet-type stretches, Jennifer transitions to the floor for the Pilates side kick series, and she again ends the segment with yoga stretches.
3) Flow and Flexibility--This final segment focused on stretching by blending athletic stretch with yoga and ballet; Jennifer is again instructing solo. Like the other two sections, the first half is performed standing, while the second half takes place on the floor. The actual time for this segment was about 16 minutes.
Overall, I enjoyed this workout, finding it to be a nice mix of techniques and a pleasant change from my other workouts.
I did not particularly like Jennifer Kries as an instructor. First of all, her cuing was inadequate, as she often failed to explain upcoming movements and frequently failed to cue right and left. Furthermore, I found her to be a bit showoff-y at times with her flexibility levels.
Beth (aka toaster)
January 20, 2004