Video Fitness

Project: You - Pilates Core

Kathy Smith

This is the intermediate cardio workout in the Project You set from Beachbody. I have already reviewed most of the other titles in this set. My general comments so far have been positive. I have a good track record with Beachbody products and was certain I would like this one.

Pilates Core is a 20-minute add-on workout meant to be paired with Yoga Flex, which I positively reviewed earlier. I will be a bit less effusive in this review :) But fair disclaimer, I don't love Pilates in general and am probably not completely qualified to comment here :)

That said, this seemed okay as far as these things go. About half of it is what I would consider Pilates to be from my past experience: 100's, single leg stretch, double leg stretch etc. The other half of it is more general core work such as planks and tabletop with bridges and some stretches. I liked having the two distinct sections like that, and I liked not having to do the icky stuff for the whole thing :)

I would say this is definately beginner level Pilates and an advanced person will not like it much. Kathy gives a form talk at the beginning, and there are rests after each little exercise. She is also much more interactive with the background crew in this one, going around and correcting individual form issues with them.

Final verdict? If I ever do feel like doing Pilates, this will be as viable a choice for me as any that I own. It seemed fine as far as these things go, I like Kathy, I like the short length. I just don't do Pilates very often though :)

Instructor comments:



Okay, so I will start out by saying I have never done Pilates before in my life. My second disclaimer is that I have two kids and lower ab muscles that obviously never recovered. LOL Otherwise I would say I'm an intermediate level exerciser in decent shape.

So on to my review. This workout takes you through a series of Pilates moves. I haven't done it in a week but some that come to mind (and I may murder these names) are hundreds, roll ups, swimmers, leg circles, and many others.

To me this workout seemed completely out of balance with the Foundations workout. Foundations IMO is just what the name implies, a beginners foundation workout. I felt that the Pilates workout on the other hand needed more instruction and modifiers for those that were completely clueless (ME!).

There are two or three moves that I couldn't complete, two of them being part of the beginning three moves. (This is where I learned about my shot lower abs.) Not a great way to start a workout. I had to go to the website to get suggestions on how to work myself up to the point where I could do the moves. Not very encouraging.

My suggestion to people with no Pilates experience is to do a beginners tape like Pilates for Dummies a few times before attempting this one.

Instructor comments: Kathy Smith is an encouraging and enthusiastic instructor that I enjoy.



About me: I'm an intermediate to low-advanced Pilates lover with many videos; I also take Stott and classical mat classes.

I really wasn't expecting much from Pilates Core and Yoga Flex, the two flexibility add-ons to the Project: YOU system. Pilates Core surprised me by being a somewhat well rounded, if brief, Pilates mat workout. Kathy instructs while her background exercisers perform. One is a designated modifier.

The routine starts off with a well-done tutorial on Pilates breathing and abdominal, rib cage and gluteal control. The 18 minute workout kicks in with one of the nicer renditions of the 100 I've done (i.e., over fast!). Rollup, Rollover, Ball, and Single Leg Circles segue right into Series of Five nicely. After that it gets a little dicey with moves I consider too hard for the rank beginner: Corkscrew, Can Can, Leg Pulldown among others. Rollover is an intermediate and potentially dangerous move and newbies need to develop more core strength before attempting it. I wish Kathy didn't throw it at customers trying their first Pilates workout.

Some 'uniquities' in this workout include upper body circles after the Corksrew - sort of a revolving crunch - and Kathy's visualization cue of "House for Mouse." As you lie prone on the mat, you imagine a mouse under your abdominal wall and pull it back far enough so that you don't crush the mouse. I prefer my Stott teacher's cue to "pick up a marble with your navel."

There is no Side Leg Series. I would have given this video a higher grade if the questionable moves were replaced with a well-rounded side series. It would also make the workout fall into better step with the whole Project: YOU theme.

What increases my score from a potential D+ to a C+ is that the workout flows well with no hang-time, it's over in 18 minutes and the music is nice. I would have raised it to B- if the modifier was better utilized for the iffy exercises.

Instructor comments: Kathy obviously consulted with a Pilates pro for this video and she does a good job instructing. However, even though I forgive Kathy's tendency to stumble on her words in the higher intensity workouts in Project: YOU, this became rather irritating during Pilates. Perhaps because the instruction is non-stop?


January 2, 2006

Note: This is a review of the FREE DVD which came in a package of Perdue Chicken Short Cuts. I *believe* that it is the same workout sold by Beach Body--the DVD is labelled "core/flex: Pilates Core"--but I'm not 100% sure.

This is a somewhat odd little Pilates workout. On the one hand, it initially appears to be designed for beginners--Kathy spends several minutes reviewing basic Pilates principles prior to the start of the workout--but on the other, it seems to be more appropriate for experienced Pilates practitioners, as Kathy's instruction is not overly detailed, and some more intermediate/advanced Pilates exercises are included.

Kathy does not perform the moves herself; rather, she leads three other exercisers, one of whom shows modifications and one of whom sometimes incorporates more advanced versions. The workout begins with traditional Pilates sequencing, starting with the hundred, the roll-up, and then the roll-over, a more intermediate/advanced move. Other basic Pilates moves included are rolling like a ball, the series of five, and swimming; additional intermediate/advanced moves included hip circles, leg pull-downs, and leg pull-ups. Kathy also adds a move I've never seen before, upper body circles, but she does not do any of the side kick series. The practice ends with the mermaid stretch.

I've seen this workout reported as being both 20 mintues and 25 minutes; minus Kathy's initial instruction, I clocked it at about 22-23 minutes. If you are looking for a short, moderate-paced, basic Pilates mat workout that includes a few more challenging moves, you will probably enjoy this. However, I definitely would NOT recommend this workout for those who are brand-new to Pilates.

Instructor comments: I generally like Kathy, although sometimes she can be a bit too over-the-top for my liking. She was fine here though, giving good breath and other Pilates technique reminders as well as frequently using her background exercisers to provide comments on form.

Beth C (aka toaster)

January 19, 2006

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