Video Fitness

TotalMindBody Pilates Advanced Program

Allan Menezes

I am reviewing this DVD after previewing it. Since many of the exercises are above my ability level, I have not worked out with it. However, because the packaging does not provide much information, I thought it might be useful to have a preliminary review posted here in case anyone is on the fence about this one.

This is one of the Pilates matwork DVD’s that is currently in the dollar spot at Target.

The practice begins with Menezes’ explanation of what he calls the “b-line” (scoop) and some breathing. The workout proper includes over 40 exercises, almost all traditional Pilates exercises, in a largely traditional order: abdominal curl, roll-up, hundred, roll-over, single-leg circle, rolling like a ball, single-leg stretch, double-leg stretch, hamstring stretch (single straight-leg stretch), criss cross, spine stretch forward, open-leg rocker, corkscrew, saw, neck roll, swan 1, swan 2, single leg kick, double leg kick, swimming, breaststroke, neck pull, bicycle, scissors, shoulder bridge, child’s pose, rotation/twist (spine twist), jacknife, side kick series (front/back, up/down, double leg lift, inner thigh beats, large and small scissors), 3 variations of the teaser, hip circles, leg pull front (leg pull-down), leg pull back (leg pull-up), side twist, boomerang, rocking, child’s pose, control balance, pushup, and a 3-move arm series as a cool-down.

The practice moves at a moderate pace, and lasts about 50 minutes. The side kick series looks awkward, since the first exercise is performed on the right and then the left, then the next is performed on the left and then the right, and so on—so the fluidity is lost in this section.

The exercises are demonstrated by two models who show decent (but not exceptional) form. On the open-leg stretch, one of the models cannot do the exercise with the arm position Menezes has her use; she cannot rock back up until Menezes allows her to change positions. Why this was left in the DVD is anyone’s guess.

Like the Intermediate DVD, there is no music, and each exercise is chaptered.

Instructor comments: Menezes instructs the two exercisers as he would a class, and provides some good cues. I especially like his way of explaining breathing, which has worked well for me in my own practice.


22 January 2006

I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it only.

General workout breakdown: Kerry has already done a great job of describing this traditional Pilates matwork routine, which lasts just over 50 minutes. I also want to point out the start and stop nature and leisurely pace of this workout.

Level: I’d recommend this to someone practicing at least at an intermediate. I think this would be a good way to make the transition from intermediate to advanced. I consider myself almost a solid intermediate; I have about three years of Pilates experience but am still working on improving my flexibility and strength. I could probably tackled this workout, but its length might be a bit overwhelming for me right now.

Class: 1 man and 1 woman, who seem to be members of Allan’s classes, demonstrate the exercises while Allan walks around.

Music: none.

Set: interior space with orange-red walls and neutral floors. Participants are on different kinds of mats.

Production: good picture and sound. The camera angles sometimes cut off feet and hands. The name of each exercise is inserted on a separate screen between each move, and form tips will appear underneath the exercisers during part of the move.

Equipment: mat (or equivalent). Participants are barefoot, while Allan wears socks.

Space Requirements: You should be able to lie down with arms and legs extended as well as to sweep your limbs to each side.

DVD Notes: The main menu allows you to play the whole program, select your chapter, or preview other Total Mind Body series.

Conclusion: This is a nice program for someone who wants more instruction and/or who has all or almost all of an exercise session to devote to Pilates alone. It’s too long for me; I prefer to do shorter sessions of Pilates daily. I also prefer more flow and less “hang time” in my Pilates videos.
I have to admit I was a bit peeved when I saw this for $1 at Target after deciding I would not get my $20+ out of this program.

Instructor comments: Allan has a soft, easy to understand Australian accent and a nice voice. He includes a lot of instruction, form tips, etc.


March 7, 2006

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