This is one of the Pilates matwork DVD’s that are currently in the dollar spot at Target. Is it worth a dollar? Absolutely.
The packaging (which is not appropriate for storing a DVD once opened, as it is not recloseable, and the disc is actually stuck to the inside of the box with that rubbery “glue”) claims that the program runs an about an hour. From the beginning of the intro to the end of the credits, it’s about 55 minutes. The actual workout (skipping the warmup/stretching section) runs 33 minutes.
The introduction is mostly tips on Pilates breathing. Menezes says to “sigh” rather than “blow” on the exhale, because if you blow, you’ll end up straining your neck—I’ve not heard this before, but it’s something I’ll experiment with. On the other hand, Menezes cues the breathing on some exercises opposite from what I’ve learned from the Siler and Ungaro books (I did what I was already comfortable with instead).
After the introduction, Menezes coaches two students through some gentle stretching. This is a long section—over 10 minutes for what amounts to 3 different stretches.
The workout proper is 33 minutes, and begins with abdominal curls. From there the series follows almost in the classical order: roll up, rollover, single leg circles, hundred, rolling like a ball, single leg stretch, double leg stretch, hamstring stretch (single straight-leg stretch), criss-cross, spine stretch, corkscrew, saw, neck roll, single leg kick, swimming, rotation/twist (spine twist), jackknife, side leg kick (front/back), side leg lifts (double leg lift and single leg lift), modified teaser, modified teaser with a twist, side bend, and seal. After this are a few exercises that aren’t really Pilates but that help to make this more of a full-body workout: hinges for the quads, an arm weight series (lying on the back with knees bent), and the “cushion squeeze” for the inner thighs (the model uses a triangular cushion; since I don’t happen to have strange geometric cushions laying around, I used my magic circle, which probably provided more resistance than the weird cushion).
Some, but not many, modifications are shown. Presumably because this is an intermediate workout, the exercises are not fully explained. The pacing is just OK for me—I made some adjustments as I went along to suit my preferences.
There is no music.
The chaptering on this disc is extensive. Each exercise is its own chapter, which means that since I can’t do the rollover, for example, I can skip right to the single leg circles. Not bad for a buck.
Menezes gives a good amount of instruction (perhaps too much for some people), and his Aussie accent isn’t unpleasant to listen to. He never demonstrates any of the exercises himself—instead he corrects the students.
3 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 making the transition from beginner to intermediate through a solid intermediate. 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. This would be about the right level for me.
Class: 1 man and 1 woman, who seem to be members of Allan’s classes, demonstrate the exercises while Allan walks around.
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.
Allan has a soft, easy to understand Australian accent and a nice voice. He includes a lot of instruction, form tips, etc. He is similar to Moira Stott Merrithew or Hilary Burnett in terms of amount of instruction.
March 7, 2006