Video Fitness

The Method: Precision Toning

I bought this video out of extreme curiosity about Pilates. I tried some of the Pilates exercises in Oct's Shape mag., but I knew my breathing was all wrong and my form probably wasen't too great either. I'm really glad that I purchased this tape. Jennifer gives great instruction, though at first I was thinking the tape might be too easy, but then it got tougher when the 2nd section started and my legs were like noodles when I was finished! This is definitely not a tape for the beginner exerciser. I have very strong abs, but during the roll/balance sequences I was having trouble controlling my moves. Guess they still need a little precision training. All in all this video is a keeper and I will probably end up buying the series.

One thing though, I buy my tapes for the workout and musical purposes. If they don't have a good sound track forget it. This one was just plain instruction, a little instrumental in the beginning, but that was it. You don't notice the lack of music due to the extreme focus that is needed on your form and breathing to do these exercises correctly. It is a one on one session with your own Pilates personal trainer.

Noreen H.
11/24/97


My abs have become so hard since starting this style of training, and I could swear I really am getting taller! After years and years of basic crunches and other "typical" ab exercises that never seemed to do anything at all, I am finally on the way to having the abs I've always wanted. My torso is stronger, flatter, and firmer than it's ever been. (Now if I could just get rid of this fatty layer so I can SEE what I've got!)

I would recommend this and the other Method videos to any intermediate/advanced exerciser. You will have to pay a lot of attention to form, because if you don't focus on what you're doing, it's too easy to forget how you're supposed to be holding your body and then you don't get anything out of it. I have to concentrate really hard, and Jennifer's reminders of proper form are extremely welcome in this tape.

In addition to helping you keep good form, Jennifer is also very "kind." She shows easier modifications, and she says things like, "You won't be able to do this the first time . . ., but you will be able to." I think that helps keep you from feeling like a wimp. There are a lot of moves in here I can't do yet!

Grade A!

Annie S.
2-7-98

This tape was a revelation! I have been using videofitness to get my videos for a about a year and have experience with several Firm and Karen Voight videos (I also use cory eversons Arms and Shoulders). My objectives are twofold; to be fit and to look good. Fitness was done, but no matter what I did (including the Firms 5 day abs) I still had a stomach which seemed to stick out on occasion like it had a life of its own. I make no apology here for telling my story because I tell no lies when after just one session with this tape my stomach started to "behave" the way I wanted it to. Really.

You probably need to be quite fit to do this video, and I couldn't recommend it to a rank beginner, but after months of weighted work outs this tape comes as a quiet revelation.

I do hope this video is not overlooked just because it doesn't burn fat. It deserves a place in the favorites if not the Hall of Fame because it delivers like perhaps no other tape I have tried. And that, surely, is the point. Buy it, try it and put your review here. More people should know about this.

Instructor comments: Jennifer is businesslike but friendly. I had heard that pilates was difficult to teach other than on a one to one basis, but Jennifer takes you through the form thoroughly and you feel the effects. Jennifer is easy to have around and one senses she has a passion for what she is teaching.

David de Vall
4/23/98

The video is a 15 minute instructional section followed by a 30 minute workout. It is one-on-one with Jennifer. I bought both this tape and Balanced Zones. It is not a fat burning workout, but definitely strengthens the abs. I am a definite Firm Believer and I do this video at least once per week as I feel it works different muscles than your standard video. I don't think the leg exercises will thin your thighs, but definitely promote flexibility and the "feeling taller" part of Pilates. She teaches the breathing well. The set is a Firm-like setting, but the tape is in EP so it isn't exactly up to Firm standards--but it isn't a Firm video. It really is a great introduction to Pilates. I don't know about recommending this video to a beginner as you can tend to become very frustrated with being unable to do the moves exactly like Jennifer as they are much more difficult than I thought. I will master the Teaser someday though!

Instructor comments: She is very precise and not at all irritating, I tend to get bothered by chattiness and that is definitely not a problem with Jennifer.

Stephanie Bridges
06/25/98

I bought this video (along with Precision Sculpting, Dance to Fitness and Balanced Zones) and traded them all away pretty quickly. I didn't like the fact that: a) the lengths in the boxes are not the actual lengths of the workouts which really frustrated me; and that b) I got really bored and hard a hard time focusing.

I re-purchased Precision Toning because I've gotten more into yoga and I wanted to give the ab work another chance.

Toning Essentials is good, but a little on the short side. It's over before you know it. This, however is preferable to the Method Toning section, which is too long (is't closer to 45 minutes than the 30 it says on the box, I swear) and just seems to go on FOREVER. Just when you think you're done, no, it keeps going. After forcing myself to do it another couple of times, I have decided to follow up various workouts with Toning Essentials, and just not do the rest of the tape.

Instructor comments: Jennifer is nice--not too bouncy, not too robotic. Her counting is off in some places and it really gets on my nerves when she says "And that's the last exercise...in side series." I keep getting ready to finish and she just KEEPS GOING!

Renee Drelliishak
8/19/98

I own a pilates performer and so I was very excited when these tapes came out. It is an excellent addition to the pilates workout. The tape would be excellent for anyone who doesn't have a performer though. It is unbelievable how much you feel your abs with this tape, it works them thoroughly. Caution: Have a good matt to use, some of the rolling moves need cushioning or else your lower back may feel bruised the next day. I really like that I have to use my mind during the workout instead of just doing the moves to loud music - really great change of pace. This is a keeper

Instructor comments: Pleasant and patient. Very thorough instruction and showed easier versions to help you until you progress to her level.

Cinnamon Conrad
September 23, 1998

I got this video because I had read positive reviews of it on VideoFitness. However, I felt that the workout was not very effective for me personally because it requires so much flexibility. Jennifer was doing moves I don't think I'd ever be able to do because I am not a dancer. I did not feel that my abs were strengthened very much. The leg exercises were the most effective of the whole video; my legs felt a little sore the next day. I think this video would be good for a pretty flexible person who wants a stretching/light toning video without weights.

Instructor comments: Jennifer is very calm but motivational. She explained every move clearly.

Julie Welling
1/20/99

I've got to say that I am extremely impressed with this video. I'm a guy and have been reluctant to workout to a tape, but decided to try this one based on reviews here and a desire to find a Pilates workout. I'm very glad I did because this is a great exercise routine.

The exercises concentrate on abdominal and lower back strength; your whole "pelvic girdle". It's an area that I have had a lot of problems with, even though I try to workout by walking, martial arts, and step aerobics.

The first 15 minutes of the tape is a warm-up that for me is a workout in itself. It concentrates on control of the abs and lengthening the spine, especially in the sacrum area. I have found after just a week that I am sitting, walking and standing taller and more erect, supporting my whole upper body correctly.

I can't stress enough how great that is. After trying to find that "one thing" that would help my lower back area from stiffness, I think this Method workout is key. I feel taller, already more flexible, and just stronger in the abs, hip, and lower back area.

Highly recommended for anyone wishing to correct their posture and build strength and flexibility in an area that is hard to workout any other way. Overall an "A"

Mustafa
28 Sept 99

I have a love-hate relationship with this video. I am a fairly advanced exerciser and tend to do the Firm and Cathe videos primarily, but since I own over 100 videos, I tend to throw in something different now and then, including this tape. I think this tape is wonderful as a means to firm and strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve flexibility and posture; it uses more isometrics and lengthening to do so, rather than the usual shortening and contracting done in so many of the other videos.

The reasons I don't do this video more often is that first of all, it seems a bit boring and repetitive after the first 20 minutes or so. I do not like the side series or exercises for the legs/thighs/buttocks; they remind me of the old exercises that my mother used to do to Jack LaLanne in the '60's. I think some of them could cause injury especially because they require hyperextension of the hip/lower back and if you are not supremely flexible and accustomed to swinging your legs behind you and in circles, then it is conceivable that you could strain or sprain yourself. On the positive side, I would say that the video is worth it just for the first 20 minutes of abdominal toning.

I like Jennifer Kries very much; she knows what she is doing, and has amazing flexibility which obviously has taken years of devoted practice. She is pleasant but her voice is a bit monotone.

Abbe G
Oct. 10, 1999

I started using this video about 3 months ago, and during that time tried several other Pilates videos (and traded almost all the others away - some were just too boring, others had bad form or were lacking in instructional value). I think this is the best introduction to Pilates that I've seen, and yet it has difficult moves that still challenge me.

I have always disliked traditional abdominal exercises and so I never did them enough - they seemed to hurt my back and neck and didn't flatten my stomach. However, I enjoy doing this tape and my abs are flatter than they have ever been (though they still need work!). An additional benefit of this tape has been strengthening of my lower back, which used to hurt after tennis or bending over for an hour to weed the garden. I no longer have lower back pain.

OK, I know this sounds like a testimonial instead of a review, but others before me have outlined the contents pretty well. I think Jennifer is an excellent instructor with great pointers on form where they're needed, and I find her very encouraging even when I can't perform a particular exercise. She comes across as very intelligent and articulate as well as friendly. Her form is perfect.

I highly recommend this video to anyone wanting to get started in Pilates techniques. Once you've learned the moves, the shorter abs segment in The Method: Target Specifics has many of these moves and is a faster-paced 15-minute add-on to any workout, but the more in-depth instruction in Precision Toning helps tremendously while you're learning.

Randy Pollack
randy@web-showcase.com
11/09/00

This is a good introduction to Pilates. Jennifer is a through and encouraging instructor. Dispite this, I hated this tape when I first got it. I wanted to like it because I felt great when finished but it seemed to go on and on and on. The second workout is actually 45 minutes, not 30 and it helps to know and be prepared for that going into it.

I put this video aside and pulled it out again about a month/six weeks ago. I found this time I really liked it. I felt a lot more focused than before, maybe from all the yoga I'd been doing, and the tape seemed to pass much quicker than before.

All in all, if you are interested in a good beginner pilates workout, I'd recommend this one. Just be aware of the time from the beginning. There is also a short workout in the beginning that I sometimes add on to an aerobics or strenghth workout for extra abs.

Also, if you find this tape boring, don't give it up right away, try it a few times and maybe even hold on to it and try it at a later time. I had been trying to trade this tape away and am so glad I didn't!

About me, I'm 29 and and at an intermediate to advanced fitness level. I have been doing videos for close to a year now to get in shape after having a baby. I previously taught aerobics and toning at a Woman's Workout World and I was very involved in ballet and modern dance as a kid through college.

Diane Miller
6/13/01



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