Video Fitness


Keli Roberts

First of all, I really think this workout should be called "Pilates Core" rather than "Pilates Abs", because that is exactly what it is. Don't get me wrong, this is a great workout, and you can get an excellent intermediate ab workout if you just do the last 5 minutes of workout 1 and the first 6 minutes of workout 2. The rest of the DVD seems to focus on core rather than just abs. There are three 10 minute workouts. Workout #1 is called Classical Pilates. This workout begins with some slow crunch type exercises, but then it goes into several minutes of single leg circles and some bridge type exercises. The last 5 minutes offer great exercises for the abs: hundreds with legs bent or out to 45%, criss-crossing leg lowers, and teasers. Workout #2 is called Core Combination. The first 6 minutes contains some more great ab work: crunches (halfway down, all the way up), roll downs, single and double leg stretch, scissors, and slow moving bicycle type exercise. After 6 minutes, you begin to work your back, glutes, and hamstrings with the swimmer. Then you do some cat back arches and some balancing table top exercises where you reach your right arm and left leg straight out and then repeat on the other side. Workout #3 is called Stabilization, and, to me, felt a lot like a core rather than an ab workout. It starts with standing forward bends, then you get into the plank position (here I thought, "Ok, here comes the ab work", but I was wrong because you begin to do pushups!). Then you lay on your stomach, stretch your abs, and do the breaststroke. This is followed by some table top exercises and some excellent core work while on your side. There is also some more plank work where you alternate lifting your legs.
Overall this is a great core workout, but if you want to focus on abs, you will have to work around some of the stuff on this DVD. The ab work itself was great, and a lot of the exercises reminded me of Winsor Pilates Ab Sculpting workout. I think I will keep this for the ab work, and maybe put some more time into working my core as a whole also.

Instructor comments: Keli Roberts is a good instructor, she gives good form pointers, explains how to breathe during the exercises, and is encouraging (she tells you to make modifications if you need to). For some reason she is not pictured on this DVD case, nor is her name even mentioned on the case.


30 Dec 03

Type: Pilates
Difficulty: Intermediate
Length: three 10 minute workouts
Set: Keli plus 2 background exercisers
Music: unremarkable

The workout: First, let me say I LOVE this DVD. It goes along at a nice pace, so you get a lot in 10 minutes time. Keli shows form pointers, but doesn't take much time to really get into the "meat" of Pilates, so this workout would be better for someone already familiar with the moves. One of the background exercisers shows an easier modification. The workout has three 10 minutes segments:

Classic Pilates: This workout has moves such as the hundred, leg circles, can-can, teaser, etc and is a great ab workout.

Core Combination: This one seems to focus more on the lower abs and includes single leg stretch, double leg stretch, rolling like a ball. Many of the moves are of the type where the legs are extended, including a few I had never seen before. This is probably my favorite workout of the three.

Stabilization: I've only previewed this one since I'm a plank-o-phobe.
There are planks including pushups that end in a down dog, lots of plank variations, a standing move that she says is like peeling wallpaper off a wall where you sort of slowly head downward to touch your toes. Side planks are included also. This would do wonders for my back if I would actually do it. :^P

All in all, this is a dandy little workout DVD at a great price. Each workout has a slightly different focus and they all pack a lot into 10 minutes. For me, its a keeper and one I reach for often. A+!!

Instructor comments: Keli Roberts is a friendly, professional instructor who has amazing muscle definition.
She shows form pointers but doesn't dwell on them too long.

Peggy Elliott

I’m reviewing this DVD after doing it a couple of times in the two or so years I’ve had it.

General workout breakdown: As with any Quick Fix video, this Pilates-based workout has 10 minute segments; here there are three of them.
*Classic Pilates begins seated and rolls down to the mat for some breathing before beginning the exercises, which include roll up with bent knees, single leg circles, bridge into bridge with leg lifts into bridge with leg extended, the hundred, leg lowers with a criss cross action, teaser (what Brooke Siler calls Preparation II, with one leg and then two legs extended), rollover, swan dive, and child’s pose.
*Core Combination contains half rollback into half rollback with arm movement, can can, roll up, single leg stretch, criss cross, double leg stretch, scissors (i.e. single straight leg stretch), rolling like a ball, swimming, table top with cat & dog tilt into table top stabilization (extending opposite arm and leg), and a back extension with slight rotation.
*Stabilization begins standing, building up into the full Pilates push up, and then moves on to a plank series with leg movement, breaststroke, table top with legs hovering parallel to the floor into one leg moving while other hovers, child’s pose, elbow plank with leg movement, and side elbow plank with movement into side leg series (front & back, double leg lift—holding last one with torso also slightly raised). If you have wrist problems, you may want to skip this segment.
I agree with Laura’s proposed renaming of this workout. In fact, at the end of the last segment, Keli says, “You’ve completed the third segment of the Ab & Back series,” which more accurately describes the workouts’ focus. There are some short pauses between exercises as Keli sets up the next one, but I didn’t feel like there was a lot of wasted time here. Also, this isn’t a traditional Pilates matwork video but rather a collection of effective exercises, so the overall flow isn’t as important here. Keli moves through the exercises at a deliberate pace, just slow enough to allow you to focus on your form, and she includes a good number of repetitions, enough to feel the work.

I’d recommend this to someone at the beginner / intermediate crossover point through the intermediate / advanced crossover point. Keli assumes you are familiar with basic Pilates, so she doesn’t spend time on instruction, but she does include a number of form tips (primarily reminding you to pull in your navel) and some breathing tips. The modifications are helpful and accommodate those without so much flexibility and strength. There are some of the more advanced moves here, like the rollover and can can; if you’ve never done them before, you might want to supplement this video with books or other Pilates videos featuring more instruction. 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 workout was super tough when I was a high beginner, but now it’s doable, if still quite challenging. (I have to admit that I still use the modifications for those planks!)

Class: 2 women join Keli, with one showing modifications.

Music: upbeat instrumental stuff; a couple of songs have vocals (more of the ah-ah-ah type stuff than words).

Set: bright interior space with hardwood floors and a wall of “windows” overlooking a cityscape punctuated by metallic columns and another wall of brick with the QF logo.

Production: great picture and sound, generally helpful camera angles. The modifier isn’t always in full view and/or shown right at the beginning of each move, but she is always visible at some point during each exercise.

Equipment: mat (or equivalent). All exercisers are barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough to lie down with arms and legs extended, with enough space to each side to sweep the limbs around.

DVD Notes: Each segment is its own chapter, with no further chapters in the routine itself. The introduction is chaptered separately.

Conclusion: I don’t know why I haven’t used this video more because it’s a great little workout; there’s a lot packed into each short segment. (OK, the last segment with all of the planks is intimidating, but I know I could use all of that plank work to make my upper body and core stronger.) I like the fact that Keli includes back exercises in each segment to balance out the body.
If you don’t care much for traditional Pilates, don’t immediately disregard this. In truth, it doesn’t follow the traditional Pilates order, although the moves are done in the lines of traditional Pilates execution (unlike Karen Voight’s Abs & Back, which slightly tweaks the moves), and there are a few moves outside the traditional Pilates canon. Thus, it doesn’t have the “feel” of most Pilates workouts on video. Conversely, if you’re a Pilates purist, you may not enjoy this workout for those reasons. I do think that Pilates translates well to the 10-minute segment format; certainly it works better than yoga or cardio. This video would work well for people who do Pilates regularly but want to “cross train” with some different exercises in a different order than the traditional matwork sequence; it would also work well for someone who dabbles in Pilates who wants to cross train with more traditional abs work.
This video is definitely a step up in intensity from the other Quick Fix Pilates video, which is found on the Total Mix Yoga & Pilates DVD. QF Pilates Abs is harder than Liz Gillies’ 4 10-Minute Target Tone Workout but comparable to Lara Hudson’s 10 Minute Solution Pilates.

Instructor comments: As Peggy and Laura have pointed out, Keli is the instructor, despite the fact that Lizbeth Garcia appears on the cover and menu titles. (Lizbeth does show the advanced versions of moves during the workout.) Keli’s instruction and cueing are clear and well done. Keli is professional and positive but not perky. I like the fact that all of the women here are lean but muscular (think “toned” and “cut,” not “bodybuilder”) instead of the skinny “dancer bodies” that often appear in Pilates-type videos.


March 17, 2006

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