Video Fitness

Noelle's Powerhouse: Focus on Abs

Noelle Stumpf

For some reason, 15-minute Pilates programs seem to be a rarity--there are plenty of practices in the 20-25 minute range, but the shorter offerings are generally 10 minutes each. At exactly 15 minutes, Noelle's Focus on Abs allows you to work the abs a bit more deeply while still being quick and efficient.

Noelle--who appears to be in her late 30s/early 40s but sounds like a teeny bopper--begins by briefly explaining some Pilates principles. She then starts with the traditional Pilates sequencing of the hundred to the roll up. Next, however, she moves right into the series of five (also known as the stomach series), performing four of the five exercises (she skips the double leg stretch). She then adds some unique moves like the "figure 4," a sort of reverse curl with one foot placed on the other straight leg (forming an upside-down 4). For back work, she does a simple back extension as well as holds several elbow planks. When it comes to the teaser, she performs a modified version, turning it into a kind of bent leg roll-up, but I actually felt this even more in my abs. From the side kick series, Noelle includes only double leg lifts on either side, and this concludes the workout.

Focus on Abs is probably an advanced beginner to low intermediate workout; I don't think there is enough detailed instruction for those totally new to Pilates, yet Noelle provides excellent form pointers throughout. Also, one of her four participants shows easier modifications, while another shows more advanced versions of the exercises. Although I consider myself to be at a more advanced intermediate/low advanced level in Pilates, I know I will use this video often when I want a quick Pilates practice focusing on my abdominals.

Instructor comments: I liked Noelle (although her voice sounds a bit young as mentioned above); I found her form pointers to be unique and helpful, and she cued well overall.

Beth C (aka toaster)

April 15, 2006

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