Video Fitness

Pilates Total Body Training

(formerly Body Reform: Total Body Training)

Karen Voight

I really liked this workout. I just started getting into Pilates (for about 4 weeks now) using the Living Arts mat workout and Pilates for Idiots book (excellent book too, btw). I've been using Pilates as a supplement to my Cathe home workouts and gym workouts. So far, I like the changes I'm beginning to see in my body. Very encouraging. I'm also amazed at how quickly your body builds strength and can better perform each move.

I have the resist-o-ring that Karen uses. The ab work was great and my inner thighs were on fire. The buttocks and back of the legs are worked very well too. Karen has excellent form pointers and does a great job instructing. I would not rely on this as a primary workout but would use it as a supplement or maybe even substitute on "leg day" if I'm feeling overtrained or want a light workout.

All in all, it was challenging and refreshing and left me feeling great all day long. I especially like what it does for my posture.

Sheila Rich

After doing Cathe's MIS for months, this video was disappointing. I admit I have only done it twice, but I can't believe this "resist-a-ring" will give me results when my legs and butt are used to squats and lunges with a 35 lb barbell. Am I missing something?

Lisa 7/16/01

If you have been looking for a video that will change the shape of your inner thighs--this is it! However, you will have to also purchase a Pilates ring, but I felt it was well worth it. I bought Karen's ring because it has padding for the outer thigh moves as well. My inner thighs are sore for 2 days after this video, but on the down side, not everything else is. I felt the workout was tough on the abs, but my glutes did not get fatigued until we were almost finished with the exercise. I suppose that is still good, but I wished that I had a harder time with the floor work for the glutes.

The entire workout is done on the floor, even the warmup. Karen stretches you out thoroughly first, or as thorough as you can being on the floor. I felt it was good. You start out with abs & inner thighs and she never lets up on the inner thighs. They do get rest, but she hits them again & again. The music was pretty good. It was jazz, and sounded like a group Spyro Gyra (I don't listen to them, but a friend of mine does, so I may have gotten their name wrong) but the drawback to the music was that it was played over & over.

The glute work was also done with the inner thighs at first with pelvic squeezes with the ring also being squeezed by the inner thighs. Later it was table style floor work, and some reminded me of Firm Vol. 1 but not as fast. Everything was very smooth and controlled.

The only upper body exercise were 3 sets of pushups, 8 reps each. The first set was normal, the 2nd one hand was doing a tricep pushup, then you switch to the other doing the tricep pushup. I really felt these even though I normally lift weights for my upper body. I would have liked more upper body work; hopefully she will come out with a video that uses the ring with the upper body someday.

I really enjoy this workout. Karen is at her best and does push you hard in places. I felt challenged in many areas, but agree with Collage's rating of an intermediate level. I'd rate it an A-.



First of all, I want to note that although this video is currently being marketed as "Pilates" (it was originally called "Body Reform"), it is definitely NOT a Pilates workout--at most, there are some Pilates-inspired moves. Secondly, although the video is called "Total Body Training," despite some minimal abdominal and chest work, the workout mainly focuses on the lower body and specifically the inner thighs. Finally, the resist-a-ring is definitely necessary to the workout; although it is not used for every exercise, when it is used, it is vital for make the movements more focused and TOUGH.

All that being said, this is a challenging workout for the lower body. It begins with a brief warmup to lengthen and stretch the muscles and then moves on to some beginning inner thigh moves combined with concentrated abs work. Although the latter consists mainly of traditional crunches, the resist-a-ring is incorporated to make the moves more unique and more targeted.

The next section comprises the heart of the workout and mainly targets the thighs. The exercises are are done lying on the side and using the resist-a-ring to specifically focus on the inner thighs. The moves are small but tough, with a high number of repetitions at an increasingly quickened pace. Following the thigh work, it's onto the hands and knees (without the ring) for some tough buttocks moves, and then the entire thigh-buttocks sequence is repeated on the other side. Then, just when you think you can't take any more, there are several sets of pushups plus some plank moves for the abs. Finally, the workout ends with a brief stretching segment.

At 50 minutes, this workout is a definite challenge to your strength and endurance. I know that I will continue to challenge myself with this workout and that the results WILL be worth it.

Instructor comments: Karen Voight is my favorite instructor. She is extremely encouraging, constantly reminding you that the workout is difficult but worth the results and saying things like "hang in there with us for just two more." Karen's form is impeccable, and she provides flawless cuing to match her excellent instruction.

Beth (aka toaster)

February 2, 2004

For strength workouts, I generally do traditional strength work and supplement with Pilates and ball workouts. I am an intermediate exerciser who does some more advanced workouts at times. I recently bought a Pilates ring and am in search of good workouts to use it with.

This workout is on a simple set with Karen Voight and one background exerciser. Karen is her normal descriptive self, cueing well and reminding me of form pointers just as I need them (sometimes, I think she can SEE me!).

As other reviewers have commented, this workout really targets the thighs hard. Then, it works other parts of the lower body. The only upper body exercises are push-ups. Since I donít do push-ups due to wrist/hands issues, this was not a good thing.

I was expecting more of a Pilates workout, but it is more of a floor work strength workout with the Pilates ring instead of weights. I enjoyed working with the ring. I do not generally enjoy floor work. So, I am not sure what I think of this workout. I may keep it and do it as an add-on through the thighs section. Or, I may do it periodically when I want to do the ring. Or, I may find that I donít enjoy it and end up trading it. As I did REALLY feel it after the workout, I will do it again see what I think as time goes on.

Instructor comments: Karen is one of the best cuers in the industry. She is her usual serious self in this workout, but came across as more relaxed as her usual self - a little.

Laura S.

September 24, 2004

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it twice in the 1 1/2 years or so that Iíve had it.
This workout has also been named Body Reform: Total Body Training and Pilates Total Body Training. (In my opinion, it should be renamed one final time to ďTotal Thigh Training.Ē)

General workout breakdown: This workout, done entirely seated or reclined, lasts just over 50 minutes. It consists primarily of floorwork exercises targeting the thighs, hips, and buttocks, with some work for abdominals and minimal work for the upper body. Itís hard to describe the exercises because theyíre unlike anything Iíve seen in Pilates (the closest Iíve come is the extra side leg series in Classical Pilates Magic Circle video), and Iíve had limited exposure (by choice) to other floorwork routines. There are some moves that have a vague Pilates feel to them, and there are some traditional crunches and some with a twist as well as moves like push ups, but most of the exercises seem to be Karenís own ideas.
The pace is leisurely, with enough time to get into position and execute the moves effectively, but youíre never waiting around for Karen to set up a move. In other words, things flow together smoothly. There are lots of repetitions, but Karen seems to know just when youíre getting bored or your thighs feel like theyíre about to fall off. Karen balances exercises with stretches, so you wonít end this workout feeling tight.

Level: Iíd recommend this to someone who feels theyíre at least at the beginner / intermediate crossover point through someone at the intermediate / advanced point. While Karenís form instruction and pointers are very good, I think this would be too overwhelming to someone new to abs and/or floorwork workouts. There are few modifications mentioned for those without much dexterity or flexibility.
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 first tried when I was at the beginner / intermediate crossover point and had little experience with Pilates rings; I enjoyed the workout more when I did it last week since I felt I could do the exercises better and more fully, thanks to my improved flexibility, strength, and dexterity with the ring. I felt a slight burn in my thighs for the rest of that day.

Class: 1 woman joins Karen.

Music: jazzy elevator music.

Set: bright interior studio space with hardwood floors and neutral walls with different shapes cut out of them and different colored and patterned lights shining on them.

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera shots (almost always showing all of both exercisers).

Equipment: mat (or equivalent) and Resist-A-Ring (aka Pilates ring, Magic Circle, or fitness circle / ring). Both exercisers are barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough to lie down with arms and legs extended, with a little space to each side.

DVD Notes: I have this on the Total Body Pilates DVD, which also has Abs & Back. There are no chapters within the workout.

Conclusion: This is a nice workout, and I have no doubt this could do wonders for the thighs. I personally donít see myself using this regularly enough to see such results. For one thing, my rotations are crowded enough as it is; I have yet to figure out how to work this video in. For another, this doesnít have much of a fun factor for me. To be honest, Iím not a fan of floorwork, unless itís traditional Pilates or yoga. I will say I found this video tolerable, but it failed to jump off of my shelves into my DVD player for well over a year until I consciously selected it.
If you are looking for a Pilates video that uses the ring, try those by Ana Caban, Classical Pilates, Stott, or Mari Winsor.

Instructor comments: As always, Karenís instruction is clear and helpful; she mirror cues. She offers great form tips, especially regarding the ring, and her own form is exemplary. She is a gently encouraging but professional instructoródefinitely not the perky cheerleader type.


March 14, 2006

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