Body Reform: Core Essentials

Karen Voight
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength , Total Body Workouts

I’m reviewing this workout, which has also been called Body Reform: Core Essentials, Core Essentials Pilates, and Core Plus More, after doing it twice (I think) a while ago.

General workout breakdown: This begins with a 5 minute warm up. 30 minutes of toning follow, divided among 5 minutes of standing legwork and 25 minutes of floorwork (with about 10 minutes for legs, 5 for upper body, and 10 for abs). A 6 minute stretch ends the workout for a total of about 40 minutes. Karen intends for this to be a complement to rather than the main part of a strength training program. She intends it to be a way to check in with your technique and either work your muscles in a different way or work muscles that are normally neglected. There isn’t enough upper body work for this to really stand alone, but you’ll feel that leg work, particularly that lying leg series.
There isn’t much impact from what I can remember, but be careful of the squat-pivot-lunge series if you work out on carpet.

Level: I’d recommend this to an intermediate level exerciser. You need to know what you’re doing, so this is not for beginners. At the same time, this wouldn’t be enough strength work for an advanced exerciser (unless you were taking it easy).

Class: Karen only. Most of the time Karen is instructing and performing the move at the same time, although sometimes she demonstrates the move while also providing voiceover.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: I didn’t care much for the instrumental music, which sometimes doesn’t quite start on time. The interior set is rather dark and sort of futuristic looking. The picture and sound are fine.

Equipment Needed: sneakers for the standing portion, 1-2 pair(s) of dumbbells (your choice of weights), 1 pair of Green Genie balls (or any 3 lb.—or other size—weighted ball or even dumbbells), mat (or equivalent), and a towel.

Comments: Except for one series of movements this workout doesn’t require a lot of space. You need to be able to take one big step front and back and two big steps to each side; you should also be able to lie down with your legs and arms extended. I had to do the squat-pivot-lunge series diagonally across my 6’ by 8’ room, but all other movements are more compact.

DVD Notes: The DVD allows you to do the entire workout or choose one of the floorwork sessions. It is also available on DVD with YogaSculpt as Yoga & Sculpting.

Conclusion: I ended up trading this away. It never really appealed to me. Most likely the presence of floorwork was a big factor; I just can’t seem to fall in love with that kind of strength work. Also, I like working my upper body, and this is definitely skimpy in that regard. That said, I’ve read people recommend this for the lower body burn it’ll cause.
This video no longer has Pilates in the title since there is very little of Pilates in this video. Some of the moves are uncommon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re Pilates or even Pilates-based.

Instructor Comments:
Karen is an excellent cuer and very focused on proper form and technique, as always. She exercises each side evenly and intends for you to mirror her moves.