Maui Pilates: Abs Made Easy

Eva Bondar
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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Maui Pilates: Abs Made Easy is led by instructor Eva Bander and filmed on a Hawaiian beach. Although it isn't quite as focused on abs as the title suggests, it is certainly "easy" in that it's a very gentle program, more of a mat-based stretching routine with some Pilates moves thrown in. The DVD is chaptered to include a short Introduction by Eva, and the workout itself includes three segments, Warm-Up, Abs, and Back.

Surprisingly, the Warm-Up was the longest section at 20.5 minutes. Eva begins in a seated cross-legged position for breathing, overhead reaches, shoulder rolls, and spine/neck stretches; she also brings the legs forward for a seated forward bend. She then moves into a side saddle position for a slow twist to both sides, and she continues stretching with the legs in cobbler's and straddle positions. The Pilates mermaid follows, and finally, Eva comes back to a cross-legged position for some final shoulder/neck stretches to complete the warm-up. For the 18-minute Abs segment, Eva continues to move at a very slow, leisurely place. She performs a half roll-up, bringing one knee in at a time, and then slowly moves into the single leg stretch. Other Pilates moves follow, including bridge and scissors (single straight let stretch). Eva performs a lying twist with both knees bent, turning this into oblique work by rolling one arm to meet the other. She continues to work the abs with a simple curl, a held curl, and a modified roll-back. A hamstring stretch/ankle roll transitions into leg lowers, and Eva ends the abs work with a seated twist.

The final segment of the workout focuses on the back (10.5) minutes. Starting in an all fours (tabletop) position, Eva has you arch and round your back to stretch the spine, then balance while lifting opposite arm/opposite leg. In a prone position, she performs a back extension (cobra) and hamstring stretches. Next comes a flowing series which starts in down dog, moves to the knees for chest opening/breathing, then returns to down do, repeating once. Coming to standing, Eva takes a final few breaths to conclude the workout at 51 minutes. Throughout the practice, Eva frequently adds extra stretching between the moves, such as pointing and flexing the feet. The overall feel is that of a gentle stretching routine rather than a traditional Pilates matwork practice, so those hoping for the latter are likely to be disappointed. This video is probably best suited to those looking for a relatively easy stretching program which specifically (but not intensely) targets the abs and back.

Instructor Comments:
Eva provided voiceover instruction; her manner was generally soft-spoken and low-key. She moves VERY slowly through the exercises, which may be boring to some. Also, although the workout is filmed on a Hawaii beach, it's actually not very picturesque, as you catch only a small swatch of dark sand beach (plus it's a bit dark overall).

Beth C (aka toaster)