The Method: 3 Dimensional ToningJennifer Kries
Year Released: 2001
Categories: Pilates/Core Strength
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it several times since getting it months ago.
General workout breakdown: There are two segments in this video: “Pilates Based” and “Core Conditioning.”
“Pilates Based” is 30 minutes of dynamic and pulsing stretches, dance-inspired moves (jazz/modern and ballet), and yoga poses. You spend about 13 minutes doing stretch-dance combinations. Next come 7 minutes of ballet moves (plies, tendus, etc.); this is probably my favorite section of the workout. The yoga section lasts the remaining 10 minutes and includes sun salutations, warrior 2, triangle, side angle, forward bend with legs apart, downward dog with movement, cat with movement, and tabletop, finishing with seated twists. I don’t see any Pilates or much toning here; I consider this cardio with some yoga.
“Core Conditioning” is an 18 minute Pilates mat workout. Jennifer starts with breathing preps and walks you through breath of fire before setting you up on the mat, doing a couple of leg lifts to make sure your navel’s pulled in. She then leads you through the 100, roll up, leg circles, rolling like a ball, single leg stretch, double leg stretch, bridge with leg lifts, spine stretch forward, modified spinal twist, side leg series (up & down and circles), heel beats with upper body lifted, child’s pose with arms extended, single leg kick, and seal, ending in the teaser position.
Level: Jennifer doesn’t offer instruction in the first segment, and her cueing of moves is sparse. Granted, parts are supposed to be free form dancing, but if you don’t know dance it’ll be free form staring-at-the-TV-in-disgust. I feel anyone over a high beginner / low intermediate level won’t see their heart rate go up much during this section, although an intermediate might like it for a light day. I consider myself a solid intermediate+ in cardio; I barely break a sweat here. I have had 10-12 years of dance experience (combining ballet, tap, and jazz) years ago that came in handy here! And I consider myself a low intermediate in yoga; this yoga section was a little short and easy for me.
I would consider the second segment best for an experienced beginner at Pilates. A true beginner would need a little more instruction, but more intermediate Pilates practitioner wouldn’t find this challenging enough, both in terms of moves and pace. I consider myself a low intermediate. I have about two years of Pilates experience but still have limited strength and flexibility. I found this section almost easy even a few months ago, although I couldn’t do kick up as high as Jennifer.
Class: Four women, including Lisa Wheeler, join Jennifer for the “Pilates Based” segment. Jennifer is alone for the “Core Conditioning.”
Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The upbeat instrumental music has a beat as well as a little jazz here, a little guitar there. (I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the music on all three JK Pilates Method workouts is the same; if it’s not, it sounds awfully similar.) The interior set looks like some sunken courtyard. There are two dark gray Classical/Renaissance-style statues in the back corners of the gray set. The picture and sound quality are OK, to be expected of something filmed about 15 years ago when hi-def and digital weren’t options.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent). All participants are barefoot. If you have trouble with balance, do the ballet segment near a chair or wall.
Comments: You’ll need some space for this. You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs extended, and you should be able to move your arms and legs around and bend forward during the standing portion.
DVD Notes: There are 2 DVD versions: the brown cover is older and now out of print; the red and white cover is newer. Both contain the exact same workout. The newer versions have slightly better sound and a slightly crisper picture, but the difference isn’t enough to justify rebuying them. The newer ones have a long introduction to Koch Vision’s other fitness titles, which you can skip by hitting menu. You can select either segment, but each takes you back to the main menu afterwards with the older DVDs. You can turn the instruction off for “Core Contouring.” There is a “Tips from the Experts” section, which has Jennifer and the class participants talking about how they love this method.
Conclusion: Since the Pilates segment is too easy for me now, I don’t use it. And it’s hard to figure out how to work in the dance/yoga segment, because it’s not enough cardio or yoga for me. My body does feel nice and loose after it, though. So I guess I like this workout but don’t love it. I think it’s time for this DVD to find a new home where it might actually get some use, maybe with someone who likes fusion workouts or who needs something lighter.
Everyone has the title they prefer of this series, which also includes Perfect Mix and Precision Pilates. My favorite happens to be Precision Pilates because it offers something different and useful to my workouts. This one—not so much. I’d rather do Breakthru Pilates Plus. By the way, the Pilates segment here is easier than the one on Perfect Mix.
Jennifer’s encouraging but a less approachable figure than most fitness instructors. She appears more comfortable when she’s performing the exercises than just talking to the camera. Her manner of speaking is not typical of exercise video instructors; no monosyllabic exhortations like “Burn that fat!” or “Keep it up!” here. Instead, she says that even with the few repetitions you will notice a mark-ed difference. She doesn’t cue moves much, especially in the dancier portions. Instead, she mentions what you are doing and then explains the purpose of the exercise or reminds you about your posture rather than cueing each move or breath. She’s more focused on instruction and cueing during the yoga and Pilates portions, however. She is SUPER flexible, which can be intimidating to someone like me who months ago could barely touch her toes. She recommends some modifications, however, especially during the Pilates segment.
This video consists of two separate workouts. The first, which is described as "Pilates based," was not Pilates at all: rather, it was a light, non-weight toning routine which blended ballet and yoga moves. It began with an 8-minute warm-up followed by 10 minutes of standing ballet-type work. Next was a 10-minute yoga segment which consisted of sun salutations and other standing yoga poses. Finally, the workout ended with 2 minutes of yoga-type stretches.
The second workout, "Core Conditioning," consisted of traditional Pilates mat work. It began with several minutes of breathing practice and then moved on to Pilates exercises such as the Hundred, the Roll-Up, etc; many of these exercises were modified from their original form. It also included the Pilates side kick series, but only two exercises were performed on each side. Although this workout was labeled as being 20 minutes, the actual time was about 17 minutes; when you subtract the time spent on breathing instruction, you are left with a disappointing Pilates workout of less than 15 minutes.
Although there was some merit to this routine, I definitely feel that there are better choices available (eg, Kari Anderson's "Angles, Lines, and Curves" instead of the first section and various other videos for Pilates mat work).
I did not particularly like Jennifer Kries as an instructor. First of all, her cuing was inadequate, as she often failed to explain upcoming movements and frequently failed to cue right and left. Furthermore, I found her to be a bit showoff-y at times with her flexibility levels.
This is the second video in the New Method/Pilates Method series. The instructor said that you might want to use this after you're acquainted with Precision Pilates if you're new to Pilates.
The first section is the longest of all of the sections of this series at 30 to 35 minutes. It starts off with a modern dance section- lots of low lunges and variations mixed with a speed skate sequence. Then onto the ballet segment- plies, tendus and fondues. I thought this would just be for my legs, but my arms were burning when we began the side kicks. Then onto the yoga section for Sun Breath, Sun Salutations, Warrior 2, Triangle, Right Angle, Downward Dog, Active Moving Cat and Table Top. I felt very thoroughly worked out after this section.
The next segment is a beginner's Pilates matwork. She does spend a bit of time on instruction at the beginning, but she gives good breathing cues so I usually don't fast forward through it. This segment is very approachable (no Criss Crosses or, I think, Open Leg Rockers), but it does include a few Side Kick variations.
I really enjoy both segments- the first gives me a little cardio boost while I'm working my muscles and the second is a nice matwork routine when I don't want to do an exhaustive session but I do want to get the basics in.
Of all the tapes I've seen her in, she seems to be having the best time here. She laughs a little bit during the yoga section and then is very reassuring during the Pilates.
This is an interesting tape that I picked up on a lark from the exchange. Its in two separate sections. The first section consists of three different types of exercises. The first seems to be modern dance related. There are active full body, non-impact movements. Most of them stretch your body. They are hard for me to describe since I'm not that experienced with either the Method or dance. Lots of body sweeps, plies, bending and stretching. You then move on to ballet moves, this section is almost all lower body movements, the sweeping the leg to the front, side, back. Very similar to the ballet section of Michelle Dozio's 10 Minute Workout. The last section is yoga, many familiar moves Sun Salutations, Warriors, Cat Stretches. Each portion of this section is about 10 minutes and the whole thing is about 35 minutes.
The second section is pilates. The first five minutes consists of form pointers and breathing technique. The actual pilates workout is about 15 minutes. The pilates moves are familiar but have a total body focus instead of an abdominal focus. I used just this section for an abs day, and felt it was inadequate on its own. In fact I don't feel that its useful as a stand alone section at all. If it is used following the first segment, it makes for a nice stretchy total body day.
I've enjoyed using the modern dance segment as a warm up to weight lifting, especially first thing in the morning where it gets you moving at a nice 5:30 am pace. I'm actually surprised but this tape is a keeper. It has even interested me in some of the other mixed yoga/dance/pilates tapes.
Instructor- Jennifer's cueing during the first section was often late and inadequate. Even the dancers behind her seemed to be a step behind her during parts of the tape. Its easy enough to follow her, but if being a step behind an instructor bothers you, you might want to skip this tape. Jennifer is wearing a red tank top and black loose pants. I usually don't notice these types of things but she kept tugging at the top during the workout, and the pants fell down around her legs during some parts where her legs were up in the air.
Production Quality - medium. The tape quality wasn't the best, the set was typical of the method, or a lot of the newer tapes out there (quick fixes and the I want those... series). The tape itself is a little fuzzy, but well within my acceptability range.