The Method: Standing Pilates Blend

Katalin Zamiar
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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This was on the cheapie DVD rack at Ross. Surprise, surprise this is one tough workout. It's not a sweaty cardio thing and it's not impossibly tough while you're doing it. An hour later your buttocks and abs will be letting you know you've worked hard.

The exercises are unique. My expectation was that this would be a Callan, Lotte, Bar Method rehash. It's absolutely not. It's a lot of balance work and precise dance moves. If you do the correct form it's a killer video. If you just flop your leg around, it's probably pretty easy. Sadly, the form isn't easy to decipher. Katalin Rodriguez-Zamiar does a good job cuing, but the camera isn't always at the right spot to capture what she's doing. That gets annoying, but you get past it once you know the routine.

The first section is all standing work. The moves are a bit too fast. If you have form or balance issues, you might want to go at half of the video's pace. Your arms aren't worked, however you do use the shoulders in holding arm extensions for a minute or two. Other than reminders to engage your abs, you don't seem to be working your core during the standing section. However, all of those balance exercises are subtly giving your core quite the workout. In the second half of the video it's about 15 minutes of floor work. Because you've already burned your core and legs in the standing section, this floor work is tough.

I would recommend this DVD for someone working on a toning rotation or someone interested in some new lower body work. You also need to have some sense of the importance of good breathing and body position. If you've done a fair bit of pilates or yoga you should be fine. I won't suggest this for someone who doesn't like (or isn't able) to maintain focus on form. This tape is only as effective as you make it.

This DVD definitely has a spot in my rotation. I'm happy to have found this one.

Instructor Comments:
Katalin Rodriguez-Zamiar does a nice job and I have to say her physique is inspiring.



Katalin and two background exercisers do the workout in a (pleasant) fake outdoor set. This is interspersed with shots of Katalin doing the moves in a real outdoor setting near the ocean. In the introduction, Katalin says that the standing Pilates exercises, adapted from reformer and mat exercises, are like ballet moves. Honestly, hardly anything in this workout resembled Pilates as I know it. If you go into it expecting that, you will be disappointed. It reminded me quite a bit of Kari Andersonís recent workout Reach in that there are a lot of standing ballet moves which work the lower body.

The workout has a 30 minute standing section and a 15 minute floor section. There isnít a true warm-up, cool down, or stretch. You start by taking some deep breaths and lifting your arms above your head. You exhale and bring your arms down to wrap around the backs of your legs. Round your back to stretch it, and then roll up.

Throughout the workout, you generally learn a move, do a few reps, and then add on one or two more moves. I felt a lot of the standing work in my quads. My abs didnít really get worked at all, other than when I was balancing during some of the standing work.

There are some arm movements which I considered gratuitous yet graceful. They probably wonít do much for you, but they can help you balance! Iíll describe some of the exercises to give everyone an idea of what types of moves are included.

Standing moves (not a complete list):
1. Start with feet together, step one foot out to side and plie down. Plie back up and lift leg straight out in front of you. Alternate sides.
2. Point toe, extend leg so foot touches floor in front of you. Circle leg around and touch toe behind you. Do a few reps and then add on front attitude (leg lifting with knee slightly bent) then move leg so it extends straight behind you. Add on a reach down to the floor with your hands where you keep one leg up behind you and bring that foot to touch the knee of the leg on which youíre still standing. Then put the back foot down on the floor, stand up and do a few curtsy lunges.
3. Curtsy lunge, lift back foot so it touches front knee with leg internally rotated, then rotate leg outward (into sort of a tree pose). Extend the foot out to the side to work outer thigh.
4. Standing hamstring curl then transition to curtsy lunge.

Many of the moves have you sweeping your foot front to back with your toe pointed. One weird move had you stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent, and bend at the hips so youíre facing downward. Extend one arm behind you and one in front, and then switch arms by swinging them forward and back while keeping your body still. I couldnít understand the purpose of this.

Floor moves (again, not a complete list):
1. Lie on your back and bend knees toward you. Extend legs up and then lower them while extending arms back. Bend knees and bring them toward you while you circle arms and bring them towards your knees (so you end up sort of hugging your knees to your chest).
2. Hundred, except you just do four pulses and then bring your knees in and rest, then do four more, etc.
3. Bridge pose with hips lifted, both feet on floor. Bring one arm above head and switch with the other by swinging them back and forth.
4. X-position with legs and arms outstretched as you lie on the floor. Lift up to touch left arm and right leg (with other arm and leg dragging on the floor). Lie down and do the other arm and leg.
5. Lie on your side with legs stacked and do a leg lift with lower leg bent so foot touches underside of top knee.

There are lots of other exercises in both sections, but I think these give a good general idea of whatís included.

The floor work just didnít do anything for me. I would think that X position would really work your abs, but I didnít feel it at all. The standing work seemed to work my quads pretty well. I felt the hamstring curls too even though I usually use ankle weights for that type of thing (like in Slim Series).

I think this would be good for someone who enjoys ballet-inspired workouts. If you like the moves in Reach, this might be one to try. Itís not quite as elegant and I think itís a little easier, but has a similar feel. The music is instrumental, kind of quiet, pleasant stuff. I know Iíve heard it before, but couldnít quite place it.

For me, this is one of those workouts that I find enjoyable, but probably wonít do often. I got it from a kind VFer to help satisfy my curiosity. I think I was hoping for standing ab work and obviously this doesnít fit the bill. Still, itís good to know what itís like, and again, for someone who enjoys ballet moves or this type of soothing lower body workout, this might be a good choice.

Instructor Comments:
Iíd describe Katalin as no-nonsense. She doesnít talk to the background exercisers or say much other than to cue the moves. Her directions are clear and cuing good. The background exercisers seemed a little more (for lack of a better description) like real women, rather than fitness professionals. They smiled and just looked more approachable to me. They reminded me of the background exercisers in Minna Lessigís Strength and Grace.



I really liked this one. The first 29 minutes is all standing ballet inspired balancing moves. This is the best workout I've found so far to work on balance. I think Katalin does a good job and the production quality is good. My only minor complaint is that sometimes I think the pace of the reps is not consistent and at one point Katalin tells you to turn out your heels when she means for you to turn out your "toes". All in all, I'm very pleased with this one.