Mind Body Mat Pilates - Advanced

Hilary Burnett
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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I'm reviewing this workout after previewing it twice and doing it once.

General workout breakdown: This advanced Pilates matwork sequence runs approximately 22 minutes. (Lisaís already listed all of the exercises, so I wonít repeat that!) This is a traditional Pilates matwork sequence, with the usual moves in the usual order, although Hilaryís high bridge in particular seems to come more from yoga than Pilates. The moves flow from one right into the next; in fact, Hilary instructs you to think of the routine as one long exercise. The pace moves along at a fairly quick clip, but it is not as quick as some more traditional matwork practices. It leaves no hang time, but thereís still just enough time to set up and complete each move. Hilary does a minimal number of repetitions, from 1 to 5, emphasizing quality over quantity.

Level: Iíd recommend this to exercisers practicing at a high intermediate through low advanced level of Pilates. This is in no way suitable for beginners to Pilates, no matter how advanced of an exerciser you are, as Deb and Beth have already written, nor is it one of those it-says-itís-advanced-but-itís-really-low-intermediate-at-best workouts. At the same time, truly advanced Pilates devotees may find this lacks a sufficient challenge. Thus, this is best for solid intermediates looking to move onwards and upwards. There is a significant jump from the Intermediate to the Advanced workout within this series, and Hilary does not break down the new moves. You will need to get your instruction and your practice elsewhere before tackling this video. Iíve been practicing Pilates for five years and consider myself a solid intermediate and rising, and I found the more advanced exercises challenging due to a lack of experience as well as a need to continue improving my strength, flexibility, and control. I plan to work on them some more before coming back to this video, but I expect it to be a suitable challenge for me at that point. I will say I had a nice buzz in my core the day after I did this.

Class: Hilary alone, with instruction via voiceover

Music: pleasant but forgettable instrumental

Set: somewhat dark interior set. Hilary performs the routine on a Persian-type rug in front of what looks like a marble altar draped with a tiger skin; pillows and throws of rich fabrics and colors stand in between the two, while the back and side walls consist of wooden cabinets or walls.

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles. The only quibble I have is that Hilary wears a long dark outfit in a somewhat dark setting.

Equipment: mat (or equivalent). Hilary is barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough room to lie down with arms and legs extended and to sweep your limbs around, with enough space behind your head while lying on your back for your legs to stretch out behind you (for the rollover, boomerang, etc.)

DVD Notes: This DVD is chaptered not by exercise but by small groups of exercise (Introduction, Footwork, Roll-up, Single Leg Circle, Single Leg Stretch, Open Leg Rocker, Double Leg Kick, Spine Twist, Side Kicks, Swimming, Sidebend, Twist, Crab, and Closing Talk).

Comments: This is a keeper. Itís nice to have a video that goes through a number of matwork exercises in such a short time, and I appreciate the minimal pausing for instruction, even if it means I will have to work my way up to this video by other means. This video has some advanced Pilates exercises that rarely appear on video. For example, Iíve only seen the Control Balance in videos from Romana K and the Classical Pilates series. This video would be great for someone looking to complement their intermediate / advanced Pilates class. I plan to use Brooke Silerís The Pilates Body and Alycea Ungaroís Pilates Body in Motion for instruction and practice of these moves, too.

Instructor Comments:
Hilary speaks calmly and clearly, with helpful cues and just enough form reminders. She demonstrates good form. She uses far fewer visual images and flowerly language here than in the Intermediate.



Pilates Advanced is a very challenging work out video - it challenges me, but doesnt discourage me ~ I look forward to running the tape/dvd (i have both)
every day after I come home from work - it gets my heart rate up, I have been amazingly flexible and the tone in my legs and arms are amazing!! Since becoming a virtual pupil of Hilary's in January 2005, my breathing has become more efficient to the point where my snoring has stopped, my strength and endurance has increased, i am more resistant to colds and best yet, I've lost 40 lbs!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Instructor Comments:
Hilary's style beats Windsor & Stotts handsdown!! She has a very calming and zen like quality and this method encourages rather than demands. I feel that her encouraging instruction has guided me through her Pilates Basic and subsequent Pilates Intermediate to where I am now eagerly working through the Pilates Advanced on a daily basis!! You're awesome Hilary!

meg code


Sometimes videos labelled as "advanced" are doable for those at earlier levels, but not this one; it is definitely designed specifically for the advanced Pilates student. You will need two prerequistes in order to successfully complete this video: 1) familiarity with the entire range of Pilates movements, including advanced exercises such as the Jacknife, and 2) enough pre-existing core strength to allow you to perform the aforementioned advanced moves at a fast pace.

This advanced workout is performed in the traditional Pilates style, which means there are a very low number of repetitions (even less than most other Pilates videos, sometimes only 2-3) combined with a flowing pace to the workout. Each movement flows into the next without any pauses, which means that you are in constant motion for the entire duration of this workout. While this IS how Joseph Pilates intended these exercises to be performed, it can make the video a bit difficult to follow, despite Hilary Burnett's excellent voiceover cuing. Hilary provides little explanation of how to perform each movement, but she does offer metaphors to assist you. At just over 20 minutes, this is a very good Pilates routine for those looking for a fast-paced, very challenging workout.

Instructor Comments:
Hilary displays excellent form in this video. Her voiceover instruction is soft-spoken, and she provides very good cuing but little instruction.

Beth C (aka toaster)


This is a fast workout. It takes either 23 to 24 minutes, and you're hitting every exercise in the matwork syllabus. I wouldn't recommend this to someone new to Pilates, no matter how strong they are. This isn't the tape to learn the breathing or the connection to the transversus, although she does try to cue to that a little bit. This is for someone who has studied Pilates at least a little bit before and may even have some of the matwork sequence memorized- her transitions are quick!

Because it is so short, you don't have a lot of room to miss a rep and then catch up. Instead of doing, say, five reps for the Single Leg Pull, she'll do two or three. Be prepared to move quickly or you might miss a movement altogether.

None of this is a knock on the workout, because as many books mention, the final principle of the matwork is speed. (And though I always feel like I've worked up a good sweat when I'm done, I do recall that in Brooke Siler's "Pilates Body" she mentions that some very advanced practitioners can do the entire mawork in 15 minutes! Looking at this tape, I'm just not sure how I could cut eight or nine minutes, but I believe it's true.)

Finally, this is great for your upper body between the Planks, Side Planks and Pushups.

Instructor Comments:
She uses poetic imagery well; a little more cueing would have been nice, but it would have made the workout longer.

Deb (aka dnk)


After having done Hilary's Mind Body Mat Intermediate Pilates video for 3 months, I decided that it was time to move on to the Advanced one. The Pilates Advanced video is short (20 min.) but not for the faint of heart. There are 16 new additional moves in this video (40 total moves compared to 24 in the Intermed.) PLUS Hilary moves quickly and smoothly from one move to the next. The first couple times through I felt like somehow I had missed something between the Intermed. and the Advanced videos. The Intermed. program moves at a good pace with minimal instructions (the Basic video moves more slow with careful instruction as you learn the 10 fundamental pilates moves)so I guess I expected the same type of instruction of the new moves in this video. While I really enjoy this video, I would love this one more if she slowed down a bit or at least gave some direction on some of the new advanced moves. It almost feels like there should be a video in between the Intermed. and Advanced. After attempting this workout several times, I still am pausing quite a bit. It's definitely a video that leaves plenty of room to grow into. For now, I am still learning, pausing/rewinding and studying my Brooke Siler "Pilates Body" book for tips. Hilary points out in the beginning of the video that this workout program will reduced the repetitions at a quickened pace. You will move quickly through moves so that it becomes one long exercise. She wasn't kidding!!

Here's the full program:

(* are new moves not in the Intermed. Pilates Mind Body Mat

Standing balance pose*




Roll over*

Single Leg Circles

Roll like a Ball

Single Leg Stretch

Double Leg Stretch

Scissors (single straight leg stretch)

Double Leg Lower Lift (double straight leg stretch)

Twist (crisscross)

Spine Stretch

Open Leg Rocker



Swan Dive*

Single Leg kick

Double Leg kick

Neck Pull



Shoulder Bridge

Spine Twist


High Bridge (back bend)*

Side kicks:
front kicks
up kicks
click heels in Pilates V (heel beats)*


Hip Circles


Leg Pull-down*

Leg Pull-up*

Kneeling Sidekicks*


Twist I*

Twist II*





Control Balance*

Pilates Push-up*

Standing Stretches

Hilary recommends doing this advanced program once a week in companion with the Intermed. matwork.

I believe this is probably the ideal tape for the advanced pilates exerciser-I am just NOT there yet. I will keep trying though because I love these videos!

Instructor Comments:
Hilary Burnett is a superb instructor. Her impeccable cuing and form are very inspirational. She encourages you to feel the move and do your best without over-doing it or being sappy. I am compelled to try some of her other videos.

Lisa :o)


This tape is a pleasure. The best time I've ever had with a pilates video. I would recommend it to people who have a good foundation in pilates. Hilary gives evocative and precise instruction - but I wouldn't call it detailed. To learn form fundamentals and build up core strength, I'd spend some time with the Stott 2d Edition Matwork series. But if you've been there and done that, whip out that credit card and head over to http://www.mindbodymat.com - I ordered the Intermediate, Advanced, and Zen Stretch - and I love all three tapes.

Unlike most pilates videos, there's never a dull moment! The program is short - less than 25 minutes and moves very very quickly through an advanced mat series that includes some of the more exotic routines (the crab, the corkscrew, jacknives). Part of the work of pilates is learning to hold your core while moving with grace and speed through the various exercises, and thats what Hilary emphasizes here.

The set is really lovely - dark, candlelit, with animal prints - a bit on the ski lodge side - but it works. The music is very nice, original, classical guitar. Hilary is poised and elegant. You feel like she's letting you in on dancer secrets Jennifer Kries would never tell you. The core abdominal work is very powerful and effective. The movements are beautifully executed. She's an inspiration.

I felt noticeably better after I did this tape. Tall, strong, stretched and centered. The next day I actually found myself daydreaming about doing the tape again! Some might balk at the $19 price tag for a 25 minute tape, but wow, its 25 minutes that will change your day, and your body.

Jane C