On The Ball Pilates Workout For Beginners

Lizbeth Garcia
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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On The Ball Pilates Workout For Beginners is a 35-minute pilates-based stability ball routine from Natural Journeys. The DVD includes a 9-minute bonus blast.

Collage rates this workout as beginner/intermediate, which I mostly agree with (see below). Some familiarity with pilates helps a lot in understanding the exercises. No modifications per se are shown.

Lizbeth Garcia teaches solo in a brick loft setting. The background music is soft, pleasant and forgettable. (The DVD allows you to work out to music only.) The DVD, and even the bonus blast, are well chaptered.

The only required equipment is a stability ball, and possibly a yoga mat underneath for extra traction. The workout is done barefoot.

Lizbeth starts out with a long series of pelvic tucks done seated on the ball, gradually introducing some arm and leg variations. This is a good warm-up and the tucking nicely stretched my lower back, but this overall the section dragged on a bit.

Fortunately the pace picks up considerably once Lizbeth moves to the floor, where we do familiar-looking pilates core exercises like roll-ups, single leg stretch, criss-cross, the hundred, swimming, etc., incorporating the stability ball.

I was surprised by her version of the teaser, which Lizbeth starts from lying on the floor with legs up on the ball, then raising the upper body into full teaser position. I have reasonably strong abs but I could only lift up a few inches! Considering this workout is specifically targeted for beginners, I think a better (and safer) teaser adaptation could have been presented. The workout concluded with a few side series exercises done lying sideways over the ball, which noticeably increases the intensity.

The bonus blast includes some of the same ab exercises done at a more intense pace, a more advanced bridge variation, and two sets of pilates rollovers (there are no rollovers in the regular workout).

As an instructor, Lizbeth comes across as pleasant and sincere. However, particularly considering this DVD is marketed "for beginners," I was not always happy with the quality of her instruction. It often felt incomplete, and I found myself mentally filling in with form pointers learned from other workouts. In anything titled specifically "for beginners," careful instruction should be paramount. On the other hand, the beginner/intermediate level of most of the routine will eventually fail to challenge a regular exerciser.

On the whole, this is a pleasant enough ball routine, and the 35-minute length is convenient for combining with another workout. However, I think there are better choices out there for stability ball workouts as far as instruction quality. I personally would recommend Fitball Lower Body Challenge, which has the added advantage of presenting increasingly difficult variations of the same exercise, so that you can grow with the workout. As far as routines specifically based on pilates moves, Moira Stott's 3-D Balance and Ultimate Balance offer much better instruction and more challenge.

Instructor Comments:
She's pleasant and sincere, and seems comfortable on camera.