Pilates for Beginners

Maggie Rhoades
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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This DVD is sent up very similarly to Body+Soul's other recent release, Yoga for Beginners (both releases are Body Wisdom videos as well). It is intended for those new to Pilates and provides a variety of workout options, starting with more modified versions for the complete beginner and progressing to other beginning routines. The workouts feature instructor Maggie Rhoades practicing alone (on a beautiful beach at Half Moon Bay Resort in Antigua) with voiceover instruction. All of the workouts use a mat, and 1-lb. dumbbells are used in a few segments.

A overview of the DVD is provided below; I've first listed the main menu items and then have broken down the two submenus, "Getting Started" and "As You Progress." The times for each practice are given as they appear on-screen, but I've added adjusted times in parentheses based on my own review. I've also included brief summaries of the composition of each segment; these summaries are meant to provide an overview rather than to be all-inclusive. Finally, some workouts consist of stand-alone segments, whereas others are compilations of several previous segments (which I've noted when applicable).

Main Menu
* Learn: Interview (12.5-minute interview with instructor Maggie Rhoades reviewing basic Pilates principles)
* Getting Started: Modified Beginner Routines
* As You Progress: Beginner Routines
And More...
* About Body+Soul: Meet the Editor (2-minute interveiw)
* Articles: Articles and Advice (PDF file reprints of Body+Soul magazine articles on Pilates and related topics)
* Credits

Getting Started: Modified Beginner Routines
*Essentials, 8m (8)--the hundred, modified single leg stretch, modified rolling like a ball, spine twist, side kick series, back work
*Essentials & Weights, 15m (14)--same Essentials segment above (8m) with the addition of a 6-minute Pilates standing arm series with dumbbells
*Warm Up & Abs, 15m (16)--a 9.5-minute warm-up with reclined stretches, breath work, pelvic lifts, twist, cat/cow stretches, and curls, plus a 6.5-minute abs segment consisting of the hundred, partial roll-down/roll-up, balance, and rolling like a ball
*Rotation & Flexion, 15m (16)--the same abs segment from above (6.5m) plus a 3.5-minute segment with spine stretch forward and spinal twist, a 3.5-minute segment with saw and an arrow twist, and a 2.5-minute reverse curl/pelvic lift combo
*Prone Extension, 15m (13.5)--starts with the reverse curl/pelvic lift combo from above (2.5m), next comes a 3.5-minute segment on stomach with single leg kicks and modified swimming, a 4-minute segment with back extensions, child's pose, and work on all 4s, and then a 3.5-minute series with plank work, seal, and push-ups
*Legs, 15m (12.5)--starts with a 4-minute series of leg cirlces plus modified single and double leg stretch, next comes the leg kicks/modified swimming from above (3.5m), and finally a 5-minute side kick series in which Maggie switches from side-to-side for each exercise
*Abs & Abrs, 15m (16)--repeats three of the above segments: abs (6.5m), plank/seal/push-ups (3.5m), and the standing arms with weights (6m)
*Arms & Legs, 20m (18.5)--again, combines three of the above segments: the warm-up (9.5m), the leg cirlces/single & double leg stretch (4m), and the side kick series (5m)
*Full Workout, 35m (36.5)--combines the following segments: abs (6.5m), leg circles etc. (4m), spine stretch etc. (3.5m), saw etc. (3.5m), reverse curl/pelvic lift (2.5m), leg kicks/swimming (3.5m), back extensions etc. (4m), side kick series (5m), and plank/seal/push-ups (3.5m)

As You Progress: Beginner Routines
*Essentials, 10m (9.5)--similar to above version but less modified, with the hundred, single leg stretch (performed at a lower angle), full roll-ups, rolling like a ball, spine twist, side kick series, and back extensions
*Legs & Kicks, 10m (12)--4-minute single leg kicks and back extensions, 4-minute side kick series, and 4-minute plank/seal/push-up combo
*Warm-Up and Abs, 10m (12)--6.5-minute warm-up with reclined stretches, pelvic lifts, cat/cow stretches, and curl plus 5.5-minute abs segment with the hundred, roll-up, and rolling like a ball
*Essentials & Weights, 15m (17)--Essentials series from above (9.5m) plus 7.5-minute Pilates standing arm series with dumbbells
*Rotation & Flexion, 15m (17)--Abs series from above (5.5m) plus a 4-minute segment with criss-cross, spine stretch forward, and spinal twist, a 4-minute segment with saw and an arrow twist, and a 3.5-minute segment with open V balance, open-leg rocker, and reverse curl
*Flow, 15m (14m)--unique footage consisting of the hundred, leg circles, criss cross, saw, arrow twist, single leg kicks, side kick series, modified teaser (the only appearance of teaser on the DVD), modified swimming, let pull-down, seal, and push-ups
*Arms & Legs, 20m (18.5)--starts with a new 5-minute segment with leg circles plus single/double leg stretch and then adds the side kick series (4m) and Essentials (9.5m) from above
*Abs & Arms, 25m (23.5)--combines four segments from above: Abs (5.5m), criss cross etc. (4m), plank etc. (4m), and Essentials
*Full Workout, 30m (30.5)--a compilation of the following series: Abs (5.5m), leg circles etc. (5m), criss cross etc. (4m), saw/arrow (4m), V balance/rocker (3.5m), single leg kicks/back extensions (4m), and side kick series (4m)

Overall, this is an very well-done DVD, but I had a few issues with it. First of all, Maggie does not follow traditional Pilates sequencing in her approach; because I'm more experienced in Pilates, the flow sometimes felt strange to me. Similarly, the way some of the segments were combined to form the various workouts also felt a little odd--for example, why put the "Essentials" segment at the end of the "Abs & Arms" workout above? For those new to Pilates, however, these factors may not be an issue. I do think that this DVD, with its huge variety of options, could be a bit overwhelming to someone who has never done Pilates before, but for those who have some prior familiarity with the discipline, need modified versions of the exercises, and prefer a wide selection of routines, Pilates for Beginners might be an ideal choice.

Instructor Comments:
I have no complaints about Maggie--her instruction, cueing, and form were all good.

Beth C (aka toaster)