Pilates for Dummies

Michelle Dozois
Year Released: 2001

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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When I first started learning Pilates, I used two workouts (this one and Ana Caban’s Beginner Mat workout). It was good to have two workouts because two different instructors give two different explanations and you can glean different pieces of information and deeper understanding from them.

I liked this workout because clearly and effectively explains how to do the moves. There are modifications suggested on multiples moves. Sometimes, they seemed to come late in the cycle for that exercise (one of the Dummies-type commentaries). It did get easier to remember as time went on. There were moves I just did not “get” from Beginning Mat Workout that Michelle explained in a way that clicked. For example, her explanation on The Hundred just clicked with me and I felt like I “got” how to do it better. The Dummies standard add-ons (explanations, fitness myths, etc.) didn’t bother me, but they could be and/or become grating for some.

The entire video is Michelle explaining the moves alone. There are no background exercisers. It would have been nice to have a modifier with her, but that is why I so enjoyed using two videos to learn Pilates. There is no music.

I had the DVD and it was also nice to have the additional intermediate level workout. After awhile, I alternated between the two workouts. I didn’t use this video for more than a few months before I tired of it. But, it gave me a great start in Pilates. I probably should have kept it to do periodically for a refresher in the basics.

Instructor Comments:
She is VERY clear in her explanations and directions. This slows the workout way down, but is great for beginners.

Laura S.


This is a REALLY great intro to Pilates. I was looking for to add Pilates into my weekly workout routine by alternating Pilates with the strength training & aerobics I do 3 times a week (usually Firm tapes). This tape has about 18 Pilates exercises and each one is described and explained carefully along with modifications. I think this video is great and highly recommend it to anyone new to Pilates.

Instructor Comments:
Michelle has the most pleasing voice and presentation of any instructor I have seen!



(this review refers to the DVD version)

My physical therapist recommended that I try Pilates instead of yoga to strengthen my back since all forward bends are contraindicated for my back condition. I’d tried a few Pilates-based videos but none of them seemed to gel for me. They were either too advanced (not enough instruction) or too boring.

I like Pilates for Dummies and I think I like it even better because I got the DVD version. The beginner workout includes 18 basic moves. Each one gets its own chapter on the DVD. There’s also a bonus intermediate workout on the DVD and each move in it gets its own chapter as well.

There are several forward bending moves and I knew that when I was looking for a Pilates workout because I’d seen them in other videos. However, with the DVD, I can either program out the chapters/moves I don’t want to do or I can just skip to the next chapter using the FF button.

I think Michelle does a good job of explaining the moves and reminding me to focus on certain things. She says many times that it’s the quality of the move that we’re going for not the quantity. I think over time, my quality will get better so I won’t feel like I need the quantity. She does anywhere from 6 to 10 reps for each move. That’s not very many compared to the number of crunches I’m used to doing!

The biggest drawback is that the “easiest” modifications aren’t shown until you’re into the move already. To be fair, Michelle does say that we should view the entire workout before doing it but it would still be nice if those modifications were shown much earlier.

The other small complaint I have is with the audio options. You can choose either “Instructor cueing with music” or “Instructor cueing.” I’d like a “music only” option or maybe an option for a little less cueing with the music.

This is my first “for Dummies” video and I didn’t notice the overuse of the symbols and noises that people complained about in the “Yoga for Dummies” video. They were used some but they weren’t very distracting to me. I think this is a good basic, beginners’ Pilates workout.

Grade: A-

Sharon Muha