Pilates for Life: 20 Minute Overall Body Workout

Amy Brown
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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As someone who has been practicing Pilates for quite awhile now, I am always on the lookout for short Pilates workouts which are appropriate for my intermediate level; I also prefer my Pilates videos to be mainly abs-focused. Happily, this 20 Minute Overall Body Workout fit the bill perfectly. Although it purports to be a full-body workout, it actually concentrates mainly on the abs area, with some back work thrown in for counterbalance. Also, as performed by instructor Amy Brown, this workout is definitely at an intermediate level (the "Beginner's Workout" referred to on the DVD case is simply Amy's assistant, Liza, showing modifications, not a separate workout).

The workout begins with Pilates breathing in a reclined position. Then Amy moves on to what she calls the "hundreds" but which was a different version of this exercise than I've ever seen before: she simply breathes with her legs in the air and her head up. In fact, throughout this workout, Amy adds many unique variations to the traditional Pilates matwork, such as doing a twist while holding a teaser. I also found the sequencing of the exercises to be very different from what I've come to expect with Pilates. For example, right after the hundreds, Amy goes into the criss-cross, and rolling like a ball comes fairly late in the workout. However, I thought the sequencing worked very well, especially Amy's tendency to balance out a series of abs moves with some brief back work; I liked this a lot. There is only one side-lying move, but because I prefer abs work, I didn't mind this.

Another thing I liked about this workout was the pacing: Amy does a higher number of reps than you will usually see in a Pilates workout, but the pace is never rushed. On the other hand, this workout moves along steadily with no down time between exercises. Amy concludes the workout with a few neck stretches, which I absolutely loved! Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable, thorough Pilates workout, and I know I will get a lot of use from it.

Instructor Comments:
I liked Amy; she is pleasant, speaking with a slight Canadian accent, and offers some unique form pointers (eg, "twist from your bottom rib"). She offers voiceover instruction here (sometimes slightly out of sync) and does not mirror-cue, although this doesn't really matter given that most of the exercises are performed from a side view.

Beth C (aka toaster)