Precision PilatesJennifer Kries
Year Released: 2001
Categories: Pilates/Core Strength
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Please note that I wrote this review about 4 years ago; I've copied and pasted it as originally written. At the time of the review I had done it several times.
Although I wrote that I wanted to keep this one, it left my collection a few years ago in favor of other Pilates workouts by instructors I like better, plus I've decided I'm not a fusion type of gal when it comes to Pilates, yoga, etc.
General workout breakdown: This workout consists of three segments.
Upper Body Contouring is a 20 minute Pilates and yoga-based workout. Jennifer begins with a warm up of dance-infused stretching and sun breaths. In standing Pilates stance, she does biceps curl I & II, triceps extension, chest expansion, and side bends. After hinging forward at the hips, she does boxing and the ladybug. Returning to standing Pilates stance she zips up (with releve), shaves the head, hugs, and circles the arms. She drops to the mat for cat and dog tilt, downward facing dog, “active moving cat,” small triceps push ups, active moving cat with triceps push ups, and child’s pose with arms extended. She sits for Rowing III, shave the head, and hug. Next come dolphin, table top, and a side stretch.
Lower Body Contouring is a 20 minute mix of yoga, ballet, and Pilates. Jennifer begins with sun salutations A and B, finally leading into a lunge sequence where you straighten and bend your front leg in a long lunge before dropping your knee to the floor and taking a small backbend and then pulling back for a half split. She then does warrior 2 and a forward bend with legs apart. Next comes the ballet segment with plies in first and second position. She then moves to the mat for the Pilates side leg series: forward & back, up & down, lower leg lift, and bicycle. After a bridge, she sits cross legged for a forward bend to end.
Flow and Flexibility is a 15 minute dynamic and pulsing stretch segment. After a quick lecture about not including flexibility, she begins with a mix of standard athletic, yoga-based, and dance-infused stretches. (Sorry, but this one is harder for me to describe.)
Level: I’d recommend this to an intermediate exerciser, although an experienced beginner with flexibility and core strength would be fine. You need to have some familiarity with Pilates, yoga, and ballet to get the most out of this workout since Jennifer doesn’t include a lot of instruction. I consider myself a low intermediate in Pilates and yoga. I have about two years of Pilates experience and a little more yoga experience but still have limited strength and flexibility. This sequence is appropriately challenging for me, but the flow is sometime disjointed or a little dragging. The yoga isn’t particularly difficult—unless you try to match Jennifer’s flexibility. I do have some trouble with the stretching segment; I just can’t even begin to match Jennifer’s flexibility.
Class: Lisa Wheeler and another dancer join Jennifer for “Upper Body Contouring.” Jennifer is alone during the other two segments.
Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The upbeat instrumental music has a beat as well as a little jazz here, a little Spanish-flavored guitar there. (I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the music on all three JK Pilates Method workouts is the same; if it’s not, it sounds awfully similar.) The interior set looks like some sunken courtyard. There are two dark gray Classical/Renaissance-style statues in the back corners of the gray set. The picture and sound quality are OK, to be expected of something filmed about 15 years ago when hi-def and digital weren’t options.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent). You’ll need light hand weights (Jennifer uses 3 lb.) for Upper Body Contouring.
Comments: You’ll need some space for this. You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs extended.
DVD Notes: There are 2 DVD versions: the brown cover is older and now out of print; the green and white cover is newer. Both contain the exact same workout. The newer versions have slightly better sound and a slightly crisper picture, but the difference isn’t enough to justify rebuying them. The newer ones have a long introduction to Koch Vision’s other fitness titles, which you can skip by hitting menu. You can select any segment, but each takes you back to the main menu afterwards with the older DVDs. Three camera angles are available for “Lower Body Contouring.” (I don’t know how that works, though.)
Conclusion: People who have tried all three of the Jennifer Kries Pilates Method collection, which also includes 3 Dimensional Toning and Perfect Mix, have the one they prefer. Precision Pilates is my favorite because it brings something different to my collection that I can actually work into my rotations. I’ve probably tried the stretching sequence once or twice, but it’s the upper and lower body segments that I truly like and do use. In fact, I think the lower body segment is a hidden jewel (at least for those who like fusion workouts). I can feel a burn from it, even though it’s relatively simple and straight forward. And I appreciate having more sets of arm movements for my upper body if I decide to just use Pilates sequences for strength during a week or two. Both segments make good add ons. Anyway, I originally bought the whole JK collection, but I’m going to trade off the other two and just keep this one.
If you like the Lower Body Contouring here, Jennifer includes more ballet and yoga in the first segment of 3D Toning. Other videos with Pilates, ballet, and yoga include Breakthru Pilates Plus and Denise Austin’s Power Zone—Mind Body Soul. If you like the Upper Body Contouring, you can also find the Pilates arms sequence on videos like 10 Minute Solution Pilates and Progressive Pilates 4 10 Minute Target Tone Workout.
Jennifer’s encouraging but a less approachable figure than most fitness instructors. She appears more comfortable when she’s performing the exercises than just talking to the camera. Her manner of speaking is not typical of exercise video instructors; no monosyllabic exhortations like “Burn that fat!” or “Keep it up!” here. She tends to mention the move and its purpose rather than cue each move and/or breath. She is SUPER flexible, which can be intimidating to someone like me who months ago could barely touch her toes.
As other reviewers have mentioned, this workout does not contain any of the traditional Pilates mat work, so those who want this will need to look elsewhere. However, if you are looking to try some of the lesser-known Pilates exercises (particularly, the arm series) blended with other methods such as yoga, this is a nice, full-body workout.
This video consists of three separate 20-minute workouts which break down as follows:
1) Upper Body Sculpting--This is the first time that I have ever seen the Pilates arm series featured in a video (the exercises can also be found in Brooke Siler's book The Pilates Body). Instructor Jennifer Kries works out with two others and starts by completing the standing arm series. After a few yoga sun salutations, the workout moves to the floor for variations on the Pilates arm work, and the segment ends with some additional yoga stretches. The Pilates arm series is meant to be done with light weights--the instructors here used 3 lbs., and I used 5 lbs. which made it difficult for me to keep up by the end.
2) Lower Body Sculpting--Jennifer works out solo in this section, which consists of both yoga and Pilates moves. The first half begins with sun saluations and other standing yoga poses. After some brief ballet-type stretches, Jennifer transitions to the floor for the Pilates side kick series, and she again ends the segment with yoga stretches.
3) Flow and Flexibility--This final segment focused on stretching by blending athletic stretch with yoga and ballet; Jennifer is again instructing solo. Like the other two sections, the first half is performed standing, while the second half takes place on the floor. The actual time for this segment was about 16 minutes.
Overall, I enjoyed this workout, finding it to be a nice mix of techniques and a pleasant change from my other workouts.
I did not particularly like Jennifer Kries as an instructor. First of all, her cuing was inadequate, as she often failed to explain upcoming movements and frequently failed to cue right and left. Furthermore, I found her to be a bit showoff-y at times with her flexibility levels.
This is one of the three videos in Jennifer Kries' New Method or Pilates Method set. I'm guessing the name change reflects the lawsuit in 2000/2001? Not sure. She said in an interview that this is the video she recommends beginners use to get acquainted with the work.
The video is broken into three sections: Upper Body, Lower Body and Flow and Flexibility. Upper Body is the Pilates Standing Sculpting Series as well as the Rowing Series, yoga presses and active moving cat. She finishes with a nice stretch- some kind of side plank with the knee down. I don't recommend going higher than3 or at the most 5 lbs.
Lower Body is a series of yoga chairs integrated with a sun salutation, a yoga lunge sequence (similar to Denise Austin's Power Yoga Plus, but I have a feeling Jennifer came up with it first), ballet plies and the Pilates Side Series, six variations of it, I believe. You definitely feel this in your legs and butt after you're done.
Flow and Flexibility is about fifteen minutes long and always makes me sigh when I'm done. It opens with a dancy stretch where your legs are open, you swing your upper body down and point one arm up, then reverse. A little difficult to describe! Then a lunge/hamstring stretch sequence, followed by standing and seated wide leg stretches (I think). It finishes with a forward bend. I thought this sequence was similar to what Hilary Burnett's Zen Stretch was trying to do, but done much better.
Just going by the title, one might think that you could alternate the first two sequences every other day. You could do that, but as I've said before, I feel the Standing Sculpting Series in my glutes quite a bit- sometimes even more than my arms! And with the Sun Salutations you use in Lower Body, you feel this in your arms as well. I would definitely work in a rest day after if I alternated the two back to back.
There is no matwork in this tape but it does include Pilates elements. It's a good tape to grow with- you can use it to help build up to the matwork, and then keep it to supplement.
Another A for Jennifer Kries.
Strong, flexible and very competent (as always).
This is a 3-part workout that you can do all together or individually. Parts 1 and 2 are 20-minute upper and lower-body Pilates workouts. They're the typical Jennifer Kries style routines -- pleasant and effective. Part 3 is "Flow and Flexibility" -- a 15-minute stretch workout. (The box says 20 minutes, but it's only 15.) This is pretty neat. It's a little different than regular stretching. It has some yoga influence and some dance influence. At the beginning, Jennifer tells you it will seem like dancing, and I was afraid it would be too choreographed which I don't like in stretching. But it wasn't that way at all, and it wasn't "too dancy" either. It's very nice and relaxing. The only thing about this segment I didn't particularly care for was the music. The music itself is fine, but it didn't seem to go with the stretching. Grade A.