Shape Pilates Workout: Makeover Your Abs, Butt, and Thighs Fast!

Lizbeth Garcia, Yumi Lee
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing both sections 3 times each.

General workout breakdown: This DVD has two workouts: a 30-min. Pilates workout that focuses primarily on the lower body and a 10-min. “gym-style” workout for the upper body; both use a resistance band to “shape” muscles.

- The 30-min. Pilates workout begins with a warm-up of about 6 min. that’s done standing and contains these moves: raising and lowering band, tap outs, raise on toes, squat with lat pull and then chest expansion & roll up, running (heel lift) with close & open arms, demi plie, a kind of standing saw, plie w/ oblique twist / arrows, upper body circles (around the world), and standing spine twist with calf raise in grand plie. The workout then moves to the floor for matwork exercises: half roll-up, oblique twist, single leg circle, single leg stretch, double leg stretch, and rolling like a ball into a teaser. The side-lying leg series includes single leg lift, (large) circles, front & back, up & down, hot potato, knee to chest & side leg lift, diagonal knee in & reach out, and double leg lift, then moves onto all fours for a variation on the double leg kick (but with single leg only) & a swing to the side, then leg pull down with knee to chest (in plank). After a quick child’s pose / shell stretch / little piece of heaven, you do the other side. For the last 6 min. you stay on the floor for a bridge with arms & then leg extension, bridge with raised leg, 2-leg reach (sometimes called frog; it’s adapted from the reformer’s leg strap series), and reverse plank, finishing with a mermaid series as a final stretch.
Lizbeth incorporates exercise adapted from the reformer as well as traditional matwork; there are also a few dance-inspired moves. Overall the workout flows from one exercise to another, with little down time or pauses to set up. The pace is fairly quick but never so fast that you feel like you’re racing through everything. As you might expect from a Pilates workout, the emphasis is on quality over quantity, so there’s never an exercise done with more than about 4-8 reps.

- The 10-min. bonus workout begins with a quick warm-up of wood chop-like movements. You then move right into push-ups, seated wide row, more push-ups (different tempo), standing low row & lat press, shoulder overhead press, quick chest & back stretches, lateral raise + diagonal raise (halfway between side & front) & hammer curls, and overhead triceps extension. The segment ends with lat pull back for a stretch, side bends, and chest stretch. Again, the focus here is on putting effort into move, using fewer reps.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate exercisers with prior experience in Pilates. Although the enclosed booklet discusses some of the basic Pilates principles, there is not enough proper form and breath instruction in the video for beginners to Pilates. Beginner/intermediate exercisers can use a lighter resistance band, while high intermediates can keep challenging themselves with a band of high resistance. I consider myself an int. / adv. exerciser who’s also at the int.+ or even int./adv. level of Pilates, and I find some parts of this easy, some parts challenging (especially the shoulder work and long leg series). The band does add an additional level of challenge and interest to some of the same ol’ exercises.

Class: 2 young women join Lizbeth; one shows a few modifications. Yumi is by herself for the bonus.

Music: standard instrumental exercise video fare. It’s pleasant but not noteworthy.

Set: brightly lit interior set made up like an overlarge living room with fitness equipment and plants along the back wall.

Production: super crisp picture, clear sound. The instructor’s voice is louder than the music. The camera angles are for the most part helpful.

Equipment: a mat (or equivalent, if needed) and a resistance band of your choice of resistance. (A 5’ may work better for you if the resistance is less and/or you’re shorter; your 6’ band is probably best, especially if yours is higher resistance and/or your height is average or above.) You’ll want to be barefoot for the Pilates workout; you can wear shoes or not for the bonus.

Space Requirements: enough room to move your arms and legs around while standing and lying down.

DVD Notes: The main menu allows you to select Play All, Play Workout, Bonus Workout, and Additional Material (About Shape, About BCRF, About Your Instructors, About Sponsor Under Armour, and Credits).
The DVD comes with a 6-foot pink resistance band of a moderate level of resistance and a short booklet. The booklet includes several short blurbs: Welcome to Shape’s Pilates for Pink Program, Why Try Pilates?, The Core of the Matter, Perfect Your Pilates Posture, The Cardio Connection, The Diet-Disease Connection, and A Few Facts about Breast Cancer. There’s also ads for Under armour’s Power in Pink wear and Shape’s workout materials.
As with the original Shape Pilates for Pink, $1 from every new DVD sold goes to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Comments: I’d especially recommend this to someone looking for a Pilates workout or just floorwork in general to work the lower body. Ideally you engage your core for the entire video so that it is also worked. What little upper body work there is in the Pilates workout is primarily for the shoulders. The bonus upper body segment is fairly well rounded, although again there’s a good bit for the shoulders. Overall this video would be a good option for someone who can’t or doesn’t want to use weights for whatever reason, such as travel.

The two Shape Pilates for Pink videos are different enough to justify having both. The first one is much more fluid, with exercises building one on top of the other, and feels more like dancing on the floor, as Pat said. The focus there was more core and total body, while the focus here is definitely the lower body and abs. Because of the added resistance from the band I found Makeover Your Abs, Butt, and Thighs slightly more challenging.

Since this video came out about the same time as 10 Minute Solution Slim & Sculpt Pilates, which also uses a resistance band to mimic reformer and cadillac exercises and to punch up traditional matwork moves, I’ll post some thoughts comparing the two workouts. The major difference between the two is structure: the Shape has the 30 min. workout that incorporates lower body, abs, and some upper body plus the 10 min. segment for upper body, while the 10 Min. Solution has 10 min. segments for lower body, upper body, abs, total body, and stretch. Interestingly, the instructors sometimes use the band differently, even for the same exercises; for example, Lizbeth has you wrap the band around your curved upper body for rolling like a ball while Suzanne of the 10 Min. Solution has you ball it up and stick it between your feet as you roll. The Shape has more of a fluid, dance-like feel to it, while the 10 Min. Solution feels like a series of exercises performed one after another. The 10 Min. Solution uses Pilates exercises for the upper body instead of the gym-style or more athletic exercises in the Shape bonus; that said, the 10 Min. Solution total body segment seemed more gym- than Pilates-inspired, and its stretch is yoga-inspired. The Shape devotes slightly more time to the lower body, and that leg series can be rather grueling by the time you get to the end of the line for the one leg, but it doesn’t include the nice final stretch that the 10 Min. Solution does. Suzanne is more talkative than Lizbeth, but neither start babbling inanely or saying ridiculous things. I wouldn’t be surprised if people who have both find themselves pretty much evenly split between those who like one vs. those who like the other. I personally prefer the 10 Min. Solution because I like the flexibility of the DVD, with its ability to program the number and order of segments; the organization into neatly divided segments; and the fact that it’s evenly divided between body parts and includes a final stretch to boot.

Instructor Comments:
Lizbeth has a low key, pleasant, encouraging personality. She focuses on cueing moves without a ton of time spent on breaking down the moves. She mirror cues.
Yumi also has a positive personality, although her enthusiasm is a tiny bit forced in a few spots. She also mirror cues.