Winsor Pilates Ab Sculpting

Mari Winsor
Year Released: 2002

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 the video about half a dozen times.

General workout breakdown: Mari takes you through the 100, roll up (first slow, then faster), rolling like a ball, the “astronaut” (a new one for me: Stott would call this a half roll back with rotation), single leg stretch (first slow, then faster), double leg stretch, single straight leg stretch (i.e. scissors; first slow, then faster), double straight leg stretch, criss cross (first slow, then faster), saw, neck pull, one-legged teaser prep, and teasers 1, 2, & 3, shell stretch (i.e. child’s pose), and cobra in 19 minutes. Mari includes a decent number of repetitions, between 4-10 for each exercise, although she just has you do one teaser #3. The pace of the moves is appropriate and controlled, even the faster reps. There are some pauses between exercises, and Mari sometimes leaves you hanging (literally) as she finishes setting up each move.
As the title suggests, the focus is on the abdominals, with a little work intended for the lower part of the muscle and more work for the obliques. There aren’t any exercises intended for the upper body, lower body, or even back.

Level: I’d recommend this to someone making the transition between beginner and intermediate to a low intermediate Pilates practitioner. Anyone at a lower level will have trouble with some moves, particularly the double times. Mari includes a decent amount of instruction, but it might be too little for true beginners (especially regarding breathing) and too much for intermediates.
I consider myself a low intermediate. I have about two years of Pilates experience but still have limited strength and flexibility. I found this workout appropriately challenging when I first got it, when I was trying to make the transition between the two levels; it’s now slightly easy except for a couple of moves--neck pull and teaser variations--usually included in solidly intermediate to advanced Pilates workouts.

Class: 4 women and 1 man do the exercises. One demonstrates teaser modifications. Another woman is slightly larger: still fit, but more “normal” in appearance. Unfortunately, she struggles with some exercises. I would have been inspired if someone built more like me could do them as beautifully as the fitness models, but as it is she would have been better served providing modifications for all exercises.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The instrumental music is upbeat but repetitive. The five participants are on raised platforms in a bright indoor studio with plants around the back and windows that appear to have an ocean view (although the waves never move, if you watch closely). The overall sound and picture quality are good.

Equipment: mat (or equivalent). All participants are barefoot.

Comments: You don’t need much space for this workout. You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs extended.
Mari’s the only Pilates instructor I can think of off the top of my head who has you breathe out through your nose, but I probably only noticed that because I learned Pilates from Stott, who has you exhale through your mouth.
Will you have incredible results like all those people on the infomercial just by using this tape? I think you know the answer to that. . .

DVD Notes: This comes in a cardboard case that’s smaller than your average DVD case. There are warnings and a Winsor introduction you can’t skip; these last just over a minute. The menu lets you choose Mari’s intro, the workout, the description (or just read the back cover), or special offers from Winsor Pilates. There are no chapters in the workout.

Conclusion: Eh, I’m lukewarm on this one. I found it a challenging abs workout when I first got it. But I have other workouts with less dead time and other instructors I personally like better. So this goes on my trade list.

Instructor Comments:
Mari walks around instructing. She’s not “hands on” here. She comes across as encouraging, although her on screen persona is not as approachable as some other instructors’. (I can see the comparisons to a drill sergeant, although she’s gentler than that.) For such a petite woman she has a strong voice which is kind of shrill. She has some silly phrases, like “Tweeze your buttocks” and “Squeeze your tushie.” Her form pointers and cueing are good, although she doesn’t cue every move and her breathing instruction mainly consists of “Don’t forget to breathe!”



This is a Pilates workout that focuses on the abs. It lasts about 19 minutes. I felt the moves in my abs and felt I got a good workout. Many of the moves were slow and controlled. I did not like the moves that were done a double time – it was too hard to keep pace.

Will I keep this workout? I’m not sure. I’ve had it for awhile and have done it two or three times. I like Ana Caban’s Pilates for Abs workout better. I was mildly disappointed by this workout after finding that I LOVE her Bun & Thighs Workout. However, I like a much better than her upper body workout.

Instructor Comments:
She is calm and descriptive. She gives form pointers throughout, but doesn't stress basic Pilates form - breathing and Pilates stance.

Laura S.


I really enjoyed this workout. Mari is a straightforward instructor who wastes no time in getting directly to business. She cues briefly, but well enough and instructs a small class. She does not perform the exercises herself during the workout.

The exercises include the hundred, the roll-up (4 slow, 4 quicker), rolling like a ball, the astronaut (an isometric hold sequence), single leg stretch (10 slow, 10 quicker), double leg stretch, single straight leg (10 slow, 20 quicker), double straight leg, criss-cross (10 slow, 10 quicker), saw, neck pull (sort of like a full sit-up), 3 teaser variations and a stretch. Most of her form reminders came at what were for me opportune times, so she is obviously experienced in knowing what parts of the routine her students might have trouble with.

There were one or two exercises that I found a little above my level, but Mari only shows modifications for one exercise. I think the workout might have benefitted from more attention to that. Her cueing regarding the breathing also tapers off as the routine progresses, which I did not appreciate during the hard enough already teaser part. But these are minor quibbles. This is not a really deep or profound or artistic routine, but for a quick and dirty efficient Pilates routine, this has few equals.

Instructor Comments:



Though I heard great things about this one, I'm not happy with this video and don't know if I'll keep it. The first half is fine, but then another set of exercises starts up and Mari tells you "ok we'll do a slow set, and then another one a little quicker" except her "a little quicker" is really double-time. I can't keep up with this speed and feel like I'm just throwing my legs around, and I definitely don't feel it in my abs the way I should.

Maybe I'm not strong enough to get the most out of this video. But I like my Pilates practice to be slow and controlled, not "mega power speed burst". Just not my cup of tea.

Instructor Comments:



Another great Winsor pilates video! Mari Winsor leads this video as 5 background exercisers perform the moves. There are 4 women and 1 man; one does modifications.

This 18-19 min. abdominal routine is as follows:
-Pilates Hundred
-The Roll-up: 4 slow, 4 fast
-Rolling Like a Ball/6x
-The Astronaut ( a move that I had never seen before or at least called by this name. :o) You are on your back and then roll you spine up to where your arms can hold onto your legs. You then lift arms straight out in front for 8 counts; then twist left for 8, middle 8 count, rt 8 count and then back to middle for the final 8. It seems like maybe Cathe or someone has something similar to this in a video.
(Lower Back Stretch)
-Single Leg Stretch/10 slow, 10 fast
-Double Leg Stretch/8x
-Criss-cross-10 slow, 10 fast
(Lower Back Stretch)
-The Saw 4x
-Neck Pull 4x
-One Legged Teasers 4x (2 regular, 2 to the side)
-Teaser Series (I LOVED this part!)
Teaser 1; 3x regular teasers
Teaser 2; lift both arms and legs at same time ( in reg. teasers you keep your legs at 45 degrees)
Teaser 3: reg. teaser position but raise and lower your legs while in that V-position
-Spine Stretch
-Little Piece of Heaven

Once again, Mari has a very nice focused workout. My only minor complaints are that she doesn't focus on when you should inhale and exhale at certain points during the exercises. I know to do so from Hilary Burnett's videos but Mari just tends to say breathe. I feel that certain moves require an inhale and others an exhale. She also neglects to to mention the pilates stance or pilates V (your legs are pressed together at the knees, like you are wearing a mermaid costume) during certain moves. I feel that you get more out of the exercise if you are not only focusing on your powerhouse but on the pilates stance too. Despite these things, Mari does a great job. I am learning that with the more pilates videos (instructors) I try, I learn something from each one and just incorporate it into whatever I am doing. That way it just feels "right".

Instructor Comments:
Mari is consistently a very thorough yet pleasant instructor. She is impeccable in explaining form and alignment. I predict that we will see MORE videos from her!

Lisa :o)