Breakthru Pilates Sculpt

Tracy York, Michelle Dozois
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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Iím reviewing this after having done it several times, including once recently, since getting it a year ago.

General workout breakdown: The beginning warm up of cardio-type moves and stretches (some static, some dynamic) lasts about 9 minutes. This is followed by about 40 minutes of strength and balance work, with 10 minutes of standing traditional weight work (squats, lunges, biceps curls, etc.óoften done as compounds) and 30 of floorwork integrating Pilates-inspired, traditional athletic, and weighted moves. There are some brief stretches after each segment and at the end to bring the total workout to about 55 minutes.
The workout is more or less decently split among upper body, lower body, and abs, although Iím no expert in breaking down weights routines. Many of the moves here are basic, especially in the standing section, but the floorwork moves seem a little more innovative.

Workout Level: Iíd recommend this for an experienced ďbeginnerĒ (just use light to no weights) to an intermediate exerciser. Anyone who considers him/herself advanced probably wonít find this workout intense, even with heavier weights. I wouldnít recommend this to someone who wasnít familiar with basic weight training form and techniques. Familiarity with Pilates is also helpful. Michelle and Tracy do not give enough pointers for this to be a good instructional video in either discipline.

Class: Michelle & Tracy both do all of the exercises, with the instructor in the background for each segment demonstrating any modifications.

Music / Set / Production Notes: The instrumental music has a beat but is otherwise bland. The interior set with richly-colored walls and curtains is meant to look like a room in a house, complete with a chair, some side tables, and some potted house plants. The floor has carpet on it, so exercisers with carpet in their own space should feel comfortable with this workout. The picture and sound are both good.

Equipment: sneakers for standing portionóthe rest of the workout is done barefoot; 1-2 pair(s) of dumbbells (your choice of weight, but keep in mind that the exercises move pretty quickly, so you wonít be able to change back and forth easily); mat (or equivalent) for floor portion

Comments: You do not need a lot of space for this workout. When you lie down, you should be able to extend your arms and legs. When youíre standing, you should be able to take at least one big lunge forward and back and two medium-sized steps to each side.
This is not a traditional Pilates workout, by any stretch of the imagination. Few of the moves are drawn from the traditional Pilates syllabus, although Michelle and Tracy use Pilates principles and Pilates-type exercises.

DVD Notes: The DVD lets you choose chapters, which I appreciate because I like to skip the intros, but you could use it to do just the abs segment, for example.

Conclusion: This is a keeper for me. I donít use it often, but I appreciate having an intermediate-level total body workout that needs less than an hour. I also like Michelle and Tracy as instructors; they are about enthusiastic as I like my fitness instructors.
Of the three Breakthru Pilates programs, this is the least focused on Pilates and is the best in terms of production. Itís also the only one that uses weights.

Instructor Comments:
Michelle and Tracy obviously have a good rapport and are serious about exercising, although they do chatter a bit here and sometimes interrupt the other. The two alternate leading segments. They work both sides of the body evenly, except for Michelleís leg raise portion, which leaves out one set. (You have just enough time to squeeze in an extra set while Michelle gets ready to move on.) Both intend for you to mirror their movements. They give decent form pointers. They both exhibit enthusiasm, but itís low key rather than over the top. Both mention getting shape after having babies, so new moms might find them even more approachable.

KL (KathAL79)


I had this DVD and traded it away twice, so my review is based on doing it twice.

Chapters are as follows:
1. Intro
2. Warm up
3. Total Body Standing I
4. Total Body Standing II
5. Total Body Pilates
6. Weights Floorwork I
7. Weights Floorwork II
8. Buns and Thighs
9. Abdominals
10. End Credits

The first 20 minutes of the workout is comprised of standing exercises, including squats with shoulder work, lunges with bicep work, rear lunges with shoulder work, and plies with shoulder work.

Then you remove your shoes, stretch a bit, and do Pilates floorwork, including push-ups, back work, plank, side plank. Then you get on your hands and knees, and do some core/upper body work, including extensions of the leg and opposite arm, and arm extensions that work the triceps. The floorwork also includes some weighted work, such as chest flies and clams (outer thigh lifts, similar to Winsor Bun & Thigh).

Every time I watch Collage Videoís online preview, I think this will be a great workout. But the two times I did it, I felt like it wasnít enough of anything. I got just a tiny bit of cardio, and sculpted every body part just a little. I never got out of breath, and the movements themselves didnít make me feel worked, unlike the Winsor Bun & Thigh workout, which I always really feel in my lower body.

While I like all the things the video includes, such as low-impact aerobic weight training moves, pilates, and unusual moves, this workout just isnít for me. I like Michelle and Tracy, but Iíd rather do their Breakthru Body Blast or Breakthru Cardio Dance.

Instructor Comments:
Tracy and Michelle both look very fit. Honestly though, Tracy looks so different than she does in the Breakthru videos that I was distracted. Her hair is darker and she is very muscular, which makes her look quite masculine. It wasnít her look itself that bothered me, just the extreme transformation. Otherwise, they work well together, switching off while instructing, great rapport with each other, etc.



When I saw first saw this new Pilates workout, I thought ďGreat. A good workout for a light day.Ē Wrong! It is a TOUGH workout, at least, for me, an intermediate exerciser that flirts with advanced moves and workouts at times.

This workout is a combination, first, of strength work and then of Pilates and Pilates-inspired moves. Michelle and Tracy teach in tag-team style with no other exercisers. One of them shows harder variations and the other does easier modifications. The set that looks like a family room, or rec room, a simple, well-lit set. For this workout, you basically need a set of weights (I actually use two sets) and a mat. I add my step as a bench for some of the chest work sometimes. Donít ask me about the music, because I didnít even notice it. It must the standard dynamix type stuff Ė obviously, not very memorable.

After the warm-up, they lead a few moves designed to work on your balance. Then, they go into strength work with the weights. They do:

> a series of squats with different upper body moves as well as extra lower body moves
> lunges
> lat rows
> bicep curls
> more lunges with upper body moves
>plies with upper body moves (Sorry. Iím blanking on the upper body moves names!)

After stretches, they take off their shoes and move into the Pilates section. In this section they do multiple moves. Some are pure Pilates while others are strength work while others are a fusion of the two. It is harder work than most of my other Pilates workouts.

The only thing that bothered me is that multiple moves required supporting my weight on my hands and wrists. I have arthritis and the worst joints in my body are my hands and wrists. In some cases, I did other moves (for example, I do chest presses instead of the Pilates push-ups). In other cases, I did the more beginning move that did not require that all my weight be put on my wrists and hands.

The DVD has the following menu:

1. Introduction
2. Warm-up
3. Total Body Standing I
4. Total Body Standing II
5. Total Body Pilates
6. Weights Floorwork I
7. Weights Floorwork II
8. Buns & Thighs
9. Abdominals

The workout lasts just under an hour. I REALLY enjoy this workout and highly recommend it. It is NOT an easy workout though, so donít get it if thatís what you are looking for.

Instructor Comments:
Michelle and Tracy interact really well. It's like working out with a couple of friends who know a lot about working out. They are encouraging and make me think I can keep up with them. They give modifications to make moves easier throughout the workout. They're great! Especially together.

Laura S.