10 Minute Solution: Quick Sculpt PilatesAndrea Leigh Rogers
Year Released: 2009
Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Pilates/Core Strength
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This DVD is part of the 10 Minute Solution series, DVDs which offer five 10-Minute workouts. Quick Sculpt Pilates is led by Andrea Leigh Rogers, who more recently has founded the Xtend Barre workout franchise. Rogers has a background in professional dance and is certified in classical Pilates instruction. Here she uses a small Pilates ball in all but the very last workout segment; the ball adds a bit of a refreshing spin to the traditional Pilates moves. The only other prop required for this workout is a mat.
Like all of the DVDs in the 10 Minute Solution series, Quick Sculpt Pilates is Customizable. The Main Menu offers options to Play All, Select One Workout, or Program Your Workout (select 1-5 segments for a customized workout experience). I have listed the segments below in the order which the appear on the menu as well as have provided brief descriptions of each.
TOTAL BODY TONER
This section starts with several exercises adapted from the Pilates reformer. For these moves, Rogers is lying on her back with the ball between her ankles for several versions of in/out moves. This is followed by variations on the Hundred (keeping the ball between the ankles and squeezing in), the Roll-Up (ball between the hands), and the Rollover (returning the ball between the ankles). Next comes Coordination, Single Leg Circles with one foot pressing into the ball, and Open Leg Rocker with the ball between the thighs. The most challenging exercise of the segment follows: "Teaser Toss," in which you roll up into teaser, shift the ball from your hands to your feet and back again. Rogers concludes with a version of Saw, holding the ball in one hand.
BUN AND THIGH SCULPTOR
For this segment, Rogers completes all of the work on one side before moving on to the other side. The fairly challenging side kick series starts with the ball under the torso and includes kicks front/back, kicks up/down, leg circles, passe, hot potato, and ronde de jambe. Rogers also transitions the ball to between the thighs for both single and double leg lifts. She concludes this segment lying on the back for some brief bridging work for the hamstrings/glutes performed with the feet on the ball.
STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY TRAINING
Because this segment focuses largely on strengthening the back, the majority of the exercises are performed while lying on the stomach. Rogers begins with the ball under the hands, rolling in and out for Swan Prep. Next, she moves the ball to behind the knee for Single Leg Kicks and then between the ankles for Double Leg Kicks and Leg Lifts. She continues with alternating arm and leg lifts, moving into Swimming (somewhat difficult with the ball still between the ankles!). At this point, Rogers shifts to lying on the back for moves adapted from the Spinal Corrector apparatus. Here, the ball is placed under the tailbone and the legs engage in Froggy, Scissors, Helicopter, and Heel Beats. She concludes with Spine Stretch Forward (ball under the hands).
In this segment, Rogers beings with the Pilates "Series of Five," although each segment is of course modified to incorporate the ball. For the Single Leg Stretch, she passes the ball under the knees. For Double Leg Stretch, she holds the ball between the ankles. For the Double Straight Leg Stretch, Rogers again passes the ball behind her now-straight legs. When performing the Leg Lowers, Rogers again holds the ball between her ankles, adding in a triple pulse on the way down. Finally, for Criss-Cross, she balances the ball between the opposite elbow/knee, then switches. Following the Series of Five, Rogers places the ball between her thighs for a series of hip tucks; this is followed by single-leg Teasers, rolling the ball up the leg. She concludes with a seated twist/reach and a version of Rowing.
STANDING PILATES SCULPT
This segment surprised me. As noted above, it is the only section that does not use the ball, and I was expecting traditional Pilates standing exercises like the Pilates arms series. Instead, Rogers adapts MAT exercises to a standing format, which makes for an interesting change of pace, including some balance challenges. She starts with a one-legged version of the Hundred and then does standing Single Leg Circles to the front, side, and back. Other interesting variations include a standing Roll-Down and standing Rolling Like a Ball (again, more of a balance challenge). The only time that Rogers goes down to the mat here is a combination roll-down/swan prep move.
Overall, I did like how the ball added a unique challenge to the Pilates moves featured in this workout. Since I have never had the opportunity to use the Reformer or other Pilates machines, I enjoyed experimenting with some of the moves that stimulated these. In addition, I felt a nice burn during the Bun and Thigh Sculptor, and although I am an intermediate exercise, I was generally challenged by the other workouts.
I do want to add a caution about Rogers' instruction. She talks QUITE fast--during the first workout in particular, I felt like I was listening to her on fast forward! She allows absolutely NO time for setup or instruction; rather, she just moves briskly from move-to-move, side-to-side, barely giving the viewer time to take a breath. For this reason, prior experience with Pilates is a MUST for those interested in this DVD.
On the one hand, Andrea is likeable, and she does mirror cue. On the other, in both this DVD and Xtend Barre (which I wound up trading) I find her to be so revved up as to be almost frenetic; I want to just say to her "Andrea, chill!" I really think she would be doing a service to her viewers by allowing A BIT longer for transitions and even just slowing down the pace of her voice somewhat.
Iím reviewing this workout after doing each segment 2-3 times.
Sandra has done a great job of describing this DVD. Iíll just add a few thoughts on my own experience with this DVD, although to make a long story short I basically agree with Sandraís review.
Overall I also want to like this workout more than I do. Itís a bit too hodge podgy (or, to quote Heidi Klum from this season of Project Runway, ďhosh kaposhĒ) for me, a little too all over the map (funny aside: I first typed ďmatĒ instead of map, which seems appropriate), but keep in mind Iím getting to the point where I want a workout to feel well thought through and organized. I like the Standing Pilates Sculpt segment, which provides something different as well as some good balance training; the Strength & Flexibility segment offers an interesting spine corrector series, which I havenít seen that often, plus extension work, often lacking in Pilates videos; and the Bun & Thigh Sculptor offers a nice, if not particularly exciting or different, side-lying kick series followed by some bridgework. But the Total Body Toner isnít all that exciting, being kind of the standard kick-off to most classical-derived Pilates routines plus a few other exercises thrown in there, including a weird raise your hip while lying on the floor with one foot on the ball move I canít figure out how to do. Core Conditioner, with its series of 5 / stomach series plus reverse crunches and more extra exercises thrown in to fill out the time, could be hard on the neck, low back, and hip flexors if youíre not careful, and it just doesnít seem as effective as it could be.
I have to wonder if Andrea and her helpers ran out of ideas of how to use the ball. The standing Pilates portion with no use for the ball makes the suggested MRP for this kit seem outrageous (particularly since the ball canít cost more than a buck or two to make). And I agree with Sandra that itís not always clear how some exercises benefit from the use of the ball. I have several Pilates ring / magic circle workouts that fully utilize that piece of equipment in ways that make a lot of sense and add to the exercises, and I just didnít get that here, with the exception of the spine corrector series, which I think is the best example of how the ball can be used. Adding to the feeling that Andrea is stretching out a limited number of ideas is the number of repeated exercises, albeit in slightly different versions, or at least similar moves across the segments. For example, youíll do the full teaser in Total Body Toner and then a 1-legged teaser in Core Conditioner, and the Standing Pilates Sculpt features the single leg circle, which is done on the mat in Total Body Toner, and some similar exercises, such as a standing spinal twist, echoing the saw and other seated twisting moves used elsewhere.
Also, the challenge level fluctuates from exercise to exercise, although Andrea uses full rather than modified versions of exercises much more often than not. It doesnít help that Andrea sometimes pauses between exercises and sometimes flows right from one into the other, sometimes executes the moves at a controlled pace and sometimes does them quite quickly.
I agree with Sandra that you need prior Pilates experience plus a bit of preexisting strength and flexibility to do this DVD. Note that Andrea offers few modifications, at most suggesting not to lower your legs as low, for example. Iím not quite sure Iíd agree with Collageís int./adv. rating; intermediate plus or high int. might be more like it. I consider myself at the int./adv. level of Pilates (Iíve been practicing Pilates on average of once a week for the past 8 years but am still working on flexibility and strength in some areas) and an int./adv. exerciser in general. I found this doable, but like Sandra I found Andrea moved awfully fast through some of the exercises. It didnít help that Iím new to working with a medium-sized unweighted ball like this.
Like Sandra I received the DVD without a ball. The first time through I tried to make do with my Pilates ring / magic circle / whatever you want to call it and my soft touch 3 lb. med ball. The ring worked great for whenever I needed to have something between my legs, but otherwise my attempts to improvise didnít go well. The ball really shouldnít have much weight to it, and you need something with a diameter bigger than 6Ē. The next time I tried this with a 10Ē light plastic playground ball I found on sale at my local grocery store. This worked well, although I would have preferred a ball whose plastic was a little thicker. Iíve heard from a VFer who has the full kit that the ball that comes with it is somewhat sticky to the touch, allowing it to stay in place. Also, you want a ball thatís not hard and is also slightly underinflated, as youíll be leaning on it and squeezing it.
To do this DVD youíll need enough space to lie down and sweep your limbs around; you should also have room behind you for the rollover / jackknife in Total Body Toner. Believe it or not the most compact section is probably the standing one.
Overall the production values are good and what youíd expect from 10 Minute Solution: clear picture and sounds, camera angles that are more often helpful than not, etc.
I have had all of the 10MS Pilates DVDs except the prenatal one and Lara Hudsonís new Pilates for Beginners. My favorite of the series is Lara Hudsonís Pilates on the Ball, which I think is particularly well organized and creative, and my least favorite is probably Suzanne Bowenís Pilates Perfect Body, which ventured too far into fusion territory for my tastes. Iím afraid Andreaís offering falls into the same category as Suzanneís for me: nice, maybe not as superbly executed as Laraís, but not for me. Like Suzanne, Andrea also belongs to the ranks of Pilates / barre instructors, which may mean that those of you who prefer more of a barre approach will enjoy this one more than I.
I have to admit that I donít do the 10MS Pilates DVDs all that often, but every so once in a while Iíll go on a kick where Iíll do a segment as part of my warm-up, for example, so I keep them around for those times. I feel Pilates works well in this format; overall these are, in my opinion, some of the stronger offerings of this series.
Unusually, Quick Sculpt Pilates is, as far as I know, the only one in the 10MS Pilates series that doesnít follow the same format of abs, upper body, lower body, total body, and stretch. Here you donít get a designated upper body segment, the flexibility segment is a lot more active and dynamic (and less relaxing), and then thereís the standing segment.
I donít have any of the other workouts offering standing Pilates series (well, except for one of Liz Gilliesí I had once upon a time), so I canít compare this to them. I wouldnít be surprised if this is the next big thing in Pilates videos, since people have pretty much exhausted the traditional matwork repertoire as well as the repertoire of apparatus moves adapted to the mat and are making pretty good progress on the barre and related methodsí take on Pilates; additionally, balance training is receiving a lot of attention these days.
Andrea cues well enough, mirror cuing where relevant, although not relying on lots of directional cues. She is comfortable on camera, with a positive, upbeat attitude. Her favorite catchphrase is ďgorgeous,Ē but on the flip side she doesnít overdo the ďweíre sculpting flat absĒ type of talk.
This DVD presents five 10-minute Pilates-based workout routines. Like all of the 10 Minute Solution series, the menu allows you choose one section to do individually, to program two or more sections for a customized workout, or to do all five sections for a 50-minute workout.
Four of the five routines incorporate a small inflated ball, which (at least as of the date of this review) is sold with the DVD in a kit. I obtained my copy of this DVD in a VF trade, minus the ball, and substituted a ball purchased from a local sporting goods store. The ball should be about 7-10Ē in diameter and sturdy enough to support partial body weight. Using the ball intensifies some of the Pilates mat exercises (e.g. doing bridges with both feet placed on the ball) and in some cases also simulates Pilates exercises done on specialized equipment like the Reformer.
Besides the ball, the only equipment needed is a mat (four of the five routines are focused on floor work). All of the routines are done barefoot. The set and music are on par with other 10 Minute Solution DVDs I have seen Ė pleasant but not memorable.
The workouts are all led by Andrea Leigh Rogers. She teaches solo and instructs live. She mirror-cues. Because each routine is only 10 minutes, Andrea keeps things moving at a brisk pace. She offers a lot of form pointers and occasionally suggests modifications, but does not really teach the exercises themselves. I would strongly recommend prior Pilates experience before attempting this DVD. Collage rates Quick Sculpt Pilates as Intermediate/Advanced. I am a long-time intermediate exerciser. I could do most of the exercises as presented, but in a few cases could not move as fast as Andrea. I also sat out a couple of exercises that I don't feel strong enough to do safely, such as Jackknife.
The five individual workouts break down as follows. Although I have done many Pilates DVDs I in no way consider myself a Pilates expert, so I apologize if I have misidentified any exercises.
-Total Body Toner: Andrea begins on her back with the ball between the ankles, moving the legs in and out to mimic footwork on a Reformer, followed by a variation of The Hundred. Next are Roll-ups holding the ball, then Jackknife (which I personally cannot do) with the ball back between the ankles. A version of Coordination follows, then Single Leg Circles with the lower leg supported by the ball. The ball is next tucked between the thighs for a variation of Open Leg Rocker. This section concludes with the ďTeaser Toss,Ē exchanging the ball between the hands and feet during a series of Teasers, followed by the Saw (while holding the ball in one hand). To me this section lacked focus Ė not my favorite.
-Buns & Thigh Sculptor: This section features a short side-kick series, including leg lifts, circles and ronde de jambe. Andrea first uses the ball under the torso as a prop, then transfers it to between the thighs for a series of squeezes. This section finishes with bridgework done with the feet up on the ball (which, as Andrea says, gives this exercise a whole new dynamic!).
-Strength & Flexibility Pilates: This routine focuses on spinal stability and back strengthening. We begin by using the ball to roll in and out of Swan Prep, then flip over onto out stomachs for Single Leg Kick (with the ball tucked behind the knee) then Double Leg Kick and froggy-style leg lifts (ball between the ankles). After a brief rest in Childís Pose, it is back onto the stomach for alternating arm lifts and leg lifts, followed by Swimming. Andrea next leads us through her version of some Spine Corrector exercises Ė on our backs, with the ball under the seat, we do froggy moves, Scissors, Helicopter, and Heel Beats. (I found this part different and kind of fun!) We conclude with Spine Stretch Forward.
-Core Conditioner: A series of familiar Pilates abs exercises, spiced up with the ball -- Single Leg Stretch while weaving the ball between the legs, Double Leg Stretch squeezing the ball between the ankles, Scissors again weaving the ball between the legs, Next is a series of leg lowers while squeezing the ball between the ankles, followed by a tricky version of Criss-Cross (I find myself at a loss as how to describe it!). More traditional reverse crunches are next, then Andrea does Teasers incorporating the ball. Obliques are worked by using the ball to roll out backwards at a diagonal. She finishes with another traditional Pilates core exercise that I donít know the name of.
-Standing Pilates Sculpt: This section does not use the ball and is mostly standing work. Andrea does standing versions of traditional Pilates mat exercises such as The Hundred and Single Leg Circles. Iím not sure how much ďsculptingĒ is achieved, but it makes for a very nice little balance routine.
Bottom line: Iím a strictly intermediate exerciser, but have worked out at home with DVDs for many years. I've done a number of Pilates DVDs, both "pure" or traditional Pilates, and also "fusion"-style workouts incorporating Pilates moves. With regard to Quick Sculpt Pilates, I want to like this one more than I actually do, to be honest. It is well presented and Andrea is a fine instructor. However, using the ball became a hit or miss proposition for me depending on the exercise. Sometimes it added an element of challenge or fun, but more often it just felt kind of fussy. In all fairness, maybe some of the exercises would work better if I had the actual ball sold with the kit. Ironically, my favorite part of the DVD was the standing balance section which doesn't use the ball at all.
10MS Quick Sculpt Pilates is readily available online at sites such as Collage, Total Fitness DVDs, and Amazon.
Andrea comes from an extensive dance background and is a certified Pilates instructor. She is the proprietor of her own workout, Xtend, and also appears in another 10 Minute Solution DVD, Dance Your Body Thin. She presents in a very clear, pleasant and professional manner. Her website is www.xtendbarreworkout.com.