10 Minute Solution: Pilates For Beginners

Lara Hudson
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing all segments twice each.

General workout breakdown: This DVD contains 5 10-minute Pilates matwork segments.
Lara works at a slow (but not molasses-slow) and controlled pace. Most exercises get 3-8 reps, although some get 10, in line with the usual Pilates philosophy to focus on quality over quantity.
• Core Basics
Here Lara teaches Pilates breathing and core engagement while primarily working the abs. You’ll practice breathing while sitting, then move to the back for chest curls, hundred prep, hundred (modified, then full), roll-up (showing 2 modified versions), knees to chest break, single leg stretch, criss cross, side-lying leg lifts (double leg lift, pulses in up position), and modified teaser (showing 2 versions).
• Lower Body Basics
Lara focuses primarily on strengthening the glutes, especially the gluteus medius (the “outer hip” area), with bridge, table top leg hinges (alternating single leg bent knee lifts while in bridge), single leg circles, bridge with single leg kicks, side-lying leg kicks (front & back, small circles, ronde de jambe or big circles), frog lifts (ending with pulses), and grasshopper heel beats. During the sequence, you’ll pull knees to chest a few times to release before moving on, and you end in child’s pose.
• Upper Body Basics
Lara encourages proper shoulder placement and stabilization with these exercises for the upper back, chest, and triceps: swan prep (ending with triceps presses), swan, triceps presses, forearm plank, leg pull / control front (in forearm plank), (elbows narrow or triceps) push-ups, side forearm plank with hip raise (modified, then full), leg pull / control front (in full plank), breaststroke, and double leg kick. You’ll extend back into child’s pose to release the low back from time to time.
Exercisers with serious wrist, elbow, shoulder, or lower back issues may want to think about possible modifications or substitutions before attempting this one; I know with my cranky elbow to be careful with the triceps press movement.
• Total Body Combo
This segment aims to integrate what you’ve learned about breathing, core engagement, shoulder alignment, and glute activation with these total body moves: roll-up (modified, then full), double leg stretch, scissors (single straight leg stretch), seated spinal twist, saw, kneeling side kicks (modified; extending up into kneeling, then pulsing straight leg), quadruped opposite arm & leg lift (aka bird dog, drunken table, etc.; ending with pulses), full plank, and swimming, ending in child’s pose.
Note: my copy, which I purchased recently, clearly says “Combo” instead of “Cardio” on both the disc and DVD case, so this error seems to have been corrected.
• Long & Limber Stretch
This segment combines Pilates or at least Pilates-based exercises with athletic / yoga-type stretches: knees to chest into knee stirs, reclined hamstring stretch – climb a tree (variation) – seated spinal twist (with one leg bent) – seated figure 4, reclined spinal twist, reclined side bend (sometimes called a banana stretch), cat – cow, low lunge – runner’s lunge, roll up to standing from low squat, standing saw, forward bend with hands clasped behind back, and standing roll-down/-up.

Level: I’d recommend this both to those getting into Pilates for the first time as well as to those returning to Pilates after some time away. I agree that the “for beginners” in the title refers to those newish to Pilates rather than those new to exercise, however, as this assumes some pre-exisiting core strength and flexibility, even if Lara does offer some modifications. (If you’re very limited in core strength and/or flexibility, there are better options out there, like some of Stott Pilates’ level 1 videos.) I think experienced beginner through intermediate exercisers will find this more their speed; those who are already advanced may find there’s too much down time here.
Normally I’m an int./adv. exerciser who’s int./adv. in Pilates, comfortable with all but the most advanced matwork exercises and perhaps still a little hindered by some strength and flexibility issues. But recently I had some medical issues which made Pilates uncomfortable before leading to a layoff for a few months. I was looking for something that would be doable but not too easy when I started back, and this certainly fit the bill. Unlike my usual “I need something that takes it down a notch / want something that reviews the basics / am coming back after a little time off” choices, Hilary Burnett’s Intermediate and lately also Brooke Siler’s Element Pilates for Weight Loss for Beginners, this is a bit more basic, has more down time, and doesn’t have a flowing routine,. Still, I foresee myself holding onto this one for the future, should I encounter another long lay-off from Pilates and need a stepping zone to my usual “welcome back to Pilates” routines.

Class: Lara alone, instructing live.

Music: There’s music? Actually, there is soft, bland instrumental stuff that fades into the background so quickly I tune it out before I know it.

Set: interior set with a brick wall and windows onto nowhere; exercise equipment is neatly arranged around the exterior of the room.

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles.

Equipment: mat. Lara is barefoot, and I’d recommend following her lead there.

Space Requirements: enough space to lie down on your mat with arms and legs extended and to sweep them to your side. This is about as compact as they come, even for Pilates workouts.

DVD Notes: Lara’s introduction can be skipped. As with all of the 10 Minute Solutions, you can play all of the segments in the order they appear, choose one, or create a personalized workout by picking and choosing between the five segments.

Comments: How does this DVD do as an introduction to Pilates? I know I’m a far cry from being a true beginner to Pilates at this point (I’ve been practicing Pilates since 2002, admittedly with a few breaks in there), and I haven’t done any Pilates certification training (yet?), but here are my thoughts: Lara’s strengths here are leading you through exercises with an encouraging (but not condescending) attitude, explaining the purposes of the exercises, and reminding you to engage your core to perform the exercises. She does a decent job of explaining Pilates breathing, but she could do better with some form aspects, especially neck and spinal alignment. If you supplement her video with other material (if you can’t find a live class with a good teacher, or even if you can, I highly recommend checking out Brooke Siler’s book The Pilates Body, which goes into good detail on form and visualization to get the most out of each exercise, and perhaps also Alycea Ungaro’s Pilates Body in Motion book, which would be a good one for those who need more modifications), you’ll be fine.

I think the 10-minute segment format works pretty well for both Pilates in general and Pilates for beginners; I remember when I picked Pilates up via videos Tracy York’s Quick Fix Pilates (on the Total Mix DVD), which also uses segments of this length, was one of my favorites because I could work up to longer sessions or just do a little Pilates more often.

10 Minute Solution Pilates for Beginners vs. 10 Minute Solution Pilates: I also broke down the exercises in my review here of the original 10MS Pilates, so I’ll leave it to you to compare them in detail, but I’ll note that for Beginners definitely sticks to more beginner and low intermediate exercises whereas Pilates includes several more intermediate and even int./adv. moves (depending upon which method you subscribe to). One major difference between the two is that for Beginners requires no equipment, other than a mat, so it’s all bodyweight-focused, unlike the arms section of the original Pilates which uses light dumbbells. The original Pilates has a slightly faster pace, less down time, and more exercises, too, as you might expect. I’m not comfortable recommending the original Pilates as great for Pilates beginners, even if they’re already experienced exercisers, although I will concede that it makes a good first Pilates workout for experienced exercisers once they’ve gotten the Pilates basics down, so I’m glad Lara recognized that people were looking for a more suitable entry into Pilates in this format, because this is more appropriate for those looking to get into Pilates.

Comparing Lara’s 10 Minute Solutions: All four have the same basic format - abs, upper body, lower body, total body, stretch - and teach a fairly straightforward style of Pilates that adheres more closely to Romana K’s take on Pilates, although Lara obviously breaks up the classical sequences and reorganizes exercises. The biggest difference comes with Rapid Results, which includes some of the moves adapted from the various Pilates apparatus (plus a few ballet and yoga-inspired moves), and On the Ball, which uses a stability ball. For Beginners is obviously the easiest, although by the time you finish reading the reviews here you know that doesn’t mean it’s super easy, followed by the original Pilates. I know a lot of people find Rapid Results “easy,” but I don’t find it all that easy, since it draws from some moves that are rated pretty challenging (the star is normally reserved for people who are Pilates rock stars!) and moves pretty quickly between moves. Personally On the Ball is my favorite because I like the way Lara makes the ball an integral part of the exercises, and because I’m still somewhat new to the stability ball this is currently the most challenging for me. Honestly, I’ve tried the other 10MS Pilates, and I keep coming back to Lara as my favorite because she teaches more straight-up Pilates than Suzanne Bowen and Andrea Leah Rogers, who also teach fusion and barre, but that’s just me.

Instructor Comments:
See above. Also, Lara mirror cues (meaning when she says “right” she means the viewer’s).



This is a fully customizable pilates dvd led by Lara Hudson with no b/g exercisers. It has five 10 minute segments that can be mixed & matched as desired. The set is nice and open and you wont need any props for this w/o. She offers breathing and form tips throughout but not overly so, I think thats why they titled this "beginner" because I didnt find it super easy.

Core Basics: You begin with some breath work and move into curls, the hundred, c-curls, single leg stretch, criss-cross, side lying leg lifts, and a modified teaser.

Lower Body Basics: You start off in bridge and add in some table top leg lifts, then onto single leg circles, bridge w/ kicks, side leg kicks, frog lifts, and finish with grasshopper beats.

Upper Body Basics: Moves include modified swan w/ tricep pulses, swan w/ tricep press-ups, forearm plank, controlled front variations, pushups, side plnaks, and breast work. Includes lots of lower back work, which I like.

Total Body Cardio: Im not sure why this is called cardio; moves include: roll up, double leg stretch, seated twist, side kicks, table work, plnaks, and swimmer.

Long & Limber Stretch: This section is done standing, sitting/ kneeling, and lying. You start in tree pose, do a figure 4, a seated twist, cat cow, runners lunge, and a squat and shoulder section at the end.

Lara's cueing and form pointers are impecible throughout. I guess if you are a pilates pro you might not want these reminders but besides that I wouldnt say this is an easy beginners w/o. I agree w/ Collage's rating of intermediate. She moves right along and introduces some semi challenging pilates work. I really like Lara as a lead and will definatley be getting a ton of use out of this dvd. I think its great to use as an addon or to use together in its entirety.