New York Pilates

Kathryn Ross-Nash
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the web site

This DVD is led by Kathryn Ross-Nash, a Pilates instructor who has worked with five of the “first generation” Pilates teachers (i.e., those who studied directly under Joseph Pilates himself); she has been a particular protégé of Romana Kryzanowska. In this video, she offers two separate 20-minute Pilates routines. These are listed on the Main Menu as “TNT Tummy and Tushy” and “TNT Arms and Legs.” In her short introduction—which plays automatically before the first workout—Ross-Nash explains that these are Pilates programs to “Tone N Tighten (TNT).” For both workouts, she is featured alone, providing live instruction. The set was familiar to me from ExerciseTV. I have provided details about each of the two segments below.

TLT Tummy and Tushy
As the title suggests, this routine focuses mainly on the abdominal and glutes muscles (although unfortunately, Ross-Nash actually does use the term “tummy” and, even worse, “tushy” throughout). In general, the workout proceeds at a very quick tempo, with Ross-Nash providing no time for setup and giving little instruction on how to perform the movements. She starts with the hundred and then moves into a modified roll-up (knees bent); this is followed by the series of five (performed super fast). She repeats a few moves from the series of five with the knees bent at a 90-degree angle and finishes this sequence with the spine stretch forward. Next come side kicks: these include front/back, up/down, heel beats, hot potato, and small circles. More leg work follows, including leg lowers (adding heel beats and leg crosses), hip lifts, and three versions of the teaser (both feet flat, one-leg, and full). Ross-Nash concludes this routine with additional leg work in a standing position, including squats, plié squats, a moving lunge, and a lunge with arms work.

TLT Arms and Legs
For this segment, Ross-Nash suggests that you have 2-3 lb. dumbbells on hand, although you will not need them until the last 6 minutes of the routine. Similar to the first workout, Ross-Nash takes the moves very quickly; if anything, she proceeds at an even faster tempo for this workout. She again begins with the hundred—this time adding leg movement—followed by a modified roll-up. She also includes leg circles before moving into the series of five, increasing the difficulty level by keeping the pace extremely fast and also doing the criss-cross with straight legs. Ross-Nash again concludes the opening sequence with the spine stretch forward. The side kick series has some slight variations from the first routine: Ross-Nash performs front/back, up/down, bicycles, inner thigh lifts/circles, hot potato, and large circles (she also does the can-can before switching sides). This is followed by a series of supine leg movements: leg circles, leg beats, bicycles, scissors, frog, and tree (walking up/down the leg). Ross-Nash then comes to standing and picks up the weights for some exercises from the Pilates arm series; she includes bicep curls, boxing, arm circles, fencing (I liked her take on this move), and side bend to finish.

This DVD is probably most akin to an intermediate level Pilates class in which an instructor leads veteran students through the traditional Pilates mat series, teaching the moves in a rapid flow with little or no pausing. Although Ross-Nash does not include exercises of an advanced difficulty level in either routine (and in fact she oddly chose to perform a modified rather than full roll-up), it is the fast pace of these workouts combined with the lack of information on execution and form which makes this DVD inappropriate for beginning students. I would limit my recommendation to those experienced Pilates practitioners who have been taking classes on a regular basis and who are looking to supplement their training with a home practice.

Instructor Comments:
Kathryn's Pilates credentials are certainly solid--i.e., having been taught be first-generation instructors--and she is clearly qualified. But yet I still question this DVD. ;) I know that the Pilates mat series is ideally meant to be performed as a flowing series of movements, but I also know that Joseph's Pilates' original name for the method was "Contrology." In my opinion, only the most advanced Pilates students would be able to keep up with the pace that Kathryn sets for these routines yet still maintain appropriate control and form.

Beth C (aka toaster)