Pilates Standing Workout

Michael Fritzke, Ton Voogt
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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The Pilates Standing Workout is produced by Pilates master teachers Michael Fritzke and Ton Voogt, founders of Zenirgy (www.zenirgy.com). Both Michael and Ton have an impressive list of qualifications, and worked with Romana Kryzanowska, one of Joseph Pilates’ protégés, for over 10 years in New York City where they were teacher trainers for her original international Pilates certification program.

As you would expect from instructors of their calibre, Michael and Ton display impeccable form and provide expert cueing. And unlike other standing Pilates DVDs, such as June Kahn’s Vertical Pilates and Katalin Rodriguez-Zamiar’s Standing Pilates Blend, this workout offers a purist approach incorporating many of Joseph Pilates’ original standing exercises.

The production of the DVD is a bit odd, to put it mildly. The film has been digitally altered to make it look as though you are watching two animated figures, rather than two live people. Michael and Ton work out against a completely white background, similar to Charlene Prickett's notorious “white room”. As well, the instructors are small on the screen with lots of white space above and below them. This is one of my pet peeves; I prefer tighter shots. In line with the minimalist approach, there is no music.

But I forget about this digital trickery when I actually do the workout; the absence of music and sparse set help me to better focus on what I am doing. For the first half of the routine, Ton faces the camera while Michael is side-on, then they switch places. They provide detailed cueing and breathing reminders throughout.

The 25-minute workout starts and ends with deep breathing. The exercises include a standing cat stretch; standing side bend; “Vitruvian Man” (a standing back stretch in which you begin with your arms and legs outstretched in a giant X, like Da Vinci’s famous drawing); standing spine twist; a standing version of the saw; a “five-count squat” (stand on your toes with your heels together, put your hands behind your head and squat down for five counts, then up for five counts — both Michael and Ton squat so low their butts nearly touch their heels); a standing version of the roll down; a dynamic lunge stretch; Pilates push-ups; elephant walk; and some nice balance challenges. The names of each exercise appear briefly across the bottom of the screen.

Joe’s Combo: This one-minute bonus draws from archival footage of Joseph Pilates. Ton instructs while Michael demonstrates the moves. In one fluid motion, he stands on his toes, hinges backwards as he moves slowly downwards while bringing his knees to the floor, leans way back, then slides into cobra, rounds back into a kneeling position, then quickly comes back into a standing position. I doubt I’ll ever develop the strength and flexibility to execute this routine, but it sure is inspiring to watch!

In summary: I would strongly recommend the Pilates Standing Workout to Pilates devotees who want to correct minor imbalances, improve their spinal flexibility, or just get a great stretch. The first time I did the workout, I finished with a huge smile on my face, and each subsequent time I feel a little more realigned and straightened out.

While the DVD is labelled as an intermediate workout, I think it would also be suitable for advanced beginners familiar with Pilates, as well as more advanced practitioners who are keen to, as it says on the back of the box, “experience Pilates in a completely different plane”.

Ratings out of five:
Production values ***
Workout design *****

Cueing *****

Feel-good factor *****

Meets expectations *****

Overall 4.6

Instructor Comments:
Michael and Ton are serious, yet gently encouraging. Their extensive experience shows in their impeccable form and expert cueing.