Lower Body Pilates

Mari Winsor
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Lower Body Strength , Pilates/Core Strength

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I love-love-love Winsor's Bun & Thigh Sculpting. At under 20-minutes, it's a quick and dread-free workout for any level; I can pull it out when I'm "starting over" or when I'm consistent and fit.

I was hoping that this new release from Mari Winsor would be similar ... times three. And it sorta-kinda is ... but not. :)

Workout #1 is "Slim & Sculpt Hips," but I really found this works the "muffin top" area and waist. It starts gently, in a seated cross-legged position, with breathing and stretching. It then moves on to side-reaches, torso circles, and spinal twists. Then comes rolling up and down, ab work on the back and in V-sit (involving the legs , like single leg stretches), and finally on to bridge and then planks.

Workout #2 is "Trim & Tone Thighs," and I found this most reminiscent of my old favorite but with some new twists. There is a lot of classic side-lying leg work (kicking forward and back, lifts, circles, tapping toe-to-heel, clam series, inner thighs). Most of these involve variations, like pulses or changing the range of motion. Needless to say, this was my favorite section from this dvd; did it top Bun & Thigh Sculpting? Meh ... I can't say that it did. It's good stuff, don't get me wrong! But B&TS has years of near-mythical raves following it; it would be pretty tough to top!

Workout #3 is "Lift & Firm Glute" (yes, apparently we are only lifting and firming just the one "glute" :) which begins with stretches and then flips to the stomach for heel kicks and leg lifts. I was surprised at the inclusion of (what I consider) back work (superman, swimming). Then you move to all-fours for leg lifts and donkey kicks. There are some new twists on classic moves here (leg lifts to the rear but in a circular motion -- ow! ow!). Then, what I thought was the most challenging segment on the entire disc: moves in plank and reverse plank and modified side plank, followed by a final segment in bridge. Ouch!

I found this dvd much more difficult than Bun & Thigh Sculpting (which I can do at any fitness level); this workout required quite a bit of modification.

Instructor Comments:
Mari never changes. The woman is ageless and while her instruction style is a little abrupt, it is consistent and adequate.



This DVD is divided into three parts. Each section is about 20 minutes long and has its own chapter on the DVD. There are no chapter markings for the individual exercises which reduces its flexibility somewhat. It is labeled as a Beg/Int workout, but I disagree with that. I think itís at least intermediate level and I would consider some of the exercises to be advanced.
The first section is entitled the Slim & Sculpt Hip Routine, but I think itís more of an abdominal workout than anything else. The high hip (love handle) area gets worked in many of these moves, but itís definitely as a secondary muscle group. There are moves such as the saw, spine twist, mermaid, roll backs and roll ups etc. Some of the moves that do hit the hips are old fashioned hip walks across the floor. Mari mentions that she used to watch her mother do them and thinks theyíre effective. The section ends with side planks that include lifting the hips up and down as well as twisting inward while holding the plank position. This is why I donít think itís a beginner workout.
The second section is entitled the Trim and Tone Thigh Routine and this does work the area it says it does. You do various side lying exercises and there are a lot of variations including moving the legs up and down, circles large and small, as well as pulsing, bicycle, and scissor moves, fetal thighs etc. Thereís also some good inner thigh work. Thereís a lot of variety and my hips and thighs felt really good after doing these moves. After completing the other side, you do front and back planks as well as some moves where you lie back resting on your elbows and do exercises where you move both legs at the same time. Itís a very complete thigh workout.
The third section is called the Lift & Sculpt Glute Workout, and it includes lot of good glute exercises. First, youíre on your stomach for single leg and double leg kicks and well as lifting your thighs off the matt and beating your legs together. You end up grabbing your ankles for the equivalent of the boat pose in yoga, another advanced move. Then you get on your hands and knees for a series of kick outs. Again there are lots of variations shown. Finally you get into bridge position on your back for a series of moves that have you lifting and rolling up and down with legs apart, legs together, one leg up, one leg out to the side etc. Itís very challenging and really hits the glutes from many angles. I think this would be a good substitute for those who like barre type exercises for the glutes, but are unable to do standing work. Your glutes will feel worked out when you finish.
I really liked this DVD and think I will get a lot of good use out of it. The exercises tighten up areas that many women consider to be problem areas. Itís not going to build up a lot of visible muscle because no equipment is used beyond a mat, but you definitely tweeze, as Mari would say, the muscles in the thighs and glutes.

Instructor Comments:
Mariís instructions are clear and precise. I think her presentation skills have improved over time. There is only one exerciser, Shannon Nadj, on a raised oval in front of Mari. Shannon does an excellent job of demonstrating the exercises, but doesn't say a word. Because thereís only one exerciser, the camera is in closer than in previous Winsor workouts and I think it works better.

Jane P