AeroPilates Integrated Workout Level One

Marjolein Brugman
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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Iím reviewing this workout after doing it 2 times.

General workout breakdown: This 27-min. Pilates reformer workout (not including the approximately 1.5 min. of introductory material) integrates strength and flexibility exercises on the reformer with rebounding for a cardio effect.
The exercises covered are warm-up footwork: v position, toes, arches, and heels; the hundred: parts 1 and 2; rebounding: slow jogging*; legs in straps: leg lowers, leg circles, and scissors*; rebounding: jogging turned out*; lying arms in straps: arm beats, arm beats at 45 degrees, and arm beats at 90 degrees; rebounding: small jumps*; sitting arms in front facing front*: arm circles, serve the brownies, hug a tree, bicep curl, and chest expansion; mermaid with overhead press*; rebounding: small jumps*; cool-down: wide position pelvic lift w/ heels apart*, and running; and standing series*: scale back, scale side, and knee extension.
Note: Iíve used the asterisk (*) to denote exercises that are new to this level, compared to the AeroPilates introductory workout. All of these moves are also used in the AeroPilates level 1 Pure Pilates and Pure Cardio DVDs, although she doesnít spend any more time introducing the moves in any of the videos. For some reason Marjolein seems to use less resistance here for the arm moves (more consistent with what she did in the introductory level) than she does in the Pure Pilates DVD of this same level; Iím not sure if that is deliberate, as in sheís going for more of a strength challenge in the Pure workout or trying to balance out the challenge with the rebounding, or if not (Iím beginning to suspect Marjolein filmed a few different sequences which have been spliced up into these different videos rather than filming each workout as a distinct sequence).
The rebounding intervals are 2 min. each. For the other moves, Marjolein does 5-10 reps, focusing on quality over quantity. She moves through the exercises at a quick pace, notably for a workout aimed at someone whoís new(er) to the reformer. The transitions between exercises are quick, too. As I become more comfortable with my reformer and this routine Iím finding it a little easier to adjust things in a timely manner, but even now I still have to keep the remote handy, especially to switch out the foot bar for the rebounder (I have screws to keep mine in place, so thereís no way I can whip the foot bar out and snap in the rebounder that fast). Sometimes this video cuts in a shot of Marjolein switching cords or swapping out the foot bar or rebounder rather than showing her doing the action in real time, which makes it almost impossible to make the transition as quickly as she does. In fact, this is one of the ways this video straddles that line between a follow-along workout and a demonstration.

Level: Iíd recommend this to exercisers who are already somewhat physically active, have some familiarity with basic Pilates principles, and have decently healthy lower backs (or at least have worked a little with a Pilates instructor, physical therapist, etc., on their rebounding technique before tackling this sort of thing on their own).
Normally I exercise at the intermediate / advanced level, including for Pilates, but after a year and a half or so of, well, life, Iím working my way back up to the intermediate level. This provided me with a decent workout at my current level, helping me get acquainted with this new reformer with a rebounder attachment (or, as my dh calls it, my slidey bouncey thingy) and build up both strength and endurance.

Class: Marjolein performs the exercises alone, instructing via voiceover.

Music: light, repetitive instrumental music plays in the background. For some reason this soundtrack sounds to me like the score for a Jane Austen-ripoff Masterpiece Theatre-wannabe movie. You can just hear the heroine banter somewhat wittily with the young cad whoíll try to break her heart while her true love scowls off in the corner of the ballroom.

Set: Marjolein is in a plain studio space, with her reformer on a round platform and some gauzy white curtains along the back wall.

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles, showing close-ups when appropriate. Sometimes a modification or substitution or different view will appear in a small box in the upper corner of the screen. The name of the exercise, the number of reps, and the number of cords appears in text on the screen for a while at the beginning of each new exercise, but the text never distracts from the main image of Marjorlein performing the exercises.

Equipment: This is part of a series of videos designed to be used with Stamina AeroPilates reformers, although any at home reformer should work just fine as long as you have both a foot bar and a rebounder (Marjolein switches back and forth between the two; since Iím supposed to use two screws to keep mine in place, this is not so easy for me, especially since this DVD isnít chaptered, I try to keep the rebounder part on as much as possible, although the rebounder portion doesnít work as well for the footwork or the cool-down) as well as two cords or springs of lesser resistance on your reformer. I like that you donít need any other reformer add-ons: no cords or springs of extra resistance (unless youíre a real glutton for punishment), no foot strap, no short box, no poles, no extender, nothing else. That said, a head pillow is a nice thing to have in addition to or in place of your (adjustable) head rest for the rebounding portions.
I have the Stamina AeroPilates Reformer Premium 299, one of Staminaís most basic models meant for at home users. Marjolein is obviously using a different model, one thatís a little taller and has at least one more cord (mine has three; Marjoleinís has four). Mine worked just fine, although with my longer legs and my shorter model the final standing series was a little uncomfortable for me; I may use a chair whose seat is at a better height for me next time.

Space Requirements: Youíll need room beside your reformer to sweep your arms and legs to the side as well as stand to the side; you also need room at the foot of it for the standing leg series where youíll step back about 3í and sweep your leg to the side and behind you.

DVD Notes: After the Stamina logo and warnings, the DVD starts right into the workout. There are NO chapters within this workout. Boo!
My DVD came with my reformer and was included in a DVD case with the introductory workout and three level one DVDs. Iíve seen this one workout sold separately for $29.95, which seems awfully steep to me. Iíd be willing to pay that for the 4-pack I have but not for this one DVD alone, especially since thereís so little form instruction during the workout itself.

Comments: This was definitely a step up in intensity from the introductory AeroPilates workout. Not only is it longer, but it has more exercises. If done as Marjolein demonstrates, itís perhaps a little less challenging than the Pure Pilates workout of the same level because as mentioned she doesnít use as much resistance on the upper body moves, but the reformer work somewhat balances that out. I was certainly just as sore the next day or two in my core after my first run-through with this one as I was with Pure Pilates.

I was looking through some reviews at another site and saw someone talking about how tricky it was to adapt one of this series to the mat. If you want to do reformer-style moves but donít have a reformer, donít drop $30 on a reformer DVD and tie yourself into knots trying to figure out how to do the moves yourself, because videos exist where people have already done that for you: Sarah Picotís More than Mat series is just that. Other Pilates mat videos with reformer moves include Ana Cabanís Pilates Core Challenge and Energy Boost Pilates 1, Liz Gilliesí Progressive Pilates for Weight Loss (most of which are also on the bonus section on her Target Tone video), Lara Hudsonís 10 Minute Solution Rapid Results Pilates, Mari Winsorís Maximum Burn Super Sculpting & Body Slimming, and maybe also Jodi Brennanís P3 Pilates Plus Power Workout, Vol. 1. If you want videos that alternate Pilates with cardio intervals, how about Kristin McGeeís Weight Loss Pilates or Laura Tarbellís Plyo Pilates? If youíre creative enough, you could adapt those cardio moves to your (vertical, i.e. ďnormalĒ) rebounder and, voila! you have a mat & rebounder Pilates workout.

Instructor Comments:
Marjolein speaks clearly, and although she has an accent sheís easy to understand; overall her voice is pleasant, and she speaks to the viewer as an intelligent human being.
Marjorlein mentions the number of reps or the length of the exercise, a few form tips, and then quiets down. (She even doesnít cue the switch to the second side, for example!) If you need someone who cues each rep or who provides a lot of form instruction, Marjolein may not be your best option; her cuing works better if you already have some idea of what youíre supposed to be doing.