AeroPilates Pure Pilates 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 28.5-min. Pilates reformer workout (not including the 1.5 min. of introductory material) focuses on strengthening and lengthening exercises.
The warm-up is footwork: V Position, Toes, Arches, and Heels. The main workout covers these exercises: The Hundred: Parts 1, 2, and 3*; Legs in Straps: Leg Lowers, Leg Circles, Frogs*, Choo Choo*, and Scissors*; Lying Arms in Straps: Arm Beats, Arm Beats 45 Degrees, Arm Beats 90 Degrees, Half Arm Beats, and Half Arm Beats 45 Degrees; Sitting Arms in Straps Facing Front*: Arm Circles, Serve the Brownies, and Hug a Tree; Mermaid with Overhead Press*; Sitting Arms in Straps Facing Back*: Bicep Curl and Chest Expansion; Stomach Massage*: Curved Back and Straight Back; Knee Stretch, Curved Back and Arched Back; Elephant; Sitting Arms in Straps Facing the Side: Twist; Abdominals*: Assisted Sit-Ups and Obliques; Cool-Down: Wide Position Pelvic Lift on Toes,* and Running; and Standing Series*: Standing Arabesque, Standing Leg Lifts Neutral Spine, Leg Lift Side, and Leg Lift Front.
Note: Iíve used the asterisk (*) to denote exercises that are new to this level, compared to the AeroPilates introductory workout.
Marjolein usually 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 demonstration.

Level: Iíd recommend this to exercisers who are already somewhat physically active and have some familiarity with basic Pilates principles.
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 further acquainted with this new reformer and build up my strength, endurance, and flexibility.

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

Music: light, repetitive instrumental music plays in the background.

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 a foot bar (Note: Marjorlein switches out the footbar for the rebounder for the standing series merely because itís a little bit taller) as well as three cords or springs of low to medium 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 Ė and for this one you donít even really need the rebounder attachment, since itís just used as a barre substitute.
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 except that even when the rebounder in place Iím a little too tall and the reformer is a little too low to the ground for me to use the rebounder as a barre, so Iíve just been balancing on my own for the standing leg series at the end of this DVD, although a more appropriate modification might be using a chair at a more appropriate height for me or stand near a wall or grab my body bar (or dowel or broomstick or mop handle) to use to balance.

Space Requirements: Youíll need room beside your reformer to sweep your arms and legs to the side as well as be able to stand to the side of your reformer; you also need room at the foot of it for the standing leg series to 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, which I found out the hard way when I hit the back button after falling behind trying to change out the foot bar for the rebounder. 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 was it longer with more exercises, but Marjolein added more cords to some of the upper body exercises to increase their intensity. So Iím glad I spent some time with the introductory level first, especially since I was in a rebuilding mode anyway.

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.

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, 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.