Introduction to AeroPilates

Marjolein Brugman
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it half a dozen times.

General workout breakdown: This DVD has two sections, one devoted to introducing basic Pilates principles, one containing an introductory Pilates reformer workout.
- The Simple Rules of Body Placement
In this almost 9.5 min. segment Marjolein goes over the Pilates principles youíll need to know while giving you a chance to explore them for yourself on the reformer and explaining when theyíll come into play. The principles include pelvic placement (anterior tilt, posterior tilt, neutral pelvis); shoulder placement; rib cage placement; head placement; breath; slow and steady movement; and the core. She also takes some time to explain the purpose of the rebounding segments and how she intends you to progress.
- Introductory Workout for the True Beginner
This workout runs just over 18 min. long (not including the first 30 seconds, during which the list of exercises scrolls across the screen). Your warm-up focuses on footwork: V Position, Toes, Arches, and Heels. The main workoutís exercises are The Hundred: Part 1 and Part 2; Legs in Straps: Leg Lowers and Leg Circles; Lying Arms in Straps: Arm Beats, Arm Beats 45 Degrees, Arm Beats 90 Degrees, Half Arm Beats, and Half Arm Beats 45 Degrees; Knee Stretch: Curved Back and Arched Back; Elephant; Sitting Arms in Straps Facing the Side: Twist; Mermaid; and Running. Youíll then switch out the foot bar for the rebounder and perform these exercises: Small Tread, Squats, and Large Tread. Your final two exercises are done standing: Hip Extension and Eveís Lunge.
Most exercises get 5-10 reps, with a focus on quality over quantity. Marjolein moves through the exercises at a quick pace, especially for an introductory workout. Now that Iím more familiar with the exercises Iím able to get close to or even the exact number of reps in, but when I first got this I was lucky to get about 2/3 of the reps in.
The transitions between exercises are quick, too. As I become more comfortable with my reformer 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). I finally sat there and watched the video and realized that sometimes the video cuts in a different shot of Marjorlein putting the cord in place, for example, rather than showing a continuous shot of Marjolein finishing the previous exercise, sitting up, and reaching over for the cord to put it in place, so no wonder it seems like Marjolein is doing it so much more quickly than is humanly possible. Hey, thatís not fair!
So is this supposed to be a follow-along workout or a demonstration? This video canít quite decide, so it decides to straddle that line, which is unfortunate because this is intended to be someoneís introduction to the Pilates reformer. (At best this would drive someone to live classes and manuals and other videos; at worse it would lead to that reformer gathering dustÖ)

Level: Iíd recommend this to someone whoís already somewhat physically active or who has at least been cleared for physical activity by their doctor. Prior Pilates experience is helpful but not necessary; however, if you are completely new to Pilates, I highly, highly recommend taking at last one session with a qualified live instructor or, if thatís not feasible, supplementing this with additional videos and books.
Normally Iím exercise at the intermediate / advanced level, including for Pilates, but after a year and a half or so of, well, life, Iím closer to the beginner / intermediate level. This provided me with a decent workout at my current level, helping me work back up to my normal strength level while allowing me to get familiar with my new reformer.

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

Music: light, repetitive instrumental music plays in the background. Itís so unmemorable I didnít even realize this had music until I popped this DVD into my computer to write up this review.

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 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.
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. Marjolein shows a modification for reformers like mine that are closer to the floor.

Space Requirements: You need enough space for the reformer plus enough along the side of the reformer to stand with one foot for the final standing moves.

DVD Notes: After the logo comes across the screen, the main menu screen pops up with your two options: The Simple Rules of Body Placement and Introductory Workout for the True Beginner.
My DVD came with my reformer and was included in a DVD case with 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 is the first video Iíve ever used with the Pilates reformer. Iím not sure itís the bestest intro to the Pilates reformer ever. In fact, this has actually inspired me to look into other introductory Pilates reformer videos, although Iím a bit bummed out to find out some others want me also to have some of those extras (the short box, straps, bars, an extender, etc.), stuff I donít quite have yet (time to start saving up some $$). Iím glad I had a Pilates background before tackling this, though.

I was looking through some reviews at another site, where someone talked about how tricky it was to adapt one of this series to the mat. Sorry, but why would you do that when there are so many great videos made specifically for the mat that cost far less than this? 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 doesnít even cue the last side of the last two exercises!) 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 know what youíre supposed to be doing.