10 Minute Solution: Tighten & Tone Pilates

Lara Hudson
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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NOTE: I received a free review copy of this DVD from the distributor.

This was only the second DVD that I have tried from instructor Lara Hudson. (The first was Prevention Slim, Strong & Firm, which I did not like at all, as it felt like too much of a mish-mash of styles.) Here, Hudson presents a Pilates DVD as part of the 10 Minute solution series. Like all of the 10 Minute Solution videos, this DVD contains five 10-minute workouts, each of which can be used as either a stand-alone routine or combined with the other segments to provide a customizable workout experience. The only equipment needed for these routines is the included resistance band and a yoga/Pilates mat.

The typical 10 Minute Solutions menu has been somewhat updated here, adding the menu option "Instructions on How to Create Custom Workout." Otherwise, there are options to "Play All," "Play One Workout," or to select a custom workout routine from the following five segments: Tightened & Toned Core, Defined Arms & Shoulders, Trim & Slim Lower Body, Total Body Toner, and Long & Lean Stretch. For all of the routines, Hudson is exercising alone, teaching live in a well-lit studio. I have broken down each segment below.

Hudson begins lying with the band criss-crossed over and behind her shins. From here, she performs the classic Pilates hundred move, 5 breaths in, 5 breaths out. Keeping the band in the same position, she moves on to tick tock and then toe dips, first focusing the latter on the lower abs, then adding the arms to target the upper abs as well. Placing the band around the feet (it has to go over the toes to remain in place), Hudson moves into seated hip rolls, adding in a rotation and then a pulsing move. Next comes the double leg X, adding leg pulses to this. Again keeping the band in the same position, Hudson rolls into table top and then into teaser, moving into two variations (rolling teaser and twisting teaser). She concludes this segment with a full roll-up, adding a small backbend at the top.

Hudson states that this all-standing segment is based on standing ballet moves. She begins with the band around her waist for hug-a-tree, adding in small arm circles, a plie, and releve. This is followed by the spine twist with a leg kick. Moving to a grand plie position, Hudson performs plies with a scapular rotation and then plies with a small standing backbend. Next comes standing balance work: placing the band under one foot, Hudson moves through bicep leg kicks, rear kicks with single arm raise, bicep curl, and back leg raise, repeating the entire series on the second side. She concludes with a standing roll-up, adding a releve to the end of the move.

For this section, Hudson starts kneeling with the band under the knees for hug-a-tree and arm circles (arms front). This is followed by chest expansion with triceps kickbacks. Moving the band to under one knee only, Hudson does a series which includes draw the sword, shoulder press, and several moves in side plank (arm press, hip dips, hip pulse). Returning to a standing position, Hudson moves through plie forward, releve back, and then she finishes with reverse hug-a-tree, adding in a rotation. Although there were some nice moves in this segment, I found it to be a bit overly focused on the shoulders.

Here Hudson starts by criss-crossing the band over and behind her thighs for parallel bridge variations; she performs lifts, single leg lifts, and leg circles. Holding the band around her thighs, Hudson transitions to a side-lying position for clam, adding a kick and leg lifts. Next comes a turned out bridge series, again perform lifts, single leg lifts, and pulses. This is followed by a sequence of side plank leg kicks that felt a bit awkward. Hudson finishes this routine with a brief stretch in butterfly. To me, it felt like Hudson tried to get a bit TOO creative with the band in this section; I missed the more traditional Pilates side kick series to work the thighs and glutes.

The stretch segment has more of a yoga-like than Pilates feel to it. Using the band over one foot, Hudson begins the routine segment with a reclined leg stretch series. Next comes a seated single leg hamstring stretch (head-to-knee pose) moving into what Hudson calls "half lotus" but which is actually more like firelog pose, a hip opener. Then she does what she calls "cat/cow with a twist," but this stretch is traditionally called kneeling thread the needle. Moving into three-legged down dog, Hudson performs a hip stretch in this position (she does not use the band here). Coming to standing, she holds the band in her hands for an around the world stretch and finishes with a shoulder stretch.

Overall, I thought that Hudson did a nice job with these workouts. I definitely think she made better use of the band than in another 10 Minute Solution Pilates DVD, 10 Minute Solution: Slim & Sculpt Pilates. However, as noted above, I thought that the arms segment focused too heavily on the shoulders and that the lower body segment didn't target the thighs and glutes as effectively as the Pilates side kick moves. Otherwise, I did enjoy these routines, and I would recommend this DVD.

NOTE: My only other complaint about this DVD had to do with the included band: it was a little on the thin side, and at times, it stuck to itself and bunched up, forcing me to pause in the middle of the workout. The included instructions suggested sprinkling the band with baby/talcum, which I tried, and it helped somewhat. However, the band still slips frequently, especially when positioned around the toes (which is not particularly comfortable for me and predisposes me to foot cramps).

Instructor Comments:
I had a really bad feeling about Lara after trying her Prevention DVD--I had such an instant dislike for that video!--but I have to admit, she does a nice job with this workout. She mirror cues, and her instruction is generally at a nice, measured pace.

Beth C (aka toaster)


Lara leads this workout in an open set on a round pedestal. You will only need the included exercise band for this workout. Each 10 minute solution can be played alone or you can mix & match to create a custom workout.

Tightened & Tone Core: This floor pilates core routine includes the hundred, top taps, roll downs, teaser adding rotation, X crunches, and knee drops.

Defined Arms & Shoulders: Lara begins with kneeling work: hug a tree, arm circles, tri work, sword & military press before moving to side plank w/ arm raises adding a hip drop. Standing work includes: w/ a front to side raise. back fly, torso twist w/ static arms & a shoulder hold.

Trim & Slim Lower Body: Lara begins with a bridge series adding in leg circles, then moves to a side lying leg lift series. She concludes with side plank with kick outs.

Total Body: This is standing ballet inspired pilates routine. Exercises include: pliet relavets, spinal twists and arm circles, balance stick & arm extensions, kick & tri work, bi curls with rear leg extensions.

Long & Lean Stretch: I usually dont do the stretch segments of dvds but decided to give this one a try and I was impressed. She covers almost every muscle group in a short amount of time and using the band really increased the effectiveness of the stretches. You start with lying lower body stretches, move into seated upper & lower body stretches & conclude with standing side, & shoulder stretches.

Iím a fan of Lara & of 10 Minute Solutions so it is no surprise that I really enjoyed this. Love the use of the band & Lara really does a great job of utilizing it for most every exercise. She is a very knowledgeable instructor with a confident & comfortable instruction style. Definitely has a place in my fitness library and will get a lot of use. I received this dvd to review.