Prevention Slim, Strong, & Firm

Lara Hudson
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Ballet/Barre, Pilates/Core Strength

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I recently came across this DVD at a used book sale. I've been trying to add more Pilates workouts into my fitness schedule, and shorter routines particularly appeal to me, so this Prevention offering seemed to be what I wanted. According to the DVD cover, this was a "Dance & Pilates Kit" (I assume the "Kit" referred to the inclusion of the band, which I did not receive because I purchased my copy used) which would target both my abs and my entire body. It contained two routines, "Pilates Core" and "Ballet Core." Since I enjoy both of these workout styles, I decided to purchase the DVD.

In the short Introduction by instruction Lara Hudson, she describes this DVD as being a blend of Pilates and dance (I assume that by "dance" she meant "ballet"--there is no other type of dance on the DVD). On the Main Menu, I was surprised to find that in addition to the options for the Pilates Core Workout and the Ballet Core Workout, there were separate selections for both a Warm-Up (6 minutes) and a Cool-Down (6.5 minutes). This seemed like a waste of time to me: the workouts themselves are relatively short (just over 15 minutes), so if you were to do both the Warm-Up and the Cool-Down, you'd be almost DOUBLING the length of the workout! Plus (as I'll discuss in great detail below), these routines are not very intense AT ALL and thus have no need of an independent warm-up and cool-down.

I've described each segment in great detail below.

*WARM-UP* (6 minutes)
Hudson teaches the workout live with two background exercisers, Kelly and Catherine, who shows modifications. The warm-up is performed standing and begins with roll-downs. Hudson then moves into a series of shoulder, elbow, and arm rolls in both directions. She also performs plies with arm movements, an inner thigh stretch to a runner's lunge, and finishes with a body swing.

This routine is performed entirely on the floor, as it consists of traditional Pilates matwork. Hudson and Catherine use the band, whereas Kelly uses light hand weights (Hudson recommends 1-3 lbs.). For EVERY move, Hudson first talks about how to set up with the band, then how to modify with the hand weights; this takes time and gets rather tedious. The moves here include the hundred, a lying version of the spine twist, a version of the double leg stretch called the double leg x, the single leg circle, scissor, seated spine twist with tricep and single leg extension, side leg series, starfish extension, and, on the stomach: side arm extensions and breast stroke. I found many of the moves VERY awkward to execute with the band; I did like the routine a bit better when I tried it with the weights.

*BALLET CORE WORKOUT* (18 minutes)
This routine is performed standing, again using the band or light weights. Most of the moves were more similar to the Pilates standing series than ballet. The exercises include plie with hug-a-tree arms, demi plie with arm extension, standing spine twist with leg extension, lunge with biceps, reach forward toes back, tricep presses, squat twist, helicopter, quad extension, diagonal reach, rear lift, swan stretch, and sunrise stretch. Overall, this segment felt too easy to be effective.

*COOL-DOWN* (6.5 minutes)
Again, a "cool-down" seems completely unnecessary for a non-aerobic, fairly easy workout; to call this segment a "stretch" might have been somewhat more appropriate, as that's basically what Hudson does here. She begins lying on the back for bridge pose with arm circles, then moves into a Figure 4 stretch. She comes onto hands and knees for some cat/cow stretches, eventually making her way back to standing for an "around the world" stretch.

I think that at best, the routines on this DVD are probably appropriate for someone at an advanced beginner level. I have been doing Pilates for years and am intermediate to advanced, and this DVD was MUCH too easy for me. When I tried using dumbbells for the first routine (I actually used 5 lbs.), that was a little better, but overall, I still did not enjoy the workout. Perhaps this DVD would appeal to an older audience (is that the goal of Prevention Systems?), but I'm in my mid-40s and didn't like it, so I can't recommend it.

Instructor Comments:
Lara does an okay job as an instructor, although I found her style a bit too "teacher-like" (the only way I can think to describe it) for my liking. Also, as I noted above, it takes her overly long to set up each move because she provides instructions for both using the band and the hand weights.

Beth C (aka toaster)