Foam Roller Core Workout

Bernadette Giorgi
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Abs/Core , Pilates/Core Strength , Foam Roller

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This dvd contains a 52 min foam roller workout and a 27 minute mat sculpt workout. Bernadette leads this live class on a small stage with an awesome nature background. There are 4 students working out in the class and you will need a foam roller, a light dumbbell or weighted ball.

Foam Roller: after breathing work and a stretch, you move into foam roller work: the hundred, toe drops, situps, leg scissors, oblique crunches, leg circles, roll over, bridge, bug, bicycle, helicopter, saw, mermaid, and knee pull ins. Bernadette does a great job of using the roller in a variety of ways to really enhance the core work!

Mat Sculpt: exercises include; weighted situps, weighted saw, core work with the ball between your knees or feet, bridge, leg drops, crisscross, bicycle, single leg stretch, teaser, rollups, and a final stretch. Bernadettes varied use of the ball or light weight really adds to the work making this fun, unique, and effective.

I rate these intermediate workouts. Using the foam roller def adds a nice balance challenge and ensures that you are really hitting your core! Bernadette is a great instructor with a pleasant demeanor and excellent cuing. Interspersed stretching and breaks for instruction allow you to give each move your all. The non-rushed pace allows for exercisers of all levels to enjoy this workout. I received this dvd to review.



This DVD presents two Pilates-inspired core-centered workouts: A 51-minute routine incorporating a foam roller, and a bonus 27-minute routine which uses two light weights. It is one of Bernadette’s Just B Live! 3-DVD set.

Both workouts are led by Bernadette Giorgi, instructing live before a “class” (four women in the foam roller workout, and two in the weights workout). Bernadette is on a raised platform set up in front of a wallpapered forest scene – the effect is low-tech but nice. There really isn’t much music to speak of. I think there is a boom box playing music off-camera, but it kind of peters out in the middle of the longer foam roller workout (like someone forgot to change CDs?). What’s there is very soft and bland. Too bad, as I really enjoyed the unusual music choices featured in Bernadette’s earlier Pilates Power Ball Sculpt DVD.

Although the cover claims this DVD is “For Beginners and All Fitness Levels,” a prior familiarity with Pilates exercises and some pre-existing core strength would be best for getting the most from these routines and for avoiding injury.

Both workouts are done barefoot. Besides a mat, for the main workout you will want a full-length foam roller about 31” long – the shorter ones won’t work well for this routine. By the way, although Bernadette sneaks in a couple of massage moves, this workout mainly uses the foam roller to intensify the exercise, usually by challenging stability, and not for massage or myofascial release. The bonus weights routine requires two light weights. Bernadette uses one weighted ball and one light dumbbell, and I suggest you try to do the same. Although she says to “just use whatever you have” as far as weights, for some of the moves the weighted ball will be safer and more comfortable. Both routines could be done without the equipment, but to my mind that defeats the whole purpose of this DVD.

The two routines are separately chaptered on the main menu. During the routines there are chapter points at 10-minute intervals (not keyed to exercise groups).

As in her previous DVDs, Bernadette presents in a soft-spoken, reserved manner, but with the presence of the class we see flashes of quiet humor as well (“We’ll do the other leg next week,” she announces, straight-faced, after completing the first half of a difficult exercise). Her demonstration and instruction are quite clear.

Here’s a breakdown of each routine (I’m not a Pilates expert, so I apologize if I’ve mis-named any exercises):

-Foam Roller Workout- (51 minutes):
A seated warm-up includes shoulder rolls, neck stretches, and side and front stretches using the roller. Moving to lying supine atop the roller, we do hundreds, toe dips with legs in table, and roll-ups (quite challenging on the foam roller!). With straight legs we do leg lowers and circles, then this section concludes with rollovers. Bridge work follows with the roller repositioned to under the feet, then stretches for hips and hamstrings. Moving the roller to under the tailbone, we do double leg lowers, toe dips with legs in a diamond shape, bicycle and helicopter. Bernadette returns the roller to under the feet for a version of the saw, then to her side to intensify mermaid stretch. A couple of prone back-strengthening exercises are followed by a series of pike-type moves done kneeling, then standing, on the roller (in the future I’ll try these on my stability ball instead!). Next is a series of crunch variations using the roller in various positions – some of these felt awkward, but I did like the one where the roller was under the mid-back (wonderful stretch!). Lying sideways, Bernadette positions the roller under the hip for first a stretch/massage move, then a short set of inner thigh lifts. Floor stretches done without the roller conclude this workout.

-“Mat Sculpt” Workout- (27 minutes):
This routine features mostly classic Pilates exercises (with an occasional twist), except Bernadette incorporates one or two weights to intensify the exercises (e.g. a weighted ball squeezed between the knees or ankles, a dumbbell held behind the head or at the chest). After warming up with forward bends we start with the saw, roll-ups, and a crunch variation (the “Coordination”?), knee drops, and bridge work. Bernadette next combines a crunch with leg circles, then another crunch variation with legs in a diamond shape. After a froggy stretch, we go into jackknifes, criss-cross, and single leg stretch. Bernadette next announces “I feel a teaser coming on!” but does them without weights. Unweighted leg circles and leg pulls follow, and then it is time for closing stretches.

Bottom Line: This DVD presents two pretty nice core-centered routines, especially if you enjoy your Pilates with a twist. The equipment used in each routine does up the intensity. The foam roller routine is a little long to do regularly in its entirety IMHO, but in the future I plan to end it after the pike series which will make it a more usable length as a core workout for my purposes. I enjoy the weights routine just as it is.

The Just B Live DVDs are available at Collage, Total Fitness, and Amazon.

Instructor Comments:
Bernadette Giorgi has a background in martial arts and dance. She presents in an elegant, soft-spoken manner, and offers very good form pointers. Her website is