Just B Live! Pilates Express

Bernadette Giorgi
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Pilates/Core Strength

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his DVD was my first experience with Pilates instructor Berndadette Giorgi. I was mainly interested in this DVD because it offered three short routines; I like to do Pilates as add-ons, so this was perfect for me. As the title suggests, Giorgi teaches these classes live: she is on a platform in front of 2-3 students with a mural of a nature scene behind her. Although she uses a different piece of equipment in each workout (as well as added dumbbell in the ring routine), Giorgi stresses that the props are NOT necessary (it would have been nice if one of the participants had showed modifications without props, but this does not occur). I found the music a bit odd, as it sounded like the theme to a cheesy 80s TV show, but once we got going, I mostly didn't notice it.

The Main Menu provides the option to choose one of the three workouts. I have given an overview of each below.

STABILITY BALL (22.5 minutes)
Giorgi cautions not to have the ball overfilled for this segment. She begins seated, started with simple breathing and then using the ball for some side and rear stretches. Coming down to the floor, she places the heels on the ball for some v-sit work and bridge hovers--the latter progresses into a bridge with kick, a challenging move that I could not do! She also does work with the ball between the calves, such as leg lowers and crunches. In addition, Giorgi holds the ball in her hands for roll-ups, half v-sits (tough!), and scissor kicks. One of the final moves is roll-downs with the feet back on the ball, and then Giorgi finishes seated with saw and mermaid stretches.

RESISTANCE TUBE (25.5 minute)
I've done Pilates with a resistance band before, but this was the first time I've used tubing, and I liked it better; the handles make the tubing easier to control than the band. Giorgi again begins seated with breathing, stretching the neck and shoulders and then using the band to perform additional arm and neck stretches. Placing the feet in the handles of the band, she moves through a series of exercises, including leg lowers and alternating kicks. With one foot in the band, Giorgi does side leg drops and pelvic lifts. Next, she holds the band around the feet for situps. Returning to the feet in the handles, Giorgi completes frog and scissors; the band then goes back under the feet for swan and bicep curls. The final seated stretch mainly targets the shoulders from this position.

PILATES RING (28 minutes)
Giorgi mainly uses the ring during the first half of this routine; for a few moves, she suggests the option of adding a 2-4# dumbbell. The brief warm-up includes breathing and shoulder rolls. Giorgi then places the ring between the legs (just above the ankles) for the Pilates 100 and leg drops. Moving the ring between the knees, she performs pelvic raises. Then, returning the ring to between the ankles and adding the optional dumbbell behind the head, she goes into a crunch series. Following this, she holds the ring between her hands for single and double leg circles. Again using two props, she performs roll downs, and then no props are used for rolling, balance leg lifts, and the saw. Continuing without the props, Giorgi concludes this routine with the side series (little circles, up/down, big circles, mermaid stretch) and final stretches (butterfly, saddle), ending with breathing.

For the most part, I enjoyed these workouts. I exercise daily and consider myself to be at about an intermediate level in Pilates, and these routines were just about right for my level--although some moves, especially in the stability ball workout, were too tough for me. Giorgi provides very good form pointers, but she doesn't offer much in the way of actual instruction, so I would not recommend this DVD for Pilates beginners; these routines seem to be designed for those at an intermediate level or above. Overall, I would recommend this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
I liked Bernadette's instruction, as I found her to have a pretty laid-back vibe. She also provided mirrored cuing, which was nice. As noted above, her instruction is not detailed enough for beginners, but even as someone who is experienced in Pilates, I found some of her form reminders to be helpful.

Beth C (aka toaster)