Element: Targeted Toning Pilates for Beginners

Elizabeth Ordway
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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I am not in good shape, but would like to get there. I picked up this DVD at Target because it was cheap, pilates looked like something other than yoga, and the workouts were only 20 minutes long.

Even in my current bad shape, I was able to do these workouts without too much of a problem. I did have to put down my extended arms or legs for a few seconds while Elizabeth rested in the extended position. Fortunately, her segues were quick and seamless so I was good to go.

I really liked the voiceover, as opposed to the instructor talking all the time. It was unusual, but nice. The back drop of outdoors is always soothing for me.

Overall, I really like this DVD as it was challenging for me, but not crippling. I know I will feel it in the morning :)



This dvd contains three 20 minute routines. You will not need any equipment for these workouts. The workouts are done in voiceover, with Elizabeth working out alone in front of the Pacific Ocean with beautiful greenery surrounding her.

Long Lean Waistline (23 min): Exercises include: crunch variations, toe taps, bicycle, single leg stretch, and crisscross leg extensions.

Lower Body Lift & Sculpt (21 min): Exercises include: side lying leg circles, kicks and raises. Clam series, inner thigh grasshopper, donkey kick series, and bird dog.

Total Body (21 min): Exercises include: unique arm extension series, hundred, frog leg extensions, single leg bicycle, supine leg cirlces, single leg stretch, swan, saw, and stretches.

These are high beginner or low intermediate routines. Easy to string together for a longer workout. I like Elizabeth & she is obviously knowledgeable about pilates and provides excellent instruction. This is a unique routine that I can def see reaching for again soon. I received this dvd to review.



NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the web site Metapsychology Online Reviews.

Like all of the offerings in the Element series, TARGETED TONING PILATES FOR BEGINNERS is set in an outdoor garden with the ocean as a backdrop. Most of the DVDs in this series feature two workouts, but this video provides three PLUS a bonus abs segment. The practices are led by certified Pilates instructor Elizabeth Ordway, who teaches via voiceover and provides mirrored cuing. The only prop required for these routines is a mat. I have described the workouts in greater detail below.

Ordway begins in a seated position for breathing, lengthening, seated chest expansion, and seated side stretch. Remaining seated, she also performs bicep curls, triceps turns, arm circles, and roll back (light weights could easily be added for these moves). Ordway then transitions to the floor for bridge/single leg bridge. Abs-focused work follows, including abs curl, hundred, face-up frog, roll-ups, single leg bicycles and circles, and scissors. After performing back extensions, Ordway stretches with spine stretch forward and saw and then finishes with rolling like a ball.

LONG & LEAN WAISTLINE (23:10 minutes)
For this abs-focuses routine, Ordway starts with the single leg and double leg stretches to warm up, then continues with a move she calls "barre legs." For the obliques, she performs an oblique crunch and criss-cross. Seated moves include a spine twist and roll-up with rotation. Next, Ordway moves into "elephant" (a.k.a. down dog), pulling in the knees to work the abs. Coming back down to the floor, she performs single leg teaser and single leg rocker prep. The final sequence includes tick-tock, cobra kicks, and in a side kneeling position, leg lifts and passť. Ordway concludes with a mermaid stretch.

LOWER BODY LIFT & SCULPT (21:30 minutes)
This workout starts with a lengthy, thorough side kick series. Ordway includes standard moves such as front/back, up/down, leg circles, and inner thigh lifts, but there are also some lesser-seen exercises, including knee dips, clamshells, and princess kicks. For the last 5-6 minutes of this routine, Ordway performs an all-fours series that includes rear lifts, knee ins, and side karate kicks; between sides, she does a bird-dog, or alternating arm-leg balance, and this is how she concludes the workout.

The section starts with a simple abdominal curl. Ordway gradually ups the challenge, first lifting the feet to chair position and then to raised perpendicular to the ground. Additional crunch versions include four-point crunch and targeted oblique touch. Ordway then moves through criss-cross and single leg extension, and for her "grand finale," she combines these two moves. She finishes with a lying full-body stretch.

I enjoyed these routines. I like adding on Pilates to my other workouts, and so the length of these sessions felt just about perfect to me: Ordway moves along at a nice, measured pace, and the time went by quickly. However, as someone who has been practicing Pilates for over ten years and who considers myself to be at an approximately intermediate level, I disagree with the "for beginners" label of this DVD. Ordway does offer some modifications, particularly during the total body workout, when she performs fewer repetitions and other easier versions of some classic Pilates moves. Otherwise, however, Ordway includes some much more challenging exercises (e.g., corkscrew), and she does not provide the level of instruction that would be necessary for those truly new to Pilates. For this reason, I would take a 1/2 star off my rating and rate the DVD at about 4 1/2 stars, as I would ONLY recommend the DVD for experienced Pilates practitioners and above.

Instructor Comments:
This was my first experience with Elizabeth Ordway, and I thought she did a very good job, although I would have liked just a wee bit more time transitioning between some of the moves.

Beth C (aka toaster)