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The Quick & Dirty Guide to Pilates, Part 1
The Quick Dirty Guide to Pilates Part 1
Actor: Laura Hames
Director: Debdoot Das
2005     2hr 1min

AN AWESOME PILATES DVD FOR ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS If you look around, you may find that The Quick and Dirty Guide to Pilates is an extraordinary workout DVD. It is the world's first multi-angle and programmable DVD. After the...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Laura Hames
Director: Debdoot Das
Studio: Digifilm
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/20/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 1min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Collector's Edition

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Movie Reviews

The one that SERIOUSLY worked
S. Chou | San Jose, CA | 11/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After wreaking havoc on my body playing rugby (followed by a long and sedentary period of recuperation!) I found myself a few pounds too heavy, itching to get off the couch, and looking for a solid, low-impact way to get back in shape. A bit of reading up and asking around led me to a choice of either yoga or pilates. Most other forms of activity were stamped with a big no no from my physical therapist.
I'll have to admit, I wasn't expecting much. Highly skeptical is a good way to put it. I've usually been more of a fan of the high-impact adrenaline-laden competitive sport sort of fitness. Any form of "mat stuff" just seemed boring. Fifteen dollars a class was just out of the question (and slightly ridiculous) so I started looking into DVDs and books. I tried yoga, but I found the poses insanely hard to follow without a live instructor making corrections to my poses. I was probably doing them wrong because I came out of my workouts without ever feeling like anything had been "worked out." Not much of a choice left. Thus began my quest for the perfect pilates regimen. One that would seriously WORK.

I started out with the (as of now!) more popular recommendations on this site. Brooke Siler's pilates book...Pilates for dummies...I borrowed Winsor pilates from a friend... They each had their pros and cons. The most cons being with the pilates books in general. Most of the books have nice intros where they talk about the history of pilates and outline basic techniques. But when it came down to having and actually DOING a good workout it was the same problem I had with yoga- I just couldn't see the poses. The photos-while they looked nice-just didn't offer enough accesible comprehensive instruction. And it was hard to use! Try keeping a pose arms and legs straining while trying to read a book for pointers at the same time. Maybe it's just me but I just couldn't.

In the DVD realm, I found things much easier to follow but of course, all DVDs are not made equal. I don't want to single any particular DVD out to avoid or anything because the truth is that most of the ones I tried were okay. Pilates in general, I found easier to follow than other workouts and free of extra things to invest in like weights or exercise balls. All I really needed was a towel or two. And a TV. (Although if I keep this up I might memorize and not even need that!). I found, though, that as a general rule for DVDs that offer multiple workouts: beginning intermediate etc.- all on one disk...what seemed like a great bang for a buck at the time actually turned out to be more boring and less effective in the long run while harder to follow in the short. I think the amount of disk space needed to cram more than one workout on one disk meant scrimping on in-depth explanation of each movement and much less attention to the (very important!) pilates basics like breathing and posture. I also found that most of those more advanced workouts would be just a repetition of the same mat moves in the previous workouts, with only a few new moves added in. Though this probably isn't an attempt on their part to con the buyer or anything (pilates matwork revolves around a set number of proven movements and they're bound to be repeated from workout to workout), it still made me wonder in the end if they were worth it since the tradeoff is less patient and (I think) less effective overall instruction. Of course, on the flip side the tradeoff to the multiple DVD workout sets is literally, price.

As a newcomer to pilates, especially one without the benefit of having a regular instructor or a big checkbook, it was first and foremost important to me that I would be able to really follow the workout, not just scramble through the movements and render them ineffective. Which brings me to THIS DVD and why, after all this trial and error, I highly highly recommend it:

The INTRO to the pilates basics is in a seperate chapter of its own in the main menu. Easy to skip or return to as necessary. I have seen many explanations of nuetral pelvis and actually, most of them do a fine job but in this DVD, Laura Hames pays added attention to pelvic floor/scoop and breathing as well- something which I found lacking in others.

This attention carries over to The MAT exercises themselves, as she paces the exercises well and takes the time to make sure you're aware of ALL the basics during every exercise- not just some and not just at the beginning of the entire set. While this is extremely important when it comes to posture and spinal alignment (no more injuries!)- this is especially helpful when it comes to breathing because, ironically, it's one of the easiest things to forget to do right! On top of that, every single exercise has an icon you can click on for further explanation.

Other reviewers for this DVD have raved about the extra nifty things this DVD has to offer. This is true, they are extra extra cool and still easy to navigate. There isn't a single fitness DVD out there that lets you program your own workout, you can even set the exercises on shuffle. For people who get bored easily by the same old thing everyday, especially in mat workouts- this is an absolute blessing. As far as pilates goes, there isn't a single DVD out there that lets you see every movement from three angles all at once. I found this very helpful in finally getting to "see" the poses.

The most surprising thing about this DVD, for me, has been its longevity. I'm thankful to be up and running around again but exploring Pilates has somehow improved my posture and my stomach has never felt more fit.... this DVD in particular, made things less boring and really helped me stick with the regimen and I intend to do so. It's easy to follow and it gives results. My apologies- such a long winded review. All in all, this was the best one I've found and this is the one I chose to rave about. new and surprisingly effective. Definitely worth checking out."
For beginners; everyone else needs to wait for "Part Two"
Douglas A. Greenberg | Berkeley, CA USA | 01/21/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"There's lots to like about this innovative excercise DVD. There is a feature that allows the user to customize the workout among the various demonstrated movements, and there also are three different camera angles available. The production quality of the disc is quite good; the menus are easy to follow after perhaps a few moments of initial confusion. The on-screen instructor, Laura Hames, demonstrates the exercises skillfully. The provided music is appropriate, if perhaps a bit monotonous.

However, like some other reviewers, I was surprised at the monolithically gentle, non-strenuous nature of the exercises. A few of the movements might give a user a small taste of what "real" Pilates classes are like, but overall, this seems to incorporate mainly a warmup and a cooldown, while averting the core-strenghtening heart of the workout that buyers might expect.

Only someone who has not exercised at all for years will find this workout truly satisfying. I suspect that the target market for this DVD is, in fact, longtime non-exercisers, and perhaps older adults who are searching for some guidance in regaining some lost strength and flexibility.

People who have taken in-studio Pilates classes know just how taxing these can be (in a good way, of course). Perhaps in "Part Two" of the Quick and Dirty Guide To Pilates, Debdoot Das and Laura Hames will provide more of a taste of what Pilates is about."
A great interactive guide
Manny Hernandez | Bay Area, CA | 11/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In a brilliant follow-up to "The Quick and Dirty Guider to Salsa", producer, director and editor Debdoot Das brings us a DVD for those interested in learning about Pilates in an interactive fashion. Know how most DVDs offer a ton of extras, bonus items and documentaries that complement the main "feature"? How about taking the main feature and showing it to you in a ton of different ways, for you to make the most of it? This is where this DVD Guide to Pilates excels.

Indeed the ability to view all the exercises from different angles is fantastic, considering that you can get more detail for some of them from different angles. The same applies to sound and your ability to turn it on and off, if you'd rather practice to your own music once you've learned the instructions provided. You can also dive deeper into the exercises, if you choose to, by obtaining more details about them. But perhaps coolest of all interactive features is the ability to set up a personalized series of exercises, to perform. I cannot think of any other DVD series that exploits the interactive possibilities of this medium more than the ones that Debdoot Das puts together. Highly recommendable for its adaptability and high quality."
DVD was *invented* for discs like this
Ian Shepherd | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm deeply impressed by the technical excellence of this disc. I got it for my wife and she loves it, because of being able to programme your own routine and see each exercise from a different angle. But, as a DVD author myself, I can appreciate how much work is needed to achieve these results, and I have to say it's a real pleasure to see the format being stretched and exploited in this way. Because it's so well done, the disc is simplicity itself to use, but there's a mass of seriously clever stuff going on behind the scenes. A playlist capability like this is *very* complex to create, especially in multi-angle. For those who are interested, there's even a demo of the software they used to make the DVD actually on the disc, and instructions showing how to hack in and see it all working. Apparently the same formula can be applied to other discs very easily, so hopefully there will be many more titles made in the same way because it's on a different level to anything else that's available. The presentation of the DVD is excellent, the production standards are extremely high, and all in all it makes a superb teaching tool. The only thing I don't like is the name - there's nothing quick or dirty about it !"