Three nice Pilates programs geared to a variety of different
Beth Cholette | Upstate NY USA | 09/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains three workouts, AM Pilates, PM Pilates, and Energy Boost Pilates. I've given descriptions of each of the individual programs below.
AM Pilates is sort of an odd blend. On the one hand, instructor Jillian Hessell spends a lot of time focused on the breath, which would be very helpful to Pilates beginners. Furthermore, she provides a rather abbreviated mat sequence--for example performing "50s" instead of the tradional hundred exercise and doing only two quick side series exercises. On the other hand, she does not give much detailed instruction about form, shows no modifications, and performs a few of the exercises at a very quick pace, including the criss-cross and swan dive, which would make this workout more ideally suited to advanced beginners or lower intermediates (most likely on a light day). The DVD breaks the workout into three segments, Breathing, Matwork, and Centering. The Breathing segment, about 4.5 minutes long, is performed seated in a chair, and it includes both breathing instruction and a few simple stretches. The 16.5 minute Matwork sequence begins with a controlled sit-down and roll-back. A band is used to modify the roll-up and single leg cirlces, and few repetitions are performed for the exercises. Finally, the workout concludes with a 3-minute Centering section, which involves additional breathing instruction, basic stretches, and a tiptoe balance, all in a standing position. This 26-minute workout would probably be best suited to Pilates beginners who have some prior familiarity with the Pilates exercises and are looking for a relatively basic workout.
Ana Caban's PM Pilates is designed as an evening Pilates routine to help you wind down and de-stress at the end of the day. It's perfect for this purpose (although a bit too strenuous to be used right before bedtime), but it would also serve well as an energizing routine in the a.m. or almost any time. Ana begins the workout in a seated position to perform several neck stretches. She then moves to the floor for a traditional Pilates mat series, starting with the hundred. Although Ana mostly follows classic Pilates sequencing, some of the more difficult moves (e.g., rollover) are left out, and other moves are done in a modified form (i.e., a rolling prep and an open-legged rocker prep instead of the full movements). Despite these modifications, the routine is still challenging: she does a higher number of repetitions than usual (particularly with the series of five, or stomach series), and the workout proceeds along at a steady, moderately quick clip. There is a concentration on abs moves, as Ana skips the side kick series, Pilates push-ups, and other full-body moves; personally, I liked this, but those who prefer a more complete matwork program might not. The mermaid and a standing stretch bring the routine in at 25 minutes. This was my favorite of the three workouts on the DVD, as it is well-suited to my intermediate level.
Energy Boost Pilates, also taught by Ana Caban, is kind of different in that it begins in a standing position with a few aerobic-type moves such as jogs, knee lifts, jumping jacks, and jumping lunges. This segment is very quick--no more than 1-2 minutes--and is designed to warm you up, but you could easily skip it if needed. Ana then proceeds to the floor for some traditional Pilates matwork moves. She leads you quickly through reclined exercises such as the hundred, the roll-up, and part of the stomach series. Moving to a seated position, Ana then performs an additional series of moves, a few of which I had never seen before (and I've done A LOT of Pilates videos). Then it's a quick stretch and you're done, for a total of about 11 minutes. This practice struck me as sort-of a shorter, more fast-moving version of PM Pilates; it's a nice alternative for getting in a full-body Pilates workout in a limited amount of time.
Overall, this DVD contains a nice variety of practices that would be appropriate for experienced beginner to intermediate Pilates practitioners."