Video Fitness

Pilates for Wimps

Annika Carlson

Given that I have been practicing Pilates for several years now, I thought this video might be too easy for me, but I decided to give it a shot. What I found is that this is a nice, 31 minute Pilates routine which is likely to appeal to a wide range of Pilates students. The workout is led by Annika Carlson, whose gung-ho enthusiasm reminded me of another famous Pilates instructor, Mari Winsor. Annika is assisted by Jamie, who shows modifications of the exercises with the help of a chair, pillow, and towel.

Annika begins the workout with a 3-minute standing warmup (squats, pelvic tucks, neck turns, and arm swings) before moving to the floor to begin an 18-minute segment of Pilates matwork. She starts with the classic Pilates hundred and moves on to many of the traditional exercises of the Pilates matwork series, including some from the stomach series (which she calls "belly busters"). She also includes the side kick series performed from a kneeling position, which might be a bit challenging to those who do not yet have much core strength.

Following the matwork, Annika returns to a standing position for an additional 7 minutes of standing Pilates movements. I recognized many of these exercises from the Pilates standing arm series, and next time, I will try doing this section with light hand weights. This segment ends with three short sets of Pilates push-ups before moving into a 3-minute stretch to finish.

Overall, I really liked this program. There is enough explanation and modifications for those new to Pilates, yet the workout flows smoothly enough that those more advanced like myself will still get a good workout. This video would be ideal for someone who wants to try a full range of Pilates exercises (ie, not just the matwork). Although prior Pilates experience is not necessary, because some of the moves are challenging (even with the modifications), I think this practice would be best suited to those who already exercise regularly but who want to add Pilates into their routine.

Instructor comments: As I said, Annika reminded me of Mari Winsor--she had the same sort of almost fake-seeming enthusiasm combined with a use of very flowery language and silly analogies. However, she provided very good cueing and worked well with her assistant Jamie--she always gave Jamie enough time to set up any props before moving on to the next exercise.

Beth C (aka toaster)

November 21, 2004

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