The Bottom Line
- Mari Winsor's characteristic "lets-have-fun-and-work-out" attitude
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Exercises do address different muscle groups and types of activities
- Uses more variety than reps
- Includes a bonus download: express abs
- No warm up
- Low on Pilates form cues
- Low on safety cues
- Three 20-minute workouts:
- "Slim and Sculpt Hip Routine"
- "Trim and Tone Thigh Routine"
- "Lift and Sculpt Glute Workout"
Guide Review - Mari Winsor Lower Body Pilates DVD Review
When I met Mari Winsor, I asked her for a short message to bring back to my readers. Basically, what she said was, "Have fun." Pilates can seem like the rocket science of fitness (I'm afraid I'm guilty of promoting that), and yet what I've always liked about Winsor Pilates DVDs is that there is a not-too-serious, let's-just-get-moving quality about them. True to form, in Lower Body Pilates, Winsor's you-can-do-it, just-tone-your-butt attitude makes me think I could tolerate one or two of these 20-minute workouts a few days a week and see some improvement in my figure.
Winsor has been teaching Pilates to celebrities and figure fanatics in Hollywood for a long time. In the process, it seems she's figured out just about every mat exercise to tone the butt and thighs. They are definitely not all what I think of as Pilates exercises. There are plenty of made-up variations and butt and thigh exercises one finds in regular exercise classes. However, Winsor has incorporated a number of traditional Pilates mat exercises into Lower Body Pilates, and she effectively adapts some exercises that you might be familiar with from Pilates equipment as well. I really liked that part.
This DVD, like the other Winsor Pilates DVDs I've reviewed, such as Super Sculpting and Slimming Pilates, comes in at an intermediate fitness level. This is not the DVD for you if you are really out of shape. On the other hand, it is not hard to follow, so if you are just getting back into exercise after a break you could give it a go.
I think 20 minutes per workout is appropriate for area-focused workouts. However, there was an unfortunate sacrifice of warm-up time. It bothered me that in the first workout, Winsor goes into quick side-bends and spinal twists before any kind of general warm-up. Those with back issues should generally be very cautious with these workouts.
I actually think the order of the workouts would be better in reverse. If you are going to do all of them, do the last one, the "Lift and Sculpt Glute Workout," first as it works big, strong muscle groups and gets the body warm. Do "Slim and Sculpt Hip Routine" last as it has the most ab and spine challenge. I also like the glute workout best because it has the most Pilates technique cues, which sets you up to do the other routines safely and effectively.
While Joseph Pilates did say that if you have certain areas that need strengthening, do extra exercise for that, his method is really more about uniform development of the whole body, and a conscious integration of body, mind and spirit through the Pilates principles. This DVD is a little more "I just want my butt and thighs to look toned." It does, however have enough Pilates sensibility to keep it in the realm.
I gave Lower Body Pilates as many stars as I did because it does what it sets out to do - butt and thigh exercises with some Pilates, does it with a lighthearted style and is reasonably safe. If you are going to do Pilates fusion, Mari Winsor is a good choice, and I did find these routines strengthening. I think they helped me in an advanced Pilates chair class I like to take.
What it means to get in shape with Pilates.
It is interesting to note that this is not a Winsor Pilates production, as are so many Mari Winsor products. This DVD is produced by Gaiam and is available on their website. Gaiam has incorporated a large fitness section into their Gaiam TV project, where you can find other Winsor DVD titles available as streaming video. This one will probably be available there as well.
More about Gaiam and other Pilates classes online.