Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?
A popular fitness blogger, Lisa Johnson has a winning personality online and it carries over onto the screen. I immediately felt comfortable in her class, albeit a DVD class. Lisa keeps the energy light and encouraging, and she has a knack for making you feel like she's with you which is a great quality in a Pilates DVD.
The cover of this DVD says that it is for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. So I put it to my Pilates beginner test. I did it with my sweetheart who, while not a total novice (he has lived with me for sixteen years) does Pilates at a beginner level. He gave up after about ten minutes. The issues were that the pace was too fast and the verbal cues were not clear enough for a beginner to follow. Also, while there were 3 people demonstrating, one for each level, the person demonstrating the beginner level really wasn't clear on beginner modifications for the exercises. So I'm going to say this DVD is not for real beginners.
I also suggest that while it's a fine mat workout, there is nothing exceptional here for advanced practitioners. The cues are not for advanced work and the demonstrations are not really advanced. On the other hand, if you need someone to put you through the paces, Lisa Johnson is a great choice.
I think this Pilates mat workout DVD will appeal to those of you at an intermediate level if: You basically know what you are doing. You are fit enough to move along at a good pace, and you want a workout that lets you know you've really done something. You want a traditionally based Pilates mat workout, and you like some variety and a focus on sculpting. Add this DVD workout to your classes and you will get stronger, no doubt.
Notes on the Workout
There is a short introduction to the concepts of neutral spine and imprinting offered on this DVD. If you are not familiar with these ideas, do watch it. Lisa explains the neutral spine aspect well. However, here and in the workout portion, Lisa refers to pelvic floor muscles as Kegels, as in "Kegels lift...", as if Kegels were an anatomical part. Kegels are an intense, isolated squeeze of the pelvic floor named after Dr. Kegel. I don't think a Kegel is always called for in a basic Pilates exercise, though we do want to allow the pelvic floor to engage.
The DVD is a fifty minute Pilates mat workout. There are plenty of traditional Pilates mat exercises here as well as a number of extras for special toning. A rather long section of exercises all done on the belly, which makes them all in extension, made me wish for a little more alternation between flexion and extension, but the exercises are good arm, leg and butt toners. Just keep in mind if you buy this one that you have to protect your back and maybe take a quick flexion break and then return to the sequence.
$19.99 for DVD or Digital Download.