After a few rounds of this workout DVD, we call Judge Diane Wild "Unconscious Pilate."
A total body workout to condition your core, boost your metabolism and release tension.
I can't walk to the grocery store without passing several Pilates studios along the way, or flip through channels without coming across another Pilates informercial. Though stemming from the work of Joseph Pilates in the early part of the 20th century, its current popularity is partly due to its celebrity endorsement, partly due to the relative ease of the mat-based form. In Jennifer Kries' Pilates Method: Perfect Mix, only a mat is required, and the exercises don't rely on complex choreography, brute strength, or endless endurance. Combining pilates with yoga and dance, Kries' workout is challenging but gentle. The goal is long, lean muscles, cardiovascular benefits, increased flexibility, and tension release.
The DVD was remastered from videos shot several years ago, and there is no attempt to add glitz or glamour to the production. The DVD menu and graphics have their own brand of classic '80s cheese factor, but the meat of the disc, in the studio with Kries, is sparse and serious. An introduction plays automatically, with a stiff Kries, obviously reading cue cards, explaining the philosophy of her workout. The menu appears with four choices: Core Conditioning, Metabolic Booster, Metabolic Booster (no dialogue), and AM/PM Rejuvenation. Kries gives clear instructions on how to perform each move and offers modified exercises to allow for different fitness levels.
In Core Conditioning and AM/PM Rejuvenation, which center on breathing, stretching, and resistance training, Kries is alone in the studio with only background elevator music to accompany her instructions. Metabolic Booster combines more dance and aerobic moves with some weight training, has four additional participants to allow Kries to demonstrate proper technique, and is set to rhythmic guitar music—in the background in the first option, but more motivationally loud in the no-dialogue option.
This is not a personality-driven, motivational DVD with a driving pop music score for added zip. Kries shows little emotion, but she obviously knows what she's doing. A dancer, choreographer, and Pilates expert, Kries has won kudos from Shape, Fitness, and New York Magazines. More importantly, the workout itself is enjoyable even without the hype of a media-savvy trainer at its helm.
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