I’ve been interested in Pilates for a while now, but lack the cash to take classes. Plus, I’ve become addicted to working out in my apartment. This week I picked up two DVDs from local libraries (I have library cards for Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Francisco and San Jose … they all have their perks).
The first, Romana’s Pilates, seems to be more in the old-school Joseph Pilates style (though they spell his name “Joesph”). There are a few short vids about breathing and technique, then Romana, a 60s-ish supposed direct disciple of the man himself, works a guy in an embarrassingly tight shiny jumpsuit through the moves. More helpful was the next section, with voice over instructions about breathing, timing, and general how-tos. A woman named Kathi takes us through the hundred, corkscrew, saw, swan dives, and a number of other classic moves. It’s pretty easy to follow, though each exercise moves quickly into the next. Though it was short (15 minutes?) I was sweating by the end.
Verdict: a good video for those experienced in Pilates, particularly those who can clap their hands and feet at the same time from a plank position (wtf?!)
Next up, this Pilates DVD from Gaiam. Gaiam makes some good yoga mats, so I figured this would be decent. The setting of this vid is pretty idyllic and makes you wish you were also doing your morning workout on an isolated wooden platform by the edge of the ocean, in what looks like Hawaii. Jillian Hessel leads you through some gentle breathing exercises on a chair, before moving to the mat for some more typical pilates exercises. This video is lower in intensity, but very helpful for getting the timing of the breathing right and learning how to ‘scoop’ the abdomen. I used this as a warm-up for the Romana workout, and it was just right.
Verdict: great, easy-to-follow introduction to Pilates. Low-intensity.