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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pilates DVD reviews: get those abs back in shape!

So you gained some holiday pounds? What's a girl to do?

Well, besides running, which is not for everyone, I've been checking out my library's collection of fitness DVDs. Some of them have been downright laughable, and some of them I wish I'd found years ago. Like these three pilates DVDs: Pilates Beginning Mat Workout and Pilates Intermediate Workout with Ana Caban, and 10 Minute Solutions: Pilates with Lara Hudson. Pilates is definitely my favorite way to workout my abs, and just doing it once a week can give you great posture and maintain your abdominal muscles.

Pilates Beginning Mat Workout with Ana Caban
This is the DVD I wish I'd found when I first started doing Pilates. It's really straightforward, with both the modified poses and the actual poses shown on screen at the same time. Caban is a good instructor who manages to be upbeat without being super annoying. The only complaint is that after a couple of weeks it takes too long in between exercises, which just means it's time for:
Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout with Ana Caban. This workout is definitely a step up from the beginning workout, but still shows the modified poses for all the moves. It adds in a few new moves that are trickier, and keeps my favorites in (like The Seal! Ark-Ark, indeed!) It's definitely tough though, so save it until you've done some pilates; I would not recommend starting with this, or even starting with it after a long break from pilates. Your abs will thank you.

10 Minute Solutions: Pilates with Lara Hudson
This is a great DVD for when you're pressed for time. While it's not all pilates, the other workouts are unique and really effective, so I'm not going to complain. The Pilates for Abs is the closest the classic pilates, if you're just looking for a quick session of pilates. The pilates for flexibility segment is a genius stretching routine. I've used it after running instead of my standard stretches, and I love it. It focuses everywhere. And the pilates sculpt set is really just arm toning, and is one of the most effective 10 minute arm sets I've seen. I usually use 5 pound weights for all my arm stuff with little problem (yes, I'm considering buying heavier weights,) but with this routine, I have to put them down halfway in. It's really clever. You can also customize your workout like on all the 10 minute DVDs and order the segments however you want, while doing as many as you want. This one is great if you want to spot-train or only have 10 minutes to get something done in.

image from amazon.com.

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