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Review of "Total Pilates"

By David Yates (Director)
Well Go USA, 2006
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jul 25th 2006
Total Pilates

Total Pilates with Lynne Robinson is a package with an instructional DVD and an audio CD with ambient music.  Robinson is British, and this DVD was originally made in the UK.  It is quite introductory, and gradually leads up to some more challenging exercises.  It starts with Back to Basics, explaining the relax position and how to "zip up and hollow," which involves tightening the groin and stomach muscles.  The other sections are workouts for the upper body, bun and thighs, the core, with a final wind down.  Robinson's instructions are clear, and she mostly does a good job at telling you when to breathe in and out and how to move your body.  The quality of production is fair: most of the workouts are shot in a studio and the camera work and sound quality are perfectly adequate.  The editing is not great, since often the sessions end abruptly, as if they were taken from a longer piece.  There's also a great deal of repetition of information from one workout to another, as it they were taken from several sources and lumped together.  The DVD track listing is slightly odd, since programming the first track plays the last workout session.   So you don't get the sense that a great amount of care has been taken in putting this DVD together.  The CD of ambient music by Nigel Champion has the title "Alphastate II" and is entirely bland and unremarkable. 

As for the actual instruction, Robinson does well at setting out what to do.  She recommends using several accessories: a mat, a flat pillow, a fuller pillow, a tennis ball, a pole, light arm weights, and leg weights.  Personally, I prefer to keep my exercise simple and I'm not a fan of having lots of accessories, and I wasn't convinced that all of them were particularly useful: the flat pillow and the tennis ball seems pretty dispensable.  A greater problem with the workouts is that they are basically demonstrations of different Pilates exercises, and it is for the viewer to then work separately to decide which exercises will be useful and how many repetitions would be appropriate.  But the whole advantage of an exercise DVD is to use it to guide you through a workout, so this DVD will be as useful as other Pilates DVDs. 

The best workouts are the more challenging ones that are done together with Pat Cash, the Australian tennis player.  It is done in a nicely lit white room, and you can see the reflection of some interesting buildings faintly in the windows in the back wall.  The two presenters banter a little and this makes it more interesting.  The whole DVD gives more than two hours of instruction, with each workout being about 15 minutes.  Those who are looking for an easy introduction to Pilates that will not challenge them too much at first may find this DVD helpful.

 

© 2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.

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