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 Robinson is British, and this DVD was originally made in the UK.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.
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.