Review of "Classical Pilates Technique DVD"

By Beth Clarke (Director)
Classical Pilates, 2002
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Dec 19th 2006
Classical Pilates Technique DVD

Classical Pilates Technique is a 75 minute DVD.  It has a 2-minute introduction, and there is a 17-minute discussion of the benefits of Pilates with 3 people, Bob Liekens, Alycea Ungaro and Peter Fiasca.  The rest of the DVD is divided up into five sections introducing different levels of Pilates Mat Workouts.  These are

  • Modified Basic (6 minutes)
  • Basic (4 minutes)
  • Intermediate (13 minutes)
  • Advanced (21 minutes)
  • Super Advanced (4 minutes)

The mat used is not just the regular Pilates mat (which is thicker than a yoga mat) but rather a T-shaped mat with a couple of extra features.  This mat is available from Grantz-Pilates online, where they call it the "low mat."  Other equipment that gets used includes a short pole just to keep the hands parallel when doing sit ups, and a foot loop attached to the top of the mat for doing sit ups.  However, it is possible to do these exercises using a couple of yoga mats, one on top of another, and improvising a way to hold your feet still when doing the sit ups -- such as putting your feet under your bed.

The workouts are demonstrated by Peter Fiasca, Junghee Kallander, and Jamie Trout.  The DVD has very simple production, with a mat on a wooden floor with a curtain in the background.  The camera shows the instructor from a couple of angles, tending to hold the shot for about half a minute before switching to the other angle.  Bob Liekens gives instructions about how to do the exercises in a voice over.  For each different exercise, the name of the exercise appears on the screen, along with the number of repetitions that should be used.  So it is a very plain and static production.  There are no special DVD features used, except dividing the different parts into chapters so it is possible to select which chapter you want to view.

This is not a particularly easy DVD to use if you are looking to start out with Pilates.  The pace is fast, and the switches between one exercise and the next is rapid.  If you want to watch carefully and get the movements exactly right -- and in Classical Pilates there's great emphasis on being precisely right in the movement -- then you will need to use the pause button on your DVD remote quite often, and you will need to watch the exercises carefully first.  It might be more suited to people who have gone to a few Pilates classes already and need a reminder about how to do the exercises and what order to do them in. 

The individual workouts are short: even the advanced one is only 21 minutes, and the most elementary one is just 6 minutes.  The exercises will be challenging for people who are not used to them and who are not already strong and flexible, and they are probably very beneficial so long as they are done carefully so as to avoid injury.  However, most people who go to a Pilates class will be used to a longer workout -- 30 or 45 minutes is quite standard.  It is not very clear how to use this DVD to provide such a workout. 

So overall, some people may find this a useful DVD if they want what it provides, but for those who are looking for a more general guide to doing Pilates, they would be better off looking elsewhere. 



Link: Classical Pilates, Inc




© 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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