This introductory Pilates DVD provides a good workout. It is shot in a wooden-floored studio which is decorated with furniture and lamps to make it look like a living room. Viewers can operate a matrix in the DVD menu to choose between 2 starting 10-minute sessions and 2 more advanced 20-minute sessions. They all focus on core strength: abdomen, buttocks, thighs and arms. There's also a stretching component in each session. Kristin McGee is a personable instructor who smiles a lot: she speaks live from the studio as she performs the exercises, and there is mild background music that sounds like it comes from a programmed synthesizer. The camera work and the sound are both good so that it is easy to follow McGee's directions.
As a workout, it should not leave you exhausted since it is pretty mild. But there are sections that focus on particular muscle groups and you may well feel the burn in particular muscles, and they can be challenging. Part of Acacia's "For Beginners" DVD series, this is especially good for people who want a quick workout to do several times a week that will help them maintain their fitness and keep muscles toned. It is not going to radically transform you, but it is a good introduction to Pilates that does not require any special equipment other than a sticky yoga mat. Not everyone will be able to keep up with McGee, especially on those exercises using abdomen strength, but it is easy to catch up with her even if some parts of the workout are difficult, because she soon shifts to other exercises that use other muscles.
© 2010 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.