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on October 16, 2004
I'm a big fan of the short workouts, because I have a very demanding and irregular work schedule (long hours, lots of travel). As I get further away from my college years, I also find that there's more "trouble areas" developing on my body, so I prefer workouts that hone-in on specific body target zones. This DVD fits the bill. I enjoy the pilates-inspired workouts because they leave me feeling like I get a good workout without working too hard. The thing that makes this DVD so special is that it works my muscles even harder than previous pilates DVDs I've tried: the workouts give me that "good workout soreness" the next day, but do so without exhausting me so much that I can't bring myself to do it again after another long workday. I also like that in addition to focusing on my favorite trouble spots (abs, buns and thighs), this DVD has a 10-minute pilates sculpting workout (get out your light weights, everybody), a 10-minute cardio-toning pilates workout (get that heart rate up, everybody) and, my personal favorite, a 10-minute flexibility workout, which is relaxing--not strenuous--and is the perfect workout nightcap for any exercise routine (I truly mean that, it loosens all the muscles with a great, unique set of stretches). Another great benefit of having this DVD is that it allows you to build the number and order of the 10-minute workouts so that you can play as many or as few as you want, in whatever sequence you like.

To top it all off, Lara Hudson is a fantastic instructor. I didn't realize the importance of a good instructor until I found some folks that I didn't like (for example, Denise Austin's raspy voice gets on my nerves). Lara Hudson, on the other hand, is sweet, motivating, and explains the exercises with just the right amount of dialogue. She's also very attractive without being impossibly in-shape (so she's pleasant to look at and you can actually imagine yourself having a body like hers someday). The scenes are all in a well-lit studio with modern exercise music playing softly in the background. Overall, I have no complaints. The one word of caution I must say though is that I think these exercises are better suited for people who have prior pilates experience or who are at least moderately in-shape, because they are quite challenging and do not offer modifications on the movements. So for those of you who like short, challenging, effective pilates-inspired exercises with variety, a good instructor, and a pleasant ambience, I strongly recommend this DVD.
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VINE VOICEon January 12, 2005
This is my second Pilates video, and it is by far the best I've tried. The 10-minute Solution DVDs offer 5 10-minute workouts. I really liked how this DVD was configured. You could choose to play all five, just one, or personalize your workout. Personalizing means you could put the workouts in any order and choose as many or as few as you liked. Not all exercise DVDs have such advanced features, and I felt it was worth noting.

One of the reasons I like Pilates is that it requires very little equipment. I do not even use a mat. Speaking as one, any business traveller could make good use of this DVD for exercise on the road.

This workout is fairly challenging, and I liked that. It wasn't so much that it tired me out. The challenging bit is that each exercise really made me feel "the burn". The instructor's excellent cues and the good use of videography allowed me to follow along easily. She offered many reminders of body positioning and what we should be doing, stretching limbs away from eachother, squeezing our stomach towards the spine, or breathing.

The music and set are non-distracting. The instructor is the only exerciser.
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on June 5, 2005
Based on the great reviews this video has gotten I decided to get it myself. There are 5-10 minute segments to pick from and they are all solid workouts that pack a lot into 10 minutes.

The first segment is abs, you will see the hundred, rollup, double leg stretch, criss cross, scissors, corkscrew, double straight leg stretch, rollover, spinal twists and the teaser. I always feel a fire in my abs after this segment.

The second segment targets the lower body. First you lie on your side and work your legs with side leg lifts while flexing and pointing your foot, then you will move into leg circles, then the ronde de jambe, and finally inner thigh lifts. After repeating this on the other side you will move onto your stomach and work your inner thighs again with the grasshopper again with pointed and flexed feet. Then you will move onto your back and do shoulder bridges, clean hip presses, then hip presses with one leg extended in the air, then you lower and lift the leg in the air which is a bit challenging. Then it's time to stretch.

The third segment is called Sculpting Pilates, where you work on toning and defining your arms using light weights (2-3 lbs). First you work the shoulders with the zipup, then move onto bicep curls while holding your arms up in front of you, then holding them out to the side. Then you do arm circles, where you raise your arms up and down while doing little circles, you will do these lifting your arms in front and sideways. Then you will work your chest with out and in, which is basically a pec fly like motion standing up. After this you will do the "bug" which is the same as a rear delt lift in a bent over position. Then it's on to triceps, where you do an exercise called "shave the head", which is kind of similar to an overhead press, tricep kickbacks follow. Boxing comes next, you lift one arm at a time straight up, then you lean over and lift your arms front and back. Finally you do the "Superman Lunge", where you step into a shallow side lunge, lift your arms front and up then side and down, then you repeat the other way and step back to standing.

Pilates Burn is the next segment, which is a total body segment. You will see planks into heel presses then pushups, swimming, mermaid, under the bridge (mermaid while twisting underneath), hamstring kicks into one legged pushups, lunge position into hip presses, and extended cat pose (extending one arnm and opposite leg then curling under. Then you will do some leg exercises while on one knee and lifting the working leg to the side, first moving the leg front and back, then leg circles which is quite tough, definitely harder than it looks.

The final segment is Pilates for Flexibility, which is a nice routine that stretches you out nicely. Cat pose, lunge position, hamstring stretches, side stretches, spinal twist, the saw and around the world are some of the moves you will see here.

Overall, a fantastic pilates DVD, which is programmable where you can customize your own workout, a very nice feature. Or you can pick just one or two segments if you are short on time. Lara Hudson is a very pleasant instructor with excellent form, she makes all the exercises look easy. I hope one day to be as flexible as she is. She also offers good form pointers and tips, as well as modifications for people less experienced. She also tells you the name of each exercise which is nice. I highly recommend this DVD for those who like pilates, but are somewhat familiar with it.
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on August 21, 2007
If you are completely new to Pilates and looking to learn the traditional matwork and at least some of the theory behind it, don't start here. This video will probably drive Pilates purists crazy. If learning matwork sequence correctly in a minimal amount of time is your goal, I would recommend Ana Caban's beginner and intermediate Pilates DVDs in conjunction with Brooke Siler's book "The Pilates Body".

Even though I realize this is a 10 minute solution format, and this whole next section is going to sound preachy, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Pilates matwork was meant to be done in a specific sequence with an ultimate goal of perfecting each move and being able to flow through a workout smoothly and fluidly without stopping. The 10 minute approach flies in the face of that concept, chopping the routine up into several segments and mixing up the moves, with nothing in the way of theory and very little modification offered (I think the instructor offered only one or two modifications for exercises and did so verbally and in a fast enough way that if you weren't paying attention you'd have missed it, instead of physically demonstrating). Lara was the only exerciser in the DVD.

I am not sure whether doing the workout in this format will help you achieve that overall toned, sleek elongated look, but you should be able to tone up individual parts well enough unless you're already very fit - in which case this would probably be too lightweight of a workout for you.

One of the more significant problems with the DVD is failing to acknowledge and distinguish between levels of capability - specifically the limitations of a beginner - and this becomes a critical issue with the demonstration of The Teaser. For those unfamiliar, you may recall seeing this pose on various book and DVD covers, showing a woman sitting up in sort of a "V" shape - legs raised up off the mat with toes pointed straight out and arms extended straight out in front. Unless you're quite athletic and/or have a strong back with strong abdominals, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT ATTEMPTING THIS AS YOU WILL LIKELY HURT YOURSELF.

Why? This is an advanced movement that a beginner should build up to with modified versions before attempting to plunge into the advanced form of the exercise. Personally it took me about one or two months to work up to this one. It's indicative of the progress you've made in Pilates work to be able to get up to this point. What's worse, she jumps right into the most advanced version by demonstrating the movement with hands over head, never once indicating that beginners should NOT attempt this straight off and should work up to the poses by starting out with a bent-leg version. This is the one point of the video that sorely need someone demonstrating beginner and intermediate poses.

For the above reasons - failing to distinguish between beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercises and generally forgetting to offer modifications, and also for throwing in at least one non-Pilates exercise like "cat and cow" (a yoga move, not Pilates) to confuse the uninitated as to what constitutes authentic Pilates and what does not, I will knock off two stars.

The only other thing I didn't like as far the exercises themselves was the way Lara threw her leg around too vigorously during leg raises, and she leaves off front/back of the side kick series altogether. Jerking your leg up down as she does might hurt your hip if you are inflexible, out of shape and trying to keep up with her.

Having said all of that, I do think this is fine for someone who already has a solid understanding of the Pilates method and just wants to mix things up, but doesn't plan on using this as their daily routine. The pros are - good production value, a very minimal set with non-intrusive music; a fine instructor who for the most part does a pretty nice job of demonstrating proper form throughout; and great flexibility for mixing and matching workouts as your schedule permits. It also offers an upper body sculpting segment using Pilates techniques with weights that other DVDs and books I've worked with typically leave out.
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VINE VOICEon July 6, 2005
When I was in my teens and twenties, my workouts consisted of heavy weight training, running, step aerobics, and the Marine Corps Daily Seven. However, times have changed. The Daily Seven ended when I left the Marines. I don't care how much I can bench anymore, so I've laid off the heavy weights and Joe Weider supplements. Finally, step aerobics and running are too hard on my ACL-reconstructed knee. Therefore, I've embraced gentler fitness methods. Yoga, Pilates, cardio with light weights, and martial arts are my fitness modalities of choice. I'm not keen on the health club scene, so DVD workouts at home have become a staple. I own an expanding number of them, and "Ten Minute Solution Pilates" is one of my favorites.

The workout is broken down into five ten-minute segments. Each part has a different purpose: one centers on abs, another on flexibility, a third on toning, and so on. You can do all five segments for a fifty-minute blast, or pick and choose to create a shorter routine. Of course, a lot of exercise DVDs offer such flexibility. But the "Ten Minute Solution" workout is a cut above many of them for two reasons. First, the instructor is one of the clearest callers I've heard. She almost seamlessly integrates her well-spoken commands with her concise movements, thus creating a flowing, easy-to-follow workout. Second, the exercises are challenging and really work you over. Some are the usual Pilates staples, while others add Yoga and hand weights to the mix. But when all are done consistently, they will make you stronger (in a lean sort of way), more flexible, and give you greater command of your body.

However, there are two caveats as well. First is the somewhat high difficulty level of the workout. Many of the individual exercises are quite tough and require a decent level of strength and balance. Beginners could easily hurt themselves if their reach exceeds their grasp. For example, caution must be used during the hand weights segment because the movements go through a wide range of shoulder motion. Once I tried dumbbells that were a bit too heavy and slightly tweaked my left shoulder. Second, the instructor is the only person on the DVD. That means there's no one else to demonstrate easier and safer modifications, which would have alleviated the difficulty issue. A split screen with the instructor doing the mods would have been a welcome addition.

Overall, the pluses of this DVD outweigh the minuses. After completing the full fifty minutes, I feel like I've gotten a great total body workout. If you are a solid Pilates beginner looking for a challenge, or a higher-level practitioner, then the "Ten Minute Solution Pilates" is an excellent addition to your home workout library. And you can always work your way up to this DVD with Ellen Barrett's lively Crunch Pilates series, Karen Voight's no-nonsense Pilates workouts, and Ana Caban's elegant Beginning and Intermediate Pilates routines from Gaiam.
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on November 17, 2005
I bought this DVD mainly for the ab workout - and the fact that it had 10 minute segments (I know that I am more likely to exercise if I know it is only 10 mintes.) The first time I tried it, I was saying "You gotta be kidding!" to almost all the moves. The next day I was sore but within two days I could notice an improvement. It didn't go from flab to six-pack abs, but there was a noticeable difference.

I definitely recommend this DVD!
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on February 5, 2007
I like the 10 minute segment formats of this DVD series. Most of the segments worked me out pretty well, although the buns and thights section was pretty disappointing. The moves don't flow very well together during each segment. It seems like there is a lot of readjusting positions. The instructor was pretty good, although I didn't like her inconsistency giving breathing cues. For example, during one exercise, which only has 4 reps, she carefully explains the exercise as you do the first rep, then reiterates the verbal directions throughout the next 3 reps. She never tells you when to inhale and exhale (breathing is really important in Pilates), and does this for several of the exercises throughout the DVD. Sometimes she does make a point to loudly exhale into the mic so you can hear it. To get a good workout with this DVD, I would recommend these few things: 1. Watch the DVD once or twice to familiarize yourself with the correct form for all the moves. 2. Use a yoga/pilates mat. It will really help your knees from getting bruised. 3. Don't use hand weights over 3 lbs. for the arms section. 4. Stretch a bit before doing the workouts (some of the exercises are designed for the very flexible). 5. Make sure you have plenty of room to move around for the exercises.
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on October 14, 2005
I love how this DVD is divided into 10 minute segments. it's perfect to do first thing in the morning to get going or on the weekend for a full 50 minute workout. the moves are pretty basic, but they'll give you a good workout when you do the whole video. I would definitely try another Pilates video by this instructor.
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on February 21, 2007
I've never done pilates before and after hearing about the 10 Minute Solution DVD I just had to try it. I received it two days after ordering it and was very excited to start doing pilates on a regular basis. After the first time of using it, I felt great and was very sore the next day. I've done it about five times since then and everytime I'm done I feel wonderful. I still get sore the next day but just like they say, no pain, no gain. I've tried workout videos before but I got bored with them but with this video I can't say enough about it. It's fun and I look forward to doing it every other day. My body craves the work out and I'm already starting to see results in my waistline and posture. It's a great DVD and I recommend it to anyone who wants to be able to customize their workout from home.
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on October 18, 2004
I am new to Pilates and was worried that this DVD would be too advanced for me, but it wasn't! Yet at the same time, it was challenging! I love the fact that I can pre-program which workout(s) I want to do in the order that I want to do them; that I can "mix & match" them depending on what it is I want to work on each day. Lara Hudson is an EXCELLENT instructor--encouraging yet shows modifications for beginners without being "chirpy" or "cheerleader-y". I highly recommend this DVD for people interested in Pilates!
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