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on April 17, 2003
I am currently an apprentice in training to become a certified Pilates instructor. I agree with some reviewers who think this DVD is fast. But too fast? Hardly. Joseph Pilates had a clear vision of how the body should move, and this DVD documents his clear vision with the proper exercises, tempos, and transitions. This DVD moreover has a pre-basic sequence that is slow and steady in order to safely prepare viewers for getting a good workout in the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels.
As an apprentice, I wonder why so many other videos change Joseph Pilates' method. Specifically, why do so many videos slow the exercises down to a point where people lose the necessary mental concentration and physical energy required to achieve a good workout? I of course agree that providing basic instruction is important. Yet when videos change Joseph Pilates' method through overmodification of exercises, creation of new exercises, and alteration of rhythms, I feel strongly that these videos misrepresent the method.
Other Pilates videos have something to offer, yet they neglect to demonstrate the energy, rhythm, and exciting dynamics that Classical Pilates faithfully depicts.
Some reviewers have said, too, that the master instructor on this DVD does not count repititions of exercises. First, the number of repititions for each exercise are on screen. Second, we know from history books, newspaper articles, old film footage of Joseph Pilates teaching students, and speaking to people who actually studied with Joseph Pilates, it is clear that he did not count every repitition. He focused upon the articulation of movement, the individual's strengths and weaknesses, and the overall flow of his student's workout.
If you want to see Joseph Pilates' clear vision of his complete mat workout series, and if you want to really learn his original method, get this DVD.
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on November 4, 2002
I have been doing Pilates for a month now. I had to set this DVD aside for 3 weeks before I could try this workout. It is FAST! On my other tapes there is a lot of instruction and the exercises are performed slowly.
On this one the BASIC workout has 10 exercises and is 7 minutes long. The instruction is given, as the moves are being performed, not before. It is great, but it will take you time to really know the exercises through and through before you are able to follow along.
The Intermediate workout has 15 xercises and is 12 minutes long. On my other DVD's, 15 xercises amounts to at least 45 minutes. I do agree with this DVD, but like I said it will take you time to really know the exercises before you can follow along at this fast pace- A pace like in no other Pilates tape I know of. The exercises themselves are classic Pilates and are done very well and gracefully.
The advanced workout has 25 exercises and is 20 minutes long. This one is good and the man doing the exercises actually sweats a lot, something I have yet to see in any other Pilates film. This is a really challenging workout!
The quality of this DVD is outstanding. You are sure to get a classic Piliates workout of the highest caliper. I do wish there was a one minute pause between exercises so you have time to get out of one exercise and into the next one. It will take you a lot of practice before you can follow along with the people in this workout, but the rewards will be superior to the other tapes. I find it really nice to have so many workouts one one DVD. An amazing value for such quality. I suggest you buy Brooke Silar's book The Pilates Body as well. This book has all the exercies of this DVD, but it also explains them in fine detail that is missing in this DVD.
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on February 14, 2003
I read the rave reviews for this Classical Pilates DVD, and I have to say that it wasn't EXACTLY what I was expecting. After doing a few of The Method programs (kind of a fusion of yoga and Pilates), I thought I was pretty ready to face the music and try the pure form of Joseph Pilates' technique. But, whoa....this DVD is pretty intense!
The program is broken up into 5 sections, ranging from modified basic to super advanced. I began with the basic workout, and unlike Method tapes, the pace is VERY fast. Each workout lists the number of reps you will be doing of each exercise in the top corner of the screen, as you follow the model performing them in real time. The reps are done before you know it, and you're on to the next exercise. For those time-conscious exercisers who are familiar with the traditional Pilates exercises, this will probably work for you. The entire basic workout felt like it took all of 15 minutes. However, if you want more explanation of things and smoother transitions between exercises, try Method programs like Pilates: Beginning Mat Workout or Pilates for Dummies.
Skimming to the Super Advanced just to see what I could potentially be in for, I watched some pretty intense moves. The DVD recommends these exercises as supplements if you want to increase the intensity of your Pilates workout, but these are not for the faint of heart! Just TRY lying on your back, throwing your legs over your head, and somehow end up standing up perfectly balanced on one leg. Definitely something not presented in intro Pilates programs!
All in all, this DVD is true to form: the classical Pilates program is presented by professionals who know are very experienced in the traditional technique. Exercises are explained pretty well (although a bit on the fast side), and it's still a good workout for your "powerhouse" (a.k.a., your core muscles: abdominal and back).
Added features: There is also an introduction by the makers of the DVD explaining why they felt it necessary to make a pure form Pilates video program, as well as a semi-circle discussion about Joseph Pilates exercises and the merits of the program.
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on January 6, 2005
Now I know I haven't taken any classes in Pilates and I've only tried one other 'method' on DVD, but it was during my third week on Winsor Pilates that I realized I wasn't satisfied. In checking reviews from the more experienced consumers, I learned that the breathing technique Mari instructs us to follow (in through the nose and out through the nose) was wrong. That may seem like nothing to most people, but breathing is a key aspect in Pilates. And also in exercise in general. After searching through many many reviews (because I prefer to know what I'm buying before I waste my money), it seemed like this DVD was my best bet for a good workout with Pilates in its most original, unadulterated form.

Keep in mind that by the time the DVD had arrived, I had been using Winsor Pilates for four weeks (Sunday is my only day of rest) and the results were still disappointing to me. Well, I popped in this DVD and watched all the way up to the advanced workout (to try to figure out where I would fit in) and watched a good portion of the discussion (which was informative though slightly boring at times). I was able to start with the intermediate workout. For the most part it was easy, but there were exercises which were new to me (which I was glad to see). I'm still struggling a little two weeks later to perfect these exercises, but it has been worth it to me. Not only are these routines brisk, but they don't take much time at all. The intermediate is about 15 minutes long and it leaves me feeling relaxed and pain free (including relief from headaches and back aches which I tend to get a lot). In fact, my back was very weak for most of my life. I had a hard time keeping my posture straight, bending was very painful, and sometimes, like much older people, I wouldn't be able to stand up straight after bending over for a short time. Now my back is very strong and sturdy and my posture is improving all on its own.

One thing that impressed me was that I felt sore the day after switching from Winsor to Classical Pilates. Not too sore to move, but sore enough that I could tell I was getting a better workout.

Now I do have one problem with the DVD. The voice overs are done by someone with a foreign accent and it might take a while to get used to it. It all depends on the person. For me, it took a few days of exercise. This is not a big problem and it's not something you can't get past so I won't remove any stars for that.

The setting is very bland, but I think that's a very good thing. It keeps distractions to a minimum. You're watching one person doing the exercises and receiving instructions to help you follow along. Each exercise smoothly flows into the next. Pilates has gone from just exercise to beautiful art for me and I couldn't stop now even if I wanted to. Best of all, I can see the improvements in my body and I feel better about myself.

If you're looking for a Pilates DVD, I would definitely recommend this one.
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on June 11, 2003
There are not enough words to adequately describe the gift of this DVD. Here is the matwork of the Pilates method, presented beautifully and clearly, demonstrated with grace and enthusiasm. I would not necessarily recommend this DVD to a total newcomer to Pilates for the purpose of learning the work, simply because it is not broken down for instruction. However, for someone who has had a session or two, or taken some classes, it's great. It would be particularly useful to watch the modified basic and basic workouts a few times before trying them. My only caveat to buyers is that there is no instruction, only fabulous coaching from Bob Liekens.
This is NOT, however a criticism of the DVD. It is just a note. There is no better DVD/video in which to see the exercises demonstrated. This is the gem of the bunch.
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on February 12, 2004
As the title states, this review is geared towards beginners since I'm just a beginner myself. When I first read reviews, I was worried by those who said this dvd offered little instruction and was a poor choice for beginners. After I finally decided to buy this dvd, I'm glad I did. Perhaps this dvd is not good for a "fitness" beginner, but if you're in decent shape, have the discipline for routine exercise, and looking for a challenge, the dvd is perfectly fine for you as a "pilates" beginner.
If you're in good shape and already have a strong exercise regimen that includes abdominal work, weight lifting, and cardio, the modified basic and basic workout on this dvd will merely serve as a useful introduction. In themselves, they are way too short to break a sweat and the moves are modified to be easy. Still, the they provide useful insight into pilates moves and form, while also showing how one would modify a move if it is too hard. After watching them once, I was able to go through the two basic workouts with ease. The intermediate workout presented a true starting point. After watching it once and going through the workout once with the "pause" button handy, I was able to insert the intermediate workout into my daily routine. Thus, for a beginner to pilates, if you take the time to study the dvd first, you should have no problem. Also, you can easily add to the simpler routine--for example, the final push up exercise in the advanced routine can be easily added to the end of the intermediate routine.
There have been many comments about the lack of instruction, counting, and breathing cues. I believe there is plenty of instruction by the narrator, and if the move feels smooth and in control, it's good enough for me. Counting is no big deal either since the reps and sets are marked on the screen, and you shouldn't be thinking so hard about counting anyway. Finally, breathing should come naturally in the movement and narrator provides plenty of cues. With some practice, you'll be able to discover your own smooth breathing rhythm for the workout. The intermediate workout is only a little more than 10 minutes, so you can fit it in easily during a free time slot during the day (for me, in the morning before work) while maintaining your normal exercise schedule.
After practicing the intermediate workout daily for a few weeks, you'll likely be able to start studying and practicing the advanced workout, which is the true value of the dvd. It's a nice, challenging routine which is a little more than 20 minutes. The workout moves smoothly through each exercise with great transitions. While some moves are very difficult at first, some practice and also modification based on previous levels will let you flow through the workout. I find the large jumps in difficulty between the levels motivational: the difficulty challenges the user to practice and improve, and keeps the dvd from becoming boring.
While the dvd lacks pastel colors, it's great as an instructional dvd to guide the user to eventually become independent in performing their pilates workout. As a final note, pass on the Winsor for sure. A friend had the Winsor 3 dvd workout set and I tried the 50 minute accelerated body sculpting workout. It's somewhat similar to the advanced workout offered in classical pilates dvd, but the workout is so slow and the breaks between exercises are very long. It's a little difficult not to daydream, nap, or even catch a cold between exercises in the Winsor workout. I'm exaggerating a bit, but it truly feels like you perform an exercise for 3 minutes, and listen to Winsor talk for three minutes...until you reach 50 minutes. Since focus is so important in pilates, I don't understand how one can do the Winsor series. Pick Classical Pilates Technique over Winsor any day. I can't judge other pilates dvd's since I haven't tried them, but I'm this dvd is probably your best bet.
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on February 21, 2003
Just last year I was a basic level student who had never tried Pilates. I was so thrilled about the Pilates method that I wanted to become a certified instructor! The question was where to do my training and which certification program was best. As in any business, you have to ask a lot of questions and use your instincs.
When I asked several professionals about training programs, as well as asking about supplemental material such as books and videos, several people recommend Classical Pilates. So I purchased their DVD Complete Mat Workout Series and DVD Complete Universal Reformer Series. Unbelievably amazing!
I had no idea that Pilates movement vocabulary was so extensive! And I learned what Joseph Pilates really wanted from his students. He was a tough guy who also wanted his work to show some style. Whoa! The Classical Pilates' intermediate and advanced levels are clean, strong, and smooth! All I have to say is Joseph Pilates' method is challenging (when done the right way) even in the most basic exercises, which Classical Pilates demonstrates in its "Modified Basic" workout. The mind-body benefits are awesome! Thank heaven that Classical Pilates does NOT try to reinvent the wheel the way so many other videos and teachers do by adding new exercises or changing Joseph Pilates time-honored workouts.
Thank you Classical Pilates! I hope you film ALL of Joseph Pilates equipment, like the Wunda Chair, Cadillac, and so on!
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on September 18, 2002
This is the fourth pilates video/dvd I've purchased. I've gotten something different from each one, but if I were to recommend any of them to a new student of pilates, this would be it. The key is to practice the workout in each level until you have mastered it, then to progress to the next level. After practicing mat workouts for about 9 months, I bought this and was able to perform the intermediate workout and was delighted that I could do the entire workout in (?) 15 minutes or so. This workout moves smoothly through the routine without sporadic stopping for explanations or for "new movements" which I have found tiresome in other videos. Once your have gotten accustomed to the "new movement" the slowdown in the workout is distracting. This workout is one that I look forward to doing every day, for a smooth and complete quick workout that is every bit as good as the longer but choppier 30 - 45 minute workouts already in my collection. When I am ready, the longer advanced workout advises learning one new movement at a time -- good advice. When I have mastered it, it too is smooth and flowing. Also, with 4 or 5 workouts all in one package, this one is a real bargain.
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on September 30, 2004
I'm a good consumer. When I buy stuff online I always read reviews first. It's a good idea to read comments by disappointed reviewers. So I did. Several people said this video doesn't have much instruction, so I hesitated buying it. But other reviews said this video was top notch. Hmmmm.....

Because a lot of instructors liked this video, I took a risk. I figured instructors are professionals, and they generally know more than people just learning Pilates. Well, I'm glad I did. When I listened to the master teacher describe what I should be doing, what muscles I should be using, and what I should be feeling, I really felt this was a valuable video. There is a lot of excellent instruction on this video.

The lesson here is: be a good consumer but listen to your instincts. It paid off for me!
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on January 18, 2006
I wrote a review last year and just wanted to follow up because this DVD has helped me a great deal. I'm just a beginner. When I first read reviews, I was worried by those who said this dvd offered little instruction and was a poor choice for beginners. After I finally decided to buy this dvd, I'm glad I did. Perhaps this dvd is not good for a "fitness" beginner, but if you're in decent shape, have the discipline for routine exercise, and looking for a challenge, the dvd is perfectly fine for you as a "pilates" beginner.

If you're in good shape and already have a strong exercise regimen that includes abdominal work, weight lifting, and cardio, the modified basic and basic workout on this dvd will merely serve as a useful introduction. In themselves, they are way too short to break a sweat and the moves are modified to be easy. Still, the they provide useful insight into pilates moves and form, while also showing how one would modify a move if it is too hard. After watching them once, I was able to go through the two basic workouts with ease. The intermediate workout presented a true starting point. After watching it once and going through the workout once with the "pause" button handy, I was able to insert the intermediate workout into my daily routine. Thus, for a beginner to pilates, if you take the time to study the dvd first, you should have no problem. Also, you can easily add to the simpler routine--for example, the final push up exercise in the advanced routine can be easily added to the end of the intermediate routine.

There have been many comments about the lack of instruction, counting, and breathing cues. I believe there is plenty of instruction by the narrator, and if the move feels smooth and in control, it's good enough for me. Counting is no big deal either since the reps and sets are marked on the screen, and you shouldn't be thinking so hard about counting anyway. Finally, breathing should come naturally in the movement and narrator provides plenty of cues. With some practice, you'll be able to discover your own smooth breathing rhythm for the workout. The intermediate workout is only a little more than 10 minutes, so you can fit it in easily during a free time slot during the day (for me, in the morning before work) while maintaining your normal exercise schedule.

After practicing the intermediate workout daily for a few weeks, you'll likely be able to start studying and practicing the advanced workout, which is the true value of the dvd. It's a nice, challenging routine which is a little more than 20 minutes. The workout moves smoothly through each exercise with great transitions. While some moves are very difficult at first, some practice and also modification based on previous levels will let you flow through the workout. I find the large jumps in difficulty between the levels motivational: the difficulty challenges the user to practice and improve, and keeps the dvd from becoming boring.

While the dvd lacks pastel colors, it's great as an instructional dvd to guide the user to eventually become independent in performing their pilates workout. As a final note, pass on the Winsor for sure. A friend had the Winsor 3 dvd workout set and I tried the 50 minute accelerated body sculpting workout. It's somewhat similar to the advanced workout offered in classical pilates dvd, but the workout is so slow and the breaks between exercises are very long. It's a little difficult not to daydream, nap, or even catch a cold between exercises in the Winsor workout. I'm exaggerating a bit, but it truly feels like you perform an exercise for 3 minutes, and listen to Winsor talk for three minutes...until you reach 50 minutes. Since focus is so important in pilates, I don't understand how one can do the Winsor series. Pick Classical Pilates Technique over Winsor any day. I can't judge other pilates dvd's since I haven't tried them, but I'm this dvd is probably your best bet.
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