Top positive review
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Are these exercises for you? Maybe.
on September 8, 2010
I think I've at some point owned virtually every form of home workout equipment, particularly if it's been featured on an infomercial (my Tony Little Gazelle and Ab Lounge are collecting dust behind me even as I write this.) Here's the ups and downs of the kit for me:
- If you don't like a lot of jumping around and lots of cardio work, but do like some variety to your routine these Pilates routines might be for you.
4 DVD's of various routines targeting various body areas and a 30-day plan that suggests which routines to do each day (including "rest" days) give the variety, even if many of the actual exercises seem like just variations of the same ones using your equipment slightly differently.
Pilates being pilates, which focuses on stretching, balance, toning and slow muscle-controlled movements, most of the routines have you laying down doing slow resistance moves, often with your head up. If you have a bad back or crunches typically bother your back than these routines are probably not for you.
- The exercises, for the most part, are doable by anyone - but, are probably best for those that have taken at least an intro pilates and/or yoga class at the gym and has good flexibility. You're particularly going to like them if you have used Mari Winsor Pilates DVD's without the equipment before.
The routines always have one of the 0% fat demonstrators doing a modified version of them for beginners, there is a pamphlet and poster with instructions about doing some of the exercises correctly to get the most from them, and there's a bonus feature on all of the DVD's demonstrating ten of the most popular moves. Still, since pilates focuses so much on the importance of how you are doing the exercise to get the most benefit from them, being given a little more grounding in it on the DVD would be helpful. Some of the exercises are more advanced, and I occassionally wished for an instructor telling me if I was doing one correctly. On the other hand, for someone who knows pilates, this is a great affordable option for home workout.
TIP: Google "Mari Winsor Pilates" and watch one of the routines available on-line from one of her previous DVD's. These are pretty much the same exercises as in this kit - just now she's incorporated the equipment. Try that routine, if you think you would do that one frequently - than it's likely you'll do this one frequently. If not, it's not for you.
- The routines did give my muscles a work out.
I always judge home exercise equipment by whether it was easy enough for me to do, enjoyed it enough to want to do it again, and whether I felt I got a benefit from it. Yes, yes and my muscles ached the next day to prove it was working. It's not one I want to use everyday despite the variety it offers, but I'd add it to a staple of other type of exercise.
- The door hook can be an issue
The Cardio routine requires you to have a door that you can hook the gear into while watching the routine on the DVD. Good luck with that. There's a whole door poster with exercises you can do with the door attachment, as well. It's a little better. But, again, this seems best for folks that already are familiar with pilates moves and want to do them at home.
- They could give a little more direction in the DVD on how to put together the equipment for each routine.
The equipment, which is decent quality, comes in multiple pieces that get you put together in a specific way for each routine. There's a diagram in the back of the pamphlet to help. But, I always spent the first 10 minutes of each routine trying to put the piece together correctly, then much of the routine itself trying to figure out if I was using the equipment the same way they were. This gets easier as you do the routines more often.
- Definitely for toning, balance and sculpting - but slimming and weight loss?
The infomercial promises you can lose 10 inches in two weeks. The equipment and "resistance" is what is supposed to make this one a more "Slimming" version than other types of pilates. But, the reality is that promise is based just like most infomercials on combining exercise and a healthy diet. The kit includes a "7-day fast-start diet" (low calorie, low fat, low carbs) and a "healthy eating guide" which actually do include some useful info and recipes that even without the exercise will have you shedding the inches. Still, just like doing a bunch of sit ups can help you shrink inches down, these routines can help - but not that much if you're not also dieting.
BOTTOM LINE: The value of this equipment always comes down to "How often will I actually use it?" and "Will it actually help?". I think you'll be most inclined to want to stick with this one and use this often if you already have experience with pilates and think it would be great to have a home version (this is a great value for that!), have used Mari Winsor pilates DVD's before and liked them (same exercises and routines now incorporating "slimming" equipment and transition moves), or generally like low-impact, yoga/weight training routines. And, yes, just in the week I've used it I would say it works as well as more expensive gym classes at toning and tightening your muscles.