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on April 9, 2014
Siler is, without a doubt, one of the most credible names in pilates. Her description of posture, breathing and technique are exceptionally solid. On top of this, the book is a very easy read and has a lot of photos that help ensure that the user is properly practicing. I think it would be more useful if there was a DVD to accompany this because it would save all the time of having to go back to the book and would let the poses be seen in action to ensure they are executed to the end in the appropriate manner. There are a lot of clever ways to include pilates techniques in various practices. I also really appreciate the new routines. I have been practicing pilates for about 4 years and it has seriously eradicated my back pain. Part of that credit belong to Siler and this book. I recommend this to anyone who wants to try the discipline, but I would also recommend that they go to a pilates studio or buy a DVD to guarantee that the basic poses are correct while minimizing injury.
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Author and Pilates instructor, Brooke Siler helps new and old practitioners of Pilates---a system of exercises focused on developing the core stabilizing muscles of the abdomen formulated by Joseph Pilates ---to revitalize their perhaps staid workout routine while incorporating the signature exercise principals learned and performed on the mat and on the various Pilates machinery into everyday life outside the Pilates studio.

Making the same use of figurative drawings to help the student to better visualize the functionality of each exercise that she employs in her earlier book, "The Pilates Body," the author etches on the reader's memory just the right image---a spring, a straw, a weight, a pair of wings----that will establish a spontaneous association when the book is back on the shelf and the reader actually performs the exercise and needs the extra motivation while squeezing the correct muscles and maintaining that proper form. (i.e. Siler provides a drawing of a reclining woman with a bowling ball on her abs to demonstrate the need to anchor the torso to the ground while performing the `Double Straight Leg Stretch' and sketches an accordion bent straw over the bent back and tucked in abdomen necessary to initiate the `Spine Stretch Forward' and best represent the imagined articulation of the vertebrae.)

Siler addresses five special pain situations like lower back pain, or neck and shoulder pain, and suggests equal and opposite motions to counteract their causes. In addition, while taking you to the virtual gym, she explains how important it is to use gym machines the correct way; engaging the abdominal powerhouse and employing her visualizations (or your own) debunks the usual `more is better' misconception and allows a `peak performance' that develops concentration, precision, control, breathing, and fluidity of motion.

Maintaining that Pilates, if done with exaggerated breathing and in a contiguous sequence constitutes a more than adequate aerobic workout, Siler assembles a `tantalizing ten' base set workout upon which she builds different routines (Adding Abs, Lean Lower Body, Perfecting Posture, and Finding Flexibility) that will challenge and change you depending upon your specific goal. The bulk of the book analyzes each posture on a step by step basis with accompanying photographs and image motivators. Dos and Don'ts, modifications and progressions round out all the necessary information to perform each position optimally.

In conclusion, Siler focuses on employing the Pilates mentality to standing, sitting, carrying, and lifting to safeguard against injury while raising the body's awareness of the efficient movement of arms and legs emanating from a more conscious powerhouse. She moves on to using Pilates to maximize your athletic ability in the sports arenas of golf, tennis, skiing, and snowboarding.

As with any book on the subject, this one serves as a great companion to any good Pilates instructional video---not being familiar with Siler's DVD "The Pilates Body Kit", I will strongly recommend Jennifer Kries "The Method Precision Toning" to introduce the novice to the Pilates format and continuous sequence of positions. Unless the reader/participant has had several hours worth of training with a one-on-one qualified Pilates instructor, I will recommend this book only as an adjunct rather than a stand-alone tool to take Pilates out of the studio and into your everyday life.

Diana F. Von Behren

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on January 25, 2008
This book is the PhD level of Pilates. Brooke Siler doesn't dumb-down. Read, flag pages, highlight words, whatever you need to do to get going on this book and her other book too (The Pilates Body).

I flagged the pages for 3 different days of workouts. So the top set of flags I did one day, the set of flags on the side of pages I did the second day, and set of flags on bottom of pages I do the third day. Then I rotate back to the 1st day of flags at the top of pages. Otherwise it would have seemed too grueling and arduous a workout. I can't be stuck on my living room floor for 8 hours a day. I gotta get this done in 45-minutes then get to work. Maybe you know what I mean. Pilates, like dance, could go on forever.

This book provides the basis for a good workout, week after week, without getting bored. Anything that keeps you moving, no matter what level you use it at, is GOOD. You can use this at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level, and her pages indicate this too.
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on February 9, 2012
I recommend this book along with Siler's DVD. It offers information about Pilates practice. Lots of good advice for incorporating Pilates into daily activities and other "non-Pilates" exercise activities at the gym, at home and elsewhere. I think this book is at its best in combination with help from a trainer to really understand the exercises.
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on June 6, 2006
This book is really a sequel to her first book "The Pilates Body" although it could stand alone for people who are already familiar with the basics of Pilates.

This book is unique in that it takes the principles of Pilates and applies them to working at home, in the gym, and in everyday life. The section on working at home includes incorporating exercise bands and other easily available equipment.

The use of visualization and the emphasis on proper technique is another strong point. After looking at many books on Pilates, I have found those by Brooke Siler to be of the highest quality.
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on May 15, 2016
I think this is a great Pilates book with a range of exercises from easy to challenging.
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on May 13, 2017
Great book - Brooke definitely knows what she is talking about
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on January 3, 2013
I checked it out from the public library one day and I wanted to purchase a copy of it. It is a great book. It has many different exercises to strengthen and tone your body whether you are at home, at the gym, at the office, or on the go. It includes simple things you can do, while performing everyday tasks.
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on February 25, 2006
I have been doing mat pilates for about 3 years and though the challenge is always to be able to improve each movement, like all exercisers I like to keep it interesting and motivating. This book contains not only new routines for mat pilates but also ways to introduce pilates to your regular gym workouts. As always, Brooke Siler gives detailed instructions and modifications as needed. I highly recommend this book as an addition to basic pilates instruction.
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on July 7, 2014
Get her first book, Pilates Body. It is a classic. This one has a lot of fluff, and seems to be simply cashing in on the excellence of her previous work.
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