I like to do Pilates twice a week. That's the minimum amount of core training I need to keep my persistent back problems at bay and to feel centered and limber. Fortunately for me, I've been teaching two mat classes for the past several years—until recently, that is. One of my classes was recently canceled, so I've been on my own to fit in my mat exercises…only I've been a little lazy about doing it on my own.
Last week I dug through my library of workout DVDs searching for a good Pilates DVD to plug the hole in my routine. The folks at 10-Minute Solution sent me the Quick Sculpt Pilates kit (which contains a DVD and a toning ball) a while ago, and now was the perfect time for me to try it.
I've said it before, but I LOVE doing Pilates with the mini ball. I use it in my classes all the time, and my students really enjoy using it, too. I tested the Bender Ball a couple years ago and loved it, so I had high hopes for this DVD. Still, I was a bit skeptical, because it's not easy to find quality instruction on Pilates workout DVDs. Here's what you need to know about trying this Pilates workout set.
The mini ball is small like a playground ball. It comes deflated and has a little straw that you use to blow it up in just a couple of breaths. Easy enough. It seemed similar in quality to other mini balls I have used at home and at the gym, but I did have a hard time keeping it inflated enough while removing the straw and putting in the plug. However, that didn't affect my workouts. And it's bright pink, which I'm guessing won't be appealing to every woman—or man for that matter. Still, the ball is extremely versatile as a tool to increase intensity, challenge your balance, or support your spine, depending on how you use it: between the ankles or thighs, under the feet or back, in your hands, etc.
The DVD and Workouts
The DVD contains five 10-minute Pilates routines that you can mix and match. Both times I tried it, I did all five in a row—what a challenge! Although each workout has a different name and focus, they were all pretty heavy on the abs and core work. The Buns and Thigh Sculptor was excellent and really challenged my outer thighs and hips while still working my core, thanks to that little ball. I was also quite fond of the Standing Pilates Sculpt workout, even though it didn't even use the ball. It would be great for anyone who wants to improve his or her balance and coordination. Here's a preview of what the DVD offers:
All of the workouts were intermediate with a few advanced moves thrown in the mix. In truth, I wasn't able to do every exercise in the workouts, but I liked that because it gives me something to work up to over time.
The ball was used for every single exercise on the DVD (except during the Standing Pilates workout), and the transitions from move to move were seamless. The workouts contained so much variety of movements and uses of the ball—some were new to me, too! It definitely added challenge, but also made the same old Pilates exercises seem new again. As an instructor, I appreciated the creativity of exercises and was able to steal a few new ideas to use in my own classes, too.
I really liked Andrea Leigh Rogers, the instructor on the DVD. She was friendly, succinct in her descriptions, and had amazing form that really made me jealous! She wasn't annoying as some video instructors can be, although she said one really funny line just once that I had to share: "Squeeze your buns to your fullest potential!" It makes me laugh each time! But seriously, that line is not representative of the DVD. Her instruction is very good.
She does, however, talk very fast—I think because she really tried to fit as much as possible into these short workouts. She moves fast, too—sometimes faster than I'm accustomed to in Pilates—and transitions quickly from one exercise to the next. There is virtually no downtime, which adds to the challenge of these workouts. One downside is that 10 minutes doesn't provide enough time for her to describe some of the nuances of each exercise, which is partly why I think this DVD is better for intermediate students of Pilates. If you're new to Pilates, you won't get enough instruction on form or enough modifications (there were almost none) to feel successful using this DVD.
Do I recommend this product? Let me put it this way: I'm going to continue using it as part of my own Pilates conditioning program. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with Quick Sculpt Pilates and its little pink toning ball. If you are familiar with Pilates and want to just try some fun new takes on traditional exercises, this could be a great set for you. If you're interested in trying a mini ball, but aren't as experienced, then the tested the Bender Ball could be just the thing for you.
You can purchase Quick Sculpt Pilates, with its toning ball, for $19.99 at amazon.com.
Have you ever tried working out with a mini ball like this one? If not, are you interested in trying it?
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