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Pilates Beginning Mat Workout [VHS]
List Price: $14.98

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Product Description

"Remember what Joseph Pilates said," instructor Ana Caban says. "'You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a completely new body in 30 sessions.'" Pilates has become very popular and for good reason. By working the core muscles (the abdominal and back muscles in the center of your body) you improve strength and posture and develop a lean, long line.

Certified Pilates instructor Ana Caban is a splendid teacher. First she demonstrates alignment and technique for 10 minutes, explaining the cue words you will hear and how to do the basics, emphasizing how to use the core muscles to strengthen the abdominals and back throughout the workout. Then she introduces a challenging 20-minute series of Pilates moves, instructing clearly, demonstrating beautifully, and continuing to advise you about technique, breathing, and form.

Even though this is a beginning Pilates workout, Pilates is never easy, so these moves will feel extremely difficult if you're new to this kind of exercise. For example, you learn to hold your abs tight whatever move you're doing, and you move only the muscles you're working at the moment, using your stabilizing muscles to hold the rest of the body still (much harder than it sounds!). Another participant demonstrates modifications throughout in case Caban's moves are too difficult or your muscles fatigue. If you've been wanting to explore Pilates and you're willing to put in the effort and concentration, this video gets our top rating. --Joan Price

Features:
  • Certified instructor Ana Caban helps you lengthen, strengthen and tone your muscles without joint stress
  • A special 10 minute session introduces you to the form and principles of Pilates and id followed by an invigorating 20 minute workout

Customer Reviews:

  • Good for beginners
    I like how energetic she is and how she had the other person show the easier variation for each exercise. I especially like the bonus 12 minute energy workout - great of you don't have much time but just want to get moving....more info
  • A very good, basic beginners workout.
    This is a terrific introduction to Pilates. You'll feel like you got a great workout in just 20 minutes, and the instructor is an excellent teacher, moving not too quickly, nor too slowly. ...more info
  • Ouch!! Lower back problems!!
    I did this video once and experienced horrible lower back pain that had me out of work and laying on a heating pad for almost 2 full days!! I would like to point out I am a dancer and have experience with pilates and yoga as well, I am not an inexperienced exerciser or out of shape. I have other pilates videos that are way better than this like 10 minute solutions pilates perfect body which is challenging but doesn't put the user at risk of back injury like this one does. This is not a beginners workout, its the worst workout video I own and I am putting it in the trash where it belongs. I would give it zero stars if I could!! ...more info
  • Pilates Beginning mat workout
    Ana Caban presents Pilates in a clear and concise form that makes it easy to learn at home....more info
  • Worst production I've ever seen
    This video is very poorly produced. The exercises are fine, but the production included zooming in and out frequently, using odd camera angles, and switching from color to black & white. It was just too distracting to be useful. ...more info
  • Pleased in Pennington, NJ
    I have used this DVD for several years and have bought it as gifts for friends. Ana Caban gives clear instructions, has a very pleasant personality, and moves things along at a good pace. None of the exercises is repeated for too long, so it never gets monotonous. This DVD has changed my life. I have scoliosis and suffered from back pain for many years until I started doing Pilates with Ana Caban. I feel healthy and much more energetic, my body has become more shapely, and people remark on how my posture has improved - and most important of all, my back is strong, my abs are terrific, and I no longer have back pain. I highly recommend this DVD - also the Intermediate one. Anthea Spencer...more info
  • excellent for beginners, but soon outgrown
    I found this to be an excellent introduction to Pilates. Ana Caban is a wonderful instructor and knows how to give cues. I never had to crane my neck from an impossible position trying to follow things on screen. I could always depend on the audio.

    That said, there's a caveat. I soon outgrew it. Not the exercises, but the instructions in between them. After a couple of weeks I would have wished for a version without all the talk in-between. I'm using the remote to fast-forward, but it's cumbersome....more info
  • Excellent but short introduction
    So far this is the best workout I've found to introduce a beginner to TRUE Pilates, without adding in exercises that are discouraging for a beginner. It consists of 10 minutes of information about the Pilates method, then a 20 minute mat workout. The exercises are all from Joseph Pilates' original 34 mat exercises, which is more than I can say for many of the other Pilates DVDs I have reviewed. Modifications are done alongside Ana, so you can choose which way you would like to do it. The only flaw is she doesn't modify for tight hamstrings, which I have.

    What I loved most about this workout is that it most resembled the Pilates classes I used to take with a certified instructor. I just think it's unfortunate that so many of the exercises were left out to keep the workout short. There are definately more exercises which can be modified to a beginner level.

    There is also a bonus "Energy Boost Pilates" workout, which was a real disappointment. Imagine my surprise when, instead of Pilates, we were supposed to be hopping and jumping up and down with no shoes! I guess she was trying to add a 5 minute "mini-cardio" routine before the Pilates but it didn't work for me at all. Then she goes on to do about 10 minutes of Pilates. About half the exercises were in the Beginning Mat Workout, about half are new. I like the new exercises but it is a pain having to fast forward through the dumb jumping jacks sequence.

    If you are extremely out of shape then I recommend getting Ana Caban's "Easy Pilates" DVD to start out with. It has fewer exercises and more modifications.

    A lot of people have mentioned that they prefer "Pilates for Dummies." I much prefer this DVD to Pilates for Dummies because Pilates for Dummies does not show modifications until halfway through the reps. Pilates for Dummies includes exercises that are too difficult for a beginner while neglecting some beginner Pilates exercises. Personally I think this is a much better introduction to the Pilates method. ...more info
  • Great rehab workout
    I took a two-year hiatus from rigorous workouts after seriously injuring both legs from knee down--shins, achilles, ankles (don't ask). This workout not only enhances flexibility the length of my legs and into my ankles without stressing the ankles like an elastic band Pilates workout would, but also effectively works the muscles in my thighs, buns and abs, where I need it. This workout is an all around safe and effective choice for a true beginner or someone in need of rehab, like me.

    One note. At first I had trouble with Ana's breathing technique which seemed to involve inhaling while exerting, but with practice I found it worked. It is essential to follow Ana's tips on proper form and technique in order to avoid injury and benefit most from this workout.

    If you tire of the instruction between sets, start early or hold the form longer. I don't even watch the video any more; just listen and follow.

    A great beginners or rehab workout....more info
  • amazing transformation!
    The main reason why I adopted Pilates is to improve my posture during golf swing - strong core muscle is essential to maintain the inclined angle during 3/4 of the swing. I just started doing Pilates about 3 weeks ago; I usually do this on Saturday and Sunday mornings only. After 3 weeks and 6 sessions, I have to say; my stomach is getting firmer. Some routines are pretty tough though and require some degree of flexibility. I have stiff right hamstring so during the first two weeks, I was not able to straighten my legs during the pilates stance.

    Now after 3 weeks, the stiffness in the right hamstring is all gone. Please note that I have problems with my the hamstring for as long as I can remember. I am more flexible now and my running has been a lot more enjoyable; among other things.

    Pilates requires some hard works but I am very happy with the result so far! I will spend about 2-3 months more before going to intermediate pilates....more info
  • Just what the doctor ordered
    My doctor had me go to physical therapy for back pain caused by degenerative bone disease. The PT did a great job short term and for long term treatment recommended a really boring set of daily exercises. She stated they could be replaced with Pilates as the purpose was to strengthen the core of the body and thus take strain off the back. Fancy versions of Pilates were not necessary - just the basic moves developed by Joseph Pilates. That is the beauty of this program. It works great and is suited to beginner or intermediate levels....more info
  • Ana Caban is a goddess
    I am a veteran of all types of workout videos and this one is by far my favorite. Pilates itself is a challenging and worthwhile workout that also, when done correctly, can help relax and soothe as well as strenghten. This workout is not complicated because Caban makes it easy and fun, but the moves are challenging. I never feel cheated or clueless and, for a video instructor, Caban does a great job of teaching and motivating as well as demonstrating the moves. Using this workout, it is possible to feel better immediately....more info
  • Is My DVD Player Broken??
    I am new to pilates and am in the process of trying several beginner workouts. This one is excellent in that Ana Caban carefully explains each move and goes slowly enough that a beginner can watch and learn. Ana is an excellent instructor and very down-to-earth in her approach. HOWEVER, the production on this DVD is the absolute worst I have ever seen: I actually thought my DVD player was malfunctioning!! The picture changes from black and white to color and everything in between. The camera bounces up and down and loses clarity on close up shots. An otherwise beautiful set and workout is nearly ruined by such ameteurish camera work. Shame on Giam!...more info
  • C for Effort
    I gave it a C (generously) because it WILL make you stronger. But overall, it is a disappointment. Just a teaser for the intermediate dvd perhaps. In huge need of a plan.

    No context - has she forgotten what it is to be a beginner? The planning in this dvd has resulted in very little in the way of orienting a person to anything. Intro is two whole paragraphs! WOW! And then jump into the mat workout. The following bonus 12-minute workout only modestly suggests that it is related to the mat workout. What were they thinking?? We pay our hard earned bucks for this thing.

    The interview with Caban is more in-depth that anything on the dvd - but is this what we signed up for?? This thing was slapped together on a long weekend, I swear.

    Caban herself looked solid in her practice - not transcendent - just solid. She reinforced the idea that I have had about pilates - that it is for your body, your mind just comes along for the ride. So I will definitely look for a better series - more grounded and not over-selling.

    I am using pilates as a core strengthener to inform my yoga practice.
    ...more info
  • Good Instruction, Bad DVD Production
    While I enjoyed the workout, the DVD is very frustrating. Every time you watch this DVD you will have to watch all of the beginning advertisements, health warnings, etc.. There is no way to fast-foward or "NEXT" to get right to the workout. While it's fine to spend 10 minutes wathcing all this introducotry material the first time, it becomes very anoying when you start trying to exercise with the DVD several times a week. I do not know if this cumbersome play is true of all GAIAM DVDs or just this one....more info
  • Great intro to pilates
    This is a great beginners pilate dvd. My only complaint was that I wish there were more work outs on this. There is only 1 main work out of 25 min, then a 10 min power boost. Both are really good, but I just wish there were more options on the dvd. The instructor is excellent - the only one that doesn't annoy me out of all the pilates videos I have done. ...more info
  • Excellent for Novice like myself
    Finally I found THE beginner pilates DVD that I have been looking for so long.
    Clear instructions which are presented in a very pleasant way (yes, even listening to Ana is a pleasure - I hate fitness tapes where the instructors 'scream all the time' as if this would make it easier to understand...). For me and probably also other beginners who have not done exercises for the core in a while the simplified version of the exercise is great. It provides the opportunity to customise the work out to your level of difficulty and certainly also reduce the risk of injury to a minimum. You still feel it working and actually only after a couple of times doing it you can see results.
    20 mins workout is also a timeframe I can stick with for 3 - 4 times a week and as a balance I do walking outside the other days.
    Highly recommended for beginners and once I master the full workout (i.e. full grade of difficulty) I will sure buy the advanced version from her....more info
  • Please don't buy this DVD
    I have never been so disappointed with a product. I wish they has something like negative stars for rating. Believe me all the 5 star reviews here are misleading especially if you are a beginner. There are many problems with this Pilates DVD and most importantly the instructor is too busy trying to impress you with her good looks that she forgets to orient you to the most important fundamentals before you start the exercise. I did two sessions and I had terrible muscle pulls in my abdomen (I am in my mid-20s and exercise regularly).At that time however, I thought something was wrong with me and I did not know how to do Pilates. I gave up trying to do it.

    Then after a year,I tried the Pilates for dummies and used Alan Herdman's Pilates directory...and it made a huge difference. I did not have any muscle pulls. Only then I understood what a good breathing technique and learning to engage your abdominal muscles properly means. It was only then that I realized how terrible this DVD was. I watched it last night just to see what I thought about it after a year...and I was aghast. I realized that the instructor herself did not understand the fundamentals/or did not bother to communicate it properly. People like me were actually buying this product to learn from it. I have never written a review before in my life but I thought this time I should warn people about this product before they buy it. Apart from this the production of the DVD is terrible. Please don't buy this DVD.There are much better Pilates beginner's stuff out there, this is not even comparable to any of those. ...more info
  • Great way to get into Pilates
    I was new to Pilates, so I tried out Ana Caban's beginner's workout. After doing the workout 3 times a week for a few weeks, my hubby says to me "you're buns are lookin' pretty firm hon". Well, that's worth it to me! My tummy's getting firmer too. I have most of the moves down pretty well and look forward to moving on to the intermediate workout.

    If you're new to Pilates and want to get started, this is a great workout....more info
  • Excellent for Beginners
    I found this workout to be an excellent introduction to pilates. The instructor moves through each exercise at a good pace, explaining the proper technique for each pose as well as a modified version of each pose. ...more info
  • Excellent workout
    My piano teacher first introduced me to Pilates and I do some kind of pilates workout almost every day now. I absolutely love to do pilates, unlike regular exercise. (I do NOT love to exercise. NO running, no weight lifting, no biking, ect.)
    I never felt the need to exercise because I am small and naturally very thin, but I started to realize that even though I'm thin, I was not very strong and in terrible shape. I started to do the exercises on the beginners DVD and it was much harder than I expected. I woke up the next day with sore muscles! After a time, my abs started to get stronger and my awareness of what was going on in my body and the way I was breathing was much more alert. I also really like the alternate workout - the 'energy boost' - a fifteen minutes energy workout. It is absolutely perfect for days when I have a lot going on, or if I just don't feel like doing pilates for an hour. I can just do the quick workout, and I'm set for the day. Now I'm hooked on pilates and although I'm sad to say it is the only exercise I do, at least I'm in better shape than I was....more info
  • A Terrific beginners Pilates Workout
    For the past 4 months, I have been doing the Pilates for Weight-loss (for Dummies series) which is great,but I decided that I wanted to explore Pilates from the ground up. I picked the Giaam series over the Stott because the instructors used in the Stott ones put me to sleep (they do seem very knowledgeable, however, I need someone to help get me moving at 5:00 in the morning!) Ana Caban is an outstanding, intelligent teacher who not only is great to listen to, but also great to watch. I liked this video because it helps you to start developing the balance and core strength you will need for intermediate moves (like the Giaam Intermediate Mat Workout).

    I'm not completely new to fitness - I do other activites, like weights, aerobics, and cardio, but I use this video currently for my less demanding days along with an ab stability ball workout. After a few more weeks (about 2 months in total) I will feel ready to be challenged by the Intermediate, but until then, this will definately help me build the balance and stance skills I need to go further into the pilates program.

    I recommend this video to anyone new to pilates. This is the video to start with! I should also say that it took me a long time to take up Pilates because I deemed it ....flakey (there, I said it). I was wrong. I am 5'0 tall, and Pilates difinately changes your body type into a sleek, long dancer like frame (yes, even at my height). To optimize its effectiveness, you should do it 3 times a week, and then do cardio 3 times a week (like Taebo, running or walking) to burn off your body fat. Good luck everyone! lisamariedobbin@eastlink.ca...more info

  • Good workout, horrible production quality
    The video has a good workout with alternatives for beginners and slightly more advanced users for each exercise, but the intentional unsteady cam and cuts to strange angles with awful lighting/color effects makes it a less than stellar total package....more info
  • Tough but doable
    This is a tough work-out that will leave you perspiring. I would not consider some of the exercises for beginners, such as the corkscrew, but overall this is a good workout and accessible for anyone in reasonably good shape. Also, the more you do pilates, the easier it becomes as you develop core strength. I don't give this workout 4 or 5 stars because some of the essential back strengthening exercises, such as swimming, rising swan etc., are missing. Also, I think the breathing cues are reversed on some exercises with Caban telling you to inhale when you should be exhaling. I also take issue with the her lack of emphasis on starting the curve in your lumbar spine in spine-stretch forward. But as I said, it is overall a good workout and I like Caban's cues and emphasis on form better than many others. ...more info
  • Not happy with product quality
    Product is faulty and jolts in my dvd. A complete waste of money as I will not sell to someone knowing it's faulty, unlike this seller....more info
  • Stop talking and get to it...
    I agree with a previous reviewer of the difficulty in using this DVD workout more than a few times. The amount of talking and instruction is great for the first 2 or three times you try it. Once you have the positions down, it is quite frustrating to try and have a full workout.

    I have given up on the full workout from this DVD and use the 10 minute power boost. This is a great workout for shorter time and does not have the frustration of at least one minute setup for each maneuver.

    I would recommend that the company offer three segments for this type of workout: 1. Full setup instruction workout; 2. Full workout without interruption; 3. Power boost.

    If not for the excessive talking, I would have rated this 4 to 5 stars as the Pilates moves are fantastic....more info
  • My experience with this
    I am a reasonably strong 40 yo male (I powerlifted as a younger man, and have lifted weights on and off ever since and so am still quite strong). Over the years I've developed some postural problems, and hypothesized that they were due to strong but tight lower back and abs that were weak in comparison (I did very little direct ab training). I thought Pilates might help, and decided to try it via DVD and book. I researched different videos, and decided on this one and Brook Siler's "Pilates Body" video. I was glad I did. The workout, though "beginner level", is quite humbling for someone who considers themselves "strong". Many of the moves are very challenging - they're very different from anything I've done through conventional weight training and require a totally different approach, and strength in a very different range of motion. As a result of doing this, I've become more conscious of my body alignment, and am hopeful that good posture will eventually become natural.

    While Ana does talk between exercises, the workout is still challenging because the moves themselves are challenging, rest or no rest. There's also a bonus "energy boost" workout, which I believe is the same workout sped up. I would definitely recommend this DVD for anyone starting out, as well as the book as a reference. And if you outgrow it, a few bucks more get you the intermediage workout DVD.

    I will say I also tried the Classical Pilates DVD first, and although in itself it seemed fine at the time - with no point of comparison, the lack of instruction didn't bother me - I definitely benefitted from the more complete instruction on Ana's DVD....more info
  • great video but needs more detail
    the video is great and the intructor is entertaining. However, I wish they was a section on the dvd that explained the exercises very slowly and in more detail. I have a book that I use to supplement the video and I have been very happy with the combination....more info
  • great place to start
    This is a great video to start pilates with! The instructor is wonderful....more info
  • Only for complete beginners.
    This is a very good starting place for anyone who is an ABSOLUTE beginner. If you have even a bit of coordination or have dabbled in Pilates or Yoga this dvd will be too slow for you.
    While the instruction on the poses is good, the progression is very slow and you'll feel like you're lying around waiting for your workout to begin.
    The second part of this series (Intermediate Mat Workout) is an excellent workout and the instruction in the dvd is clear enough even if you haven't done this one first.
    If your remotely fit and coordinated, I would recommend skipping directly to the second offering in this series....more info
  • I was a total Pilates Newbie
    I started using this DVD on April 19th and I already feel the difference. I had never ever done this before. Ana and her sidekick, Tara, make it easy. I mostly follow Tara but after 7 sessions there are one or two moves that I follow Ana. I do use the fast forward through the directions most of the time now. Either that or I hold a possition working on strengthening my core muscles.

    I either do it every day or I skip a day but I don't go more than one day without doing it. I want to make sure I keep going. I do break out in a light sweat. I am not that out of shape but I am using muscles I have not used for anything since High School.

    I just recommended it to my mom. She has not worked out in a while and she wanted to try it, I hope she loves it as much as I do.

    The shortness of this DVD makes it hard to say you don't have time to do the work out. I look at it this way, it is shorter than a sitcom. I am looking forward to being able to follow Ana in all the moves....more info
  • Will Show Results for the Busy Person
    This workout is amazing!!! I could never stick to an exercise routine before, but I can do this one everyday before I begin another busy day. I was suprised to see results and definition in my abs and thighs within a matter of weeks. I have a dozen or so pilates videos (which I now regret buying)and get irritated because they do more talking than working out. That's not the case in Ana Caban's Begining Mat Workout-she gives just enough instruction and encouragement to get you through this 25 minute workout. I have recommended this workout to all of my friends and family and they're all just a crazy about it as I am. If you're busy, want more energy and definition in your middle-this is the workout for you!...more info