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A Pilates video for everyone

October 02, 2006|Jeannine Stein

Many exercise videos promise modifications for exercisers at various levels, but few come through with the goods. One exception is "Pick Your Level: Weight Loss Pilates" (Anchor Bay, 2006). The DVD features three instructors demonstrating beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts.


Pick Your Level: Weight Loss Pilates: Whether you've taken one Pilates mat class or are a pro at the Reformer machine, a challenging 32-minute workout can be found in "Weight Loss Pilates." Host Ellen Barrett and two other instructors demonstrate standing moves plus leg and core work. The standing segment includes side leg lifts coupled with arm movements sure to elevate heart rates. Beginners can keep their feet on the floor; more experienced exercisers can raise their legs for extra exertion. Mat exercises feature plank push-ups to a downward-facing dog yoga position and leg circles.

Barrett keeps a running commentary throughout the video, offering tips for correct body placement and movement cues. With camera angle changes and split-screen devices, the various levels may be difficult to follow at first.

Viewers don't have to stick with one level the entire time -- in fact, Barrett, fitness instructor and owner of the Studio by Ellen Barrett in New Haven, Conn., recommends hopping around. "Everyone's a mixture," she says. "I don't know anyone who is a perfect level 2, especially since this has to do with stretch and strength."

Although cardio benefits can come from the workout, Barrett cautions that it shouldn't be done on autopilot: "The mind-body connection has to be present at all times," she says. "That's going to keep you aware of what's going on with your body and you'll be able to gauge if you can squeeze your muscles more and get more out of the movement."

Price: $14.95, available at

Jeannine Stein

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