Mari Winsor's Beginner Pilates DVD Review

'Beginner Pilates' Provides a Reasonable Foundation

Woman practicing yoga in living room, cobra pose
A woman practicing yoga at home. Allan Danahar/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you're in the market for a new Pilates workout DVD, you have a ton of options to choose from, especially if you're a beginner. How do you know what criteria to look for when you know nothing about Pilates? "Mari Winsor's Beginner Pilates" is a workout DVD for new Pilates students. The DVD offers a great beginner's guide to Pilates, but, in my opinion, it's better suited as an addition to a beginner's preexisting DVD collection.

About Mari Winsor's Beginner Pilates

  • 10-minute tutorial on body position and the Pilates powerhouse
  • 25-minute set of exercises that teach coordination with the breath
  • 30 minute basic Pilates workout
  • 10-minute "bonus" download workout of standing Pilates which could not be verified or reviewed because the URL included on the DVD did not work
  • Workouts are taught by Mari Winsor with one model
  • Available as a DVD and a download

Mari Winsor's Beginner Pilates DVD Review

I've been a fan of Mari Winsor for a while. I've reviewed three more of her Pilates DVDs and back in the day I owned a full set of Winsor Pilates VHS workouts. It's safe to say I have a pretty good idea of what a new beginner's Pilates DVD from Mari Winsor could be.

This isn't quite it. I don't know if it was the switch from making DVDs as Winsor Pilates to making DVDs for Gaiam, but this is my least favorite Mari Winsor DVD.

That's not to say that "Beginner Pilates" is terrible.

It definitely isn't. But it is lacking the energy and clarity of many of Mari Winsor's other DVD workouts. Winsor is a very experienced Pilates instructor, but the ideas she wants to communicate here don't seem to flow very well. There is a 10-minute introduction titled "Perfect Form Pilates" that includes some Pilates principles and fundamental movement ideas are touched upon, but many are skipped and not picked up elsewhere, which isn't what I want is a beginner DVD.

There are two main workouts on this DVD, but they are very similar and feel somewhat haphazard in the exercise choices and sequencing. For example, the spine stretch, saw and​ spine twist are sequenced one after the other. That's not a sin - there are things to be learned from that - but that is a lot of back stretching and twisting at once for those who aren't used to it. The neck pull, an advanced mat exercise, is also included - not in it's full form, but close.

Those are not the only examples of what in my mind are questionable placements for an exercise. I can't report on the bonus download workout because the URL Gaiam provided for the standing Pilates download did not work. Hopefully, they've fixed it by the time you read this.

I've also been spoiled by some earlier Winsor Pilates DVDs that feature a number of models showing the exercises with various degrees of modifications. That's not something a beginner Pilates DVD has to have, but it's preferable. In this case, the model is an instructor and she is lovely, but she doesn't always show the clarity of form that I want beginners to see.

For example, the way energy is carried through the whole body is important in Pilates, yet I never see an extension through the entire leg and foot in any workout.

It's little overly critical, but I just want to bring it to your attention that there are some significant lapses in the demonstrations.

Even though "Mari Winsor's Beginner Pilates" isn't a stellar beginner's Pilates DVD, it does have some good features. Winsor, an experienced instructor, does a really good job of anticipating the main issues that come up for beginner bodies. She is welcoming and encouraging, and the pace is good for beginners.

The workouts address all areas of the body and include elements of strength and stretch. Plus, Winsor always makes sure you get some good thigh and butt work in - I know that comes from being one of those "trainers to the stars." The workouts in this particular DVD are based on mostly classical Pilates mat exercises and they focus on strengthening the Pilates powerhouse, a concept I always appreciate Winsor for keeping alive in the public mind.

Purchase Mari Winsor's Beginner Pilates DVD on Amazon

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