If you want your Pilates video to help you burn extra calories and shed weight, consider purchasing a weight-loss specific program. While most Pilates DVDs help strengthen and tone the body, their slow pace and controlled movements do little to help viewers drop pounds. Weight-loss specific programs incorporate more cardiovascular work to elevate the heart rate than traditional Pilates routines. By raising the heart rate, participants burn more calories while performing the Pilates-based movements to shed weight.
Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners (*Est. $15) gets high marks from user posts and the editors of FitBottomedGirls.com. We name it our best-reviewed Pilates video for weight loss. Instruction is clear, and although the moves are basic, reviewers say they still get a good, solid workout. The DVD probably isn't for those who need a higher-energy routine, but it's beneficial for those new to Pilates who want to work up to a more advanced level. Trainer Brooke Siler doesn't cue live, which some say is a drawback, but she demonstrates the movements clearly and her voiceover cueing is detailed. One expert source says Siler's instruction is so well executed, users may not even need to look at the screen. Plus, her tips on alignment and breathing are top-notch.
Those who want to lose weight with a Pilates routine but are more advanced may like our runner-up video, Weight Loss Pilates with Kristin McGee (*Est. $15) . The DVD was introduced in 2009 and reviews from professional publications are largely outdated, but it maintains its popularity with consumers. About.com's Marguerite Ogle says the workout provides a good mix of cardio and Pilates-based exercises, but warns that some of the moves are high-impact and others aren't suitable for those with back problems.
Pilates routines also come in time-efficient sessions. The 10 Minute Solution line of DVDs features five 10-minute segments that focus on a specific muscle group, and can be mixed and matched depending on how long or how intense a workout you desire. 10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates (*Est. $14) gets good feedback from users at Amazon.com, CollageVideo.com, FitSugar.com and TopExerciseVideos.com. Viewers like instructor Lara Hudson's clear cueing and impeccable form. Although some say there are too few repetitions for moves to be truly effective, those who like working at a faster pace love these workouts.