If you're looking for a challenging introduction to Pilates, Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners is a good place to start. The video is calm and serene, but has a strong, solid Pilates focus and includes an excellent mat workout. The first half of the routine is more cardio-focused, which helps increase the heart rate and burn more calories than a traditional Pilates session.
Detailed instruction. A core principle of Pilates is focus on breathing and proper alignment. In Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, instructor Brooke Siler does voiceover cueing so she can properly demonstrate breathing patterns. Although reviewers say it would be nice if the cueing were live, the voiceover cueing is so detailed that some trainees can follow the routine while barely looking at the screen, allowing them to better focus on individual movements. Siler is calm and soothing, but personable. Viewers say she provides excellent, vivid tips for positioning and alignment.
A beginner routine at a quick pace. This 51-minute workout is broken into two segments. The first, a cardio-based session, is designed to increase the heart rate and calorie burning. Participants begin in a standing position and perform movements such as squats, lunges and planks. Each has a strong Pilates focus, and Siler emphasizes lengthening each movement and appropriate breath patterns.
The second section focuses on mat work, incorporating classic Pilates movements such as rollbacks and the "hundred." Some viewers say these basics are done at a faster pace to aid calorie burn and may initially be difficult for beginners. Trainees with a Pilates background may find the routine too easy but could utilize it for a rest day. Those who want a high-intensity workout should look elsewhere; this is a calm, serene video that challenges the core and improves flexibility. Some even say that the tranquil settings verge on boring.
Gorgeous background, high production value. Like most other Pilates DVDs, Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners includes no bonus materials. That said, this title's production value is excellent. The routine is set outdoors on a bright green lawn with flowers and an ocean view. While cueing isn't live, it's spot-on and easy to follow, reviewers say.
1. Collage Video.com
Review Credibility: Excellent CollageVideo.com is known for its selection of certified trainer-approved fitness videos. Here, Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners gets an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from more than 15 users. They like instructor Brooke Siler's detailed cueing, but some say the routine is far too calm and can get boring.
Review: Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, Editors and Contributors to CollageVideo.com, As of February 2013
Review Credibility: Excellent At Amazon.com, more than 150 customers post comments on Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners. The DVD gets 4.4 stars out of 5, with most reviewers saying it's an excellent Pilates-based workout with informative cueing. However, some say the video goes too quickly for true beginners.
Review: Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent This site provides some of the most comprehensive Pilates and Yoga video reviews, and its list of top 10 mind/body workout DVDs includes Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners. While there isn't much information provided on each title, it's helpful as a comparison tool and there's a link to a full review, where the DVD is called good for beginners.
Review: Top 10 Best Yoga and Pilates DVDs We've Ever Reviewed, "Jenn", Jan. 5, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good The co-founder of FitBottomedGirls.com, Whitehead thoroughly evaluates this Element DVD and gives it 3.6 stars out of 5. She calls it a solid introduction to the practice and adds, "If you like active yoga, it may be worth a shot." Although this review is more than four years old, it's still relevant because the video's content hasn't changed.
Review: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, Erin Whitehead, Nov. 13, 2008
Review Credibility: Very Good FitSugar.com offers a good review of Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners. While the cueing isn't live, editors say the voiceover instruction is so detailed that users barely have to look at the screen and can instead focus on the movements.
Review: DVD Review: Element Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, Editors of FitSugar.com, March 27, 2009
Review Credibility: Good In this 2011 article, Dale selects her top five Pilates DVDs for beginners and provides a strong overview of each. Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners is called challenging enough for those of intermediate fitness levels but approachable enough for novices.
Review: 5 Pilates DVDs for Beginners, Heather Dale, Dec. 16, 2011