2 thoughts on “Your Ultimate Pilates Body® Challenge: At the Gym, on the Mat, and on the Move

  1. 53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Takes Pilates from the mat and into your life, March 4, 2006
    By 
    Reviewer Dr. Beth (Upstate NY USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (#1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)
      
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: Your Ultimate Pilates Body® Challenge: At the Gym, on the Mat, and on the Move (Paperback)
    This is the long-awaited follow-up to Brooke Siler’s first manual on Pilates, The Pilates Body. Her first book was my own introduction to Pilates about 5 years ago, and I still recommend it as the starting point for those brand-new to Pilates. However, for those familiar with Pilates and looking integrate its principles into their lives as a whole, I highly recommend Your Ultimate Pilates Body Challenge, a perfect sequel.

    Siler does not spend as much time delving into the background and basic tenets of Pilates as she did in her previous work. However, she still provides an excellent foundation by reviewing key points about the Pilates powerhouse, posture, and Pilates-style breathing. Furthermore, as it did in her first book, Siler’s enthusiasm for the Pilates method shines through on each and every page. She is unfailingly encouraging, with a clear, down-to-eath writing style. Siler is also gifted in her ability to provide metaphors, and the amazing photos and illustrations which accompany her text provide further clarification.

    Siler offers several methods for expanding your Pilates practice in this book. The first is by taking it to the gym: she describes a program which utilizes common gym equipment for a cardio workout that integrates Pilates techniques. Next she outlines a similar program using home-based equipment such as free weights and bands. In response to demands from her fans, she has also created several programs based on Pilates matwork. She introduces the “Tantalizing Ten,” ten Pilates exercises which provide a foundation for the four other programs, including “Adding Abs,” “Lean Lower Body,” “Perfecting Posture,” and “Finding Flexibility.”

    The final two chapters address how to integrate Pilates into other activities. The first, called the “Invisible Workout,” details the use of Pilates principles in simple, everyday activities, from driving your car to carrying your children to doing housework. In the last chapter, Siler links Pilates to sports activities, choosing a somewhat odd selection of Sports to highlight use of Pilates techniques: golf, tennis, downhill skiing, and snowboarding.

    Although I wouldn’t suggest this book as someone’s first introduction to Pilates, those with some experience with the Pilates method are likely to find this book a valuable addition to their Pilates library.

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  2. 24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent resource for “kicking up” Pilates, April 24, 2006
    By 
    Deb Nam-Krane (Boston, MA United States) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This review is from: Your Ultimate Pilates Body® Challenge: At the Gym, on the Mat, and on the Move (Paperback)
    Siler’s latest book on Pilates is an excellent resource for those who have been exposed to Pilates. (Although it could be used by a beginner, there are better books to ground you in the material, particularly Siler’s first book and those of Alycea Ungaro’s.) If you want ways to bring Pilates to your gym routine, she has quite a few ideas for five popular pieces of equipment. If you want to know how to incorporate mat principles into your at home workout, there are ideas for weights and bands. Trying to improve your sports performance? Plenty of insights and specific exercises for four sports. Do you want to spice up your mat routine, but still in the Pilates-realm? Siler offers four different mat routines with exercises not usually seen in retail manuals. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a good portion of the book is devoted to bringing Pilates principles into everyday life- whether driving, waiting in line, carrying your child, standing on the subway or a host of other everyday activities almost everyone finds themselves doing- via her trademarked Invisible Workout.

    A caveat: Siler is not the first person to have tackled (all of) these subjects. Although not called such, many of the ideas of the Invisible Workout have been used by Denise Austin (somewhere, a Pilates purist is shuddering); Jennifer Kries’ lovely book (Pilates Plus Method) also includes sports-specific routines; and Alycea Ungaro’s latest book (The Pilates Promise) is based on the concept of “target-toning” using Pilates.

    None of the above should detract from this book, because Siler does what she does very well and includes a number of fresh ideas and different exercises. Also, this is the first book I’ve seen that brings Pilates methods to pieces of gym equipment and that uses “Reformer-on-the-Mat” exercises. While such exercises are starting to pop up on DVD (Sarah Picot, Liz Gillies, the Classical Pilates team), it’s great to have these in a book for a reference and with such comprehensive instructions.

    I have criticized Siler’s writing style for her instructions as being too wordy and heavy on the visuals. However, I feel it works better here first because she is writing (I believe) to a more experienced audience and two because she seems to have ligthened up a bit, including a number of anecdotes from her personal training that makes her text seem less technical. In short, even if you were put off by her first book, you shouldn’t be here.

    Excellent book- one of the best Pilates purchases I’ve made.

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