This is a review for the Mat Workout DVD, which is not really a Mat Workout, most is standing up.
A friend of mine, an ex-ballerina, was very enthusiastic about this method over dinner the other day, and she's also like me, done Pilates for ever, and now she combines the two, so I decided to try it. The name wasn't new to me, she's very well known for being a celeb trainer and I've seen her in clips before along the likes of madonna, nicole ritchie etc.
I have to say, i have never tried a home video system before, and it seemed kind of silly, but after a while you get used it and it's cool. I think home videos have this stigma (like tv shows) that they are not the real deal, but it really depends how serious you take them. I don't recommend anyone turning to a dvd exercise program without having a previous knowledge on what they're doing and on their body and muscles, and having read some books or having tried a personal (pilates) trainer. In that sense, pilates books (and often yoga although there's so many variations it's hard for me to generalize), offer a great deal of information, because the principle of both is control and protection of the spine. Without control, whatever you do, you're doing it wrong.
So the first thing that struck me about Tracy is that she doesn't go into any of that, and her exercises, although controlled, don't have the precision of yoga or pilates, or ballet. This is great because they encourage a lot of movement and freedom, but you have to know what you're doing otherwise you could hurt yourself. She does many many spine rotations that I think one needs to be aware of. That said, I enjoy it a lot, I found it challenging at first but not so hard that I couldn't do it all in one go, and I will definitely be alternating this with my pilates program. It's a more traditional approach, with lots of repetitions, but also lots and lots of variation which always makes it more entertaining; and having her on the screen is of course a fabulous motivation. The music gets really old and once I know what she's doing, I turn to my trusty Britney cds and mute her.
I love how much emphasis she puts on the arms and the upper body because it is an area that I need to work on, and I can already feel so much lighter and livelier after doing them for just over a week. I think the abs, although fun, are lacking on the lower ab department, let me know what you guys think if you've tried it. I usually spend more time on lower abs, whenever I'm working abs. She works the gluteus medius and the adductors a lot which is great because exercises rarely do. Her stretches aren't thorough enough for me, I don't know if she's doing this on purpose- I need to include a lot more stretches of the psoas and hamstrings.
As with any method it is very very important that you know what you're doing, and that you know how to adapt it to yourself, we all have different needs and by addressing them you can avoid so many issues later in life.
Put me as an example- I have a small degree of scoliosis, hiperlordosis and hyperflexibility in all of my joints. All of these conditions mean that I have to be very diligent in building some muscle around my spine and joints that can "hold" them- And for this, it is important that you do things with awareness and control.
I also got some cardio dance workouts so I'm looking forward to those. I like her fun, dance approach to it, it's very entertaining, the hour passes quite quickly and the level is realistic.
EDIT: I've started reading her 30 days Method book, and I'll update you on that but my initial thoughts are: a) get that with the dvd, it's pretty standard, but it explains all her motivation and it makes everything more logical. She barely speaks in the DVD at all. b) I have no interest whatsoever in her diet regime, I don't plan to follow it and so far I don't agree with her
Next up I really want to try the Design Series.