The Pilates Powerhouse

Mari Winsor and Mark Laska
Perseus Book Group (1999), 185 pages
Approximately $14

The Pilates Powerhouse claims to be “the perfect method of body conditioning for strength, flexibility, and achieving the shape you have always wanted in less than an hour a day.”

Famed Pilates instructor-to-the-stars Mari Winsor outlines over 40 essential Pilates exercises for the mat in an easy-to-understand home guide, best used in conjunction with professional classes (or perhaps the Winsor Pilates videos). Instead of using any expensive workout equipment, the Pilates Powerhouse routine consists only of matwork which relies on the body's own controlled movement to create resistance during the workout.

Her body conditioning manual is beneficial to beginners, intermediate, and advanced Pilates users. Winsor explains each exercise in a concise, detailed step-by-step format along with over 100 black and white photographs that clearly illustrate each movement and posture.

The content of the book is divided up into three sections: “The Power of Pilates,”
“Doing It,” and “Injuries & Injury Prevention.” The first section of the book provides all the information on the eight basic principles of understanding, the joy of movement, and of course the powerhouse.

She goes into detail about the body's “powerhouse”, the core area between the hips and the sternum which helps stabilize the entire body. The Powerhouse is the secret ingredient to a successful Pilates workout. Most videos do not have enough time to go into much detail about the powerhouse, but The Pilates Powerhouse book breaks the concept down so that you can actually take the time to fully understand it.

The “Doing It” section contains pep talk and motivation from Mari Winsor herself, as she convinces you to work your way to a new body. This section of the book also includes the actual matwork routine. There is a full list of 41 exercises to choose from that are designed to tone, firm and stretch. The exercises contain complete explanations and are set up in the format of “prep, ready, and action.” The exercises are pretty easy to understand for anyone who has done Pilates before - for beginners however, using the book in conjunction with the videos would be helpful for a better understanding of the moves.

She also discusses Pilates' role in injury prevention, alleviating lower back pain, and even providing asthma relief. Mari Winsor herself is an asthma sufferer which is why she focuses on proper breathing techniques that can help those suffering from the condition. She hasn't had an asthma attack since she started doing Pilates on a regular basis. In her “Beyond the Mat” segment, Winsor also stresses the importance of finding the right qualified instructor when taking Pilates studio classes.

Mari Winsor uses a lot of pep talk to help motivate and keep you inspired throughout the exercises. The Pilates Powerhouse makes a great complement to the Winsor Pilates series workout videos

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