Pilates Workbook

Pilate Workbook: Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide to Matwork Techniques

Michael King
Ulysses Press (2001), 96 pages
Approximately $11

This practical, no-nonsense workbook outlines the authentic Pilates exercises for the mat as prescribed by Joseph Pilates. You can tell it is authentic information especially when it provides facts on the Pilates family tree. The workbook begins with 15 double-page spreads that focus on answering the readers' questions about the classic Joseph Pilates method and the fundamental principles of the program. It answers all the what's, why's and how's of Pilates as well as how to set up your goals for the exercise program and how to perform the exercises safely without injury. It also provides advice on how to design a step-by-step workout plan.

After the introduction, Michael King includes a chapter of what he calls the “Vital Elements” of the Pilates program. The elements that King describes include concentration, breathing, centering, control, precision, movement, isolation, and routine. It is important for the first time Pilates user to learn and understand these basic principles in order for them to carry out an effective yet safe Pilates exercise program.

The rest of the book is then devoted to the actual exercises. The Movements category is broken down into four different levels of Pilates exercises which are the Warm-ups, the Essentials, New Challenges, and High Intensity. Following the exercises there is a brief section where King offers some helpful tips to remember while performing the exercises.

Over 200 photos are used throughout the book as black and white photographic sequences are provided along with text captions to describe the technique of each exercise. Besides just the basic explanations of each exercise, King provides alternatives and modifications if the main version proves to be too difficult. The book itself is rather short because Michael King does not seem to go into too much detail about each of the techniques or exercises. Some people also tend to find the chapters of the book to be a little dry which may hinder maintaining interest in the book.

One bonus feature about the design of the book itself is that its binding lies flat so you can easily refer to it while you work out. It will stay open for you so you can lay it beside your mat for quick reference, or prop it up at eye level.

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