Pilates For Dummies

Ellie Herman
For Dummies (2002), 360 pages
Approximately $15

The somewhat intimidating form of exercise known as Pilates is made user-friendly in this book by the popular “For Dummies” series. The Dummies series now has more than 100 million books in circulation. The book is written by Ellie Herman who is a certified Pilates practitioner. With quirky good humor, Herman shows you how to do an effective mat-based routine based on the eight essential Pilates principles. She breaks down the exercise routines in an easy-to-understand manner suitable for users of all fitness levels.

The first section of the Pilates for Dummies book is the “Pilates Basics”. This is all the nitty-gritty principles behind the Pilates method and is a beneficial read for those who are brand new to Pilates. Those who are more knowledgeable in the method are encouraged to skip this section if they like.

The next section is the “Mat Exercises”. The book outlines exercise routines for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and even super advanced. The routines are complete with step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and photos to help you fully understand each exercise. It is to be used as a guide for developing your own Pilates exercise program that you can do at home or at the gym.

The “Beyond the Mat” chapter covers Pilates exercise routines that incorporate different forms of Pilates equipment and Pilates accessories. Some of the accessories that the chapter touches on are foam rollers, magic circles, small exercise balls, big exercise balls, and Pilates springs.

Pilates for Dummies provides information on Pilates exercises for special situations. Some examples of special programs are Pilates for pregnant women and the recently pregnant, using Pilates to heal injuries, and using Pilates to restore ease of movement and posture.

Finally there is a chapter in the book called the “Part of Tens.” This section contains helpful tips and tricks that are all laid out in the form of “top tens”. For instance there is the top ten most important exercises, ten changes you can expect to see from Pilates and ten questions you should ask your professional Pilates instructor. This section is designed to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by Pilates users. The book also shows you how to easily incorporate Pilates into other forms of exercise such as aerobics, yoga, swimming, and much more.

There is plenty of detail but you are encouraged to skip through some sections if you feel you don't need all the academic background. Small black and white photos accompany the text, which may not be as pretty as some of the other books out there, but it is sufficient to help illustrate the moves.

The Dummies books have a traditional structural layout and always include the following features (from the back cover of the book) so that you can learn Pilates the Dummies way:

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