Video Fitness

Mind Body Mat Intermediate Pilates

Hilary Burnett

I am thrilled to finally say that I ďgetĒ pilates thanks to this video. In the past few years, I have tried a few other videos and taken a beginning pilates class Ė it was just OK. Not sure if it was due a different level of fitness, lack of time for a longer workout at the moment or just a need to find something different Ė I am LOVING pilates now!!

The video features Hilary Burnett demonstrating and narrating throughout the routine. The background is exceptionally pleasantÖÖvery light guitar music, candles, marble floor, pillows all in rich earthy colors. The only thing missing is the glass of wine. Just kidding! The moves are all pretty traditional pilates matwork. Hereís the program:

The first 4 minutes focus on proper techniques for breathing, locating your ďcoreĒ and leg placement (the pilates ĎVĒ). Hilary then starts the programÖ..


Single leg circles/5x clockwise, 5x reverse-switch legs

Rolling like a ball/5x

Stomach Series:
Single leg stretch /8x

Double leg stretch/6x


Double leg stretch/5x


Spine stretch/5x

Open Leg Rocker/5x

Corkscrew/5x clockwise, reverse

Saw/5x per side


Single leg Kick/ 8x

Double leg kick/10x

Neck pull/3x

Shoulder Bridge/4x each leg

Spine twist/6x

Jack Kife/3x

Side Kicks: each side
Front kicks/8x

Ceiling kicks/5x


Hip circles/6x

Swimming Ė10 seconds


Hilary then continues with some light stretching-neck, side, hamstring, back/spine and straddle stretch.

I first started with Hilary's Beginning video but then switched to the intermediate one. After a few times with the intermediate routine, I finally began to feel my core and realized that I was making progress. I now do it 2-3x per week and I feel stronger and even feel leaner. Pilates definitely is a great compliment to my current workout program and I am glad that I stuck with it. Give this video a try. (or at least 5-6 tries!!)

Instructor comments: Hilary is a wonderful instructor who is very thorough but yet enjoyable. Her form is impeccable and elegant. Hilary's visual clues really helped me focus on performing correctly....."up through water, down through clay", "grow taller with each breath", "twist like your torso is made is cold taffy". Add the music, the setting and the program and you have a wonderful workout.

Lisa Hawes
June 5, 2002

Lisa has done a wonderful job breaking this video down, so I'll just give my impressions. The set is very harem-like, kind of weird but pleasant to look at. Very different from any other video I've seen. There's a wide variety of exercises on this tape, and I really like that. The exercises flow in a good sequence and I felt that my entire body was getting a good workout.

My main complaint is the speed of the workout: Hilary transitions from move to move so quickly that she is already starting the next exercise before I can even get myself flopped over and set up. The pause button comes in very handy. It also comes in handy because for the first several exercises, she does not allow time to put the head and shoulders back down on the floor and stretch them between exercises; while my abs appreciate the burn of moving quickly from one exercise to the next without rest, I did begin to feel very strained in my neck. Hilary's style of instruction also did not always work for me: "Heat up that taffy"; "Inflate your spine"; "Your torso is an hourglass"--I don't really know what she means when she says these things and no helpful visuals come to my mind. Still, at least she's creative.

The video ends with a really nice stretch.

Instructor comments: Hilary's manner is calm, soothing, and pleasant.



This is a great 30 minute advanced beginner/intermediate pilates workout that uses many different exercises to tone your abdominals, back, hips and thighs, and to strengthen your core. I have tried a few other pilates videos (The Method and Stott Intermediate Matwork), but I found them dry, and just could not get into them. This has been the first pilates video that I really enjoy. I have a short attention span when it comes to slower paced exercises like pilates, but this video never gave me a chance to get bored. Hilary does a lot of different exercises, and quickly switches from one to the other. The time seems to fly by. The setting (lots of pillows and candles) and the instrumental music is very relaxing. Hilary starts the workout by explaining how you should breathe and contract your abdominals during the workout. Then she shows you the "Pilates V" position that you will use in the workout. The workout begins with abdominal exercises like the abdominal curl, the hundred, the rollup, leg cirles, double leg stretch, scissors, twists. It also contains some great stretches like the spine stretch, the saw, and the swan. This workout also contains exercises like leg kicks, side kicks, and swimming to help tone and strengthen your thighs, hips and back. It also has some more advanced exercises like teasers, the jackknife, and the leg lower lift. This video could have easily been made into an advanced workout if each of the exercises were done for a longer period of time. Instead, I felt that it was exactly what it was meant to be, an intermediate (or even advanced beginner) workout. I don't think this workout was meant to concentrate on one area (abs, hips, thighs), instead, I think that it is meant to help build core strength, and to tone the abdominals, hips, thighs, back, and I feel that it did accomplish that goal. As a bonus, it also leaves me feeling relaxed and stretched out when I am finished.

Instructor comments: Hilary gives great instruction and form pointers for pilates beginners. She is also very encouraging and shows some modifications for beginners.


4 Sep 03

Hilary Burnett's Pilates Intermediate DVD is wonderful. I really liked what I saw in the preview but wasn't sure how I would fare when I tried it out for real. The routine flows beautifully but I didn't feel rushed or strained. The imagery was clear without being flowery, yet flowery enough to make sense... Example "Imagine your torso as an hourglass, picture that middle part of that hourglass, waist wrapped in elastic ace bandages. Feel the symmetrical expansion on the inhale and contraction all the way around the waist and to the back on the exhale" (yes she does go on to talk about involving the pelvic floor) and "float up with hydraulic energy ... float down with suspension" Admittedly my yoga background and the instruction from the Lynne Robinson Pilates DVDs helped me to apply a better understanding to what was required of me but Hilary's instruction was still marvellous. I like Ana Caban, I like Niedra (FitChic, Fashion Your Body With Pilates) but Hilary's practie is like preparing to eat beans only to find a fine chocolate dessert in it's place. Niedra and Ana are like strawberry souffle and fresh kiwis in comparison - which is no bad thing at all!

Lastly, although this workout was similar to the others I've tried, I found I was able to do everything modified and not. I had to sit out quite a few exercises and reps with Niedra and Ana's DVDs. It's possible that the few exercises I did with those DVDs helped me to do better with Hilary but I think Hilary's instruction had more to do with it.

Instructor comments: Hilary has a lovely voice and her instruction is very clear. This DVD is as watchable as it is doable thanks to the lovely setting and Hilary's personality.


29th July 2004

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it once a week over the past few months and probably about

General workout breakdown: This workout lasting about 30 minutes has already been broken down, so Iíll just add that overall I find Hilaryís pace appropriate: not too fast and not too slow. The transitions vary in tempo; I find that the transitions from supine to prone positions are rather quick while some of the transitions from one supine position to another are a little slower than they need to be. She performs a decent number of repetitions. The only exercise which probably has too many is the double leg kicks, of which she must do almost two dozen. I do like the stretches at the end, although some of them donít seem as useful for a Pilates workout as some others I can think of.

Level: Iíd recommend this to solidly intermediate Pilates exercisers. Although Hilary includes a decent amount of instruction and even a few modifications, you really do need to know what youíre doing here since there are some advanced exercises, such as jackknife and hip circles. I consider myself low intermediate (about 2 years of experience but still limited strength & flexibility), and I find this video appropriately challenging, with a few exercises still beyond my ability. I have to modify those exercises, but I use modifications I learned from other books and videos rather than the ones Hilary provides, as I donít find them particularly helpful for someone with limited flexibility. (For example, rather than perform the hip circles with straight arms as she does, I lower myself onto my forearms as Ana Caban does in Quick Start Pilates for Weight Loss.)

Class: Hilary alone.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: To tell you the truth, the musicís so forgettable I donít remember anything about the instrumental accompaniment. Hilary is on a mat in front of what appears to be an altar draped with a tiger skin and covered in the front by an array of richly colored pillows. Overall the interior space is relatively dark but not exactly pitch black. The picture and sound are fineónothing special, but nothing objectionable.

Equipment: mat (or equivalent). Hilary is barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough to move your arms and legs around while on your back.

DVD Notes: Please note that I have the older edition with the tiger stripes, and Iím not sure if these comments apply to the white and purple edition DVDs.
The DVD starts right at the main menu, and you can skip all of the introductory and warning bits. (This is the way it should be!) Each exercise is chaptered. (Again, this is the way it should be!)

Conclusion: Iím keeping this one. Itís a solid classical Pilates routine thatís truly intermediate. I have included this in my weekly rotation with Stott Core Challenge, Classical Pilates Magic Circle Intermediate, More than Mat Intermediate, and whichever Ana Caban I feel like doing that week; so far Iím seeing great progress (if slow but steady) with my Pilates form, strength, and flexibility.

Instructor comments: Hilary speaks deliberately and calmly in a manner that sometimes seems almost forced. (In other words, some people may appreciate her calm demeanor and think her nice while others might find her cold.) Hilary uses imagery, some of which sounds silly if youíre not familiar with Pilates imagery (like imagining youíre moving through taffy, for example). I donít have many problems with her cueing, although she often spends more time instructing or offering form pointers rather than cueing each move. Hilary does spend a good amount of time talking, but probably not as much as Moira Merrithew (nee Stott). Like Moira, her talk is concerned exclusively with Pilates, not on how good youíll look, etc.


January 9, 2006

Hilary Burnett's Mind Body Mat combines a very good intermediate level Pilates mat practice with exceptional form pointers. At the start of the workout, Hilary spends about 4 minutes focused on Pilates breathing, first in a seated position and then lying. This was a great refresher for me (although I'd probably skip this segment next time); I particularly liked how she mentioned that your tailbone should be on the floor with your waist slightly up. She then moves into the matwork, beginning with the hundred, the traditional first Pilates exercise. Hilary teaches with a combination of live and voiceover instruction, flowing smoothly from one exercise to the next and following the common sequencing order. At times, she does a higher number of repetitions than usually found on other Pilates videos, which I liked.

Exercises included in this workout are as follows: hundred, roll-up, single leg circles, rolling like a ball, stomach series (single leg stretch, double leg stretch, scissors, double straight leg stretch, twist), spine stretch, open leg rocker, corkscrew, saw, swan, single leg kick, double leg kick, neck pull, shoulder bridge, spine twist, jack knife, side kicks (front, up and down), teasers, hip circles, swimming, and seal. The name of each exercise appears on the screen, and modifications are sometimes shown via an inset on the screen. Overall, I'd probably rate the level of the workout as low intermediate; I would have liked to have seen a few additional challenging moves such as the rollover. At the end of the matwork, Hilary spends about 2 more minutes on some simple seated stretches, including a neck stretch plus side and front stretches. Therefore, the actual workout is about 24 minutes long, or 28 minutes total with the opening breathing sequence.

This is an excellent intermediate Pilates practice that would be perfect for Pilates beginners who are looking to move to the next level.

Instructor comments: Hilary has a wonderfully calm demeanor. As mentioned above, she offers exceptional form pointers, and her own form is impeccable. The workout is set in a softly light room with soothing guitar music in the background.

Beth C (aka toaster)

April 11, 2006