WINSOR PILATES UPPER BODY SCULPTING

WinsorPilatesUpperBodySculpting

2002, $1.99, at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: The back cover promises, “not only will you change your body, you will change your life.”

Second Impression: The first noticeable change will be long square talons with a tasteful nude manicure.

This is another routine from Mari Winsor, the “Oracle of Pilates,” who previously brought us her squirm-inducing banter in a put-on Jamaican accent. Here, as in all her videos, she does her best to convince us that her short hairdo is a bob with bangs, and not, in fact, a femullet.

This DVD’s life-changing promises seem appropriate when I realize that the set design looks like the headquarters of a cult. The Pilates helpers dutifully execute Mari Winsor’s orders on a couple of white circular raised platforms in a wood-paneled lobby. Light filters though a sheer curtain that is just the right shade of purple to evoke mystical complacency. Beyond the curtain lies… what? A table with brochures full of promises, perhaps?

Mari’s two helpers, a blonde with an unconvincing smile and a brunette with a fog of sadness in her eyes, obey instructions with every snap of Mari’s fingers. She literally snaps her fingers at them and they whip through from lying down to rolling up to touch toes and uncurl back down again so quickly, it looks painful. I wonder if their families know where they are being held.

When it’s time to incorporate hand weights into the exercises, Mari Winsor specifies that dumbbells are to be held with straight fingers. That means pinching the weight in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. I have no idea what purpose this would serve, other than to sprain your thumb, and then cause you to drop your weight onto your foot. I opted to curl my fingers around the weights like a defiant child. I guess I’m not obedient enough to join the Pilates cult.

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