Book Review! Exercise, What it is, What it Does

New Book Review “Exercise, What it is, What it Does” by Carola Trier

A few of my pilates teacher friends on and I decided to start a new Facebook group, dedicated to books about pilates, pilates history, movement, yoga, nutrition, essential oils – everything! We call it The Pilates Book Review and Discussion Group. We are 432 members and growing!

Every few weeks, we review a different book and open it up for discussion with other teachers and lovers of movement. It’s fun! Join our group – it’s a great way learn about new books and decide whether or not you want to buy the book yourself!

Book Review: Exercise, What it is, What it Does Reviewed By: Elaine Ewing
Title: Exercise, What it is, What it Does By: Carola Trier
First Published:1982, Edition: First Year, 1982
Format: hardcover book,  Pages: 55
Availability: Used on Amazon, eBay, used book store
To Buy or Borrow: Buy if you like to collect books

“Exercise, What it Is, What it Does” Review

This is a fun children’s book by Carola Trier, Pilates Elder.

Carola was born in Germany and was trained as a modern dancer. She toured Europe and the US in a one-woman act of dance acrobatics on roller skates. There are some really cool photos of her doing this act- I think they can be found on Pilates Anytime. Due to an injury, she turned to Joseph Pilates and later began her career of teaching exercise. She worked with him for 10 years and then went on to be one of the only people other than Joseph Pilates to run a studio in NYC.

The book starts out with a table of contents that lists the 6 short chapters in the book:

  • Your Body is like a Building
  • Your Feet are the Foundation
  • Your Legs are Two Pillars
  • From Hip to Hip
  • The Upper Stories
  • Fun with Friends

The book is full of creative imagery, a variety of little exercises throughout the book, cartoon drawings of a cat doing different exercises, and movements for kids. It’s a nice little book for kids to become interested in exercise and have fun with it, although perhaps dated. And, a cool and historical book to add to a collection.

The beginning of the book teaches how the body “is like a building”, and how the feet are the foundation. It then gives a few exercises on each page, called Tricks. There is The Towel Trick, The Ball Trick, The Pencil Trick, etc. Calling the exercises “tricks” is a clever way to get kids interested in trying the exercises (and a good idea to possibly try to get adults to do them, too!)

Most interesting, throughout the book are kid-versions of Pilates exercises with different titles. One exercise is called, “Breathing Practice”. It describes:

Inhale while taking four steps.

Exhale on the next four steps.

Practice until you can

breathe in for eight steps,

and out for eight steps.

You can do this

while walking to school.

Another hidden Pilates exercise is called, “The Straddle Trick”:

Imagine your chair is a horse.

Straddle it.

Keep your legs wide apart.

Hold the seat with your inner thighs.

Lean forward on your hands.

Lift your buttocks

off the seat.

Hold this position

for four counts.

(And then the cat says, “For strong inner thighs”).

Other pilates exercises that are re-titled and made fun for kids are The Roll Up, Wall exercises, and some partner exercises that also resemble pilates exercises.

The powerhouse is also abstractly addressed in the book as, “Your stomach and buttock muscles help hold your back straight. Keep them pressed together like two praying hands.”

The last chapter of the book is about partner exercises and funny things to do. My favorite, and likely would be a huge hit with my own kids, is “The Buttocks Walk”:

Sit on the floor.

Hold on to your ankles.

Shift your weight to the left buttock.

Slide your right buttock forward.

Slide your lift buttock forward.

Now you will be walking on your buttocks.

What more do we need after that!?


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