Looking for a low-impact, core-focused home exercise program with a short duration? XB Pilates with Andrea Rogers, the 3-week fitness program on the BODi workout platform, may be a match!
My name is Lillie and I’ve completed and reviewed over 18 (!!!) Beachbody and BODi workout programs, from the famed “21 Day Fix” with Autumn Calabrese, to the new Megan Davies program, “Sure Thing.” To create these reviews, I do every single part of the program, taking copious notes along the way.
What Makes this “XB Pilates” Review Honest
Why trust this review? I am not affiliated with BODi in any way (I am not a “coach,” nor compensated by the company for writing about it), and thus can be completely honest about the pros and cons of any given program — as you may have seen from my scathing BODi Blocks review.
My motivation in writing these weekly detailed reviews is to help your exercise motivation — in whatever form is best for YOU. As more background, I’m 41 years old and mother to two young children. My exercise level is “High Intermediate,” and I have a history of knee issues from being a varsity high jumper back in the day, so often add extra modifications to protect my joints.
On that note, please heed this disclaimer that you should always use caution and wise judgment before starting any new workout program. Listen to your body’s needs, and consult a doctor if needed. Got it? On to the review!
XB Pilates Overview
XB Pilates is a low-impact Intermediate level 21-day (3-week) program with videos that run for 30 minutes each (except for two shorter abs and stretch ones). There are two suggested calendars, plus two hybrid ones, each of which has workouts all 7 days of the week. The focus of the program is core and glute work, often seated on a mat, but there are cardio and upper-body focused days as well.
The “XB” stands for “Xtend Barre,” which is the program on Openfit that Andrea Rogers is most famous for. (My review on “Xtend Barre” is coming next, since it’s moved to BODi, along with her new “Sweat and Sculpt!”)
Pilates is different from Barre because it’s less cardio (though there are some cardio days), and conducted more by sitting or reclining on a mat than standing — though there is standing, too. The focus of Pilates is the core and postural muscles — including the abs and glutes. The idea of a “Pilates body” is to gain long, lean muscle: toning and functional fitness results without bulk.
Equipment Needed for XB Pilates
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A nice feature of XB Pilates is that very little equipment is needed, and much of it is actually optional (with a clear modifier in each video of how to do moves without bands, sliders, and weights). You don’t even need shoes for most of the videos!
All that’s suggested for the program is to have is a squishy mat for all the floor work (I like this thick mat, paired with a yoga mat, for times when I want less squishiness), very light weights (1-2 pounds — I just used the removable one-pounders from ankle weights), and sliders plus a resistance loop (I liked the red loop from this slider and loop set). Instead of fancy sliders, you can use washcloths on a wood floor (what I do), or paper plates on a carpet.
XB Pilates Review
Now that we know the background about “XB Pilates,” what’s my honest assessment of the program? Unlike my LIIFT MORE review, which has just Pros and Cons, I have added in a third section here of “In the Middle,” as they may be a Pro or Con depending on what your preferences and goals are.
Pros of “XB Pilates”
1. XB Pilates is no-impact and often seated, but still challenging.
I found the “XB Pilates” workouts easier to psych up for and push play for than other programs because so much of the work is done sitting on the mat, or, if standing, with little impact. Despite this low-impact style, the moves give a distinct muscle burn of a nature very different from the heavy weightlifting or HIIT cardio that I’m used to with other programs like “80 Day Obsession.” My heart rate also truly did go up during the cardio days. So, what were my “XB Pilates” results?
2. Core XB Pilates results are good.
True to Andrea’s promise, I got solid results from “XB Pilates” — in particular in feeling long and lean in my entire body, and having stronger postural and core muscles, which made functional everyday moves like getting out of bed easier. The variety of moves and modifications in the program meant I could practice balance, elongating, strength, and cardio in low-impact, low-weight ways that I never had before.
Visually, I do feel that my waist is tighter, and I got fitter without bulking up (unlike my triangle-shaped LIIFT4 results). That said, manage your expectations — a 3-week program will yield some results for sure, but 3 months is really the time frame that produces big changes, in my experience.
3. Brisk pacing with few breaks.
In much-appreciated contrast other programs which are known for overly long monologues that sometimes feel like they’re wasting time (ex: see my 645 BODi review), “XB Pilates” is ultra-efficient. If you want to take a water break, you’ll probably need to hit pause! More on this later.
4. Andrea Rogers is an excellent trainer.
Though I have a tendency to be intimidated by women with long blond hair (a vestige of being bullied in middle school by gals of that aesthetic), I actually found Andrea Rogers to have an extremely warm, clear, and helpful style of training. She has such a high fitness level that she’s able to give verbal cues and motivation the entire 30 minute workout without stopping.
I did not find Andrea’s speech cloying; rather, it is professional and to-the-point. If you had trouble as I did with the BODi program, “Barre Blend” because of the coaching style, Andrea Rogers might be a better match than Elise. (Note: I really loved Elise Jone in “Fire and Flow,” but there’s something about Elise’s Barre program that wasn’t what I was seeking, verbally.)
5. Moves start slow at first, and the modification is clear.
For the most part, the exercise moves in “XB Pilates” are first introduced at a slower tempo before moving to a faster one. This is a great way to get your body used to positions that you may not usually do, and also saves time. Andrea also helpfully points out modifications down or up in difficulty, with the help of her cast. Further, the program levels up in difficulty each week, unlike “4 Weeks for Every Body.”
6. The time frame is short but effective.
“XB Pilates” is what I call an “easy win program,” meaning that 3 weeks of workouts for 30 minutes a day is extremely doable. (Note: the easier calendar has one semi-rest day a week with just 5-9 minutes for the video.)
Given this timeframe, you can finish this program in no time, but still see results — so it’s highly satisfying. “Muscle Burns Fat” has a similar time frame. “XB Pilates” is a perfect amount of time if you are like me and enjoy mixing in other forms of exercise like walking outside.
7. There is nice, unobtrusive music.
I always appreciate when workout programs have music built in, because you don’t have to fiddle with an extra thing. The music in “XB Pilates” won’t win a Grammy award, but is calming and unobtrusive, and certainly nice to have, in my book.
8. Little equipment is needed, which is great for travel.
As you can see from my equipment list above, there actually is almost no REQUIRED equipment for “XB Pilates.” If you were traveling, you could even use a towel on a carpet floor instead of a mat; you just need something as a cushion for floor moves. This is way more practical for being on the road than the boatloads of equipment needed for “9 Week Control Freak!”
9. Moves are demonstrated and explained clearly.
I’m quite new to Pilates, so I appreciated that each move was demonstrated and explained with clear verbal cues, and then a variety of camera angles to show correct positioning. It was also nice that Andrea says, “front leg” and “back leg” instead of “left” and “right,” which tend to trip up other trainers because of the camera flipping the view. Additionally, the cues about ab engagement and breathing are excellent.
10. Exercises are all done on both sides.
I loved the Shaun T BODi dance workout, “Let’s Get Up,” but some of the moves hit muscles more on one side of the body than others. In contrast, “XB Pilates” always does everything on one side that is done on the other.
“In the Middle” Aspects of “XB Pilates”
The following aspects of “XB Pilates” may be a Pro or a Con, depending on what you’re seeking in your workout program.
A. There is no heavy weightlifting or crazy sweaty HIIT.
I adore lifting heavy weights, so I did miss welding my 20 pound dumbbells during “XB Pilates.” The post-exercise high you get from this Pilates program is a very different feel than after, for example,
“6 Weeks of The Work,” where you’re thoroughly exhausted and “cleansed.” In contrast, I felt accomplished, elongated, and full of burning muscles after “XB Pilates.”
In sum: this program will work very different muscles and skills than any other BODi program. Since it’s good to mix things ups that’s not necessarily a “Con.” Given this, I think I’m going to alternate lower-impact programs like “XB Pilates” with more traditional lifting and HIIT ones.
B. “XB Pilates” may not be for beginners.
Though Andrea Rogers asserts that “XB Pilates” is for “all levels and backgrounds,” I am at a High Intermediate level of fitness, and found it quite challenging. I am not sure I would add this program to my list of best Beachbody BODi programs for beginners because I think you need at least somewhat of a base in understanding how to add extra modifications if needed. It’s Intermediate level indeed.
C. Confusing references to Pilates Reformer.
Because I am new to Pilates and have never done it in a studio, I found Andrea’s references to Pilates Reformer equipment more confusing than helpful. If you’re versed in that world, however, those visualizations might be useful cues.
D. “XB Pilates” is highly “feminine.”
There is not a single male-identified person in the cast of “XB Pilates,” (despite Andrea referring to them as “guys”), and the flavor of the program is distinctly “feminine.” This seems a bit of a pity because I could see fellows benefiting from the core strength and full-body balance moves. Though the vibe isn’t as cheesy as I found “Barre Blend,” there is a funny moment at the start of each “XB Pilates” episode where the cast is fake chatting together.
E. There are no breaks.
As mentioned in the Pros section, “XB Pilates” has no official breaks for water (or to catch your breath), so you’ll need to press “Pause” and add them in yourself. For some, that may be annoying; for others, it’s efficient and a benefit.
D. Screen positioning can be challenging.
Since there is so much floor work, I had to reset my workout space (aka, laundry room) to be able to see the videos on my computer screen, then find a second and third space with higher angles for lying down vs. seated vs. standing moves. This is not a big “Con” of the program, but rather, something to keep in mind for the set-up.
E. Be prepared for intense holds.
At the end of many exercise moves in “XB Pilates,” Andrea will have you hold a burn-inducing position (such as a lifted leg) for an extra minute, coaching you to raise it higher and higher, while yelling, “HELLO [body part]!” This may or may not be what you’re looking for — but it does yield results!
Cons of “XB Pilates”
1. Repeated videos.
The #1 downside of “XB Pilates” is that both the standard and advanced calendar require repeating workout videos multiple times. It’s a 21-day program, but there are actually only TWELVE full-length workouts! In general I tend to avoid programs with repetitions (like “4 Weeks of The Prep“) because I find them less motivating, but I made an exception for this one because I’d heard such good things.
2. Knee injury risk.
Quite a few “XB Pilates” workouts feature fast ballet-style squats (“plies”) and lateral, side-to-side moves with what I would categorize as not enough warm-up before, such as in the video for “Sculpt and Define 3.” The modifications offered are sometimes not enough, here.
I was lucky that I finished the “XB Pilates” program unscathed — unlike my experience with “30 Day Breakaway” — but that’s because I know how to add extra modifications to slow down moves, or not bend my knees as deeply. Stretching at the end of the workouts is also minimal. I will reiterate that “XB Pilates” should NOT be seen as a beginner program — it is overall quite complex and tough.
3. “XB Pilates” is not enough exercise on its own.
Though doing just “XB Pilates” for your exercise is better than being totally sedentary, I found it not enough cardio on its own. I would strongly suggest pairing it with other movement, such as walking outside, running, or mixing it with another program via a hybrid calendar.
4. Lack of diversity.
The cast of “XB Pilates” is a lot of young, thin, white women, with a few young, thin BIPOC women mixed in. I really missed working out with the variety of ages, body types, and ethnicities in, for example, “Let’s Get Up,” and #mbf.
5. No on-screen timers.
Because “XB Pilates” is so action-packed and has zero breaks, the 30 minutes of each video feels a lot longer than it is. I would have appreciated an on-screen timer counting down to the end of the workout, as there is in the Megan Davies Beachbody on Demand BODi program, “Sure Thing.” That said, Andrea does do a solid job in counting down “8 more!” — though as mentioned above, there is sometimes then a surprise extra hold after that.
XB Pilates Review, in Sum
In summary, I really enjoyed XB Pilates and was so intrigued with my results from it that I’m now going to do every other Andrea Rogers program on BODI (“Xtend Barre” and “Sweat and Sculpt”). Indeed, Andrea’s Pilates program really did make me feel longer, leaner, and more functionally strong in my postural core muscles.
That said, I strongly urge you to not have “XB Pilates” be the ONLY fitness work you are doing. Though it’s better than nothing, it is, in my assessment, really not enough enough on its own for optimal fitness. Instead of relying on it alone, I would suggest pairing it with other programs (especially those with more cardio and heavy lifting) via a hybrid calendar, and/or alternating its days with outdoor running or walking workouts.
So what about you? Have you tried “XB Pilates” or another Pilates program? If so, what did you think? If not, what thoughts or questions do you have? Do share!
Want more? See my full round-up of Beachbody BODi workout reviews here.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!