Althea Lawton Thompson
I liked this workout. The entire aerobics section is only abut 29 minutes including warm up and cool down. There is also a 3-minute stretch, a line dancing segment and some outtakes. I have only done the aerobic section. The steps are very basic - v-step, jazz square, hamstring curls, grape vines. Althea and two of the background exercisers show high impact options at times, although the workout is mainly low impact. My only complaint is that I thought the music could have been better. It was loud enough, but rather subdued for an aerobics workout.
Friendly, cues well.
This was the first video I tried by Althea Lawson. I was a bit surprised by her personality--I had expected her to be very high energy, but she's actually more on the low-key side. I also though this would be more of a dance workout, but it consisted mainly of more traditional aerobic moves with a few dancey twists thrown in.
The workout begins with a 6-minute warm-up. The first two-thirds consisted of a sequence of very basic moves, including a walk forward/back, grapevine, knee lifts, and hamstring curls, whereas the last third of the warm-up is comprised of simple stretches. The aerobic portion of the workout is broken down into three main segments. In the first two (4 and 5 minutes each), Althea teaches two simple combos: 1) a diagonal walk with kick/hop, "shoop" side shuffle, and dance step back, and 2) a mambo, box step, v-step, side squat. She adds the warm-up sequence to these two combos, putting them all together and frequently taking it from the top. In the last 9 minutes of the aerobics section, Althea adds another, slightly more intense sequence involving front, side, and back kicks plus jumping jacks. She then combines this combo with the ones from the first half and performs the entire series repeatedly. There are also two segments to the cool-down. The first section consists of very low intensity marches and moving stretches, and the second half involves floor stretches (reclined leg stretch, twist) and a brief lying relaxation. The entire workout comes in right around 30 minutes.
Althea incoporates some small hops and jumps into the aerobics section, but two of her four background exercisers (one of whom is pregnant) always show a low-impact version. Althea mirror-cues very well, and she makes it easy to follow along with her frequent repetitions during the aerobic section. The DVD is very well chaptered, allowing you to play the entire workout, to choose each section individually, or to select certain segments (such as the aerobic portion only). The DVD also includes a 3-minute line dance plus a bloopers segment.
Although the aerobic portion of this workout is fairly short at 18 minutes, it remains at a pretty good intensity level the entire time, and I definitely worked up a sweat. However, the "fun factor" for the video was not quite as much as I'd hoped, as I had expected it to be a bit more dancey and high energy. Still, this is a decent, moderately intense, moderately fun workout that would be appropriate for beginning to intermediate exercisers.
As mentioned above, Althea cues very well. Although she's pleasant and friendly, she didn't have quite as much energy or enthusiasm as I would have liked.
Beth C (aka toaster)
October 17, 2005