This workout is labelled "for beginners", but is appropriate for more
experienced exercisers looking for a lighter workout. That describes me.
The workout begins with a five minute warm up, done mostly off the step. Kari does
not move around the step as she does in warm ups from Body Tech, United Steps, and
Hot Steps. This warm up is more stationary. There are a few dynamic stretches.
The actual workout is divided into two sections, with two combos being taught in
each section. The second segment is a little more vigorous than the second.
The moves are more basic than the standard Kari fare, as is to be expected. She
begins the workout with kicks on the corner of the step. This made me happy. For
some reason, I love to do kicks at the corner of the step. Kari also has you skipping
around the step in this combination. I do triples instead.The second combination
has you straddling the step and going into a stomp along the step. Both combinations
are fun. They are more basic, but not incredibly so. The DVD is chaptered so that
you can end the workout at this point and go to the cooldown. (This shorter workout
might be a menu option also.)
The second segment includes combinations that are a little more complex and a little
more vigorous. For instance, instead of having you do a stomp along the step, she
has you do an open turn step into a shuffle. Also, instead of simply straddling
the step, she has you do an around the world. The first combination has you doing
squat/leg abductions of the side of the step. I substituted shuffle repeaters and
this worked just fine.
There is a short, fun cool down and then it is on to a stretch. The entire thing
clocks in at bout 40 minutes.
I found the workout fun. Moves are not taught endlessly, but I can imagine that those
with impatience for teaching would not be pleased with the workout. For some reason,
I never get bored with Kari's teaching. I am less patient with other instructors.
I have done this with a 6" and 8" step. Even with an 8" step it was
not incredibly intense. Intensity junkies would do better with another workout.
The set is a little different for Kari. The floor is a large grid pattern and there
is a large grid in the background. All the exercisers are wearing blue. The set
is mainly blue too. I prefer cooler colors for a set so this was fine with me, although
a few more colors would have been nice. The instrumental music has a good driving
beat. the second section had a technoish song with a mideastern sound to it. I liked
it a lot. Not your usual video workout fare! There were a few songs that can be
heard on Cathe's Body Fusion and I also recognized one song from the warm up in
The picture quality could have been clearer. Also, I wish Kari's voice was not so
loud on the soundtrack.
This DVD is chaptered as follows:
WARM UP 5 MINUTES.
WORKOUT I 15 MINUTES.
WORKOUT II 15 MINUTES.
COOLDOWN & STRETCH 10 MINUTES.
This workout has the option for beginners to do the warm-up and Workout I then go to the cooldown and stretch. That will give them a 30 minute workout.
For the rest of us intermediates we can do the whole workout for 45 minutes.
This is a very energetic and fun workout. I enjoyed this alot. The set has a grid design similar to Kari's "PUSH" workout. The camera angles on this workout are much better than in the "PUSH" workout. The music is excellent. Of course this is due to Kari's background of dance and music.
In Workout I the moves are easier. Yet they are still dancey and you do move around and turn. The mambo move she does in this workout she also uses it in her "PUSH" workout. Very enjoyable workout. I chose to go on and do the whole workout as I am not a beginner. The beginner people will move on to the cooldown section from here.
The two workouts do flow nicely together so you don't feel any awkwardness when doing the whole workout as one.
Workout II is more energetic and dancier. More turns more choreography. The intensity is higher in this one. I found that doing the whole workout kept my heartrate up and the choreography kept the interest high.
I definitely enjoyed this workout. The music was great. No volume or echo problems. Very energetic. Great choreography not terribly difficult. However I would not recommend a true beginner for this one. Because it is dancy with lots of turns. This is a great workout for those days that you don't want something too choreographed to think about. You just want a workout with something interesting in it and great music. This is a workout that is fun with a dash of dancy choreography to spice things up. Just enough to keep your interest level up but not terribly difficult to frustrate you and definitely not to bore you. I will be reaching for this workout quite often. This is a keeper for me.
I would rate this workout for low intermediates to high end intermediates.
Kari is an excellent instructor. She is energetic and graceful. She is soft spoken and delightful to workout with.
I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it once and doing it twice.
General workout breakdown: see Roz and Sundari’s reviews.
Moves include marching, wide march, step tap, easy squats, heel dig, knee lift, lunge, basic, kick on the corner, knee up corner to corner, walk / skip around the step, repeater, hamstring curl corner to corner, straddle with hamstring curl and then side leg left, stomp, alternating knees into knees corner to corner, T-squat with side leg lift, V-step, around the world with knees up, mambo, turn step, shuffle, knee up tap down, over the top with a heel, rocking horse with a kick, rock step, and grapevine; not all are on the step, particularly during the warm-up and cool down. Both workouts contain a few combos that are never added together. Kari builds each combo evenly on each side.
Level: I’d recommend this to a somewhat experienced beginner through mid- to high intermediate stepper. True beginners to step, especially those new to exercise, may want to consider another video, then use this as a second or third tape. An advanced stepper probably won’t find this intense enough for regular use.
Class: 1 man and 5 women join Kari. At least one person, usually the man and/or the plus-sized woman, keep with the lower impact, less intense, or less complicated version of some moves. There is some class participation, including whooping.
Music: upbeat instrumental with a beat. I’ve heard selections before on Karen Voight and Shape videos.
Set: large, open interior set with grid-like pattern over a bluish screen.
Production: good quality picture and sound. I agree that Kari’s voice almost drowns out the music. One of the camera shots is from some distance away and above, which can be kind of disconcerting if you’re not used to it. Most of the time camera angles are helpful (i.e. including feet when a new foot pattern is introduced).
Equipment: step (Kari uses a club-sized step; I used my shorter Step without a real problem), your choice of risers (none if beginner, one if beginner / intermediate through intermediate, two if mid- to high intermediate), and sneakers.
Space Requirements: enough room to walk comfortable around the front of your step, to take a large lunge off of each of the short sides, and to do a couple of steps on the floor behind your step. At 5’8” or so with size 10 feet I need about 12” in front of the step, 18” to each side, and 18-24” behind.
DVD Notes: Sundari has already noted the chapters. In addition, Kari narrates a short introduction, and there are testimonials from Kari’s background exercisers (normal people from her gym).
As far as I know, there are no real differences between the two editions with the different covers.
Conclusion: I’m at least a high intermediate when it comes to floor aerobics, but I was still a relative newbie to step workouts when I traded for Go. I was grateful to have this and Christi Taylor’s Mission: Possible as I attempted to become more comfortable working with and performing choreography on the step. Although this is a nice video and can be split into shorter parts, I might pass it on to another step newbie the next time I sort through my shelves so I have more room for the increasingly complex choreography I love. Or I might decide to keep it after all…
Kari’s always a pleasure to work out with, with her relaxed, friendly, and comfortable on screen persona; she’s also so beautiful to watch in motion. She mirror cues and spends a lot of time encouraging you, sometimes throwing in couple of posture reminders, etc. Kari sometimes does the “watch me” method, demonstrating the next layer before asking you to do it.
September 5, 2006