Iíve only done this workout once, but I know everyone is waiting for my report with baited breath. Kari fans will not be disappointed with this one! Neither will anyone who enjoys a fun, long, moderately intense, moderately complex step workout.
The workout is 58 minutes long: 9 minutes warmup combo, 2 minutes warmup stretch, 38 minutes for the main workout, 4 minutes cooldown combo, and 5 minutes cooldown stretch. The warmup was enough to get me into my lower aerobic range; the warmup combo is not used in the main workout.
The workout has 4 long combos. There is not too much TIFTT. She teaches combos 1 and 2, then puts them together. Then she teaches combos 3 and 4, and puts them together. At the end she TIFTTs all 4 combos twice. Kari does her usual good job of layering, teaching the base move first before adding all the turns (and there are lots of turns). You will use all sides of the step. There was one move I kept stumbling over Ė a pony on the step while turning backwards. Other than that I didnít have any trouble with the choreography (not counting arm moves Ė Iíll work on those next time). My favorite move was a pendulum followed by a backwards chug around the step. I was in the middle of my aerobic range for most of the workout.
I really liked the music Ė it had me itching to do the workout while I was previewing. A lot of it has a Latin flavor; some of it weíve heard before. I didnít care too much for the set decorations. You can see the brick wall but not the curved windows. They are covered up by colored panels Ė orange, blue, purple, green Ė too much color for me! The workout outfits are all black pants or shorts, with various colored tops. There are six background exercisers, all women.
Kari is really bubbly and happy in this workout.
This tape was not an instant favorite. I think the choreopgraphy made it too tough for me to judge right away. The first few times I did it I became a little weary by the end-- I was modifying too much for it to be enjoyable. I put it away and recently gave it another try. I am glad I did. This is probably Kari's most complex tape and I probably would never have gotten it down if I had not been familiar with some of her other step tapes.
Many of Kari's favorite moves are here: hitch kicks, shuffle steps, and those little twisting moves after a lunge sequence. There are also new moves such as a backwards shuffle step around the step (this is hard, especially establishing what foot you need to be starting on). As usual, however, Kari teaches so that it is easy to stay with the less complicated teaching move if you are not ready to do everything yet.
The warm up is 11 minutes long. It is similar to the warm up of Body Tech-- start on the floor, add some moves on the step, and travel around the step. This is followed by one section which contains two large blocks of choregraphy. It is 16 1/2 minutes long. You TIFTT the two blocks. The second section has the same set up, but the choreography is a little more complicated. Finally, a third section has you TIFTT the entire program three times. This last about 6 minutes. The choreography doesn't stop there, however. The cool down has its own little routine which can be a bit confusing.
The set is a little different than Kari's other sets. There are bright patterned panels in the background. It is colorful and does not really look too busy.
The music is just OK. I will admit I was humming one of the songs all day after doing the video. Also, I did actually hear one of the songs played when they were featuring Miami nightclubs on the news. (Very strange-- I remember thinking "I've heard that song somewhere...")
Anyway, if you, like me, always wished Kari would put out a longer step tape, I think yopu will be pleased with this video. It is well chaptered, so I would recommend getting the DVD version.
On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who is learning to love advanced choreography. My general routine in learning complex choreography is to do a workout I know and then pop in the new workout and go as far as I can. When I get frustrated, I quit and do it again another day. I keep going and adding time on the workout until I ďgetĒ the entire workout.
On this step workout, I pretty much went through the entire workout the first time with some modifications and got the more complex choreography in the next time or two. Consequently, I would rank the choreography as intermediate, edging to low advanced at times. The intensity for me is high as I get a good workout with this DVD. It lasts 55 minutes total and I enjoy having a long workout for cardio as an option in my arsenal.
The DVD of this workout has shorter options, combining the first two combinations and then the second two combinations in shorter workout menu options. Each option has the warm up and cool down with it I have never done one of the shorter options because I do this workout when I want a long workout, but itís nice having those options.
Kari seems to be her typical self in this workout in most ways. She cues well throughout the workout. For most sections, she demonstrates new choreography and then invites everyone to accompany her. After the demonstration she does describe what she is doing and gives form pointers. She does give and demonstrate modification examples at points throughout the workout, but none of the background exercisers shows those modifications.
The TIFTing isnít too bad. She teaches the first two combinations and then TIFTs them. She then teaches the third and fourth combinations and TIFTs them. She then runs through the entire workout three times at the end. She does build each combination on both sides. The second side is usually a shorter process than the first. For those of you who know it on both sides after itís first taught, this would not be a good thing. For those of us who donít necessarily ďget itĒ on one side after learning the other, this is a good thing. It does lengthen the teaching process, which some may not enjoy once they get the workout and know it.
The basic pattern of each of the four combinations is that she teaches the basic step pattern. At the end, she then generally throws in a direction change or more complexity to transform the combination into a more intricate combination than it seemed it was going to be.
She leads a class of background exercisers and does interact with them some. The first few times I did the workout, I found myself trying to figure out what workouts I had seen some of them in before. The instrumental music was fine, but fairly unremarkable. I found I enjoyed the music in Body Tech and Danceworks a lot more.
She doesnít do much with options for impact. I was really surprised in the last combination because she does scissors on between the step and floor and gives no modifications for lower impact. After the first time or two, I figured out a modification that works fine for me, but I felt that was something that should have been provided. There may be other moves where the impact doesnít bother me, but could be problematic for those with a high sensitivity to impact. After Body Tech, I was surprised and disappointed that she didnít provide guidance or options for lower-impact moves. Overall, I donít think the impact is too bad in the workout, but that one move was too much for me.
Overall, I really like this workout. For those who donít like anything that is less than complex choreography, I donít think you will enjoy this workout. For those who describe themselves as ďcardio klutzesĒ and donít like much choreography at all, this isnít the workout for you. For those between the two ends of the spectrum, you may want to consider this workout.
I enjoy this workout and really like having a step tape where the cardio lasts for more than 45 minutes. Plus, Kari makes me believe that I am coordinated and capable of complex choreography. She seems to be the instructor I come back to after expanding my horizons with other instructors and forms of exercise.
Kari Anderson is her normal self - supportive, warm, humorous. She makes me believe I can do complex things and then teaches me so I can.
September 20, 2004
I decided to get Hot Steps DVD after seeing clips and hearing the music. I was looking for something that was close to Cathe and Christi. Before Cathe and Christi, I only did the FIRM. This was definately everything I imagined and more. The music was fantastic. The moves were an excellent mix of athletic+dancy moves. Not too many pivots but complex enough for me to work at it. It had a few moves where you go around the step or choreo with back to the TV. But they were not difficult. The choreo was very well matched to the music and flowed well. It reminded me of how fun Still Steppin' is. Kari shows you a basic preview of new moves just like Christi does and then she keeps dressing it up. This was great for me since it was my first experience with her. Kari's Hot Steps combos are shorter and less complex than Christi's. She teaches combo 1, then 2 and does combos 1&2 combined. Then she teaches 3 then 4 and combines them. At the end she combines all 4 combos. So the finished product is like int./adv. Cathe intensity with the dancy lower impact fun feel of Christi. She has premixes of 1&2 which is 35 min. including the w/u and c/d. The same for 3&4. Then she has another premix for all 4. I have not tried the all 4 premix. But I did combos 1&2 premix, then 3&4 premix while I was learning the w/o. The learning curve was really low for me, probably b/c I've done both Cathe and Christi for a while. This is a perfect bridge from Cathe to Christi, IMO. And did I say the music was slamming although familiar--heard some of it on FIRM Cardio Sculpt, Kickbox Strikezone and maybe some others I don't remember. But they sounded so great together. They were all hits in my book. There was a nice 5 min. stretch at the end. Great after a long w/o. This DVD is so well chaptered too. This makes it pretty versitile for mish/mosh workouts. This workout is HOT! HOT! HOT! (Corny, but true.)
Kari was very engaging and relaxed. She cued very well, which made it easier to follow the workout once I started to grasp what the name of the moves were. Her style reminded me of Christi in a way. She was energetic and playful. She even sang along with the music every now and then.