I just did this tape for the first time today and Mandy Lee was right when she said this was her favorite step tape. This tape is a blast to do and time just flys by. Kari starts with a short warm up, no stretches though so you have to do those on your own. Then she does 4 short routines teaching each one separately, enough times to get the moves down, then at the end you put them all together into one very fun workout. I highly recommend this tape, I don't think intermediates would have any trouble keeping up with Kari. It might be a good idea to watch before trying because she does a lot of turns and moves going to the back of the room but once you try them you'll be able to do them.
I'll start this review by stating that although I think Kari is a wonderful instructor, her videos never grabbed me as well as others do, mostly because I have a difficult time coordinating my arms and legs during her choreography and transitioning to the proper lead leg. Nine times out of ten I end up frustrated and confused (and I consider myself pretty good at deciphering complex choreograhy) and never complete the workout. The only tape I have really enjoyed so far is Fitness Formula.
Until United Steps that is! This video begins with a fun, dance-based warmup to get the heart pumping. It isn't so dancy that it will leave you frustrated, and the arm movements are easy to perform. The step routine consists of 4 combinations which Kari builds up slowly and methodically into their finished products. This entire workout has the step in vertical approach (short end facing the tv), which makes familiar choreography (knee-up corner to corner, across the tops, and V steps for example) feel new and interesting. Kari shows you how to do the workout with two steps, or use the floor as a modification. The most unique move in this video is 3 knee repeater done in "scissor" style (high impact) off the end of the step. It's fun, but watch those achilles tendons! In several combinations, a move will leave you in "neutral", meaning your weight is balanced evenly on both legs. This neutral position can make it tricky to know which leg to lead with for the next move in the pattern. Kari continually reminds you to think about the lead foot which began the combination and to step on it first from that neutral position. I found myself tripping up if my mind wandered, but it wasn't a huge bump in the routine. The first combination has a really fun knee-up, exit off the step, and walk-turn on the floor back to the end of your bench. Other moves range from basics to traveling knees to half T-steps, across the tops, hip-extension straddles, inner thigh straddles (which she calls "Attitudes"), over the tops, hop-turns, -- even the "knee up walk back and kick" from Cathe Friedrich's StepFit. The final combination consists of some "jazz" style lunges, four at half-tempo and four at tempo, with a syncopation in rhythm to exit off the step, which requires some coordination and attention to form.
Overall, I like this tape, and find it is one I will use for both personal workouts and inspiring ideas for my own classes. The arm movements are simple enough so you can really concentrate on the legs, a big plus that kept my mind open as the video progressed. The overall intensity is moderate, but the workout itself is creative, challenging, and a lot of fun!
This is the only video that I have completed and wanted to rewind and do it all over again. It was fun!!! The step is in the vertical position (end pointed toward your tv). Make sure you have room between the end of the step and your tv for one of the moves - it's across the step, touch toe on top and back across. Kari has 3 segments in this tape, each taught separately and then combined at the end. Each segment by itself was not difficult but the challenge was remembering them in the final version. Two of the moves involve using a second step if available or doing the move on the floor - this would be really fun in a step class. The workout finishes with a cooldown and in total is about 45 minutes. Collage classifies this as int/adv but I think an advanced beginner could do it. The tape comes with an instruction sheet that could provide additional tips. This is a great tape!!!! This is my first attempt at a review - I hope it makes sense.
Kari once again shows exceptional cuing and original moves. She is the only exerciser in this video and her friendly style and caring attitude will keep anyone motivated.
Cool! I like the set, I like the music, I like
the workout, and -- most of all -- I like Kari!
This is a 45-minute step workout. The 45
minutes includes the warmup and a very brief
cooldown. The actual stepping time is probably
closer to 37-38 minutes.
You've probably read the description in the
Collage catalog saying this workout uses
multiple steps. Kari actually uses 3 steps.
However, there are only a very few movements
using the other 2 steps, so this can very
easily be done with one. You just do the
other-step moves on the floor. There is no
noticeable difference in intensity when you
do it that way. I just have one step myself.
This is an actual workout, but it is also geared
toward instructors, so Kari gives tips for teaching
I've been delighted with all of Kari's tapes in
her Great Moves series, and this one is no
exception. She even gives you a nice plastic
cover and all in the series are only $16.95
Both choreography and intensity on this tape
are intermediate/advanced. If you are more
toward the intermediate level, you can leave
out some of the turns that Kari is famous for.
She *always* shows the basic move without
turns or other fancy footwork in all her videos.
I love this tape. Wish it had a more stretching at the ends. If you teach step, this has a very innovative way to use the steps in a class. You really only need a second step, though, if you're just a home exerciser like me. I won't say too much because there are several reviews here, but just know there's another huge Kari fan out here. She's easy to follow, the moves are fun, they fit the music (which is also always well-chosen), and she's just plain likable. She's sincere and happy, but not at all fake or bubbly. I give this tape an A+.
Instructor comments: Kari's the Queen of Choreography! I love her step routines, although her floor stuff is not usually great on carpets.
These Great Moves series are great. The choreography is more complex, but Kari's teaching methods and cueing are make even the tougher moves easier. United Steps is only 45 minutes long, which includes a very short warm-up(no stretch) and a very short cool-down. She does this to fit more choreography into the tape. I don't mind this; I can do it all on my own, but mostly I'll use her videos in conjunction with another for a longer workout. The intensity and the footwork is intermediate/advanced. She does V-steps,scissors, her famous *attitude* leap and turns, turns turns! I love turns! But, they are optional. It is very dancy and lots of fun. Final grade: A
Instructor comments: Kari is fun, energetic(but not overly), encouraging and professional. I like her style and her cueing.
This video is on my all-time favorites list, behind Step fit and Step jam. I really love this video. It moves quickly between moves, and you don't do lots of "holding" patterns while the move is being taught. You move right on through the routine, building as you go. I also love Kari's choreography transitions. Unlike Cathe, she doesn't do a move on the left and then do the move on the right. Instead, she'll have you do a couple combos on one side, then she has this method of adding one rep that will get you on the other side for separate combo that's sandwiched between the others. Anyway, it's hard to describe, but it sure makes things more varied and interesting. Kari also used more straight armed, "cheerleading" moves than in her earlier tapes. I like that, but those prefering more fluid moves may not. The music is awesome, much better than average. Even a few songs I've heard before.
This tapes uses lots of room, by the way. I had to modify many of the vertical moves.
This is also the most intense step video I've seen from Kari. Lots of shuffles and leaps, and propulsions. It builds slowly, but if you have an 8" step, the intensity is definitely advanced (beginner killer?) midway through, and it approximates part 1 or 2 of a Cathe tape.
The only critique I'd make would be on Kari's cuing. I had trouble getting these moves down, because she doesn't do a lot of advance cuing. She cues about 2 seconds before the next move, and she doesn't say, "Ok, remember that earlier arm combo.." Also, she relies exclusively on verbal cues, mainly telling you right or left. Because she has so many moves switching legs and sides, I think the routine would be easier to follow if she added non-verbal cues, like slapping her thigh to show you which leg to use or pointing 4 counts ahead to show you which way to turn. I've gotten really used to that with Cathe and Jennifer Miller, and it helps tremendously. Sorry to make so many comparisons of Kari to other instructors, but I find that it's very helpful to compare styles when I'm deciding among advanced tapes.
I hesitated buying this tape because I didn't care for Fitness Formula. But reading the threads and reviews, I caved in and I'm glad I did. I love Kari one-on-one - I love all her Great Moves Hi/Lo tapes and United Steps didn't disappoint me. You can use only one step with no problem. There are some plyometric steps and my heartrate really got up there. The music is great and Kari's cueing is perfect. After doing this tape, I ordered her Great Moves II: Step tape.
Instructor comments: One of my favorite instructors - her tapes are a lot of fun and she has a wonderful personality on all her videos.
United Steps is a unique tape in that Kari has her step facing vertically, and she uses an optional 2nd and 3rd step for some of the combinations. This would be a really fun routine to do in a live class! The routine is easy to modify using one step, though, and you won't lose much, if any or the intensity. I would call the choreography complex but definitely not impossible to get the first or second time through (I like complex choreography, but not so complex that it takes 5 or 6 times through the tape to catch on). I would call the intensity high intermediate, especially if you add Kari's optional power moves. Kari also loves to include turns and pivots, and warns you to be careful if you are working out on a carpeted surface. Since this is a Great Moves tape geared to teaching choreography, you do not get a thorough warm-up or cool-down here. Kari encourages you to do your own. I find that this is a good, solid, fun tape to do on a lighter day (for advanced) or in combination with strength training. It won't wipe you out, but it will give you a good cardio workout (the step section with 4 combinations runs about 38 minutes). I highly recommend this tape if you like fun step tapes with complex (bordering on dancy) choreography.
Instructor comments: Kari is a fun instructor! Very friendly yet professional, and her cuing is very good. It seems like I can pick up steps very quickly when I do her tapes, even though some of them tend to be quite complex. Definitely one of my favorite instructors--probably the one who is the most fun to watch!
If you don't already have this tape in your collection, I really recommend it, both on its own for days you just want 30-35 minutes, and in combination with your favorite floor segments when you want the whole nine yards. The music is excellent, the work-out progressively more and more strenuous but in a calm, sneaky way, so that you don't realize how much you are putting out. Kari works alone here, in that long beautiful dance studio. Her moves are well defined and she is very easy to follow. You will, as with all Kari tapes except maybe GM 102, need ROOM, but if you have it, you will love the w/o. I don't do this tape every week, but, unlike many others, I still do it regularly.
Where this tape hangs in there in current rotation is in combination. For instance, I think Christy's 7002 floor segment is superb, but am enormously irritated by the step part. Since I still want another half hour or so of aerobics, I go to United Steps. A 7002 floor - United Steps workout is an enormous amount of fun. Another excellent one for anyone who loves 9802 floor but bogs down in the step. Do the floor and go to United Steps.
Kari's music is excellent, and Kari is so inviting, I'm not at all jarred by switching instructors or settings
And sometimes, when I want a lot of step, I do GM202 Step and then United Steps. That's really good, too.