Video Fitness

TAE BO FLEX

Billy Blanks

This workout is part of a new set of Tae Bo tapes that were produced after Tae Bo was licensed to the infomercial marketers at Goodtimes. Many people felt that Goodtimes has a history of making established workout approaches like Tae Bo lower the intensity of their workouts to appeal to a large beginner audience, and compared to the older Tae Bo tapes I suppose this new set is a little different. But I do not see that as a bad thing.

In the past I have only stuck to the Tae Bo Basic tapes because I have felt the double-speed moves in the advanced tapes were unsafe and not really do-able. At 45 minutes long and free of these double-time moves, this workout provides a nice bridge between the two intensities for fans who have outgrown the shorter classic Basic series but do not enjoy the pacing of the classic Advanced series.

The workout is a series of classic Tae Bo kicks and punches, with the twist that periodically Billy will ask you to "Flex" i.e. to hold the move for several seconds. He claims this is for toning and while I am not sure you would "tone" exactly, it does provide a nice muscle burn. The workout flowed well and the time went by quickly.

I was pleased to see that the basic look and feel of Tae Bo has not changed much. Some familiar faces are back, including Billy's daughter Shellie (whose sole speaking [art is, as usual, to loudly shout the counts non-stop during the entire workout). There is still a diverse class whom Billy interacts with, but the class is not as large as usual and I did sort of miss the people-watching. And the cool-down was weird---it seemed to degenerate into some kind of instructional session that was weird and sort of came from nowhere. On the plus, Billy is a little more accurate with some of his moves this time and does not forget to work both sides of the body as he has before. I felt that overall this workout was better choreographed and rehearsed than past Tae Bo workouts.

I think that if someone is new to Tae Bo, this series would be a great introduction. I also think that people who want something longer and more intense than a classic Basic but never liked the classic Advanced tapes would like it. But if you are used to the classic Advanced series, this might seem too 'easy' for you.

Joanna

12/13/03



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