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Tae Bo Gold

Billy Blanks

This workout is subtitled "For Men and Women Over 40." Ahem. Having just turned 40 this year, I was a little apprehensive that Billy might think I was over the hill. As it turns out, there's not much coddling or patronizing in this tape. He gives you a good, solid workout but at a slightly lower intensity than his advanced tapes. I consider this intermediate/advanced. One thing I really, really like is that during the side kicks, which are done not slowly, but at a nice pace, I can really get some great practice with leaning and getting my leg higher up with good form. An experienced kickboxer can make some good progress with this tape by trying to make each move "more professional" -- meaning trying to do things the way a real kickboxer would. There are many, many tapes that you really don't have the time to do that with. He does give a lot of pointers for beginners, but I wouldn't call this a beginner's tape by any means. A beginner would be much better starting off with Kathy Smith. One quality issue with the tape: I often cannot hear what Billy's saying because he talks too low. This is when he's giving motivation or pointers. I can hear when he cues, because he talks much louder, but I'd like to hear the rest, too. The music is very good -- including a couple of Aretha Franklin songs. Grade A.

Annie S.

Although I'm only 36, I decided to try this workout as my first Tae Bo video because I'm still fairly new to kickboxing. Taught by Tae Bo instructor Billy Blanks, this workout is extremely low-impact yet also surprisingly tough at the same time. Billy leads a class of mostly middle-aged participants, but they are all in very good shape, including the 70-year old woman who can kick MUCH higher than I can!
After a few minutes of warm-up stretches, Billy begins an easy to follow kickboxing routine. He emphasizes punches more than kicks, although some kicks as well as quite a few knee lifts are included. Unlike other kickboxing workouts I have tried, there are few combination routines; instead, Billy teaches in an 8-count style, often repeating the same movement for several sets. Following the 25-minute aerobic segment, you hold a static squat for 1 minute, and then you move to a hands and knees position for about 3 minutes of work on the butt area. The workout ends with a 5 minutes stretch: 4-minutes of yoga-like stretches in a seated position and then a final 1-minute of standing stretches, making the total workout time about 34 minutes.

In addition to Billy's counting inaccuracies, the Motown music used for this workout is quite loud, making Billy's instructions a bit difficult to hear at times, and the transitions from song-to-song did not flow smoothly with the workout. If you can overlook these minor flaws, this is a fun workout for anyone who is already in fairly good shape but looking to give Tae Bo a try.

Instructor comments: Billy Blanks is very likeable and extremely enthusiastic. Plus, he offers many modifications in this workout, even showing how some of the kicks can be done seated in a chair. However, his counting is not always accurate, and he frequently completes an uneven number of sets from one side of the body to the other.

Beth C (aka toaster)

May 9, 2004

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