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Tae Bo Live Basic Vol. 1

Okay, everyone, well, I did what I said I was going to do-- I went home last night and did the new Tae Bo Basic tape. Before I launch into my review, I'd like to state for some of the newbies that I consider myself to be a very advanced exerciser (my recent real Tae Bo experience notwithstanding) so my comments herein should be taken with that caveat in mind.

Here's a rundown of the tape: the warmup is similar to the warmup in the original Basic, with a few new moves. There is a stretch, which is also similar to the old Basic but has some new leg stretches added on. Billy then launches into a whole new series of punching and kicking combos, some of which I experienced in the real live Tae Bo class, and which I was happy to see, along with some old familiar combos. The new ones include a knee up, down and touch back with the other foot move with back and forth arm movements (sort of hard to describe) and a bent-over leg pullup which is killer on the glutes (very hard to describe-- you need to see it). There are also some combos from the new Advanced tape which have been slowed down for the Basic, as well as a few new kick combos which have never been seen before. What is also new to this tape is some standing leg work, as well as floorwork and ab work, which were not included in the original basic. The floorwork is essentially a shortened version of the floorwork in the new Advanced, although it does have one move (which I won't describe so as not to give it away) which will REALLY get you in the upper thighs. The ab work is short and fast, but likely sufficient for a beginner level. The whole tape is only thirty minutes long, though, and hence you might be able to guess the nature of my initial criticism, namely that:

This tape seems to me to be pretty weak on cardio (of all things to say about a Tae Bo tape!! I can hear you saying, but its true). I am unfortunately certain that the original Basic gets my heart rate up higher than the new one, and this fact strikes me as a little strange, since Billy was advertising this new tape as "harder" than the original Basic. The moves are in large part slower than they are on the original Basic, and Billy blocks out the kicking combos at a very slow rate and then speeds them up to a little bit faster but certainly not fast. I realize this may be due to safety concerns regarding new Tae Bo people, and I respect that, but for me, as an advanced exerciser, this tape simply does not give me a sufficient cardio workout for me to even consider using it as a short cardio tack on to a strength tape (like something in the PS series). While I did break a sweat, I did not work hard enough to be really breathing, so to speak, until the floorwork, which is, after all, designed as toning/strength work even if it does have secondary cardio benefits. This fact, however, has led me to think about how I would use this tape if I were a beginner or intermediate exerciser, especially given some recent threads by beginners who are concerned about the admittedly serious jump one has to make to go from Billy's Basic tapes straight to the Advanced.

My conclusion is that this new Basic tape would actually be a perfect add-on to the old Basic tape for people who are looking to find a happy medium on their way to the Advanced tapes. The old Basic tape would provide greater cardio, while the new one would prepare people for the admittedly very hard floor and ab work sections in the old Advanced, and the very hard standing leg and floorwork sections in the new Advanced. Doing the old and new Basic back to back would result in a very complete 1 hour beginner to intermediate workout, and thus I would recommend checking it out if you are one of those people looking for a bridge between Basic and Advanced Tae Bo.

Things I really like about this tape: lots of new people we haven't seen before at a variety of fitness levels. Lots of "real bodies" which aren't totally buffed up. Debbie is in this tape (speaking of those who ARE buffed up) with her great new haircut and even less of a behind than she had before (she looks GREAT)-- I've decided I really like her because she always seems so happy, even when the workout is tough. Shellie's in here again, with a mike, and she also is really encouraging to everybody working out. Billy continues with his usual encouragement (although there is one moment during one of his motivating speeches where the sound is really crappy-- don't know if this is a result of the recording or just my tape), and he seems really intent on this tape in talking to the not-so-fit among us and motivating those who are just starting out to keep going-- you can tell he's so nice! Also, he talks straight to the camers and does the same things with his hands (where he holds them up so you can pretend to punch them) as in the new Advanced tape-- it's amazing how motivating this is! I also really like the fact that the new Basic has moves (albeit greatly slowed down) from my real Tae Bo class-- it was nice (personally) to have something familiar in there, and also to be able to report that THEY LOVE THAT BENT OVER KNEE RAISE IN LA (and you won't believe how much it hurts your rear! YOW!).

A word of warning: Billy has the same counting issues in this tape as always, although I think this is the first time I've actually seen him forget to do an exercise on the other side completely (not the end of the world, you can just switch off each time or do the other side yourself). On the whole, I give this tape a B, because while it is not sufficiently difficult for my tastes, I think it will serve well those exercisers it was intended for-- beginners and intermediates.

Instructor comments: See main comments.


This is the first basic live tape made. Billy starts off with a warm-up which consists of shoulder & neck rolls and arm and side lifts. He also does some punches. Then you do a floor hip flexor stretch and also hamstring and inner thigh stretch. The beat is much slower than the advanced live tapes. Some of the moves are front punches, upper cut punches, speedbag. The kicks are roundhouse, front and back and crescent kicks. Some combo's he does are a knee up and side punch, squat with 2 punches, side delt lifts with leg moving to the side, and 2 punches with a knee up. All throughout the workout, Billy is motivating and encouraging with tips on form. This video was filmed in Billy's studio in California. There are over 50 people of all sizes and shapes. Everybody sweats in this video and so does Billy. The workout ends with floorwork which is Donkey kicks, side leg lifts and isometric leg holds. Some of the sides are counted unevenly. Billy finishes the workout with ab crunches. Not too many but is a good for the beginner. Billy ends with squeezing all your muscles as you lay flat on your back. No end stretch. Only encouraging words from Billy about taking care of your body. Some religious references at the end. I like this tape. I do it on days when I don't want too tough of a workout. Or I combine it with a weight workout.

Billy is charming and full of energy. He is motivating and keeps you going by his encouraging words and tips on form. He wears a hat in this workout. Too cute!

Mandy Lee

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