Video Fitness

Step it Strong

with Keli Roberts For reference, I am an advanced exerciser who prefers complex choreography. I knew going into this workout that it would probably not be for me, and I was right. But I think there are a lot of people who are going to like this one since I often read posts asking for recommendations with more basic choreography.
The workout alternates four step segments with four weight segments, and finishes by putting all four combos together. The step segments use very basic choreography; nonetheless, Keli takes a long time building up the combinations. Complexity is easy, intensity is solidly intermediate. The weight work during the circuit is compound, squats with overheads, lunges with bicep curls. She does enough reps to fatigue the muscles if you go heavy enough, but these are not moves you haven't seen before. Basically, it's a sold circuit with tried and true moves.

The "slow and strong" upper body segment that follows didn't win me over. It starts with lat rows, moves into one-armed bicep curls. Then comes some chest flyes -- she tells you to pick up your heaviest weights for this but then adds compound leg moves and one-armed flyes that really tax the shoulder (because using just one arm pulls you off center, and your weight shouldn't be that heavy). Then you do pullovers -- again, the weight should be lighter here -- and move into a long, uncomfortable ab and back segment on the bench. No triceps AT ALL. Nice stretch at the end.

The DVD is chaptered to do all cardio or all weights together, so if you like one or the other, there are options. I didn't really like either well enough to keep it but I really do think others will find it exactly what they're looking for.



The weight work was mostly compound moves, which limits the amount of weight that can be used and again, reduces the challenge. The "slow and strong" segment at the end is not that slow, and has some exercises that I just didn't enjoy. They were done on the bench and I didn't find them that comfortable or effective. Plus, this "total body" workout eliminates tricep work. The pec flyes are done while alternating leg movements, and then there is a long ab segment. It's a solid workout, but I just didn't find any fun factor in in at all. If I'm choosing a circuit, which I don't do as often as I should, there are so many others (even FIRMs) I'd choose over this. I thought the weight work might save it but it didn't. FYI, it is chaptered all cardio and all weight work together, and as I was doing it, I thought maybe that would be an option but then I just didn't like the weight work enough for it to matter. YMMV


Instructor comments: Keli is warm, strong and encouraging -- the perfect instructor.

Donna Kahwaty

3/27/03

When I first previewed this workout I thought "Doesn't look too challenging, I'll probably trade this one." Well, I am glad that I didn't. As it turns out, this is a challenging circuit workout that is well balanced between cardio and strength. Usually when I do a circuit workout I feel that I either got a better strength workout, or a better cardio workout. When I do this one I feel that I got both and that the lower body was worked almost as well as the upper body.(I think the lower body usually gets shortchanged in circuit workouts)
I usually use a 6" step for Cathe videos because the BPMs are pretty fast on her videos. With this workout, I use an 8" step and get a very challenging workout. I think I would still get a decent workout with a 6" step.
The choreography is not too complex, but I don't find it so basic as to be boring. Collage's rating of "moderate" is appropriate. I think that each step segment ranges form 4-5 minutes, so they go by pretty quickly. I picked up most the choreography the first time through.
Keli employs compound and isolation strength moves. Usually each segment starts with a compound move. These will really keep your heart rate elevated. In fact, it is during the strength sections that my heart rate really gets going.
The first segment works on chest/triceps with a set of push ups/side planks, dips, and kickbacks (seated, not standing).
The second strength section focuses on shoulders and lower body with lunges and overhead presses. She also does some moves for the back.The following strength section works the lower body with side lunges and overhead presses. I think this section contains some bicep work too. The next strength section contains squats off the step and lateral raises for the shoulders. This was tough. I was using eight pound dumbells, but had to drop to five. I think she may also do some bent over fly type moves for the shoulders/back in this section too.
The final step section lets you try all the choreopgraphy together. It is a little longer than the other step sections.
The cooldown is fun and a little dancy.
The final strength section is good, but I would not call it stand-alone. As stated by others, there is no work for the triceps. I do, however add some myself-- I like to sub some of the pullovers (done lying supine on the step) with french presses (aka "skullcrushers") because there do seem to be too many pullovers. I like the chest work combined with abdominals, but if you didn't I don't think the workout would suffer if you eliminated that ab work. There is plenty of ab work without it.
I really enjoy the lower back/hamstring/butt work lying prone on the step. It is a little like the stuff in Karen Voight's Ultimate Circuit workout, but a lot less tedious.
The music is electronica-ish. I liked it just fine, but I know that many prefer recognizable tunes with vocals.
(for reference, I consider "Still Jumpin'" to have the worst exercise video soundtrack I have ever heard.)
I think the set is just plain ugly. Otherwise, a great workout!

roz

04/02/03

When I first previewed this workout I thought "Doesn't look too challenging, I'll probably trade this one." Well, I am glad that I didn't. As it turns out, this is a challenging circuit workout that is well balanced between cardio and strength. Usually when I do a circuit workout I feel that I either got a better strength workout, or a better cardio workout. When I do this one I feel that I got both and that the lower body was worked almost as well as the upper body.(I think the lower body usually gets shortchanged in circuit workouts)
I usually use a 6" step for Cathe videos because the BPMs are pretty fast on her videos. With this workout, I use an 8" step and get a very challenging workout. I think I would still get a decent workout with a 6" step.
The choreography is not too complex, but I don't find it so basic as to be boring. Collage's rating of "moderate" is appropriate. I think that each step segment ranges form 4-5 minutes, so they go by pretty quickly. I picked up most the choreography the first time through.
Keli employs compound and isolation strength moves. Usually each segment starts with a compound move. These will really keep your heart rate elevated. In fact, it is during the strength sections that my heart rate really gets going.
The first segment works on chest/triceps with a set of push ups/side planks, dips, and kickbacks (seated, not standing).
The second strength section focuses on shoulders and lower body with lunges and overhead presses. She also does some moves for the back.The following strength section works the lower body with side lunges and overhead presses. I think this section contains some bicep work too. The next strength section contains squats off the step and lateral raises for the shoulders. This was tough. I was using eight pound dumbells, but had to drop to five. I think she may also do some bent over fly type moves for the shoulders/back in this section too.
The final step section lets you try all the choreopgraphy together. It is a little longer than the other step sections.
The cooldown is fun and a little dancy.
The final strength section is good, but I would not call it stand-alone. As stated by others, there is no work for the triceps. I do, however add some myself-- I like to sub some of the pullovers (done lying supine on the step) with french presses (aka "skullcrushers") because there do seem to be too many pullovers. I like the chest work combined with abdominals, but if you didn't I don't think the workout would suffer if you eliminated that ab work. There is plenty of ab work without it.
I really enjoy the lower back/hamstring/butt work lying prone on the step. It is a little like the stuff in Karen Voight's Ultimate Circuit workout, but a lot less tedious.
The music is electronica-ish. I liked it just fine, but I know that many prefer recognizable tunes with vocals.
(for reference, I consider "Still Jumpin'" to have the worst exercise video soundtrack I have ever heard.)
I think the set is just plain ugly. Otherwise, a great workout!

roz

04/02/03

This is a circuit workout with strength work at the end. I like the trendy new CIA set, but can see how it will really date these videos before too long.

The music is boring to me, and too low during the warmup. I also don't think Keli's background exercisers use very good form.

There are 4 step sections that Keli teaches add-on style. It is moderate choreography, and Keli teaches it long enough to give most a chance to get it. She slowly raises the intensity with each section, but none are too intense. For the last cardio section all the step sections are done together.

The strength sections got my heartrate up more than the cardio sections. Some of the moves seemed a little too fast to do safely, so I'd do one or the other.

I didn't do the strength work at the end, but did do the abs/lower back work. It was EXCELLENT! That is the only thing I like about this video (besides the set). I'll be getting rid of it.

Andrea

4-3-03

This is a circuit workout with strength work at the end. I like the trendy new CIA set, but can see how it will really date these videos before too long.

The music is boring to me, and too low during the warmup. I also don't think Keli's background exercisers use very good form.

There are 4 step sections that Keli teaches add-on style. It is moderate choreography, and Keli teaches it long enough to give most a chance to get it. She slowly raises the intensity with each section, but none are too intense. For the last cardio section all the step sections are done together.

The strength sections got my heartrate up more than the cardio sections. Some of the moves seemed a little too fast to do safely, so I'd do one or the other.

I didn't do the strength work at the end, but did do the abs/lower back work. It was EXCELLENT! That is the only thing I like about this video (besides the set). I'll be getting rid of it.

Andrea

4-3-03

I like SIS. I have done parts of it before, but today I did the whole thing, including the added upper body work.

This is not Cathe-hard. That said, this is a very decent workout. To give you an idea, I usually use a 6" step with my high impact Cathe step workouts (Rhythmic Step I need 8" to get a good cardio workout). This one, I used 6" on the warm-up / 1st section, but could've used 8" with no problem, 2nd and 3rd sections I used 8", and 4th I used 6" (I was tired and had done half of Firm It Up before this workout, so I think if I hadn't done any workout before this one I would've had it in me to use 8" step on all sections).

There are four sections of step alternating with the four strength sections. The step choreography is not complex. It's easy to get in terms of the moves, although I must admit Keli's cueing is off a bit in some instances. But after a time through, it is easy to remember what is coming up because it isn't hard stuff (but it does keep you in the zone). The strength circuits:

1st-pushups on the step into side plank, then straight pushups, then tricep dips, then seated kickbacks, then seated straight-arm kickbacks. (I prefer to stand for both of these exercises.)

2nd-lunges on to the step with dumbbells,back work with db (don't recall exercise)
3rd-side lunges w/ db's, back lunges w/ db's.

4th-shoulder side raises standing on step, then one legged squats on step w/ db's, then both at once (the one legged squats are 'like dipping your toe in water'. Then standing shoulder flys to finish.

The upper body strength section is short (20 minutes or so), but although I wouldn't typically use it as a stand-alone upper body workout, is great to do as an add-on to the cardio / strength circuit. You get an exercise for each upper-body muscle group, with emphasis on core stability and muscle recruitment. Also almost all the exercises only give one set of 12 reps, so it seems to me that it was made to be a true 'add-on'-type of strength workout.

Back, Biceps, Front Raise section:

Back: one arm rows
Biceps: one arm curl
Shoulder: front raise

Chest section: chest flys at first, then into a compound exercise (Gin Miller-style, I though), where you fly one arm and lower opposite leg, (do that for awhile switching legs and arms), then you lower both legs (straight) while doing flys (great core work).

Back: lying on the step - pullovers

Abs: Keli does not disappoint on the ab work in this. It is excellent, pilates-inspired but mixed with traditional-type training.

Back: there is a prone 'lift opposite leg and arm while lying on the step' set. then there is an exercise that works the butt and lower back, which is very effective but I did not do it today.

The DVd is chaptered very, very well - you could do any part, section or grouping of sections easily and quickly.

To sum up, I'd say this is one of those 'workhorse' workouts. It's nothing fancy. BUT if you take a liking to it, and if you have an 'opening' for this type of workout in your collection, you will definitely get your money's worth out of it. It is a very good moderate - to - challenging (but NOT Cathe-challenging) strength and cardio circuit that would be great to reach for on those days when you want to get a good decent workout in, but you aren't looking for fancy step-patterns or a lot of weight work, or much hi-impact, or for a day you just aren't looking for an all-out burner. It's very moderate. But I like it, that is why I like it. I think it is a keeper.

Instructor comments: She is a consummate professional, as always.

Kathy Weller

7/13/03

I've had this workout since it came out. I really enjoy all aspects of it. I agree with a previous reviewer that with the compound movements it does make it a little difficult to use heavier weights however, I only do half as a compound movement and then I grab my heavier weights and just focus on the upper body. Sometimes I'll drop the weights totally and work the lower body only.

This workout can be done choosing all cardio or all weights. So, if you are a person who likes to do weights before cardio this will cater to you.

The abdominal section is excellant! Its tough and you do get results with it. There is also some really good butt lifting going on in some of the sections of the workout.

This workout, especially on DVD, can be modified to suit your mood or time or needs for any particular day.

Instructor comments: This was the first Keli Roberts workout that I have ever done. I enjoy her totally.

Lori M

Feb. 2004

A step and weights circuit workout, Step it Strong is a great beginner/intermediate level workout suited (imho) to beginner steppers and exercisers who enjoy non- complex step and weight-lifting routines. The workout, alternates low/intermediate intensity step with short weight lifting routines using mostly compound exercises working different areas of the body simultaneously.

A short warm up on the step is followed by a brief stretch and the first step routine. The combination is taught by building additional moves onto the base move so there is lots of repetition and plenty of time to nail the moves. The most complex move in this is the mambo cha cha pivot.

The first strength section is possibly the hardest - four-count pushups with hands on the step moving into a one-arm balance on alternating arms, tricep dips off the step and tricep extensions with light weights.

The second step routine is a little more complicated than the first but still very straight-forward with a gradual build up to the full routine. The strength work consists of alternating front lunges onto the step with heavy weights combining bicep curls and overhead shoulder presses once the foot work has been mastered....so don't go too heavy!

Another straight forward step combination is followed by more leg work - side lunges and again bicep curls and overhead shoulder presses are introduced once the leg work has been established. This is followed by alternating back lunges off the step with bicep curls added in (no shoulder presses thank goodness) but a three-count pulsing move changes it up at the end.

The fourth step routine is fun with hamstring curls, over the tops with squats and the revolving door move. Again the combination is build up slowly and is easy to catch on to. Shoulder work is the focus in this strength section - lateral raises with light dumbells incorporating one-legged squats off the side of the step and finishing with a set of rear delt lifts.

The fifth and final step routine puts together the four combinations and is the most fun - we run through the routine several times before moving into the cool down and stretch. This cool down also serves as a warm up for the following strength section if you want a really quick workout.

The final strength section is work for the back, chest and abs and starts with alternate sets of lat raises including shoulder retraction using heavy weights, bicep curls and front raises. This is followed by chest flies on the step with leg extensions introduced to work core stabilization. Four-count pullovers complete this set and it's on to ab work. As usual Keli's ab work is tough - focusing primarily on the lower abs and incorporating some pilates exercises such as double leg extensions and the always-excrutiating bicycle move twisting shoulder to knee while extending the opposite leg. Lower back work - supermans and a killer swimming move where you rest on the step up to your hip crease only and lift and open the legs... works thelow back, bum and hamstrings and then "swim" kicking your legs in the air.... as Keli says you don't need a pool to get the benefits of swimming!.

A lovely stretch incorporating the cat stretch and lots of shoulder and back stretches ends the workout.

Concluding thoughts:
Whilst I love Keli to death - her Real Fitness tapes were some of my first workouts and are still on my video shelf - I don't think this workout is for me. Complex step lovers and advanced exercisers will be disappointed but intermediate exercisers especially those just getting interested in step or strength training will enjoy this workout - the step routines provide a good jumping off point for more complex step routines and the strength work is a great introduction with superb form pointers.

Instructor comments: Keli is one of my all trime favourite instructors - she always pays attention to detail and form pointers and her cuing is excellent.

Janet B

10/23/04

This is my favorite Keli Roberts video at this point. I would say it is intermediate/advanced.

The first half of the DVD is a step circuit routine with weights. The second half is a slow intense strength workout.

The step choreography is a little complex but not so fast that you have to use a four inch step just to keep up. She is very good at breaking down all of the steps slowly before putting them all together.

Her strength workout is killer and effective, focusing mostly on back, arms and abs, followed by a decent cooldown.

My only complaint is that the chaptering on the DVD is a little sloppy and you have to keep going back to the main menu to mix and match, etc.

Definitely give it a try!

Instructor comments: Keli Roberts is one of my favorite video instructors. So far I have enjoyed every one of her videos that I own. She is always very clear in her instructions on form, gives excellent cuing and is motivational. She is also a gorgeous woman and a pleasure to watch through rivulets of sweat.

Laurie Baker
4/20/06



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