Video Fitness

CIA 2503: Triple SSS: Surging, Step & Sculpt

Rhonda Cook

This dvd has 2 separate step and sculpting workouts. The step workout alternates complex choreography combinations with intervals or surges of simple choreography. I would compare it to Kristen Kagen's workouts in terms of complexity and intensity. The choreography is more athletic than dancy, but complex. Rhonda is an excellent cuer. Kudos to her background exercisers for being very well rehearsed. Rhonda goes back to the top a few times, but I didn't find the TIFTing excessive. I do wish she had put all the combos together at the end. The warmup and cooldown were only about a minute each, but I prefer that to a long warmup. The workout had a high fun factor for me. I was working hard and really liked the choreography. I liked that the surges came between the combos, it gave my brain a nice little rest. The music was pretty good but not great.

The step workout lasts about 55 minutes.

The sculpting part is about 38 minutes if you add in the pushups, abs and stretch. The first part is a 21 minute high rep, low weight routine reminiscent of the Slim Series workouts. I used 3 lb. weights which fried my shoulders but weren't heavy enough for biceps and triceps. I didn't really find the music very inspring in this section. I think that this is the first time I have ever done a strength workout with TIFTing. There isn't any chest work at all in the first section, but she adds a couple of minutes of pushups. This is followed by 11 minutes of mostly traditional ab work and a very short stretch. I don't like to devote a lot of time to strength work, so I think I will use this one fairly frequently with my own music.

Instructor comments: Rhonda is upbeat and encouraging, but on the more serious side. She is one of the best step cuers I have ever seen on video.


March 26, 2005

I'm basing this review only on the first half of the step workout since that's all I made it through.

The positives: I did like the focus on athletic choreography. I find that many instructors today are so busy trying to come up with new creative choreography that the routines get too confusing, and too cardiovascularly easy. Rhonda's choreography was athletic but not dull.

The negatives: I'm an advanced exerciser (Cathe nearly every day) and this workout was just too easy for me. I wasn't even winded during the "surges" which were basically leg exercises. I personally dislike cardio workouts that throw in a lot of leg work (like Low Max), but that is just my preference. And that's definitely present in this workout. Also, the music was dull.

Instructor comments: Rhonda doesn't have a very fun on-camera personality. She just kind of recites the moves. Maybe because she's new to the camera??



This workout consists of three parts: a cardio workout (box says 50 minutes, but it's closer to 55), a weights section, and an abs section (weights + abs = 35 minutes), folllowed by a 4 minute stretch. I'm only reviewing the cardio section, since I didn't do the weights or abs.

Overall, I really enjoyed this workout. It's a fast-moving, complex step workout with excellent cueing. It reminds me a lot of Kristen Kagen's Step This Way, a little of Cathe's Low Max, and a little of Donna Read's Step Fever. The choreography is much more complex than Low Max -- lots of spins and turns -- but I'd say the cueing is much better. She cues very early, occasionally so early that I started the move before she did. It was similar to Step This Way in the rapid-fire building of combos and the intensity blasts between the combos. I don't think the blasts were as long or intense as Low Max, but they were somewhat similar in content: side to side lunges, straight up jumps, and walking around the step with one foot on the step. There was definitely jumping involved, but it was almost all onto or on top of the step. Like Kristen Kagen, she had some new moves (or maybe names for moves) that I hadn't heard before. Mostly she explained these very well (example: a riding hood was two knees on the step, turn and lunge knee off the end). A few times, usually for simpler moves, she just named a move and expected we'd know what to do (example: a pump squat is get on the step from the side, two quick half-squats, then off the step on the same side). The cueing isn't perfect; in fact the very first part of the first combo, she turns a charleston kick into a kick, turn, mambo, chacha back to the step, but keeps saying just charleston the entire workout. I usually need the instructor to cue every move every time, but I didn't have much trouble keeping up the first time through. I think this workout is worth a try for anyone who enjoys moderate to complex choreography. I think this is the athletic side of complex: not a lot of quick rhythm changes, but plenty of turns.

Kimberly N


I've enjoyed this workout for over a year now. Rhonda gets right into the routine with little warm-up, but I like that. Her cueing is excellent (one minor boo-boo, but at a point that didn't trip me up). The first couple of surges are leg burners, the last surges merge with the choreography to spike your heartrate. I do this on a 6" step and am sweating buckets - Rhonda and crew on 8" - amazing. A definite keeper for me!

Instructor comments: Rhonda seems a bit nervous at first, but seems to relax as the workout continues. Some have said she's "robotic" in her delivery, but I got over it quickly.

Diane aka mtnmom


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