Sharon Money Twombly
I’m reviewing this workout after previewing and doing it once.
General workout breakdown: This 85.5-min. long video combines weights and other strength moves targeting the large muscles with cardio step combos and speed drills. The focus here is primarily endurance.
The warm-up (7.5 min.) begins with basic cardio moves, starting on the floor and then incorporating the step; next comes some dynamic / range of motion stretching intermixed with static stretches.
The “all body attack” section (60 min.) rotates through speed drills (many of which use the step); strength exercises; step interval cardio combos using traditional step aerobics (e.g. straddle, corner to corner moves, turn steps), common athletic moves (e.g. jacks and hops), and kickboxing (e.g. punches and kicks); and a series of strength moves. Sharon uses some classic body weight exercises (e.g. push-ups, 1-legged squats), tried-and-true weighted exercises (e.g. overhead press, biceps curls), and some innovative moves, including a few using the step bench (e.g. front raises). Often she combines upper and lower body exercises for multi-joint / limb moves (e.g. overhead press with side leg lift, “hotel” with a squat to pick up and then replace weights on the ground with kicks in between, side squats with upright row). She moves at a fairly quick pace for the weights, which means you won’t be able to go particularly heavy; on the other hand, your heartrate will stay fairly high throughout, although it will drop some during some of the moves and during the quick mini-breaks between moves. There’s quite a few exercises for the shoulders as well as a fair number of squats and lunges for the lower body.
The cool down (2 min.) consists of simple moves (e.g. step touches with shoulder rolls) before coming down to the floor for another about 10 min. You do planks, tick tock-type moves, crunches (but none of those boring up and down ones), and a rolling-like-a-ball series. The final stretch focuses primarily on the lower body, especially the hamstrings, and the torso, especially the sides.
Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate / advanced through perhaps mid-advanced exercisers. Experienced mid- to high intermediates adept at modifying and adapting can also appreciate this. I’m usually an intermediate / advanced exerciser, but I definitely appreciated the options supplied by the modifier!
Class: 2 women, one of whom shows modifications (but drops out for the final abs portion), join Sharon, who instructs live.
Music: beat-heavy instrumental and remixes / remakes of pop vocal songs (e.g. “Unchained Melody,” Shakira’s “Wherever, Whenever”).
Set: the 2007 CIA set (bright interior space with large “window,” arbor, patio furniture and a non-functional fountain along the back wall and those blue barn doors off to the one side).
Production: crisp picture and sound, nothing too crazy in terms of camera angles. It’s what you’d expect from a CIA production. The music is about as loud as Sharon’s voice.
Equipment: step (Sharon and one of the background exercisers use 2 sets of risers, or 8”; the other uses 1 set, or 6”), several pairs of dumbbells (ranging from light to moderately heavy), mat (or equivalent, if needed), and sneakers. You really need a full size club step for this; my shorter Step co. step (from a Cathe kit) was too short for the balance moves, and the Reebok step doesn’t come apart into the form you need.
Space Requirements: You need to be able to move comfortably all the way around your step, with enough space behind to take a couple of steps to each side. You should also have room for your equipment off to the side.
DVD Notes: The main menu offers these choices: Warm-up to Workout, Stretch to Workout, All Body Mixes (All Cardio Attack: Warm-up, All Cardio, Cool-Down, Core/Abs, and Stretch, 47 min.; All Weight Attack: Warm-up, All Weight & Bench, Cool-Down, Core/Abs, and Stretch, 54 min.; All Bench Attack: Warm-Up, All Bench, Cardio & Strength, Cool-Down, Core/Abs, and Stretch, 33 min.), Bio & Content, and Contact & Credits. The DVD is chaptered by combo / set or sometimes even by exercise, but unfortunately there’s no list of chapters off of the main menu.
Comments: This is ideal for people who prefer athletic-style workouts without a lot of fussiness over choreography, equipment, etc. (with the possible exception of the moves using the step bench itself). There’s no routine to learn, and the moves are constantly changing, which keeps the workout interesting and makes it move right along.
Sharon has a nice personality that’s positive and encouraging without being perky or over the top. She cues well ahead of the move and mirror cues. Some people may want more precise cueing, but Sharon spends a fair amount of time offering encouragement and checking on the viewer (“watch that ceiling fan!”) and background exercisers (“How’s Maria doing back there?”). She works each side evenly. Sharon brings degrees in physical therapy and biomechanics to her certification and experience in fitness, and it shows in the relatively smooth transitions between moves and attention to form.
April 5, 2008 (written March 2008)