Video Fitness

CIA 2705: Absolute Kick-Boxing

Kimberly Spreen

I’m reviewing this workout after doing the kickboxing workout a couple of times; I’ve only previewed the body bar segment.

General workout breakdown: This almost 94- min. video contains several different segments: cardio kickboxing, combat strikes using a body bar, and weighted abs training. The “intervals” come from a premix that mixes the kickboxing combos with the weighted combat ones, so during each of those segments Kim cues the option of preparing to make the transition (and thus includes a little break in between combos).
*Warm-up (6.5 min.) begins with simple aerobics moves like step touches that build into kickboxing prep moves like bobs & weaves and chambers.
*Kickbox Combos (34 min.) mixes drills and combos, with drills building up into short combos (e.g. a jab becomes a jab and cross becomes a speed bag into a jab and cross; a squat leads into a squat with a tap becomes a squat with a shin block and finally a squat with a roundhouse) and then combos returning to drills with a couple of the final moves repeated a few times in a row. Moves include march, step touch, rotate at the waist with hand on guard, boxer’s shuffle, jab, cross, speed bag, hook, jumping jack, squat, shin block, roundhouse, slip away, knee repeater, front kick, front kick chamber (knee raise), front snap kick, duck away, ski, lunge, bob & weave, rib shot, and shuffle.
*Cool-down (5 min.) focuses on letting go, with moves like shifting side to side while rolling shoulders, and practicing balance, with moves like cat stance. It includes a couple of static holds (a lunge) and dynamic stretches (rolling through lower back).
*Weighted Combat Combos (26 min.) walks you through a number of strikes and blocks in different directions and at different angles (e.g. rotating across the body or aiming at the ribs) plus throws in a few strength moves (e.g. squats, biceps curls, overhead press). There’s even a short bit where you toss the bar, fortunately not very high! In another segment, the bar becomes a balance tool for kicking drills (e.g. a shin block, roundhouse kick, and lunge combo); in yet another, you hold the bar while doing front kicks. She manages to demonstrate a wide variety of uses for the body bar here, all the while emphasizing that the goal is controlled momentum.
*Weighted Abs & Core (13 min.) eschews endless crunches for moves like standing rotations, figure 8s / rowing moves, wood chops, triangles, rainbows, and small side bends before moving to the floor for moving V-sits (first with flat back, then rolling back, and then adding in some arm movements and eventually rotation – this is done again with weights in hand) and then V-sits with side-to-side rotations with tempo and arm position variations.
*Stretch (8 min.) is done seated, with exercises for the hamstrings, lower back, hips, quadriceps, upper back, and neck.

Level: I’d recommend this to exercisers at least at the int. level with prior experience in kickboxing. I consider myself about an int. / adv. in cardio who’s learned kickboxing almost entirely from videos, and I felt this was an appropriate workout for me.

Class: 2 women join Kimberly, who instructs live. I find the one woman (who’s a little older than your typical background exerciser, at least in many mass market videos) very inspiring; she has energy to spare and looks like she’s having lots of fun. The other woman seems to have been ill during filming and does the workout with a grimace on her face. (She’s been in a number of Kim’s videos and usually does a great job. I’m sure the bright lights and physical toll of multiple takes didn’t help whatever was dragging her down that day.) You may find it inspiring that she pushes through when she’s not feeling 100%, but I find myself worrying that the poor thing’s going to pass out.

Music: mix of beat-heavy upbeat instrumentals with vocals remakes of popular songs (like the song that goes, “Right about now / Funk Soul Brother”).

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: clear picture and sound, good camera angles, Kimberly’s voice audible over the music, etc. – basically everything you’d expect from a CIA production.

Equipment: The kickboxing portion requires no equipment, although if you have (light) weighted gloves and are experienced using them you could try incorporating them for more intensity. The combat segment requires a body bar (Kimberly suggests no more than 9 lbs. – this is why I haven’t done this portion, because mine is 15 lbs., way too much for me, and for some reason I don’t have a good alternative), or you can substitute some other sort of stick (like a mop handle, dowel, etc.). And the abs portion at the end asks for a pair of 3-5 lb. dumbbells.

Space Requirements: The kickboxing requires some space, as Kimberly does things like walk and kick a few times in a row. If you have more limited space, you’ll just have to take out the traveling; at the minimum you’ll still need room to take a big step and kick to the front and each side. The body bar segment is a little more compact, but make sure you won’t knock anything on the ceiling.

DVD Notes: The main menu offers these options: Intro to Workout, Warm-up to Workout, Absolute Mixes (Absolute Interval Mix = Warm-up, Kickbox & Combat Intervals, Cool-Down, Core & Stretch, 94 min.; Absolute Kickbox = Warm-up, Kickbox Combos, Cool-down, Core & Stretch, 68 min.; and Absolute Combat = Warm-up, Weighted Combat Combos, Cool-down, Core & Stretch, 60 min.), Bio & Content, and Contact & Credits.
There are chapters within the kickbox and combat portions, with each combo in one chapter, and the warm-up, cool-down and stretch are their own chapters, but there’s no way to access chapters from the main menu.

Instructor comments: Kimberly cues well and gives a good number of form pointers / reminders, and she asks you to imagine opponents to help you focus on executing the moves. She mirror cues (i.e. when she says “right,” she means the viewer’s). She builds up things evenly on both sides. I like her upbeat (almost perky), super encouraging (“You can give me one more, yes?”), girl next door personality; she’s always struck me as a great little fitness instructor from a real neighborhood gym who couldn’t be kept a secret and thus was discovered by video producers. That said, she has a couple of what might be called “folksy” habits, like repeating words or phrases (e.g. “Jack Jack,” “We’re good? We’re good.”).


September 16, 2008

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