Video Fitness

CIA Y2K04 Kicked Up Step

Becky Chamberlain

I just did "Kicked Up Step," for the first time. I usually don't post a review after just one workout, but since this is a new release (and there's a sale on at CIA!) I'll rush in and share first impressions.

The soundtrack is great and this workout is completely different from anything else I've tried -- mostly in a good way. There are some flaws -- more on those later.

The music plays a key role. You are doing a lot of kicking and stomping on the step and Becky has you hit it on the downbeat very consistently, which makes the workout fun and gives it a signature feeling. Becky punctuates the kicks and knees and stomps with lots of "heeyah" and "unh-huh" and "boom" remarks, which make you doubly conscious of the rhythm of the workout.

I don't know how Collage rates the intensity, but I'd rate the first half as intermediate level and the second half as inter/advanced. I'd probably rate the choreography about the same. The first half is easy choreography, the second half introduces a couple of sophisticated moves with quick foot changes.

The warm-up is fun and introduces a reverse crossover with a jump at the end that I enjoyed, once I learned it. There are L-steps with easy side and front kicks almost right away. Once you start into the body of the workout, there is a lot of kicking, punching and jabbing. The intensity level stays very steady. During the punches, your lower body doesn't move, so your heart rate remains low. I liked one combo very much where you stomp with a triple step 3 times (alternating corners) and then go into another move.

Right after the HR check, she ups the intensity noticeably. This part frustrated me. There are some fun moves, including one similar to Cathe F's pendulum, which Becky calls a "tick-tock." Becky returns to the reverse crossover step that she taught in the warm-up, with an added level of difficulty. The problem is that she has you come over to the front of your step and then do big space-eating moves like front and side kicks and a box step. Then you do a triple shuffle around the step to get back to "home." There is no way in the world that I have enough room between the front of my step and my TV to make this combo work. And I really wanted to do it, because it seemed like fun. Her cueing confused me a little bit through here as well -- she kept talking about using the "opposite" knee. Opposite to what?

The intensity was perfect for an intermediate exerciser. I'm a high-intensity endorphin addict, so I was a little disappointed, but I think I'll like using it on a day where I want to focus on strength instead of cardio -- yet I still want to get some cardio in. Plus, it's just plain ole fun to stomp on that step and go "UH-HUNH." Like putting an exclamation point at the end of a sentence, you know? (!)

My big complaint is with all the space that's used. You're going to have to experiment with positioning your step a little differently than usual to get the most out of this workout.

She uses bands in the toning section, which I skipped. I did her ab work, which was very short (5 minutes) but TOUGH. Mostly going back and forth in focus between upper and lower abs. The move that killed me involved lying on my back, knees bent in the air with shins/calves parallel to the ground, then you slowly lower one leg to almost touch the floor and HOLD IT POISED THERE FOR SEVEN LONG COUNTS. Then back up and repeat. Becky also had you slowly lower both bent legs together. Screaming abs. Her stretch section was short, but nice.

Instructor comments: I liked Becky a lot. Be warned -- your jaw will drop when you see her outfit. It reminds me of Becky dressed up in a TV dinner -- all shiny silver foil. However, it shouldn't faze anyone familiar with CIA videos: an eye-catching costume seems to come with the territory. The background exercisers (there are 4 girls and a guy) are wearing extremely cute outfits. The guy looks just like Oswald on Drew Carey, if you can picture Oswald doing hip swishes on a step. I liked all of her "unh-huh's and "hoo-ha's," but they might become annoying after a while. She cues all her moves as you're doing them (kind of FIRM-style), so I think it will take a couple of times to do this workout smoothly. She was really well-rehearsed and so was her cast. There were no mistakes, right lead and left lead were worked equally and they were all in perfect harmony with good form.

Daphne M
dmagnuson@aga.org
2/15/00

This tape fills a niche in my video collection in two ways. The first way is that it is different than anything other video I have seen. Other step tapes use some kickboxing moves, but this is more like a kickboxing tape that uses the step as a prop. The second way is that it gives me a very good workout without a lot of impact. I have been trying to find tapes to fill this niche for awhile and have been pretty unsuccessful so far.

That said, however, it may not give everyone the good workout intensity-wise that it gives me. I happen to be able to really get my heart rate up with kicks (maybe it has something to do with the width of my hips and legs!) This workout usually incorporates at least one kick every 8-counts or so, which helps keep my heart rate going at a steady pace, which is very different from true kickboxing tapes where I find my heart rate goes up and down, up and down as it goes between lots of kicks and lots of punches.

Also, unless you are a choreography lover, you may not like this workout. It is not super complex, but it is not basic like many kickboxing workouts either. To me, it is a very nice balance between the two. I would love to see more workouts like this.

Some things I really like about this workout:

  • The music is fun and different than I've heard elsewhere
  • Becky builds up two different combinations with not a lot of TIFTing. When you are done with the first combo you are really done! Kind of like Cathe. (I personally would not have minded putting the two together at the very end, but not having to start at the beginning over and over again is a big plus.)
  • Becky is VERY balanced on both sides, which appeals to the obsessive-compulsive side of me. (Also kind of like Cathe and unlike many CIAs).
  • The warm-up, cardio, cool down, abs and stretch section put together is just over 60 minutes (my ideal amount of time for a cardio workout). The warm-up is 9 minutes, cardio 42 minutes, cool down about 4 minutes, and abs are a few minutes (I can't remember right now).
  • The cast makes very few mistakes, making this video seem more professional than a lot of other CIAs. (And causing fewer screw ups by those of us who sometimes look at the cast!)

Some flaws:

  • Although I've compared her workout to Cathe twice, her cueing is nowhere near as good as Cathe. She cues very late often.
  • This workout takes up more space than both your average step tape and your average kickboxing tape, mostly because she takes you to the front of your step where you have to kick forward. I imagine this will be a problem for many people who do not have unlimited space between their step and TV. I have modified the moves so I either kick front and back while I am standing sideways to the TV or I try to get myself moved back and to the side of my step before you have to do a front kick. If you have a super-tiny space modifying might be difficult.
Overall, this tape is a great addition to my collection.

Instructor comments: Wa-hoo! Yeahhh! Uh-huh! Whoooooo! Ha! Yes! If whooping annoys you, you might want to avoid this tape. To be honest, I initially found Becky to be annoying myself with all her whooping and her very reflective silver outfit. However, each time I do this tape she grows on me a bit and I don't really find her annoying anymore. A few times during the warm up and cool down stretching section, it seems like she has gone to the Body Flex school of breathing, though, and this I do still find annoying. Other than that I like her just fine.

Lisa C.

2/28/00

I've done this video 3 times now. The first time I was somewhat lost on the choreography, the second time through I had 95% of the moves down and by the third time I was really enjoying myself.

If you're looking for an intense workout - this is NOT it. As Daphne said, the first section is int and the second moves into int/adv. It's not fast paced by any means. However, it is a lot of fun and very creative. Lots of L-steps and repeaters mixed with kickboxing moves. There's one move where you do a side kick then hold the kick for another count. It makes me feel strong!

After the step/KB sections she moves into a quick toning section using the spri tubing. It was "decent" but I don't know if I'll do it again. A brief ab workout follows. I love a good challenge for my abs and I found hers to fit the bill.

I am an advanced exerciser but will use this tape on my less intense "just wanna have fun" days.

Instructor comments: Becky has a "let's have fun attitude". To me she was like a breathe of fresh air. Her silver outfit and her hooping & hollering really doesn't bother me. I was a little frustrated my first time through with her cueing - but once I got the workout down it didn't really matter.

Kim Sleeth
sleeth1@home.com
3/26/2000

I was really looking forward to receiving this tape. Maybe my expectations were just a little bit to high, but I was quite disappointed with this tape. The intensity of the tape was just fine. I wasn't expecting a super hard workout, but it did keep my heart rate in my zone for almost most of the workout.

The video starts out with a simple warmup. I thought that it should have had a better warmup that throughly warmed up the legs to prepare for the kicking that came very quick in the workout. Then it moves into the body of the workout, roughly 2 segments. One before and one after the heart rate check. Teh first half of the workout was a good combo of step and lots of kicks. The second half was a little bit more intense, with a little bit more footwork on and off the step. Becky does do a LOT of hollering and whooping. I found it very distracting. While doing the tape I was told by a my husband that she sounded like a NFL football player with all the deep whooping she was doing. It really took away from the workout. Almost to the point that I stopped doing the tape.

The toning section which is about 20 minutes is done with the tubing. I did this section but prefer to use other videos for weights. Though if you own the tubing it may just be a welcome change from just lifting with weights. All in all the content of the video is okay, as a whole I find that the video really isnt that good. The intensity is low advanced but so many other factors make this video just so-so. But the idea of step and kickboxing moves it great.

Instructor comments: I found Becky to be very distracting. All of the whooping and hollering really took away from the video. The cueing could have been better, it was mostly cued late after you have started the move. But I know that will get better as she does more videos. Other than the noise factor I found Becky to be pretty good, esp. for a first time effort.

Susie F.
sfrei@mosquitonet.com
03/27/2000

I like it! This is a blend of step and kickboxing. It's put together in a really fun way, and I think it has the perfect amount of stepping and kickboxing. It's an advanced-level workout, and the music is really good. Becky is enthusiastic, which makes me enthusiastic, too. She has really come up with a fresh, innovative workout. One thing I would like to see improve is the cueing. Sometimes the cue is a little late, but it's usually pretty good. Also, some of the moves could use clearer breakdowns, especially the moves where you're in front of the step. Perhaps calling out "left" or "right" would help. I did learn the first routine that you do in front of the step, but I still haven't caught on to the second one, even after 3 tries. I probably will just modify that one to suit myself. There is a toning section at the end of the workout. It's okay, but it uses tubing, which I'm not really fond of, so I just skip it. I bought the tape for the step workout anyway, so I don't miss the toning. Grade A.

Instructor comments: Becky's great! I love her enthusiasm, and yes, I even love the hooting and hollering. I think there is room to improve on the cueing and breakdown of new moves, but overall I'm extremely pleased with her teaching and personality.

Annie S.
ann.s@worldnet.att.net
4-10-00

Others have done a great job of breaking down this video, so I'll just add my own impressions. All I can say is, WOW! I love the innovative way Becky combines kickboxing with traditional step choreography. The music is great; lots of vocals and very upbeat. She does a fantastic job of sharing her enthusiasm and joy in this workout. I personally don't mind the "Uh, huhs." In fact, there are times when I really need a good "Hup, hup, YEAH!" video. Kicked Up Step fits the bill perfectly! This is the tape I reached for when I was PMSing and just wanted to be cheered up and play for a while. It isn't the most intense video I own, but it doesn't need to be. I am an advanced exerciser doing this on an 8 inch step. It's perfect for days when I'm looking for a moderate workout.

Instructor comments: Becky is enthusiastic, energetic, and a lot of fun. I hope we can look forward to a lot more workouts from this fabulous new instructor!

ErinF
ferragut@avalon.net
4/19/00

When I read about the concept of this video, I thought, what a great idea!!! Combining my two favorite workouts, kickboxing and step. I bought 3 of the 4 new CIA Y2K videos as soon as they came out.

This one is good but not as intense as the others. I really wouldn't classify this tape as a kickboxing tape. The kicking and punching are very basic and used not to teach kickboxing but as a way to add the newest craze (cardio kick) into a tried and true favorite (stepping). This workout consists of a warmup with nice, easy combos and stretches. The step portion is divided into 2 sections about 20 minutes each. The first one is intermediate intensity at best. I even put my step up to it's maximum height to get the most intensity out of this.

Becky has some nice combos and I must admit they are fun. This tape does fly by. Her moves include side kicks, stomps, jabs and lots of knees side to side. She doesn't do too much repeating or TIFT. The second step section is fun as well and a bit more intense than the first. She has some original moves to show in this portion as well. The tick tock, reverse turns, step kicks to name a few.

She uses the word "power" alot during the tape. Power to me involves jumping, running and plyo moves. None of which this tape involves too much of. After doing step for so long, I find power moves are the only things that get my heart rate up high. The tape progresses into a toning section and cooldown and stretch. I use other tapes for strength and stretch, so I usually end it after the cardio portion.

This tape is nice for those days when you just don't feel like exercising or have little energy. It gets you moving and feeling good. It goes by really fast, because the moves are original and not too taxing. I was a bit disappointed at first because of the lower intensity, but I realized I needed a lower intensity, but quality workout tape in my collection ( I didn't have one). A good tape for advanced exercisers, a great one for intermediates.

Instructor comments: Alot of past reviews brought up Becky's hooting and hollering. It is noticeable but, it really doesn't bother me. I think Becky is kind of sweet and unintimidating and this is her way of motivating people. She has a good speaking voice and I found her cuing to be pretty good. I didn't have a hard time following her at all. Her strongest point is her choreography. It is original a flows well.

Robyn

5/4/99

I have attempted this Becky Chamberlain video about four times. I give up. She has to be about the worst cuer in any tape I've ever owned. Usually cueing badly, often cueing late. Now, why would the Queen of the Stumble even attempt a CIA tape? I don't know. I got it as an add-on to a trade and it looked fun. And Paula Z reviewed it favorably saying, "Becky's a pro at cuing all the moves perfectly, every time, so the steps combine easily and the patterns blend together fluidly." Yeah right! The only person who could follow this workout the first time is Cleo the tarot card lady on TV! The cueing problem was pointed out in several VF reviews. I just thought I'd give it a shot.

Don't get me wrong. I like Becky and all her yeahs and hups and grunts. I even like the goofy "Lost in Space" silver spandex outfit. The music is good. And the kickbox/step combo is a really neat idea. I just wish Gin Miller would do a video like this!

Alta
5/12/01

This is a fun, intermediate to low/advanced workout involving kickbox/step combined uniquely. You can put a lot or a little into it. I was dripping when I was done, but I really threw the punches and kicked with power, which is easy to do because the beat of the music is not too fast. The combinations are fun(kicks and punches off the side, combined with pretty basic stuff like grapevines and mambos) and not too complicated, but there is something so different about this video that makes everything seem new.
There is a brief tubing section when the step portion is done. I didn't try it, but it looks like she works shoulders, biceps and triceps pretty thoroughly--maybe and add on to another short upper body workout.
The ab work at the end fried my lower abs. Only about 5 minutes long, but it seemed effective to me!

Instructor comments: I wish there were other workouts with Becky! I'm actually surprised I liked her so much, because she does a lot of whooping and noises in this video. BUT, they seemed really natural from her, and it actually made the workout more fun! (I found it completely un-annoying, unlike the whooping in some of Cathe's earlier stuff.)
Becky cues a little late sometimes, as in, just as she is performing the move, and sometimes she verbally cues a whole combination too early and then kind of expects you to just do it. The moves, however, aren't terribly complicated, so this wasn't a problem for me.
Becky is wearing a very shiny silver outfit-it made me smile the whole time, as did the whole routine.

Wendy Chapin

7-27-02

On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who is playing with advanced choreography with people like Andre and Christi. This workout is significantly less complex choreographically and less intense in terms of effort. I enjoy doing it on days that I want something different from my normal routine and that is less intense, but is still a long workout.

This workout is a combination of kickboxing moves and step aerobics. I enjoy how Becky builds her combinations. Her pace is slow enough that I picked up large segments of the workout at a time. Usually, I get complex choreography a little at a time.

She leads a group of background exercisers, all of whom are tastefully dressed. Her outfit has already been discussed and I’ll just say it was an “unfortunate” choice. (smile) This workout does require a significant amount of floor space as the combinations move all around the step, some of the significantly away from it.

She does make a lot of comments and whoop. Most of the time, it would turn me off, but she seems so enthusiastic about what she’s doing and seems to be having such a good time, she draws me into it all and makes me laugh.

This is one of those workouts, you either like or don’t. Since I can’t think of anything to compare it to, I can’t give you a comparison point.

Instructor comments: She is very enthusiastic and motivating. She does whoop quite a bit.

Laura S.

September 10, 2004



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