This tape really shines out of the second half of the 2K series. The RAW workout is an interval style workout. Combining cardio on and off the step, strength, and balance work this is a great workout. The RAW section is approximately 60 minutes in length. It consists of cardio intervals and also strength intervals. The cardio intervals are done both on and off the step. The choreography is more basic and athletic rather than dancy. The strength intervals combine both basic toning movements while at times utilizing balance and core strength.
The workout begins with a moderate length warm up and stretch. Then moves into the first section of cardio intervals. The intervals are approximately 1 minute in length, with a short recovery period. The basic choreography makes it very easy to push hard during the intervals. Then you move onto strength-based intervals. During this section you will use lots of balance and muscular control, sometimes using compound moves to work different muscle group at the same time. Then you move into a more boot camp interval section. You pyramid the interval lengths; 15-30-45-60 second intervals then work back down from 60-45-30-15. This section is great. I really like the pyramiding of the intervals. Then you move into the last segment, which is strength work, abs and cool down.
The Fusion section of the tape is a perfect addition to anyone stretch routine. It's based on yoga movements. This section is approximately 25 minutes in length. You will do moves like Tree Pose, Cobra, Triangle, Downward Dog, and many other yoga type poses. There are a couple of harder poses. One toward the end is a great core move. You hold your toes while holding a seated V position. I'm shaking the whole time during this one.
All in all this tape is a winner. Its not an all out kick in the pants interval workout like Interval Max, but it will really work your whole body. It's much more fun than Energy Sprint and Intense Moves to me so I'm really looking forward to adding this to my Interval Rotation. And I will be adding the Fusion workout to my stretching and flexibility training as well.
CIA 2K07: RAW Plus Fusion
Instructor Comments: Helen has a fun, down-to-earth personality. She's very pleasant and encouraging without being sappy or overly gung-ho.
This is a 90-minute workout consisting of aerobics/strength (a little over an hour) and a yoga/stretch workout at the end. While I like the yoga section, I rarely have time to do it, so I'm really only reviewing the major part of the workout. I like it! The workout is broken into 5 sections: interval work, strength work using combination movements, more interval work, kickbox, and more strength but without the compound movements.
Almost all the intervals are done on the step, except for a few in the second interval section. The intervals aren't very long, but they do take you to your max while you're doing them. But if you're not ready for the highest-intensity versions, she does show options. Some of the intervals are really fun. There is one where you kick one leg back while leaping onto the step with the other leg, and then you bring the back leg up into a knee lift. For some reason, I really enjoy that one (call me crazy), and I'd even like to do it longer. The only interval I really have problems with is jumping over the step (like Gin Miller does in Intense Moves). Frankly, I'm scared to do that. I have visions of smashing my face on the cold, hard floor!
The kickboxing is fun as well. It's a little shorter than the other sections, or at least it seems that way, and at the very end you do a series of fast leaping-type kicks to finish things off.
I like the final strength section, which consists of exercises using upper OR lower body. But I don't like the compound exercises in the first strength section, where you do movements that incorporate both upper and lower. I've never liked these in any tape, because it seems like neither half gets sufficiently worked, and I feel like I'm wasting my time. So in the future, I will either skip this section or do either upper or lower body depending on my mood.
Finally, I'd like to mention one thing about interval work. I've seen a couple of comments to the effect that this workout doesn't keep your heart rate up the entire time. That's the purpose of interval work, though. You would be defeating the purpose if your heart rate did stay high. Grade A.
If you're bored with traditional workouts, if you're in rut, if you want to see some new exercises and you haven't tried this tape yet, get it out and do it. This is the most unique interval workout I've ever done, and great for the person who finds herself counting during traditional interval tapes, "How many more?"
Helen starts out with four or five (see I lost count!) traditional intervals, one minute moderate intensity, followed by one minute high intensity, then one-minute rest. Then she moves into a body conditioning segment using compound exercises with hand weights and the step. Some of these also require balance, and your heart rate will remain elevated the entire time. After this, there are some really fun pyramid boot camp intervals that I wish had lasted longer. Next is a kickbox cardio combat section; I don't care for kickboxing, but I can live with it because it's short. That's the beauty of this tape; nothing lasts too long so you can't get bored. Finally, there is strength conditioning using tubing and a body bar. I used a barbell and went heavy, and did use tubing because I had some lying around. You could modify with hand weights.
After a short stretch, Helen moves into a 23-minute fusion stretch segment. I have never done yoga, but was able to get through this fairly capably and found it to be really enjoyable. I don't always have the extra time for something like this, but it's the kind of thing I wish I could do every morning when I wake up (some day...). It would really start the day out right.
All in all, I found that the 90 minutes just flew by because Helen is constantly changing activities. The changes also help the simple choreography from getting monotonous. I'm a choreo queen but found that the constant change was able to give this tape a fun factor; make no mistake though, you will be working hard throughout.
There aren't too many tapes out there that offer up something this different and I can't recommend it enough.
I really wanted to like this one, especially after reading the other reviews, but I couldn't get past the lack of imagination in the interval moves.
I liked the structure of the workout very much; the intervals and the pyramiding invervals were very intelligently designed. But I just had a hard time with "basic step" for a full minute being part of several interval cycles. The intensity sections were not terribly inspired either--mostly power jumps on the step in one form or another. Hardly very original though they accomplished the job. With all the other great interval workouts out there (Mindy and Cathe come to mind first), I don't see myself grabbing this one that often in the future.
Helen is a good instructor with excellent attention to body positions to achieve maximum effectiveness. She is knowledgeable about her subject matter and really wants you to get the most out of the moves.