Video Fitness

CIA 2K08: Cardio Options

Linda McHugh

This tape has two cardio sections the first of which is a high low workout and the second is a step workout with a core strengthening section. Finally, there is a very soothing stretch at the end of the tape. The music is nothing exciting. It is the typical Dynamix Instrumental and at times seems kind of low.

The high low section is rather short but is a perfect length to add on to strength training workouts or if you want additional cardio. It is approximately 30 minutes of actual high low work. The moves are fairly uncomplicated and I felt that it was about a 50/50 mix of high versus low impact. The routine is a lot of fun to do and Linda's cuing is excellent. It is very easy to follow along. She builds a combination, changes it with optional moves and then splits it. You practice it a couple of times and then move on to a new combination. You don't keep taking it from the top which keeps the tape interesting. After she teaches two combinations in this manner, you go into a "cardio crescendo" which is basically interval work. Upon previewing it, I didn't think it would be much of a crescendo but when I did it, I found it to really get my heart rate up there. The moves are just basic athletic type moves that if you really get into, you work hard. After the crescendo, you learn one more combination, practice it and you're done. She does a nice cool down but in order to stretch you have to fast forward to the end of the tape which is not what the cover of the tape says. I was surprised by this as I wanted to leave the tape cued where it was for the step section so I just did my own stretching.

The step section is taught exactly the same way. She shows a thorough warm up and stretch and then moves directly into the first combination. In the step section, she utilizes quite a few moves on the floor along with step patterns. Again, she teaches a combination, splits it, practice it and then move on. No taking it from the top a million times. The step section is longer and she takes longer to build the combinations. However, it's not boring. You learn two combinations and then go into the crescendo using the step which is mainly lunges side to side. After the crescendo, you learn one more combination and you're done. She does a cool down which was a little long and then the tape goes into the core strength section.

The core strength is fairly basic Pilates types of moves although most of them are done from a position where you are on your hands and knees. I wasn't overly thrilled with this section so I will probably skip it in the future. Finally, there is a nice stretch at the end.

Instructor comments: Linda does an excellent job of cuing this tape. She seems to have sort of a booming voice so you will have no problem hearing her. However, she has some mannerisms which some people may find annoying. Her Hey's and Ho's could be potentially annoying. Fortunately, she doesn't do it alot.

Joyce Thurman

My review concentrates on the step portion and body conditioning. She goes through an 8 minute warm up and then goes into the step portion for 35 minutes which is then followed by the toning for 12 minutes.

My first comment about the video is that it is very different from her Step and Sculpt video with Jay Blahnik. Instead of being dancy or intense I found the video very dull. I agree with collage video that the level is intermediate/advanced and the choreography is moderate if not basic. There is a lot of marching in place and mambo's throughout the video which brings the intensity way down. She starts with a foundation and then builds it to be a little more intense. The cardio crescendos were ok, but again I was hoping for more of a dancy workout. The only thing that made this workout bearable for me was the music. She does a lot of "hup's" and here we goes, so if you don't like that then don't go for this video. Perhaps my negativity to this workout is because I have to compare this to Franny's Cardio Party, which I just love.

The floor toning was pretty good! She talks about how to do the planks and shows some variety that I haven't seen in other video's. The conditioning is very hard, I couldn't make it through doing all the different variations that she did. I like having something to work up to in a video. :) If she had a tape that just did the toning I would buy the tape.

I really wanted to like this video but I can't. I give the step aerobics section a B- and the toning an A-.

Jennifer Hanly

Here's one that has really grown on me. The first time I did it, I liked it but wasn't overly excited with it. But each time I do it, it gets better and better. I've done it 3 times now, and I'm looking forward to doing it a lot more. This tape contains a high/low, a step, and a core workout. She teaches both the high/low and the step in mini-combos -- i.e., you learn a combo, do it a few times, and then move on to another one and never go back to the previous one. Usually, I don't particularly care for that style, but it works well here. Her routines are a lot of fun, and she teaches them well without boring you. The intensity is intermediate to advanced, with most of it being in the high-intermediate/low-advanced area. The choreography is about the same level. She adds a "crescendo" -- a drill -- to both the high/low and the step. They're okay, but I would prefer to have another combo instead. The warmups and cooldown are fun, too, but there is no cooldown after the high/low. If you're not going on to the step workout, you have to either fast-forward to the final cooldown, or do your own. At the very end is a 10-minute core workout consisting of plank work. This is h-a-r-d. I'm amazed that these women can do it without resting. She has you doing the planks on extended arms, which requires considerable upper body strength that I don't have (yet). Even the side-ways plank uses an extended arm. Ouch! Frankly, I was surprised that she didn't show the alternative of using your forearms, but I guess she really wants you to work on your upper body as well as your core. One final comment that doesn't have anything to do with the workout -- but I have to mention it because every time I start up the step section, it just hits me between the eyes -- the shirts they wear for the step are very unflattering, in my opinion. Yes, I know this shouldn't make any difference to me, but for the first few minutes of the step workout, it really distracts me. Oh, well, if that's the worst thing I can say about this tape, then it must be pretty good! Grade A+.

Annie S.

This tape seems to have received a pretty lukewarm to negative reception on the forum, but I really enjoy this tape. In fact, I like both routines, and even the core workout at the end. I am just guessing here, but I think it may have to do with Linda's personality, which can be somewhat cheerleader-like at times. Also, the music is not the best. The hi/lo music is not bad, but the step music is very old and boring. I also wonder if people have tried it more than once. My first time with the hi/lo, I was somewhat unimpressed, but the more I do it, the more I like it.

The hi/lo routine is a short 38 minutes and includes a long warmup (around 10 minutes) and a short cooldown (both are choreographed) but no stretch. It fits in perfectly as an alternative to a Cathe cardio during a CTX rotation (when you want a slightly easier day).

The main workout is 3 combos with a 3-4 minute intensity blast ("cardio crescendo") inserted between combos 2 and 3. There is no TIFTing in this workout. Even within the combos, there is very little TIFTing. Linda puts her combos together in a way similar to many Cathe workouts. She teaches blocks of the combo and then puts them together and reduces the repetitions of moves until you have a complete combo. This keeps the moves more fresh. I love the way the routine builds in intensity. You start out slow but it builds right up to the point where you are doing the crescendo. The intensity of the routine including the crescendo depends on you. This routine is easy to modify up and down. There are higher impact moves, but they are the kind of impact moves that feel good to me, not jarring, like some Cathe moves feel at times.

The format of the step routine is very similar, except it has 4 combos with the crescendo between combos 3 and 4. This routine is a little longer, 44 minutes with an 8 minute warm-up and a 4 minute cooldown. It is followed by an 11 minute core workout, which is very hard for me, but I try to do it anyway. There is also a very nice 10 minute stretch at the end, bringing the entire workout up to 65 minutes.

The choreography of both routines is probably high intermediate, but it is interesting enough for me. This is probably because of the way the routine is put together with no TIFTing. After 4 times with each routine, I still find the routines fun and in fact enjoy them more each time. I often get bored quickly, and I thought that might happen with this tape, but now I don't think it will happen.

Instructor Comments: There is nothing that really stands out in my mind as either bad or good, when I think about Linda's personality, really. As I said, I think she may annoy some people, but she doesn't bother me. I like the way she put together the routines, and overall they seem more "professional" and well put toghether then a lot of other CIA tapes.

Lisa C.

This tape is broken down into the sections. Hi Lo is first followed by the step workout. Each workout has its own warm up and cool down.

The Hi Lo sections begins with a long ~10 minute warm up. The usual grapevines, knee repeaters, and variations of step touches are included. But this warm up has a combo feel to it. Directional changes are included in the warm up, which helps to get the feet awake.

The Hi Lo is fairly athletic in style. There are three combos with one cardio crescendo after the second combo. This workout doesnít have a lot of twirls or lots of impact, but itís a very straightforward routine. There are many moves that you can up the intensity on and some that you can lower the intensity on. The Hi Lo is ~40 minutes in length. There is a cool down, but there is no stretching included.

The Step section follows. I liked this section much better than the Hi Lo routine. The work out is a lower intensity routine, along the lines of Step Revival with Jay Blahnik. There are power moves included but the majority is low. During this section the first few times you do the tape you really have to pay attention to Lindaís feet movements. She does some moves that move around the step, and its not always clear which foot she is stepping with. Sometimes she does a tap down and sometimes she just goes into the move. So you might find your on the wrong foot until you get the hang of the tape. There are four combos with the crescendo after the third section. She does do a lot of basic step and incorporates lots of step touches in the combos. All of the step touches lower the intensity as well as the marching in place that she uses a lot between teaching a section of the combo. But itís easy enough to run the basic up on the step or jog in place during the marches to keep the intensity up. The step section is about 40 minutes long not including the warm up and cool down. This cool down does include stretches

After the step cool down you move into core work. This is the best part of the tape. And donít be fooled into thinking that itís easy. Itís a very long ten minutes of core work. I think the core work makes the workout complete.

I preferred the Step workout to the Hi Lo. The Hi Lo didnít fit as well together and seemed less intense. Lindaís personality fit well with the two workouts presented. She was not to overly excited nor was she dry. One complaint is that they music could have been better. I feel that this tape had the worst music of the second half of the 2K series. But at least the music wasnít awful; it was just a bit recycled.

All in all both workouts are high intermediate if done as presented. But if you add impact, power, travel more with some of the moves you can make this tape more intense. Grade B+ as presented but an A when you spice it up a bit.

Susie F.

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