Greg Twombly, Stella Hull-Lampkin, Michele Hanlon
Greg Twombly leads a one-hour complete workout on the first half of this tape, and I like it much better than his other workouts. After the warmup, he starts off with 25 minutes of easy-to-learn yet fun, interesting and TOUGH hi-lo. If you like Franny Benedetto's hi-lo on Boston Marathon, this is very similar; the routine moves in a box around the room, and it's almost nonstop hi-impact jumps, leaps and turns. Greg shows off some cool choreography variations, such as a grapevine variation where you do half a grapevine, do a quarter turn and jog backwards, then jack around to the front. After this segment came a surprise: a routine using weights and a round step! This is the first time I've seen a round step outside the FIRM workouts. Here, it's only used as a prop for leg work, and a regular step pointed toward the TV works fine. Greg alternates intervals using fast and light weights plus lunges and leg lifts, with intervals of fast, jumpy floor aerobics. My legs really felt it the next day! As with many CIAs, the second hour of the tape is only so-so. Stella Hull-Lampkin does a dancy step combo which might have been much more fun if taught by a better instructor, but Stella goes through it so slowly that my heart rate was dropping throughout. Still, I give it extra points for not using the Step Max music. The final segment, "cardio pump" with Michele Hanlon, uses the CIA 7002 music and some of the same steps, but it's not nearly as interesting without Christi Taylor's exceptional cueing and instruction. I only bought this tape because it was so cheap, thinking that if I really disliked it I could always trade it. But thanks to Greg's workout, it's a keeper! Grade: A
Instructor comments: Greg is warm, enthusiastic and professional, plus he acts less silly (and dresses more tastefully) than on other workouts of his. Stella is just like the FIRM "visual feast" instructors: fantastic body, bland personality, barely-adequate cueing. Michele is a little too drill-sergeant-like for my taste.
Greg (in a nice toned down outfit - no distracting leotard) starts out with a 7 minute warm-up that is really low impact, with sashays and grapevines that gets your heartrate up right from the start. Then comes 26 minutes of incredible hi/low combinations, but it's really all high impact moves, that you need a lot of room to do. He makes squares with grapevines, jacks, kicks, jumps. His routines on all his tapes is awesome, and this is no exception. After 26 minutes of super explosive moves, you go into one of the best interval training segments ever. He uses a small round step (I think it's 4") and does leg work with arm work (he uses 5 lb. dumbells - I used 6 lb. and felt good). He does a lot of shoulder work, a hard push-up section with one hand on the step. He does bicep curls, kickbacks, and skull crunches hands in back of head lifting two weights over head). Between all these weight routines, he does extremely high explosive plyometrics to keep your heartrate up and he never relents or gives you a break. This one hour workout is absolutely one of the best I have ever done. He adds a cool down and stretch to complete the hour. The next segment was a real disappointment. Stella Hull-Lampkin does a step segment that got my heartrate way down, I was getting frustrated and just did half the routine. It seemed more instructional than workout. Greg's wife Sharon Twomby is the exerciser in the background. Next came Michele Hanlon with very high impact floor aerobics which I found very hard to follow. She had such poor instruction that after 10 minutes of my own improvising, I fast forwarded to the cooldown and end the workout. Greg's workout makes this a real winner tape. The other two segments I will never do again.
Instructor comments: In my opinion, Greg Twomby is the best male aerobics instructor and his routines are super high impact only for the advanced exerciser.
Did you hear some hootin' and hollerin' coming
from my direction this morning? Yes, that was
me, working out to Greg Twombly's section of
this video. What a blast! It's a high-low and
then interval workout done to great music and
it's just so much fun. Greg starts with a warmup,
and then goes into 25 minutes of high/low
that I love. The music is what I call Franny
music, because it has the great songs she used
in Boston Marathon. Of course, this tape was
made first, but I still call it Franny music.
After the high/low, Greg proceeds with 20
minutes of interval work. And this really is
intervals, unlike many of the other CIA videos
that have circuit work misnamed intervals.
You use dumbbells -- 5 lbs will be plenty
because he does lots of fast-moving reps. You
alternate the dumbbells with aerobics,
including numerous plyometric moves. The
high-low was intense, and this section is
even more so. Excellent! Your heart rate
even stays up during the dumbbell parts.
Then Greg does a cool-down and stretch, so
you can stop after this section if you want to.
That is most likely what I'll be doing from
now on, because the rest of the tape doesn't
interest me too much.
The next section is step with Stella Hull-Lampkin.
She takes an agonizingly long time to build
her patterns, and after Greg's intensity, I just
don't have the patience. Also, she's off-phrase
a lot in the beginning, which bugs me. I only
did part of this section one time -- she was
going much too slow for the mood I was in -- so
I fast-forwarded to the last section, and I
haven't done Stella's part since.
Finally, Michele Hanlon teaches high/low. She's
very likeable and her routine is good, but
nothing to write home about. She also can
be hard to follow because she doesn't break
anything down, but it's not overly difficult.
I might do her section again from time to
time, but Greg is definitely the star on this
Overall, I give the tape an A because even if
you only do Greg's part, you'll still get your
Its been a while since I traded this, but I enjoyed Greg's Hi/Lo, the biggest problem with it is that it took up too much room, even with the furniture moved. The second section where he uses the 4 inch step to do circuit training, was too short to be really effective.
The step section by Stella something something, was enjoyable, and I thought a fun routine. As everyone else has pointed out, she takes too long to teach the moves, and you don't learn much for the 20 or 25 minutes the routine takes.
The last hi/lo section LOOKED real fun. However, there was almost no cueing, as though we all already knew the routine. I'm not one to learn a routine, I don't have enough brain cells to spend many on exercise, so I count on cueing. I don't mind learning a combo or move, but not a whole routine. From what I've read in other reviews, I'm not the only one who feels this way. The lack of cueing pretty much ruins this section.
Overall, if you like hi/lo, this tape is worth getting from the exchange, doing it for a few months and then passing on.
Instructor comments: Greg is a good instructor, good cueing, fun choreography. Stella was OK, and the last instructor whose name I can't recall did not cue the routine at all.