Video Fitness

CIA 9806: A Step Workout

Shannon Anderson, Alison Boyd

un, fun, fun! I adore this workout. I also like their new high/low tape, but this is even better!

Shannon and Alison take turns teaching a total of 6 combos. You put them together several times throughout the tape, then at the end you do the whole thing four times -- twice the "regular" way, and twice with the moves being spliced (all combos starting on the right, then all starting on the left). The spliced routine can be a little tricky, because you have your back to the TV in some parts, but if you just listen to their cues, you'll do great.

The choreography is intermediate/advanced, and so is the intensity. Some of the plays on rythym give it a slightly dancy feel at times, but I emphasize slightly. They keep you moving all throughout the workout, with no marching or step-taps while learning new steps. It really moves pretty fast, and the time just flies by. Their choreography is fresh and unique.

At the end, there is some ab work led by Alison. The first part is pretty tough -- a lot of stabilization. After that is more traditional ab work (crunches, obliques).

If you liked Shannon and Alison's other tapes, you'll adore this one! A+!

Instructor comments: These two are so great together, and they're also two of my favorite instructors. I hope we see more from them.

Annie S.

This video is fun.

It starts out with a fun 7 min. warm-up that I enjoyed a lot more than the other Shannon video warm-ups. It uses the step and is a short combination.

The main workout consists of 6 interesting combinations. For the most part they consist of moves I've done before, but the moves were put together in an interesting way that really kept it fun. You work on all the sides of the steps, and will have your back to the TV quite a lot. The only move I did not like was the reverse straddle in the first combination. I replaced this with a regular turn step straddle, which works fine. Like most CIAs after learning a new combo, you start from the beginning and go through all those that you already know. One thing I really liked was after going through all 6 combos, they split them up. You end up doing 1 on the right leg, and 2 on the left etc. When this happens you end up doing some of the combos in a direction that is new to you. This kept it interesting toward the end. This section is pretty long - 49 min.

There is a 3 minute cool-down which was so basic, I did not really care for it - you are basically just moving in 1 spot on the floor. A 6 minute abs section follow which I did not do, but it looked interesting. Half of the work was done while sitting in a V position. And finally the 3 minute stretch was a bit short but fine.

The intensity is probably at low advanced. It is certainly not as intense as Cathe F. videos, but closer to a lot of CIA Step workouts - I would probably say it was a similar intensity to 9701. There are not a lot of plyo moves, but the tempo was quick, and you are always moving, so I felt like I was getting a good workout. A super-advanced person would probably not find this workout to be enough, without adding their own plyo moves.

The choreography is not really dancy, but it was complex. It took me a few times to get the whole workout (which is why I like it - if I get it too fast, I'll probably find the tape boring soon.)

Overall, I really love this workout, and will probably do it a lot. I looked at it again before writing this review, and even though I was wiped out from doing Step Works, I had the urge to do this workout.

Instructor comments: I like these sisters working together. I liked them in 5005 and Shannon in 7004. They have an interesting way of putting moves together in a workout, and they are fun to workout with. There cueing is pretty good. They do sometimes talk over each other, but it is sort of cute. The only complaint I have is when they are teaching a combo, sometimes I am surprised at how they will teach. Sometimes they give you a lot of explanation and practice on something that doesn't need it, and then not enough on something complex. I also occasionally got confused when there was no reason for confusion. For example they have a move similar to the first move in 9701, the L-step straddle. They spent so much time breaking it down in such a goofy way, by the time it came to do the move, I was totally confused. I had to stop and watch them again to see that it was a step I already knew, which was taught more logically in 9701. Despite this, the workout they put together is so much fun, that getting through these things makes it worth it.

Lisa C

I really love this video. The choreography is interesting and fun, Shannon and Alison teach well, and the intensity is just right for my lower advanced level. The workout has already been described pretty thoroughly in other reviews so I'll just add a few details. The six combos feature a number of familiar moves like an L-step straddle which is similar to the one in CIA 9701, and a rear leg lift/knee repeater with no touch down in between that is similar to the "ballet" step in CIA 9001. As one of the other reviewers mentioned the moves are built up differently than in the other tapes. I liked that because it added more variety...even though we were headed for the same place we were taking a different route.

The only problem I've had is at the end when the combos are spliced together. That put me with my back to the TV for one of the trickiest combos (for me). I've done the tape about four times and still haven't quite mastered that (and I'm usually pretty good at picking up choreography). I don't mind though...I expect this tape will stay fresh and interesting for a long time.

Instructor comments: Shannon and Alison are a great team. They generally cue and teach well and seem to enjoy themselves.

Paula Lewis

This is a fine choice if you like long, dancy, complex step workouts, yet your knees and feet are screaming "Please give us a break from high impact!" The intensity is similar to 9701, but without the power drills in between combos. Shannon and Alison tag-team teach 6 creative combos that use all sides of the step. A couple of things make this a less than stellar workout, for me: the sixth combo is only half as long as the others, so it's really 5 1/2 combos. This makes the final run throughs feel "strange", since there's no filler between the end of one and the beginning of the next. (Does this make any sense? Maybe I'm just getting crotchety with age :)) The other drawback is that they use the 8003 and 9701 soundtracks, both of which we CIA aficionados are getting more than a little weary of. But this is still fun for those less-than-killer days, so I'll give it a B+.

Instructor comments: If you liked Shannon and Alison on 5005 or 7004, you're sure to like them here. They can be cheerleader-ish at times (like shouting "4! 3! 2! 1!" in unison) but they cue well and don't do anything that annoys me, like whooping.

Sue Bryant

These two sisters are great together. This video is 68 minutes long, featuring an 8 min. warm-up, 50 min. stepping, 12 min. cooldown, abs & stretch. Very complex choreography, but well taught. There are alot of reverse turns, mambos, and other dancy moves. The intensity is intermed/adv., and lower impact. I find myself reaching for often 'cuz it's so much fun. Grade: A

Instructor comments: These two sisters are great together. It's a tag team, one teaching 1 combo and the next by the other. They are having fun and it's really contageous:)


I've had this video for several months and just keep pulling it out again and again. This is about the most fun you can have on your step. I received CIA 7004: All-Star All-Step via the exchange and really liked Shannon's segment. Once I realized that she and her sister had done another step video, I ordered it immediately.

Those who enjoy Kari Anderson and Cathe Friedrich for their choreography will like this video. There are several creative uses of mambos and cha-chas and hop-and-turn off the step-to the back reminiscent of Step Jam. Anyone who liked Shannon's segment on 7004 will find this to be a dream come true. The choreography is complex but easy to pick-up. The one step that seems a bit overused is the turn (or reverse turn)-and-straddle. Alison's voice even starts cracking, in a cute way, when she says "straddle." There also is a lack of instruction on what to do with one's arms during all the turns and over-the-tops. I cannot stand when instructors add funky arm combinations on to a simple basic (like 8003 and a few sement 1's of Cathe videos), but I suppose I like something a little more than just letting my arms flail around 'naturally.' I am still struggling with the splicing at the end. I just get used to doing things on a certain foot and facing a certain wall. Oh, well--guess I'll just have to keep doing this step workout over and over until I get it right. Oh, darn. :-)

At the time I bought this video, it was the longest all-step video that I had tried (I've since started doing some Cathe). I was little intimidated but I started out on a 4" step and did fine. I am always surprised when the sixth combo shows up--had we been stepping for that long already? It would be easy to increase the intensity to a very high level with an increase in step height, bigger arms on moves like the turn-and-straddle, and really using the entire room for the off the step moves.

Gretchen Vaughn

Fun, fun and more fun!! From the warmup, this workout is a blast. Great music (heard in other tapes but this one soundtrack seemed to be made for this workout!), great moves and lots of energy.

The other reviewers have broken this workout down well so I'll just comment on the fun factor. Shannon and Alison share teaching jobs and while the two styles are slightly different (Shannon's athletic while Alison's semi-dancy), the two mix well together. The workout moves pretty fast and halfway through the workout, I was really sweating. There's just no time to be bored. The sisters do not spend a lot of time breaking things down, but they show you and then you join in.

I usually like just one instructor but this tape is different because both leads are great. The movesare shown face forward and then ONCE you learn them, they "mix it up" a bit to where you're doing the moves on all sides of the bench.

I especially like it when we run through (near the end) the 5 combos 2 times and then Shannon and Alison splice it down the middle. This means that you do all the moves to one side then to the other side. This makes the moves seem so fresh even though you've worked on them the whole time.

Great video and I hope CIA will do more with this sisters. The workout is balanced and has *very* few flaws.

This is a keeper!

Instructor comments: Work great together as a team. Shannon's moves were more athletic while Alison's were more dancy. Whole workout blended well together. Both cued great. Since I tend to like athletic stepping more than dancy stepping, I followed Shannon a little easier than Alison.

Lesia English

Iíve done this tape three times, and each time I like it better. (Probably because I can finally do the spliced part at the end and actually be facing the right way!) As others have said, the choreography is interesting and there are many familiar moves put together in new ways. You use all sides of the step and face all the walls, and also do a small number of moves on the floor. The choreography is complex, yet is taught so well that itís not too difficult to catch on to. I love that Iím in my aerobic zone for a full 45 minutes, but I donít keep watching the clock (as I do in some other videos). The time goes fast.

The intensity is low advanced. There are very few power moves, so I do this workout on an 8Ē step and I can really use and extend my whole body. (As a comparison, I do most Cathe Friedrich workouts on a 6Ē step.)

I think the one thing that keeps me from enjoying the workout more is the music. Iíve just heard it too much on other CIA videos.

The ab work at the end is excellent and tough! I can really feel it, and struggle through it a little.

Instructor comments: These two are very friendly and work well together. They seem ďin syncĒ with each other. Overall they cue well and teach the combinations very well. I agree with the reviewer who said that itís a little weird sometimes though, because at times they spend too much time on a basic move (example 3 V-steps and a knee-up), then not enough time when they put the moves all together in a combo. This is a small thing though.

Mary Truscott


CIA 9806: A Step Workout

Anderson sisters (well, they used to be)

Music Fairly nondescript. I recognized at least one from an older Cathe video. Otherwise, I didn't notice it much. Music is very important to me so that may be why I don't find myself reaching for this video too often.

Intensity It's almost entirely low impact (which was one of the reasons I got it) with just a few power moves (basketball on the corners and a jump V). Although, you could add additional power moves throughout. I would gauge it as a medium to high intermediate workout, touching in the low advanced area a few times. My heart rate was between 145-155 (averaging 150) during the whole 44 + minutes. (I usually average 160 in most Cathe videos.)

Workout This is my first Anderson sisters workout. I think it's cute how they finish each other's sentences. The step routine seems to flow and the moves are farily complex in a couple areas, but are built up really well. I know you are very good at complex choreography so you might find it a little boring, but only in a couple of spots.

There are sections where you work on the front of the step, then on the back, so you do have places where your back is towards the TV. They use every bit of the step throughout the video. The verbal cuing is quite good - except for one spot where there's a mis-cue while your back is to the TV. No biggie. The rest is definitely solid. Oh, a side note, the background exercisers look like they're having a blast. That was nice to see.

Overall Impressions I bought this video for longer workouts that weren't too high impact. It really suits my needs in this area. I need to vary the intensity sometimes instead of going all out 100% of the time.

The sisters are likable, the workout is fairly interesting and flows well, and I like the fact that you get to run through it several times at the end.

If I could change anything I would make the music a little better. Otherwise, a good workout for those days when you don't want to kill yourself. :) Definitely worth $15 on a CIA sale.

Instructor comments: Great verbal cuers. Both have fun, upbeat attitudes and each has a little different style.

Tami Skelton


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