Iím reviewing this workout after doing the warm-up, cardio routine, and cool-down a few times but only previewing the lower body segment.
General workout breakdown: This 62-min. video contains an interval cardio workout done entirely on the floor followed by a segment focusing on lower body strength (which has some upper body moves, too).
- The warm-up (4 min.) has dynamic stretches for the arms and lower back and some basic moves to get the blood pumping in the lower body (step touch, taps, knees up, front kicks, lunges).
- The cardio routine (36 min.) rotates through 6 different rolling intervals done at three levels: ~2.5 min of low impact where Chris introduces the base moves for that interval, ~2 min. of higher impact where Chris tweaks the base moves (such as by adding hops), and ~40 seconds of a power blast (some moves are drawn from the previous interval but others use new moves). The choreography, using basic aerobics and athletics moves, is simple, cycling through the steps rather than building up a routine. Blocks are done symmetrically, that is evenly, on both sides, and they are thrown away after each interval (that is, never added together into one big routine). You get maybe 15-20 seconds of marching in between each interval to catch your breath and prepare for the next one.
Interval 1 = tap out with arm swings, side steps, power squats, and tap outs / press backs, with power jacks and cross country skis in the power blast; interval 2 = grapevine w/ a march (which becomes a shuffle w/ a jog), knee lift w/ hooking the arm, side heels (which become jumping jacks), and side tap lunge, with the side tape lunge w/ a knee in the power blast; interval 3 = step touch with big arms, step (front) kick across, toe taps w/ double march (which becomes a double hop), and out out in in (tire walk), with double time out out in ins in the power blast; interval 4 = step (front) kick & fast march back, speed skate, and hamstring curls, with skater drills and the ham curls for the power blast; interval 5= step up & step back (into jump up & back), hook, upper cut, bob & weave, jab & half (or full) jack, with double jabs & jacks in the power blast; and interval 6 = jump rope / petal jog, v-step (or jump), and repeater knees, with jump rope variations in the final power blast.
- Lower-body strength (17 min.) has wide-legged squats, w/ several tempo variations and an upper body twist, and narrow squats, w/ a leg and also an arm press back; stationary lunge, reverse lunge, and pass through lunges (i.e. doing a lunge with one leg in front, then moving it behind, then back in front, etc.), then front lunges w/ bent-armed lateral raise & reverse lunges w/ biceps curls; hamstring stretch; curtsy lunges, adding in biceps curls and a kick; plie squat, adding in arm slices (or straight-armed lateral raise with thumbs up), plie squats w/ sweep across, and held plie squat with calf raises; standing calf / hip flexor stretch; bridge, bridge w/ inner thigh squeeze, bridges w/ hip rocks side to side, and held bridge w/ leg lifts; on all fours, straight leg pulse w/ knee in and butt blaster (pulse w/ knee bent); and kneeling lean back (also called thigh stretch in Pilates, thigh dancing in barre workouts, etc.), ending with a quick childís pose.
- Cool-down (4 min.) begins with several marching variations before moving onto a dynamic low back stretch, a static side lunge / inner thigh stretch, pigeon pose into sleeping pigeon (i.e. forward bending variation) into pigeon w/ quad stretch (this may be very intense for those newer to exercise and not highly recommended for those with knee issues, especially if youíve never done this yoga pose before), outer thigh stretch w/ twist, kneeling calf stretch, and standing forward bend.
Level: Iíd recommend this to exercisers at the beginner / intermediate through intermediate stage. Those considering themselves more beginners or looking for a gentler workout can follow the modifier, while those closer to the intermediate / advanced point can probably find ways to make this appropriate for them. The choreography isnít that tricky, although if youíve only done walking videos it may take a few times to catch on. Chris assumes you may not have a lot of exercise experience, so thereís a good amount of form instruction and tips during the strength portion especially.
I consider myself an intermediate + to intermediate / advanced in cardio, and I have little trouble with all but the most complex (or poorly cued) choreography. I picked the choreography here up without much effort. At my level I have to make a real effort to bring some of the power blasts into that true near anaerobic interval stage for me, although when I do this after a weights workout I donít have to work quite as hard at that!
Class: 2 women join Chris, who instructs live. 1 woman shows lower impact modifications during the cardio routine and slightly less challenging variations during the strength portion.
Music: upbeat mostly instrumental stuff thatís pretty standard exercise video fare. Iíve heard some tunes before on other mainstream exercise videos, including a few Leslie Sansones.
Set: bright interior with wood floor and grid-like walls with mostly white but some pink blocks. Itís the standard Prevention set.
Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles (at least the close-ups focus on the lower body rather than showing faces when new moves are introducted).
Equipment: sneakers. For the lower-body youíll probably want 1 pair of dumbbells. Depending upon your workout surface, you may want a mat for the lower body segment as well as cool-down.
Space Requirements: This is fairly compact. You should at least be able to take a big step in each direction (front, back, both sides).
DVD Notes: After the standard Gaiam intro and warnings, Chris pops up with an introduction to Prevention Fitness Systems. You should be able to skip this to get to the main menu, which has these options: Introduction; Play All, Warm-up, Cardio routine, Lower-body strength, Cool-down; Audio setup (music with instruction, music only); and Smart ways to live well (What is cellulite?, a 6 min. lecture with Chris, one of Preventionís fitness directors, and a medical doctor who researches cellulite; Attack arm flab, a bonus quick demonstration of arm-firming moves to add to your workout using weights that bring you to fatigue in 12-15 reps Ė the exercises are triceps overhead extensions, triceps kickbacks, hammer curls, and triceps push-ups; Break it down: lower-body strength moves Ė during the strength portion you can hit Enter to access these).
Sadly, there are no chapters within the workout itself, so you canít skip an interval or repeat a strength move.
Comments: If you like the rolling intervals, you might also like Kathy Smithís Functionally Fit Peak Fat Burning (which uses body weight lower body exercises as recovery) or Michelle Dozoisí interval workout on Shape Bikini Body: Transforming Workout, although I found Michelleís a hair more intense. For me FCF is similar in intensity to workouts like Michelle Dozoisí interval workout on the Shape Toning Workout: Bikini Body All Year Round and Prevention: Walk Your Way Slim (if you do Level 3) as well as Katina Hunterís Interval Party and Interval Party 2. As designed, FCF should be a step up in intensity compared to Leslieís interval workouts, which are her ones with boosted walking (aka jogging), like Walk & Jog, Walk Slim Fast Start, Walk Slim 4 Fast Miles, The Big Burn, etc. That said, I donít think Iím alone in thinking it seems easier to find ways to boost the intensity on Leslieís. More intense than FCF is Chalene Johnsonís Turbo Jam Fat Blaster, and even more advanced are those floor aerobics interval workouts put out by instructors like Amy Bento. For whatever reason there are more interval workouts for the step, although you can also do great intervals on cardio equipment or even on your own.
Chris cues well and mirror cues. Sheís definitely upbeat and focuses on encouraging you, reminding you that what youíre doing is worthwhile for your appearance and health. The cellulite theme shows up at the beginning of each segment, with Chris reassuring you that what youíre doing is needed to fight cellulite, and at the beginning of some intervals and strength exercises, where she throws in a cellulite fact (e.g. cellulite is more common in women than men, so women need to stick together and fight it); there are also comments about burning calories, getting rid of arm jiggle, that sort of thing throughout the workout.
April 11, 2009