About me: I’m a fitness instructor and dancer who loves complex choreography. Patrick is an instructor who produces some of the most complex step and dance workout in the home fitness industry today. That said, Step Up, his second-newest step workout (Not Your Momma’s Step is the most recent) is one of his more accessible workouts to date. Patrick seems to realize that his past workouts have been incredibly intimidating, and he seems to make an extra effort to be more accessible here , both in choreography breakdown and encouraging words. Also, our own Erin F is a background exerciser, having won a contest to appear in one of Patrick’s videos!
That said, this is still a Patrick workout, and the choreography is advanced. There are a lot of step taps while Patrick stops to explain the next progression or set of moves. Because of this, I’d only rate the intensity as solidly intermediate. However, when you put the combos together, your heart rate will really get up there! I wouldn’t recommend doing this on an 8-inch step, especially in the beginning because there is a lot of stepping over the step and turning. I think having a 6-inch step is tough enough—I tripped once doing that! However, the cueing is good and often descriptive, which helps a lot! He almost always makes sure to start on the phrase, which makes it easier for my aerobics instructors mind to gel with the choreography. I often wish Amy Bento would do this—she often starts at random places in the musical phrase, which gets annoying at times in terms of choreography flow. The music is not bad—a little quiet but nothing that got on my nerves.
There are three 32-count combinations total. I thought the first one was the toughest, but I eventually got it by the end. Patrick says the second one is simple, and I tend to agree—it’s the simplest of the three. The last one is in the middle, and is very doable. There is some TIFTing (taking it from the top). I HATE excessive TIFTing, but it didn’t get on my nerves, because I needed the practice. :)
Background Exercisers and Set: The ladies in the background are especially enthusiastic. Erin F has a big smile the entire workout! The other lady, Anna, has some ‘funk’, especially in the cool-down. Greg and Patrick (number II) are the male background exercisers. Greg is the modifier, and takes out some of the turns in the combos. I think it would have been more useful if Patrick had had great modify even more. I didn’t really notice the guys as much, even though they were in the front. I wish Patrick had worn something more colorful than the grey and black, but that’s just me.
A breakdown of the workout:
This workout is chaptered into 7 sections—Introduction, Warm-up, Combo 1, Combo 2, Combo 3, All Combos, and Cool-down.
Warm-up (9 minutes): The warm-up is a nice length. Some folks prefer shorter warm-ups, but my body needs more time to get ready for the workout. The warm-up is also fairly simple, but has a few twists and turns. Patrick is sweating like crazy in the warm-up-those lights must’ve been HOT! The final combo is:
Hip Shake, step knee with turn
Mambo Over x2, step across
Step Tap Across with reach x2
Step Up and Lunge
Dynamic Stretches: Step reach (optional turn), Step knees, squats with lower back mobilization
Combo 1: Patrick calls this a `doozy’ and indeed it is the hardest of the three. I especially like the three knee repeater tap back with ‘indecision lunges’. Once you get it, it’s a blast and flows very nicely. The final combo:
Kickball Change, mambo, reverse turn step
Step Knee tap back into Indecision Lunge (squat across the top) across the top
Reverse Turn, Step Tap Across, reverse turn into basic
Combo 2: The easiest of the combos for sure—but watch your feet and your knees on the ‘step over the step’ plus cha-cha move. The arabesque move will have you feeling like a true dancer. :)
Mambo over the step, mambo back (6 count mambos) x2
Step over the Step, turn, cha-cha over
Switch repeater into arabesque, mambo
Combo 3 : This combo is pretty aerobic with the pendulum. It can be tricky, but if you let your body turn naturally, it will make more sense. The final combo:
Mambo forward and back
Reverse turn into 6-count mambo
Chasse around the step, pendulum
Pivot, Shuffle Turn, Mambo, Shuffle
All together: Patrick reviews each combination and then weaves the combinations together (he does one right after the other with no breaks). This section is tough because he strings all of the combos together, and then reverses the order. For example, he does Combo 1, Combo 2, Combo 3, Combo 3 again, Combo 2 and Combo 1. It’s so much fun though!
Cool-down and Stretch (4 minutes): There’s not much of an aerobic cool-down here. There were some nice stretches, but I thought Patrick could have included more stretches for the lower body. You might want to include stretches for the abductors . The cool-down included step taps on the step, dynamic hamstring stretches (nice!), lower back mobilization and a nice long stretch for the hip flexors.
In all, I’d recommend this workout for the intermediate to advanced exerciser who enjoys complex choreography. If you have knee issues, be cautious with this one, especially because it has plenty of pivots, turns, and moves over the step. This workout gets 4 stars from me! There are only a few things I would want to change. The first is the too-frequent step-tapping in the workout (due to lowered intensity). I’d also avoid some of the stepping over the step, since those can be knee busters if you’re not careful.
Patrick is warm and encouraging. He is definitely a dancer, and I love watching him move. He has his own flair and funk that he brings to every workout.
March 26, 2007