I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.
General workout breakdown: This interval horizontal step cardio workout runs about 52 min.
Katina combines athletic (e.g. squats, lunges), traditional step aerobics (e.g. basic, v steps), and dancier (e.g. mambo, pump) moves. Overall the choreography is interesting but never overwhelming, and this should be accessible to those without an extra left foot. (The combo with the reverse mambo is probably the trickiest, especially since you have your back to the TV for a bit, but since I had done Low Max last week I was familiar with that move.)
The workout is constructed like this: build up a combo on both sides (Katina doesn’t usually do this exactly evenly, maybe leaving out a couple of repetitions on the second side), run through it a few times on each side (on the right, then left, and then back again on the right, and so on), then do the interval, and move onto the next combo. (Combos run from 5-12 min. each; intervals are usually almost 2 min. each.) After the first three combos and intervals, there's a quick break for the perceived exertion chart, and then onto the next three combos and intervals. Before the cool-down, Power Party, or run through all of the combos twice (7 min.; no intervals; as taught, or without weaving / slicing). The warm-up (8 min.) was a simple combo with some dynamic stretching; the cool-down (4 min.) ended with some static stretching (almost exclusively for the lower body), which I found pretty thorough and held for a decently long amount of time.
Some other thoughts:
- I liked all of the combos more or less equally and didn't feel that any dragged too much. Be aware that there can be a good amount of repetition in some of the moves, however.
- The intervals here are almost all drawn from a few of the moves in the preceding combo.
- The first two intervals didn't seem significantly more intense than their related combos, but once I got to the third combo things picked up a little. Once I get more used to this workout I'll be able to exaggerate the difference between the combos and the intervals more easily.
Level: I’d recommend this to intermediates familiar with basic aerobics choreography, although you don’t need to be a choreo hound by any means. Beginner / intermediates may find this doable by doing one half at a time or only with the step platform at first but should be able to work up to the full routine without too much difficulty. Intermediate / advanced exercisers can raise their step height to boost the intensity.
Class: 4 women join Katina. (Note: the woman directly to Katina’s left – the viewer’s right – modifies some of the moves up in impact and/or intensity.) There are a few flubs on the part of the background exercisers, but considering they clearly are “normal” people with busy lives they do a nice job of keeping up in front of the camera.
Music: pleasant and appropriate, not too beat heavy and not too soft, primarily instrumental. I'd heard some things before but not so much that I’m sick of them.
Set: bright, neutral-colored interior space, with “windows,” potted plants, furniture, and some artwork arranged sparsely around.
Production: clear picture and sound. The music is as loud as Katina’s voice. For the most part camera angles are helpful, although there are a few close ups or funky angles.
Equipment: step (Katina and crew use a full-sized club step with 1 set of risers. Of course, you could use no risers or 2 sets, depending upon what’s appropriate for your level. And I had no problem with my smaller Cathe step.) and sneakers.
Space Requirements: You should have plenty of space to move around behind your step and to each side (about a grapevine’s worth), and you should have enough space in front to walk comfortably and/or kick to the front while on top of the step.
DVD Notes: The main menu offers these options: Introduction, Play Program, Plan Your Own Party (Chapters; you only have the option of combo + interval rather than just combo or just interval), Party Mix (Quick Step Mix 1 [combos + intervals 1-3] + Biceps & Triceps [from Circuit Party], 34 min.; Quick Step Mix 2 [combos + intervals 4-6] + Back & Chest [from Circuit Party], 27 min.), and Credits. I would have like to have seen an All Combo or All Interval option without weights. The combos and intervals are chaptered separately, however.
Comments: This is a good, solid, straightforward workout that's not too complicated (but not too simple), not too intense (but not too easy). I don’t know how this compares to Katina’s original Step Party, which I haven’t seen. If you’re looking for a step video vaguely along the lines of Petra Kolber, Gay Gasper, Nekea Brown, Kimberly Spreen, Jeff Borden & Greg Sims, etc., this is worth considering.
This is a mixed impact workout. There are some plyos, but they're fairly gentle (e.g. squat jumps). Nothing too crazy in terms of impact. There was no low impact modifier in this workout. A few modifications were suggested, and a few more are obvious, though, if you need it. There are some pivots.
This seemed like a clear winner for my favorite of Katina’s latest series, although I find myself enjoying Circuit Party much more than I expected. I definitely think Katina’s step offering in this series (Step Party 2) is stronger than her hi/lo offering (Interval Party 2); the choreography feels more interesting and varied, the workout drags a little less, and the combos and intervals are easier to distinguish. (That said, I’m pickier with hi/lo workouts than step because I’ve been doing the former for much longer, so maybe I’m just harder to please when it comes to floor aerobics.)
Katina's cuing is adequate. She mirror cues and announces moves a few beats before. I would like to have heard more directional cues, although she does point. She doesn’t pause to break down moves, but there are some moments when she throws a lot of steps at you at once (kind of like some of the most recent CIAs / Amy Bentos; oddly, Katina seems to spend the most time breaking down the first ¼ of the combo, which is usually the easiest, a little less time with the second ¼, before throwing the whole second ½ at you in one go). Fortunately it's pretty easy to pick them up by the next few run throughs; it's something to be aware of if you need extra breakdown, though. In a few instances Katina had her own names or used less common names for common moves (e.g. the pendulum was a “knee hop hop pop” or something like that).
Katina appears relaxed here and is having fun. She has no extraneous chatter and not too many “burn that fat” type comments.
July 7, 2008