Video Fitness

Reebok Versa Training: Hi/Low Aerobics

I like Petra Kolber, so I'm dismayed to say this is one of her lesser efforts. In fact, had I gotten this video before viewing any of her other tapes, I would have written her off entirely.

Her cues were off in this video, coming just a fraction too late once too often. The routine itself was nothing to write home about, either. After four minutes of warm-up, there are about 23 minutes of uninspired, indifferently-choreographed hi-low aerobics that are somewhat dancy but not really much fun. Cool-down is about three minutes and is hardly adequate if you've been working flat out.

During the aerobics section, Petra sticks with a low impact routine, while a man and a woman in the background perform the high impact modifiers. Occasionally the background exercisers are allowed to utter motivational clichees, which they do with the skill and charm of an oak tree. Rather than encouraging the viewer, their insincere, wooden delivery of exercise platitudes becomes annoying.

But the worst thing about this tape is the dark, dreary, Big Brother set with the giant TV screen in the background flashing stupid messages and strange pictures. I found it distracting. Also, the video's sound quality was not the best. I had to crank up the volume considerably just to hear Petra over the music.

About the only thing I liked about this video was the price. It was about $9 at my local Best Buy. You get what you pay for.

Instructor comments: Petra Kolber is an energetic, competent, motivating instructor, with an encouraging attitude. Her British-German accent is pleasant, her personality is warm and friendly, and her smile just won't quit.

Paula Weber

When I first bought this video, I bought on the strength of Petra's name. I remembered her from the old Fit TV days (is that still around?) - she one of the best of the instructors featured in the early morning shows.

It starts off with a nice warm up, goes into a good routine, has a decent cool down. I used to get a good sweat on this one, but I have to admit, I haven't done it in awhile, probably because I used this all the time when I didn't have enough videos in my collection.

One of the detriments of this is that it's filmed, not taped. Yuck! I don't know what they were thinking when they made this decision. Another thing that detracts is the weird screen in the back, with its subliminal messages and strange pictures. They even show a bee in one of them! That's supposed to get you motivated? I'd always cringe at that point, especially the first few times I did it, because my husband and I had had a bee infestation in our house & I didn't want to be reminded of it when working out! Another poor decision.

I do agree that the people Petra has with her don't help much. At one point, they mess up badly (to be fair, I did, too) & the video cuts to a shot of her saying something. The problem with them though is that when they are given little speeches to spiel, their words are flat and stilted, nothing inspiring. It would have been better if they stuck to just the workout.

I think because I used this so often, I burnt out on it. I think it's decent, but no great shakes. And now that I've gotten into step aerobics (I'm no pro, but I'm working on it!), floor routines don't do it for me much anymore, except if I'm under the weather & want to do **something** aerobic. I don't think I'll be using this one for that, though.

I might put this one on the exchange, but I'll keep it for now. I'd give it a C-.

Instructor comments: Petra is her usual smiling, cracking jokes self, but I think she goes misses a couple of cues.


I had to put in a counterpoint to the negative reviews this tape has gotten, because it's a favorite for a short workout. And it is short, only about 30 minutes total. There are three reasons I reach for this tape. First, the floor work is slightly dancy and makes a choreographically impaired person like myself feel a little more like a dancer. Another reason is that even at my high intermediate/low advanced level, I still get a decent workout (but I modify some moves to be even higher impact that the alternate shown). And finally, Petra's cheerful style perks me up. Yes, the other exercisers are wooden and not helpful. But I would recommend this tape to intermediate exercisers for pure fun.

Instructor comments: I really like Petra. She's encouraging and friendly and most of all, fun! Okay, maybe a couple of cues are a bit off in this tape, but it comes later when you're putting the combinations together, so you really already know what's coming next anyway. It's minor and I like her well enough to overlook it.

Celia M.

The workout itself is a bit too short for an intermediate exerciser as myself but it's a fun tape to do. The warm up is very quick (which I like since I'd rather get straight to the workout), only about 4-5 minutes. The aerobic portion is roughly 20 minutes which you can perform low impact as Petra does or at a high impact following the two individuals in the background.

The combos and patterns are easy to perform and flow together very well. I enjoy the music very much but if you don't have a stereo hooked up to your VCR you probably won't enjoy it as much. As for the videos playing in the background on the big screen, I don't pay too much attention to that since I am concentrating too much on making the workout intense enough to break a good sweat.

There is one portion where they make a mistake but if you have performed the tape just a few times, you can overlook that portion and correct it yourself. Being that this is a short tape, many people may not get the workout that they are looking for. But it can be combined with another tape to make a longer workout. For example after I am done with this workout I might put in Kathy Smith's Timesaver Cardio Fat Burner tape and perform those two-20 minute sections for a great 60-minute workout. That's if you have other tapes to workout too. I personally enjoy this tape and believe that others would too.

Instructor comments: I really enjoy working out with Petra. This is the first tape that I have with Petra as the instructor and enjoy very much working out with her. She has a very personable style and always has a smile on and cheerful attitude. I agree with the other reviews as to the other two participants in the video. They definately do not have the same style as Petra but I don't let them influence my workout attitude.


The reviews of this workout are less than glowing. That surprised me. I found this workout to be a fun, intermediate hi/lo routine.
Like many Reebok tapes, the set is kind of weird. In this case, there is a screen with what I imagine the designers thought were "arty" images projected on to it. The lighting is also kind of weird. When I previewed the tape I thought it would be very distracting, but it really wasn't.
The workout has a short warm up (about 5 minutes), 20 minutes of cardio and then a 5 minute cool down/stretch. It is short, so this partly accounts for the fact that time flies by when I do it. But the nice mix of dancy and athletic moves and the short combos make the time fly by too.
Petra cues decently-- I didn't have much trouble with the moves. Of course, the choreography is not all that complex-- kind of basic/moderate. The impact is mixed, with low impact options shown at all times. There is definitely more low impact than high impact.
This tape would be nice to do before Yoga or strength, or it might be a good early morning/time crunched workout tape.
If you can pick this up cheap (as I did--I paid a dollar for it), it is a nice little tape.


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