Video Fitness

PowerStrike - Kicks Only

Ilaria Montagnani

Kicks Only is the video by which I started judging all other kickboxing videos. Except for my Tae Bo tapes, Iíve gotten rid of all of my other kickboxing tapes from other instructors. I love Ilaria and PowerStrike that much. Even though I canít do kickboxing right now because of a back condition, my goal is to work back up to being able to do Kicks Only again some day. The workout is that good. I even ordered PowerStrikeís new Millennium series for when I can do kickboxing again.

The negatives:
The production quality is horrible. The workout is a tape of a Kicks Only class at a New York City club. It was originally made so that Ilariaís students could practice the moves at home when they couldnít make it to class. The music didnít pick up very well on the recording so itís very jumbled. I have to crank my receiver up to hear the music but I also have to make sure I turn it way down when Iím ready to stop the tape. I thought I was going to blow my speakers the first time I made that mistake. The camera guy moves around in the class. Sometimes youíre mirroring the class (pretending youíre the instructor) because the camera is behind Ilaria and other times youíre with the class facing Ilaria. The camera guy also decided to do all sorts of weird stuff with the picture. Sometimes the picture seems to go in slow motion but the music is still at tempo. StrangeÖ very strange.

The positives:
Ilaria is awesome. Her form is incredible and sheís able to go from mirroring the class to facing the same direction as the class with ease. Sheís a born instructor. The workout is incredible! There are no punching moves Ė just one kick after another. She builds up a combination but does it with drills.

You start off with a front kick/back kick combination but Ilaria teaches the correct form for the back kick before you go into a back kick. A roundhouse sequence follows but you practice just the roundhouse kicks in the pattern she wants you to do them, before you add them on to the front kick/back kick combination. You continue doing this for each of the different kick patterns until you build up the whole combination. She even teaches correct form for crescent kicks. Itís awesome!

Even though youíre taking it from the top after every kick pattern, thatís part of the workout. The more you practice your kicks, the better they get and the better workout you get. Once the whole combination has been put together, you go through it a total of 4 times at the end. Ilaria doesnít cue much during the last 3 times you do it. She does give visual cues but youíve been TIFTing so much that for me, I easily learned the combination and just glanced at the TV for the visual cues.

It took me 3 times doing the video before I memorized the whole routine and knew which way I would face and turn, etc. I did preview the video to get a feel for when the camera changes perspectives. I do the entire routine/workout as if Iím on the instructor platform facing the class. I mirror them the entire time even when the camera goes ďout to the crowdĒ and Iím on a different leg. Since Iíve learned it this way, the different camera perspectives never confuse me and I donít have to look at the TV very much during those times.

The workout is so good that overcoming the poor production quality is so worth it. The energy of participating in what feels like a live class atmosphere is invigorating. There are participants who canít do everything or need help with their form. Ilaria gets off the instructor platform several times and helps people with form. This is always a reminder to me to check my own form.

The workout for the legs and butt is so good that I count this video as a lower body workout. I wonít do lower body strength training the day before or the day after doing Kicks Only.

Production Quality Grade: D-
Workout Grade: A+

Instructor comments: Ilaria's form is impeccable and she's an excellent instructor.

Sharon Muha

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