Patricia Moreno and Ilaria Montagnani
The Powerstrike videos just keep getting better. These advanced
kickboxing videos give you complete workouts of approximately 55-60 minutes
with warm-up, cooldown and stretches. In the earlier videos, you were a
spectator to a large live class in an aerobic studio where Patricia and
Ilaria were on a platform facing the class. At times the camera angles
were confusing (i.e. left vs. right) as they switched between the
instructors and the students. Every once in a while the instructor that was
not leading at the time would go and adjust the music on the stereo. I
have done #3 and #4, which were great workouts but had mediocre sound
and video. Level one #1 and Advanced series #1 had better production
quality but were slightly shorter workouts with minimal cooldowns and
In the Millenium series, it feels more like a typical exercise video.
There is an introductory segment at the beginning of each tape where
they demonstrate the proper form and technique for the punches and kicks
that will be used in the video. During the workout, the instructors
and background exercisers are facing and mirroring you. The class size
is much smaller, maybe 8 to 10 people. You may recognize some of the
background exercisers from previous Powerstrike videos. The artsy camera
angles are kept to a minimum, though in video1 they switch back and
forth to black and white sometimes. Patricia and Ilaria address the
camera rather than the class, and occasionally will mention low-impact or
beginner modifications demonstrated by one or two background exercisers.
Both instructors seem at ease in front of the camera and joke around –
you can see that they enjoy what they do and have a good rapport. I
did miss the raw energy from the live class in previous Powerstrike
videos, but this did not hinder my enjoyment of the workout.
The workouts themselves follow the familiar Powerstrike formula –
warm-up with some lower body stretches and pushups, a tough punch combo and
2-3 punch and kick combos all on one side (usually left stance first),
then everything on the other side, ending with the punch combo. They
usually teach the kicks on both sides through some short drills in
between combos. At the end there is a drill with blocks to cool you down,
followed by stretches. Ilaria and Patricia take turns teaching combos
Video #1 focuses on the jab, cross, hook, front push kick and
roundhouse kick. Patricia does the introduction and teaches the punches and
kicks. Video #2 incorporates all of the punches (jab, cross, hook,
uppercut) and the "push" kicks – front push, side kick and back kick. Ilaria
does the introduction and initial drills in this one. These workouts
seemed to me to be a notch up in intensity vs. Advanced series #1 and
Level one #1 – there were some tough kicking combos, such as front push,
front push, knee, side kick, side squat with block, side kick,
scissors. Even during the punch drills my heartrate was very high. You can
clearly see some of the exercisers and instructors (I won’t name names!)
absolutely drenched in sweat. #2 left me sore the next day – the back
kicks really worked my glutes and my mid-back was pleasantly sore from
the many upper cuts and hooks.
So what’s so great about Powerstrike? I like the attention to proper
technique and the sequencing of punches, kicks and blocks in the
combinations. As you practice the combos, both instructors are constantly
reminding you about proper form. Instead of the basic "jab, cross, hook,
uppercut" pattern you often see in other kickboxing workouts, you do
more interesting combos which incorporate various speeds. The quick
jab-cross-jab patterns are especially tough. And they are just plain fun!
I would’t recommend Powerstrike for kickboxing novices because the
combinations move very quickly, but once you are comfortable with technique
you will find Powerstrike both fun and challenging. A+
One last superficial comment – I really loved the tops that Patricia
and Ilaria wore in these workouts – very cute and show off their toned
physiques. In #2 both instructors have the Powerstrike lightning bolt in
sparkly paint on their upper arms.
I love the upbeat music and the choregraphy. They build punch, kick & block combos and tie them all together smoothly. It looks like it was filmed in their gym and the filming style sort of made me feel like I was there. The workout was tough and fun. A good combo for me. I'm definitely going to purchase this one and probably others as well. Uh Oh, I think I'm another Powerstrike convert!
Patricia and Ilaria have incredible form and seem to be having a great time. They seem to have good rapport with their background exercisers and the backgrouns exercisers look like they are having fun too. The instruction and cueing is clear and precise and they do a great job of keeping everything in time with the music.
I decided to buy this video because I heard so many good things about it from Video Fitness and from the Cathe forum. Before doing this video for the first time, I previewed it. I knew it would be a great workout. I noticed two things: the workout has very few breaks and is virtually non-stop and Ilaria's toned arms and abs.
The first time I did this workout was after I had a bad day at work. I pictured my boss'face when I punched. Towards the end of this workout I was drenched in sweat. At times during this workout my arms, shoulders and abs were really burning. Now I know why Ilaria's body looks so good.
This workout is different than Cardio Kicks and Taebo. Unlike CK, powerstrike is all kickboxing. Powerstrike is different from Taebo because it is more choreographed. You do different drills then put them together. For instance, jab, cross, hook put together with a kick. This workout has slightly more punching than kicking. I was suprised at how high my heart rate was during the punching. Also, my arms and shoulders really got a great workout.
Although this is one of the hardest workouts i've ever done, i felt invigorated after it. It really helped me relieve some stress.
I have done Taebo, Spinervals, and Cathe and in my opinion powerstrike is right up there with those videos in both intensity and fun.
I love these two instructors. They really work well together. I am in awe of Ilaria's form. It is easy to see that she is a black belt in karate.
Another VFer, Laura S, generously offered to loan me the first two Powerstrike Millenium videos on the condition that I write reviews of both. ;-) At the start of each video, instructors Ilaria and Patricia spend a few minutes providing instruction on the punches and kicks that will be used during the workout. The format of these workouts is somewhat unique: after the warm-up, they each begin with a punching combination series performed on one side of the body only. After that, you go into various kicking and punching combinations, but you don't repeat the initial punch series on the other side until the very end of the workout.
Patricia describes the first workout as "basic," but I found many of the moves to be more challenging than in the second workout. It begins with a fast-paced warm-up that is similar in style to other kickboxing videos (eg, Janis, Kathy Smith) but moves at a much quicker pace, getting your heart rate right up from the beginning; push-ups are included as part of the warm-up. Next comes the initial punching combination performed on the left side and consisting of multiple punch sequences performed double-time. The punches included are jab, cross, and hook, but there are no upper cuts in this workout.
The first kick series, performed on both sides, consists of a front push/roundhouse combination. Then its on to a particularly tough segment which combines a front push with a back lunge, eventually adding on a block and a knee lift. After the kicks are performed to both sides, a punch combo is added and then the entire series is performed together. You then return to the original punch combination--and by this time, your arms are feeling pretty tired!--and then end with a front kick/chamber series to begin slowing down. The workout ends with a much-needed, 8-minute stretch, coming in at 59 total minutes.
This is a high energy workout that is definitely at an intermediate/advanced level. I started out the workout using my 1 lb. boxing gloves, but I had to take them off halfway through; the punches were so fast-paced that it was hard to keep good form with the weights. I definitely enjoyed the workout, although I would have preferred moving a bit more slowly in order to concentrate more on form. One other small pet peeve was that during the cool-down, the fast-paced music was still playing, making it difficult to relax and wind down. Overall, I would recommend this workout to anyone looking for a kickboxing workout with simple, fun choreography performed at advanced intensity levels.
Ilaria and Patricia take turns leading a full class in a gym setting. Both cued adequately, although they occasionally made mistakes. They are both obviously very fit; Ilaria in particular is extremely buff. However, I didn't like that they were wearing headgear--Ilaria had a headband that she kept adjusting (or maybe it was her mic), and Patricia was wearing a baseball cap. I would have preferred if they had dressed more as they are outfitted on the video box cover to highlight their great physiques.
Beth C (aka toaster)
March 16, 2005