Video Fitness

Powerstrike 5

Ilaria Montagnani

My only problem with this workout: Time flew by so fast that when the 50 minutes was up, I was like, "Already? Is there more?"

No, it's not as intense as the first two. It's about on par with Powestrike 4 - you'll work up a good solid sweat but it's not non-stop hard-core wipe-you-out tough. But that's fine with me!

Ilaria leads a hip young group of New Yorkers (I'm pretty sure it's in the Equinox facility in NYC) in a bright, spare room with the standard warm brown wood floors and big glass walls. There are no pushups in the warmup this time.

The workout is divided into punches, kicks and combinations. First: You do a built-up series of punches, hooks, uppercuts and crosses. A whole combination: jab-jab-cross, hook, cross, upper, cross, jab-cross-jab, cross-jab-cross, jab cross (the subordinate arm depending on which stance you're in always does a cross...this is great in helping you remember the long sequences of punches, since the variety only occurs with one arm).

Then you do a series of kicks. Front pushes, roundhouses and side kicks with taps and then with squats, and crescent kicks. As is typical with Powerstrike, you build up from basic knee ups to longer kick combinations (but not nearly as long as in previous workouts).

The combinations surprised me. There are three, but you DON'T do one side and then later, the other side! They are structured pretty much so that you get an approximately equal amount of work for both sides. First combo: knee, two front kicks, step into roundhouse kick with other leg, then knee and crescent kick with first leg, squat, roundhouse (more or less; my memory sucks). Then you add on a short punching combo.

Second combo includes "karate punches" in horse stance, then stand straight, circle arms around, put hands together and "push" forward with them. The third combo is a series of blocks and punches, plus knee-roundhouses. These combos aren't nearly as intense as classic Powerstrike, but you certainly do martial arts moves not often seen in workout videos.

The music starts out with a sort of trance-tribal drumming and female (or children) voices. It's a steady pulsing beat yet rather soothing and hypnotic -- house, ambient, whatever they call it these days.

Instructor comments: Very similar to Powerstrike 4--low-key, pleasant, a little wry humor. Impeccable form as always, and solid cuing. Ripped as usual.



Iíve done this workout twice, and Iím still trying to decide if itís going to be a regular in my kickbox rotation. My favorites are PS 1 and 2; Tae Bo Ripped Adv; Kenpo X+ and Cathe's Kick, Punch and Crunch. I wonít get rid of the workout, because I like a lot of the moves. But, it doesnít quite stand on its own for me. That's partly because it times in at about 45 minutes.

The workout has punch drills, kick drills, and 3 combinations.

I used 1 lb. gloves for the workout, and I found the opening punches to be challenging. The pace is fast. This part, as well as the combos, have a little bit of a learning curve. I found myself messing up on the punches the first time I did it. By the second time, I was a little more into the groove.

The kick drills are basic, except she uses a lot of crescent kicks. I donít find these kicks easy to do, so I feel the workout is challenging me here.

There are 3 combinations, the first two are very similar. Ilaria only does one side on each combo; she says the punches and kicks come out about even. But, this leaves me feeling that there are really only 1 Ĺ combos cardio wise. I think it would have been a better workout if sheíd done both sides on each combination.

Some interesting moves are high blocks, mid blocks, round house kicks with suspended knees (good for balance), and the previously mentioned crescent kicks.

Ilaria ends with some arm moves (Tai Chi I think) that I donít much like (partly because they donít go well with gloves) Ė but they do have a rhythm change that I may just need to get used to.

I like a lot of the music. Some of it reminds me of Powerstrike 1 and 2 -- with the sort of haunting vocals.

Powerstrike 5 by itself doesnít leave me feeling fully worked out. The first time I did the workout, I followed it with Ilariaís abs and push-ups.

The second time I did it, I repeated the three combination sequence and then I also added planks and core from Seasunís THE NEXT STEP. I must admit, Seasunís planks left my shoulders fried after all the punches. In fact, I liked this combination of workouts, and I think this may become the pattern for how I use Powerstrike 5.

I actually think this workout will get harder the more I do it. I still miss moves here and there because Iím not yet totally familiar with the choreography, and every missed move is a reduction in intensity!

Instructor comments: As always, itís inspiring to watch Ilariaís perfect form. I always feel I have better form from spending time with her.


December 17, 2008

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