I've been following Charlene ever since I got into home exercise way-back-when. I've always loved the intensity she put into her step workouts, but in the earlier days, her choreography was too repetitive for me. Then, the last few tapes she made offered more variety along with the intensity, and I was very pleased! However, A Major Step seems to be a backward step in terms of repetitiveness. The intensity is still there (intermediate/advanced for this one), but I got bored doing the same patterns for so long. In fact, this one could easily have been named the Turn-Step-Straddle Workout.
Another thing I noticed was the bad set. That is highly unusual for Charlene. Her other tapes either take place in a gym, with lots of space, or outdoors (my favorite). This one is in a very small room, and it looks cramped. I wonder why the change?
I hate to give a Charlene tape a poor review, but this one just didn't live up to my expectations. Except for Charlene herself. She's still friendly, warm, and an excellent instructor. By the way, at 52 or 53 years old (I think), she is using a step with 3 risers! What a dynamo! Grade C+.
Instructor comments: Charlene will always be one of my favorite instructors, even though this tape didn't appeal to me.
Well, I like this tape. I'd done it a few times and couldn't figure out why I really wasn't enjoying it. Well, it was too hard for me!! I am an intermediate (been working out at home for 10 years off and on) with 3 little kids (4 and under) at home so I don't have tons of time to work out, lots of space to do it in or the ability to concentrate on complex choreography a la Cathe or CIA. So, Charlene's tapes fit my lifestyle perfectly. I have been doing her other step tapes on an 8 inch step and find them challenging but not impossible. Well, this tape was just not fun on an 8 inch step. Ten minutes into it you go into this intense lunge/ lunge repeater section and it was just levelling me. So...I tried it on a 4 inch step today (I know, 4" sounds so whimpy!!) and I got a great workout, had fun and was able to do the whole workout instead of stopping 30-35 minutes into it.
Charlene does it on a 10 inch step - crazy woman!! I don't know how she does it!! Renee and Christine are with her in this tape and the little, boring room/set didn't bother me.
Anyway, this is the lunge workout (like Cruising Altitude is the knee repeater workout). There are tons of lunges and she uses the turn straddle alot in the combinations too. She does a jump over the step without touching it move that was so much fun this time (on the 8" step I was fearing for my life). There's also a neat fast heel move on the step that was much better since on the 8" I actually fell off the back of my step and just missed landing on the baby which was sitting on the couch!! I'm not trying to scare you here and I'm not a clutz but for some reason these moves are fast and you really have to watch yourself. Other fun moves are a tick-tock repeater, a jumping knees repeater, a really fun alternating lunge repeater thingy and "hot sand" which I think is from Step it off, step it all off.
All in all a fun workout. Just so you know, I have tried Cathe and CIA and don't find them to my liking so if you like a really complex routine this may not be for you but the routines are long and complex enough to not be considered beginner. She just keeps things simpler but not by any means boring.
I will certainly keep this one in my rotation and may try it on a 6" step but the 4" was perfect and I didn't fall off my step or get too anaerobic but had a great steady workout and I can keep up with the FIRM tapes and NEVER work out on a 4" step usually so I'm no whimp!!
Charlene is in such great shape it's disgusting!
I am in love with this tape. I just did it and am trying to stay away long enough to type of this review. I read the other reviews and there is a lot of turn step straddle but this is an intense workout. What I like is that it's not complex confusing choreography and I love Charlene's cueing. I also like that the cardio section is about 47 minutes long. I watch the cardio sessions myself because I bought a tape where the instructor said it was 45 minutes of actual step but it was actually 30. This tape gives me the workout that I need and the length that I want. I loved the theme in this tape and I love that they seem to be dear friends. I have tapes by Cathe but I'm not feeling her; however I love Charlene. I would really love to be friends with her. This tape is taking up plenty of space in my vcr. I love it.
Charlene does this whole workout on 10 inches and does pause or tire out. Absolutely amazing!
August 2, 2004