also available in DVD
I'm an intermediate exerciser, and this workout was just right for my fitness level. I previewed the video before doing it the first time, and saw that the total body toning was first, then the "Kick and Jab" section, and finally the dance aerobics. I could tell the last section was probably the easiest, so I did it first to warm up, then did the toning and finally the "Kick and Jab."
This video was a blast. If you've read any of my reviews before, you know the "fun factor" is number one with me. I know I'll do this video again and again. The toning is good, with a lot of lunges, some squats and some upper body exercises with weights. Then come the push-ups and a good abs section. The "Kick and Jab" aerobics really got me sweating and breathing heavily, and the combinations are fun to learn. I hate a video whose moves are so easy you do everything right the first time through. The dance aerobics were funky, with some Latin stuff thrown in. The moves in this section were easier than in Donna's previous video, "DonnaMite." My heart rate didn't get very high in the dance aerobics section, so I think it's best as either the warm-up or cool-down section if you're doing the entire video. If you want a light aerobics workout, I'd suggest the dance aerobics section, and if you're full of energy, go for the "Kick and Jab."
I like Donna's videos in general, and this one is up there with my favorites: "Back to Basics" and "4-Day Rotation." I'd grade this video "A" for excellent.
Instructor comments: Donna's instruction is always clear, and she reminds you frequently to maintain good form. She's sparkly and energetic, and makes everything fun. She has a good rapport with the exercisers behind her, and makes the viewer feel like a part of this friendly group. She's motivating because her enthusiasm is contagious.
Collage calls this tape "intermediate" and I would say that's about right. It's somewhere on the low to middle end of intermediate. It can all be done low impact, except for the switchovers (from one side to the other) in the kickboxing segment. That could probably be modified.
This tape is made to be 3 separate 20 minute workouts in rotation. One is toning, two is kickboxing, and three is dance-party. I don't think I could recommend the segments as stand-alone workouts because the third segment seems very weak.
The toning segment is first and it is a pretty good routine for 20 minutes. It is heavy on lunges and has some unusual sets like bent rows combined with shoulder presses. It also has one legged squats, which I love to try to do without falling over. This is a nice short toning workout.
The kickboxing segment is heavy on the punches with some kicks. The punch combinations are very fast. Donna doesn't spend a lot of time setting them up or showing them in slow motion like in some videos. She'll just say, "jab, upper cut, jab, cross...got it?" And you go. I liked this segment the best. Its fun!
The dance-party segment is last and it is the weakest. It is fun....sort of a Donna does Latin. But it never seems to gel or to really get up to an aerobic rate. As a stand alone workout, this one wouldn't do much for an intermediate exerciser.
But, if you do all three segments together, they make a fun workout. The toning gets you all warmed up and a little fatigued. Then, the kickboxing should get an intermediate exerciser into target heartrange. And the dance-party makes for a nice cooldown.
If done all at once, this is a fun tape! It fits exactly what I wanted: its a fun day tape that is fairly long and has variety.
Just a couple of disclaimers for the easily distracted: The set is kind of ugly. I would describe it as sort of industrial does art-deco with icky brown marbled paint. And there is a huge fan in the back (I wondered if somebody turned it on high---on the exhaust setting---would it suck Donna and crew right off the set and puree them?) but after a while I forgot about it.
Another distraction, Donna says, more than once, "I've got your back". I thought that was kind of odd. I suppose it was supposed to be comforting (somehow) but it just kept making me wonder just what she thought was going to sneak up on me while I worked out.
Instructor comments: I like Donna. She has a kind of soothing quality. She always seems to be having a good time.
I really really like this video
especially "Kick and Jab" because
it's not as strenous as, let's say,
Denise Austin's Power Kickboxing.
It's easy and fun. The dance
aerobics section I'm not so crazy
about because it was confusing.
It's a pretty easy-to-follow video
(except the dance aerobics).
I give this video a B overall. For
the "Kick and Jab" section I give
that an A plus.
I like Donna. She has this funny
sort of accent. Is it just me who notices?
In this video, instructor Donna Richardson offers three different exercise styles to provide a fun, varied workout experience. She teaches an all-female class of quite enthusiastic participants, and everyone seems to be having a great time. The first workout, called Circuit Toning on the box but Muscle Conditioning in the video itself (and I think the latter name is more appropriate) is a toning routine using weights. Donna begins with a brief warm-up incorporating simple moves like side steps. I think that the workout itself places a greater emphasis on the lower body, as you'll do plenty of lunges and squats both with and without dumbbells (although I actually used my weights throughout). There are also many compound moves (eg, a plie with a shoulder press) as well as a nice amount of balance work plus a good abs section at the end; the workout concludes with a nice stretch. Although this is a decent total body toning routine, it was my least favorite segment of the video just because it was missing the "fun" factor.
The second workout, Kick and Jab, gets off to kind of a slow start: after warming you up with moves like arm circles, Donna introduces the punches, which you perform at a slow-to-average pace. She then begins to add in some knee lifts and front kicks, but still, the pace is on the slow side, and I didn't really feel like my heart rate was going up significantly. About halfway through the routine, however, Donna picks up the pace, starting to work in simple combinations which included some faster-speed punches. These combos were basic but fun, utilizing all four punches, knee lifts, and mostly front kicks (there were a few side kicks thrown in). Unfortunately, Donna's kickboxing form was poor, and she gave very little instruction about proper execution of the moves--in fact, one of the background exercises (who unfortunately was non-miked) seemed to be shouting out more tips than Donna was here. Still, someone with prior knowledge of kickboxing should do fine with this workout, and I enjoyed it.
The final workout is Dance Party, and to my surprise, this turned out to be my favorite section of the video. Those who can't dance have nothing to fear here, as the moves are very basic and similar to what you've seen on other exercise videos, such as toe tap, box step, march, mambo, and cha-cha. What makes this a "dance" routine is that Donna adds a lot of funk to the moves, which reminded me a lot of Yoga Booty Ballet. She links some moves together to form little routines, but there's never a long sequence of exercises to remember, and she doesn't have you continually "take it from the top." Furthermore, her cueing is excellent in this segment, and above all, she and the girls are having FUN! This workout finishes with a 2-minute cool-down and stretch, and then Donna ends the video with information about her "Walking Club" and general walking for fitness tips. Overall, I highly recommend this video if you're looking for some short, fun workout routines.
Donna comes across as a friendly, enthusiastic "gal pal." Overall, her cueing is excellent, particularly in the dance segment, but I was disappointed that her kickboxing form was so poor.
Beth C (aka toaster)
April 23, 2005