(Intermediate-Step Aerobics, Abs Toning)
Richardson is one of the most charismatic and
irresistable instructors in the business, so I had high
hopes for this video. Well - it's good, but not as great
as I'd hoped. It's shot on location at a Mexican pyramid,
which is an interesting gimmick, but the lighting (bright
sunlight that puts the exercisers in a constant shadow)
and acoustics suffer. The music is ho-hum disco - why
couldn't they steal the Fitness Pros' soundtrack? The
non-complicated step portion is broken down into several
segments, which makes it easy to learn, but once you've
memorized it, the pauses between segments become somewhat
annoying. Donna follows with an abs routine that's
basically a reprise of her "Arms and Abs of Steel
2000" workout. Overall, not bad - Donna can rise
above practically anything - but her talent is better
showcased on "Arms and Abs" as well as the Nike
video and the late lamented "Fitness Pros"
Donna Richardson's Step and Awesome Abs
This video is
an okay workout, but for the beginner/intermediate level.
Donna is an awesome instructor, but this video does not
have any intricate moves, or will not challenge the
advanced. Its good video if you want a day when you don't
have to "think" about choreography. There is an
opportunity to add some extra propulsion. I have done
this video a few times, but it's not one of my favorites
because I am advanced. The abs section is very good,
Fitness level: Intermediate
Breakdown: 5-6 minutes Warm-up; 30 minutes Step aerobics
in six segments; 7-8 minute Abs routine; 5-minute
Heart rate checks: 2
Music: generic disco/Latin
Setting: sunny Oaxaca, Mexico, one-time home to the
Impact: mixed; mostly low-impact with optional power
Working out with Donna is like having your
pretty, popular best friend show you the ropes. She's a
great teacher, and in this tape I see hints of the
fun-spiritedness that make her later release,
"Donna-Mite," such a favorite among those of us
who have to have fun when we exercise. Some folks might
find her tied with Denise Austin in the Most Perky
category, but she also isn't afraid to occasionally poke
fun at her own bubbliness, and I like that in her.
This tape is really not geared for advanced steppers
and especially not for the Cathe/Kari/Tim Culwell crowd.
However, for a new stepper, it's a great
"foundation" tape where you can safely and
thoroughly learn such stepping basics as repeaters, over
the top, and straddle steps without getting so frustrated
you want to hurl your step at the TV. I also find the
tropical setting to be much more eye-pleasing than the
one in Step Reebok (which gave me the willies). The abs
routine--and the wonderful tips on form that Donna shares
there--were worth the price of the tape. For those who
already do intense ab work, this might not be challenging
enough, but I've been able to utilize Donna's technical
helps when groaning my way through FIRM IV's abdominal
drill. They make a difference, too. Apparently I still
have some muscles in that region :)
The video is not without its problems. The music is
not very energizing and the two women exercising with
Donna don't play along with her the way the crew in
"Donna-Mite" does. I keep wanting to tell them,
"lighten up and have fun, for Pete's sake!" And
there isn't enough intensity variations in it to allow
you to use it on a long-term basis. If you look at it as
a tutorial tape for both stepping and more intense
abdominal toning, however, then you're much likelier to
be satisfied that you got your $14 worth.
As this video has already been thoroughly reviewed,
I'd like to add just a few comments. As a returning
stepper, I welcome the slower pace and appreciate the
meticulous instruction. I agree with Melissa Cooper in
that this tape should be viewed as a tutorial on the way
to more advanced tapes. The abs section is wonderful, but
I wish it were longer.
I enjoy the Oaxaca setting - I think it adds to the charm
of this tape!
If you are beginning stepper, this is a great choice. If
you are advanced, as already mentioned, you won't get a
lot out of this tape.
The setting is absolutely gorgeous. The workout is
being held outdoors in Mexico, and it's such a nice
change from being "in" a gym all the time. This
is a beginner-level step workout, followed by an abs
section. I didn't realize it was beginner-level when I
bought it, so I was a little disappointed. Toward the
end, it starts getting into more intense cardio, but by
then, more than half the workout is over. This would be
excellent for someone just starting. You could use it a
lot before you outgrew it, because she shows power
options you can add as you get fitter. But for advanced
or higher- intermediate exercisers like myself, it just
Awesome Step and Abs is a good tape for the ADV BEG/INT exerciser who is new to step. No prior knowledge of stepping is required, Donna throughly goes over moves like "Basic Step", "Tap Up, Tap Down", "Knee Up", "Repeater" and "Straddle". The intensity is comparable to Step Reebok: The Video but the choregraphy is dancier. The outdoor pyramid setting is more inviting than either Reebok's or Kathy Smith's Step tape.
Donna leads a two member cast (including Gloria Quinland from the Macarena Workout) through six segments. After the third segment, a heart rate check is taken and you reposition your step to face the TV. The last segment features classic toning moves like squats, hamstring curls, and adductions. Throughout the tape, Donna demonstrates optional power moves. Still, the intensity level never rises above INT.
The ab portion is a series of stabilization exercises using the step. Again, Donna pays lots of attention to form - even showing you how to position your hands behind your head. This segment is good preparation for Keli Robert's more complex Abs and More.
Donnamite fans will be disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm shown by the cast. You don't hear a word from them and they don't look particularly happy to be there. At times, they are off in the rountine, adding moves before Donna cues them. Fortunately, Donna has enough enthusiasm and style for all!